Apata a real Rodneyite, not Hinds and Ogunseye

Dear Editor,
The nation owes a debt of gratitude to Africanist Kwame Apata for his role in the Guyana liberation movement post Rodney. Although like Eusi Kwayana, he was initially supportive of Burnham and the PNC, he became a firm opponent of Burnhamism (at great risk to his own life) after Walter Rodney arrived in Guyana. Apata, like Rodney, provided encouragement to youngsters like me who were just starting out as activists against Burnhamism and PNC repression. He was a true Rodneyite who held dearly to political principle of opposing the racism of the PNC. This is quite unlike his former WPA colleagues, like David Hinds and Tacuma Ogunseye who crawled back to the PNC supporting its racism for two bits of silver selling out Rodney.letters
As a student leader of the protest movement (January through February 1977 and November 1976) that organised protests against PNC political and racial victimisation and repression on the Corentyne, I faintly remember Apata coming and offering moral support in our struggle. Walter Rodney, Eusi Kwayana, Father Malcolm Rodrigues, Moses Bhagwan, etc, were also there at various times. Freddie Kissoon did not come to offer support as he was lobbying the PNC for a scholarship, selling out the liberation fighters.
Apata was an African nationalist proud of his ethnic identity and cultural traditions so much so, that he changed his name from Eardley Arundel Seaforth. PPP leaders should follow in his tradition and express pride in their ethnic identity and culture. There is nothing to be ashamed about in being an Indian, just like there is nothing wrong to be proud of being a pan-Africanist like Hinds, Kwayana and Ogunseye, and Eric Phillips.
Apata gave a lot fighting of his time to the nation to the neglect of his family, similar to what a handful of us did without looking for self-benefits or rewards. Apata joined the Movement Against Oppression and became a follower of Rodney who was denied employment by the PNC at UG. Like several of us, he was victimised and violently brutalised. He was jailed for his political activism. Like other freedom fighters, he was targeted and hounded down by the Police and House of Israel thugs. He went into self-exile to escape certain death from the brutal thuggery and barbarism of Burnham and the PNC.
Apata never sought benefits from the PNC the way Hinds and Ogunseye did. He could not bring himself to team up with the PNC a la Hinds and Ogunseye who joined the PNC simply to remove the Indians from office. Apata also felt the PPP had to go, but not by teaming up with PNC. Rodney would never have teamed up with PNC as a way to topple PPP; this is political opportunism from Ogunseye and Hinds. Hinds and Ogunseye say that they are dissatisfied with PNC rule, but they indicate they will not leave the PNC. They pen that critiquing the ruling PNC will provide an opportunity for Indians to return to government and that is a no go for them. That is racial bigotry. Rodney would never approve of such action.
Like other revolutionaries of that era, Apata was a hero. He was the most deserving of national honours. But unfortunately, the Government did not see it fit to honour the unsung heroes of the freedom struggle. The PNC will never honour those who fought Burnhamism for self-explanatory reasons. But Apata, unlike Hinds and Ogunseye, will remain in our hearts an honourable person.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram