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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Letters: Our bane: Smug satisfaction with the status quo



Dear editor,
And so I have been reflecting…. We want to progress as a society and yet we haven’t progressed in real terms. We know accountability is at the heart of development, yet we aren’t able to hold ourselves and others to account. We want to be “modern”, yet we are steeped in certain beliefs and practices which are antithetical and antagonistic to modernism (not Westernisation) and tenets of a progressive society. In effect we are hanging on to the status quo, Obedience to and reverence of the “status quo” and “our old ways of doing thing” are what we preach.

You are not supposed to rock the boat; it is heresy to do so. Thinking outside the box is frowned upon. Challenging things as they are is unacceptable. Woe betides one who wants to be an iconoclast, who wants to shatter the glass ceiling or upset the known applecart. Group thinking (The herd mentality) is one applauded.

We are comfortable with things as they are…. And no society has progressed with such comfort, mentality or “slaved” frame of mind. Every revolution, every innovation, every invention, every leap in human development and progress has been brought about by non-conformism and non-conformists, through “rebellion” against the status quo, through questioning and challenging things as they were. All the Prophets and Messengers were revolutionaries who also challenged and dismantled the status quo of their times. Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Marx, Nkrumah, Anta Diop, Malcolm X, Mandela, MLK Jr, Francis Small et al “attacked” a group think of their time and by doing so changed not just their society but the world.

As it was then, with revolutionaries and iconoclasts, so must it be with us today if we want to bring about meaningful changes in the lives of our people. We must challenge the status quo; we must refuse to be part of the herd mentality; we must insist on rebellion to beliefs which inhibit accountability, transparency, progress, participation in decision making, creativity, financial or fiscal discipline, pluralism, innovation, positive change. Fatalism, “why change it when not broken”, “this is how it has been”, “Allah would change it when the comes”, satisfaction with one’s state as it is, are anathema to progress.

The hand that makes idol can as well dismantle it. Each must be prepared to be what MLK Jr called “creative maladjusted non- conformist”. And unless every man or woman holds certain things obnoxious in his or her mind and heart- corruption, hatred, bigotry, intolerance, abuse of power and trust, discrimination, misogyny, etc- the status quo would prevail over progress…

And so like lawyer Darboe stated, each of us must refuse to be “contented” or satisfied with the status quo, with things as they are. Dissatisfaction with things as they are contains the seed of progress, innovation and creativity. But not just a show of dissatisfaction, we must also proffer tangible alternatives, must show the way.

The moth becomes a butterfly because it is dissatisfied with its state…… We can’t be satisfied with bigotry, hatred, poverty, poor services, averages, mediocrity, underdevelopment.
I hail the creative maladjusted non-conformist.
Njundu Drammeh

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