We have to demand better, my fellow Guyanese. This is the banner outside the Providence Stadium where the upcoming “Guyana Festival”- brainchild of Minister of Tourism Irfaat Ali- will soon be held. The Minister’s message on the GF’s webpage says: “As we celebrate our rich culture, food, art and music, indeed it will reflect the true Guyanese identity.”
Guyana is known as the land of 6 people and there are indeed 6 images of people on this banner. There’s just one problem- NONE of the people shown here are (drumroll please) Guyanese. Sure, there’s a South Asian and an East Asian woman on top and an Indigenous and African man on the bottom, but these people are not Guyanese. They may *resemble* people in Guyana but they’re NOT Guyanese. As for the 2 images in the middle- Heidi on the right and bewigged man on the left- I don’t even know who they’re supposed to represent.
What I do know is that this banner is a massive embarassment and affront to Guyanese. Even if event is supposed to be for tourists, why couldn’t a banner be made with real images of REAL GUYANESE people? Oh, wait, I know the answer. Because that would mean hiring and paying a real Guyanese photographer and real Guyanese models. Or paying Guyanese people for images they already have. The more you pay other people, the less money you get to keep your grubby paws on. That doesn’t make any sense though- there are already tons of pictures of Guyanese people to choose from; new ones don’t have to be taken after all. All that is needed is a commitment to doing a quality job, to producing something you can be proud of, that would resonate with Guyanese people. BUT NO, instead of doing any of that, we get this piece of shit banner with not one real Guyanese person on it. Advertising the “CULTURAL VILLAGE” of the GUYANA FESTIVAL none the less..
and people- some of whom i know and used to call friends (used to being the key phrase) are eagerly awaiting this event. have already bought their festival ‘passports’ and are anticipating the activities. which include ‘Coney Island’. maybe coney island is one of those islands in the essequibo river. uh huh.
i don’t know why i’m so pissed off by this. after all, in the 5+ years that i’ve been back ‘home’ in Guyana, worse things than this have happened. children have been tortured by the police. women, boys, girls, and the public coffers have been raped and plundered by government ministers who get away with everything. rain falls for less than half and hour and Garbage Town floods. doctors kill patients and just continue on. and the stuff we find out about is just the tip of the iceberg. tip of the freaking iceberg. i should be used to shit like this by now, they tell me.
i know there aren’t a lot of options for entertainment for guyanese people. i know guyanese people, like people the world over, like/need to relax and kick back, because life here pon de dam is stressful. i know a lot of people think i’m mad, that i take too many things too seriously, that i’m no fun because i get riled up about stuff like this. i can’t help dying a little inside tho, when i see Guyanese people, seemingly ‘smart’ in many other ways, turning a blind eye to things like this. willingly participating in their own annihilation. because that’s what it is, don’t be fooled. complete obliteration of the ability to think critically means that any and all advantage can be taken of you and you won’t notice. complete destruction of the will to resist as long as you have some cookup in your belly, some rum in your cup, and some music to wine up to.
this banner has been up for weeks now. i haven’t heard anybody say anything about it yet. there is a saying that people get the leaders they deserve. i’ve never really wanted to believe that. i’ve argued that people are beaten into submission, starved of information to make better decisions, threatened and held hostage by power-hungry demons. but i’m starting to change my mind. every time i see my fellow Guyanese people flocking to events like this, buying the bullshit, handing over their hard earned dollars for this bit of fake respite, i die a little more inside.