Sarwan: Playing the Fool
Past Editorial

The Sarwan issue is much larger that it seems and brings focus on something very old and integral in Guyana's cultural-political landscape, dominated by the PPP. It dramatises how far the PPP as central holder of power in the Indian community is willing to go, to keep this hold. And to attack other Indian groups that it feels is a threat. Note, if a group is not a threat, the PPP will not bother.

Sarwan himself made a fool of himself by first, pulling out, secondly, by the manner in which he did it and thirdly, by the answers he provided in an interview with Sean Devers of the Stabroek News. According to Sarwan, he does not want to be associated with something that is seen as divisive. According to him, GIHA is "playing politics."

First, how could an "all Indian" cricket match be divisive if an "all Indian" or "all Black" beauty pageant has not been divisive? In fact, in September, we had both an "all Indian" and an "all Black" as well as an "all Amerindian" pageant. Some say that the difference is that a cricket match is a "national" game. These ethnic-oriented pageants, however, are a display of those ethnic groups in particular...thus, they are not "national." But if this is so, then it means that we do not have the right to do many things in Guyana if they happen to be an "all" ethnic AND "national" event. Aren't ethnic pageants ALSO national because each can be entered nationwide? Race is not the only thing that makes an event "national." What makes these all-ethnic cultural events acceptable to some but not an all-ethnic sports event? Which is more important, the ethnic cultural or the ethnic sports? I think the cultural, so if we accept the cultural as fine, what's the jive about the cricket match? Or is the PPP and PNC the only groups to fuss because they are looking for political points (as usual)?

It is true that an all-Indian cricket match does not look good, but this much is thing is clear: prohibiting, forbidding people to assembly because they are all of one race is illegal and this is what makes GIHA right and the PPP, PNC etc. wrong. The fuss raised was done primarily by the PPP, the so-called democratic party. GIHA acted within its constitutional right; but the PPP and PNC, which have different Mashramani celebrations (how about this for "national" division?), are more responsible for more "national" division than all other organizations together. Why not protest this? Why doesn't the youth leader of the PPP youth group (PYO), Mr. Robert Persaud and the youth leader of the PNC youth group (GYSM), Ms. Laurlene Nestor, not come out and denouce their own groups? This is why Guyana cannot move forward; the young "leaders" are unwilling to confront the old way of thinking; in fact, they lend full support to the old way of seeing the world.

Secondly, how does Mr. Sarwan know that GIHA is "playing politics"? How did he know it after his return trip from the US, and not a few weeks before when agreed to play when GIHA asked him? Why didn't he say to GIHA what he said to Sean Devers? He was not unaware of who GIHA is or what work they do in Guyana, after all, Mr. Sarwan went to GIHA office more than once. He is on one of their newsletter. Mr. Sarwan provided video clips for the ad for this match when GIHA could not get footage. (NOTE, Stabroek News refused to publish these facts which were sent to them by GIHA. Why? Is Stabroek News shocked that Sarwan found an interest in GIHA? Indians should ask why?)

So why did Sarwan switched gear? Answer: The IAC-PPP. Who else would "get" to him? After all, the PPP went miles to sabotage the GIHA match...and people including the President have gone to great lenths to get businesses from pulling their support for GIHA. Folks old enough to remember know of the PPP wrestling with other "Indian" groups in Guyana for TOTAL dominance of the Indian community. The Sarwan case is just another example.

In any event, Sarwan allowed himself to be used by the PPP. While he refused to associate with the "politics" of GIHA, he allowed himself to be pulled in by the "politics" of the PPP. It is all about power. It is regretful that Mr. Sarwan had to be in this mess. It is unfortunate that he cannot support GIHA even if he wanted to...for fear of being stigmatised. If Sarwan were Black, the PNC via its youth arm and its spokesperson (Ms. Nestor), would have not have cried foul if an "all Black" match was being played. And no, the PNC would not go lengths to disrupt the services of ACDA. And if Sarwan is really against "politics," would he refuse to play in a match if one is staged tomorrow by the PNC, involving players from all races? No. He would play. He would conveniently forget that the PNC, as organizer, "plays politics."

This is the problem with us; we cannot stand up on our two feet. We do what others do. We are scared to be free and human. We are scared to tell the PPP and PNC to go jump in a river...instead, we are ready to be their puppets. It is up to Guyanese to stand up to the bullyism of old-aged leaders from all corners in Guyana who have failed as national leaders, given the state of the country. One day, when Mr. Sarwan's career is over, he will return to the Indian community. He should not be surprised if he meets people who remind him that they once came to see him play, but all he did was to play the fool.


September 13, 2003
                       <<< Page X                                             TOP                                  Page X>>>                       
© 2001