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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The power of words

Words have been known to rally people behind a good cause. A good example of this was that great speech of Sir Winston Churchill of Great Britain during a time in the Second World War when the Allied Forces were almost demoralized and thus were facing certain defeat. His words galvanized the troops to an extent that it was like they had been injected with a new spirit, a new zeal and enthusiasm which turned the tide against the Germans.

Words have also been known to do great evil in the world where they caused people to take up arms – guns, cutlasses, knives, machetes – and attack their fellow human beings hacking them to death with relish. Words have the potential of changing the fortune of a people and making them great and victorious in a short time. Similarly, words have the potential of waking up the beast in human beings thus causing them to do a great deal of harm to others. The genocide in Rwanda is a case in point.

Of recent, certain comments from one cabinet minister about a sex tourism tag have generated a heated debate and have the potential of causing a diplomatic ruckus between the Gambia and Thailand.

The minister’s words unfortunately, but understandably, caused displeasure in Thailand. The government of the Gambia will do well therefore to offer an unconditional apology to the people of Thailand to avoid this incident escalating into a full-blown scandal.

Going forward, all ministers of State should endeavor to measure their language when they speak. They should choose words which will not cause this type of problem so that they will not plunge the country into such scandalous rows in the future. The language of diplomacy is important and should be mastered by government functionaries.

Once someone is appointed a minister, or indeed into any public office, you are no longer an individual. You become a representative of the nation and as such, when you speak, it is the nation that speaks. Your language should therefore be measured and calculated lest you harm the reputation of the country you represent.

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