Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stella Says…It is time to break the mould

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 18 November 2007)

Author’s Note: The following is an essay I wrote in September 2001 as I was just breaking free from the social and religious expectations that held me back from being the woman I knew I could be. I have come a very long way, but this essay still inspires me today. I hope will inspire other women, too.


I have long tried to be the person I was expected to be by society. The problem with this notion is that I need to be more than what others expect of me. I have so much to offer and yet feel that I must somehow squeeze into a mould that does not hold me.

Having succumbed to the social expectations of a stunted generation, I have spent many years playing with ideas of true freedom in my head. I have longed to break that mould, yet feared the consequences should I make such a drastic move.

I have settled for second or third or fourth best for myself, believing I was allotted no more in life than what I had been handed. I have felt to attempt anything more would prove my vanity and bring to light the arrogance so very alive in me.

However, this vanity and arrogance are no less honourable than the self-confidence of a man who is able to demonstrate his full potential without the walls of minimal societal expectation boxing him in.

I am more than a woman, more than a wife, more than a mother. I have an insatiable need to know and to learn and to do and to be; and those needs never seem to be quenched.

I know that I am more than I have been allowed to be. Why would I let someone else to dictate what I am or am not allowed to be in life? I know that I am more than I have allowed myself to be. Why would I hold myself back for the sake of conforming to archaic ideas? I am more than my mother said I am and more than my elementary school teacher said I am.

I am more than an object to be admired or acquired. I am more than the passive women of my generation who silently accept their assigned lot in life and then attempt to perpetually entertain themselves in hopes of forgetting their plight.

I am more than those who blindly submit to notions passed down by a generation of weak women who sold their souls to shallow men for the sake of feeling accepted by strong arms, but then received only bitterness as a payment for their precious goods.

There are so many women whose true potential will never be fully realized because of the low expectations placed on them. These low expectations are the standard by which many women live their lives. Therefore, it is perfectly normal for them to fall in line and perform that role which provides little or no allowances for any form of deviation.

Women are treated as if they have minimal intelligence and are expected to be happy with the ordinary and the mundane while the men take on the big bad world. But what about women who have the strength, intelligence and audacity to take on the world?

I have not been honest. I have not been honest with myself or with those who love me. I need more. I am more. No one else could answer the questions that plagued my mind because all of their expectations of me were still too low. No one else could fulfil my need to explore and learn.

I have so much energy and so many ideas that are going to waste in a land long forgotten because I have not had the courage to state them or the avenue by which to share them. I have been made to feel that my husband and family should be my life and that it is socially and morally wrong to want or need anything more than that.

But I cannot see how it could be wrong to want more when nature has given me an instinctive drive to desire more so desperately.

I will no longer succumb to the stereotypical role of a woman just to appease the ego of a few men who cannot see past their own selfish ambitions long enough to truly appreciate the potential of another human being.

I will no longer slouch my posture or act ignorant of an idea in order to stroke the insecurities of men or women who feel the need to still conform to the sexist views of generations past.

I will not act as though I am uninformed and have no opinion in matters that are important in life for the sake of complying with the notions of a few ignorant souls. I will never again open the doors of innocent naivety to allow myself to be victimized at the hands of someone who desires to use me for their own selfish motives.

I will never again be ‘put in my place’ by the likes of a man who cannot handle a woman with a thinking brain.

Instead, I will allow myself to think and to be and to do. I will step beyond the door that has been shutting me in and break into the world that is waiting to be explored and understood. I will be bold and will allow my self-confidence to shine through.

I will walk with my head held high and with purpose in my step. I will take on tasks that are beyond me in order to push myself further than I thought I could go. I will no longer hide my intelligence, but instead put it on proud display for all to see. I will be all that I am. No, I am all that I am. I am.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stella Says…Not Raphael Trotman too!

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 16 November 2007)

What is it going to take for the men of Guyana to start treating the women with the respect they rightly deserve? Just last Sunday I wrote a column about the need for the nation’s leaders to be educated on violence against women. However, it seems that education needs to be far more comprehensive.

In that same Sunday Kaieteur News paper, Raphael Trotman wrote an open letter to President Jagdeo asking for the Executive to reconsider the VAT tax as it has brought much hardship on the people. Trotman sent copies of this letter to ten organisations that he termed as stakeholders on this issue, of which The Red Thread was not on the list.

Allow me to first say that I applaud Trotman for taking the initiative to accomplish something positive for the people (Although when I acknowledge the PPP for doing the same, Freddie gets mad. But I am sure he will not have one word to say about objectivity extended toward the AFC. Such hypocrisy!)

Indeed, it is refreshing to see various politicians (regardless of their political persuasion) doing something good for the people after such a long dry spell of inactivity. In fact, it may be because of the introduction of the AFC into the national political scene that has caused the PPP to get off its lazy rump and finally do something because at long last they see a potential threat come 2011.

So here is my bravo to Trotman. Hoorah for you. I offer a sincere pat on the back for doing the job you were elected to do. However (You knew there would be a “However,” right?), how could The Red Thread not be included among the stakeholders you publicly listed in your letter on the VAT tax?

You really must understand how this omission translates to the women of that organisation. It is a public slap on the face. It summarily dismisses these women and their work as negligible when they have probably worked more than anyone else to highlight this issue.

Raphael, it is time that the women of Guyana start calling the men on this indifferent attitude toward women. It is demeaning and it is frustrating. This attitude is at the very core of why women are treated so badly overall, including domestic violence, rape and murder.

I could not have been more proud of The Red Thread ladies for pointing out your injury. They even said they believe your offence was because they are women – and I tend to agree.

Whether your omission was overt or not does not matter. There would be no reasonable explanation for you to make a conscience decision to omit The Red Thread from your stakeholders list. However, if you did, your offence was intentional and meant to send a message to the women – a message that was received.

However, if your decision was simply because you did not think to include them – this is just as insulting and is akin to the PNCR’s crime initiative’s draft that did not address the overwhelming violence inflicted on Guyana’s women every single day. This indifferent attitude toward women stinks.

Where was Sheila Holder in this whole process? Did she not think to mention how insulting this would be to dismiss the women’s group that has been so vocal on VAT for months now? While the AFC still remained silent, The Red Thread was pleading for help for the people.

Raphael, you owe the women of The Red Thread and the nation at large an apology for this insult. You are a leader of the party that promises change and one issue that needs to change the most in Guyana is this dismissive attitude toward half of the nation’s population. Your party vehemently claims to reject racism, how about firming rejecting sexism as well?

I expected more from you. I expected you to be an advocate for equality. I expected you to comprehend the magnitude of the suffering of your female constituents, of which you just contributed by dismissing their representatives. Raphael, you need to make this right.

The AFC should extend a hand of reconciliation to The Red Thread and stand in solidarity with this organisation to accomplish great things for the people.

It will be interesting to see if Raphael has the capacity to correct this situation, whether it was intentional or not. It will say a lot about his character and the type of leader the nation can expect to see.

If this is left undone, I know it will completely change the way I view Trotman and the AFC from this point on.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stella Says…Why so rigid, Freddie?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 14 November 2007)

I knew full well that when I wrote a column about the need for naysayers – or rather those who voice their dissent of the government – that a few of my fellow dissenters would balk at my suggestions that we should at least attempt to be somewhat objective.

Dear Sweet and Sensitive Freddie Kissoon said he not only did not know what a naysayer was (get a dictionary, Freddie dear), but that he preferred the term “critical commentator.” Fine, but this is just splitting hairs. In the long run there still needs to be at least a tinge of objectivity in the nation’s “critical commentators.”

This debate is long overdue. Should there be any acknowledgement of the progress the PPP has recently made? If not; why not? Is it not intellectually dishonest to go on our merry ways and pretend as if the Jagdeo administration has done nothing at all? I for one will not allow myself to become so petty and small-minded.

I do understand the dogmatic stance of some, including the rigid and inflexible Freddie, because when one is in the middle of the situation, it becomes quite difficult to be open-minded.

For example, before I even wrote the column in question, I told my husband that I could see the need for objectivity so clearly from where I stand (which is far away from Guyana).

However, when he questioned me on what I would say if someone told me about the great things the Bush administration has done for America, my response was that this lousy adminsitration has done nothing good whatsoever for the people of the US or the world at large.

Yet I am an independent observer when it comes to Guyana and my column reflects as much.

As an aside, I also believe women have a different leadership style than men and although I can be as cut throat as any male columnist, I also know full well that cut throat politics leaves us all bleeding and dead.

Lets look at this situation for what it really is, the government was hired by the people to do a job and after failing for so long to do that job effectively, it certainly cannot hurt to take a second to acknowledge any move the government makes in a positive direction.

I truly feel it is important to acknowledge the fact that the government is finally attempting to do something. I am not suggesting that all voice of dissent should halt. I am just saying we should clap our hands for the fact that something is finally happening.

As mentioned in my column about naysaying that Freddie rebutted, I know that a consultation paper from Minister Manickchand does not necessarily translate into something productive for society. However, I am at least willing to acknowledge that the first step has been taken to climb a very long flight of stairs. Surely there is some graciousness in Freddie somewhere to allow for this.

I intend to watch this paper through to its completion – which includes the law enforcement and judicial aspects of any legislation passed – and if nothing comes of it, I will be the first to be yelling from the rooftops – as I always have been concerning women’s issues.

I am not interested in giving up by allowing the government to walk all over the people. I simply believe it would not hurt to build bridges. Burning bridges leaves the nation divided. Guyana needs leaders who have the capacity to build bridges.

I know a man who burns his bridges with every person with whom he has a disagreement. He will never accomplish what he wants to accomplish in life because he does not know how to lay his egocentric pride aside long enough to see the whole picture.

It is such a small thing for someone as intelligent as you are, Freddie, to acknowledge the work of others, even if it promises but a small advancement. I do not wish to think you – one of Guyana’s great minds - incapable of such benevolence.

If those who fight for the good of the people in Guyana are never able to see the bigger picture, which includes both the good and the bad from the government, the nation will always be at odds and little will change in the next few years.

Do not stop the fight for true democracy. Do not quit the struggle for a better life. But do not be so rigid that it becomes impossible to be intellectually honest about any progress occurring around the nation or to be gracious when steps are made in a positive direction.

I stand by my assertion that a small amount of objectivity from those who attempt to keep the government accountable could go a long way toward breaking down the walls that separate this nation.

Really now, what could it hurt to be objective? The rigid reed will break with the wind, but the flexible reed will grow tall. Honestly Freddie, if anyone’s mind is in danger of decline – it is your rigid mind – not my gracious mind.

Dearest Freddie, I will be sure to get the book you mentioned on my next trip to the bookstore as I am always looking for a good read. And of course I would love to meet your family on my visit. I also think it would be interesting to experience the many sights and sounds of Guyana through your eyes and ears.

However, I do not agree with this course of rigidity you have plotted and I refuse to become that person who cannot see good when it is staring me in the face. Such a stance by any commentator cannot be productive for Guyana.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stella Says…Ignorance and insensitivity abound concerning violence against women

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 11 November 2007)

Just when I think the tide is turning on the issue of violence against women, I find that Guyana has at least one politician who remains ignorant on the issue.

In my column from last Wednesday I pointed out the need for naysayers to show objectivity by acknowledging governmental action in various areas – one of which was violence against women. I expected a response from a naysayer or two, but I did not expect such an insensitive reply on this issue.

In response to my column, one particular male politician said, “The sexual issue is because of economic situation where women sell themselves legally in order to get money to survive.”

Excuse me?

So the little girl who was just raped and murdered on her way home from school is because of prostitution? The mother who was recently stabbed and left for dead for hours in the dark with her children is because of the economic situation?

That same mother received “regular” beatings from her husband and Guyana’s economic situation had nothing to do with it.

There are fathers who rape their own daughters, men who kidnap girls and sell them into sexual slavery and beatings galore – every goddamn day – men beating their wives, girlfriends and children and grown men having sex with under-aged girls.

None of these horrific actions have anything whatsoever to do with the economic situation in Guyana. In one fell swoop, this politician trivialised the pain of Guyanese women and put his ignorance about this issue on display for all to see.

The obvious need for sensitivity training aside, this statement makes it obvious that Priya Manickchand should also be enlightening the politicians about violence against women and children while she is touring the country to educate the people.

How can it be said that violence against women in Guyana is linked to an “economic situation where women sell themselves legally in order to get money to survive,” when there is prostitution in even the wealthiest nations around the world?

Moreover, even if a woman does sell her body for money, there is no presumption of violence in this transaction. This is simply a trade of sex for money. There does not appear to be distinguishable link between the ongoing violence against women to prostitution or the economy, as suggested by the aforementioned politician.

The “Stamp It Out” paper, in the foreword by the Minister, said, “We know much more about sexual violence – for example, that the vast majority of offenders are known to their victims, and that those victims are overwhelmingly women.” In other words, those who supposedly care about women are the ones who also victimise them.

Quite frankly, it is demeaning to associate violence against women to prostitution because it assumes that every woman who suffers violence is selling herself, something most women would find offensive.

To have such an uninformed and careless statement come from a supposed leader in society is frustrating, especially while an effort is being made to educate on this topic. However, it is even more maddening to know there are leaders who still minimise the effect that violence against women has on the nation.

I am not going to insinuate that all politicians are ignorant and insensitive about this issue; I understand this is one single individual. However, it is this very attitude toward women that needs to be counteracted if Minister Manickchand hopes to bring permanent change for the women of Guyana.

As another example, when the PNCR sent me an early draft of its crime initiative in January 2006, there was nary a word in it concerning the ongoing violence against women (though it was later added). Guyana has come so far in the last two years, yet still there are politicians who remain uninformed about one of the most pressing issues facing the nation.

Might I suggest the good minister consider an educational forum for the politicians to bring them up to speed with the realities of violence against women and children? I realise this would necessitate a joint event where various parties interact, but this issue is more important than partisan politics.

If the leaders of the nation are ignorant on this issue, they will continue to talk and behave in a manner that objectifies women. This nullifies the work being done to educate the people when the leaders themselves remain ignorant.

When I think of all of the news articles I have read this year alone about women being raped, killed and beat within an inch of their lives – women whose only crime was being female, and thus a punching bag for some insecure man – it literally nauseates me to consider the dismissive statement of this politician.

It is time for men to change their attitude toward women – and it needs to start with the nation’s supposed leaders. Any leader who does not comprehend the gravity of this issue is not a leader worth keeping around. Guyana needs leaders who care about all of the nations citizens, not just the ones with penises.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stella Says…Tourism and Torture: Which word does not fit?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 09 November 2007)

November is tourism month in Guyana! Turn up that music, cut those dancers loose and put on your best smile for the world. Just imagine the vacation packages being assembled and the airline deals being formed. What an exciting time for the country.

However, given the fact that law enforcement continues to torture prisoners, I feel it is pertinent to point out that torture is not typically on the “to do” list for vacationers. In fact, travellers tend to avoid torture like they would a plague.

Hawaii is loved for its lush ocean waves and tropical island appeal, but it is not known for its torture techniques. Likewise, when a vacationer visits Italy, there is shopping and sightseeing to be done, but no one says, “Hey, lets fit some torture into our schedule today.”

Do you see how that word just does not fit into the tourism theme?

It is my assessment that when people plan to fork over some big bucks on a vacation, they tend to go to places where there is no chance of torture. Moreover, when a person is on vacation, I would venture to guess that picking up a newspaper and reading about the torture of one that nation’s citizens would put a damper on the holiday mood.

It seems the government has a choice to make – tourism or torture. If it is truly serious about turning Guyana into a hot tourist spot, it will be necessary to put a permanent end to the torture tactics of law enforcement.

When I was planning my first visit to Guyana, I did the same thing I always do – I Googled it. I like to know about the places I visit because I want more from my stay than just shopping and food. I want to experience the culture and know the people, which is why I do research on each place before travelling there.

I would bet a majority of vacationers in today’s technological world search the Internet for vacation information and can you imagine how they would feel when the news stories on torture pop up in their browser?

Most right thinking people tend to frown upon torture, as well they should. In fact, there are some who feel so strongly about this issue that they would never spend their vacation dollars in a country that allows its law enforcement to torture citizens accused of crimes.

Even for those who do not hold such strong feelings on the topic, there is still the question of personal safety when visiting a country that has law enforcement officers who practice torture. Who wants to take their children to vacation in a country where there is even the slightest chance they might be tortured?

Logic could easily deduce that if law enforcement officials torture the citizens of a nation, worse could be expected for visitors who are not protected by national rights. Even worse, the government in Guyana has not taken a tough stance on this issue by denouncing these extreme interrogation tactics.

It was quite a contrast to see tourism month start off in Guyana at the same time that details about the torture of yet another man being held by law enforcement played out in the news. Exciting Amazon adventures contrasted in the newspaper with oozing blood from a wound inflicted by law enforcement.

Moreover, the government still has yet to inform the nation about the progress of the investigation concerning those involved in the torture of two men last month. No one has been dismissed for these actions. No one has been charged for the torture.

This tells the world that torture is acceptable in Guyana. I wonder how many tourists will want to visit a nation that tortures people? For example, how many tourists have North Korea on the top of their vacation list?

I think vacationers may be looking for something a bit more fun and relaxing for their holiday escape. The government can do all it wants to promote Guyana as a tourist hot spot, but as long as it allows law enforcement to torture people – vacationers will spend their money in a country where they feel safe.

Tourism and torture are two words that just do not blend. If the government wants to allow torture, it can give up on tourism. If the government wants tourism then it must denounce torture. I know which one I would choose.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stella Says…Guyana needs its naysayers as much as it needs its government

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 07 November 2007)

Note: I write this column for the benefit of my fellow naysayers. Enjoy.

I have absolutely nothing against what the government terms as “naysayers.” Hell, I am a naysayer myself and I know many other naysayers. However, honesty demands that there comes a time when even the most rabid naysayer should stop for just a brief moment and take stock of the situation.

I recently did just that and found that many of the issues about which I have taken the government to task have been addressed. Mind you, there is still a long road ahead, but one cannot ignore the fact that Jagdeo and his administration are actually doing some very good things for the country.

I know my fellow naysayers will spit and holler over my last statement, but unless my fellow naysayers walk about the country blindfolded, any objective person would have to acknowledge the progress of the last couple of years.

I am not saying life in Guyana has yet to reach the point where the common citizen can live at ease. With sporadic water and electricity availability, climbing food prices and crime still prohibiting the peaceful state of mind that all Guyanese should have – those in the government still have their work cut out for them.

However, it would be disingenuous to overlook the many issues the government has addressed. In fact, two chief issues have both been addressed very recently. The first is the introduction of a consultation paper regarding sexual violence. This move, for which the people have earnestly pleaded, has been a long time in coming, but it is finally here.

Of course, I am not so naïve as to believe a consultation paper does any good if the finally outcome does not lead to stricter laws, the enforcement of those laws (which continues to allude the nation) and the implementation of those laws by the judicial system (which has been known to give rapists a slap on the wrist).

However, I have been encouraged to see that the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, seems to be quite serious about this issue, as is evident by the fact that she is travelling around the country speaking on the value of her consultation paper.

As such, I am hopeful that Guyana will soon be better equipped to protect its citizens against sexual predators. This issue has long been number one on my naysayer agenda. When I see a marked improvement in this area, I will be able to check this one off of my naysayer list.

The second chief issue that has been addressed by the government recently is the out-of-control driving situation. This is another matter that has flooded the letter pages for months with petitions for help from the government. It took them long enough to finally do something, but a crackdown is currently in effect.

I do hope the crackdown will not be so short lived that the road madness returns by the start of the New Year. Oops, there is the cynical naysayer in me popping out again. Regardless, the fact that the government actually took action should be acknowledged.

The government could have easily continued to ignore the situation, as it has for years, and go on its merry way while people died on the roads. It has finally done something about the situation and that is commendable.

Surely my fellow naysayers have to see the new roads, the new stadium, the new mall, the (briefly) cleaned up streets and the improved airport. To simply dismiss these improvements, the effort to end sexual violence and the attempt to bring order to the roads would be intellectually dishonest and compromise the integrity of our objectivity.

Naysayers can get so caught up in their nay saying that they cannot allow themselves to see the good even when it does happen. Likewise, the government can get so lost in the details of an issue that it cannot plot an effective course of action. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if both of these groups could lay down their swords and work together for once?

I know this is not going to happen – and it shouldn’t either. The naysayer plays a vital role in the democracy of a nation. These are the ones who speak up when the rest of society has fallen into complacency. Yet I imagine these two groups (the naysayers and the government) could work miracles if ever the two formed an alliance.

Yes, it is important to recognise the efforts of the government to address the issues brought to light by the naysayers. It is useful to take stock and re-adjust the nay saying agenda so as to allow for progress.

This allows the public to see that naysayers are not inflexible or unable to be gracious. It also keeps the naysayers honest to themselves and to everyone within their reach.

If care is not taken to protect the naysayers from falling into a rut of rigid closed-mindedness, the voice of dissent could become obsolete as the public dismisses the naysayers as incapable of objectivity.

This would be a tragedy, because Guyana needs its naysayers as much as it needs its government.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Stella Says…Unless you are sinless, lay your stone down and walk away

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 04 November 2007)

I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which humans will go to make one set of people somehow appear superior to another group. This is obvious once again in Guyana, as the debate about the homosexual lifestyle has reappeared on the letter pages.

This debate carries the weight of validation for an entire segment of people in Guyana. It is not as if they require the validation of society to exist, for they will exist regardless. However, if and when society finally accepts them, those who are homosexuals will finally be able to life their lives to the fullest without fear of reprisal for being who they are.

Let’s face it, society has at various points in recent history sought to restrain or rid itself of varying segments of the population that it feared would change the status quo. These offensive segments typically reflected factors such as race, gender, intellectual capability, financial status, physical health, mental health and political ideologies. This list could go on forever.

Sexual preference continues to be at the forefront of the “get rid of them because they are different” battle simply because there are so few who wish to accept the fact that a person’s sexuality is as ingrained as a person’s race or gender.

However, even if – for the sake of argument – homosexuals choose to have same sex relationships, society has no right to stand in their way. If society affords a person the right to choose what house to buy, what car to drive and what clothes to wear, then surely people should also have the right to choose the gender with whom they want to have sex.

Moreover, we all know very well that a heterosexual person can choose whom to have sex with. A heterosexual can choose to have sex with several separate people in one day if she/he so chooses and society will have nary a word to say in resistance so long as that person is being responsible by practicing safe sex.

So why must those who practice safe homosexual sex be constantly chided by society for their lifestyle? Do they not have the same right to have sex with whomever they want as the heterosexual? Oh, I know that many of those who fight against the homosexual lifestyle are religious and use their holy books to make this segment of humans feel like social outcasts.

For example, the Bible says in Leviticus 18:22 that it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman. If a Christian wants to accept this as law, so be it, but give some thought to this. A few verses later Leviticus 19:19, the Bible also says “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” I need not say how many people wear clothes of varying material nowadays.

Likewise, in Exodus 35:2, the Bible says, “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”

Why do I not see the letter pages of the newspapers marking a movement against working on the Sabbath? Obviously, this is so offensive to God that death is mandated for anyone who does not observe the Sabbath.

In Exodus 21:7 a man can sell his daughter. Does that mean the Bible condones the trafficking of humans? In Deuteronomy 22:9 we are informed that a crop will be defiled if two different kids of seeds are planted in the same field. Defiled? Should we be eating defiled food?

I am not attempting to malign these Scriptures in any way. However, my desire is to point out that many of these ancient customs are no longer practiced. Even if a Christian wanted to insist that the New Testament is the guideline for contemporary living, this thinking gives luminosity to the hypocrisy used when singling out the homosexual lifestyle.

For example, the scripture used by Christians to treat homosexuals so badly in the 21st century is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

It seems to me that if Christians are going to be so publicly adamant about the homosexual lifestyle being wrong, there should also be a public outcry against all who are sexually immoral (having sex outside of marriage), adulterers, male prostitution (I guess female prostitution is okay), thieves, the greedy, drunkards (no rum?), slanderers and swindlers.

I guess that just about covers us all.

Jesus said that the person without sin should cast the first stone (I carefully lay my stone down and walk away). Who among those letter writers does not fall into one of the categories listed with “homosexual offenders”? If you have been guilty of any of the sins listed, then put your stone down and walk away.

I have a great idea. Why don’t we focus on the adulterers for a while since adultery has a direct impact on families? Or we could focus on thievery since crime is a constant nuisance to us all.

In short, homosexuality is no worse a sin (according to the Bible, not to me) than adultery or stealing, so why the war against this segment of the population? Since Christians just let the adulterers live their lives without such direct interference, homosexuals should be allowed to choose their own lifestyle as well.

Don’t worry though, I’m sure as soon as the homosexuals want to know the Christian’s opinion on how they should live their lives, they will ask. (Not!)

Email: StellaSays[at]

Friday, November 02, 2007

Stella Says…When will good men do something?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 02 November 2007)

I grew up with a mother who physically, mentally and verbally abused me and I could never understand how neighbours and family members could allow it to happen without doing something about it.

I lived in the city where the houses were very close together, so I know my neighbours heard the abuse. One time after I started dating my husband, I left a pair of heels in his car after church (I switched into flat shoes to hang out), so he decided to bring them to me since he had just dropped me off.

My future husband heard my mother’s abuse from outside the house and ran for his car as fast as possible. I had an aunt and uncle who lived on the first level of our house (we lived on the second level) and aside from my aunt yelling up the stairs a time or two for my mother to “leave that poor girl alone,” no one ever lifted a hand to help me.

Oh I had friends at school who would see the bruises and fingernail marks in my skin and swear they were going to call the newly introduce abused hotline, but I usually begged them not to do it because I was sure that I would be even more abused in foster care.

I did go to one place for help. I went to my pastor’s daughter and told her I needed someone to stop my mother from hurting me, but no help ever came for me. The church did nothing to stop my mother. The neighbours did nothing. My family did nothing. The law did nothing.

As a child, I never understood how the world could look on and watch this horrible scene and do nothing to help a little girl. I grew up to be the type of person who would never stand by and allow someone to victimised a helpless person.

One of the most troubling news stories this week is about a mother who was repeated stabbed by her husband and left for dead in the presence of her three children (who was also the father of the children). At face value, this story is so sad.

However, the story is not about a man who broke from the demands of life and killed his wife because he could not handle the pressure. It was obvious that this was not the first time this poor woman had been victimised by her husband.

The Kaieteur News report from October 29 quoted a neighbour as saying, ““We didn't hear nothing last night because of de wedding house music but even if we did hear we woulda think that is de normal beating.”

The normal beating?

Here are some of the things neighbours said this woman experienced from her husband. The relationship was an abusive one with constant fighting almost every night. The husband had previously threatened to kill her. He tied a rope around her neck, dragged her down the stairs and forced her to lie in an ants’ nest. He beat her so severely recently that it put her in the hospital.

Which begs the question, if the neighbours knew full well what was going on in that house, why on earth did they do nothing to help the woman? There was one report that the mother was an alcoholic. Does that mean that she does not deserve to be protected from such horrible abuse?

I can tell you with a clear conscience that I looked for many ways to escape my abuse as a child. If alcohol were readily available for me, it would have been an avenue I could have explored to find a way to pretend my life was not as dreadful as it really was.

I do not blame the woman for trying to find an escape. However, where was her family to get her out of that abusive house? Why did the male neighbours not visit this house during one of the beatings and tell that husband to stop beating his wife or they would give him a beating?

Yes, I know the woman should have left the man, but until you are in an abusive relationship, you cannot imagine how twisted things get in your head and how a slap across the face can seem justified or look like love. A normal person would never see a slap as type of love. Only an abused person could make that misinterpretation.

Moreover, the woman may have felt trapped in the abuse if she did not have a way to make money to feed her children. For whatever reason, this woman did not leave the abuse and no one rescued her either. And now she is dead.

I cannot help but wonder how many people tonight will listen to a woman being beat and do nothing to help. How many other neighbours will ignore the yelling and the cries of pain as they mark it off as just another “normal beating”?

There is nothing “normal” about one person beating another person. In such a situation, one person needs to be rescued and the other needs to be arrested. Edmond Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

In this case, evil triumphed because good men did nothing. A woman died because good men did nothing. Three children are orphans because good men did nothing. But guess what? One evil man did plenty.

He allegedly stabbed his wife over and over in front of his own children and then left those poor kids with their dead mother for hours in a dark house.

No one saved me from my mother and no one saved Kamal Doonwah from her husband. Good men did nothing. I just want to know when good men will start doing something. Can someone please tell me?

Email: StellaSays[at]