(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 16 March 2011)
Sometimes, in regard to writing on political and social issues in Guyana, I feel like I am watching the Disney movie, Alice in Wonderland. Alice said if she had a world of her own, “…everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
This is the world of politics in Guyana. Nothing is what it is because everything is what it isn’t. I sometimes feel as if at any moment Alice will show up with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. My column reflects the opinion of a person looking at Guyana from the outside, and sometimes I am honestly flabbergasted at the things I see.
For example, this was printed in the Guyana Chronicle yesterday, “Press and Publicity Officer of the Office of the President, Kwame McCoy, last evening reacted to a Prime News report which accused the Office of the President as being the owners and managers of the Live In Guyana blog. The report is absolutely erroneous since this blog site www.liveinguyana.blogspot.com is not managed by the Office of the President, McCoy said.”
So far, this statement seems as if it is perfectly normal. There is nothing out of the ordinary in McCoy’s statement, until he says, “The report is mischievous since Prime News is aware that the site is owned and managed by Prime News and the Kaieteur News.” This is where I have to say everything is nonsense.
Why on earth would Prime News and Kaieteur News publish material on a blog that is injurious to members of its own staff – as the Live In Guyana has done? This blog has even posted personal information about those from Kaieteur News. This is what I mean when I say nothing is what it is because everything is what it isn’t. Pure nonsense.
Speaking of nonsense, it is sheer madness when one of the more brilliant minds in a nation – and the foremost columnist – uses infantile language like “King Kong” to refer to a president. Regardless of the lack of respect that columnist holds for the president, for those looking in from the outside, this use of childish antics is confusing at best and at worst, difficult to take seriously – because it is coming from an intellectual. Just madness.
My colleague, Freddie Kisssoon talks about the madness that has taken over the country, but when he lowers himself to the same childish behaviour as those he writes about, he becomes part of the problem and definitely not an example of what the solution should look like. Freddie is like Alice when the Catepillar asked her, “Who are YOU?” Alice replied, “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present— at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
Freddie has warned me on several occasions not to allow my association with certain people to change me, but Freddie is allowing his crusade against “King Kong” to change him and he does not even see it.
Yes, madness abounds. Mark Benschop is arrested for trumped up charges of breaking Kwame McCoy’s door window while McCoy and his posse walk away after severely vandalising Benschop’s truck. Madness.
Madness abounds when the president of the country tells the people to not allow others to divide the nation while he himself uses highly inflammatory language that can have no other objective but to divide the nation. Curiouser and curiouser!
Guyana is beginning to look like Venice with waterways for streets. Perhaps someone should invest in some gondolas and use the ever-present floodwaters as a romantic jaunt for the tourists? What sense does it make to have streets anymore if they are always covered with water? No sense. Nonsense.
What sense is there in having any opposition parties when they oppose nothing? If they act like the subjects in the court of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland and simply bow and say, “Yes, your majesty. Yes, your majesty. All ways are your ways, your majesty,” what sense is there in even having them around?
When the Queen of Hearts goes around intimidating her subjects demanding to know who is painting her roses red, not a single soul has the courage to stand up and tell her that roses are supposed to be red.
In Guyana, the opposition parties do not have the courage to take a stand against the tirades of those in power, either. They, too, cower in fear without the courage to take a stand for how things are supposed to be. More madness.
So where do I fit into this madness? Alice told the Cheshire Cat, “I don’t want to go among mad people.” To this the cat replied, “Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” Alice asked, “How do you know I’m mad?” The Cheshire Cat responded, “You must be or you wouldn’t have come here.” I guess this means I am in the same boat as everyone else in Guyana. Or should I say I am in the same gondola.
One cannot help but wonder if like Alice in Wonderland, this is all just a dream and we will wake up with a fabulous tale of a place where everything is nonsense and nothing is what it is because everything is what it isn’t. On the contrary, perhaps I can instead expect Freddie to one day ask me why a raven is like a writing desk.