Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The gloves need to come off

Perhaps one of the greatest blessing or curse of our generation is the ability to speak freely about anything and anyone…at least unless you give some political entity or law enforcement agent reason to retract or pay for your “sins”. “Social commentary”, while it is aimed at promoting responsible governance and citizenship, seems to promote sluggishness from all angles. Please do note, I say this with four fingers pointing back at me. I say sluggishness because it seems members of society find it easy to blame it on the government, on their neighbors, anyone in sight for what is going wrong in our communities. Politicians blame it on the opposition and gain political mileage by listing what Party X and So & So is doing wrong rather than what they have done right.
Many forums have opened up for society to air views, which in generations past was either a life threatening vocation or worse still unacceptable to challenge status quo. However, the increase of freedom of speech or  freedom of expression has become breeding ground for individuals to preach, teach, coach while many are not willing to do anything to contribute to the change we complain about. It is understandable that many at times, there seems to be little that can be done to change the attitude of politicians, criminals or the so called “racists” we so easily identify with eyes closed. As much as our hands may be tied due to our lack of influence, we certainly can make a difference starting with one small step, one individual and that is looking within ourselves.
When we remove the masks we wear on forums such as this one and return to our daily lives, the problems we attack each other over still remain. We still have to lock our doors, we still have to pay taxes to support the activities of those we seem to loathe, we still pay exorbitant prices for goods and services, and we still have to worry about criminals and perpetrators of abuse. Complain about them all we want, toyi-toyi we may till the cows come home but if we do not act we are simply wasting our time.
Changing a corrupt politician may not be the job of an individual, but an individual can certainly change the path a child may take by partaking in laying the right so he/she may be a better leader tomorrow. Getting rid of crime will not happen by flippantly throwing comments but by ensuring the right environment is created for children from a very young age. The rude store attendant or uncouth man or woman some may so despise, did not drop from the sky but was once an infant. Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way condoning wrong doing, neither am I discounting the fact that the outcome of each life is made up of a series of choices but I am simply saying that we as individuals can make a difference if we dedicate ourselves to being the change we want to see.
It may take years for significant social, economic and political transformation to occur and this is not to say we could have a society completely free of problems but if each individual were to play a part, it would make a world of difference. We all want a better city, country and continent, but what are we all willing to do, to see that become a reality? Hats off to those who are already making a difference, sincerely, I salute you!
While I am not qualified to tell others what they can or cannot do, it is my hope that we rise above being commentators and collectively be the authors of a positive story that will be evident for generations to come. Some of the nations of the world we so envy, are what they are today because men and women in generations past, were also willing to make sacrifices. Not the kind that involves blood and violence, but the kind that never made it into history books that shaped the thinking of the child who grew up to the envy of others whether on a small or large scale.

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