he’s “our hero” now that he’s dead. when he was alive he was a madman.. my old wish was that more people had stood with courtney when he was alive. but it’s too late for that now. my new wish is that more than 10% of the people standing up and speaking out now for the first time continue to do so beyond today. just more than 10%. i want to believe that that’s not too much to ask, but deep down, i don’t know. guyana and guyanese people continue to disappoint me time after time, and it’s really hard some days, to see the light. but i’m still alive and still trodding dis dam, which is more than courtney can say, so.. gotta keep trying i guess..
on the bus coming, a man in the back seat says he going in the opposite direction of the funeral. “cuz i’m an indian, so you know…” my migraine from the day before is still lingering. i thank the goddess for my fierce indo-guyanese friend who turns around and manners him before i have to say anything. “hello, all ahwe blood is the same color!” well, not everybody thinks so, is his lame retort. revolution begins in the mind. the crowd at parade ground is majority afro-guyanese tho. we are in the minority. we take note every time we see an indian person (who is not a politrickian). there IS a lot of straight hair there, just not on the heads of indo-guyanese people. revolution begins in the mind, oui.
i see some familiar faces but most are strangers. two of my gay/trans friends are right at the entrance tho, one in a hot pink shirt. we hug. i am happy to see them there. they are not afraid to be in the minority, to be visible; they stand proudly. later on, when they move closer into the crowd, some big women in brown uniforms who are standing behind me start making a set of noise, whooping, shrieking “look antiman!”, and running behind them. “why are you behaving like that, making all that noise?” i ask one of them. “is a funeral we’re at; you should have some more respect!” she sneers at me and tells me that she’s behaving so because she’s happy. i shake my aching head and sneer back at her, making my disgust and disapproval clear. it’s all i can muster right then. these are big women, people who should know better. but no, they are proud of their ignorance and not ashamed of displaying it for all to see. sometimes the amount of work and change that is needed overwhelms me. but if we all take on a little part, do what we can, whenever we can- acting when you hear ignorance being spouted, when you see people harassing, bullying, or abusing others, animals etc- you know, like courtney did, maybe then change will come.
the tent under which the casket will lay goes up minutes before the hearse pulls in. people surge forward. sister penda calls for order and discipline, but people aren’t paying her any mind. courtney’s father also calls for order, reminding people that courtney was a very disciplined person. but the surge continues. sister penda gets vex quickly, as she is known to do, and barks that the casket will not be opened unless people form a line! i am embarrassed. i flash back to the chaos of the bus park the previous day, with full buses stuck behind other buses deliberately parked to block traffic. then, as now, i sigh. if we are unable to accomplish such simple tasks as forming a line without chaos breaking out, how the hell are we ever going to get anything right in this country? people can line up orderly enough when they want to tho- you see that at the american and canadian embassies.. and also when the ‘because we care’ cash vouchers were being handed out. but it seems like chaos is our default position now. i can’t wait to see how things go on election day.. i am comfortable with a fair amount of disorder; in fact i quite like the concept of entropy, it comforts me at times, weirdly enough. but there is nothing comforting about the level of ill-discipline in our society today. as the line pushes and shoves to the casket, i am sad and embarrassed. that, more than seeing a strangely silent and immobile courtney, threatens to bring forth the tears.
there are lots of vendors selling stuff- drinks, snacks. guyanese flags for $100. i already have a flag, don’t need another. but the vendor gives us one each anyway. she tells us a man nearby has paid for them and told her to give them to us. is it because we’re indian, i wonder idly? i’m glad she’s getting some sales though. i know some people find the vending in bad taste but it doesn’t bother me. i know the profit margin for most street vendors is razor thin and i understand them wanting to take advantage of every situation where people assemble to hustle their goods and try to make a bit more money. this is the life of poor people on the dam in guyana today. courtney’s mom, after all, is a street vendor. he was a bus driver. donations to the fund for his three daughters can be made at any Republic Bank Guyana Ltd. Name of account: Education Fund – Daughters of Courtney Crum-Ewing. Account number: 261-548-2. Bank address: 38 – 40 Water Street, Georgetown Guyana. For Wire Transfers from outside of Guyana, use SWIFT CODE: RBGLGYGG.
everyone is still harping on may 11th and voting. yea yea BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO BE DONE, BESIDES VOTING! i want to scream. my head pounds even more. monuments will be constructed, they promise, so all guyanese will remember our hero. i think of all the people, youth especially, who have no idea who walter rodney is. martin carter poems and shakespeare are read. i think of the children at the drop in center who struggle to spell the days of the week. there’s so much to do there, but i’m still struggling to get enough volunteers, people willing to consistently spend some of their time building with the youth. if you ask me, i’d tell you that’s the kind of monument guyana needs- a living one! the pounding in my head continues.