For country… and anti-racism

President Irfaan Ali made a bold move in addressing a gathering of Christian leaders about “dismantling racism and discrimination” in Guyana. This was done within the ambit of his “One Guyana” initiative, which , as it unfolds, is becoming clearer in its import. It isn’t a facile “feel good” call, but one that goes to the heart of our divisions – race and racism – around which most folks pussyfoot!! So, by calling a spade a spade, the President’s giving an example of how we should tell it as it is about what ails our dear old mudland.
So, let’s talk race and racism. The bottom line is that racism springs into action when we discriminate against others just because of their skin colour, or hair texture, or other PHYSICAL characteristics. Now, think about this for a minute: does it make sense to treat someone differently just because of the bodily characteristics they were born with?? What does the body have to do with being worthy or unworthy?? To paraphrase Tina Turner, “What’s race got to do with it??”
We may claim “nothing”, but, sadly, when it comes to our lives, we know the answer is “plenty”!! Some would say “everything”. So, how’s the President gonna “dismantle” something that everybody accepts is “terrible”, yet it keeps on keepin’ on to cause pain, strife and destruction?? In these deeply-seated matters, your Eyewitness was taught by his elders that you gotta get to the root of what ails you – or else you’ll just be dealing with symptoms, rather than the ailment. Like giving a feverish cancer patient Panadol!
So where did “race” and “racism” come from?? After all, folks have been physically different since the beginning of civilisation – and we didn’t have “racism”. So, what happened? Slavery happened, that’s what!! White European folks started dragging dark folks from Africa across the Atlantic to slave on their plantations, and needed justification for doing so. And that’s where the Christian Church stepped up to the crease!! They pronounced that Black folks actually didn’t have souls!! And as such, White folks were actually doing them a favour by letting them experience an up-close relationship with “souled” folks!!
Another explanation was that Black folks were the children of Ham – who’d committed the sin of looking at his dad Noah when the old man was nekked. This sin was passed on to his descendants who were “dark”, and ipso facto, those Africans they wanted to enslave!! Now, these things sound so ridiculous you may think your eyewitness is making them up!! But any cursory googling should convince you this is where this “racism” sickness all began.
The Churches oughta fess-up about their role in starting racism, and maybe we may move on.

…and WI Cricket
Your Eyewitness has expatiated on the sterling qualities of Shivnarine Chanderpaul that earned him a spot in the ICC Hall of Fame. But Chanderpaul just rose several notches on his estimation by pointing out –  unlike many in the present crop of WI players – he also played for country, but he gotta admit he was part of the generation of WI players where the change of playing for money took precedence over patriotism.
Wasn’t he in London when the team refused to fly down to South Africa in 1998 because of money – even though Mandela had personally written each of them?? At that time and for a long period – maybe still? – the problem was with the WI Board, which still acted like the players were “boys” off the sugar plantations – who should only doff their caps to them!! Yes, your Eyewitness, is a firm believer in playing for country – the Indians, English, Aussies…etc. show it can be done!!
But WI Cricket gotta take care of them!!

…and North West
At long last, the ferry to transport people and goods to and from the North West/Reg 1 to Georgetown is making its way from India.
It’ll take about the same time as the indentured ships of yore!!