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Today, let’s take a quick peek at the world of famous Guyanese ex-patriates. Yes, there are a few. I can think of exactly four of them that might have some degree of fame among modern Westerners –which is a lot when you consider that the entire nation of Guyana has a population of less than a million people!
We begin with Eddy Grant, the rastafarian who shot to prominence in the 1980s with the song. “Electric Avenue”. Eddy continues to produce for the likes of Elvis Costello and that Sting fella.
Then there’s Dave Baksh, who the kids may recognize as the former lead guitarist for Sum 41. Even though Dave is from Ajax, Ontario, which is not far from Toronto, I have never met him. So stop asking.
Third is Shakira Baksh, of no relation to Dave, as far as I know. Shakira is best known as Mrs. Michael Caine, but had already achieved a bit of fame on her own after having placed #3 in the 1967 Miss World pageant.
Last is the R&B singer Rihanna, whom I think I once described as possibly borderline retarded. Unfair of me, I know; it was based entirely on an interview of her I once saw that was, shall we say, less than stellar. But really, it was no worse than a thousand other celebrity interviews. Rihanna is only half Guyanese, on her mother’s side.
Did I miss any? I’m sure my peeps will let me know.
In Other News…
The conservative blogosphere is all abuzz with news of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to both the UN and Columbia University this past week. Here are some of my observations:
- To echo the sentiments of Ru S. Freeman, when you invite someone to speak at your event, you should treat him as an invited guest. In Freeman’s words, “Columbia University’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, chose to ask a visiting foreign dignitary to grace his campus with his presence. A guest who accepts such an invitation does not envision that they will be publicly humiliated and attacked by their host for the amusement of other attendees.”
If you don’t want him there, don’t invite him. He didn’t ask to come. The same holds true if a Canadian university were to invite George Bush to speak. Protests are fine and expected; but one would hope that the host of the event, the man who issued the invitation, would not be among them. Ahmadinejad is right that in Iran, and perhaps everywhere else in the world, an invited guest would be given the courtesy of not being mocked by his host.
Why is this important? Because the specific case of the Iranian President is one in which his views are not being challenged by the supposed free press of the West. This was a ripe opportunity to have him unfiltered and bare, with the serious crucible of rationalism set forth before him, in which his words could be weighed and challenged. The opportunity was squandered in the name of scoring a few emotional points with fairly obvious insults.
- Having said that, the corollary is that Ahmadinejad is a buffoon. But who cares? What exactly has he done to warrant such active hatred and derision? He’s said some stupid things; that’s all. His government’s policies and actions have not changed one bit since he came to power; he is irrelevant, a sideshow. As far as I can tell, nothing he has said is much different from the on-record views of some extreme members of the Republican party, none of whom get nearly as much press as this guy, and all of whom get considerably more respect. So why waste so much energy on him, and not on the army of domestic racist, sexist homophobes who actually have influence over our lives?
- Lastly, I will echo the following sentiment from Pierre Tristam:
“Do I mean to say that Bush is a man as dangerous as Ahmadinejad? Am I making that relativist leap? No. Of course not. What I am saying is that Bush not only is a more dangerous man than Ahmadinejad has ever managed to be, but that Bush has the record to prove it. Ahmadinejad is all bluster where Bush is all bombs. Ahmadinejad is all bombast and posturing where Bush is actual hubris in action, with Iraq physically and socially demolished by his doing (and in ways even Saddam Hussein hadn’t managed) and the United States fiscally and constitutionally demolished. As for stupid statements like Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, it’s not as if Bush’s I’m-on-a-mission-from-God rhetoric is any less stupid, although it has been a lot more destructive than any denying on Ahmadinejad’s part.”