Amid the din and dissonance of the recent election campaign, people of different hues, individually and severally issued one resounding cry for change. Interestingly however a certain sound could also be heard – a sound of silence, of a unique eloquence to those who listened.
In a society with its heritage of deeply rooted mutli-religious cultures, one strained to hear from their respective institutions any words of consolation for the disillusioned, of comfort for the frustrated, of guidance to the misguided; and wondered whether this reflected a coordinated acquiescence of the spiritual hollowness through which only political protagonists can lead; or a disparate recognition of the sterility with which the human spirit was confronted, and human rights bombarded in the process.
It is no wonder then that a void was perceived and space legitimately occupied by an institution that propelled itself as a force for ‘unity’ in the cacaphony of divisiveness. There was perhaps a hint of contradiction in an organisation identified as ‘private’ and ‘sectoral’ promoting its motif for ‘national’ unity – in the run-up to the elections; and then fell silent, satisfied, even gratified with the results; relieved that there was no more need to promote ‘national unity.’
During this campaign for unity, one ad’s powerful message of ‘Going forward together’ remained incomplete as it never indicated with whom? The question mark still remains, as old habits die hard. Nothing has changed. Already the signs of emasculation and miniaturisation have appeared in the familiar dictatorial mode. Now, in the traditional season of charity, peace and goodwill, when citizens of all hues and religions (and without religions) celebrate, when in this year 2011 people anxiously (some desperately) look forward to a release of the tensions of recent weeks, egregiously a Minister has advised the staff of his new portfolio that the season’s traditional staff party is disallowed!
What a gross rebuttal of peace; what profound insensitivity to the integrity of the human spirit! What a triumphal descent into sterility; what degradation of the spirituality of an event religions all over the world celebrate.
Who said Christmas was happy?
E B John