Do we truly desire freedom?
For many people captivity is self-imposed.

Dear Editor,

A recent episode of a weekly television programme which features Rastafari was quite deflating as the theme was freedom.

Historical records have revealed that the main hindrances to freedom are the vices of lust, fear, and disobedience, but there are three challenges we face when pondering that elusive state of freedom.

Firstly, in an edition of The Far Side comic strip, one of the seemingly more-intelligent-than-expected dogs asked the other why they had to behave as if they were below the level of the humans. The other wittily responded that the humans give them food for being so.

Similarly, it is best that those among us who idealise and seek to possess freedom patiently lay low lest our former, present, and aspiring enslavers dash or sabotage such hopes.

Secondly, it is often said by our leaders that our people are our greatest asset. This is meant to be inspiring and to suggest intangibility. However, there is an eeriness about the phrase when initiatives like the National Identification System (NIDS) appear to be attempting to tag our people to eventually determine our worth.

Finally, the late President John Magufuli of Tanzania once prophesied that when the rest of Africa would have run out of food because of their self-imposed lockdowns in observance of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Tanzania will be flourishing so much that it will be sought by the rest of Africa for help in supplying their food needs.

We talk of economic recovery and encouraging decline in the SARS CoV-2 positivity rates, but much of our people still prefer to abide by the “stay-at-home” rhetoric rather than risk facing the stresses and challenges in an effort to be productive.

Our leaders have unwittingly made us into the sluggard mentioned in Proverbs 20:4 who “will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he [we] beg in harvest and have nothing”, not even a “sankie” to sing us through “the cold”. Our homes have become our refuge, in spite of how dysfunctional they and our communities are. But we have been forced into becoming refugees, fleeing from the rest of our own land and people.

Andre O Sheppy

Norwood, St James

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