Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The PPP is accustoming its followers to see it as an amoral party

The PPP is accustoming its followers to see it as an amoral party

Posted By Stabroek staff On July 28, 2009 @ 5:08 am In Letters | 9 Comments

Dear Editor,
Why are some in the government calling upon themselves the forces of retribution that are certain to follow the long list of disgrace?
It is possible that the government does not understand the power of the image it has unleashed against itself. We refer to the picture of Troy Small trembling after a beating by his kith and kin in some branch of the joint forces. These torturers are so far unidentified and may remain so. But doubtless, from Dr Luncheon’s beard, will emerge a phrase like his famous “phantom” squad to define them.

The Troy Small case suggests that the PPP, contrary to what is being suggested in some quarters, did not burn the Ministry of Health itself. But that the authorities in some form or at some level were sufficiently enraged by the fire that they apparently gave carte blanche to the investigative/repressive organs to do what they have been doing at the behest of politicians for a long time. Beating and brutalising. This is the species of crime-stopper whose excesses contributed to a tide of violence some few years ago.

Certainly the creators of our present reality, the PPP government, fully understands how the PNC, in its time, unleashed against itself some of the very forces that contributed to its destruction. For it is possible to view the ouster of the PNC, not only as the fatality of this virus of racist ignorance we carry, but also as a result of the turning upon itself of a series of destructive and powerful images, taken from reality or imagined, that it had itself fashioned. These images would bring in their trail and their aura the dark chaos and confusion that beclouds, like a curse, everything the party did or tried to do from the later seventies until the death of Mr Burnham and its final dispossession.

Consider that the beating up of protestors and arrest of picketers, the stabbing to death of the priest, the blowing up of Walter Rodney, the public execution of Ohene Koama and others, the gassing of workers in Linden… was the imagery that the previous government imprinted on the public consciousness.

The PNC party finally and fully understood that decent Guyanese of all ages, races and socio-economic conditions, of every political allegiance, would find horrifying as well as profoundly alienating, the images of men beaten, stabbed, blown up, gunned down, battered to a pulp then dragged before the courts. So the images came, at one time, to dominate public perception of the PNC, sweeping away and submerging the positives it had done. Turning against their creator.

The PPP is making its own chap-book of horror stories, cautionary tales, crime thrillers and these terrible images of its degeneracy. It had learnt, one would have hoped, from reaction to the phantom squad murders that some one of its highly placed phantoms supervised. But it is quoted saying that roughing up is okay, that the lockups at Brickdam is what we deserve, that it is concerned only with victim’s rights.

And since it will never cease to see itself as victim (of international imperialism, the X 13 plan, and all the other plots that haunt it and drive its narrative), it will continue to insist on its rights to order beating up, death squad investigations that go nowhere, pulling of Sharma’s licence and Stabroek News ads and all the other bad things which victims are entitled to commit. Whereas the truth is that many of the so-called PPP victim-politicians were mostly running and hiding and seeking cover when the PNC’s fire raged. So we have, in the narrative, in some cases, only a strangely developed fantasy of victimhood.

One is therefore shaken when the real victims of the “dictatorship” speak out against the image of Troy Small. Rupert Roopnaraine, Andaiye, Karen De Souza, joined Alissa Trotz in condemning what has happened. One knows that decent Guyanese of all races, ages, social conditions and political allegiance will decry it, openly or silently. The PPP has set in motion the forces, mystical, social and political, international… that will bring an end to its time on the stage. We seldom know whence nemesis arises. The PPP needs urgently to dissociate itself from what has occurred and these other human rights abuses that disturb right-thinking people in our community.

It should understand that the people who were key to bringing change to the country were those people whose system of values were offended by the excesses of the past. There used to be a group called Movement Against Oppression that campaigned for better policing and less brutality. From that era, the late sixties, to now, Guyanese resistance to abusive authority has been constant, taking, among other forms, of an expressed disgust, an unexpressed scorn. And in an extreme, the desperation of an armed resistance and anti-police hatred we remember from this very decade.

That the PPP is accustoming its followers to see it as an amoral party whose conscience is deadened is bad enough. Its followers deserve more, as PNC followers deserved better in their time. It doesn’t matter what percentage of the vote it wins, it will continue to lose its moral authority and will end up being an imposition as repulsive as those it has derided in the past.

One is increasingly impatient at the usual imbecile chorus that will doubtless defend what has happened. But Jagdeo ought to call for a real investigation and punish the guilty. Otherwise his period in office will be marked with another disgrace that he could have avoided.
Yours faithfully,
Abu Bakr
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