Heroes… like Rodney

Yesterday, if Burnham hadn’t assassinated Walter Rodney, Rodney would’ve been 80 years old. He was a true Guyanese hero. Like everything in life, deciding who’s a hero is a tough question. One man’s hero is another man’s villain. It depends on the context, the criteria and the person doing the evaluation, no? So, when your Eyewitness says Rodney was a Guyanese hero, he’s saying that Rodney’s actions in GUYANA were heroic.
Rodney was one of the few Guyanese whose activities transcended his homeland. He’s probably more well known in Africa than in Guyana. Sad, but true. Then there are the folks who believe Rodney was a villain. They’re mostly PNC supporters who believe that, as a “Black” man, he oughtn’t to’ve opposed Burnham – and so effectively. Some years ago, this was openly argued by a Pan- African leader in the newspapers. The irony, of course, is that Rodney was one of the pre-eminent Pan-African leaders and theorists in the world!!
But to your Eyewitness, that same stance of Rodney was one of the several reasons why the man was a hero. Anyone who lives in Guyana would know that it ain’t easy speaking out against “your own”. But there were folks from both sides of the (ethnic) divide who also did so. Were they all heroes? Well, maybe. But some of them might’ve done so because they were personally affected by Burnham’s hellish conditions, and they had no option but try to extricate themselves. However, Rodney was a world-renowned historian…he could’ve gotten a job in any of the top universities in the US (not sure about the Brits), but he decided to heed Spike Lee’s advice and “do the right thing”. Making that CHOICE was heroic.
Rodney was also heroic for not just announcing – at a time when labels were slapped on to people willy-nilly – that he was Pan-Africanist, a Marxist and a Guyanese, but for LIVING it! That was heroic, because the way each label was interpreted at the time in Guyana, if you were one, you couldn’t be the others. How could he talk about being African when Marxism supposedly demanded he only be conscious of “class” interests? How could he defend Arnold Rampersaud – a member of the PPP and an Indian-Guyanese – against the charge of murder prosecuted at the insistence of Burnham?
There is some talk about “how Rodney would’ve acted when the PNC tried to rig elections in 2020?” Your Eyewitness has no doubt about it: from his actions during his short but eventful life, he would’ve denounced the barefaced attempt to deny the will of the people.
He would’ve warned the Sanctimonious Gangster not to undermine the dignity earned by their slave forbears.

…of the forests
On Monday, the world celebrated “International Day of Forests”. Guess why there was no ceasefire to mark the occasion in Ukraine?  It’s because they have no forests – just endless miles of steppes/prairies! Well, we also have grasslands, but also a lot of forests in our “highland” regions, don’t we? So, did we have a ceasefire in our Ethnic Cold War?
One of the most surprising things that struck your Eyewitness when he finally visited those forests was their fragility. The layer of soil was so thin! He was used in the coast to folks digging as far as they could – or driving piles – and never striking “rock bottom”. In the forests, there were obviously never the heavy deposits of silt. The worry, of course, is that, with all the development coming down the pike, there’s gonna be the temptation to cut down those forests. And more than losing the “carbon sink”. The soils can then be washed away, like in Haiti.
Let’s pledge to avoid desertification.

…in Ukraine War
The real combatants in the Ukraine War are the West and the Russians. But it does look like the West is willing to fight to the last Ukrainian!!
Couldn’t this have been avoided when Putin asked to join NATO??