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Blatant attack on human freedom

By admin / Posted on 01 September 2010

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I AM deeply shocked and grieved to hear the sad news about the merciless killing of twelve people who were members of Law Enforcement and civilians in Guyana. This massacre was in its worst form for the second time in less than a month. It is a blatant attack on human freedom of the citizens of Guyana. It is certainly anti-human.

I am shocked and outraged by the brutal slaughter of innocent lives once again that takes place in Guyana. The images of this brutal “cold blooded murder” shows clearly to the world that the killers have little respect for human life.

This action is disgraceful and has caused much disappointment in the international community. We demand that the Government of Guyana permanently and immediately renounce and stop this ongoing slaughter. We will work diligently to bring this issue to international light until you have ceased your reprehensible violence.

The New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir, Inc., Humanitarian Mission vehemently condemns this atrocity. We also affirm our solidarity with the Government and citizens of Guyana in this hour of crisis. We remember the relatives and friends of the victims in our prayer and share their sorrow and anguish. We hope the Government of Guyana will take urgent steps to protect the minorities, their lives, property and dignity.

I write to express our profound solidarity with the citizens and Government of Guyana and the victims’ families of the ruthless “brutal and cold blooded” murder that took the lives of 12 innocent people who resided in the village of Bartica.

This left so many families and the citizens across Guyana in desperate state of shock after the second massive killing within one month. We join with other fellow Guyanese across the world of goodwill and concern to condemn such acts of violence again.

We live in a world where violence is a daily reality for millions of people. In the events of Sunday, February 17, 2008, the people of Guyana had a direct encounter with violence of a horrific nature that will be remembered for a life time. With others across our nation and around the world, we, the General Board of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir, Inc., Humanitarian Mission – grieves over this shocking loss of life, offers our prayerful support to the families and friends of the victims, and has taken steps to reach out to our neighbors in service of comfort.

We believe that peace and security will not be found through military, economic, and political reprisal, or in the drastic curtailment of civil liberties in Guyana.

These avenues may satisfy the desire for retaliation and the appearance of greater security, but in the long term, they can neither change the conditions that give rise to eradicate this senseless act. The perpetrators of acts such as this one should be held accountable for their deeds. However, their apprehension and prosecution should be carried out within the rule of applicable law, without the loss of additional lives.

We see it incumbent upon our nation and upon us as an organisation, to seek to understand the roots of the anger and hatred harbored against the citizens. There may always be those whose religious or political extremism leads them to acts of violence. However, the seed-bed for the recruitment of large movements of extremist’s lies in ongoing social, economic, and political realities that can and must be recognised and addressed. This path holds the greatest promise for peace for the people of our nation.

Several persons, including members of Law Enforcement and abiding citizens of Guyana, lost their lives again suddenly. On them, death rained from the hands of another heartless, stone hearted human being, or so it seemed. And we are left to mourn their loss…our loss. In the face of a tragedy of such proportions silence seems to be the only appropriate response.  But I am reminded of the wise words of William Shakespeare:

“Live sorrow words; the grief that does not speak,

Whispers the o’re fraught heart, and bids it break.”

Death is almost always a painful thing.  When it comes to people in their youth, or in the prime of their lives; and when it comes so tragically and in such an unexpected fashion as it did to our Guyanese brothers and sisters on February 17, in that senseless “brutal cold blooded killing” of such mind-boggling dimensions, the wrenching pain is unbearable and the grief unsupportable.  And the mind uncomprehending, asks:  Why? And again, Why?

I have this image of my Guyanese fellows sneeringly burnt on my mind and savagely tattooed on my soul:  There they lie, struck down in full bloom.  Death lies on them like some blight on my country’s fairest flowers.
Maybe Thomas Gray has it right:

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power

and all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave

Await alike the’ inevitable hour

The paths of glory lead but to the grave”

But why so unexpectedly, so tragically and so soon?  And why these innocent people? Why?

To die is always sad. But sadder still to die without realising one’s potential. And saddest yet to die a death so meaningless and avoidable like that, that struck in this “cold blooded murder” on February 18 2008.

As to the whys and wherefores of this tragedy, my friends, there will never be a reasonable answer, not now, not ever. But this I know: This is our grief and we must bear it calmly, heroically and with dignity. And, if it is any consolation to you who have lost loved ones, let me say to you with all my sincerity:  I, and your fellow Guyanese, feel in our hearts the pain that has been breaking yours since this sad news.

As we mourn the loss of our people and celebrate their lives, fate and faith remind us of the norms of civilised society with its attendant fragilities.

To provide comfort to grieving family members, and to garner some understanding of the tragedy, we must pause and reflect at this time of grief and mourning. For us Guyanese, this sadness and mourning has a special meaning to us as people of faith and concern. As Guyanese, they were hardworking, productive citizens. They had strong family ties and values. They worked hard for a living to support relatives. They worshipped through different faiths and prayed daily for guidance, understanding that fate might have its own design, agenda or prescription of how things will turn out. This humbling ever-presence of the unknown serves, usually, to anchor us more deeply to and to cherish the joys and gifts of daily living. And we can say accurately that our departed brothers lived such lives. More than that, they were good citizens.

We will celebrate the gifts that the lives of the slain produced. We will celebrate, too, that collective spirit of courage that has produced, in the aftermath of the catastrophe, so many heroes and precious, endearing memories of the best in human values that have been so apparent.

I encourage you to dig deep into your several faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Islam – to find that consolation and hope, that your faith offers.  In ordinary times you may have faith; in extraordinary times you must have faith. May our common grief and sense of loss, remind us of our common humanity and draw us closer to one another. And let us resolve so to live and serve in our time and generation that in the words of our national poet, Martin Carter: “Death must not find us thinking that we die”.

I implore you as you struggle to accept and integrate this great loss in your lives, and as you seek to honor the fond memories of the dear departed that you pledge that their dying would not be in vain.

You and I must eschew violence and the things that make for violence and set people against people in death-dealing hate. We must seek the peace that our several faiths teach, for ourselves; we must promote it assiduously; we must teach it to our children; that ours may be a better world and country in which people will not live in fear or die at the hand of violence. We pledge our full cooperation in the global determination to root out terrorism.

So will we give meaning and significance to the meaningless and senseless deaths of our fellow countrymen.  And, rising from the ashes of that baneful disaster, will be a new and triumphant day of hope for Guya
na.

To those of you who grieve, I offer my heartfelt condolences.  And I say to you: “All will be well; and all manner of things will be well.”  We will mourn our loss, but we will have hope.
The pilgrims have dipped beyond the horizon, in the dying twilight, you are gone friends. We love you. Good-bye!

PANDIT SURESH SUGRIM, New York

 

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