Christmas is here again, a very special one at that. One of my favourite Christmas carols; God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, comes to mind during this special Christmas because to my mind, the Hymnist could as well have written it, having in mind the current situation in Sierra Leone. The first verse says it all:
God rest you merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
For Jesus Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Who else may be the merry gentlemen in this instance other than Sierra Leoneans? And surely we are not dismayed because Jesus came around to save us from Satan’s power when we were almost gone astray in November. Now, we are wallowing in comfort and joy and we pray that this situation of bliss will be with us eternally.
Few days ago I was comforting myself with a pint of Heineken at a popular bar at Portee when a half-drunk customer made the following remark with a loud tone of voice: ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one to decipher the smile in the face of Christiana Thorpe.’ Sorie Yansaneh, that was his name, went on to claim that the concealed smile in the lady’s face can only be compared to that so cleverly installed in the Mona Lisa (La Giaconda), a painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
This triggered a rejoinder from my joyful self who has actually quitted drinking and has resolved to take just one at any given time only for my stomach’s sake. (I allow the road to take one on its own volition): I told the boisterous gathering: ‘Christiana’s facial gestures (pausing and smiling), as she read those results, at about 5.30 pm on Friday 23rd November in the year of our Lord 2012, were meant to create suspense and inject feelings of hope and doom (at the same time) in people’s minds depending on their respective frame of mind and expectations.’ And I believe I was right. Those who read hope in her smile won the day. Those who read doom and thought they got it; well Solo B (not kabbah), made himself a Messiah and addressed the victor using the words of Shakespeare in Hamlet: ‘— This above all: to thine own self be true, and it follows, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’ To the vanquished, I thought I heard him giving this message, again borrowing from the words of Shakespeare:
‘No more be grieved at that which thou hast done,
Roses have thorns and silver fountains mud
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome cancer lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this, —–‘
He must have been a genius who said, ‘don’t brash the spot where you fall but the spot where you tripped?’ (And Christopher Coker would draw attention to Makeni 2006). Now, consider this saying: ‘Successful and unsuccessful people don’t vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potentials’
One thing that amazes me is the feeling of superiority of the human race. Humans are so full of self elatedness and doggedly hold on to the egocentric belief that they are an advanced breed of beings, way above others in terms of everything. But frankly, nothing can be more erroneous. Take a look at those small animals; call them ants, call them termites. They are much more organized and hard working than humans, and their desire to reach their potential is something humans cannot dispute. Yet we regard them as insignificant and consciously trample them under our feet because of their size. Even the Book of Proverbs recognizes the feat of ants. The book says: ‘the ants are a people not strong yet they prepare their meat in the summer.’ Space doesn’t allow us to delve into the innate attributes and abilities of ants and termites. Suffice it though to mention their keen sense of social cohesion, and their hard working nature which gives them the ability to create intricate patterns of road networks (though this happens under the ground where we wouldn’t like to be). As for termites, their monarchical system has gone unchallenged for millions of years. The queen is always the queen and is well attended to sexually and otherwise. ‘Am not sure they would be envied by a human queen anyway.
An attempt to compare this ant/termite scenario to the activities of humans easily reveals the menacing shortcomings of the human psyche. It is common knowledge that men started killing each other in the first generation of their creation. The Bible tells us that Cain killed Abel because of jealousy instead of the two coming together to improve their lot and serve their God. And written history is full of stories of battles for territories. Genghis Khan from the region now called Mongolia invaded territories as far as Western Europe, and signs of that invasion and resultant inter-marriages are still evident in the skewed eyes of some Europeans. Europeans for their part invaded what they called the New World, Africa and Asia and unleashed the greatest savagery in the form of the slave trade for some four hundred years, mesmerizing whole races and populations in the process. However, a happy end to this will be the eradication of racial distinction in terms of coulor. Because of the shrinking of the world due to technology, and inter marriage among people of different skin colours, we shall soon have on our hands a uni-racial world in terms of colour. The white race, the black race the yellow race etc, will be no more. All would have been metamorphosed into one colour in conservatively fifty thousand years time. But who will live to prove me right or wrong?
Empires have come and gone; the second most notable one being, not the British Empire where the sun never set, but the Holy Roman Empire which critics have claimed was neither holly in character nor Roman in make-up. Now the world is left to grapple with the intricacies of the American Empire. Unlike our World Best under whose hands everything turns to gold, everything this modern empire touches turns to fire. They touched Cuba, the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the Middle East and they all turned to fire. But the saddest story is that poor American lads continue to burn in those fires with the help of Islamic fundamentalists.
Yes; the world desperately needs to checkmate Islamic fundamentalism, but I dare say not the American way. And those guys display that strange orgy of turning their guns on their children.
I want to pause and ask whether or not someone has evidence of this kind of occurrence in the world of termites and ants. No.
Rockets from Gaza continue to land in Southern Israel giving that militarily powerful country cause to retaliate with the force of a sledge hammer coming down on a fly. Al Shabab and Boko Haram continue to terrorise their kith and kin in Somalia and Nigeria respectively. And actions of drug cartels in Mexico and South America continue to result in the death of thousands of people annually.
And as if to complement our self destructive tendencies, Mother Nature continues to send the Katrinas and the sandys on us (on them).
In Africa, the battle by factions with ethnic bias to take over governance genuinely or otherwise continues unabated. In Kenya it ended in ethnic clashes some four years ago. Sylvia and David say one demon living far away from Sierra Leone, proposed a replication of the Kenyan scenario in Sierra Leone, not aware of the fact that God has blessed us as merry gentlemen. That key which manifests in the form of prayer has been successfully used to open the door of salvation. In many homes Psalm 91 is routinely read and the Almighty has answered our prayers: Verses six and seven say: ‘You shall not be afraid of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noon day. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you’. It came near us in 1991-2001. But God has his way of doing things which cannot be questioned by man. This time around our prayers have been answered. Amen, so let it be.
But how can Sierra Leoneans thank our benefactor for his mercies? We can begin to register our gratitude by emulating ants and termites; specifically by being diligent in our business. Take the soldier ants called injaloh. Each and every one of them knows his or her duties. Idlers are not to be found in their kingdom; no one strays from the centre of activity to idle out their time in a little corner. They are much disciplined and law abiding. When injalohs are engaged in their endless parade, no one stands in the way or blocks the path of others with his or her wares (a white material resembling snow flakes), which they carry on their heads. Injalohs only vent anger on intruders and tormentors like humans who from time to time unconsciously tread on them. They will teach you a lesson by registering a solid bite on your leg and at times follow you right into your bedroom by hiding in a remote corner in your pantalon.
Actually the queen’s language seems to be bereft of words to express the need for Sierra Leoneans to be disciplined and cultured like those small animals called ants. There is need for the law to be respected and for order to reign in this country. It is implied that the task on the hands of those in whom we have bestowed our trust is enormous. They literally need to close their eyes and cause sanity to return to this country at whatever cost; and I mean at whatever cost. The evidences indicating the demise of sanity in our society are too numerous to name in this short piece; but we all know them. Someone has to take the bull by the horn. If degeneration in the area of discipline is not stemmed right now, the consequences will be very disastrous in the coming decades. In the field of education, it is not the system that matters but the quality. Be it 6334 or 6344 or 419-419, it doesn’t matter. Good laws/systems are good but good men are better by far. Steps need to be taken to ensure that those imparting knowledge to our children do have knowledge to impart in the first place. Standards have dropped dismally in this area.
Such negative developments will literally throw mud on the gains already made in the various areas of development which we boast about. As God continues to bless us merry gentlemen, nothing will dismay us and, from all indications, we shall continue to wallow in unity (starting in our parliament), comfort and joy, I hope. The foundation has been laid.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS 2013 TO READERS.
By Dandeson Smith