Rastafari and Dr. Kean Gibson's book
Date: Monday, March 07 @ 13:26:01 UTC
By Ras Ashkar
Dr. Kean Gison's book, 'The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana' is a very controversial piece of work. In the presentation of her facts or opinions about the Hindu caste system operating against Africans in Guyana, Dr. Gibson chose not to be euphemistic. She presented her thesis as she saw it, plain and straight to the point. This is not to say that I totally agree with Dr. Gibson's hypothesis. As a leader in the Rastafari community I am compelled to present facts and not personal opinions. Nevertheless, I recognize and respect Dr. Gibson's right to say what she feels and believes.
Importantly the ERC's ruling on Dr. Gibson's Book revealed the following; No day is as threatening to the peace, security and existence of other people as when the Black man decide to voice his concern, relate his suffering and present his facts. To others the Black man is best when he, in a spirit of taciturnity decide to say nothing, sing no songs, beat no drums and write no books. In direct terms, he is better when he does nothing to educate his people. It is a threat to other people when the Black man try to organize, initiate a financial enterprise, praise a black God and try to be self-reliant and progressive.
I once experienced this phobia coming from an Indian organization, when as part of a Cultural Groups Dialogue Initiative all groups were asked to present their story, their sufferings as it relates to Guyana. Amerindians, Chinese, Indians all presented their stories which were all calmly and soberly accepted, but when the Blackman presented his story there was a sudden pandemonium. This Break loose contributed partly to that group's demise. There Guyana fatally lost an important opportunity to solve its race problem.
Presently in the United States of America, a great African leader,Malachi Z. York ,is paying the price for organizing Afro-Americans and teaching them independence both in the economic and spiritual sphere. His price is 135 years in the Federal prison. Mark Benschop is facing a similar fate in the dungeon-like lockups of Guyana, although there is no hard evidence to nail him to the crime allegedly committed.
Dr. Kean Gibson is now paying a price, but for what? Because she boldly make public her sufferings and the sufferings of her people, her experience and the experience of her people. She came to an audacious conclusion without first trying to interview a Hindu Pandit, scholar or politician. And because she chose to be novel in her methodology and break away from the conventionalism which would have rendered her task far more tedious or even impossible. Dr. Gibson's undeclared motive was to educate her people of what is working against them and to try to get them to throw off their inertia and complacency and start facing the challenges like conquerors and victors.
She did no different from, let's say, Ryhaan Shah. I saw words on GIHA's website amounting to the exact things for which the ERC accuses Dr. Gibson. Yet Ryhaan Shah is riding free while Dr. Gibson is pulled over for careless driving. This is the very behavior Dr. Gibson elucidated in her book "The Cycle of Racial Oppression In Guyana". After all Ryhaan Shah can very well belong to either the Brahmin caste or the Kshatriya caste and therefore is invested with the right to say and do while Dr. Gibson is either a Sudra or a downright outcast and therefore her hands that wrote those vilifying and virulent words need to be cut off and the mind that thought up such wanton evil needs to be ostracized. In addition, better is expected of Ryhaan Shah owing to the fact that she has recently concluded a conflict Transformation course and should have been glad for the opportunity to practice her new found skills.
Those Africans who took the mantle to defend Dr. Gibson's right as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did a note worthy job. Those on the other hand who had harshly criticized the book are also worthy of praise because they contributed to a social commentary very lacking in our society. In addition they offered the ordinary mind a balanced view of a very important social issue.
Officially the Rastafari take on the issue is summed up in the words of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, "As we do not practice or permit discrimination within our nation so we oppose it wherever it is found: as we guarantee to each man the right to worship as he chooses so we denounce any social, religious or political order which distinguishes among God's children on this most specious of ground."