Kindly allow me to respond to Mr Eric Phillips letter in KN of Sept 11 2023 titled “Anti Blackness is now operating on steroids in my dear land of Guyana”.
Let’s set a few things straight from the beginning. Mr Phillips somehow thinks he has the right to address the Indian historical narrative of Indentureship , but Indians cannot reciprocate in kind. Mr. Phillips equates Indentureship with modern day human trafficking that amounts to his racist biasness. Human trafficking, slavery and Indentureship has its own narrative of suffering with some similarities. But they are not the same.
Mr Phillips seems incensed by those who compare the suffering of African slaves and indentured ships by Portuguese, Chinese and Indians. Mr Phillips couldn’t be more right. But it is the African who constantly emphasizes the superiority of enslavement. By this fact the indentured cannot be his equal, ie, they ostensibly did not suffer equally. The problem with each race owning and thriving on words like slavery, holocausts and Indentureship puts one race against the other as to who suffered more and is the cause for more divisions. Mr. Phillips, what yardstick is used to measure human suffering? Supposed a woman is raped one time compared to another woman who is raped five times, I ask who suffered more?.
Mr Phillips wrote “In Guyana, 473,000 Africans died to build this country during 200-plus years of the criminal enterprise called slavery; this is in addition to the loss of culture, language, names, religion, family, lands, and community. Indentured servants, not “the indentured enslaved”, were mostly paid though poorly, able to retain their names, religions, foods, culture, and a sense of original community. Rape and terror were full-time industries”. Why does Mr Phillips keep harping on what the indentured possesses or retained? It is true that many African slaves died to build Guyana. But is’t there some sort of jealousy about indentured peoples? In fact the freed African had some 28 years (1964-1992) of the PNC in government to correct their shortcomings and even today have failed to cultivate and resurrect the African culture , their Gods and re- naming their children with African names.
Why is Mr Phillips still sporting a full Christian slave master’s name? What would be your African tribe? The Portuguese , Chinese and Indians built Guyana too but you don’t hear them harping on this fact
Mr Phillips wrote: “ Descendants of ‘a crime against humanity’ in Guyana have endured the most inhumane racially charged emotional abuse in the form of normalized name-calling, such as hungry belly dogs, monkeys, thieves, half-humans, beasts, and, more lovingly, black man or nigger. Mr Phillipps must acknowledge that these abuses were coined by the slave masters and not by the indentured peoples. These were taught abuses by his Christian slave masters just as the African was taught to belittle the Indian as a “coolie!”
Mr Phillips wants to know “Why is there this psychological warfare against Black Guyanese? Why this virulent anti-Blackness? Why don’t we actively highlight the significant contributions of our enslaved Black Africans to our society?” There is no psychological warfare against Africans. In fact there is psychological warfare and political warfare against Portuguese, Chinese and Indians that caused them to empty Guyana of their presence. Some operate on the belief that the African is the natural inheritor of the Caribbean after the exit of the colonial master as promulgated by Jamaican Mr Rex Nettleford. This is unacceptable in plural Guyana. With the existence of the umbrella APADA-G demanding $400 million of taxpayers money they are eminently qualified to promote the contributions of Africans to Guyana!
There is no corresponding umbrella Indian organization similar to the 65 African member IPADA-G. The African can, indeed should, get involved in healthy capitalism as advocated by PNC leader Mr Aubrey Norton rather than constantly seeking handouts.
Mr Phillips says he “stands in horror to believe that these odious characters, some paid, others not; some African, others not, would stoop to such a low level to poison young minds in Guyana and their Diasporas.” Mr Phillips should also know that many Indians are horrified that in this age Indians have to justify their presence in Guyana and are not seen as equals.
In conclusion Mr Phillips should explore Federalism where the unemancipated African would be guaranteed power and unshackled freedoms and be free from Indian influences. In the meantime the Indian has to contemplate whether he will be subjected to another Wismar massacre. The African and European owe Indians reparations for this pogrom.