Sunday, August 13, 2006

Stella Says…In the midst of the grief and fear, the elections must be held

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 13 August 2006)

In yesterday's "Dem Boys" column, the columnist attempted to encourage the nation to keep going on with life. I know this is true, but my first reaction was shock and dismay. How could this writer even suggest such a thing so early after this bloody massacre?

Then I realised there is a movement afoot to postpone the elections and I knew that it was time to do the same thing as my fellow columnist and encourage people to keep going. We do not want to keep going. It feels like life is standing still since last Tuesday's execution of innocent life.

We want to believe this is all a horrible dream and we will wake up any minute to life as it was before this despicable event. It is not that life was so wonderful before and by waking up from this nightmare Guyanese will return to a rosy life. It's just that Tuesday's massacre pushed the nation one step closer to the edge of a breakdown of civilised society.

Just when it seemed there was no way to possibly see anything more that could jolt our already overly-assailed consciences, just when it seemed we had lost all innocence, just when we had become desensitised to the constant onslaught against life and liberty – these vile animals discovered yet one more way to abuse our good senses.

However, in the midst of our mourning we must find a way to keep going. Dem boys is right, we have to get on with life.

Even as I wrote that last sentence, I felt it was a lie. It feels wrong to keep going and my fingers seem to be so paralysed with sadness that it is with great effort that I continue to write this article at all. When I say we should go on with life, it feels like I am attempting to promote something in which I do not believe.

I suppose to some degree this is true because my heart does not want to think about the future. When humans look into the future they see hope and it feels wrong to have such optimistic expectancy right now. Then again, there is a nation to which we must attend.

Guyana cannot handle many more attacks on it's democracy, which is why the elections need to be held as scheduled regardless of the increased presence of these killers. They are attempting to shred every last ounce of law and order and when they have infused just the right amount of unrest and fear; they will take this nation for themselves to conduct their criminal business affairs unchecked by a weakened law enforcement branch.

Their agenda is clear – they want to rule Guyana. Conversely, the people are the ones who should decide the party that will run Guyana. Civilised society places thieves and murderers behind bars, where they should be, not as leaders of a nation.

Even under normal conditions, election time in Guyana can be volatile, but this recent killing spree is not a reason to crawl under a rock and hide from the responsibilities of a citizen. If anything these killings should be the primary reason Guyanese go to the voting booth in droves.

This would be the best way to send these cold-blooded killers a message from the entire nation that their fear tactics will not intimidate Guyana. When thousands upon thousands of voters show up at the polling stations at the end of this month, it will let these killers know that Guyana belongs to the people.

We will continue to mourn and we will cry bitter tears over the next few weeks. At times there will be an instinctive fear and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. These are all natural feelings for anyone who has gone through such traumatic events.

However, in the midst of all of this grief and dread, Guyanese must find a way to hold the elections to ensure the persistence of democracy lest this nation resort to anarchy and vigilante justice. Proper governance under the watchful eyes of the people is the only way for Guyana to maintain and further democracy within its borders.

Email: StellaSays[at]

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