Clarifying Kissoon’s misconceptions

first_imgDear Editor,Not all those who shout “dialectics, dialectics,” shall enter into the kingdom of philosophy.Mr Kissoon revealed the dialectical interconnection with his observation on Mr Deon Abrams, asking the question, “Was Freud at work there, Mr Kanhai?”Absolutely, Mr Kissoon. Freud was/is at work, here, there, and everywhere, even though he is no longer physically present. That is the nature of the dialectic, which also is at work, here, there, and everywhere. Like gravity, nothing escapes its grip, even when we are free-floating in outer space, imagining ourselves to be weightless – we are still caught in the iron grip of gravity, despite gravity being the weakest of the fundamental forces of nature.Albert Einstein gave us an explanation for gravity as being the geometry of space in his General Theory of Relativity. It is not an external force as propounded in Newtonian physics, but manifests itself in the nature of matter. It cannot be separated from matter, being part of the definition of matter itself. As Einstein claimed, Space, Time, and Matter were a Holy Trinity.I make this fundamental point in response to Mr Kissoon’s quote: “If Mr Kanhai claims to understand Marxism, then he must be familiar with how Hegelian dialectics work. Thus, he would know the dialectics have left his idol, Roopnaraine behind, or to put it another way, Roopnaraine chose to leave the dialect behind. After all, as a Marxist, Kanhai should remember one of the most profound observations by one of history’s most profound Marxists, Jean Paul Sarte – “Man makes the dialectic just as the dialectic makes him.”Mr Kissoon treats philosophy as ahistorical or supra-historical, raising himself above the crowd. He ties in “Hegelian dialectics” to Sarte’s dialectic, oblivious that the two dialectical moments cannot be the same, because one is historically located within the other, sublimating it. Secondly, to claim that anyone can choose to leave dialectics behind is similar to the claim that one can escape the effects of gravity.Several years ago, Mr Kissoon had a eureka moment when he claimed that he had found a fundamental flaw in Marx’s thesis that “being determines consciousness”. Mr Kissoon claimed that it was “consciousness that determines being”, standing Marx on his head. Mr Kissoon had confused the “ontological being” with the “epistemological consciousness”, an error in his argument to which he remains oblivious.Mr Kissoon, in recent times, claimed that the German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s book, <<>> was one of the greatest works of philosophy, a view shared by many philosophers. Heidegger is accredited with restoring the human content of philosophy, as compared to the philosophy of Marx and Hegel which dealt with world systems, supposedly reducing the individual to the will of the world spirit. Heidegger’s philosophy had its roots in Edmund Husserl, his teacher, and is closely linked to Phenomenology and Existentialism. Sartre is located somewhere between the Marxian/Hegelian camp and the Phenomenological/Existentialist one, having written his philosophical treatise, “Being and Nothingness” in response to Heidegger’s “Being and Time.” The role of the individual is given primacy over the system. I would leave it to Kissoon to locate himself in the realm of philosophy.Mr Kissoon’s attempt to label me is sterile, since he displays a profound ignorance of my philosophical groundings. His attempt to brand me a Marxist/Leninist reveals a dogmatic understanding of the word on his part. For his elucidation, let me “Ponty-ficate” on one ‘adventure of the dialectic (Merleau-Ponty),’ taken from a Marxist web-site.“Lenin’s work Materialism and Empirio-criticism played a decisive part in combating the Machist revision of Marxism. It enabled the philosophical ideas of Marxism to spread widely among the mass of party members and helped the party activists and progressive workers to master dialectical and historical materialism.”Ernst Mach was a brilliant scientist, whose name is immortalised in the “Mach’s Principle”. The term Mach speed/number is named after him. To ascribe to me an ideological label that does not grasp the immense scholarship noted above is rather misleading on the part of Mr Kissoon. Furthermore, it was Lenin who read Hegel during the revolutionary days to grasp the meaning of events unfolding around him, in order to formulate Government policies.Henri Poincare’s name is associated with Einstein’s theories of relativity. Professor Peter Galison noted that Poincare never understood his own theory, even though it was explained by Einstein with greater clarity. Poincare treated relativity as a quirk of nature, unlike Einstein who treated it as a fundamental law of nature, and this proved to be the critical difference.Einstein did the same with Max Planck who studied black body radiation, a stumbling block in physics which was resolved with “Planck law”. Einstein convinced Planck that the constant was a fundamental law of nature, enabling it to usher in the era of Quantum Dynamics.My point is that sometimes even the founders of scientific knowledge do not grasp their own theories. It is amusing when lesser mortals claim to understand them, casting names of philosophers and theories around like pearls to swine, with the intent not to enlighten but to obfuscate.Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” He was defining the law of the lever. In philosophy, where we stand define the view of the world that we see. A slave sees the world very different from the master, a point Hegel noted in his chapter on the master/slave dialectic. Both views describe the realities as experienced by each individual. Like a chess game, objectivity is defined not from any single player’s point of view, but from a point of view that encompasses both players, defined as a god’s eye view. The problem is that it is an individual who claims this role of being the embodiment of a trinity.Hegel noted that just as the possession of hands does not make us artists, likewise having a brain does not make us thinkers. He also informed us that the man and the boy both utter the same prayers to God, the former on the basis of his life’s experience, the other mere rote. This was not a condemnation of the boy, but an understanding of the stages of development, of both individuals and society. It is a natural law that “nature abhors a vacuum.” The human mind is not an empty vessel to be filled by knowledge. It is always filled with one set of knowledge, only to be replaced by another set in an ever-recurring process.The movies – “The Time Machine”, “Back To The Future”, The Butterfly Effect” and “Sound of Thunder”, etc, remind us that time is irreversible. Were we able to make one change with the past, the future would be fundamentally altered, sometimes beyond recognition. The problem is that we have no way of knowing it. The “What If” scenario is speculative in a meaningful sense of the word, in that it makes us conscious of the immense power we have in the present to determine the future. Use it or lose it!Kissoon only understands the present because it is the direct result of actions taken in the past. This is how life unfolds, even though we try to “reverse engineer” things. We are the architects of our destiny. To quote Marx, “men make history, not as they please, but dependent upon historical circumstances directly transmitted from the past… we wear the costume of the past…the dead weighs like a nightmare upon the living…” etc. We fail to recognise our handiwork when confronted by it.Let me close by asking Mr Kissoon which event in the history of the WPA helped or hindered the removal of the PNC in 1992? Which event in the history of the WPA helped or hindered the removal of the PPP in 2015?Finally, would Mr Kissoon kindly tell us what is his philosophical standing?Sincerely,Rohit Kanhailast_img read more

Any disrespect for the laws of our country will be totally rejected

first_imgDear Editor,Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan made all the right noises at the recent Noise Management Training Programme for police officers. He vowed, yet again, and in public, to ensure the enforcement of the laws governing noise nuisances, to reduce discomfort caused by noise pollution, and to build “a culture of law and order across the country”.Well, much can be said about the current state of law and order in Guyana where double standards, hypocrisy, bullyism, bribery, corruption and favouritism make up much of the accepted culture. The Minister is not unaware of this.However, I will take him at his word and I am, therefore, looking forward to spending a peaceful Mashramani and Carnival come 2020 at my Queenstown residence by which time I and most other citizens expect that Guyana will be viewed around the world as a democratic country where law and order are respected and upheld by everyone including the Government.To reduce the discomfort of the long-suffering residents of Queenstown and Kitty – I have written about this ad nauseam and will not go into the facts again – I expect that the Government of Guyana will ensure that the noise level of the music accompanying the respective parades will be within the legal limits, that the Mayor and City Council will not allow their vendors to pollute the environment with ear-splitting levels of noise, that all the police on duty will ensure the laws are upheld, and that lawbreakers will be charged, including the large corporations which add considerably to the pollution.Noise pollution is not only about the small bars and restaurants and the wedding houses with their deafening music but some of the main offenders come from officialdom itself and if a Government itself is disrespectful of the laws of a country, it is the utmost hypocrisy that it should expect its citizens to comply with any regulations at any level whatsoever.It is the primary duty and responsibility of a Government to uphold the country’s laws as stipulated by the Constitution which must be honoured as an inviolable document in which resides the rules that govern the very civility and moral accord of a nation. Without that respect, as Minister Ramjattan full well knows, all is chaos, confusion and discord.He is also aware that complying with the country’s laws is not a piecemeal affair whereby he or any of his colleagues in Government have the authority to decide which laws to enforce and which ignore.As citizens, we continue to hope that the double standards and corruption that prevail, and that any disrespect for the laws of our country will be truly and totally rejected. Then we will be able to move forward as a nation.Sincerely,Ryhaan Shahlast_img read more

GPL’s never-ending power outages

first_imgDear Editor,School has just reopened, and we are already having power outages (blackouts) around the clock, non-stop. I am very annoyed at this, and it does not make any sense why we are having a lot of power outages now, of all times. A lot of time was given to the Guyana Power & Light Inc to fix the issues of the numerous power outages. For the two-month break, we had less power outages that were bearable enough, given that the company fixes the problem. Now that school has reopened and power outages are on every day for long hours during the day and night, sometimes even continuing into the next day, it is very frustrating.Why is it that we have to have power outages, especially on the first day back at school? Businesses and schools are depending on the electricity to carry out their daily tasks. The students, most importantly, depend on the internet to get their research assignments and homework finished. The constant power outages are making our simple activities even more difficult, and are throwing more time off for us. We need to address this situation, and have it fixed for once and for all.I am very surprised that this isn’t a headline on the news and on the radio. We need to put more focus on this situation, and not let it slide away every time. It is time that we make a change in this regard. This is very sickening. Not every Guyanese can afford a generator, and it is very torturing at this point.From what I personally overheard on the radio, the announcer was saying so proudly that when we do have blackouts, the young generation should count themselves lucky and use it as a lesson for us to go to the library more and do research, and use candles to shed some light on our studies in the night. I am not nothing is wrong with that, but what message exactly are you trying to send to the young generation? We are not trying to head backwards, we should be progressing and have these major issues fixed. The younger generation is progressing, and technology plays a big role in our lives today. We cannot head back to those days; our elders certainly wouldn’t want it that way.Why hasn’t the Guyana Power & Light ever given a proper explanation to the public as to why we get power outages consistently? Is there a reason so major that it has to occur several times? There has to be a way for us to tackle this problem once and for all, and find a permanent solution that benefits all. We cannot let this matter be tucked away easily every time, and sit back and do nothing about it. We need to speak up, as Guyanese, and have this matter fixed. It is time enough that the Guyana Power & Light should stop playing these games with the citizens of this country, and get the problem resolved.Sincerely,Crystal-AnnRamrattanlast_img read more

Cross-dressers rob Kitty apartment building

first_imgSeveral armed men dressed in female attire executed a brazen robbery on an apartment building at Pere Street, Georgetown in the wee hours of Sunday.Based on reports gathered, two persons walked into the apartment complex about 00:15h and indicated their interest in renting a room. But as the employee on duty tended to them, one of the men whipped out a gun and demanded that he lay on the ground.The men tied and gagged the employee and made their way into several rooms in the lower flat of the building. They were later joined by three other men who were all masked. The men relieved the employee of an undisclosed sum of cash, two mobile phones and other items, including a flat-screen television set and a quantity of cold beverages.The men then made good their escape. The employee managed to untie himself and raised an alarm. The Police are in possession of the surveillance footage and they have launched an investigation.last_img read more

Saudi Arabia to Islamize Liberia, W. Africa?

first_imgA very detailed article written by three Muslim “women’s rights activists” from the middle east describes an alleged plan by Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Arab monarchy, to Islamize the entire world, the United States, Europe and Africa, using Liberia as fertile ground for its plans for West Africa.A 14-page, comprehensive and powerfully–written essay by three Arab women from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, respectively, one with a PhD and the others each with a Master’s degree, says the Saudis have developed a “game plan” to install a “Wahhabi-type Islamic regime in Syria that disproportionately disavows women, deprives girls of education and basic rights and darkens the prospects for equality between men and women in society. The article is entitled: “The Syrian War, Saudi Arabia’s Struggle for Global Influence and Control of Africa”.In addition, said the three female Islamic authors—Anahita Ghorbani, Iranian women’s rights activist, Yafiah Assouin, PhD, Syrian women’s rights activist and Shada Al Zahrani, Saudi journalist—the Saudis’ game plan “is not just limited to Syria.  It is also a broader and calculated drive to install Islamic political leaders and regimes in fragile regions of the world, particularly West Africa. It also aims to distort the way of life of the West through a full scale Islamization process—a process that enjoins men and the right to multiple wives and deprives women of humanity.The Daily Observer is endeavoring to contact Saudi Arabian embassies in the sub-region to get their reaction to these allegations.In his initial reaction to the article, Liberia’s chief Imam, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh, questions the authors’ understanding of the issues discussed in their article. “The document, although purported to be the joint work of so-called highly qualified female academicians and women’s right activists of the Middle East, notably Saudi Arabia MA, Syria PhD and Iran MA, [shows] their lack of knowledge of the thin and subtle line between Saudi’s domestic and foreign politics when it comes to religion and political leadership is unbelievable for their level,” explains Sheikh Konneh.“The document’s claim that Saudi’s agenda of supporting Syrian rebels ‘is about installing a regime that will torment Israel in the region’ further puts a serious hole in their credential and credibility of the three authors and their report alike because this theory is very contradictory to the Saudi’s open support to the military overthrow of President Mursi of Egypt, a Sunni (Wahabbi) Muslim.  Besides, there is no leader in the region that is more of a pain in the neck of Israel more than Assad. The evidence is clear to all ordinary eyes; it is therefore so unbelievable that so-called researchers know very little about their region and so much details about Liberia. The Saudi’s foreign politics is more of protecting the Monarchy and preventing the spread of the Shiite sect of Islam through creating allies mainly in the region and reducing friends of the enemy.Sheikh Kafumba Konneh publishes a weekly article in the Islamic column of the Daily Observer on the series, “Creating an Ideal Islamic Society”.The three Islamic women scholars say that because almost all the nations of North Africa are politically Islamic, the Saudis’ focus is on West Africa, where just eight of the region’s 16 countries, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Gambia, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, “are guaranteed to have political leaders who will always be Muslim.” The three writers continued, “Although Ivory Coast currently has a Muslim president, the secular nature of the country and the dominant influence of France and the Christian population makes it somehow difficult for the country to [become controlled by] Islamic laws.  Besides, the Ivorian President’s Western connection and marriage adds to the equation that he would not dare attempt to impose such dogmatic reality.”“The Saudis,” said the three writers, “are eager to influence Sierra Leone and Liberia with their experiment to install Islamic political regimes.  In Sierra Leone, they did not have that leverage when Tejan Kabba was president; even though he was a Muslim, his political party was predominantly Christian led.“In Ghana,” said the three authors, “the vehemence of the Catholic faithful, an evangelical landscape coupled with the country’s economic viability pose a challenge for the Saudis in any attempt to impose an Islamic political leadership.  Given some of these challenges, the Saudis’  plan is to identify the most volatile environment in the region, and so far, they have identified Liberia as the suitable test ground to begin installing Islamic political leadership in the rest of West African states that have no Muslim political majority and control.“The Saudis’ plan for Liberia,” said the three women Islamic scholars and activists, “is first to ensure that a candidate of Muslim faith and background contests and wins the Liberian presidency.  To do this, the Saudis brought the Kuwaitis on board to influence Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in identifying and supporting such candidate. The bottom-line is to make Liberia an indirect Muslim nation through the application of aspects of the Sharia law when at such time a Muslim becomes president. In their article, the three Islamic women scholars made a highly speculative allegation when they declared, “The Liberian president, who briefly became a Muslim by marriage and direct family ties, seems to be in agreement, but skeptical of a drawback from the Liberian people.”  The authors continued, “In exchange for the President’s implicit willingness, the Saudis have [provided] and continue to provide financial incentives to her and her administration through the Kuwaiti government and members of its royal family.”Daily Observer background: Shortly following her high school graduation from the College of West Africa in 1955, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf married Mr. James A. (Doc) Sirleaf. His father was Mr. Sirleaf who hailed from an Islamic background, but not much is known of him or his religion.  The mother, Mr. Sirleaf’s wife, had two sons for him, James, the elder and his brother Varsay, who became a medical doctor (Snapper Hill Clinic).  Their mother was a Methodist and so were her two sons.  That is why Ellen, though born a Presbyterian, became a Methodist when she married Doc Sirleaf.Sheikh Konneh concurs.  “I find the arguments on the secret triangular maneuvering between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be laughable, elementary and cunningly distortive. The so-called facts are nothing but misleading fabrications, and lack the basic criteria of research paper which is factuality or to be attributed to a group of academicians to say the least. The author(s) made an unmarketable and fatal faux pas in their desperate attempt to turn Liberians against one another by giving more credence to their story when they claimed that the President was once a Muslim when the facts and evidence maintain that the President, her children including her late husband, were and have been Christians throughout.“The Muslims of Liberia believe in the power of Allah the Creator,” the Sheikh continued, “the King of the Universe, who gives and takes away power. He gives it to whom He likes and takes it from whom He likes. When God is ready for Muslim leader to take over in Liberia, no amount of negative – either internal or external propaganda – can stop it or make it work.”Observer background cont’d: It is true that the Kuwaitis have been pumping money into Liberia.  Recently, Robert Sirleaf, the President’s son, whom she appointed ambassador to Kuwait, showed up one day recently with US$14 million which the government said was a loan from the Kuwaiti government.  The Daily Observer has editorially wondered what involvement either the Liberian Foreign Ministry or the Ministry of Finance, whose head is a Muslim, had in the negotiations for this loan.  The Liberian government has not yet responded to this question.Returning to the three Islamic women’s article, the allege in their article that “The feasibility of this plan [to install an Islamic successor to Ellen and other interventions in West Africa] is unlikely because the majority of people that adhere to the Islamic faith in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast are migrants from Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso.  As such, the practicing Muslim population in Liberia is insufficient to make for a Muslim candidate victory unless a foul play was in the mix.  In addition, the Americo-Liberians and many tribal groups in the country have fundamental disagreement with the Liberian Muslim population who they see as immigrants and a violent sect with no real geographic base in the country other than a province Lofa County, Liberia, that is home to a group known as Liberian Mandingoes.  The Lofa Mandingoes are generally Muslims and also legitimate Liberians.  Besides this group, Mandingoes and other Muslim settlers in the other Liberian provinces are migrants or descendants of migrants from Guinea, Mali or Burkina Faso. The only way to impact the election in a significant way is to continue mass migration of Muslims from neighboring Guinea and Mali, who upon return and a brief stay in the country, seek Liberian citizenship through corruption and assistance from an organized political Muslim community in the country that is bent on increasing their population.”Said the three Islamic women scholars, “Key opposition alliance to the President’s elevation of the Muslim population in Liberia are cut across a cross section of the Americo-Liberian descendants and tribal groups from counties like Lofa, Nimba, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi and Grand Bassa, where friction between these groups and the Muslims, particularly the Mandingoes, have always run high. Generally, the Mandingoes enjoyed good relations with tribal groups in Liberia’s southeastern region (home of Sirleaf’s maternal grandmother) for several reasons, including due to the scarce settlement of the group in that area and the peaceful nature of the country’s southeasterners.”The three women Islamic authors say, “Some of the strongest underground and vocal critics of the Liberian President’s increasing elevation of the country’s Muslim group into key functions of government include her in-law, Estrada Bernard, confidante Willis Knuckles, opposition figures Benoni Urey, Cyril Allen and Mills Jones of the Central Bank.  The most vocal critics are Allen and Urey, both of whom believe the President is mortgaging the country’s future to Islamic intolerance and radicalism because she knows that she may not be around due to her advanced age, and that only future generations of Liberians will pay for her misguided efforts of Islamic-centered policy.  Other silent critics include former warlord Prince Johnson and few members of the country’s so-called progressive elements from the 1980s.”The three women Islamic scholars say the Saudis particularly dislike the notion that the Liberian Constitution and history maintain that the country was founded by African-Americans, based on Christian principles. In the past, they have funded processes and pseudo Islamic programs to dismantle that aspect of the country’s Constitution and history but met strong opposition from the country’s evangelical Christian coalition and right wing politicians.  With the country’s ongoing constitutional review, the Saudis are hoping to influence change and support from President Sirleaf, whose marriage to a Muslim connects her to the Arabs.”But here again, the authors are wrong because the President was not married to a Muslim.The three authors claim that “A senior Saudi official and member of the Royal family confided that Sirleaf is afraid of a backlash should she try to force a Muslim candidate on the Liberian people.  Therefore, she intends to create a political alliance with a Liberian candidate, notable Charles Brumskine, a lawyer and former Taylor supporter, to have him not only protect her interest after her tenure, but to carry her preferred Muslim candidate as his vice president so that in the interim that the president is incapacitated, then the Muslim vice president will eventually become president as per the Liberian Constitution.”According to the three women  Islamic scholars—and the Daily Observer has to make it clear that we do not know where the three scholars got their information—Sirleaf’s adult children . . . are split on this protocol, and the President has not discussed her plans with her closely knit family circle advisers that include her sister, brother-in-law and cousins.  In fact, the Liberian President’s former ambassador to the UK resigned from his position in silent protest because of the President’s elevation of the Muslim community in Liberia’s governance.”The Daily Observer has contacted the former Liberian Ambassador to the UK, Wesley Johnson, for his reaction.The three authors also allege that “Another plot said to be on the agenda for the Saudis [and others] is either to facilitate the assassination of credible presidential candidates with broad appeal, Christian support and background, or encourage the Liberian President and government to influence the country’s National Elections Commission (NEC) to eliminate strong Liberian presidential candidates and political parties on frivolous grounds. Specific candidates targeted are those with substantive Catholic background and support, and who wield broad based international appeal for their credentials and links to Rome, the United States and Israel.  The faces and physical addresses of the three female authors cannot be revealed for security reasons, says a clause at the end of the article, which was originally published on Elombah.com, a Nigerian news website based in London, on April 14, 2014.  Its publisher, Mr. Daniel Raymond, told the Daily Observer that he received the article directly from the authors. “Our only concern was the motive of the writers,” said Raymond, whose website has been publishing news of the extremist group Boko Haram’s activities in Nigeria over the past few weeks.  He said the section of the article concerning Nigeria, alleging that Saudi money was being used to fund charities that “indirectly funded Boko Haram” was of interest to Elombah.The article in its etirety is published at http://www.elombah.com/index.php/special-reports/21954-the-syrian-war-saudi-arabia-s-struggle-for-global-influence-and-control-of-africaShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more