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Context:

The following is a reprint of a series of messages sent to the LOSP (www.LandOfSixPeoples.com ) website in 2004 at the height of
public submissions to Guyana’s Ethnic Relations Commission as it “investigated” Kean Gibson’s book “The Cycle of Racial
Oppression in Guyana”. The very idea of censoring a book, abandoning the idea of scholarly rebuttal, represented a new and
dangerous development for Guyana. For the Christian community, in particular, the implications were clear.

In a local environment teeming with Hindu-Nationalist sentiment, later eloquently characterized by the words of Melanie Phillips (in
another country) per the Daily Mail of September 7, 2006: "How Britain is turning Christianity into a crime!"
(http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=447 ), it was not surprising that the Christian “representative” on the ERC allegedly
“abstained” when called upon to vote on the “banning” of “The Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana”. Despite calls that the voting
record of the Commissioners be revealed, or thereafter be made mandatory in all decisions, there has been no response from that body.

Fascinating aftershocks to that dubious ruling have been attempts to establish an “Inter-Religious Television Station” (see “Why an
Inter-Religious TV Channel is Dangerous for Guyana”), the removal of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) from the local
airwaves (it would be eye-opening to many to find out who has TBN’s local representative in court after having organized an illegal
buyout of TBN’s broadcast contractor), TBN’s “replacement” with the substandard broadcast signal from DayStar (DayStar refuses to
divulge the names of its local representatives in correspondence from its head office) and an accusation that Christian protests over
casino gambling earlier in 2007 represented a “threat to national security” (see
http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56511661; “The Christian protest against casino gambling presents no threat to
national security”).

Kean Gibson sequel to “The Cycle …” has been the equally fascinating treatment: “Sacred Duty: Hinduism and Violence in
Guyana”.

Roger Williams
Georgetown
December 2007

THE CASE FOR SCHOLARSHIP IN KEAN GIBSON’S BOOK


Roger Williams
April 21, 2004
Correspondence to LOSP website (http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news402/ns4042114.htm)

Much of the criticism of Dr. Gibson's book has so far taken place at an astonishingly simplistic level, and has focused on one
particular aspect. This is an injustice to intellect and scholarship. We need to broaden the scope and intensity of the analysis,
and this is the first of six parts of that process. We begin by assessing a lengthy (amounting to a full page) denunciation [ please
note: link provided by LOSP web site ] of the book by one M. Hackett in the Guyana Chronicle of November 14th, 2003.
Thereafter, we should consider a similarly lengthy denunciation by Frederick Kissoon, and assess the book chapter by chapter
for the issues it raises.

The point is: scholarship must be answered by scholarship ... and truth will out. Demonizing the book serves no useful
purpose, and only seems to fuel a belief that "hate-crime" legislation should be enacted. This would be unwise, as explained in
the other submissions. Persons should shy away from the emotional style that is fuelling the current verbal debate.

First Hackett. Early on, he makes the careful distinction that he is neither Black nor Indian, and this may explain some of his
indecision in trying to decide on what to finally say about Gibson and her work. Consider that the denunciation exists alongside these
commendations: (1) “The book is a highly readable page-turner (I read it at one sitting) and the author seems to have a fine and
incisive mind except in those instances where her cultural biases and prejudices come to the fore and her language descends to the
level of the rag media instead of maintaining a scholarly tone”; (2) I have a strong feeling that she is a very good lecturer; (3) “The
book also serves as a warning of future events and is an indication that all is not well in the state of Guyana”; (4) “Whatever it’s raison
d’etre, it is undeniably an African perspective of Indian oppression and Indians should take careful note of its message”; and (5)
“There is little to complain about and much to praise in the first two chapters” (relative to this last, we note that Gibson sets up the
entire thrust of her argument in these two chapters … so where is Hackett really heading?)

What is more revealing in his response is the number of speculatives that bedevil him at the end of his lengthy contribution. For
example, specific and direct denunciations like the one above exist alongside rhetoricals such as: (1) Would we have condemned this
book if the author were an Indian?; (2) Will this book help to alleviate ethnic tensions or will it aid in further rupturing of the national
fabric come 2006?; (3) What is the true purpose of Dr. Gibson’s book?; (4) Would this book have been written if the PNC were still in
power?; (5) Why shouldn’t Africans speak out and care when Indians are being oppressed?; (6) Why shouldn’t Indians speak out and
care when Africans are being oppressed?. There are two interpretations of all this, namely: (1) The book has clearly caused the man to
THINK … but he himself still denies that he is responding to it! … or; (2) He is just not secure enough to reach or articulate a
conclusion by himself. He is, in Dr. Gibson’s words, playing safe lest the paternalistic system of dualism turns against him.

Next, Hackett tries the “peer-review” argument, which is not really an argument at all. It has been settled in the previous pages, but we
quote now from Dr. Somdat Mahabir:
“Books are not considered peer-reviewed materials. Everybody in the business knows that in a CV the
section reserved for peer-reviewed publications (most important for researchers), lists only manuscripts
published in peer-reviewed journals. There is a section for other publications, such as for books, book
chapters, commentaries, etc. …. Books can be published in many ways: self-publication (use your own
financial resources) or via solicitation (the author approaches a publisher, the publisher approaches the
author, and in some cases a group or party sponsor the publication of a book because it suits their
purpose). When negotiation for a book contract is complete, it is the usual practice that copies of the
manuscript are sent to friends or mentors, or other like-minded persons for comments. One may be
asked to write a foreword to the book while others may be asked to make short comments about the
book. This is not peer-review at all. They are friendly peers who are carefully selected to make the book
look good.” (Somdat Mahabir in letter to the Stabroek News 15/11/2003: “The Peer-Review Process Needs To
Be Understood”: http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=649413;)

Hackett’s initial response, we are reminded, would be to point out that a “fellow traveler in the letter columns of Stabroek News” had
penned the article. This somehow relieves him from the responsibility to assess the validity of the statements so made. The logic of
this reasoning is not valid. If we use his reasoning, his criticism of Dr. Gibson is of no value and merit … simply because Guyana
Chronicle was “gullible” enough to publish it in its entirety (almost an entire page was allocated by the Chronicle to Hackett’s
denunciation … an astonishing fact in itself, since the Chronicle only publishes articles that are “safe” or are reflective of the
Government’s position). One has to assume that our local editors have not reached the point where they routinely allow specious
material to pass muster, and that Hackett’s contribution was presumed meritorious until effectively rebutted. Gibson’s reference to
“neo ethno-supremacists” and “If you are not East Indian you are nobody” are therefore to be seen as attempts by her to document the
language of the day. Those charged with governance ignore such language and inference at their peril. An interesting exercise for Mr.
Hackett would be to do a critique of the article by CRB Edwards done two years earlier (SN May 19, 2002: “Slavery and
indentureship were not similar in nature”; www.landofsixpeoples.com/news02/gyltns205197.htm, keywords “neo ethno-
supremacists”).

Similarly, it would be wrong for any citizen to dismiss the implications of the flyer quoted fully by Gibson at page 44 just because the
“story” was published in the New Nation, the official outlet of the opposition PNC/Reform. The academically correct position is: Does
the PPP deny the existence of the flyer? Does the PNC have a sample of it? Do persons in Guyana and North America remember it?

Gibson’s work is best described as “revolutionary” and “ground-breaking” in its scope and application since it represents an original
attempt to explain a political culture that has, in her words, accounted for something as serious as “an obvious attempt to pauperize
Africans”. Hackett is right in reminding us that, to the extent that Gibson uses the word “attempt” many times in outlining her aims,
this is perhaps not her final word on the subject. However meaningful the intentions of the peer-review process, however, the
perspective that is particularly applicable to Gibson’s work are the fears other social scientists have expressed:

“Some sociologists of science argue that peer review makes the ability to publish susceptible to control by
elites. Reviewers tend to be especially critical of conclusions that contradict their own views, and lenient
towards those that accord with them. At the same time, elite scientists are more likely than less
established ones to be sought out as referees, particularly by high-prestige journals or publishers. As a
result, it has been argued, ideas that harmonize with the elite's are more likely to see print and to appear
in premier journals than are iconoclastic or revolutionary ones.” (part of Wikipedia’s outline of the peer-
review process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review; It is clear that the “process” also places an equally
heavy burden on those critical of Gibson to point out her “mistakes” in terms more precise than “failure at
academic correctness”).

In being dismissive of Gibson’s intellectual buildup (Chapter 1 has 24 references, Chapter 2 has 68) as “standard historical fare”,
Hackett blunders seriously in that he first agrees with Gibson on her intellectual premises (quote: “From page 4–21, she gives a clear
and concise scholarly description of the bases and effects of European oppression”), then does an about face and then accuses her
of “planting a tiny seed of discrepancy” in adverting to Brackette Williams’ hierarchy of “Givers and Takers”. He ratifies his own self-
assessment as “being naïve and simplistic” (a direct quote found in the 3rd paragraph from end of his contribution) by unilaterally
deciding that Williams’ decision to place Indians where they were on that scale was purely fortuitous to Gibson’s argument, and did
not come after seasoned reasoning, and thereby does not help Gibson’s theory. This argument defies logic, and could be seen as being
academically disingenuous. It does not speak well of academic pedigree to see socio-cultural theory worked out, then to ask what
Hackett asks: “How could he (Williams) have known to place Indians in the top position when the 1992 elections were one year
in the future?” To the extent that this is again rhetorical, and argumentative for the sake of argument, he should be asked to cease and
desist. He cites this point as the “seed” issue that “contaminated” the entire book, and to the extent that this is now seen to be a non-
starter, his arguments are not valid.

Chapter 3 fares worse at Hackett’s summary justice. In her “aims” … restated below under the heading “Chapter 1” … Gibson makes
it clear that she is proposing an indictment of a local political culture of oppression and repression based on extant principles of
Hinduism, and uses “European” and “African” examples of the same merely as illustrations of the alternative. To ask her to treat them
all with the same intensity given her stated aim is stand on thin ice. You cannot use “she only used three pages to do that” as
constructive criticism in this regard. The objective thing would be to comment on if the evidence she DOES offer in that regard
addresses core issues, and to perhaps comment too on the need for future expansion and research. It is easy to argue that her
assessment of the issues on pages 36 and 37 does just that … outlines the core issues in post-1973 PNC rule that amounted to
dictatorship, without detracting from the central thrust of her argument. She even goes the distance in referring us (reference 70 per
Chapter 3) to Morrison’s work on the “inhumane acts that took place during the Burnham era”. This is hardly evasion on her part, and
detracts completely from a “pro-PNC” stand.
The logic here is that the fact of political skullduggery and dictatorship in post-1973 Guyana courtesy of the PNC and Burnham does
NOT automatically absolve anyone else of scrutiny under a truly democratic process, and it would be dishonest to argue otherwise.
Indeed, Gibson’s explicit outline of the core illegalities perpetuated by the PNC serves another purpose: it constitutes an effective
backdrop against which the “cycle” of oppression can be measured and appreciated … if the presence in post-1992 Guyana of any of
the atrocities listed can be ascertained with certainity. Therefore, his insinuation that that the chapter can be summarized as: “Just
implying that Africans oppressed Indians because Indians oppressed Africans …” is at best disingenuous. There is another conclusion
that can be reached. Chapters 3 and 4 each have more than 100 vital issues that Kissoon, Hackett and Mahadeo have not addressed,
nor even bothered to deny. The frightening possibility is, then, that they are really true. We will list these issues below.

We need not look any further than Mr. Hackett’s last argument to expose another gaffe. He refers to a page-25 statement in Gibson’s
book that, according to him, is the central focus of her theory: “None would belong to the Shudra caste since this caste is now
reserved for African-Guyanese”. Hackett objects that the statement is “un-referenced”, giving rise to a “strong suspicion that this
is Dr. Gibson’s personal opinion, formed by her own cultural perception of reality as seen through her own lenses”. Four
paragraphs later, he quotes from Ravi Dev’s 1998 “Aetiology Of An Ethnic Riot”:

“By the end of indentureship the Indian had moved very far towards re-evaluating his caste system and
incorporating all castes into a unitary system of "nation" or "jati" and allocating the outcaste position to
the African. To mix and mingle with the African, much less "combine", was beyond the pale in this
scheme.”

Then, recognizing that Dev changes his mind by 2003 in an effort to become politically correct, Hackett now reverses and advises:
“Nevertheless, I do believe that her page-25 statement has some validity in that it now forces Indians in general and Hindus in
particular to re-evaluate their idea of caste”. To the extent that they cannot, or will not (because naming and caste ultimately
defines Hinduism as a concept regarding individual and corporate social relations), then Clarence Ellis’ observations (quoted next)
hold true.

For Hackett, however, this is an unacceptable level of ambivalence, inattentiveness and distortion for someone who has just accused,
tried, condemned and sentenced an academic colleague.

There is another dimension to this analytical failure. He had previously adverted that Gibson’s primary sources for her ideas about the
caste system were two “non-Guyanese Indians”. What does this have to do with an assessment of Hinduism’s caste system? Dr.
Ramesh Gampat’s idea of “Indian-ness” on page 87 of this document renders this a non-issue from the outset, since no one has seen fit
to dispute it. Despite the fact that Indians on both sides of the Diaspora have “expressed disgust” at the caste idea, no reform has taken
place … or is even being considered as far as we know. J. Ajith Kumar in June 22, 2003, at p. 34 of this document
(http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/054.htm), laments the dearth of takers to his suggestions for reform.

Unless the Hinduism being practiced in India is different from that in Guyana (in which case it is not Hinduism), then Clarence Ellis’
words are the final installment in exposing the ultimate logical flaw in Hackett’s, and Mahadeo’s, attempt to refute Gibson:

"Dr. Gibson says that GIFT has the 'double objective of looking after the interests of their own group and
of ultimately destroying the Africans with whom they share the same space'. That is very strong stuff and
possibly the passage to which East Indians take the most objection. But if they do, they should come out
and say so and affirm that they are willing not only to share the same space with Black people but to do
so on terms of equality.

The surprising fact is that not a single East Indian leader or leadership group has come out and said that
they are willing to share the same space with Black people on terms of equality.”

(SN 11/24/03: http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=843336 “

He is not alone in this conclusion. Hackett himself gives us insight into another interpretation of Ravi Dev’s restatement as he
(Hackett) accedes to this question of equality as a core issue, and offers a solution that is revealing in its simplicity (to the extent that
it is not simplistic and incomplete):

“According to Mr. Dev, in 1998 Africans were “outcastes”; today they are not. Other Hindu scholars and
leaders also need to tell us whether the Sudra class still exists in Guyana. If it does, then who are those
Sudras? They need to say clearly and unequivocally like Mr. Dev: “Africans are neither Sudras nor
outcastes.”

“Instead of trying to destroy Dr. Gibson’s book by banning, burning or “busing” it, why not destroy her
central argument by coming out with a statement like Mr. Dev’s. He is only one voice. Let us hear the
others. If they convincingly refute Dr. Gibson’s central argument, then the rest of her book will
automatically fall apart.”

Hackett has “forgotten” to mention the other logical end of this “awesome” solution … that the statements must not only declare the
non-existence of the “Sudra” or “Outcaste”, but should also assign regard and respect on the basis of “equality” rather than seeking
comfort in reassigning the offended party to another indeterminate caste or position. Otherwise, lip service is the only real outcome.
Dev has, in fact, achieved nothing with his “politically correct” restatement. Hackett, in his wisdom, even advises that the others
should state their intentions “clearly and unequivocally” like Dev.
Points by point, the shallowness of the “contentious” issues reveals themselves in Hackett’s contribution. A final illustration is the
insinuation that the link mentioned at Note 9 for Chapter 3 is a figment of her imagination. An obvious typographical error is cast in
the mould of “cooking the books” (the real reference is http://www.indolink.com/Forum/Arts-Culture/messages/521.html ) since he
now asks: “Why didn’t she consult the updated works of Guyanse Indians?” Which ones disagree with Viswanathan and Ghurye to
any significant degree? We should identify them so that an analysis of these works can begin as well. They could settle the vexing
issues definitively.

Part 2

April 24, 2004

Kampta Karran is in no doubt about the power of the monocracy in Guyana:

“The construction of knowledge is a serious matter. It has to be facilitated by hegemonic power of one
sort or another. For illustration, I will use Dr Kean Gibson's Cycle of Racial Oppression and Dr
Judaman Seecoomar's Contributions Towards the Resolution of Conflict in Guyana. Both books are
recent and were presented to the public in Guyana. Yet those who have the capacity and the space to
engage in public discourse chose to deal with Dr Gibson's work while Seecoomar's is ignored. Why? Be-
cause this writer is alienated from the institutions that are responsible for knowledge making. Those who
present their writings in the public domain have kept their silence and after a time this very valuable
book would vanish as if it has never been written.” (See Page 18; SN of Wednesday November 12, 2003;
“Mr Seecoomar’s book on conflict resolution deserved much more attention”).

This monocracy has been at work in the past few days as the Ethnic Relations Commission meets in Georgetown to discuss
Gibson’s book. That almost none of the pro-Gibson submissions get adequate treatment in the state-owned Guyana Chronicle
was no surprise, but the revelation has been the unprofessionalism and inadequacy with which the privately owned Stabroek
News reported an intelligent and totally absorbing presentation by Linden Harry-Voglezon on Thursday 22nd. Scholarship
and detail has defined the presentations in favour of Gibson’s book, and Harry-Voglezon should publish his investigation
immediately. As predicted, the compensating rush to publish rebuttals and confirmations will be good for the community
psyche as issues are sifted and analyzed and refined.

Now Kissoon. One of the most embarrassing episodes of this uproar will surely prove to be the mad rush to denounce Gibson’s
treatise, and in effect use the paternalistic monocracy referred to above to spread and propagate an illusion that the book has no merit.
The submissions by Dr. Frederick Kissoon are classic examples in that regard. They are found at
http://www.caribbeanhindu.com/kean_gibson.htm (“Dr. Gibson’s book is unscholarly, apparently unedited and a work of propaganda
Parts 1-3). The lack of scholarship in these responses is appalling, and embarrassing to the IAC in the extreme, but illustrates
Kissoon’s key role in a disinformation effort given his seemingly limitless access to the media.

We have already benefited from a rebuttal to Kissoon from Colin Bascom: (“Me thinks he doth protest too much”,
http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/letters/letters.html), but it is useful to assess Kissoon’s and Bascom’s statements item by
item … particularly since Rakesh Rampertab, in similar vein like Hackett, realizing the gross errors in each hasty denunciation
published before Christmas 2003, now rushes to engage in damage control (SN Sunday December 21, 2003: “This book should be
treated as a propaganda pamphlet”; http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=1603135)

“Because pamphlets differ from even manifestos (which share elements of a pamphlet) and do not work
under the rules of either technical or literary writing, facts are not necessary. If facts are used, it's a
bonus. In Gibson's case, it's a disguise that deceived many reviewers from Mr. Frederick Kissoon to Mr.
Al Creighton, both of whom did similarly painstaking and thorough reviews. The flaw of the Cycle of
Racial Oppression in Guyana is not that it lacks facts, but that it has some.”

The correct academic/investigative position must now be: Exactly how “painstaking” were the reviews, and what, exactly, are the
facts that the book does have?

Mr. Kissoon begins with the standard “peer-review” arguments. These have been answered before in Part 1, and the same rebuttals
hold true. We simply do not know if she or her publishers encouraged the peer review process. It is ALSO clear that the process also
places an equally heavy burden on those critical of Gibson to point out her “mistakes” in terms more precise than “failure at academic
correctness”. Kisson in Parts I and II of his contribution is clearly disoriented, and in rushing madly to print makes a number of serious
academic and factual blunders, hopefully traceable to a rush to judgement and very loose language and not to a deliberate attempt to
misinform:

Kissoon: The editors of University Press of America should not have issued the book without first sending the manuscript
to either the University of the West Indies or the University of Guyana.
Rebuttal: The University of the West Indies in Barbados actually financed the study! And why did they have to “first send
the manuscript to the University of Guyana”?
Kissoon: Even if the UPA wanted to print the book, the smallness of the manuscript did not allow for it given the
arguments, which Dr. Gibson said the book would encapsulate. The editors must have known that the thesis she
sets out to polemicize on could not have held into seventy-two pages.
Rebuttal: This is disingenuous, and not without academic snobbery. We have spoken before of the ruthless efficiency
with which Gibson sets about her task. Kissoon breaches all known standards of professionalism by
condemning a colleague’s work because “she finishes it in 72 pages”. He is even wrong about the number of
pages. She uses 78.

Kissoon: There is a political purpose in writing her booklet and I believe she printed her little pamphlet to assist political
forces of an extremist brand to which she belongs in their political activities in Guyana.
Rebuttal: This is the stuff with which libel and defamation is made. There is no attempt to show her attempt at treason or
sedition. There is no attempt to illustrate the untruth in each of her copious illustrations in Chapters 3 and 4.
There is no attempt to identify the “group” to which she belongs. There is no hesitation in branding her an ally
to “extremist forces” … in effect, she is being cast in the mould of “terrorist” in this very direct statement, and
the words of her treatise (Chapter 1, page 4: Justification for Oppression) suddenly achieve new, prophetic,
dimensions:

“While names, words and language can be used to inspire, motivate and liberate us,
language can also be used to dehumanize human beings. Names have the power to
define us as “others” in relation to some norm. James Valentine said about name-
calling: “Names can wrap us up with sticky labels that give us a permanent address
on the other side of the tracks. … Linguistic dehumanization provides the
justification for oppression.”

Kissoon: Briefly, she is saying that Hinduism is a religion that embodies a vicious caste system where people of black
hue are seen by the religion as not being human beings…. First, the caste system of Hinduism in India was
never transported whole scale to British Guiana. The diluted version appeared in the form of an obsessive quest
for light complexion. The Hindu caste system in British Guiana, and later Guyana, is mainly in the form of
colour difference. The practice of the caste system in Guyana begins and ends with this. And it has taken only
one form - preference in the area of marriage. Colour discrimination among Hindus does not cross into the
territory of friendship and employment.

Rebuttal: First, read Abu Bakr’s article on pages 10-12 of this document:
(http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=501593 ; SN Friday October 31st, 2003: “Elites
manipulate ethnic identities in their quest for power”).

Secondly, refer to the report by Human Rights Watch, “Caste Discrimination: A Global Concern”,
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm#P358_71817, in which opposition to
marriage and inter-marriage is considered a defining construct of “caste”.

Third, refer to Colin Bascom’s response to Kissoon on this same issue:

“Mr. Kissoon goes on to write "the caste system of Hinduism in India was never
transported whole scale to British Guiana". This is in part true; we know that it was
principally the lower caste that arrived as indentured workers. They did not arrive
with all the caste structures in place because they were unrepresentative of India as
a whole. It is a fact however that caste structures are governed by notions of purity
and impurity. This allowed even the lowest caste of indentured Indians in Guyana,
through the race hierarchy of the colonialists to possibly find Africans lower and
more impure than themselves…. Mr. Kissoon refers to an "obsessive quest for light
complexion….The practice of the caste system in Guyana begins and ends with
this". This is most definitely incorrect, the practice of untouchability and karma go
to the root of civil rights abuses of the lower castes in India. He knows that this
'obsession' goes way beyond the merely superficial. It is stretching credibility to
believe an entire people could be so confused and preoccupied with nothing other
than their own skin shade. … ….Mr. Kissoon asserts "Colour discrimination among
Hindus does not cross into the territory of friendship and employment". What does
this mean? At best this is simplistic and without merit. At worst it is misleading. Mr.
Kissoon, everybody discriminates in their choice of friends be it on the basis of race,
religion, class, etc. This is perfectly natural and entirely legal. Discrimination in the
area of employment is another matter; race discrimination is illegal but
commonplace in Guyana. I don't need Dr. Gibson to tell me this. There are many
good Indo-Guyanese employers who engage African-Guyanese in the positions of
other than a cleaner or a security guard. But there are others who employ a 100%
Indian workforce despite the fact that a significant majority of their custom comes
from African-Guyanese. That is a fact.”
Kissoon: Ms. Gibson’s account of the caste system is methodologically flawed and it is this weakness that shows the
incompetence of her editors at UPA. Ms. Gibson argues for a rigid caste system in India without using any
scholarly materials on the subject. Not even a first year student in sociology would have gotten away with this
at any university. For the editors at UPA to have accepted this manuscript without asking Ms. Gibson for her
sources on the Indian caste system is incompetence beyond comprehension. Thirdly, the type of caste structures
she makes reference to did not even exist in 19th century India. British colonialism, the influence of the Indian
diaspora and the anti-colonial struggle in India made monumental dents into the ancient culture of India.

Rebuttal: See Bascom’s response again:

“Mr. Kissoon goes on to challenge Dr. Gibson on "the rigid caste system in India".
Interestingly enough he does not actually claim she's wrong. … Let me quote Dr. K
Y Ratnam of the University of Hyderabad (India). "Despite the fact that
Untouchability was abolished and bonded labour was declared as unlawful, most of
the Dalits (Untouchables) are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to
work in degrading conditions and relegated to the most menial tasks. Dalit women
face triple burden of caste, class and gender oppression…. Amazingly in relation to
caste, Mr. Kissoon further asserts "In 19th century India, British colonialism, the
influence of the Indian Diaspora and the ante-colonial struggle in India made
monumental dents into the ancient culture of India". With all due respect to Mr.
Kissoon he is just plainly wrong. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Indian
anti-colonial movement experienced the dawn of an extreme form of nationalism. I
suggest he reads up on the following individuals; Aurobindo Ghose (1872), Har Bilas
Sarda (1867) Lala Lajpat Rai (1890), Dayananda Saraswati (1870), BS Moonje
(expressed admiration for Hitler) and Keshav Baliram Hedgawar (founded the
RSS)”….

Kissoon: Fourthly, Ms. Gibson dug herself in a hole from which she can never recover when she opined that Hinduism
and Nazism are closely related and desire to kill unwanted people. Nazism found a home in Italy and Germany
where millions were slaughtered based on the inner tenets of the ideology. In comparison, no Hindu country has
practiced genocide,

Rebuttal: Bascom again:

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this phrase from Mr. Kissoon "In
comparison, no Hindu country has practiced genocide". Has he already forgotten
the massacre of over 2000 Muslims in Gujarat in March 2002? Perhaps 2000 Indian
Muslims dead is not sufficient to be classified as genocide?

Kissoon: If, as Ms. Gibson argues Hinduism is cast in fascist tones with a sadistic caste system, then why does India
continue to be one of the world’s great democracies while its non-Hindu neighbours, Pakistan and China, are
permanent boiling cauldrons?

Rebuttal: How stable is Hindu-dominated India today? See the post-2000 articles by Indian nationals at pages 31 and 33
of this document (Neria Harish Hebbar, MD: “Reformer Wanted: Hinduism at the crossroads in India”;
http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/063.htm, and J. Ajith Kumar: “Reforms in Hindu caste system”;
http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/054.htm . These reports seem to offer a balanced, current perspective of life in
India without pandering to Kissoon’s idea that everything is idyllic.

See also the 1999 Human Rights Watch Report: http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india and note the
similarities of parts of the report to the Guyanese equation:

“As documented throughout this report, the perpetuation of human rights abuses
against India’s Dalit population is intimately connected to police abuse. Local police
officials routinely refuse to register cases against caste Hindus or enforce relevant
legislation that protects Dalits. Prejudiced by their own caste and gender biases, or
under the thumb of influential landlords and upper-caste politicians, police not only
allow caste Hindus to act with impunity but in many cases operate as agents of
powerful upper-caste groups to detain Dalits who organize in protest against
discrimination and violence, and to punish Dalit villagers because of their suspected
support for militant groups.” (http://hrw.org/reports/1999/india/India994-
04.htm#P550_72244) …

“In a region where tragic massacres repeat themselves with monotonous regularity,
the state’s response is predictable and misdirected—setting up more police camps
and increasing the financial allocation for anti-Naxalite operations... The issues
remain the same; the landlord army is different each time. We are condemned to
reiterate the same demands each time and like some ritual drama whose script is
familiar to all, the same events are re-enacted each time, drawing the same reactions
from the state... One has to remember that the dreadful reality of bloody massacres
are the outcome of [the state’s] refusal to address basic questions of agrarian
struggle”. (People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Agrarian Conflict in Bihar and the
Ranbir Sena, Oct.1997:http://hrw.org/reports/1999/india/India994-06.htm#P712_120549)

Kissoon: Keane Gibson’s book is an extremely poor, and is in fact a propagandistic attempt at revisionist history…. Her
booklet is an unapologetic regurgitation of racist diatribes for which she may well get herself into trouble with
the law…. But for now readers should be introduced to samples of her fictional account of Guyanese history. …
Rebuttal: Again Bascom:

“Mr. Kissoon then states "…and with the exception of Surinam, Fiji and Guyana,
all other Hindu countries…."
“Clearly and incontrovertibly Mr. Kissoon is declaring Guyana to be a Hindu
country! This is a racist remark; it is offensive and clearly at odds with all the
principles of a multi-racial Guyana. I call on Mr. Kissoon to publicly apologise and
make a full and unequivocal retraction.”

And thereby lies some answers for Mahadeo (“This book can only spread fear”; (SN Monday, November 10th 2003;
http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=512302). The sum total of all the logical flaws in the denunciations thus far does
not make for Gibson’s work to be considered as “demonization”, nor “the ranting of a maniac” for that matter. The overall
impression, on the contrary, is an ‘expose’ of a situation that makes for careful study and review, particularly if there is
evidence of a similar outworking of circumstances in India, and, closer to home, in other multi-ethnic societies like Trinidad
and Suriname.

Perhaps the quiet erection of an 86-foot statue of Hanumanji on the West Coast can assist us is assessing a developing dilemma. The
President’s wife will commission it this weekend 25th April. Has one already been erected in Trinidad? What about plans for one in
Suriname?. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Professor Davies as he considers the Indian/Fijian dilemma:

"As for Indians, they must wake up to the fact that they are not innocent hostages to the constitutional problems
of today. The chauvinistic attitudes manifested by many Fijians over the last decade or so - and embodied in the
1990 Constitution - are not simply the product of jealousy at the business and professional success of the Indian
community, convenient though it may be for some to believe it. In no small measure they are a direct reaction to
the decades of condescension, marginalisation and all too frequent naked racism levelled against the host
people, culture and traditions. Any vision of creating here a "Little India of the South Pacific", of developing a
society in which Fijians play a secondary role, is a dangerous and futile illusion."

(Canadian Professor Counters the Universal Perception of Indian-as-Victim;


http://maorinews.com/karere/fiji/fiji006.htm)

Another answer may lie in the fact that Mahadeo does not argue philosophically or academically, but raises the issue of “birthright”,
“heritage” and “dharma”. This is not surprising, and reflects an overall inability by everyone so far to effect a distinction between
“Hinduism the culture/ideology” and “Hinduism the religion”, and the inevitable clashes with the concept of the “democratic idea” in
the multi-ethnic secular state. That a distinction CAN be made is debatable, but Mahadeo’s words demand a corresponding response.
We can add to these comments those of Vishal Mangalwadi for perspective: He writes about the inevitable confrontation between the
Hindu “culture” and “democracy”: “Why is Hinduism Collapsing”: http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/articles/collapsing.htm;
posted November 12, 2002 …

“The growing power of Hinduism threatens "Lower" caste Hindus who were beginning to recover
human dignity and a sense of equality under liberal democracy. Hinduism fosters oppression because it is
based on the notion that some people are inherently more worthy than other people. Officially (not
religiously), Indians are categorized as follows:

1. Forward Castes --- Approx. 15%


* Brahmins (Priestly class; created from god's head)
* Kshatriyas (Ruling classes; created from god's arms)
* Vaishyas (Business classes; created from god's belly and thighs)
* Educationally and socially advanced Tribes and Shudras (e.g. Marathas & Jats;
created from god's feet)
2. Backward Castes --- Approx. 52%
* Shudras (serving castes, peasants; created from God's feet)
3. Scheduled Castes --- Approx. 16%
* Outcastes, Dalits
4. Scheduled Tribes ---- Approx. 7%
5. Minorities (Some Scheduled Tribes are Christian and some
"Backward Castes" are Muslims.) …

“The road ahead will be bumpy. A Hindu-Muslim civil war (as I have suggested in Spirituality of Hate) in
India is a distinct possibility, and that could lead to Islamic rule in India. A caste civil war over the issue
of "Reservations in Private Sector" is also a very real possibility. Either or both scenarios would have
far-reaching consequences for the future of Hinduism.”
“Empires that have lost credibility and the moral right to exist can continue to exist like buildings with
poor foundations or trees with rotten roots. They collapse only when a tremor or a flood hits them.
Likewise, untrue ideologies tend to continue until truth liberates their victims.”

Again, unless the Hinduism being practiced in India is different from that in Guyana (in which case it is not Hinduism), the fact is that
caste-discrimination in whatever form in whatever country is now a global concern (with Hinduism being considered its definitive
vehicle or standard-bearer), then Mahadeo should consider excepts from the report by Human Rights Watch, “Caste Discrimination: A
Global Concern”, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm#P358_71817 that go some way to answering
his question: “Was I born under a dharma that targets a specific class of God’s creation for extinction”?.

“India's caste system is perhaps the world's longest surviving social hierarchy. A defining feature of
Hinduism, caste encompasses a complex ordering of social groups on the basis of ritual purity. A person
is considered a member of the caste into which he or she is born and remains within that caste until
death, although the particular ranking of that caste may vary among regions and over time. Differences
in status are traditionally justified by the religious doctrine of karma, a belief that one's place in life is
determined by one's deeds in previous lifetimes….”

“…. Often, rigid social norms of purity and pollution are socially enforced through strict prohibitions on
marriage or other social interaction between castes. While economic and social indicators other than
caste have gained in significance, allowing intermarriage among upper castes, in many countries strong
social barriers remain in place against marriage between lower and higher castes”.

We can end our investigation of Kissoon, Hackett and Mahadeo here.

Finally, it is also interesting to note that Evan Radhay Persaud of the IAC made the totally bizarre statement (under sworn testimony)
on the opening day of the open hearing that “there were no castes” in Guyana. We look forward to his submission of two “1967
documents” that prove same. Compensating scrambles by Prem Misir and Savitri Mootoo (a Christian) to say that, while they do exist,
they are not in the “pure” form that exists in India, illustrate the embarrassment that the IAC must now endure. Mootoo’s analogies to
Christianity are … grotesque. The IAC should now prepare a position paper on “casteless” Hinduism.

The point is that careful investigation reveals a prima facie case that the initial objections to Gibson’s book are in the main unsound,
argumentative in the extreme, and (apparently) calculatedly misleading. With so many discrepancies in the initial denunciations, the
general athmosphere that should inform the general debate is that much more imbued with mistrust as to their motives.

We must now address the details in each of her other chapters … something which the IAC has studiously ignored as it tried to focus
attention on the “caste” issue.

Part 3
May 4, 2004

THE OVERALL APPROACH:

We have mentioned before the role that Dr. Frederick Kissoon and Prem Misir seem to have adopted as the spokesmen of the Hindu-
Nationalists agenda in Guyana, and it permeates to the primitive abuse that Kissoon frequently launches at the Black academic-staff at
the University Of Guyana through his seemingly unlimited access to the media. His most recent target in that regard seems to be Dr.
Clive Thomas, the renowned Guyanese economist, who has been very studied and almost passive in his response (or lack thereof). To
the extent that Kissoon now shifts gears to address Kean Gibson regarding her book, one important point stands out: a further
sampling of his “political” comments below illustrate the extent that disinformation may have his real specialization while studying in
Russia.

Kissoon: “Her text … is based entirely on hearsay rather than on scholarly materials. Ms. Gibson’s book is pure fantasy
and extreme propaganda.” (Kissoon ignores her 46 academic references and 328 footnotes).
Kissoon: “In adopting an iconoclastic style, one naturally puts a radical and unique interpretation to past events. In the
case of Gibson, there is simply no radical analysis but a highly-charged, emotional opinion-making process of
events in the sixties”. (Kissoon again ignores her 46 main references and 328 footnotes, and summarily
dismisses … as in ignores … her debate on “current” issues that illustrate the natural outworking of her
theory)
Kissoon: “There is absolutely no serious attempt or any attempt at all to dissect important, crucial events and give them a
scholarly assessment”. (Kissoon ignores all of Chapters 3 and 4 in Kean Gibson’s work)
Kissoon: “Ms. Gibson may not have been the only composer of this little book or may have been incited to write this
emotional appeal as part of an extremist, racist fringe group to which she belongs. Her booklet is an
unapologetic regurgitation of racist diatribes for which she may well get herself into trouble with the
law”.(Kissoon does not feel that he owes his readership an explanation of who this “extremist, racist
fringe group” is.)

Our conclusion: THESE COMMENTS BY FREDERICK KISSOON ARE NOT TRUE, AS THE
EVIDENCE/ARGUMENT BELOW WILL ILLUSTRATE.
The comments amount to academic misinformation on a scale that approaches deliberate disinformation,
given Mr. Kissoon’s unlimited access to column-inch space in the local print media.

The author clearly uses many texts in establishing the intellectual and analytical framework for her study. While her conclusions (if
not her work) is groundbreaking and original, an assessment of her work and her argument is an assessment of the references she uses,
listed below (all 46 of them, not to mention her 328 references). In fact, if anything, Dr. Gibson should be applauded for her restraint,
since the deeper one assesses her work, the more revealing the Hindu-Nationalist agenda in the diaspora becomes, especially as it
relates to political opportunism and methodology in states with weak commercial and agricultural sectors. That states of this type will
inevitably either be “Black” (as in non-Indian, non-white), or “developing”, or “underdeveloped”, raises the debate to another level
altogether, and seems well worth looking into. Lincoln Lewis will, I am sure, address some of these issues further in his paper on
“Economic Genocide in Guyana”. While Kissoon and the Indian Arrival Committee are on record as saying that she bases her treatise
on the work of “an obscure sociologist”, the reader is invited to peruse the references listed below that Gibson ACTUALLY uses to
get a feel for the untruth that Kissoon seems committed to.

1. John L. Hodge, “Domination and the Will in Western Thought and Culture”, in Cultural Bases of Racism and Group
Oppression, eds. John L. Hodge, Donald K. Struckman and Lynn Dorland Trost (Berkeley, California: Two Riders Press,
1975).
2. Charles W. Mills, The Racial Contract (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997).
3. Alvin O. Thompson, Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Guyana, 1580 – 1803 (Bridgetown, Barbados: Carib
Research & Publications Inc., 1987).
4. L. Hinton, Flutes of Fire: Essays in Californian Indian Languages (Berkeley, CA: Heydey Books) cited in
Communicating Gender, Suzanne Romaine (Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999).
5. Stokley Carmichael, speech delivered in Seattle, Washington, April 19, 1967, cited in The Language of Oppression, Haig
A. Bosmajian (Lanham: University Press of America, 1983)
6. James Valentine, “Naming the other: calling, becalling and the inflation of euphemisms,” Language and Society, 1995,
cited in Romaine’s “Communicating Gender”.

7. David Theo Goldberg, “The Social Formation of Racial Discourse”, in Anatomy of Racism, ed. David Theo Goldberg
(Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1990)
8. John L. Hodge, “Equality: Beyond Dualism and Oppression,” in Anatomy of Racism, ed. David Theo Goldberg
(Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1990)
9. Alvin O Thompson, The Haunting Past: Politics, Economics and Race in Caribbean Life (Jamaica: Ian Randle
Publishers, 1997)
10. Maurice St. Pierre, “Anatomy of Resistance: Anti-colonialism in Guyana 1823-1966 (London: McMillan, 1999).
11. Pliny, 1947, Natural History, Trans. by H. Rackham, (London: Heinmann, 1947), as cited in Thompson, The Haunting
Past.
12. Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (Orig. Pub. 1774; Reprint, London; Frank Cass, 1970), cited in
Thompson, The Haunting Past.
13. Brian L. Moore, Cultural Power, Resistance and Pluralism: Colonial Guyana 1838 – 1900 (Kingston: University of the
West Indies Press / McGill-Queens University Press, 1995)
14. A.R.F. Webber, Centenary History and Handbook of British Guiana (Georgetown: Argosy, 1931).
15. George W. Roberts, “Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean,” Population Studies 7 (1954).
16. Clive Y. Thomas, Poverty and the 1999 Guiana Survey of Living Conditions. Report Prepared for the United Nations
Development Project, Georgetown, Guyana (Georgetown, Guyana: Institute of Development Studies, University of
Guyana, 1999).
17. Brackette Williams, Stains on My Name, War in My Veins: Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle (Durham:
Duke University Press, 1991)
18. Mary Noel Menezes, The Amerindians in Guyana: 1803 – 73 (London: Frank Cass, 1979)
19. Webber, Centenary History and Handbook of British Guiana
20. Brian L. Moore, Race, Power and Social Segmentation in Colonial Society: Guyana after Slavery, 1838 – 1891 (New
York: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 1987)
21. Latin American Bureau, Guyana: Fraudulent Revolution (London: Latin American Bureau (Research and
Action), 1984.
22. Jai Narine Singh, Guyana: Democracy Betrayed (Kingston, Jamaica: Kingston Publishers Ltd.., 1996)
23. G.S. Ghurye, Caste and Race in India (India: Popular Prakashan, 1969).
24. Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu?: The Hinduism Primer (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1992)
25. Sydney King, Next Witness (Georgetown, Guyana: Labour Advocate, 1962)
26. Eusi Kwayana (Sydney King), Guyana, No Guilty Race (Georgetown, Guyana: The Free Press, 1998).
27. Fr. Andrew Morrisson, Justice: The struggle for Democracy in Guyana 1952 – 1992 (Georgetown, Guyana: Fr. Andrew
Morrisson, SJ, 1998)
28. Paul Johnson, Enemies of Society (Simon & Schuster, 1977) cited in Gladstone Holder, “One More River” …, The Sunday
Sun (14 October, 2001)
29. Hamilton Greene, From Pain to Peace (Georgetown, Guyana: Hamilton Green, 1987)
30. Cheddi Jagan, The West On Trial: The Fight for Guyana’s Freedom (Berlin, GDR: Seven Seas, 1980).
31. Tyrone Ferguson, To survive Sensibly or to Court Heroic Death: Management of Guyana’s Political Economy 1965 –
1985. (Georgetown, Guyana: Tyrone Ferguson, 1999)
32. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1967)
33. Kean Gibson, Comfa Religion and Creole Language in a Caribbean Community; Kean Gibson (Albany: State
University of New York Press, 2001).
34. Roger Abrahams, Singing the Master: the Emergence of African-American Culture in the Plantation South (New York:
Penguin, 1992)
35. Guyana Human Rights Association, Ambivalent About Violence: A Report on Fatal Shootings by the Police in Guyana
1980 – 2002 (Georgetown, Guyana: GHRA, February 2002)
36. A Civil Society Document, National Development Strategy: Eradicating Poverty and Unifying Guyana (Georgetown,
Guyana, 2000)
37. Michael Burnleigh and Wolfgang Wipperman, The Racial State: Germany 1938 – 1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1991).
38. Edward Said, “Zionism from the standpoint of its victim”, in Anatomy of Racism, ed. David Theo Goldberg (Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1980).
39. George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (New York: Howard Fertig, 1985)
40. John L. Hodge, Cultural Bases of Oppression and Group Oppression, eds. John L. Hodge, Donald K. Struckman and
Lynn Dorland Trost (Berkeley, California: Two Riders Press, 1975).
41. Ravi Dev, “Aetiology of an Ethnic Riot,” in Launching of Guyana Indian Foundation Trust (GIFT) and Symposium on
Civil Disorder (Georgetown, Guyana: GIFT, 1998).
42. Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and The Colonized (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991)
43. The Guyana Chronicle
44. The Stabroek News
45 The Kaieteur News
46. The Guyana Review

"Political studies in Guyana blame the current social and economic problems on the ethnic
conflict between Africans and East Indians, but none have attempted to aggressively debate
the racist principles operating in Guyana that are at the center of the problem and hence the
source of the problem …. What is needed … is recognition that racism is itself a political
system, a particular power structure of formal and informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and
norms for the differential distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and
burdens, rights and duties.” Kean Gibson, page 2

THE USE OF LOCAL MATERIAL

It is possible for an academic work become so steeped in mainstream “reference” that it becomes sterile, its “cleanness” a function of
the delicate side-stepping needed to avoid deep poodles in the community psyche.
Gibson’s work is no such text.

Where is the greatest source of intellectual outlet and social voice currently in Guyana? The Internet? The Chronicle? The Stabroek
News, The Kaieteur News? Publications thru the University of Guyana? The NACTA Poll? Letters to the Editor? Political
Commentators/Columnists? The President? The Leader of the Opposition? The Church?, The CIOG?, The Parliament? Channel 6?
Channel 9? Channel 65?, Channel 28?, Channel 11? The Talk Show Hosts?, The people, generally? …

The author apparently believes that they have equal weight, and has used them all … or most of them, anyway. Who can fault her
effort to record the air-talk and the street-talk of Guyanese, perhaps for the first time in a book of this nature? The real questions are:
Do we KNOW the talk to be true? What, exactly, in Dr. Gibson’s book will prove to be false when subjected to scrutiny? And,
how REAL has been the scrutiny thus far? Does everyone really have a “voice” in Guyana? Is “freedom of speech” real if
there is no “stage” from which to articulate … so much howling at the moon? Is the real tragedy of the work the fact that it
was not the “University of Guyana Press” that commissioned the work?

This raises another question: If an opinion has not been previously “published”, nor “peer-reviewed”, nor sanctioned by the “senior
members” of a party, nor censored first by someone, does that opinion therefore have no merit?

The answer must be: “Of course not!”

On the other hand, who sets the standards (NOT the limits) for scholastic liberty relative to other essential standards for fairness and
balance?

The answer must be: “More scholarship and opportunity in rebuttal, review, continuing research and publication!” The truth will out,
if scholarship has (is allowed) a voice.

Given the intellectual apathy and paternalistic monocracy described in Part 2, and below, by Kampta Karran (do a study to see, by
column inch, whose views gets published, and who inevitably gets editorial licence in the local print media) that prevails in each local
media house, the closest many will ever get to “being published” is the odd letter to a local editor (who usually has reserved for
himself/herself a column larger than any one of the other letter-writers, and uses bolder type, and even a border, to distinguish the
“other” submissions from his/hers). If the editor refuses to publish your letter, then what does the typical Guyanese do?
I say intellectual apathy because which of the editors of the current dailies has been published in the last 10-15 years? Indeed, which of
the contributors in Parts III and IV of this document have sought to develop their ideas beyond the very incisive and very relevant
points that they each make, to the level of booklet and book?. Which of the more vocal political commentators in our midst has
published recently … so allowing his/her ideas to be held up to the light of scrutiny in perpetuity?

If none, then why not?

The fact of the matter is that a published work endures, while miscellaneous genuflections to the editor’s sword do not.

Kampta Karran, again, is in no doubt about the power of the monocracy:

“The construction of knowledge is a serious matter. It has to be facilitated by hegemonic power of one
sort or another. For illustration, I will use Dr Kean Gibson's Cycle of Racial Oppression and Dr
Judaman Seecoomar's Contributions Towards the Resolution of Conflict in Guyana. Both books are
recent and were presented to the public in Guyana. Yet those who have the capacity and the space to
engage in public discourse chose to deal with Dr Gibson's work while Seecoomar's is ignored. Why? Be-
cause this writer is alienated from the institutions that are responsible for knowledge making. Those who
present their writings in the public domain have kept their silence and after a time this very valuable
book would vanish as if it has never been written.” (See Page 18; SN of Wednesday November 12, 2003;
“Mr Seecoomar’s book on conflict resolution deserved much more attention”).

The next task of the church, therefore, will be to see what Seecoomar brings to the table. It must do so with intensity and detail, and so
be in a position to feed its members with ALL sides of the issue.

One senses that the silence of the best and brightest among us must end … soon. One also senses that Kean Gibson’s work is the (as
Hackett put it) lightning rod in that regard. There will now be a compensating rush to publish rebuttals and confirmations, which
will be good for the community psyche as issues are sifted and analyzed and refined.

Again, the fact of the matter is that a published work endures, while miscellaneous genuflections to the editor’s sword do not.
This is why this multi-tiered approach to analyzing the book was adopted. It would be fair to say that each of the samples of
“published” local opinion at each of the two Levels Of Perspective ALL cry out for recognition of “their” points of view. This
in itself is significant, because each contributor is helping to articulate the fears and concerns that had hitherto been swept
under the carpet, and SOMEONE had to take the totality of some if not all of these fears and make more sense out of it than
“accuse”, “deny”, “re-accuse” and “re-deny”.

VERDICT: From an academic standpoint, this is precisely what Gibson has done.

“The defining of race as a political system means that it can be defined as a “Racial Contract”
– a contract just between the people who count, the people who are really people. Although
this study of racism in Guyana is not a standard political study of Guyana, it is a study of race
in a political context – the context in which power is contested.” Kean Gibson, 2003, p.3

Part4
May 11, 2004

Mahadeo: I am neither interested nor bothered by what Dr Gibson has written about my heritage….I am angry that my
heritage was attacked and brutally branded as the most evil happening on this planet, and more particularly
Guyana.
Ellis: I have just read Dr. Kean Gibson’s book …and really cannot understand what all the fuss is about! Dr Gibson is
very brave to express what many Black people feel and what many East Indians in leadership positions know, in
their hearts, that they are pursuing.

Apart from Mahadeo’s reference to “birthright” and “heritage” (a troubling intimation of privilege and preference entirely reminiscent
of caste and social order totally at odds with liberal democracy) and the excesses thereby perpetuated under that same perception as
outlined in the Human Rights Watch Report at http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india) it would be fair to say that the views of the
two gentlemen above represent the current position that many Guyanese will adopt, EVEN WITHOUT READING THE BOOK.

Conceivably, however, each of these gentlemen is immediately wrong: Mahadeo HAS A DUTY to be concerned about what others
think or write; while Ellis HAS A DUTY to empathize with others in his community even where he believes the issues are obvious.
Each of us has a duty to dissect all the issues, search out every claim, and thereby prove everything.

1. THE RATIONALE: Chapter 1, Page 1

“…. The relationship of the religion to Guyanese society meant that I had to examine the
formation of Guyanese society and the formation of the racial stereotypes that operate in the
society. I noted at the time that there was a similarity between European racism and East
Indian racism as practiced since 1992 in that both appear to be quite pernicious, and also that
nothing had changed in East Indian sentiments between those expressed around the time of the
1961 general elections and that of 1997. This does not mean that Africans are not capable of
group oppression as seen by the authoritarian rule of the African-dominated People’s National
Congress political party. But there is a fundamental difference between African racial
oppression and that of Europeans and East Indians in Guyana. This study looks at the causes
and justification for racism in Guyana and argues that the differences between the three
different types of racism lie in culture.”

The questions that should logically address the ERC from this initial rationale are:

1. How well does Gibson rationalize the “formation” of Guyanese society and the “formation” of racial
stereotypes that operate in our society?
2. How well is “European racism” and “East Indian racism as practiced since 1992” shown to be “quite pernicious”
(as in harmful, insidious, spiteful, malicious)?
3. What are the “East Indian sentiments” that Gibson maintains have not changed between 1961 and 1997?
4. How well does Gibson characterize the “African group oppression” as seen in the “authoritarian rule of the
African-dominated People’s National Congress”? and …
5. How well does she illustrate the “fundamental difference of culture” between “African racial oppression” and
“that of Europeans and East Indians” in Guyana?

Regarding questions 2, 3, 4 and 5 … they are best addressed as we contemplate chapters 3 and 4.

We also note that Gibson may have presented much of this information in her previous book: “Comfa Religion and Creole
Language in a Caribbean Community”. This means that this book also has to join Seecoomar’s as an issue of investigation
in the future.

Regarding Question 1. Curiously, none of her critics in the previous pages take serious issue with her hypothesis as
outlined above in Chapter 1. In fact Hackett (See page 44 of this document) goes on record to suggest that …

“From pages 4 ( 21 she gives a clear and concise scholarly description of the bases and effects
of European oppression. There is little to complain about and much to praise in the first two
chapters”.

We have already referred to the general indecisiveness and inattention to detail that typified Hackett’s submission, and his
decision to thereafter ignore and trivialize the entirety of Chapter 1 (the conceptual framework that informs European
oppression in Chapter 2, and that similarly purports to indict East Indian oppression in Chapters 3 and 4) is another
spectacular error of judgment.

Indeed, to characterize the sum total of Chapters 1 and 2 as “standard historical fare” is to ignore the concept of “good and
evil” introduced in Chapter 1 that made for a linkage between the concept of linguistic dehumanization (p. 5) and
Thompson’s attestation (1987) that African enslavement in the Americas was the most draconian form of slavery known in
the history of mankind (p. 9 in the book). It is not lost on anyone that, to the extent that she makes this linkage to European
racism, and to the extent that she makes it clear that European and East Indian racism were similar, then she is signaling
her thrust in condemning an “East Indian” culture.

“I noted at the time that there was a similarity between European racism and East Indian
racism as practiced since 1992 in that both appear to be quite pernicious, and also that nothing
had changed in East Indian sentiments between those expressed around the time of the 1961
general elections and that of 1997”. Kean Gibson, p. 1

One dissenting perspective, therefore, is that she needed to take less liberty in alternating the use of the words “Hindu” and
“East Indian” … since, conceivably, not all East Indians are Hindus, and she makes no serious attempt to indict either
Islam or Christianity both as “culture” or “religion”. In that context, Mahadeo’s charge (p. 13) that “Dr. Gibson made no
exception about good and bad Hindus” deserves serious contemplation, even though he too made no effort to distinguish
‘Hindus’ from ‘Indians’. The converse also applies: does equating “African oppression” with “PNC-oppression” reflect an
inherent racism/oppression in the African population, distinct from a racism/oppression embodied in the action of the
political party called the People’s National Congress”? On the specific thrust in Gibson’s arguments, Ellis and Harry-
Voglezon take the dissenting perspective to its logical conclusion …

“I myself would have stressed, in that chapter, the difficulty of stereotyping East Indians. In
that chapter, Dr. Gibson observes, very perceptively, the relative egalitarianism in the Black
racial group which makes it possible to have vigorous opposition to Black leaders, like Mr.
Burnham, by Blacks like Dr. Walter Rodney. There is, in contrast, more solidarity among East
Indians and more acceptance of the concept of inequality. This has two consequences.
Stereotyping of East Indians becomes tempting. But even more significantly, vigorous
opposition to East Indian leadership by East Indians is rare, apart from the few instances,
dismissively regarded by the East Indian leadership as coming from "confused Indians." East
Indians should not therefore complain when they are stereotyped and when the stereotype
corresponds to the rigid-authoritarian and exclusivist behaviour of their leaders.
Methodologically, I would have given more emphasis to the difficulty which East Indians have
in understanding, and accepting, the concept of racial equality. If social inequality is ingrained
in the East Indian culture, it becomes impossible to break out of that cultural habit of thought
and accept Black people as equals especially when the distinguishing mark of inequality is skin
colour. That is the basic difficulty which East Indians have.” (Clarence Ellis; posted October 29th,
2003 at http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/commentary/ellis.html; see also p. 39 of this
document.)

And now Harry-Voglezon …

“However, caste thinking exists which in different contexts could be classified as deceptive,
polite or unconscious racism. The easiest way to test its existence is in telling your Indian
friend that you are interested in his sister or daughter. Listen carefully to the implications of
his excuses and explanations. Pay close attention to his subtle manoeuvres thereafter. There is
nothing which hurts him more, yet pleased only if the female is considered “second hand” or
rejected in her society. On the other hand he wants the best of other communities.”

“Another way of testing that thinking is in illustrating that the Indian community has a high
rate of prostitution and drunkards, closeted rapes and incestuous relations, domestic
oppression and abuse, a tendency to be more loyal to wealth than ideals and principles, more
exploitative to each other, and in many cases accomplices or directors in interracial crimes.

Illustrate too that if less Indians were involved in underground activities less Indians will die
by violence. Thereafter that Indian tends to be suspicious of or cautious towards you, increase
social distance between you and him and tries to influence every other Indian to do the same.
Why? He is conditioned to believe that he is culturally virtuous. Self-acknowledgement is not
natural to his cultural mind. He sees others. He does not see himself. One could best trace and
understand this element of the Indian psyche, and be appreciative of much of Dr. Gibson’s
book if he reads Caste, Class and Race by Dr. Oliver Crowell Cox, a most authoritative
sociological investigation of Hinduism. One may also read the writings of Mahayogi Sri
Aurobindo, one of India’s most gifted and profound thinkers, who among other things, points
out deficiencies of the Indian cultural mind. Note too V.S. Naipaul who observed “…the Indian
habit of exclusion, denial, non-seeing. It is part of what Nirad Chaudhuri calls the ‘ignoble
privacy’ of Indian social organization; it defines by negatives.”(The Overcrowded Barracoon,
p61.)” (Lin-Jay Harry-Voglezon: Posted November 18th. 2003; “Dr. Gibson's book: substantially
correct even with the debatable particularities” in the Stabroek News and at the web-site:
http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/letters/letters.html. See also p. 50 of this document.)

2. THE DEFINITIONS: Chapter 1, p. 2

Again, none of her critics offer any comment on her definitions and concept of “motivation for oppression”. In themselves,
they are crucial constructs that she has to be made to defend, for her entire argument about “culture” emanates from her
definitions. In the main, she uses John L. Hodge (1975) and Charles W. Mills (1997) …

“Racism is defined as the belief in the domination of one social group, identified as a “race”,
over another social group. It involves three basic components: (1) the belief that humankind
consists of well-defined “races”; (2) the belief that some races are superior to others; and (3)
the belief that the superior races should rule over the inferior and the attempt to put this into
practice…. The harm occurs when a group not only believes in its own superiority, but that its
superiority entitles it to rule and control. By racism is meant “the predication of decisions and
policies on considerations of race for the purpose of subordinating a social group and
maintaining control over that group”. Thus the problem of racism is not prejudice, but
domination”.

“What is needed … is a recognition that racism is itself a political system, a particular power
structure of formal or informal rule, socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential
distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties.”

Kean Gibson, pgs. 2 & 3, quoting Hodge/Mills

This curious avoidance of contact with the conceptual framework built by Gibson, and the comparatively merciless attack
on her motives and person begs the dearth of focus on the inevitable questions that surely must emanate from words like
these:

“ [The study attempts to account for African puzzlement about being defined as “criminals”
by East Indians, the pervasive culture that if you are not East Indian you are nobody; an
African-dominated police force that periodically kills Africans; a disregard for the laws of the
country by the government; corruption that is ruinous to the state, and an obvious attempt to
pauperize Africans. Some Africans are now wishing the authoritarian rule of the African-
dominated political party had continued and thus completely shut out the possibility of the
majority East Indians ever achieving political power] This study is an attempt to understand
racism in Guyana. It is an attempt to understand and characterize racism in the past and
present, (from the pre-colonial era to July 2002), and attempt to predict where the country
may be going in the future. The study brings to the fore the problems associated with
Hinduism – a religion that sanctifies racism - and a rise in Guyana of what one social
commentator describes as “neo-ethno-supremacists”. Hindu racism has always been a closet
problem in India, but now it is an open problem in countries where East Indians were taken by
the British.” Kean Gibson: Pages 1 & 2.

To the extent that Mahadeo personalizes the issues implicit in Gibson’s work, then it is useful to see that Gibson has stated
from the outset that her intention was to indict a “culture” born out of Hinduism rather than a person. That she does so with
such ruthless efficiency over 78 pages without any conciliatory padding is, after Ellis, one of the things that would scare
the Hindu reader. You have only to read Gibson’s work twice to understand that she means every word that she says, so
that looseness and excessive latitude with words does not seem to be an option. An illustration is the “harsh” insertion [our
brackets in quote above] of words of condemnation in an otherwise sedate and “traditional” opening … but at the same
time it illustrates an obvious attempt to search out some equally harsh truths.

We have mentioned before that the review process delineates to those tasked with critiquing the onerous responsibility of
doing so with more substance that Hackett’s reference to the fact that “her language descends to the level of the rag media
instead of maintaining a scholarly tone.” Consider again the words of Professor Davies as he considers the Indian/Fijian
example of racial tension and confrontation in Fiji:

“Finally, on a personal note, I recognise only too well the horrendous generalisations I have
made, the sins of stereotyping to which I have been guilty, my seemingly pathological emphasis
on identifying that which is ugly. I am, however, unapologetic. Political, social, economic and
constitutional progress demands that problems are confronted head on, that real fears,
aspirations and motivations are nakedly portrayed, even if this is at the cost of creating some
offence. That said, it must be pointed out that as well as being the home of some of my most
frustrating encounters, these islands and their peoples have been the source of the most joyous,
moving and enduring of experiences. Though clearly imperfect - like everywhere else - it is
nonetheless a wonderful country. In the often sordid constitutional exercise, no one should lose sight
of this.”

John Davies: May 24, 2000: Professor/Head, Department of Economics, Acadia University,
Nova Scotia, Canada … On the Source of Inter-Ethnic Conflict in Fiji:
http://maorinews.com/karere/fiji/davies.htm

So the questions for this section become:

1. Is there, or has Gibson illustrated in Chapters 2, 3 and 4, that there exists in post-1992 Guyana a “particular
power structure of formal and informal rule, socio socioeconomic privilege, and norms for the differential
distribution of material wealth and opportunities, benefits and burdens, rights and duties?
2. Is there, or has she illustrated, evidence of the pervasive culture that “if you are not East Indian you are
nobody”.?
3. Is there, or has she illustrated, evidence that the black-dominated police force has been used to “periodically kill
Africans” in a program of domination or subjugation?
4. Is there, or has she illustrated, a demonstrable case that the Hindu-dominated government has “a disregard for
the laws of the country”?
5.. Is there, or has she illustrated, evidence in post-1992 Guyana of “corruption that is ruinous to the state”?
6.. Is there, or has she illustrated, evidence that “some Africans are now wishing that the authoritarian rule of the
African-dominated political party had continued and thus completely shut out the possibility of the majority
East Indians ever achieving political power”.
7. Is there, or has she illustrated, evidence that “Hindu racism has always been a closet problem in India, but now
it is an open problem in countries where East Indians were taken by the British.”?

As to Question 2, this can be addressed initially with academic precision as has been done in the section following. The
others will be assessed in Chapters 2, 3 and 4.

3. JUSTIFICATION for OPPRESSION: Chapter 1, pages 4 - 6

Again, curiously, there is very little challenge by Gibson’s critics to her rationale with regard to “justification”. While this
is at once startling given the level and intensity of the denunciation, it is at the same time paradoxically understandable
given the stark and indisputable fact that Hinduism as a culture and religion is based on the act of naming: Again, Vishal
Mangalwadi: “Why is Hinduism Collapsing”: http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/articles/collapsing.htm; posted
November 12, 2002. This is repeated in its entirety for emphasis:

“Hinduism fosters oppression because it is based on the notion that some people are inherently more
worthy than other people. Officially (not religiously), Indians are categorized as follows:
1. Forward Castes --- Approx. 15%
* Brahmins (Priestly class; created from god's head)
* Kshatriyas (Ruling classes; created from god's arms)
* Vaishyas (Business classes; created from god's belly and thighs)
* Educationally and socially advanced Tribes and Shudras (e.g. Marathas &
Jats; created from god's feet)
2. Backward Castes --- Approx. 52%
* Shudras (serving castes, peasants; created from God's feet)
3. Scheduled Castes --- Approx. 16%
* Outcastes, Dalits
4. Scheduled Tribes ---- Approx. 7%
5. Minorities (Some Scheduled Tribes are Christian and some
"Backward Castes" are Muslims.) …

It is significant that Mangalwadi, in 2002, recognizes that the Hindu version of caste authorized by the Indian
government DOES recognize an all-encompassing fifth class called “Minorities”, placed in the order even lower
than the Dalits of traditional India. The point is that while Hinduism in Hindu-minimal societies will be strident
about “equality”, the reverse is true for Hinduism-dominant communities.

It is in this context that Gibson quotes Judge Gary Strankman (L. Hinton, Flutes of Fire: Essays in Californian Indian
Languages (Berkeley, CA: Heydey Books) cited in Communicating Gender, Suzanne Romaine; Mahwah, New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999).

“Naming is an act of power. In Genesis Adam’s first recorded act of domination is naming,
assigning the symbol, the act of I-am-he-who-tells-you-what-or-who-you-are. It is the ultimate
gesture of paternalism. The infant child is named. Similarly, the first response to the other, to
the outsider, is to assign a name. The one who assigns is the insider, the decider, the winner”.

To the extent, again, that Kissoon and Dev have gone to great lengths to intimate that the Hinduism of record is not the
Hinduism of fact in Guyana, then a question INEVITABLY arises: where do the other ethnicities stand in relation to those
disposed to a Hinduism-dominated culture? Again Ellis: (SN 11/24/03:
http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=843336) …

“The surprising fact is that not a single East Indian leader or leadership group has come out
and said that they are willing to share the same space with Black people on terms of equality.”

To the extent … and ONLY to the extent … that this maintains, then Ellis’ words are again prophetic, not at odds with
Gibson’s hypothesis vide Hodge and Mills …

“Methodologically, I would have given more emphasis to the difficulty which East Indians have in
understanding, and accepting, the concept of racial equality. If social inequality is ingrained in the
East Indian culture, it becomes impossible to break out of that cultural habit of thought and accept
Black people as equals especially when the distinguishing mark of inequality is skin colour. That is
the basic difficulty which East Indians have.” Clarence Ellis; posted October 29th, 2003 at
http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/commentary/ellis.html; see also p. 39 of this
document”.

So now Goldberg …

“… defining others so as to exclude them, is at once to constitute the other as enemy, to engage
him or her in relations of violence.”

Gibson p. 5, quoting Goldberg (David Theo Goldberg, “The Social Formation of Racial Discourse”,
in Anatomy of Racism, ed. David Theo Goldberg (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press,
1990)

In our context of the multi-ethnic state, as distinct from the relative homogeneity of the Indian sub-continent, does this
equate to: “If you are not East Indian, then you are nobody.”?

The truth of the matter is that few seem to have addressed the matter publicly outside of Dev’s attempt to rationalize a
federalist platform for ROAR, and Kissoon’s misadventure into denial outlined before. But if the above by Goldberg and
Ellis is not a strong enough indicator of the direction that a Hinduism-dominated culture is committed to heading, then
witness the words of Ramesh Gampat in eloquent contradistinction to the idea that “globalization” and “democracy” will
bring with it them unity rather than separation:

“With the spread of globalization and the erosion of the powers of the state, nationality and
nationalism are giving way to ethnicity. Ethnic identification, in my view, will be the most
powerful organizing and mobilizing principle in the history of mankind. It is, therefore, to our
advantage to recognize its inevitability and capitalize on it. Jews, for example, remain Jews,
regardless of geography; wherever they happen to live on this planet, they still identify with Israel,
which they see as their Motherland. Similarly, people of Indian origin are Indians, regardless of
where they happen to be living. Caribbean Indians, no less than African or European Indians, are still
Indians, not only by looks, but, more importantly, by our values, beliefs, philosophy, culture and
identity. Thus, unlike nationality, ethnicity transcends the narrow confines of states by nullifying the
geographical barrier, thanks to ongoing global forces which have brought into greater prominence
the imperative of ethnic identification. In an increasingly hostile world, we Hindus can only grow
stronger in unity. We must practice our culture unabashedly, without fear and without
reservation.”

(Dr. Ramesh Gampat in Hindu Jaagaranam: A magazine commemorating the visit of Pujya
KS Sudarshanji, Chief of the RSS to the Caribbean Hindu Community in New York, July 28,
2001: http://www.caribbeanhindu.com/Rameshji.htm)

This is as troubling as it is illogical in its representation of the concept of “globalization”. Worse, it could mean that an
obvious association with an Aryan concept of “Fatherland” repeats the similar association with Teutonic propaganda that in
the past has achieved the exact opposite of the noble thing it was supposedly intended to portray … since in its specificity it
denies a value, belief, philosophy, culture and identity … and a loyalty … that is “Guyanese”. It also is reminiscent of

Aryan protestations at ethnic “purity” that seem to belong to another time and place, but relates it now to Hinduism the
religion and Hinduism the culture. If this is the natural end of thinking and logic under Hinduism, then it is useful to
remember that it is the “ethnic identification” issue that is at the root of current turmoil in India, Pakistan, Palestine,
Kosovo, Fiji, Zimbabwe and until recently South Africa. Worse, it trivializes “nationhood” and “Guyanese-ness” in favour
of an allegiance to “Motherland” India that has obvious implications for issues such as territorial defence, as best illustrated
by the corresponding dilemma in India itself: see http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/063.htm.

Ganpat’s “worldview” is at once dismissive of Kissoon’s blustering on the issue of marriage, confirmative of Dev’s
“outcaste” position for Blacks and other minorities in the multi-ethnic state, and illustrative of a willful ignorance of the
pain and agony this “culture” is causing in India and every country where the Indian Diaspora resides, is also out of tune
with contemporaries like Ed Vishwanathan and Neria Harish Hebbar and J. Ajith Kumar on the subcontinent itself, and
eloquently illustrates Mangalwadi’s 1975 premise that “Hinduism would destroy democracy” because its essential core is
at odds with egalitarian democracy. The one spells the death of the other …

“India has not been the same since the riots and arson of the early 1990s. Now it seems that Sri
Digvijay Singh, the Chief Minister of MP, has also concluded that the Maharaja lobby can neither
turn the clock back to traditional Hindu social order, nor should it even attempt it. If the Maharajas
want to rule, they have to fight Brahmanism, not save it. They have to serve the oppressed to earn
the right to rule them. This calls for a whole new worldview and religious ethos – Something that
Hinduism simply cannot provide.

Empires that have lost credibility and the moral right to exist can continue to exist like buildings
with poor foundations or trees with rotten roots. They collapse only when a tremor or a flood hits
them. Likewise, untrue ideologies tend to continue until truth liberates their victims” (Vishal
Mangalwadi: “Why is Hinduism Collapsing”:
http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/articles/collapsing.htm; posted November 12, 2002.

As part of an outline of the development of Guyana through the “Indian presence”, and cast predictably in the role of
“Indian As Victim” (remember Davies on Fiji?) Gampat will, like Kissoon, provide in 2002 the validation for Gibson’s
hypothesis on “not-Indian nothingness”. The noble hopes and dreams of a united people under “One People, One Nation
and One Destiny” becomes an episode in post-experience name-calling and historiographical rectification:

“To crown it all, it was the official policy to create “one people” (which led to efforts to
douglarize the population) and thus destruction of culture and identity.”

(Dr. Ramesh Gampat; Caribbean New Yorker, Friday, May 3, 2002; Indian Arrival Day – 164th
Anniversary; http://www.caribbeanhindu.com/Rameshji.htm).

This statement more than anything else exposes the effort by Kissoon to trivialize the caste issue as it manifests through
opposition to intermarriage, itself presumably and reasonably the natural and “inevitable” consequence of many races
living together in the same space … and which circumvents the incestuous inbreeding and paranoia that occurs when
“race” or “skin colour” is accorded superior status to “citizenship”. Opposition to intermarriage, then, assumes a greater
significance that previously outlined by Kissoon:

A person born in a caste carries the name of that caste as a part of his surname. The division of the
people into various castes is said to be eternal so that no act of virtue or vice in this earthly life is
enough to make any change in the caste or social status of a man or woman. The caste system of
India has generally been regarded as an absurd, unhealthy social phenomenon, without parallel
elsewhere in the world (see Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, Madras,
1992, p. 187).
“A Sudra is debarred from marrying a woman of the higher castes; if he does, their offspring will
sink into a class even lower than his own. (See Wilkins, Modern Hinduism, London, 1975, pp. 247-
48.

So, finally, fact and perception collide …and to the extent that Harry-Voglezon’s perception is not impaired, then his
comment (outlined before) lines up with what is now common knowledge among Guyanese …

“Secondly, one gets the impression that the caste system is solidly institutionalized in Guyana.
That would be an error of fact. However, caste thinking exists which in different contexts could
be classified as deceptive, polite or unconscious racism. The easiest way to test its existence is in
telling your Indian friend that you are interested in his sister or daughter. Listen carefully to
the implications of his excuses and explanations. Pay close attention to his subtle manoeuvres
thereafter. There is nothing which hurts him more, yet pleased only if the female is considered
“second hand” or rejected in her society. On the other hand he wants the best of other
communities.”

(See Lin-Jay Harry-Voglezon: Posted November 18th. 2003; “Dr. Gibson's book: substantially
correct even with the debatable particularities”:
http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com/letters/letters.html. See also p. 50 of this document.).

The totality of the observation above does not sound like an “error of fact”, but is significant from two perspectives: (1)
that an informal local adaptation to the caste system has allowed Hindus to “want the best of other communities”, and; (2)
once again Voglezon is guilty of using the terms “East Indian” and “Hindu” interchangeably, and loosely. Now Harry-
Voglezon is unique in all the “pro-Gibson” analysts thus far in that he strongly disagrees with Gibson on the point that her
“attempt” is an indictment of the current government (read the PPP/Civic). To this end he, like Mangalwadi, maintains that
the PPP (by definition a communist party dedicated to ALL the working class) has to fight Brahmanism:

“Gibson seems to be misjudging the racial and political pragmatism of the PPP. That party, like
others, has racist individuals, but as an organization lacks a racist agenda. The PPP itself knows that
to allow the Brahminical logic to advance to its logical end would be inimical to its own comfort. As
Marxist/Lennists it limits the application of the Brahminical logic to racial mobilization,
manipulation and defence.” …

“From the book one gets the impression that the PPP is a Hindu party executing a racist ideology. It
fails to distinguish Hinduism the religion from Hinduism the culture. Consequently the relationship
between Hinduism and the Marxist/Lennist PPP is generalized. What aught to be pointed out is
that the political thinking of the PPP is ideologically dualistic, both Marxist/Lennist and
“apaan jhaat”. Both applied conveniently. As Marxist/Lennists they are equivalent to
Machiavellians, believing that the ends justify the means. The difference is, their ends are for the
“Dictatorship of the Proletariat” or the “working class” while Machiavellian ends are for individual
power. It is in this context that the “apaan jhaat” ideology of the PPP should be understood.”
(Voglezon, p. 50)

To the extent that he is right, nothing he says takes away from the social repugnance of “the ends justifies the means” and
“limiting apaan jhaat or Brahaminical logic to mobilization, manipulation and defence”, or any similar version propagated
by the political opposition. What Harry-Voglezon is describing here is the combination of dualism and culture in a
Hinduism-dominated environment. Ellis has already adverted to the PPP as “shouting left, but practicing right”, in essence
an accusation that “Marxisn-Leninism” becomes a convenient cover for some other philosophy (in his view). Consider Dr.
Ramesh Gampat and Dr. Somdat Mahabir, writing in the “unedited” style Kissoon accuses Gibson of, in one of his usually
vigorous defences of the Indian segment of the population:

“…We suppose that you have recognized the inconsistency here. Marxism/Leninism, as you
know, has no place for either religion or God. Indeed, Marx said that religion is the opium of
the people. Hinduism, on the other hand, is inconceivable without God – you cannot be a
Hindu and believe in the non-existence of God… We believe that these two positions cannot be
reconciled….”

(See Dr. S. Mahabir & Dr. Ramesh Gampat: Minister Persaud and The Impoverished Farmers of
Guyana. Source: Caribbean New Yorker, January 05, 2001;
http://www.caribbeanhindu.com/Rameshji.htm .)

More significantly, however, is that Hodge wrote the book on dualism, and here’s what he says about the mixture adverted
to by Harry-Voglezon:

“In contrast, the valuing of sameness is a likely result of the framework of dualism, especially
when dualism is combined with cultural bias. Cultural bias, a prejudice that favours one’s own
group, affects everyone. “All of us are moulded by our social life until we become its creatures;
we mistakenly take custom for human nature.” Once it is assumed that some people are evil,
people who are different are likely to be viewed with suspicion. If different from us, they are
probably better or worse, as we are good, most likely they are worse. Dualism and cultural bias
produce a deadly combination.”

(See Gibson p. 6; as she quotes John L. Hodge, “Equality: Beyond Dualism and Oppression,” in
Anatomy of Racism, ed. David Theo Goldberg (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press,
1990, p. 101)

4. SUMMARY: THE QUESTIONS THAT ARISE!

Historically, and currently, we can conclude that there is enough evidence to show dualism and cultural bias at the personal
or state levels in an environment that is extremely sensitive to race and place. There is a “valuing of sameness” that cannot
be denied.

To the extent that the initial denunciations have been found to be questionable, and questions about the theoretical
framework and scholarship have been invalidated, or not addressed at all, we find enough evidence in the literature, and the
reality of the local experience, and in the outlook of the available social commentary, that Gibson has established a prima-
facie case that a paternalistic dualism exists, and provision for “racial outsiders” in the extant (post 1992) political culture
has not been articulated or affirmed unequivocally on the basis of equality.

We need to affirm unequivocally as a nation whether “One People, One Nation, One Destiny” is equivalent to efforts to
“douglarize” the nation or to build lasting relationships between the races. Further, we need to affirm if the words in the
National Pledge “To Love My Fellow Citizens” are still illustrative of the national ethos.

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