By Sanpha Sesay —-
Texas, USA, July 24, 2015:Two schools of thought are continuing to emerge in a rally/protest in the United States to inform the world about who we are from West Africa. First, is the school of ‘Concerned Sierra Leoneans’ (CLS) which hold the view that certain issues prevailing in the country are not right and hence casting blame on the president. In their view, the president has to face the consequence of embarrassment whenever he goes abroad. On the other hand is the second school of thought – ‘Patriotic Sierra Leoneans’ (PSL), which believes in consolidating with and showing support for their president while negotiating at an international community abroad for help is a form of patriotism and nationalism they are obliged to do as Sierra Leoneans.
Opinion polls among Sierra Leoneans in North America show that the school of CSL was actually looming from the opposition parties while the school of PSL crops up mostly from the ruling party and other peace loving people. In the eyes of different nationalities in North America, it is generally accepted that the Patriotism School of thought is in a far better footing to explain how much people love their country.
The cause of protest during the recent visit of the President, His Excellency, Ernest Bai Koroma in New York absolutely has no weight of character; In fact, many say it was a complete nonsense.
It was like a football tournament with competitors stemming from the same club. In this scenario however, the media has no conflict to report as it was glaringly evident that the performance of the president was outstanding. The president returned home with victory as the PSL adored him greatly in his Ebola case presentation. Yet, the CSL was hell-bent on continuing their protest against their president. To their dismay however, their progress dwindles down rapidly and many have planned to back up for what they believe is impudent.
People who believe they are patriotic Sierra Leoneans, PSL have however affirmed their commitment to deter anyone attempting to cause chaos or any semblance of a state of agitating confusion over president Koroma’s appearance in the United Nations’ summit in September. In fact, one of the stake holders of PSL, Mr. Sheik Daboh, has vowed to lead a huge delegation in solidarity with president Koroma come September at the UN General Assembly. Mr. Sheik Daboh is the president of the All People’s Congress Social and Cultural group in Dallas Fort Worth who can be best described as a real patriot has ever been demonstrating loyalty, peace and love for mother Sierra Leone and in favor of president Koroma and his administration. In one of his statements, he asserted that, the president, His Excellency, Ernest Bai Koroma is the greatest leader Sierra Leone has ever had.
In my follow up to the protesters and peace matchers’ activities, I had the opportunity to receive the result of the contest between the Patriotic Sierra Leoneans (PSL) and the Concerned Sierra Leoneans (CSL) when they locked horns at the United Nations facility in New York on July 10. The PSL had a knockout victory over the CSL. The PSL outnumbered and dominated the opponent with a resounding vigor. They were however tolerant and well-mannered in the game without any red or yellow card for violating the rules of the game. According to independent sources, the winners also demonstrated patriotism in the eyes of the New York fans who were observing every nook and cranny of the unfolding events at the summit. Hence, the PSL returned home in exultations while relishing and taking pride in their achievements over their arch rivals calling themselves CSL.
Various sources also have it that the CSL were demurred to protest against their democratically elected president at the height of pleading for help for the people of Sierra Leone. Since relevant authorities expect them to be as passionate, warm, and gentle in their peaceful rally, the PSL were allowed closer to the UN house to consolidate with their president and his delegates. When president Koroma was presenting his post Ebola funding case to the UN, he did hear the voices of patriotic Sierra Leoneans echoing their moral support for him. On the other hand, the skimpily number of CSL was actually allowed access, but far off the peripherals of the delegates’ conference building.
Amidst Sierra Leoneans across the United States, many from different states and cities flew to New York to welcome and honor the president, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his entourage at their International Ebola recovery summit. In their struggle to gain political will, a few critics called themselves CSL hailing predominantly from the opposition side also assembled outside the United Nations building chanting, “Give us Ebola money”. The said money, spectators presumed, they might have gathered during their numerous protests in the social media and on the streets of Washington, New York and London and have contributed to the fight against the Ebola epidemic.
People around the ugly scene were left to decide which of the two groups that had the moral standing of their mother land, Sierra Leone. Both parties raised not only their banners and flash cards but also raising their voices to convey their messages. Unfortunately, the CSL were uttering ugly slogans in a bid to degrade or rather tarnish the reputations of the president and his entourage.
The PSL asserted that their opponent lost the battle of their first protest course of what is describe as, ‘Reinstate the Vice president” and had in the latest move also lost their intended and unrealistic wish “Give us Ebola money.” “I wonder what they will come up with come September, date not disclosed when the president returns to USA for the UN General Assembly Summit” says other PSL member.
Latest information I gathered from the social media indicated that one of the CSL leaders has pulled out from continuing protest against president Koroma for what many believed the difficulty to sustain a collective action that challenges the political status quo of a man many see as the Obama of Sierra Leone. The CSL failed to maintain a collective action against a fine president because a majority, if not all of them were protesting out of partisan politics rather than demonstrating to the world for real issues genuinely affecting the country.
Many CSL’s have stepped back and disputed the premise of protest against their president in a foreign country because they have now realized that not only were they craving for a losing battle but also immoral behavior. The withdrawal of CSL activists also cautioned their behaviors and reflected on the fact that Sierra Leone is one of the most moderate and tolerant country in the world. Therefore, they thought it fit to do their best in promoting the enlightenment of the good image of their country.
In an event where the international media had interest in the protesters (CSL) and the peace matchers (PSL), it may broadcast the episode for the world to see which group has truly special affection for its country. Sierra Leoneans across the world will also have an opportunity to see which group has demonstrated a sense of personal identification with the country they claimed to be citizens by birth and or special concern for the well-being of its people.
The question is, what would one gain to embarrass their president in front of the United Nations assembly? As Henry James said, “Patriotism is like charity – it begins at home. What have the two groups done for their country at home? Can you protest against social or political issues at your home country rather than at another man’s country, I ask?
Patriotic Sierra Leoneans believe that regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president when he goes to the United Nations to present very important issues including the burning Ebola epidemic that has plagued our country for nearly a year and half now is the right thing Sierra Leoneans should do. I pretty much believe that the CSL will die prematurely before they can accomplish anything.
Stay tune for the next edition of “Where are they now” after the UN General Assembly in September.