GUYANA: Build bridges, not walls – By Mosa Telford – Opinion

– By Mosa Telford

Conflict brews when there are opposing sides in any society. The thread of conflict has weaved its way through time. To be alive on Earth means that we not only enjoy happiness, pleasure and peace but are also entangled in pain, sorrow, and war. For many it is either religious or spiritual philosophies that save us from a state of perpetual darkness and fear.

Many believe that there is better beyond this world and that is the hope that fuels them. But for some, that also means their power is suppressed. When there is none or limited belief in the power of self – the knowledge that it is we who must take charge of our destiny and create the life we desire beginning with the focus of the mind – the cycle of darkness and fear can overpower us.     

We are existing in a time of enlightenment and darkness. The themes of division that have been present in every period of Earth’s history continue to hurt us. Many are talking about it, but others are choosing to ignore it, hoping that like magic the world will fix itself. We have separated ourselves based on tribe and country, ethnicity, and political affiliation.

We can reflect on events such as the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Jewish holocaust during World War II, Jim Crow laws which legalized racial segregation in the United States, the Rwandan genocide, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and see how separating ourselves into us and them has done nothing but hurt this planet and resulted in pain, despair, and death.

And here we are doing it again, creating divisions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Worldwide the brewing conflict is threatening the peace. I have seen the tired, angry, and hopeful faces of men and women protesting across the world. Vaccinated and unvaccinated are realizing how quickly our world has changed and the goalpost for a new “norm” is constantly being moved. When anyone can be affected by the coronavirus with the rise of new variants, it should compel us to exercise more compassion and tolerance and build bridges instead of walls.

I saw a comment on social media this week that disturbed me. The person reflected on a time when people used to be burned at the stake. This was once the punishment for women who were accused of being witches. The comment, about how the unvaccinated in today’s world should be treated, was of regret that burning at the stake no longer occurs.

Anyone who wishes death on another human for not holding similar views or exercising their right to choose must know that something is not right within. The fact that people believe that they can do or say anything on this Earth and simply repent and be absolved has nurtured vileness. But words of death and our destructive actions will not be unreturned in the light of karma.

Dehumanization has often resulted in conflict in our world. The oppressed do not sit still forever. Rebellion and death in the name of freedom have helped to shape our world. We seem to have learned little from history about how the division of ‘us and them’ has caused more harm than good. But perhaps it is the nature of man to crave and create conflict. Perhaps peace, unity and understanding will bore us.

We are living in a time when people are being told that they no longer have the right to decide what they want in their bodies and if they stand their ground they will be locked out of society. The greatest threat to humanity are not just viruses and wars. There is the threat that we face when we allow ourselves to be reduced to nothing by allowing a few to decide if and how we should live; when we are told what to think; when we are told that we have no choice in deciding what is best for us; when we are called illiterate for critical thinking; when we are told we cannot question the experts or the science despite the changing narratives; and when there is censorship of anything that questions or opposes the status quo. These are chains that seek to mentally imprison us. Our voices should not be muzzled in the face of degrading treatment and unjust punishment.

I was disturbed this week to see pensioners being denied their pension at the National Insurance Scheme on Brickdam because they must show a vaccination card. Senior citizens no doubt have suffered more than any other group in Guyana due to COVID-19. And now it is some of them whose standard of living is being threatened because of the government’s vaccination policy.

An indication of how depraved or whole we are as a society is how we treat our senior citizens. How dare anyone deny them the money which they are owed for their service to Guyana? How dare anyone disrespect those on whose backs we stand because we have allowed a government to create these conditions without consulting the people and who are not listening to cries of the people?

Senior citizens being denied their pension was not the only thing that disturbed me; there are also the daily COVID deaths as well and the rising cases. The air is heavy with tension. While the vaccinated and unvaccinated mingle, both are at risk for infection. Demands are being made in some instances for the unvaccinated to be tested weekly if they choose not to be vaccinated but since anyone can be infected, would it not make sense to have free tests available so that both groups can be tested regularly? We know many people are asymptomatic. How many Guyanese can afford to pay $25000 for weekly PCR tests that are required by the government? But perhaps the intention is to leave people without a choice in hopes of a greater good.

Perhaps we will find a middle ground that leads to more love, peace, and healing and eventually the cessation of this pandemic. And perhaps we will do it soon and begin to rebuild bridges and tearing down the walls that have separated us.

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  • Cynthia  On 10/10/2021 at 4:00 pm

    Excellent, truthful and well written article! Thank you, Ms. Telford, for your bravery in saying what lots of us feel but are afraid to say.

  • Kman  On 10/10/2021 at 4:22 pm

    Let’s not forget the British ‘indenturship’, AKA

    • WIC  On 10/10/2021 at 8:43 pm

      The British as all overlords, had a labour problem and they solved it notwithstanding the ethics of how. All people Indentured to Guyana, other than the Chinese had the right to return to home countries after serving their term. Most East Indians(EI) and Portuguese chose to remain in Guyana along with the Chinese. I recall as a boy seeing the ship “Ganges” swinging at anchor off Fort Groyne at the mouth of the Dem. river and it is said that when they arrived was it Calcutta? they had to be dragged off the ship when they saw the conditions on the waterfront. Many years later, two young men who had been taken back to India by their parents, faced a very difficult time from the Guyana govt. when they wished to return to Guyana where they were born. Eventually, the were allowed back. Do you not remember when the balance of money remaining in the Indian Repatriation Fund was handed over to the Guyana govt. by Sase Naraine of the Maha Saba?

  • wally n  On 10/10/2021 at 6:02 pm

    Could be wrong, you guys know all. Does everyone need an IPHONE to verify vaccination, almost certain in Toronto, suppose those unwashed poor people lose their piece of paper?? Anything our pm puts forward, I like to stick it under a microscope. Off topic anyone seen COVIDLAND??

  • Kman  On 10/12/2021 at 12:02 pm

    No, l am not that old to remember the fund.

    The Indians were not indentured, they were kidnapped and tricked by their own kind at the behest of the British.

    The white folks who were indentured had a great deal.

    You don’t see much of this in history books.

    • theonly  On 10/12/2021 at 2:58 pm

      And you will never hear the British mention the over 56 million Indians that were killed by them.

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