We note that a new face in Public Affairs and Public Relations is darkening the counsel of the state today. I – among others, no doubt – think we are the poorer as a polity by dint of such a decision. But you will agree, over and above this faux pas, that our sins as a nation and as a people are many. Our name is Legion. And there are at least four ways in which this holds true…
The people feel that they have had a hard time of it over the past two to three decades. Depending on which part of the country you lived in, the story gets worse and worst. So they assume, now that the conflict has come to an end, they can safely party on and live it up until the break of dawn. Well, guess what?
There’s a whole bunch of people who are still out there in the cold. And unless we all get together and do something about it now, fast, and smart, the time may well be coming when it is we who are in outer darkness where there is wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Please stop calling me a party-pooper.
This is a sin of omission. It is an axiom that holds true no matter what your faith or religion is. And even if you are an atheist or agnostic, the milk of human kindness must surely run lukewarm in your veins when you see beggars, and amputees, and the homeless? Or is it the case these days that our blood has run cold… because we are walking around dazed in a waking stupor because we have an alcohol stream (from the party) with a faint trace of blood (from our forgotten humanity)?
The powers that be have got it plain wrong, when it comes to appointing the right people to the right office. Sometimes, they appoint the right people to the wrong office. At other times, they appoint the wrong people to the right office. Every once in a blue moon, they appoint the wrong person to the wrong office. Don’t get us wrong. We have nothing against the person in particular.
|Preparing the kiribath
And we hope to God that he has nothing against us specifically. But this matching of office and its holder reminds me of Lord Acton’s perceptive statement that there is no greater heresy than that the office sanctifies its holder. It doesn’t. But often, the holder desecrates the office.
And in this case, the damage has already been done. So the Government’s appointing this wrong person to that wrong office is perversity pure and simple. Although, as one suspects we are about to find out, perversity of this ilk is rarely simple and never pure…
This is a sin of commission. It is the state saying to the people, “We need someone to mind our image.” And the fact that we’ve appointed someone who can’t mind his manners to do it suggests that we don’t really care too much about what you think the state of the nation is – and never mind our image!
The people we elected to serve us our daily bread want to have their cake and eat it. This was recently exemplified in the gracious participation of the kitchen cabinet in a culinary exercise that boggled the mind and threatened to upset the stomach. We refer of course to the design, concept, execution, and consumption of 4,000 kilogrammes of kiribath. The idea, we were told, was to get in the Guinness Book of World Records. The idea itself, we were also told, was not that of a prominent public servant; but that of a popular chef with a name that almost rhymes with publicity.
Well, folks, in case nobody noticed, we are already in the Guinness Book of World Records! For having the first woman Prime Minister in the world… For the largest cabinet in the history of democracy… For the most number of amendments to a republican constitution over the shortest span of time… So we didn’t really need any more publicity! And besides, we don’t believe in being popular in the West these days anyway. And besides, the credit or the blame will not accrue to the chef, it will accrue to the public servant who allegedly works in the national interest. Who now appears to be saying to the public: “If you don’t have bread, eat kiribath.” He really takes the cake…
This is a sin of neglect. In a country where more people than is conscionable don’t know where their next square meal is coming from, it should be political suicide. But the people don’t seem to know that they’ve been fed a cyanide pill of ignorance. “As long as you don’t make a hue and cry about the lack of bread, we will continue to let you enjoy the circuses that we put on from time to time for your consumption.” It is caviar to the general. Which is to say that we the people swallow this tripe hook, line, and sinker.
Because we think that it is in our own interests to mind our own business. Well, maybe. But it is not in the best interests of the people who don’t have a voice to voice their hunger and thirst for righteousness. To say nothing of the fact that they are starving while a ton or two of milk rice goes waste.
The people in high office who call the shots can’t sense the irony in the stands that they take. On the one hand, they want a foreign power reputed for its autocratic approach to governance to release a housemaid in particular who has been incarcerated for a putative crime of which she may not be guilty. Mercy is the maxim asking to be honoured here. On the other hand, they don’t want any foreign powers – liberal or libertarian or otherwise – pointing out to us the rich irony in the general fact that we’ve sent to gaol an officer who may not be entirely and solely responsible for his own actions.
Justice is the clarion call of a criterion in this case. We have yet to understand that justice does what mercy desires.
This is a sin of volition. We will not do what we need to do to be able to ask for that which we should rightly receive. And this is the way our PR party ends… not with cheers, but a chill.