Women's Issues In Guyana

Not Old Higue Murder

Guyana Chronicle – May 18, 2007

Dear Editor,

LIKE many other people, the women of Red Thread have been shocked into silence by the brutal killing of Mrs. Radika Singh, a mentally disabled woman who wandered away from the relatives she lived with and found herself in another village where she was confronted by angry residents who called her all kinds of ugly names and beat her with sticks and other objects until she died.

From reports, what “justified” this brutality was that the residents of the village identified her as an “Ole Higue”; in other words, she wasn’t a human being. We confess that we don’t understand what it means to look at a person and see a monster that deserves such inhumanity.

From the reports, residents of the village did not try to render assistance to Mrs. Singh; she was just left there to die. We can only hope that this was not true of everyone. 

Because what can this behaviour mean? That everyone or almost everyone who was around believed she was an “Ole Higue”? Or was it just that she didn’t matter enough for people to go to her defence? Or was this about race, at least partly?

If the newspaper reports are true then one aspect of the assault on Mrs. Singh was typical of a type of assault that is only made against women – that is, that objects were pushed up inside her.

As women, we are grieved almost beyond words that among the possible brutalisers of Mrs Singh were other women.

Whatever anyone in the village believed, Mrs. Singh was just a woman, even more deserving of protection than other women because she was a disabled woman. Her killers must be severely punished for their cruelty to an innocent, ill, elderly woman.

Finally, we would like to ask all the media to ensure that they don’t continue falling into the trap of referring to the “Ole Higue Murder”.

What happened was the murder of a woman named Mrs. Radika Singh.



One Response to 'Not Old Higue Murder'

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  1. Roy Brummell said,

    Dear Personnel:
    Have you seen written public comments blaming folklorist Wordsworth McAndrew’s poem “Ol Higue” for the brutal murder of Ms. Radika Singh? If so, would you mind sharing those comments with me? (I’m aware of comments by Savitri Persaud, a York University student.)
    Roy Brummell

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