Today the word “diaspora” is all over the news including in Guyana but kinda new at playing the diaspora game. We’ve come a long way from the time when there was only a “Jewish Diaspora” – created when they were scattered out of their historic homeland in Israel thousands of years ago and kept getting kicked out from wherever they ended up.
Their experience established the parameters of what it takes to be a diaspora…and we gotta examine these to discern what might be the fate of our Diaspora Unit set up recently with great fanfare. One scholar offered a desiderata of seven elements on diasporas that has been been widely accepted: p
1) dispersal from an original homeland, often traumatically, to two or more foreign regions or expansion from a homeland in search of work/for trade/colonial ambitions;
2) a collective memory and an idealization of the homeland and a collective commitment to its maintenance, restoration, safety and prosperity, even to its creation;
3) the development of a return movement that gains collective approbation;
4) a strong ethnic group consciousness sustained over a long time and based on a sense of distinctiveness, a common history and the belief in a common fate;
5) a troubled relationship with host societies;
6) a sense of empathy and solidarity with co-ethnic members in other countries of settlement;
7) the possibility of a distinctive creative, enriching life in host countries with a tolerance for pluralism.
So how do we stack up against this list?? We certainly fit the bill on #1…the dispersal bit. But really, is there a commitment from those Guyanese in “foreign” to the “maintenance, restoration, safety” of Guyana? The last elections that the PNC tried to filch via their “Mingo Maneuver” brought out a ton of Guyanese folks from abroad taking one side or other. But much of it was from behind keyboards and the new social media novelty. The jury’s out as to how many will put their money where their mouths are and your Eyewitness’ bet is “not many”.
The older generation has some commitment but most are getting on with their lives abroad so we don’t see any great movement back to the “homeland” and certainly NOT by the second generation. They ain’t coming back so the” return movement” of #3 is nixed. While the generation that left has a strong sense of “Guyanesness” they’ve retained their ethnic divisions which is starkest in NY with the two communities cloistered separately in Brooklyn and Queens. And joined their wider original diasporians! No to the “strong ethnic group consciousness”.
While there are elements that satisfy #5,6 and 7 they aren’t enough to bring their bacon home.
Which is what’s it’s all about, ain’t it?
…a departed Covid 19 victim
The Opposition hit a new low with their cynical exploitation of a nurse passing away at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) from Covid 19. The poor lady was a diabetic with an unsealed wound and as such was a much greater risk than ordinarily infected persons. The Opposition – with its new Acting Opposition Leader, Roysdale Forde – ripped apart the entire health care system as represented by GPHC and the IDH, based on assertions by relatives of the deceased.
Now, every death is one too many…but we’re in the midst of a pandemic that’s seeing Jamaican COVID patients lying in hallways waiting for treatment – much as the case in the US a while ago. This isn’t to say that the Guyana Health System shouldn’t be criticized – lord knows we have a loooong way to go there – but it must beCONSTRUCTIVE!! The IDH and it’s systems, ironically, were set up by the PNC when in Govt.
What’s gained by pointing fingers?
Over in TT Abu Bakr, who once held their entire Parliament hostage, has once again threatened violence if various “injustices” he identified aren’t rectified pronto.
Including that African Trini children aren’t topping the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations!!