JANUARY 06: A country under siege, the massacre and a city in ruins.
By Ibrahim Jalloh
Today marks close to two decades of the greatest and most historically recorded event of human massacre and the horrific destruction of property in the most outrageously planned city in the sub region of West Africa, Freetown. The experience was harrowing and morally indicted the conduct of humanity.
It was a war, we were told and made to believe, that set out to liberate and restore human dignity to Sierra Leoneans but ironically ended up negating the very best of Sierra Leonean values and the ethos of civilization.
As we reflect on this sad chapter and pray for forgiveness and restitution, we must admit collective guilt and pray for discernment in the choice of our leaders. The prism is that when leadership fails, anarchy takes sway.
Today, as we commemorate, we still live with the pain and horror of the ugly past. Our brothers and sisters that carry the physical manifestation of the January 06 carnage have been reduced to street beggars begging mostly the villains and perpetrators of their painful and pitiful state. The prescribed theme: NEVER AGAIN is assuring but must go beyond the traditional rhetorics to encompassing actions that will provide a succour to the victims and preventing and or stemming the tide of recurrence. Today's commemoration is one of pomp but must be tailored to give hope for a peaceful and fulfilling tomorrow. A tomorrow that will relegate the ugly past to the dustbin of history.
We must believe that Sierra Leone will rise from the ashes of related chain of calamities to a prosperous nation. The ugly past should be forgiven and the instruments of war must be converted to concrete development initiatives. A sober and productive nation must always emerge from a total crisis as the January 06. We are on the threshold of yet another political transition with loaded hope for better lives. We must move beyond hope to action that will put bread and butter on the table of every citizen of our country. Sierra Leoneans have endured suffering for far too long. We need to change the narrative of and drive for power. Politics cannot continue to be seen and applied as an industry. Today, we see politicians renting the poor crowds to feign popularity. The people succumb because they can, at least, secure a day's meal from people that they employed for five years with a scorecard of failure. Let us remember that in all that we say and do, there is judgment day. If there was a yesterday, there is a today, and for sure there will be a tomorrow. Poverty is deepening and chronic. Industrial thieving abounds. Most of the institutions of State set to address the many anomalies of the state are a decoration. National emergencies are converted to industrial outlets.
Thank God we are alive and the tomorrow for Sierra Leone can be bright if we confront our destiny.