Yusuf Keketoma Sandi
27 April 2012
S – So your children are here again Mama Salone to celebrate your 51st anniversary, since your independence from British rule in 1961. But what have we got to celebrate mama?
I – In sadness, we recount our history with tears as your children have for far too long become the victims of bad governance, an eleven-year campaign of terror and violence, a bunch of greedy politicians and the present state of HARDSHIP;
E – Even ‘the hills and the valleys re-echo our cry’ as thousands of young people face a bleak future without jobs. The scars of poverty visit every household in the land and now your children have to live with No Water, No Electricity and No Fuel. Mama, the survival of this generation now hangs on threads: ‘so we raise up our hearts and our voices on high’;
R – Rightly, every time we think of all the mineral resources – diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore, rutile, ilmenite, zircom and now prospective oil – we feel ashamed that majority of our brothers and sisters still live on less than a dollar a day. As such, your children ask that your ‘blessings and peace may descend on us all’;
R – Reassuringly, we are still proud of you mama Salone, because we have no other place in this world, that we can truly call HOME. The colours of the Green, White and Blue make up our veins, arteries and blood vessels. Therefore, on this your 51st birthday, we denounce our troubled past; and your children shall henceforth seek ‘to show forth thy good that is ever in thee’;
A – And so, we cannot go back and make a brand new start, but together we your children can start where we are to build a brand new Sierra Leone, ‘one with a FAITH that WISDOM inspires and one with a ZEAL that NEVER TIRES’;
L – Let us start by thinking of the kind of New Sierra Leone we want our children to inherit. A country where hard work pays; where police officers do not have to ask for bribes to discharge their sacred duty; where people must never resort to arms to express their views; where children, the disabled and the elderly do not have to beg for survival; and a country where HONESTY becomes our national identity;
E – Eagerly, your children also want to live in a New Sierra Leone where our politicians put the interest of our country before their self interest; where a government, which fails to provide the basic amenities – water, light and food, for its own people, must have the courage to admit to the people that they have failed; and where election is seen not as a source of hate and violence, but a process through which the people decide who MUST govern them;
O – Oh mama Salone, we know your children can make you proud again, when we shall erase the shameful identity of blood diamonds and heal the wounds of our war, because ‘great is the love we have for thee and firmly united ever we shall stand, singing thy praise o native land’;
N – Nevertheless, we still remember those 50,000 of your children and loved ones who died in the war and thousands of others who were raped, amputated or physically injured. For these victims, we make a pledge that NEVER again shall we turn the guns on one and another; NEVER again shall we shock the world with so much horror; and NEVER again shall our country witness such a colossal human tragedy;
E – Energetically, whilst your children celebrate your 51st Anniversary, we are mindful that our past has been hurtful. And, despite the HARDSHIP today, we still believe that our future is bright and prosperous and to that future, we, your children once again loudly sing: ‘we pledge our devotion, our strength and our might; Thy cause to defend and stand for thy right; All that we have be ever thy own; Land that we love our Sierra Leone’.