By KABS KANU :
I have been lately on the international media fighting to help urge the international community to speed up their response and support to my country and West Africa. I am doing it because of love for my country . The interviews have helped a lot. The response has been great because I keep receiving calls and invitations from more media for more interviews. The other day, I was on New Jersey TV Channel 12 whole day. I was on the New Jersey’s leading newspaper, Star Ledger on Tuesday. I will be on the New York Times soon.
However , one thing I have noticed during my rapport with the international media and stakeholders is that there are some high-profile Sierra Leoneans in the U.S, especially in New York and the Washington DC metropolis who are passing on very damaging and dangerous information about our country to U.S. congress men and women, State Department and CDC officials and the media . One of my work mates even overheard these damaging statements during a teleconference today with U.S and CDC officials . The teleconference was technologically set in such a way that participants were muted and only those the moderators wanted to speak had the priviledge to do so. Boy, did two of the Sierra Leoneans given the opportunity to speak damage their country ! ! ! My friend wanted to make interventions but he could not because he was muted.
The most frustrating thing about it is that one of the bad-mouthing gentleman is a man who had been gunning for a top job with our government. It would seem like because he was not successful to get the job, he has decided on a slash-and -burn strategy to completely damage the name of a government he had craved to work for. This is one of the things that bother me about some people’s patriotism. Why turn against a government you once supported and wanted to serve ? Why begin to seek to destroy a government just because you have not yet been given a chance to serve it ? If these Americans listen to the things these unpatriotic people are telling them about our country and act on them , do they think that it is the government alone that will suffer ? They have relatives and tribes men and women in the country . If people do not help us to get this Ebola out of our country because they are creating the impression to them that our government should not be trusted with money and resources, is it not the poor, innocent people whose lives they are endangering ? We have to be very careful with our political activism. We have to put patriotism over politics. The level of unpatriotism among Sierra Leoneans is become creepy, to say the least.
I once reminded Sierra Leoneans what our parents used to teach us when we were growing up : “BAMBOO COBA HOSE” . Not everything in your home should be brought to the public domain because in so doing the errant person is undressing his/her own self and giving information that would be used against him/her tomorrow. Do you think, as a Sierra Leonean, Americans will trust you with high-profile international jobs if you create the impression that Sierra Leoneans are no good and are not to be trusted with anything ? Wise people do not publicize everything family members or their countries do to because they know that the same public will use the information about their families and countries against them tomorrow. Family is family. Let us learn to be loyal to our families and our country. That brother or sister whose name you are damaging is not really the one you are destroying. You are destroying your own self because everything you are saying about your brother or sister will come back to haunt you one day. It will be used against you one day by the very people you are trying to please now.
I attended an Ebola hearing and was highly impressed at the things the Liberians said about their country, though some of them, I guess , had their misgivings about their president and government. Because they love their country, they decided that the hearing was not the place to pass on damaging information about their country. They told the Americans and CDC officials things that would have them rush help to their country.
I was a teacher when 9/11 happened in America. I was highly impressed at the nationalistic and patriotic zeal, fervor and emotions 9/11 evoked in my students, teachers and administrators. They all identified a common enemy and their ire was directed at that enemy. Many teachers were neither Republicans nor supporters of President George Bush but because their country had been attacked and they loved their country they turned their anger and activism against the common enemy. They did not jubilate , go berserk and start passing on inimical information about America to the world and to the enemy.
I read American newspapers everyday . Even the Americans who are champions of freedom of speech and democracy know when and where to stop. The Sierra Leonean does not know when and where to stop and will go on and on and on and on, providing damaging information that only hurt our country. We have an ignorant and foolish idea of democracy.
In the early 1980s, Real Republicans Football Club would have won the West African Football Union ( WAFU Cup ). They had beaten all the big teams to qualify for the semi-finals. They would have beaten their semi-final opponents and the finalist because they had eliminated stronger and better opponents. But they were disqualified shockingly because a Sierra Leonean passed on information to CAF that Republicans had fielded a player who was not registered. I can bet anybody that no Liberian or Guinean would do that. If IE, Mighty Barrolle or Hafia and A.S. Kaloum should reach that height, every Liberian and Guinean would throw in their support. A foreigner had to be the one to pass on that negative information. Never a Liberian or Guinean. I can bet my life on that.
I consider as purely nonsensical the excuse some people give for damaging their country. “It is democracy. It is my right to speak. I love my country and I am not a sycophant .I believe it is only by speaking out that I will help my country. ” Oh yeah ? Is that what the proponents of these political theories do when their countries are in trouble , like we are, as Ebola seeks to devour our nation ? Read British and American newspapers in times of crises and see how much the Americans love their country.
Mr. so-called citizen, you have a right to express yourself( Do not get me wrong ) but some of the information you are giving out about your country now are not serving a useful purpose. Your motives are all wrong. Secondly, what are you gaining by giving those who want to help us the feeling that our government must not be trusted with resources to help end the Ebola scourge ? What objectives are you achieving lying to our prospective helpers that there is nobody in control in Sierra Leone ? If nobody is in control, whom do they send help to ? What good are the beliefs you want to foster that if help is sent to your country, it will not be used for the purpose ? Are you giving people zeal to send help to your country ? You certainly cannot hate your government that much, to the extent that you do not care what harm you cause your country ? Are you a helper of your country or a destroyer ? Are you really a patriot ?
During the hearings about Ebola I have attended or covered, almost everything was about Liberia. As the Chair of the Concerned Citizens of NJ , Mrs Inez Konjoh, who has attended some of these hearings confessed to me, the reason is that Liberians are fantastic lobbyists for their country. They have been lobbying Congress , CDC and the U.S. Government so much that during these hearings, congressmen and women call Liberian participants in the room by their first names. This is how much they have become familiar with these Liberian patriots.
Please let stop damaging our country’s name in the social media and to U.S. officials because you dislike President Koroma or the APC Government. Power was given to President Koroma and the APC by God. You cannot fight what God has instituted. President Koroma and his officials will reign and ride high in the national cause , whatever rubbish you feed the international community . You cannot stop them. A pen knife can never cut down a cotton tree. Besides , President Koroma’s term of office will end one day and Sierra Leone will continue to be Sierra Leone. What happens if your political party ever comes to power ? Will they have the capacity to clean up the mess some of you nebulous characters are creating ? Stop cutting your nose to spite your face. It will come back to haunt you one day.
Let us think Sierra Leone. Partisan politicking at this time of national and international emergency is exposing your unfitness to be called a citizen. Let us love our country enough to know when and where to stop. Sierra Leone belongs to all of us. Our country is in dire straits presently. Let us all put our minds, strength and resources towards finding solutions to this Ebola outbreak. We will have time once again for partisan politics. This is not the time for partisan politics. This is the time for NATIONAL UNITY AND NATIONAL ACTION.
I am appalled by the superfluity of naughtiness in the social media, forums, listserves and public fora. People are laughing at us as they read the rubbish we put out on a daily basis . Instead of doing something to help save our country, like the Liberians and Guineans , all some are doing is running their mouths ( Labo-Labo ) . When will some Sierra Leoneans ever be serious ?