A season to reflect, and not inflict conflict

Dear Editor,
Not so popular in Guyana, not highlighted or observed on a large scale, the important Jewish festival referred to as Passover, or what is known as Pesach in Hebrew, is being celebrated this year in the Jewish communities throughout the world, commencing on the evening of April 15 and concluding on the evening of April 23.
Also referred to as The Festival of Freedom, this period commemorates the liberation of the children of Israel, who were led out of Egypt by Moses. This celebration goes back to 1300 BC, according to The Book of Exodus. History reveals that the children of Israel had been in slavery for some 210 years.
Jewish teachings reflect that God had promised to release them from this bondage, but the Pharaoh had denied Moses his bequest when broached with the topic. There were ten plagues on the land, the final claiming the lives of all the firstborn Egyptians and animals. The Israelites were told to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that their homes would be passed over and their firstborn saved. This final wrath proved to affect the transitioning of the Israelites from slavery to freedom.
Part of the tradition is the participating meal (Seder), to remove all leaven from their possession for seven days, eating bitter herbs and matzah (flour and water mixed and baked before the dough can rise), drinking wine, retelling the story, and singing.
It is also a pilgrim festival when Jews would make one of three special efforts to visit the Temple in Jerusalem, according to the commandments in the Torah. Also referred to as the Festival of Spring, it was an agricultural festival for production and harvesting when the Jews lived in ancient Palestine.
The significance of Passover symbolises hope and starting afresh for a new life. The remaining Jewish holidays are Purim, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Chanukah. The Hebrew greeting is “Chag Sameach”, or “Chag Pesach Sameach”, meaning “Happy Passover Holidays.”
For the Christians, Jesus Christ is referred to as the “Lamb of God,” having shared the Passover meal (the last supper) with his disciples, and being the fulfillment of the Passover. The 15th was Good Friday, observing the day Jesus Christ was nailed on the Cross. The period of Lent ended on the 14th. This was also a time that included fasting and abstinence (the need to make a sacrifice and give up something of specific pleasure). Commencing with Ash Wednesday, the duration ends on Monday with the celebration of Easter. This four-day holiday weekend incorporates the Muslim sisters and brothers observing Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting, from sunrise to sunset.
Fasting is one of the Pillars of Islam, the others being daily prayer, declaration of faith, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The fasting period ends with the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr. On Saturday 16th, Hindus celebrated Hanuman Jayanti, the adoration of paying homage to Shri Hanuman Ji’s manifestation on Dharti Mata, mother earth. Shri Hanuman is revered by 108 names, and symbolises courage, bravery, strength, innocence, compassion, selflessness, humility and wisdom. He is the doorway to Prabhu Shri Ram, and is depicted as a strong and influential character in the Ramayana; also, reference is made to his dynamic embodiment in the Mahabharata.
Will the perpetual influence of the significance of the religious season blossom into embracing all the meaningful attributes ascribed and prescribed in all the holy books, manifest into reality and be applicable in our daily lives, especially for the leaders in the political arena in this beloved country we love as one Guyana? Will there be the pathway of untruth to truth and darkness to light? How many will uphold the grace of honesty and discard dishonesty? The advent of selflessness and discarding selfishness is being preached at this time, but will there be the practice of this contribution toward the welfare of this country, so that transparency reflects the heart, mind and soul of all?
The liberation of oneself from bondage is advocated, do we want to continue to tie ourselves to the wicked and evil ways of the past to inflict conflict, or announce the denouncement of unrighteousness to pronounce righteousness? Like the Pharaoh, who will choose to shackle a nation to duress and hold the people to ransom by feeding them with lies and deceits, rather than, like Moses, providing freedom of alternative to decide on facts and figures and a way to salvation?
Isn’t this an ideal time to gladly accept the opportunity to atone for dishonorable behaviour in and outside of one’s home? Why should we still resort to threats and violence when we do not achieve any gains by devious means? To deliberately block the progressive projects ascribing towards the rapid development of this nation heralds the infamous parables of the unheroic deeds of devils and demons, described in the stories of ancient times. Perhaps the swearing into office by holding the holy books to uphold law and order will provide a change in approach with open eyes rather than minds closed, to avoid bringing disrepute to the public domain!
Let’s hope this traditional festive season will proclaim a change of heart and see the will of the people being displayed in the efforts and advocacy of the leaders in words, deeds, and actions. Can we separate the sweet from the bitter for the better of all together?
May that Unseen One bless this country, so that all may survive equally with a breath of fresh air, which is still available for free.

Yours respectfully,
Jai Lall