Since 1976, the United States of America has dedicated the month of February as “Black History Month” to celebrate the achievements and legacy of Black Americans in recognition of their contributions across American history and society. These men and women are acknowledged, accepted and applauded as leaders, activists and civil rights pioneers in the fields of politics, science, industry, culture, music, arts, sports and more. A quick reflection to name a few would include Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Belafonte, Michael Jackson, Serena Williams and of recent, former two-term President, Barack Obama. Across the global spectrum, accolades for decorum would be inclusive of Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Sidney Poitier, Pele, Mia Mottley, Bob Marley, our own Sir Clive Lloyd, E.R. Braithwaite, Dr. Walter Rodney and Letitia Wright.
A specific theme is endorsed yearly and the Black History month 2023 theme is “Black Resistance.” This theme explores how “African Americans have resisted historic nation’s earliest days and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings,” since the nation’s earliest days. The universal call for reparation payment and an apology for slavery has echoed throughout the Commonwealth nations and has been endorsed by many international personalities. The momentum has taken an upward swing since former Prince Charles has succeeded the Monarchy from his mother, Queen Elizabeth 11, who passed away last September 2nd, having reigned for some 70 years. Some 10 million Africans were shackled into the Atlantic slave trade by European nations and America during the 15th and 19th centuries. Barbados recently ditched royal rule, leaving 14 countries with the British Monarchy as Head of State after their independence, 6 of which are from the Caribbean, including Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis.
In Guyana, there is a call for Black History Month to be used as a catalyst for a better Guyana. History has provided the proven facts that the likes of Burnham, Hoyte and Granger have dictated the demise of this country to fall victim of economic bankruptcy throughout their dictatorial reigns and have failed to deploy strategic management to pull Guyanese out of a poverty level. The selfishness, greed and self-serving attitudes and aptitudes of PNC governance, coupled with the domination and control of all of the armed forces, have demoralized a nation to universal degradation, humiliation embarrassment. This guilt peeved Guyanese from all class, creed, color and culture to flee Guyana in mass exodus for greener pastures, evading the vices of racial aggravation, racist violence and crimes, unemployment, the absence of an egalitarian society and the presence of prejudiced behavior qualifying the chosen ones for preferential and advantageous treatment. The crave for political power to be retained for life time by the PNC have demanded and directed the rigging of elections for them to maintain governance. The entire world was privy to a wholesale attempt to hoodwink all and sundry during the 2020 General Elections, and, this barefaced endeavor was performed in front of international, regional and national observers, while denying this dishonesty as lies.
Young people certainly need to be educated about the historical, geographical, political, economic and sociological facts of life in the realm of true Guyanese context. The likes of Norton, Burke and Hinds cannot provide the knowledge to teach and guide Guyanese with reality, honor and dignity. The recent parliamentary debates have shown how distortion, tongue-twisting and unruly behavior supersede the presentation of legitimate ramifications to establish the logistics of correct facts and figures. Indeed, there is a need to “unlock ignorance which has helped to dismember the fabric of our society,” according to a senior citizen.
During this month, a walk around the world will confirm that each human being irrespective of which country you may domicile, there is the threat of a climate crisis, a need to rescue the sustainable developmental goals, pursue a humanitarian drive to avoid conflict and disaster, the quest for international cooperation, the reduction of poverty level, an improvement in health care, the provision for clean water, available, affordable and adequate housing, an avenue for food security, the creation of employment opportunities, providing education, harnessing corruption, deployment of technology, the practice of transparency and other related affiliations to allow law and order to stabilize life on earth. Each person has a meaningful role to play in society, regardless of limited resources or position. The main criteria is to be guided by a conscious effort, practical application and the dignity of honesty. The influence of negativity, insurgent elements and crooked characters will certainly prove disastrous and detrimental to one’s welfare and will defeat the purpose of self-preservation and upliftment. People have to pay attention and be alert to the propaganda smeared on the innocent ones in order to gain political mileage for the short turn. Impossible promises will be made which cannot be kept.
During Black History Month, how appropriate that we may reflect on the advice, teaching and guidance of former US President Barack Obama, “Fear is powerful.” “Telling people that somebody’s out to get you, or somebody took your job, or somebody has it out for you, or is going to change you, or your community, or your way of life — that’s an old story and it has shown itself to be powerful in societies all around the world. It is a deliberate, systematic effort to tap into that part of our brain that carries fear in it.”