by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 15 August 2006)
One cannot help but wonder how the tragic events of this past week will effect the upcoming elections. There are some who think this recent killing spree could actually help the PPP and the PNCR-1G chances at the voting booth. As such, perhaps this is an idea that should be explored to see if there is any reason Guyanese should vote for one of these two parties more than before these murders took place.
The logic of this reasoning escapes me, then again there seemed no sensible reason to vote for either of these two parties before the killings either. I cannot help but relate those who would continue to vote for leaders who are corrupt and incompetent to an abused child who always goes back to the parent who beats her because she does not know where else to go.
I have talked about my abusive childhood before, but I cannot help but draw the correlation between my abusive past to Guyanese who continue to vote for a party that has done the nation so much harm. When I was a child, after my mother would beat me, I always needed to go for a walk to clear my head and try to reason the logic of how someone can love a child and still be so cruel.
The answers never came because my young mind could not comprehend the anger that drives an abusive person. I would walk for hours and hours and just think. I would think about running away or turning my mother into the police. But that is not what I ever did. Instead, I always went right back home to the same person who habitually hurt me.
My friends at school would see the bruises and cuts and threaten to turn my mom in to the police, but I would beg them not to do it. It was not that I wanted to protect my mother (I felt no such allegiance to my tormentor), but I was afraid of what would happen to me if the authorities took me away from her.
I did not know who I could trust to protect me. This is why I always went back home. I just did not know where else to go. I thought it was highly possible that if I was taken from my abusive mother I could be placed in a home that was even worse than the one in which I already lived. So I always went back to the abuse and I never let any of my friends stop the abuse either.
This scenario closely resembles the situation in Guyana between the people and their leaders. The nation has primarily had two ruling parties since its independence four decades ago. These parties have abused the people in so many treacherous ways, yet the people continue to return to the very leaders who hurt them over and over again.
For those watching from the outside, they do not understand this behaviour. However, I have heard it over and over again from my family members, "They just don't know where else to turn." This is a feeling with which I can definitely relate.
Who can you trust? How do you know the next set of leaders will not be just as bad or worse than the ones you have been with all along? And if you do find other leaders with whom you can place your trust, will they be strong enough to protect you? These are the very same emotions that ran through me every single day of my tormented childhood.
Ironically enough, it was a young Guyanese man who showed me that I could trust people again. This was a long and arduous journey, but I was in a safe environment and ready to learn about the good things of life for a change instead of living in constant fear and anxiety.
If I had been strong enough to make that daring move to trust someone else at a younger age, I could have probably prevented years and years of torment and abuse. That is the trap in which abuse victims often find themselves. They want help and they want the torment to end, but they are so beaten down physically, emotionally and mentally that they cannot find the strength to reach out for help.
This year the tormented and abused people of Guyana have been thrown a lifeline by way of a credible third party option. The ever-present questions of trust bombard each voter, because trust does not come easy for an abuse victim. How do we know these leaders will be any better than the abusive leaders?
I cannot predict whether the new party will be any better than the abusive parties of the past four decades. However, there comes a time in the life of every abused victim's life that he/she must find the strength to at least try and trust someone outside of the abusive situation. This is the only way the madness will ever stop.
It is sheer madness to think either of the two long-time parties have the capacity to protect the people of Guyana. They have not been able to do much of anything good for the nation in all these many, many long years.
The only thing the people can be assured of if they vote for either of these parties again is more of the same abuse and neglect that has brought Guyana to the brink of utter ruin. It is time to reach out for help. It is time to trust that there are some leaders out there who are willing and able to protect the people and do something good for the nation.
I took that chance and my life is better for it. Perhaps it is time for Guyana to take that chance too and believe they deserve something better than to be constantly abused by those who say they care.