As mentioned in the last blog post, Guyana had its first Pride Parade last weekend. The peaceful parade has been followed by a peaceful week. There have been no counter protests, no one has been attacked, I didn’t even hear negative feedback on it from reliably conservative quarters. And the words of support have been pouring out across my social media newsfeeds. Just this past week, two religious ministers have penned letters of support to the LGBT community to the papers and the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Guyana has called for a review of what he calls “discriminatory” and “crazy” laws against same sex relations.
“The seventh commandment says thou shall not commit adultery, yet there is no law in the law books of Guyana that says if we catch you committing adultery we will send you to jail for two years, as the buggery law says.” – Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Guyana, Charles Davidson
Good point, Bishop Davidson!
I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of vitriol. I know it’s too soon to say this is a sign of a cultural change but I do think it’s suggestive of an ever so tiny shift in attitudes. Or that young people’s voices are making the loudest noise these days. Or that all the homophobes have unfriended me!
All joking aside, change is clearly on the horizon.
A significant oil industry is in the cards for Guyana. How much this will affect our economy in a positive way is yet to be seen. But Guyana is certainly going to see some changes with the development of this new industry. We are going to experience an influx of people, companies, techniques, ideas, food.
– Side note: I love soups. All kinds of soups – veggie soups, seafood soups, creamy soups, chicken noodle soup. One of my all time favourites is pumpkin soup – you know, when it’s all blended up and thick? I once took it to work for lunch and when I opened my bowl at the lunch table, I got a lot of stares. One person asked incredulously, “Are you eating mashed pumpkin for lunch?” I laughed and told him what it was. The general consensus at the table was that soup didn’t look like that and that it also involved ground provision and maybe a duff or two. I was surprised. You know that people have their preferred ways of doing things but to conceive that, in the whole wide world of possibilities, there were only one or two ways to make a soup?* What.
Anyway, back to what I was saying.
There are sure to be questions about our traditions as we pursue (hopefully) greater economic advancement. For what are traditions but our habits, our old ways of doing things, our history, the known? And what is progress and innovation without newness, exploring the unknown, and divergence from the well-trodden path?
Somewhere along the way, if we are indeed to get on the development train, we are going to pick up new ways of doing business, of organizing ourselves, of understanding and interacting with each other.
We have spent most of our existence as an independent nation relying on other people’s words, texts, cultures, and laws – whether it is an obsession with Victorian virtue or finding a life guide in Bollywood cinema or attempting to steer laws according to words written 3 ½ millennia ago in a desert somewhere in the Middle East.
We have yet to firmly define our values, our vision for the future, or our own philosophies.
We’re going to have to get on with the business of figuring this out before we are subsumed by this new oil culture.
A good place to start may be to question our colonial inheritances, including our laws.
As one pastor pointed out in a recent letter, we must bring a “critical reading of the signs of our times … with fresh questions and new understandings” to our traditions – and to our texts. And if the texts or the traditions don’t fit the times, then maybe we need to rethink whether we want to blindly follow them or whether we want to choose new texts or traditions – or new interpretations.
I hope that, as a nation, we end up choosing on the side of love, light and uplifting one another.
And lots and lots of different kinds of soups.
* I’m pleased to report that, many months later, two other people at the table brought pumpkin soup to work (on different ocasions).
Image borrowed from a site with a good looking recipe.