Dear Anna Correia,
I would like to thank you most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to use you as an example of why many young Guyanese lose their voice before it can mature and why our national discourse is a bitter place full of knives, thorns and all sharp, cutting things.
In your letter to the Kaieteur News yesterday, you identified my brand “Without Wax” and accused me of being “ill-informed”, of having a “sinister plot to mislead readers” and of promoting PR for Simona Broomes “whether voluntary or in exchange for pay”.
Anna, this is not about Simona Broomes and her honesty or lack thereof. If you had taken the time to research me and to develop an understanding of the context within which I write then I doubt you would have attacked me in such a manner. My rhetoric, Anna, is a complex thing and my praise is something to be taken with a cup of salt.
This, Anna, is about your need to bare your fangs and sink your teeth into a neck which belongs to a body that houses a brain and a heart that you do not know. If you had stopped at accusing me of being ill-informed”, Anna, then I would have assumed that you were simply expressing a difference of opinion and a passionate need to strip another woman.
But because you attempted to discredit me and paint me as “sinister” and evil and because you attempted to brand me, Anna, I had no choice but to answer you. And know that I am not answering you for myself, I am answering for those people who have found in my writings truth, comfort, knowledge and inspiration to keep fighting for Guyana.
Guyanese are not livestock, Anna, and no one has the right to brand them. We are – or at least all of us would be if we allowed ourselves – a free thinking people who are intelligent enough to have opinions without giving our souls.
I saw this picture of you, Anna, and I learnt that you worked for our country under the last People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government. In deconstructing my identity a while ago, I spoke much about the PPP’s role in upholding our race-based political system. Of course, the PPP is not the only party at fault. The People’s National Congress (PNC) which now comes under the APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) must also shoulder some of the responsibility for what we have become.
The point is, Anna, that though I saw you working within a certain sub-system of our political system I desisted from branding and attacking you. Where will this get us Anna? There are good people who work in bad systems and there are bad people who, I believe, are still capable of good if given the chance.
I have learnt, Anna, that we must be soft on people and hard on ideas. The political system we live under has bred a class of dictators – little kings and queens – who feed on our racial insecurities to cement their place of power. And when we look around, it is not this race or that race that is being victimised; it is a certain class of people, people who are not a part of that royal family, people who are reading this. You see Anna, Walter Rodney got it right.
Anger is not the solution, Anna. We cannot afford to get angry at each other. Because every time we allow ourselves to sink into bitterness and attack people who seem to disagree with us, we waste time that can be spent taking Guyana back from its oppressors.