Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stupidity Is Not Equivalent to Patriotism

I love Tanzania. I do have respect for those in the leadership position. Nonetheless, respecting leaders and loving one's country does not have to be expressed through agreeing with everything our leaders say. Being patriotic does not necessarily mean defending even unwise decisions or positions that our leaders take. Loving the country does not mean being up and arms against everybody and everything that the President does not agree with.

It appears that Mr. Sauper and his infamous documentary Darwin's Nightmare touched some sensitive nerves in Tanzania. From the President's reaction, subsequent demonstrations in Mwanza and eventual official statement of the Parliament, it appears that the majority of our leaders have decided in one accord to deem Mr. Sauper a villain. After watching the documentary myself, it is clear that either the President and his supporters didn't watch the documentary, or they took the film out of context.

It is the President's prerogative to have his own opinion, just like I have mine. Nevertheless, what is sad about this whole fiasco is how the majority of Bongolanders have failed to have their own voice. Even worse, is the fact that those affected have jumped on a supporting bandwagon in favor of the President, without taking a critical look at what the documentary highlighted.

Despite all that, what really ticked me off is the fact some in Bongoland do not agree with the fact that all Tanzanians have the right to their opinions. It is wrong to label such folks as part of a western propaganda as the editor of Daily News writes " the way Darwin’s Nightmare is being defended by a section of the local media indicates that this could be part of a calculated mud slinging campaign against Tanzania and her leading position in the Great Lakes region". You can read the entire commentary here . Is that stupid or what? Simply because some folks are not educated enough or are incapable of critically thinking does not mean the rest of us should follow suite.

Stupidity is not equivalent to patriotism.

As ridiculous as the Daily News Editor's comments are, what topped my list of shortsightedness (in the name of patriotism) is what a religious group, Good News for All, planned to do. Based on the story published by Alasiri, these folks planned to have an all night prayer vigil. Among other things, this group intended to join a parade of condemning the Darwin's Nightmare documentary.

Again, as any Tanzanians, these folks have a right to their opinions. Nonetheless, when such an opinion comes under a religious ambrella, serious questions must be raised. My questions to Bishop Charles Gadi, who appears to the spokesperson for Good News for All are these: Isn't it hypocricy to be vocal when in support of the President and silent when the system is full corruption and irresponsibility? Isn't this misplaced priorities, given the fact homelessness and prostitution are highlighted in the documentary? Shouldn't it be the church's priority to deal with these issues instead of wholesomely joining the entire nation in condemning the documentary? How can the church deal with these issues if it doesn't view them a serious problem caused by a broken system and that Mr. Sauper only helped to bring them to our attention?

See, this is what my Bible reads in Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...". Furthermore, my Bibles also reads in Matthew 5:14: "You are the light of the world.." What does those verses mean? They mean that a person of Bishop Gadi calibre, being a man of God, should have adequate Godly knowledge and wisdom to see what the rest of world does not see. But I guess I am too spiritual, because my Bishop just opted to join the rest of Tanzania. Is this true patriotism? I don't think so. In my world this is stupidity. You can't act in a certain way simply because the rest of the world is acting that way. Where is the power to think for one's self?

As sit here, I just wonder what really is wrong with the rest of Bongolanders. I mean, why would the country regard Mr. Sauper as an enemy, while what he did was simply show us what we have failed to do? Is there anybody who paid attention to little details, such as the fact that the fish factory owners are Tanzanians of Asian origin while the natives are on the peripherals? [I am not being a bigot, but isn't this the same question that Mr. Iddi Simba raised about empowerment of indigenous folks?]. But those are the questions that the likes of Daily News editor wouldn't ask, because they are too busy being "patriotic".

I will say it again, stupidity is one thing and patriotism is another. The difference is so clear.



I agree totally with U. It is sad that people think supporting the president equates to being patriotic

Jaduong Metty said...


Thanks for noticing. It is necessary at times to bring these issues to the surface, for withouth that, we will continue acting dumb.