May 05, 2019  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

There were seven of us. I was the last for my parents, so there was a gaping age gap between the second child, Harold (Lightweight) and me. Of the seven siblings, none of us went beyond primary school. I grew up without being close to my siblings. Food was scarce in the home, so I went in se

arch of it and found and invented niches that kept me away from home.
Then as a teenager I branched off into political activism and became interested in education. I hardly knew Lightweight. He got married when I was five and left the home. I grew up not knowing him at all. He acquired prominence as a national football organizer and City Councillor, while I became an academic, social activist and media operative.
One day Lightweight took furious objection to what I wrote about my dad. He complained to the other siblings. They spoke to my wife. My wife told me they said that I should not write those things about our family. I didn’t remonstrate with them. They were not educated in the subject of history to know how priceless the recording of history is. In addition, I had an obligation to my readers who wanted to know about my past and my life.
I described how our dad neglected us, particularly me. I was the last sibling, and when I came, the resources of the Kissoon parents were almost bare. I went hungry almost every day, and was mostly without proper clothes, while Lightweight was happily married and gone. But I understood my siblings’ objection. They were ordinary folks who thought such things should never be published.
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The shocking thing about Guyana is people don’t want to read those things. And that is because they do not know how priceless these informational outputs are to future generations. Guyanese place no premium on the recording of history. They hate it when biographies reveal things about fellow Guyanese that they were friends with and whom they admire.
I can recall when I wrote about Vic Puran’s inherent corruptibility, his daughter wrote a vicious condemnation of me in a letter to the Kaieteur News. I knew Vic since we were teenagers. I knew about his character aspects which his relatives never knew. Guyanese do not want the brutal facts of life to be recorded. This is how Guyanese view history. I would say on the top of the list of people who hate me and would never forgive me for recording history in my columns would be Mr. Anand Persaud, the editor of the Stabroek News.
Mr. Persaud hates me with a vengeance and manifests hostilities that I don’t think matches any dislike from any leader in the past PPP government. My unforgivable sin is that I documented anti-working class and anti-dark skin bias in David de Caires and Miles Fitzpatrick. Persaud would never see me in any positive light once I live on Planet Earth.
I have never and will never let that Puran family member, Persaud, and others of their ilk, deter me from recording history, because I was trained as a historian. I owe Puran’s daughter, Persaud, and others like them, no obligation. I know what my role in life is. I know other humans would resent the recording of history if it doesn’t gel with what they want to hide or what they don’t want the world to know.
I am currently examining the released MI5 files from British intelligence on Guyana in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I know what is in store for me when I write about their contents. I will try to contextualize the political meanings of what British intelligence discovered about Janet Jagan and her romantic flings, because they had bearing on Guyana’s subsequent history.
I will assess how the files treated Miles Fitzpatrick. I admire Moses Bhagwan tremendously, but the archives in the Czech Republic revealed that when as the youth leader of the PPP in the sixties, he went to Czechoslovakia, he requested arms. I did ask him about that, but he denied it in an email.
I need not have done a column on this arms issue about Moses, but I wrote about it in the context of writing history. I will never do anything to smear Moses Bhagwan, whom I like tremendously, but I have to document history. In this context, the world will undoubtedly welcome the memoir of Robyn Crawford, who was the lesbian lover of Whitney Houston. When it was first revealed, there was no mad rush to condemn. The reason is that the Europeans and Americans know how priceless the recording of history is. Guyanese don’t.