2007 Article (Stabroek News)
By Karen Abrams
For many of us living abroad, Guyana is like the love of our life that broke our heart. We ache for a reunion but we can’t because while the love is there, the trust is gone. Many of us have been hurt and deceived by our love and we’re just not sure if we’ll be hurt again if we reinvest our emotions. If we trust again and things work, life will be unimaginably sweet. If our plans don’t work out, we’ll be reliving the worst pain imaginable at a time when we can least afford to.
And while our doubts persist, your sweet lips beckon us with words of love and encouragement, but your actions speak otherwise. Some friends and family members tell us to forget you; some say we’ll only be hurt again. And we ponder whether the sweetness of connecting with you again is worth the risk of hurt and pain? Many have of course moved on. But some can’t stop thinking about you. Do you know we feel this way? Do you know how much power you still hold over us? Many of our best experiences are associated with Guyana. We love when we meet other Guyanese and reminisce about the past . We religiously attend the Guyana events, Guyana parties, old school reunions, Labor Day here, Memorial Day events there, Caribana in Canada; always searching for a familiar face, a familiar place, a mutually familiar experience.
We listen for news of our love. Like clockwork we read the daily news online. We yearn for some news, any news to fulfil our need for you. The news is rarely encouraging and it often reinforces our decision to move on. When we hear some good or interesting news, we circulate it with lightening speed to our family and friends. We email, call and instant message. Our connection to you is ongoing, it’s perpetual, and it’s never ending. We create newsgroups and mailing lists on-line, yearning for an invitation from you, waiting for some encouraging news, and longing for something, anything to cause us to break down the barrier we’ve built to protect us from the hurt of recommitting to a wayward love.
So many of us have moved on, we have new lives and new loves. Some have been successful in forgetting the old love affair, but others with undying faith still maintain unbreakable connections. And though our new loves have provide us with much; new friends, new homes, material possessions, advanced education and for some wealth, we live with a perpetual ache, a hallow longing. Sometimes the absence becomes unbearable and we make the decision to come home to our love; in spite of the news and rumors we’ve read and heard. And more often than not, our visit reinforces the value of our love, but we leave knowing that our love is still not ready to commit to us.
For many of us, our hearts remain open and we’re poised to commit, but we want to feel like we will be received with reciprocal enthusiasm. Our old love knows what we want, what we need, we’re sure of that. We know what our beloved Guyana wants and needs from us and we’re willing to give some, all, anything to renew our connection.
Can we slowly rebuild that bridge of trust? The question is, should we even bother? Do we have a responsibility to a love in need, a love that is largely the reason we are who we are today? Should we commit to a love that doesn’t seem committed to us? But what do we ask from our old love? We ask for a Guyana where intelligence and hard work gives birth to upward mobility, a place were corruption is minimised, a place that is secure, a place where we won’t have to deal with the ugly bias of discrimination which many of us have struggled to overcome abroad, a place with good healthcare, running water and reliable electricity. A place where we don’t have to pay bribes to get many of our basic daily issues resolved, a free market economy, where we can invest our savings and expect reliable returns.
Is this too much to ask of our love? We know that our lovely Guyana is capable of providing these things for us. Our love should provide these elements for all of her people. The question is does our love want to? Is our love afraid that along with our investment dollars, we’ll bring strange ideas which will conflict with the status quo.
Living abroad has taught many of us the power of capitalism, the importance of economic independence and that economics often triumphs Politics as a solution for poverty reduction. To our lovely Guyana, we’d like to say; we have no designs on power. We have no wish to dominate, to stir up distrust. We want to reconnect with our old love. To feel the warmth of acceptance, to build a future based on mutual trust, respect and love. Economic independence is our priority. We plead with you; don’t force us to move on forever. While our love is still alive, we ask you to open your heart and accept us back.