THANK you for affording me some space in your esteemed newspaper.
Whilst the subject I have chosen to address is infinitely wide and depends largely on personal choices and decisions of individuals and groupings, I want to use this argument in an appropriated attitude for the sake of relevance to our current and specific situation as a country and nation.
Many times in life we tend to think, say and do things forgetting that we are watched, observed and evaluated by those around us.
Whether in our private or public capacity, we impact, affect and answer to other fellow human beings from family, to school, to religious institutions, to organisations, companies, communities and the nation in which we exist and are a part of. In other words, we are continuously accountable to ourselves, to those around us and also hold others accountable as well.
It is this intertwined accountability and sense of responsibility towards self and the collective that determines the strength or weakness of morality in our societies and nation states.
As cultured beings, we are guided by norms, values and a sense of morality that separates us from animals. As children we are led and taught by our parents and family how to interact with firstly, our creator, our environment and more especially other human beings. In short, we are taught manners and behaviour that are acceptable and geared towards preservation as well as personal and collective advancement.
We inherit, not only material goods from previous generations, but also morals, values and manners. Our manners determine our mannerisms, in other words, our behaviour. All people have a sense of self-pride and self-worth, irrespective of their socio-economic or political and religious status.
Life teaches one that as we advocate and fight for freedom, freedom is never free, it comes at a price and peace, irrespective of the system of government we adhere to, after freedom, is not cheap. Our President always informs us that peace is boring, but not cheap. Peace tends to advance the tranquillity that comes with routine and routine, whilst orderly, is very boring to the point of making things seem mundane.
The shrinking of the globe though technological advancement, leading to globalisation has brought about a great deal of comfort as well as a high level of anxiety as we have become global citizens whilst sitting in our homes or working on the computer at the office and speaking on the mobile phone in the street.
The advent of democracy as the commonly accepted system of government which Plato and Socrates mistrusted, has brought about the beauty of secured human rights, but also a sense of chaotic disrespect for elders by the younger intellectuals and political and economic activists.
To advance a course is one thing, but to disregard expected, decent behaviour and manners is to expose the side to one’s self which is best kept in one’s private life.
There are certain utterances, postulations, behaviours and actions that are totally unacceptable in the public domain, no matter how noble, just or correct your course is.
When one looks at how our fathers, mothers and elders engaged the brutal cruelty of our colonial apartheid oppressors, they were smart in intellectual prowess, well-mannered and yet forceful in their dialogue with them and long suffering, strategic and tactical on the battlefield.
The articulate response of Tate Toivo ya Toivo, Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and others in the docks of the apartheid courts whose aim was to destroy them is testimony to this. The founding fathers of our liberation movements engaged their captors on a very smart, high levelled intellectual game of wit whilst their lives were at stake and even knowing that the people in whose courts they were standing and were addressing loathed and hated them to the point of hating the sight of them, convinced by their racism that they(our fathers and mothers in the docks) that the accused did not deserve to have been born, let alone to be alive and breathing the same air as they did.
Our elders knew how to be revolutionary and smart. They knew how to compartmentalise and deal with matters separately so as not to undermine the organisations they represented and the people they lead.
If political freedom and emancipation came at such a high price, what more economic emancipation, especially within the current capitalist, synthetic world that entices us with creature comforts. For any political, religious or business leader to ignore the glaring disparities in our society would be tantamount to criminality because it is a fact that people are struggling and even suffering economically.
Our post-colonial/apartheid constitution while securing and enshrining our human rights and protecting life, does in no way encourage and advance total disrespect and disregard for the collective norms and values acceptable to any society that takes its existence and future seriously. As the saying goes, to err is human, but not to correct yourself or accept correction as truly dangerously self-defeating.
To seek redress and to right the insurmountable wrongs through the atrocities that were perpetrated against our people will definitely not happen overnight for many reasons and one of those is especially the fact that we opted for a civilised negotiated settlement instead of subjecting the nation to an outright civil war.
There are many of us who spent long periods in solitary confinement with torture as dessert and yet we still have not demanded recognition because it was a choice we made individually and collectively to challenge the apartheid government. Definitely there are many shortcomings and mistakes we have and will continue to make, some large and some small because the building of the nation is a work in progress. One such challenge is to once again see a civil service free of corruption wherever this exists and also ready to serve without fear or favour. The other is land redistribution, poverty elevation and eradication as well as employment creation, housing, health, education and an investor-friendly climate. All these are matters known to all and sundry and I believe more so the leadership of the country in all strata of our society.
Those in public life, especially political leaders need to be sensitive to the fact that they are on a stage and there is a constant magnifying glass on them.
As parents, community activist, teachers and priests, we have enough to deal with in terms of the ills and evils in our communities brought about by the pressures and negative influences bombarding our youth on a daily basis than to have to be exposed to the total disrespect and outbursts of uncontrolled anger in full view of the public through the electronic media. A dispute between colleagues calls for arbitration specifically for the purpose of not bringing the organisation they represent and themselves into disrepute. Human beings were never created with homogeneous cognitive abilities as we all have free wills. With these free wills we either make powerful or powerless decisions which can affect our lives either positively or negatively depending on what the decision that demanded our attention is.
We should not give up and lose hope in our leaders and more so in ourselves because whatever is unjust, wrong or unfair will never last. The universe has a way of honouring people who honour themselves, each other and the whole of creation. We will always differ, we have to differ and find a convergence in order to move forward. However, we need to respect each other and the public offices we hold as well as the organisations we represent, especially if it is national office.
Anger is an unavoidable emotion that must be managed lest it leads to destruction. Anger leads to change conflict and that is why we even have anger management classes and conflict resolution training because if these are not managed and/ prevented, the result will be catastrophic.
No matter how educated and advanced the younger generation is, nothing can compare to or replace the wisdom that comes with age and experience.
It is very clear that we are seeing the frustrated restlessness of the next generation of leaders manifesting in the desire to wrestle power from the elders whom they feel are overstaying themselves. This is synonymous with the Biblical narrative of Moses and Joshua as chronicled in the book of Exodus. Joshua and his friends had been to the promised land and seen the prospects of a good life because they encountered the operation of a well-oiled economic machine and saw the healthiest fruit they could have ever imagined. This made them restless and agitated in the camp lead by Moses to the point where the desire to see Moses dead so that they could take over overwhelmed them at times and they could continuously agitated the people to revolt against God and Moses. The result was that when God eventually took Moses, Joshua and his guys took over and lived as dogs of war for the rest of their days.
I write this today as a parent, a man of the cloth, a teacher, a comrade, a colleague and as a loyal member of our society and the ruling party to which I have belonged all my life as a Namibian even when it was dangerous to be a part of SWAPO. The debates and discussions around and between issues from maternity wards to cemeteries must be robust, intelligent, aggressive, but never violent and rude.
It is a fact that the population of the world is much more informed and highly political than ever before in the existence of the human race. However, there are organisations, especially political and churches to which we belong that have been in existence long before we were ever conceived. None of us, no matter how brilliant or popular, are greater than the strength of the organisation.
With all our weaknesses and shortcomings like any other nation group and country, we can thank God for institutions that are working and those that are not are being exposed so as to remedy the situation.
There are better ways through internal organisational structures of addressing and dealing with grievances.
To build the Namibian house is a challenge that should excite us all and induce a fresh energy and commitment to succeed.
God bless our President, his family and those working with him.
May God bless us.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015