Christmas and New Year “come and gone” and now, “we have to wait until another whole year,” before we can celebrate these holidays again, as the Guyanese saying goes. Unfortunately, because of the deadly pandemic, the COVID-19 virus prevented Guyanese, visitors and others from celebrating the holidays in a true Guyanese fashion. We were unable to participate as freely as we should have, to enjoy and indulge in our usual customs and traditions.
The many limitations were engineered as a result of many of our dearly beloved passing away, others failing in health, the scarcity of finance to provide the ample amenities, the traffic curtailment, the isolation, the curfew and the freedom of circulating, gathering and mixing as freely as we wanted. Regardless of the politics and economics, Guyanese always used to find a way to commemorate these national holidays in a true Guyanese conventional way. At this time of the year, Guyanese would always forget any differences, hug, kiss and shake hands to unite together and agree to wine, dine, dress and dance so that this special moment would not bypass them quietly, lacklustre or lackadaisically.
A Christmas party at the workplace, at home or a night club or an Old Year’s Night party always highlighted the list of entertainment. Midnight mass on Christmas eve night or church service on New Year’s Day was another crowning event. If we were to accept this pandemic as historical, then, one of such nature does attack the world at least once every century, the last one being the “Spanish Flu,” in February 1918 and lasted until April 1920.
The deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A Virus, infected about a third of the world’s population then, about 500 million people, in four successive waves and between 20 to 50 million died, others claiming a figure closer to 100 million. Its origin was traced back to Europe after the 1st world war.
But, 2021, a new year, is here and we have to move on from the past year, 2020, a dreadful year of unforgivable, unforgettable and uncomfortable activities. It was a year perhaps when time stood still and transfixed for many, a year of regrets and losses, pain and suffering, sacrifices and surprises, shame and disgrace, innovation and implementation, winners and losers and rejoice and despair.
Any realisation of happiness was soberly and moderately celebrated and enveloped in modesty and simplicity. A year when Guyana was hauled reluctantly in unchartered water, the people were mauled relentlessly and constantly pressured to test their temperament and resistance. Guyanese patience was at a boiling level but, a hidden resilience avoided an exacerbated display of unthinkable irresponsibility for the major part of unforeseen and uncalculated moments.
Rather, a unique showmanship of control and discipline reflected a new Guyanese conscience and an awakening of another realisation, one that may safeguard the birth of a new generation, culpable to differentiate right from wrong and not be easily be-fooled with lies and deceits. The dangers of devious politicians are still present as the Berbice fiasco reminded us, where, warped minds were successfully used to persuade gullible villagers with their thwarted insinuations; to utilise an explosive situation to their convenience to score political mileage; by playing with people’s emotion and mind, inciting unnecessary violence which escalated to unfortunate deaths and tremendous damages to people, property and place.
The sad deaths of the Henry boys and Haresh Singh force Guyanese to ponder on how vulnerable peace and tranquillity are posed on a precipice; any promise of certain safety should not be taken for granted and cannot be guaranteed; the security of people’s lives is a grey area of concern and there is no reliance still from the protectors of law and order. Daily, the Police Force and the coalition politicians jerk us back to a stark reality to leave us nervously wondering on “what next?”
As Guyanese at home and abroad, did the past leap year teach us anything? Are we going to be the same person as we were the previous year or is there a desperate need for a definitive change? Apart from our year-end monumental resolutions, or isolated desires, or enviable wishes or an infatuation with a mystical or mysterious attraction, or, an obsession with a passion, did we learn from our mistakes and errors?
Did we spend any time with ourself to reflect in the mirror and churn the flickering activities, roving in memory lane, rowing casually, so that we slowly regurgitate the ups and downs of all significant eventualities? Were we right or wrong with our decisions, were we correct or incorrect with our calls, were we pleased or disgusted with our choices, is there room to improve or improvise, were we justified or unfair in our judgement, were we perfect or impaired with our conclusions? Were we offensive or defensive with our opinions, were we polite or impolite with our manners, were we aggressive or awkward with our behaviour, were we inordinate, moderate or proportionate in our generosity?
Were we charitable or mean with our donation, were we pleasant or awful with our relations, did we annoy, aggravate, acerbate anyone, or, aid, alleviate or appease them instead? Did we offend or defend anyone, do we need to rescue or recuse ourself, were we selfish and greedy or selfless and liberal? This is the defining period, sensitive and not presumptuous when we seriously need to consider questioning ourself for explicit answers to decide how satisfied we are and if we enjoy peace of mind. Can we remain quietly silent and feel assertively compassionate?
Hopefully, the desire to confess and profess will not be required and you can appease yourself with a smile, relaxing and enjoying tranquillity, bliss and happiness in the joyous company of yourself and the Unseen! If not, then, the choice is yours to do or not to do what is required. Do have a better year.