As the identity of the author of the racist Guyana Chronicle editorial was revealed earlier yesterday [July 11th], the discussions mounted regarding the reprehensible and vile history of PPPC propaganda orchestrated by Deputy Editor Parvati Persuad.
Parvati, as it turns out is a woman of many contradictions; a woman who is the former mother-in-law of well known, local activist and online media man, Mark Benschop; a woman with an African grandson, whom she claims to love dearly; a woman who was once married to an African man and whose only daughter is ethnically mixed and a woman who often quotes the bible and spouts inspirational phrases. That out of the mind of this woman can such a destructively, deranged and illogical portrayal of an entire race of people be crafted is amazing.
Perhaps, a popular facebook commentator offered the best explanation by his recent post which stated, “Look, we have seen millions like this woman in our history and experience. She is the living replica of the slave master’s wife, pandered and coiffured on the outside but a dirty putrid racist soul inundating the inside. Read what she wrote and tell me that you have not read this before. It is the standard refrain from racists the world over when they are caught with their stinking mouths open.
If you have ever wondered how vigilante gangs could have publicly gone about wiping out young black men[in Guyana], well the answer is that the political powers charged with the responsibility of protecting Guyanese are all Parvati Persauds.”
More interestingly though are the lack of voices speaking out about the reprehensible implications of such blatant racism. The African middle class is silent and Indian commentators are for the most part silent. Much of the silence some argue; can be attributed to an internal suspicion by some that Parvati might be right. Indeed, one of the more progressive Indian voices on facebook; a harsh critic of the PPPC regime, over and over again talked about Parvati’s talent as a journalist, her willingness to go where others would not [to report a story] and her emotional outburst [the editorial] being motivated by a recent home invasion which was perpetrated by an African Guyanese. It was clear, that even for this progressive Indian commentator, that condemnation was a struggle.
Dr David Hinds explained a bit of the conundrum when he talked about victimization in Guyana’s society. Indian victimization, he shared was thought to be more palpable, more real than African victimization. In fact, both middle class Blacks and Indians have internalized these false beliefs which were carefully crafted and systematically communicated and reinforced by a multitude of actions of the ruling PPPC party in the past 50 years. Indeed the truth is that history is replete with stories of Indian and African victimization both acting as aggressors at different times in our nation’s history.
Indians often tell of stories of African bandits in their homes, scaring their wives and children, that their businesses are robbed of their hard-earned cash and that they are often threatened by young African males. While some of these stories are undisputed, what is true is that at one point in history, the PPPC party executive paid Black youth to infiltrate Desmond’ Hoyte’ “Mo firah” marches around Georgetown to attack Indians personally and raid Indian businesses on Regent street so as to give the impression that Mr. Hoyte’s Black PNC were attacking and killing Indians. More direct were burning of cane-fields in order to economically destabilize the country and there are also cases like the Son Chapman where PPPC activists bombed a passenger boat in region 10, killing many Africans. Indeed, there is a well-known case of a bomb being thrown into a bus of African school children. More recently, the extrajudicial killings of 400 young Blacks was orchestrated by the PPPC and the economic disenfranchisement of African communities like Linden and Buxton continue today.
So, it is clear that evil acts of violence cannot be attributed exclusively to one race in Guyana, but yet the PPPC has managed to so successfully package and distribute the myth of the “Aggressive African” in order to scare their constituency, bolster support for their corrupt regime and shackle African leaders who have so internalized this lie that they dissuade public protest, revile loud public chants, and discourage public congregation of African citizens. Their ongoing fear has essentially crippled African movements for change in the past few years; opting instead for a kind of impotent negotiation with the PPPC, one which the PPPC encouraged, one which has been largely ineffective and one which has yielded absolutely no gains for Africans in Guyana over the past 20 years.
And so today, Parvati Persaud remains defiant. Her numerous challenging and offensive diatribes continue, but it is not her opinion alone which is destructive, it is her access, her network, her influence, her scope and the ability of her messages to reinforce dangerous myths and stereotypes which result in real discrimination, disenfranchisement and economic marginalization of young Africans in Guyana’s society [see Jagdeo v Kissoon for proof]. BrutalFactsGT has no doubt that she will continue in some paid capacity with Chronicle or Office of the President where her valuable propaganda skills will continue to be put to good use.
The Editor of the Guyana Chronicle, Mark Ramotar; is unapologetic and he has simply begun to justify and peddle the PPPC’s racist ranting via the letter to the editor section of the newspaper, where the message remains defiant and offensive. Clearly, the Guyana Chronicle is incapable of handling the responsibility to deliver the unbiased facts to the Guyanese people in a professional manner. A responsibility entrusted to them by the taxpayers of Guyana. The citizens of Guyana should not be compelled to financially support this racist venture.
As we studied this case, the cast of characters, Parvati’s writings, the silence of AFC top leadership, the silence of the African middle class, African churches and other civil society groups, the silence of many politicians who depend on the votes of Africans, we pondered the future of Guyana and the stability of this fledgling democracy.
The PPPC’s form of Democratic feudalism will not be tolerated in perpetuity. The peasant class will not be happy to slave away while the lords and other elite classes expand their land ownership, their corrupt acquisition of businesses and the people’s wealth and their continued subjugation in an environment where social services are inadequate, where education is abysmal, where clean and running water to the home is nonexistent, where sewage and garbage disposal are a complete failure and where local hospitals kill as many people as they cure.
The PPPC is yet to come to terms with the implications of their minority status in parliament. The opposition is yet to cast aside egos and personal ambitions and work together to affect real change on behalf of the citizens of Guyana; the people will not deal with them kindly if they fail to deliver and the people are yet to step forward aggressively to play their role in Guyana’s fledgling democracy.
Soon Guyanese will realize that there will be no peace, no development, and no security until all are given an equal opportunity to participate in the economic and social development of Guyana. Africans must step out and demand equality, respect and their rightful and equal place in society, a society which they built as the original labor force in the country, and if they have to march and protest and boycott for it, then so be it.
Indians, will have to walk away from the crippling “myth” of victimization. They will have to speak out on rampant injustices and insist that the PPPC work to create a more equitable and just society and they will have to hold their leadership responsible for the rampant corruption and thievery which also leaves them suffering and disadvantaged.
Finally, the combined opposition will have to deliver the constitutional reform they promised. They will have to recruit help as necessary to hold the PPPC accountable for their rampant corruption and incompetent leadership. They will have to deliver national communication change which is absolutely necessary in a thriving democracy and they will have to set a new standard for integrity in government which the citizens in Guyana deserve.
Guyanese citizens however, must realize that the country will only improve if they insist that the country improve. Politicians work for the people and the people must make their needs known. Politicians must deliver on the promise of a new Guyana, a developed Guyana, an educated Guyana, a unified Guyana and it is only then that we will see an end to the kind of racial discrimination and disenfranchisement witnessed in Parvati’s editorial.