Sometimes we hear the loudest yelps for freedom from the drivers of race hate PERSPECTIVE
By Prem Misir
Guyana Chronicle
August 2, 2004

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ALMOST every issue in Guyana is explained through racism. This is an error. Why? An issue mistakenly seen as caused by racism may not be adequately resolved because the diagnosis is incorrect. Wrong diagnosis may produce wrong treatment. The culprits who deliberately plug this error are the new political operatives - some ‘pure’ politicians, private media, and race-hate specialists. The media’s operation is presented as cunning biases.

The White colonial planters operating as political operatives applied racism in pursuit of their political and economic ends. Today, the situation is no different. Today’s politics have an enduring relationship with racism. But this political terrain is no longer the exclusive preserve of ‘pure’ politicians. What must be made explicitly clear is that the people are not guilty of creating this racism. However, the new political operatives are guilty of peddling this racism to the masses of Guyanese people.

The masses must be educated to know that particular political operatives exploit the race factor to gain electoral advantage. It is this political exploitation that drives racial mistrust and fear. The ethnic polarization is not driven by the masses, but by particular political functionaries, the private media, and race-hate specialists. The large numbers of Guyanese people are not a party to this ensemble of racial agitators masquerading as political operatives.

Why the Rwanda genocide?
Explanations of the Rwanda genocide in 1994 place the blame fully where it belongs, on politics. Initially, the world was led to believe that tribal hatred between the Hutus and Tutsis caused the genocide.

But the BBC Africa Correspondent explains the genocide, thus:

"Like many of my colleagues, I drove into [Rwanda] believing the short stocky ones had simply decided to turn on the tall thin ones because that was the way it has always been. Yet now, two years later...I think the answer is very different. What happened in Rwanda was the result of cynical manipulation by powerful political and military leaders. Faced with the choice of sharing some of their wealth and power with the [insurgent] Rwandan Patriotic Front, they chose to vilify that organization’s main support group, the Tutsis . . . The Tutsis were characterized as vermin. Inyenzi in kinyarwanda - cockroaches who should be stamped on without mercy...In much the same way as the Nazis exploited latent anti-Semitism in Germany, so did the forces of Hutu extremism identify and whip into murderous frenzy the historical sense of grievance against the Tutsis . . .This was not about tribalism first and foremost but about preserving the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the elite."

The process used for concentrating power into a few hands requires political manipulation and all the niceties that go with politics. Also, the media in Rwanda aggressively promoted incitement to genocidal acts, in order to further the goals of wealth concentration. Again, in Rwanda, it was a new group of political operatives, including the media and race-hate specialists that drove the racism and tribal hatred. It’s easy to see that the Hutu masses were guilty of executing this genocide; they essentially were a facade for the political operatives’ nefarious activities. The Hutu masses were politically manipulated, all in the name of gaining political power. In many ways, the pre-genocidal preparation spawned the destabilization process, leading to the ultimate, ‘genocide’.

The Private media biases
Many preparatory activities, including misrepresentation of facts and racial incitement, necessary for destabilization, are a hallmark of the new political operatives’ behavior in Guyana. Quite recently, the Stabroek News misrepresented an International Monetary Fund (IMF) release to mean that the IMF requires a feasibility study as a pre-condition for construction of the cricket stadium. This is what Stabroek News in a front-page headline captioned ‘IMF bowls cricket stadium googly’ said: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the government to undertake a feasibility study of the proposed cricket stadium, noting that it should meet certain targets as set out in Guyana's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF)…”

This is what the IMF release said: “To improve the quality and efficiency of public spending and safeguard debt sustainability, the authorities plan to establish a five-year rolling Public Sector Investment Program, to conduct feasibility studies for all large projects, and to strengthen procurement procedures. In this context, the authorities have committed to keep the planned construction of a sports stadium within the program’s fiscal, debt, and social spending targets, and to take compensatory measures, if necessary, on the basis of a feasibility study.”

The IMF reported in its media release what the Government of Guyana (GoG) intends to do, and what it intends to do, inter alia, includes the conduct of a feasibility study for the cricket stadium. There clearly is no instruction from the IMF to the GoG to administer a feasibility study for the cricket stadium, as suggested by Stabroek News. The GoG also assures the IMF that it intends to keep the construction of the stadium within its proposed Public Sector Investment Program’s fiscal, debt, and social expenditure goals.

This is mischievous reporting that is quite consistent with the notion that some private media are engaged as political operatives in frequent aggressive and harmful coverage. In this case, it appears that the media in question has experienced some ecstasy in a possible delay in constructing the stadium. Again, earlier this year, Stabroek News mentioned that George Bacchus was subject to a lie-detector test at the United States Embassy. We later learnt that that was a lie. The Guyanese people need to know about these mischievous media coverage, especially as they are the victims of frequent media biases, sometimes indirectly tinged with racial incitement. This kind of irresponsible reporting promotes the destabilization agenda.

Promoting a culture of race hate
Notwithstanding the daily dosage of media biases and racism aimed at widening ethnic polarization for destabilization purposes, the masses of all ethnic groups are not hateful of each other. The UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Doudou Dične attested to this remarkable state of mind when he noted “…that, despite everything, this polarization, in all communities and at all levels of society, has resulted not in feelings of hatred between communities but rather in a culture of fear and mistrust which pervades all social activity. During his meetings and interviews, he also noted the existence of a sense of belonging at all levels of society. Therefore, at the basic level of the people’s deepest feelings, Guyanese society does nurture the human values necessary for overcoming ethnic polarization and collectively building genuine pluralism, through which a dynamic, creative balance could enable cultural and spiritual differences to be recognized, respected, protected and promoted and universal values arising out of cross-fertilization among communities to be cultivated…The story of Guyana is, to a deeply disturbing degree, the story of political exploitation of the race factor…”

The new political operatives push a racist and other biased lines to sustain a culture of fear and mistrust among the people of this country. This negative culture is presented to the people. But the people at large have not created this negativism. The negative culture of race hate is not part of the Guyanese people’s personality. However, the Guyanese people must know the source(s) of this fear and mistrust. The source is the political-mass media-racial complex that together has wrought havoc on the Guyanese people and the nation-building program. We need to keep in mind that sometimes we hear the loudest yelps for freedom from the drivers of race hate.