• 04 Dec, 2022

Public: Was Guyana Media afraid to factually say Indians were attacked

Public: Was Guyana Media afraid to factually say Indians were attacked

Public: Was Guyana Media afraid to factually say Indians were attacked

In their media reports since Tuesday on the brutal attack on Indians in Guyana last Tuesday June 28, the media reported that persons were beaten and robbed and businesses looted. The media gave an impression that it was some kind of haphazard or random crime and that race had nothing to do with the robberies, violence, and looting. The public is asking whether media afraid to say Indians were attacked by Africans?
 
The media did not identify the ethnicity of the victims and attackers or perpetrators of the dastardly crimes. The victims were all Indians and the perpetrators all Blacks
.
The media did not state that Indian Guyanese were targeted, beaten, and robbed, and their properties destroyed by Black or African Guyanese. Their business were looted and some reportedly set on fire. Their market stalls were plundered and goods that could not be stolen or looted were destroyed  — can be seen scattered in the ground. This is not the first time that Indians have been targeted for violent abuse and the kind of vicious attacks unleashed on them by Africans. It has happened repeatedly since 1992. No opposition Black politician and no Black religious leader has come out and condemn the behavior of the Black criminals for deliberately targeting the Indian community last Tuesday. This is the fourth such attack on Indians since President Irfaan Ali assumed power in August 2020. The President and the ruling PPP have condemned the attack on Indians.
 
The opposition must do the same and support effort at compensating the victims. Only a soulless politician or public figure would be silent as the Indian community faces an onslaught from criminals.
 
The violent attack on the Indian community is testing their patience. The hooliganism must stop. And the the media must call a spade a spade — Indians, not persons, were racially attacked and violated. The Public want an accurate report of the facts. 
I join others in denouncing in the strongest possible terms the racially inspired attacks against Indians on the East Coast on June 28. There were so many victims – brutally beaten and robbed, vehicles destroyed, arson, looting, and destruction of properties — on account of their race, for being Indian. I feel the pain of what happened to the victims of June 28. It is inexplicable why the opposition politicians have been silent on this heinous bold attack on a people who were simply plying about their business. Public figures who refuse to condemn the atrocities ought to be ashamed of themselves. Silence, ambivalence and complacency – primarily from non-Indians – have allowed this feature of hate to remain a permanent fixture in our society, for which there such be zero tolerance.
 
The attacks brought back memories of periods of violence in previous years. I remember the haunting pleas of those beaten and robbed and their vehicles destroyed in September 2020 in West Berbice. I remember those begging to be able to pass through the blockade to get to the airport and to other destinations. June 28, 2022 was a repeat. Opposition politicians encouraged the violence in West Berbice and watched on with a cruel indifference – as members of one community pressed against the neck of another recalling what happened to George Floyd in Minnesota. They didn’t care what others think of their inhumanity.
 
This hate filled acts of racial violence in Guyana must be addressed. Strong actions must be taken against the perpetrators of the violence or else this sore will fester. There will be more June 28s unless there is stern reaction; law must take its course with compensation provided by the perpetrators as happens in other countries. And if we are to achieve the core ideals of equality and justice, then we all must speak out against race hate and oppression and distance ourselves from those who engage in such advocacy.

Dr Vishnu Bisram

Dr. Vishnu Bisram is Guyanese born who received his primary and secondary education in Guyana and tertiary education in the US and India. He is a holder of multiple degrees in the natural sciences, social sciences, and education. He taught for over forty years in the US. He is a specialist on the Indian diaspora traveling globally to research and write about Indian communities.