Is Lincoln Lewis the Black version of White fascism? -By Freddie Kissoon

Freddie Kissoon | Features / Columnists Kaieteur News

I read Lincoln Lewis column in last Sunday’s Kaieteur News and the first question that flashed through my mind was if I was the editor for that day, would I have carried that piece? I probably would not.

As I kept reading this commentary all I could have thought of was how easy it is to fall prey to the virus of misplaced nationalism. Lewis’s presentation is directly out of the songbook of white fascism that is sweeping Europe and the USA. When you read Lewis, you wonder if he was in fact plagiarizing the words of the Trump, the Brexit advocates in the UK and those who presently rule Italy, Hungary and other countries that are implementing fascist xenophobia.          

Lincoln Lewis has been a friend for more than forty years. I didn’t expect that state of mind from him. I would never have thought that Lincoln could use the kind of canvas he painted to describe foreigners coming to Guyana to live and work.       

To quote extensively from his viewpoint would take up too much space. The entire article is about foreigners invading Guyana and would take away our country from us and we must not allow that.

Here is some pretty obnoxious ranting from Lincoln.  This quote here is identical to the mind-set of the fascist leaders in Italy, Hungary and Donald Trump:

“We are a small nation in population size and the only English-speaking country in South America. Unplanned immigration brings with it consequences such as stress on the education and health services, housing overrun, the creation of slums, and our resources exploited by others willing to undersell their labour.”

“We also face a crisis of submerging our culture further. This threat comes from others who do not speak our language nor share a common culture… – we are facing a pending catastrophe which we must seek to avoid at all cost.”

I definitely selected this particular quote because of how identical it is to white fascist speakers in the US and Europe. Pay attention to words like: “They do not speak our language and share a common culture.” Those words have become deadly and dangerous because White fascists egged on by Trump have adopted those words as their Bible. Hispanics are constantly harassed in popular American cities and told to speak English.

Pay attention to another cluster of words by Lincoln Lewis which make you want to believe he has been copying from Trump and the Brexiters.  Lewis said that if we allow these people to come in, as they are presently doing, Guyana will have a catastrophe. This is what Brexiters told the UK after Romanians and Bulgarians joined the EU and went to the UK. This is what Trump has been telling his supporters every day.

But here is the section of Lewis’s column that makes me feel that he read Trump and plagiarized the American president; “We are already bearing witness to criminal elements crossing our porous border and terrorising our citizens in unprotected border settlements.” Have you been reading what Trump says all the time about Hispanic refugees? Those are the words Trump uses.

Does one need to educate Lewis by telling him there are more Guyanese living in the combined territories of the CARICOM countries, the US, UK and Canada than the current population of Guyana?

Does Lewis know there are substantial numbers of illegal Guyanese in Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad, Suriname, US and Canada?

Does Lewis know that perhaps every Guyanese now residing in this country has a parent or sibling or cousin or aunt or uncle or niece or nephew living in another country?

I will offer the final quote from Lincoln which present day fascist leaders around the world are wont to use when they reject foreigners coming in. Lincoln wrote that their people are pouring into “our” country – Lewis doesn’t speak for me on this issue, I want him to know that – at a time when “we are on the cusp of economic greatness.”

This is pretty sick stuff coming from a citizen who lived in the days when foreign nations have been nice to us and have use their “economic greatness” to provide a place in the sun for untold numbers who fled Guyana.

I don’t know if you share the same sentiments as Lewis but I welcome those who come to Guyana in search of a better live. I will always thank Canada for putting its “economic greatness” at my disposal.

A poor fellow like me with no future in front of him got a Masters and a doctoral scholarship from that country. I never looked back.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On April 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    They are coming … Are we prepared?

    Eye on Guyana with Lincoln Lewis | Kaieteur News Features / Columnists

    Widespread news that Guyana is about to exploit her massive oil and gas resources will see people, from all over the world, flocking to our shores. The promised El Dorado, spoken of since I was a boy, is not only confined to our precious minerals, gold and diamond, but has encompassed our ‘black gold’, oil and gas. Already, the Brazilians are here. Not for oil and gas, necessarily. Their earlier studied movement and presence, in the last two decades, to our shores, where they have established settlements as in church, supermarket, restaurant, strip club and other forms of entertainment, are demonstrations of permanency.

    Then there is the Venezuela political and economic crises. Though in significant part these have to do with external interference, as the USA and Russia test their might and seek world dominance using Venezuela as a guinea pig, we are not spared the impacting effects. Note is taken of government’s effort in providing some level of comfort and accommodation for those fleeing, but there exists doubt that Guyana has the capacity to address the escalating crises and attendant fallout.

    We are already bearing witness to criminal elements crossing our porous border and terrorising our citizens in unprotected border settlements.

    The Panamanian Copa Airlines is already being used as a conduit by Latin Americans to arrive in Georgetown regularly. Planeloads are coming ever so often from this region, not only for trade as the Cubans are wont to do, but to get a piece of the action in the oil and gas sector.

    The studied and focused exodus from China, bearing hallmarks of a form of re-colonisation, in the form of an economic model described as the belt and road initiative, cannot be ignored. Chinese immigrants are assured of the protection of China’s Government in the host countries.

    A marked feature is the taking over of the retail sector which for some years has been dominated by East Indians, whose forebears fought indentureship. For instance, the Georgetown retail district and East Coast Demerara (ECD) corridor have been bought out, and where new businesses are not being established, Guyanese are being forced out by the Chinese businesses.

    We are facing a pending catastrophe which we must seek to avoid at all cost. To further explain – there is a furniture factory on the ECD owned by two East Indian brothers. In 2017 they employed about 119 workers, but today only employ 17. The brothers said to me the competition from the Chinese left them with no alternative to survive in the business but to let go of over 100 workers.

    The above is also likely to exacerbate ethnic tension and division. Where one group is being forced out of his/her traditional economic means, and opportunities are limited in the areas traditionally occupied by another group, competition will intensify, then resentment and charges of being discriminated against will follow.

    What is happening here is different from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which has within it a structured programme for the free movement of skills throughout the region, including qualifying conditions.

    We are a small nation in population size and the only English-speaking country in South America. Unplanned immigration brings with it consequences such as stress on the education and health services, housing overrun, the creation of slums, and our resources exploited by others willing to undersell their labour.

    We also face a crisis of submerging our culture further, only this time not by imperial powers. This threat comes from others who do not speak our language and share a common culture. Recognition of this does not make one xenophobic or racist, but seeks to highlight the socio-economic and political consequences of a nation unprepared and on the cusp of economic greatness.

    They are coming by land, air and sea. Many are already here. Are we prepared for them? Are we looking at our geopolitical safety, which is critical to our survival as an independent nation?

    There exists perception of being sidelined in preference for foreigners, not of the Caribbean Community where we share common history and values, but by others who are moving into our space, taking over and exploiting our resources.

    I am not a pessimist by nature, but there is fear for our country, people, laws, and institutions of state. This fear has to do with whether Guyanese will be allowed premier opportunities in determining our destiny and exploiting our finite resources, foremost for our collective benefit.

  • Clyde Duncan  On April 11, 2019 at 1:23 am

    “I don’t know if you share the same sentiments as Lewis but I welcome those who come to Guyana in search of a better live. I will always thank Canada for putting its “economic greatness” at my disposal.” – Freddie Kissoon

    And this is posted on that statue up there elsewhere:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

  • wally n  On April 11, 2019 at 11:22 am

    This discussion is going on, without an in depth look at trafficking. Different times, the flow of immigrants is filled with a generation with one common feeling, entitlement, being grateful never crosses their minds.
    The Guyanese who were successful in other countries especially in the Caribbean were cherry picked, for the most part. They were grateful and were instrumental in the building of certain important sections of that country.
    No one can be against immigration, especially in “third world” countries if the immigrants selected can be useful in the building of the country.
    In more developed countries, maybe a small part of the immigration my help with diversity, regardless of requirement, all immigrants must be screened, new day, a dangerous day, place common sense above liberal/globalist emotion.

  • Clyde Duncan  On April 11, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    I suspect the essay by Lincoln Lewis supports this point of view:

  • Clyde Duncan  On April 11, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    More Than Gumballs — Immigration Cannot Be Condensed to a Pithy Analogy

    Danny Bugingo | University of Idaho Argonaut Opinion

    Two demonstrably wrong premises support this presentation:
    That the humanitarian goal of immigration is to relieve world poverty, and that the immigrant takes more than they give back.

    No serious immigration advocate ever argues that we can end poverty by moving every poor person to the United States of America.

    Insofar as America has a humanitarian goal for its immigration policy, it is to unite families. According to the State Department, more than half of immigrant visas issued in 2016 went to the immediate family of an American citizen, with another third going to immigrants sponsored by green card holding family members in the United States.

    The rest of the visas go to skilled workers, asylum-seekers and special cases, such as Iraqi and Afghani translators who work with the military.

    The second point, that immigrants unfairly siphon resources from America, is entirely wrong. The center-right Cato Institute reports, “the economic effects of immigration are unambiguous and large.” The center-left Brookings Institute reports, “the total lifetime taxes immigrants and their descendants contribute exceed the benefits they receive.”

    My family had little when we immigrated to the United States, but my parents were educated. They worked hard, paid taxes, sent their children to college and became important members of their church and community. This country is a better country for them having moved here — and they are not alone. The system prioritizes skilled, educated immigrants in a way that generally leads to success.

    Despite immigrants’ massive boon to America, immigration policy is in desperate need of reform. Millions of undocumented immigrants participate in a massive, untaxed economy. Certain communities bear the brunt of strained schools and social services without benefiting from the additional tax revenue.

    Solutions to these kinds of problems are dry, technocratic and more complicated than gumballs. In addition, relevant solutions are difficult to find in the toxic anti-immigrant culture the Tea Party, and more recently President Donald Trump, has unleashed.

    The immigration debate has devolved into two questions: How tragic is the refugee crisis? How scary is ISIS? These questions cannot inform policy any more than how hungry one feels can inform a grocery list.

    Determining how to exclude the scourge of international terror, how America can leverage its resources to ease the largest refugee crisis since World War II and how to enact law and order with kindness and decency is complex and difficult.

    It is much easier to be rash and frightened and call for bans or walls. But so long as these questions are simplified to gumballs, we will continue to get them wrong.

  • Emily  On April 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    I chuckled at your comments…yes the great ‘North’ UK etc was(is) a haven for Guyanese who were able to leave!
    The ones who remained must and should be given priority to earn work and enjoy our new found oil wealth?
    In other words, be mindful of what others are wanting from our young, innocent nation!
    That is my take on Lincoln’s article.

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