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NEWS : Local News  

Dr. Sylvia Blyden Warns against Undue Fear of Governments in Sierra Leone
By Augustine Samba
Oct 27, 2009, 17:32
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Undue Fear Of Government leads to an even Greater Fear eventually overcoming All the Land

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Sierra Leones only female newspaper Publisher and popular Civic Activist has told the people of Jawie Chiefdom in the eastern Kailahun District that an undue fear of Government eventually leads to the populace suffering from an even greater fear all over the land. She said lack of citizens criticism of bad governance leads to even worsening governance and when bad governance levels became unacceptable with declining socio-economic indices, massive disgruntlement sets in and war eventually breaks out. And when war breaks out, she opined, the fear and terror that accompanies war is always worse than the fear of Government reprisal that had initially kept citizens quiet in the face of bad governance.

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is shown in the photo above holding a lighted candle on the banks of the famous Moa River in Daru, Jawie Chiefdom, Kailahun District during the areas Symbolic Reparation on October 20th 2009. Blyden gave the keynote address to the Chiefdom people after a Ceremonial Cleansing of the Moa River was performed and shortly before the symbolic reburial of war victims who did not get a proper burial. Although Sylvia Blyden was not initially billed to give the Keynote address (seeing that she only visited to perform annual Memorial Rites for her late friend, Major Kula Samba) the Paramount Chief deferred his right to give the Keynote Address to Dr. Sylvia Blyden as a mark of the tremendous respect she commands in the Chiefdom.

Blyden was addressing the people at the Jawie Court Barray during her Keynote Address delivered during the Symbolic Reparation Ceremony organized by NaCSA in collaboration with Hope Sierra Leone. The programme was organized on the theme of: "Healing the past; Restoring dignity; Moving forward together". The symbolic but highly spectacular ceremony attracted many stakeholders including the Paramount Chief Musa Ngombuklah Kallon II, the Chiefdom Speaker Faada Kallon, the Chiefdom Imam Alhaji Sheku Kanneh, the Methodist Church Reverend Moses Ndowui, the Sierra Leone police and Sierra Leone Army officers, Mr. John Bangura of Hope Sierra Leone amongst other elders, students, local councilors, Mammy Queens and last but not least, the feared native masquerade devils.

Sylvia Blyden at the Riverside keeping the Fire Burning

The main objective of this ceremony were to educate the people as to how they can reconcile forgive the hurts and pains of the 11 years war and also, to appease the spirits of war victims who never got a chance to be buried in a ceremonial and decent manner but got shamefully buried in mass graves or left to rot by the roadside whilst fleeing or in the forests or were dumped into the Moa River tied up in rice bags or were locked into houses which were then set alight.

In his statement, the Host Paramount Chief Musa Ngombuklah Kallon told NaCSA and Hope officials that he was going to defer his right to deliver the Keynote Address to the visiting Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden whom he described as "a true daughter of this soil because of the love she has for us and the love we also have in our hearts for her and which we will always carry for her".

Dr. Sylvia Blyden warns against Undue Fear of Governmental reprisals

The Paramount Chief informed that it was most coincidental but also the wish of the spirits of the forefathers for Sylvia Blyden to have traveled all the way from Freetown to make a sara and prayers for the late Major Kula Samba whom he stated never got a chance to be given a decent fitting burial and was thus a war victim just like the others from the Chiefdom whom, he stated with tears, were slaughtered and left to rot in the forests, got tied up whilst still alive in rice bags and thrown into the River Moa where they drowned ignoble deaths. He also recounted the series of mass graves located all over Kailahun where victims of rebel raids had been buried after whole villages were laid waste. He informed of three mass graves located in Nyeama village where on one occasion, over 70 houses were wrecked and 400 people killed in just one day. The Paramount Chief however appealed to all and sundry to forgive one another and unite to develop the country.

The Masked Devils offer for Dr. Sylvia Blyden to pose and take photos with them

On his part the Hope Sierra Leone representatives Mr. John Bangura also noticed the spiritual choice of the date of October 20th which he informed was chosen without ever knowing that October 19th was the date of the death of the late Kula Samba and thus the two events of remembrance matched perfectly as that was the wish of the almighty for Sylvia Blyden to be around to participate in the occasion. He skillfully moved the minds of everybody to love a beautiful flower inserted into a glass of bottle but later as each and everyone noticed that underneath the flower were dangerous things like blades, stones, dirty rags, broken bottles which he said was a symbol of how a society could look beautiful but with deep seated anger, mistrust and hate lying below the beauty. Mr. Bangura compared the flower to certain humans who pretend to be innocent but were heartlessly participating to commit atrocities during the 11 years war in Sierra Leone. He asked everybody to cross check themselves in one way or the other how they might have participated in the war and asked for forgiveness for all through a two minute silent prayers. Following this, Teacher Lansana Ghaliwai said many people died shamefully without being buried but through the symbolic reparation they are going to be reburied.

Blyden and two Kailahun Paramount Chiefs from Dea Chiefdom & Jawie Chiefdom

At this point, Dr. Sylvia Blyden who was chosen as Guest of Honor as her presence coincided with the ceremony first of all said she was in the chiefdom to perform a (Sara) on behalf of her late sister and friend, Major Kula Samba and to check on the status of the school children whom she was helping to sponsor with their education as well as to increase the number of students benefitting from the Kula Samba Memorial Scholarship. She however expressed delight to have happened to be around to take part in the symbolic reburial and remembrance of all those who lost their lives from that chiefdom during the war including the late Major Kula Samba. She informed of how in her entourage, were several SLPP youth leaders who had all offered to travel with her to the late womans home with the thought in mind that the late womans father was one of the Founding Fathers of the SLPP. She then proceeded to cover the tremendous loss the country suffered as a result of war and proffered her thoughts on what causes war to break out and create such tremendous fear in a country; Blyden opined that war with its attendant great fear amongst civilians was as a result of civilians being too afraid to stand up to the ills of bad governance.

Speaking in both Creole and some Mende, Sylvia Blyden warned that if Sierra Leoneans continued to be complacent and pliant to corrupt Governments without standing up for what is right, "War will break out again and the fear we all experienced as a result of war, we all know is much worse than the fear of Government that makes us to keep silent today".

Blydens full Keynote Address with a theme of Unduly Fear Government at Your Own Peril! alongside photographs of the colorful Reburial & Reparation Event will be published later on this week. The Address was spectacular and got the whole chiefdom giving her resounding applauses after every few sentences uttered. STAY TUNED FOR IT.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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