Random musing: Toxic memory versus attitudinal
change - Part 2
Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
14 September 2011
(courtesy of Awoko): Violence in Bo
It is delusional to think that billowing
clouds of political incense and other
abominable acts, as well as pure
savagery are a good showcase of
Some might even claim that it is the
anger in the perpetrators that is
From North Africa to Asia, democrats and
nationalists are driving the wheel of
democracy; yet senseless thugs and
militants from our opposing political
camps in our own environment want
The SLPP would probably claim that it was simply
reacting to a situation but wait a minute, kicking
dignified and open display of restraint into the
long grass amounts to a lip-service tactic to
necessary change, required from all players in the
Although politics and decorum have historically been
perceived as two irreducible variables, our
democracy which received encomiums in 2007 and was
hailed as an epoch worthy of emulation is in danger
of having its ideals, values and accolades derailed
by the now common spin-off crisis inherent in the
crude and indecent fight for power.
But it is imperative that all our so-called leaders
need to be wiser and pursue the path to peaceful
co-existence in a safer, more transparent
But, forget the howl of rage. How on earth do we
progress in a climate of destructive mistrust,
wanton confusion, orgy of unprecedented violence and
cold political calculations?
Let us ask ourselves: Why the countdown to our
politics is always frantic and unbelievably
Must we always play ethnic cards, religious bigotry,
fuel personal feuds, political annihilation, as well
as deceitfully heat up the polity and give the
unprincipled a grandstand platform to generally
display undignified behaviour?
Why canít we look at and play politics differently
for a change? Why canít we focus on whatís important
and leave the froth and nonsense on the burner of
Why must parochial rather than national interests,
pettiness, unruly behaviour, naked greed,
disloyalty, casual dishonesty and downright deceit
become the wrapper of our political delicacy?
Why must we continue to fool the majority of
innocent impoverished masses that all is fair in
love and war?
Why should those whose neglect appears to be the joy
of locust-rulers be subjected to unpleasant anguish
and political pestilence? Why must we always at
every polling time, still stick our fox in a hole
instead of a brave new era?
Well, Iím sorry but the whole outcry surrounding the
challenger to a throne, which has now lit a match
and the determined extermination of opposing views
by all sides, are resembling a humour that is drier
than the Sahara; especially when the palliatives for
our national economy and social change have as much
impact as a wet thump in a monsoon rain.
It is like a funeral at the heart of a carnival. It
is simply decency sacrificed for the pure pursuit of
a principle of vengeance, lust for power and fear.
And this is the worrisome bit.
Dumping nearly four in five citizens on the
scrapheap, trampling on their dreams, hopes and
aspirations while chasing the shadowy trails of a
single individual, is nothing but a dreadful waste
of precious time. And those who want to drag the
rest of us by the scruff of the neck down this
avenue have their reasons for doing so.
Now that we have succeeded in pulling the trigger I
hope those who simply fail to appreciate the fragile
nature of our politics and the insidious threat of a
mostly illiterate electorate who simply listen to
their leaders will be prepared for the consequences
of their fool hardiness.
It is even very baffling when so-called
right-minded, enlightened and intellectual people
are often disorientated by the conundrum between
personal agenda and socio-political imperatives.
For those clamouring for justice, which
has been presented as the major agenda
for 2012, is it justice for our youths
to graduate and find no jobs?
For people to live in ramshackle
tin-houses under the bridge and in Kroo
Bay-like ghettos, while those who
assumed lord and master over them just a
few years back, are busy building not
just one - but sometimes two to three
mansions at a go or grabbing every
Please educate me and forgive my ignorance if it is
fairness that in the 21st century and with all the
money pumped into our national coffers in the last
four years, our schools are like cow-sheds; FOURAH
BAY COLLEGE, that once enviable citadel of learning,
could not afford paper for its exams and our
hospitals are still glorified health clinics?
I may not know but tell me why, as darkness still
envelopes us and rain water rather than GUMA
irrigates the throats of the people; we go in search
of justice for a selected crew while those alive are
no better than walking corpses?
Why has one deceased personality who was caught up
in the murky world of politics for which he had been
a beneficiary, suddenly become deserving of national
sympathy, while the Taqis, Minahs and Banguras sent
to the world above in similar fashion, are not? Or
have we forgotten Prince Cole?
Donít get me wrong, I empathise with the families of
those who have been victims of any of the errors
that went before; either in the era of Siaka Stevens
or after; as well as those who were unwittingly
caught up in the after-shocks of our inglorious
But of what use will their ghosts be, for the
generality of the people, including their relatives
who are probably caught up in the web of poverty?
Saying that the 'shadowy' past of an individual,
victim or perpetrator, on whatever side of the
divide, is a fundamental issue is therefore not only
desecrating democratic ideals but also saying that
our future is less important and we can remain
nailed to the cross of that era as we trek on the
bridge to nowhere.
With all his misdemeanours, how many times have
Italians elected Berlusconi? Did we not ignore
Kabbahís indictment because we wanted to rise from
the ashes of our past and light the flame of a new
Why were there no shrill cry from the throats of
these sudden advocates of morality, equity and
While our nation is still in the cusp of yesterday,
those who have made the past a component of our
future as well as those who posture and preach the
politics of envy and hatred are forgetting the fact
that almost five years on, our real economy remains
in a dire strait.
Even spin doctors could no longer put a gloss over
the grim economic plight and the realities on the
ground which is why the government suddenly decided
to trade its fantasy for reality and accept that
things had not gone according to plans, by recently
pumping out from its erstwhile dried breast, the
Ďmilk of kindnessí for the patched throats of a
To simply exist, government has had to rely on the
benevolence and dictate of the rest of the world,
shaking a tin cup before them and using the ray from
their outpost lantern to see the way in the maze of
darkness that has enveloped us.
While people with light fingers and empty brains
lead us into temptations through speeches in the
wind, Colgate smiles, honeycomb utterances,
meaningless sound bites rather than the ability to
solve our problems, wouldnít it be wonderful if we
could open a window to our dark existence and let in
a gust of fresh air.
What Iíve discovered as a matter of fact, is that
one of our fundamental problems is the pedestrian
diagnosis of our ailment from jaundiced political,
personal and ethnic 'eyes'; fuelled by the exercise
of narrow self-interest from a collection of
single-issue pressure groups.
But, as we suffocate under the empty national
glucose-cylinders, why donít we learn to fill them
with focus and the future in mind?
The suffering of the teeming masses is basically the
multiplier effects of the disconsolate, spaghetti
bowl kind of politics, fostered on us by political
contractors masquerading as leaders in all facets of
our society, including the media.
Fighting ourselves as we found out to our own peril
during the decade long war, will not improve
peopleís lives, accelerate growth and assist in the
dream of economic development
While we should think of the families of those who
lost their lives, whether under Pa Shaki, Momoh, the
NPRC or the civil war, it is pertinent to realise
that unless we learn the lessons of the fundamental
error that cost our nation its innocence,
scapegoating and resort to the capricious gods of
violence, will not bring us any succour as the
scourge of our politics will simply continue to
fester and it will be impossible to see when and
where it will all end.
In the meantime it will only benefit those with the
wherewithal and ability to crucify their opponents,
as well as the agents of foreign devourers who are
feasting on our heritage while fanning the flames of
poverty and discord.
Although Sierra Leone appears to be like
a stalk of bamboo swaying in the winds
and yet never snapping, its very fabric
is being further torn to shreds by
divisive issues which are distracting
from the march forward.
But these issues will surpass the
existence of all those gladiators who
are adorning the combatantsí uniform in
readiness for the 2012 tug of war for
the very soul of our country - whether
it is the intra-party battle in Kono, or
the inter-party Bo incident.
President Koroma has to be an empire-builder; right
to look back, but more importantly to look forward
at how decency can become a hallmark of our
politics. It is important that he takes a symbolic
step to demonstrate that the present leadership is
serious about change.
Indeed, it is time to question the seriousness of
those calling for attitudinal change. Do they mean
real change or the usual pretensions without the
Collectively though, we must find the determination
to remake our politics, society and nation in a way
different from the intolerance, headiness, tribalism
and high-wire political manoeuvres that turned our
world upside down in 1991.
We need to put the chilling echo of death behind us
and ring the bell of a new future. To forget the
fear we often put ourselves and cherish the
opportunity of a new life ahead.
The future belongs to those who want to promote
national development and not those who want to
continue to perpetuate division, poverty and
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