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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Time to reflect

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By Batou Saidy

In December 2013, I was only few months in high school. From Brikama, I had just moved to New Yundum, leaving my friend there. It was hard but it was the right thing to do. I’d always go there for weekends unless if I couldn’t afford fare. I was no longer in the town but the town was still in me. It was so ST-esque for me. But all this was primarily because of one boy: Ousman Fofana, my friend, who understood me so much. Beyond measure. Regrettably, on Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26, 2013; death laid its cold hands on him. That was the coldest day of my life. I began hating death as much as I hated life. Ten years on, that dagger is still in my heart. Death is harsh. But obituaries are probably even harsher. Nothing has ever hit me harder.

December won’t stop stabbing me in the heart. FLast year, my dearest sister, Sarata, also passed away. That one stopped me dead in my tracks. It was hard. So hard. But life goes on. Talking about death, I’ll intermittently touch life. This life is hard. So complex and yet simple. So paradoxical. It’s simple in the sense that one shouldn’t have issues with people, bar necessarily. Yet, it’s hard to condone some b***shits, too. It’s between these two extremes as far as work is concerned.

Conversely, now, workplace corruption is the diva in Jollof and beyond. It’s the Nicki Minaj endowment at the back. It’s so addictive like drug. Seductive like Destiny Etiko. So contagious like flu. However, it’s aided and abetted by the general and mundane “culture of silence”, largely from subordinates, which is mainly because of fear, for whatever timid reasons.

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Talking about work and workplace corruption, exposing it is the resort. It kills faster than a genocide, only that it takes a while to do so. But what are you doing about it at your level? Ask yourself. Look, there’s a difference between holding people, supposedly of authority, accountable for the things that they do; and disrespecting or challenging them. Let that sink in. Fear isn’t good. Trust Allah. At any level, you shouldn’t attack people but you can hold them accountable.

There’s a vast difference between being cocky and confident. I’m confident. There’s an even vaster difference between timidity and humility. I’m humble. And there’s a stark difference between cowardice and stoicism. I’d rather be a stoic, boy. See, anywhere, anyhow, how you see yourself is how people treat you. Cowards are jerks. They’re easy targets for oppressions and operations. And by virtue of their cowardice, they often become cynics too, inadvertently. They’re the ones that’d tell you: “I’m not complaining because I’m not the only one suffering or affected.” How pathetic! Cynics are jerks, too. So don’t be cynical.

One thing the Ministry of Heist is famous for is its myriad of corruptions and searing scandals. This is the case at most of its admins, albeit timings and magnitudes differ. However, unfortunately, this is mostly aided by accomplices. Their accomplices in the act. Eagles fly with eagles. On the flip side, it’s aided by their proxies. But they don’t enjoy the juice at their level. They’re the timid Els and Efs employees and subordinates that fear denouncing their actions. A cult group highly vascularized with fear. So they keep quiet and resort to cynicism. Your eagles on the Sam Hill – if they’re not altruistic enough to include or involve you in what you deserve, why would you be cynical enough to worship them? Out of fear or for the sake of peace? Either way, it is terrible.

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Lang Laibo is a stoic whose observations are non-mainstream. He respects all, irrespective of their level, but he never worships anyone – even those on the Sam Hill – the supposed epicenter of corruption – the zenith of Sam operations. He’s a young man from the countryside who believes in speaking the truth, no matter how hard it is, even if that’ll hitch his professional journey or raise eyebrows on him. He’s an upright man who upholds the true values of thoughtfulness, consideration, altruism and inclusion.

A young man who promised to make Nyominding Sanjally, his mom, proud by doing good, defending the truth, and working hard. With the bright knowledge that his promise would attract hostilities and fights toward him, he’s yet very adamant. He’d rather die than resort to making the syndicate of timid Els and Efs a sanctuary. Lang Laibo is ballsy. He has balls. Bold and big ones.

Idris Elba said: “Men fall in love with what they see. Women fall in love with what they hear. Which is why women will always wear makeup and men will always lie.” But Lang Laibo defies his proposition. He doesn’t lie as Elba suggested. He abhors lies. He detests liars. Especially lies that are targeted at covering corruptions. They’re the colorful lies decorated with care. Even if he’d stand alone probing into common issues that are mutually affecting, he’d never bat an eyelid over the repercussions. He’d rather face it. He’s a paragon of virtue worth emulation. He’s probably the last of its kind.

Enough of work and workplace corruption. Although it’s great to be a Lang Laibo, but it’s not necessary to die or stress oneself over it. Because essentially, if one dies doing that same work, life will go on. The work will go on. And they’ll be replaced at a canter. You dying doesn’t mean that the job will die. So thinking about that side of it tends to cold one. Do good. Defend the truth. But don’t fret the gizzard. But also break your “culture of silence”.

Coming back to life and death, I thought that my future died with my dad. But it didn’t. I thought that my heart died with my friend. But it didn’t. I thought that my literary passion died with the avalanche of wannabe poets. But it still didn’t. It’s time to reflect.

Kalipha Jabbi is a celebrity poet who sees poetry as a religion. But I’m not sure if he still sees it that way. Writing is a gradual process, but seemingly, many young people are more interested in the fame it comes along with. All the great writers have prepared themselves very well for long before they came public. Maybe these wannabe poets should understand that. Anyone can attain literary heights. They can be literary Mozarts like Sabally. It all depends on the commitment and passion. Ostensibly, Lang Laibo is the doyen. If you insist, “kanasong”. We’ve all seen Sabally here. The things he said. The things he did. A lot like Mwai Kibaki. It’s time to reflect. Yet, if you insist, “kanasong”. I only wonder what will happen to the famous slogan now.

Batou Saidy is a Public Health Officer and a freelance writer

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