“Colour cannot be the reason we are divided” – President Ali at Holi Festival

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Sunday, joined hundreds of Guyanese for the annual Phagwah (Holi) celebration, ‘Basant Utsav,’ held on the lawns at State House in New Amsterdam, Region Six.

In his address, President Ali highlighted the inclusive nature of Holi, also known as ‘the festival of colours,’ and its significance in the Guyanese cultural tradition and national identity.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at the Holi festival at State House in New Amsterdam, Region Six

The president noted that the use of colour is one of the finest art forms to celebrate history and culture. He said, “Art and colour are used as foundational elements, celebrating life…if colour is a fundamental requirement through which history can be celebrated, then colour cannot be the reason we are divided,”

The president spoke of the mindset of individuals being the root cause of division, stating, “it is our ability to be selfish, and our inability to be selfless.”

He told the gathering, “We are consumed by the most humbling aspect of life, that is death…Do we spend this time fighting, do we spend this time hating, do we spend this time dividing or do we spend the time uplifting, moving forward, bringing together…this is what Holi does, it brings us together under the colourful banner of humanity.”

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali joined persons at the Phagwah festival at State House in New Amsterdam, Region Six

The president underlined the transformative power of people uplifting each other through acts of kindness.

He believes these actions can foster peace and harmony, preventing conflicts like those in Gaza and Ukraine, and importantly, there will be no threats to Guyana’s sovereignty.

“This is the life and examples we want to set as a nation. When the greatest threat confronted us, i said to Cabinet and the country, that our humaneness, our sense of humanity our sense of love as a nation must never change in relation to our neighbours,” the president reminded the people. 

He said this message was reflected in a recent kind gesture by the Guyanese military men and women serving at the border, which they extended to their Venezuelan colleagues.

The Guyanese head of state, therefore, reiterated the importance of embodying principles of compassion and humanity as a nation.

The significance of cultural diversity and national identity was further elaborated by the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh during his address.

Prime Minister Brigadier Ret’d Mark Phillips, other Cabinet ministers, along with members of the diplomatic corps, and regional officials were in attendance at the event. Attendees were treated to song, dance, chowtaal, and traditional food, and enjoyed participating in the throwing of colourful powder to observe Phagwah.

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