Sunday, November 06, 2005

Today's Stabroek editorial puts the recent (& ongoing) flare-up in Buxton into a wider historical & social context:

We have always had something of a penchant for unreal debate in this country, but never more so than now. As the polarisation process continues in the penumbra of the 2006 elections, and the sense of insecurity and/or foreboding about what could happen grows, we seem to be spending more and more time railing against the miasma. We operate in a twilight world of half-truths, quarter-truths, myths and falsehoods, and the constructs being used to explain the inconvenient portions of reality which poke through the fog are neither grounded in a full appraisal of the facts, nor in a commitment to the truth.

(V.S. Naipaul in 1962: "In British Guiana it is almost impossible to find out the truth about any major thing. Investigation and cross-checking lead only to fearful confusion.")

Traditionally we have closed our eyes to any illegality committed by members of our own group, particularly if the perception is that it has contributed to making us feel more secure. On the subject of illegalities committed by the other side, however, we have always been voluble. It was in this context - as well in the larger one of our political history in general - that the Buxton crisis evolved. And the opposing accounts of that crisis, which still has not ended, continue to obfuscate reality and serve as an impediment to getting any handle on how the other side really feels....

The simple truth is that if one group is unsafe, then everyone is unsafe. True security can only come with the rule of law, effective law enforcement and strong, independent institutions; there is no alternative. And in the meantime, a little more honesty in debate all around would be helpful so we can grope towards discussing the real problems of the nation in a meaningful way, rather than unreal constructs which if taken to their conclusion can lead us into anarchy.

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