Please, let’s love each other

13 September 2009 at 04:11 | 701 views

By Mohamed C. Bah, Ex-President, Sierra Leone Community, Atlanta, USA

“The greatest problem of mankind today is there is too much hatred going around.” These are the historic words of a young preacher from Atlanta Georgia,the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He went on:“more than any thing else,we must learn to love one another.” Dr King’s philosophical perspectives were grounded on the strong believes that: “we are all tied up together in a single garment of destiny,caught in an inescapable network of mutuality” and “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”That the basic need of any society is the the ability to share a common aspiration and live together as a community of families. We cannot pretend to be citizens of the same sovereign nation,yet many of us hate each other because we belong to different political parties,tribes,class status and religions. Infact,what brings us together as Sierra Leoneans are far greater than what divides us. Rightly so,we must always see ourselves as Sierra Leoneans first before paying allegiances to our respective social and political denominations.

The doctrines of tribalism and regionalism which have dominated our political system for more than four decades are serious impediments to building “a love triangle” in the social fabric of our people’s lives. Both corruption and poverty have been the trade marks of the massive suffering of our vulnerable population. No political parties in Sierra Leone today can boost of clean hands,when it comes to the question of geo-tribal politics. Everyone is as guilty as the insidious nature of these moral and social failings which continues to destroy the prospect of our national unity. Indeed,the creation of a society where everyone “live together as brothers and every man respect the dignity and worth of the human personalities” must be the guiding principles of our nation’s promising future. And the one thing every Sierra Leonean can do is to follow the teachings of Dr. King,as he eloquently puts it: “love your enemies,bless them that curse you and pray for them that despitefully use you.” We must Love our neighbors,our friends,our political enemies,our fellow citizens, and especially love our country with all our hearts. This must be the passport of a new prosperity slogan for Sierra Leone.


Thus,as Sierra Leone sets new heights into the 21st century and as a young nation looks beyond the horizon into the unknown,the promises of a towering people with the determination to succeed remains strong and enduring. It is impossible for a nation to be periodically under political quagmire for more than four decades without a “contingency mission” to stop the litany of obstacles that impedes its momentous waves of progress. Philosophically, the law of nature,in many cases,moves into the threshold of a “gradual reset” to self-correct the re occurrence of major political and economic malfunctions with the precision of time. It seems such natural phenomenons are looming larger and the hope for recovery is moving slowly but steadily. However,there are many credibly and committed citizens both in government and the private sector,who are working tirelessly today to realize the people’s dreams: where hunger and diseases becomes an abstract thinking instead of a Sierra Leone’s nightmare,where education becomes a necessities of today instead of the burden of tomorrow and where a prosperous future is made possible by scientific, technological and educational investments in our country.

Cognitively, many Sierra Leoneans have become cynical and doubtful about the influential role of government, because as the former Japanese Emperor, Tokugawa (1543-1616) once said: “life is an endless pain with a painful end.”More than ever,a quest for love is needed to change the troubling circumstances many of our fellow citizens are experiencing on a daily basis. For life is empty when our lives are full of hate. And the forces of good are the answers to our national challenges. Regardless of our political colors,no one can agree that life for the average Sierra Leonean is better today than 40 years ago. But we cannot ignore the fact that our government is doing their best to ameliorate the deteriorating situation and particularly, the private sector needs to play a more contributing role in nation-building .


Against such background, the echoes of hope still cry loud into the valleys and hills of our nation. And that illuminating hope lies in our ability to confront our needs and opportunities without using them as weapons to defeat or destroy one another. We must not use our political powers as fighting tool to divide our nation into regions or building trenches and land mines for our political enemies. Instead,we must build a strong foundation of friendship and mutual trust among each other. The repercussions for malicious hate and widespread mistrust leads to generational problems that weakens the foundations of our moral authority. We must find new ways to transform our cities and towns into centers of national development through comprehensive strategies in fighting poverty,corruption and tribalism.

Another way we can demonstrate “our love for country” is to perfect our qualities of Leadership. That is developing a strong and mutually rewarding relationships regardless of our political differences. The good interpersonal skills, positive personal characteristics and supportive behaviors are among the virtues of good statesmanship. Leadership is the power to inspire others and the ability to translate visions or goals into tangible realities. Good leaders develop an awareness of people’s opinions and ideas. Those who possess positive influence recognize this and modify their behaviors in order to influence the progress of their

nation. A leader’s identity does not depend upon their positions within ministerial departments or within the civil service structures, but their source of personal power comes from God and the proud citizens of Sierra Leone.


Indeed,the compounding problems we face today as a nation,can be practically and systematically solve by applying the classic organizational concepts which are defined into five functions: planning (examining the future and drawing up plans of actions), organizing (building up the structure of the undertaking), commanding (maintaining activity among the personnel), co-ordinating (unifying and harmonizing activities and efforts) and controlling (seeing that everything occurs in conformity with policies and practices).Often time in our beloved Sierra Leone, the obstacles are not the existing problems themselves, but the people’s method of thinking and behavioral patterns in trying to solve these prevailing problems. The focus on nation-building is lost between the personal struggles for self-recognition,the quest for glory and the ambition to create personal wealth by self-proclaimed politicians. Rather, if we sincerely set our sights into addressing our national problems directly through the spirit of co-operations,infusing genuine understanding and respecting one another views or ideas,we will create a new path to solving majority of our problems. But we have allowed the “me-ism” to eclipse the good works, we most of the time set out to do.

Introspectively, any nation, whose people seek prosperity only for themselves through reckless greed and political corruption risk becoming a nation consummated in a state of abject poverty. Again, the love for our people and country must override our self-defeating instincts of the malign obsession for material vanity. The cross road between what we do for Sierra Leone’s best interest must supersedes our obligations to ourselves,our families and political parties. For it is those who choose country first and made their public services more about Sierra Leone that will ultimately earned a respectable legacy in our nation’s history. Those who fails to obey these principles will always be a statistical number of people, who will lose the opportunity to make Sierra Leone a better place to live.


Furthermore, If there was one ugly chapter we learned from our shameful history,it was the horrible consequences of the brutal civil war of the 90’S. Nothing dramatically gives us a sense of embracing the fundamental values of loving each other than knowing what the legacy of war means to a nation and its citizens. In the absence of the “agape kind of love”, we witnessed what social inequalities and poor governance can breed on the dirty waters of our political landscape. Did we learn that the legacy of war, most of the time, is an opportunity to make our society better? Do we understand that tilting the scale of power to one region or tribe is a recipe for disaster?And this has been the history and political behavior of our struggling Sierra Leone for so many generations. The marginalization of other groups,as we saw in Rwanda, led to one of the most horrendous act of genocide in mankind’s history. “Either, we learn to work together as brothers and sisters”Dr King warned us, “ we will all perish together as fools”, He concluded. Dr. King beckoned us many years ago about the

stubbornness of the human personalities to conform to the rigidity of righteousness. The American revolution and the wars fought in Europe made these thriving nations considerably stronger today, because they learned many lessons about sharing wealth and national resources together,building an inclusive society and using the principles of love as an anchor of national progress.


In the midst of our trials and tribulations,the people of Sierra Leone have always stood up to the test of time. Sierra Leoneans are impressively a tolerant people,who have embraced many cultures and have lived together with their fellow citizens for many peaceful years. Perhaps,we have one of the highest percentage of inter-tribal marriages than any nation in Africa. And religious harmony is more prevalent in Sierra Leone today than most places around the world. Unlike in Nigeria, where religious wars led to the death of thousands of innocent lives or in Darfur where many Dafurians were killed because of their skin color and religion,Sierra Leone have practiced the most admirable form of religious openness and tolerance. But what continue to divide a people, with the history of resilience,is the stale and old political dogma from all these political parties that preaches hate instead of love,that promotes fear instead of hope,that orchestrates greed and corruption instead of shared prosperity.

Many politicians of today’s era are more interested in themselves than the future development of Sierra Leone. Their positions of influence seems to be a hobby collection of how they feel about themselves and what their political privileges means to them or their families. Sadly, many are not creating a legacy-building culture,where a nation sleeping on the bed side of poverty is made to walk into the majestic palace of “wealth and prosperity”,where a child living in rural Kono district dreams of the power to change the world around him and where an old woman in Makeni town lives to see many of her grand children. But the politics for the past 40 years have been a self-glorification cult, not a competitive culture and a success driven politic that build more bridges,new roads,better health care,food security,water management,electricity, good education and job opportunities for Sierra Leoneans.


Despite the down turn,we have come a long way and our promises are as a mighty as the mountains that occupies our great land. The gentility and kindness of the Sierra Leonean spirit must not be mistaken by the political culture of the past and the present confluence of events. We are detached and innocently isolated from the wrongs that are perpetrated by those who are working against national unity for political gains. No Sierra Leonean should solve one problem of social injustice by substituting another form of political tyranny because,only the power of love for each other and love for our country can we build together a prosperous nation. Someday, we may come to realize that the people who will change the lives of their own citizens will never choose their parties,tribes and regions over their country. That they will succeed in driving the engine of growth and bringing human prosperity, because they believed that they were Sierra Leoneans first and forever. And that must be the new way forward.


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