Marina Hyde, a Guardian columnist, reminds us about fragments of historical writing from the British writer, Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, a 2009 and 2012 Booker Prize winner who passed away on 22nd September, 2022: “Facts are not truth, though they are part of it… And history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organizing our ignorance of the past. It’s the record of what’s left on the record.” As the columnist puts it, “Mantel could transport you so completely that you felt you were breathing the air of another century, feeling the emotion of other people, moving through other times.
It is a fact that many from the Opposition bench, both at home and abroad are claiming that East Indians are responsible for their (Afro Guyanese) economic deprivation. But, of course, this is not the truth and as a Mr. Whittaker writes, “…often it is the choice we make.” In life, people make choices pertaining to their welfare and the opportunities available for the improvisations of their lives. Some choose to sacrifice and build with minimal resource becoming successful ultimately, while others choose to neglect or squander and evidently secure minimal achievement. George Lamming wrote “…those Indian hands – whether in British Guiana or Trinidad – have fed us. They are, perhaps our only jewels of a true native thrift and industry. They have taught us, by example the value of money. For they respect money as only people with a high sense of communal responsibility can.” When one plays the blame game and points the finger at the other, that person has to remember that there are three fingers pointing backwards! Burnham’s history of dictatorship is certainly not the past as evidenced from the ruling hands of Desmond Hoyte and David Granger. The method we have evolved of organizing our ignorance of the past is clearly reflected in the demonical attitude and aptitude of the PNC when they attempted to rig the 2020 general and regional election. Their record of fraud will be glorified and the last bash will be recorded as the clumsiest, foolish and idiotic endeavour in the history of election record keeping. It was a ‘window to the world’ as the international community looked on mockingly and nicknamed the PNC as the ‘laughing stock for the century.’ It’s an albatross that they will never be able to get rid of and will forever haunt them in any deliberations.
A quick and quiet stroll down memory lane through the eye of a needle will see the month of October is certainly a classified month to coincide with historical events which left us mystified, mortified and mesmerized. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in this month. He fought for truth and non-violence. Rosa Parks died in this month. She was an American civil rights fighter and she refused to give up her seat in the bus when it was demanded from her. Actor Roger Moore was born in October. He played James Bond, the famous 007 role. John Lennon was born on October 9. He was one of the four famous “Beatles.” The 39th US President, Jimmy Carter’s 94th birthday was on 1st October. He has a legacy of monitoring Guyana’s election through the Carter Centre and contributing towards the restoration of democracy for this nation. He will not be forgotten for his stand against Desmond Hoyte which ensured that the PPP/C was duly elected the legal and justified winner in the 1992 election. Cheddie Jagan, the Father of the Nation, finally became the President of Guyana. Abdul Kalam, India’s 11th President was born on 15th October. He was also a scientist, aerospace engineer, poet and politician. He was known as “the People’s President.” After 33 days at sea, Christopher Columbus landed in the New World at El Salvador on 12th Oct., 1492. He thought he had landed in Asia and he called the first islanders he met, ‘Indians.’ Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on the orders of King James 1 on 29th October, 1618. The famous writer and explorer visited Guiana in 1595. The People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1st, 1949 with Mao Zedong as Chairman. After 70 years of American control, the Panama Canal Zone was formally handed over to Panama on 1st Oct., 1979. On 3rd October, after 45 years of Cold War division, East and West Germany were united as the Federal Republic of Germany. The Russians launched the first satellite into orbit on 4th October, 1957 to begin the Space Age. Sputnik 1 weighed just 184 lbs. and it sent a shockwave through the American political leadership. On 8th Oct., 1993, the UN General Assembly lifted economic sanctions against South Africa following the end of racial apartheid. Greenwich was established on 13th October, 1584, as the universal time from which standard times throughout the world are calculated. The US embargo of Cuba began on 19th Oct., 1960 on all shipments except medicine and food. On 24th October, 1945, the United Nations was founded. Grenada was invaded by the US on 25-30 October, 1983 to restore ‘order and democracy.’ On 27th Oct., 1904, the New York City subway began running from City Hall to West 145th St., being the first underground and underwater rail system in the world. Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31st Oct., 1984 by three Sikhs, members of her bodyguard.
Back to October 1992, Jimmy Carter had to deal with many of the Elder type in order for Guyana to realise its first free and fair elections. Many of the guardians of morality from various societies, be it civil or otherwise, were silent over the monstrosities and atrocities which took place, still are and will be. The October phenomena also caused many to cross the floor while others resigned in disgust. The Hunt for Red October was a movie many Guyanese became intrigued with.