By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :
Albeit Arnold Bennett (1876-1931) once noted that, “pessimism, when you get used to it, is just as agreeable as optimism”; but there has never been a time since the September of 2007 to date when I even have the remotest feeling of pessimism of or for my country. My attitude towards Sierra Leone has always been, and will always be, optimism even in her darkest hours. What we, as a nation, should now live on is nothing but hope.
Hope in the current leadership of the country in their strides to lid back the Ebola epidemic into the genie bottle should now be in vogue. Hope in ourselves, as Sierra Leoneans, is what is needed now that no matter what has happened and still happening; the nation-state called Sierra Leone will emerge stronger in post-Ebola than it was in pre-Ebola. Yes, international help is now streaming in into the country, but the duel against the Ebola epidemic itself has to be undertaken by Sierra Leoneans themselves (ourselves). For even if foreigners do their very best; they cannot be more Sierra Leoneans than Sierra Leoneans themselves.
It is understandable for those who have lost their loved ones to be in despair and in pessimistic states of mind. But even in their pessimism, they should show glimpses of optimism because that’s what might keep those currently hospitalized of the Ebola virus alive. We, as Sierra Leoneans, need to show and tell the world that we have accepted that now is our dusk but that our dawn will soon be here.
Though the Ebola plague has, yet again, darkened the dark chapters in the country’s modern history, the brightest side of the epidemic (with all sympathies and apologies to those who have lost their loved ones) is that it has showed that the entire health system in Sierra Leone could be compared to a man who has all along been hiding in a cloud of smoke. But like an unwanted guest, so the Ebola virus is. The only thing the unwilling host should do is to find sophisticated ways to let the unwanted guest know that the only thing that could be highly appreciated of him or her is his or her ‘good-bye’.
It is understandable for many Sierra Leoneans to be pessimistic because of the initial bungling of many issues surrounding the appearance and spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. But outbreaks, generally, take even advanced countries off guard when they do occur for the very first time. When the two infected American health workers with the Ebola virus were about to be airlifted to the United States of America from West Africa; the current Obama Administration wrote (in the figurative sense, of course) a sort of Hollywood script which was scripted in true Hollywood splendour. But when the Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, made a real life improvisation outside their Hollywood script and suddenly appeared on set, panic gripped the American public. And still does. The sudden appearance of the Ebola virus on American soil and the initial bungling of issues surrounding the virus itself have shown lesser mortals like us that even Zeus has his own Achilles heels.
And of the issue of Sierra Leonean health workers not trained and lack equipment to wrestle with the Ebola virus? Think of Spain! Before the Ebola disease stepped foot on Spanish soil, many Sierra Leoneans had thought that the Spaniards could never scratch their heads on any health issue. But the appearance of the Ebola virus there, and the subsequent backlashes of demonstrating nurses cry-babying about lack of training and equipment, has further shown that even well prepared countries could be unprepared for such viruses.
It is for those reasons, adduced above, that I have always held the optimistic view that the Ebola epidemic too, like the eleven years rebel madness, will surely come to pass. And that Sierra Leone, as a nation, will emerge much stronger in post-Ebola. This is because the current plague has, definitely, frightened us all into unity.
It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with an Italian saying that, “Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves”. Or you could call this piece One Dropian stubborn optimism!