Occupy Guyana Diary Update 2

Tuesday 21st August

Last night was awesome. A friend who I’d been having some potentially friendship-damming differences with showed up at the Occupy GT camp for the 2nd night in a row and we talked. Another friend stopped by and promised to come back and give free massages to folks. Someone who had been aggravating me made me look into her eyes and I cried and laughed.

It had rained for hours the morning before, depriving us of any sleep, no matter how hastily snatched, and although I had enjoyed the closeness of the group as we (8 in number) huddled under the beach umbrella that had replaced our tent, I’d started the day in a grouchy mood. I shouted at the children who came for the literacy class, stewed when I saw that the pak choi seedlings I had set 2 weeks ago were now just dried out brown stalks, and swore at the wind for blowing out the candles as fast as I lit them. I was also still upset about a comrade’s bike that had gotten stolen from the site the day before. And the incident the night before when one of our supporters had suffered what appeared to be some kind of mental breakdown, freaking us out.

But then I got a call from another friend saying that she had gotten back our tent for us, without us even having to go face the police bastards in the first place, and my spirits lifted. And then we raised enough money to buy a new bike for Tall Man. Finally, Labba reappeared, seemingly back to normal.

Night time at Occupy GT is special. We set up camp during sundown initially, so there is a certain familiarity. It’s cooler and there are usually a lot more people around then compared to during the day. The safety concerns that we had initially, while still relevant, had been balanced out by the camaraderie building among those gathered (assault on Freddie Kissoon and appearance of special branch operatives and other unknown individuals nonwithstanding..).

I like the days too- starting with our collective group stretching/yoga/tai chi exercises on the grass, newspaper purchase from old man Saddam, and the greeting/gyaffing with people on their way to work. After several days at the same location, the faces are now growing familiar, and the conversations longer. Some who had previously passed us straight, now stopped for a chat. We were on our second dozen set of posterboards and several markers had already run dry. The people have a lot to say.

There are others of course. Those who shout and bellow more than they listen. Who boil over with anger and frustration, who are so eager and desperate for change, itching for action. The eye for an eye crowd. There are a fair number of these folks around; they’re loud and aggressive. I can listen for a while, but I’d rather be catching up on my sleep. Because these people are not usually there to help in the day time- when the real hard work of trying to get John and Joan Public to envision and articulate concrete solutions, to think about more than just partisan politics, heck, just to stop and listen for a few minutes. The heart and minds work.

The real revolution. Replacing one misleader with another who may be marginally better is not a long term solution. Of course, in the short run, Rohee must go, Ramotar must go, etc, but the lack of creative leaders is the real problem. Along with the fear, complacency, and unwillingness to attempt to change the society. The despair and defeatism, the belief that nothing will ever change, the system that forces people to work til they die, that says normal, business, and Jamzone are more important than lives and rights- this is what we’re really fighting.

Not everyone gets it, yet. But we’ve just begun. A luta continua. Join us- High St, between Brickdam and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown