“The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept"- Shakespeare.
Lawyer Bah as all of us came to know him is not dead but slept. I guess we all came to change his given name for his profession, not because, he was the first lawyer in our Sierra Leonean community.
We have had many before him and he has left behind many. But none of them have been so identified by their profession as Lawyer Bah.
Shakespeare said of the law:
" For pity is the virtue of the law, and none but tyrants use it cruelly"
This may be the reason why many who came in contact with Lawyer Bah forgot that his given name is a Holy one, Mohamed. His given name also is a message to all of us parents to be very conscious of the names we give our children. Mohamed in his religion was a prophet and messenger of God.
It will be blasphemous of me to say that Lawyer Bah acted and lived his life in the same way his name sake did, Caring for everyone, been a servant for his people, just like his name sake did. I cannot afford to blaspheme so I can only say Lawyer Bah was close.
Lawyer Bah used pity to practice law. There are many in our communities all across the US who will swear that, but for the pity of Lawyer Bah their good fortunes today would not have been. I at one time referred a Cuban friend to him. The Guy came back asking me if Lawyer Bah was indeed a lawyer and not just these "Notario Publicos" in the Latin American communities parading as lawyers and legal aids.
His reason was that Lawyer Bah did not charge him even close to what those quack lawyers were charging. My friend was surprised that Lawyer Bah even went to court without him paying him in full. Cutting a long story short, my friend is today a US citizen. Now working in Brazil, he couldn't believe the news that Lawyer Bah is no longer with us.
I say this with almost unbelievable ignorance - and I am stretching the point when I say that it is only almost unbelievable contrasts strangely with the omniscience of his profession, he appeared to know everything about everything.One day lawyer Bah will be speaking with all the authority of an economist; the next day he will be equally impressively talking to us on the proper way to prune roses. All this he did with humility.
The first day of January, 2011 will forever remain indelible in our Psyche. Because, the New Year snatched from among us one of the most patriotic, honest and philanthropist, our country has ever seen.
One day, our lives will flash before our own eyes. We must make sure it is worth watching. Indeed Lawyer Bah and all of us saw his flash before him, and it was worth watching. That’s why it is hard for all of us especially his widow and children to understand why such a man should be snatched from us so soon; especially when we need him so much? We will never have an answer. Death like any act of God is never explained. Lawyer Bah as a true believer of Prophet Mohamed, he'll be the first to tell us that he loves us; but he is happy to be on the right hand side of Allah where he deservedly resides today.
I want the family to know that I have been personally blessed by the opportunity to have known Lawyer Bah over the years. He and I always joked our century old Fullah Madingo jokes. I called him my Karandy. While all Fullahs will deny that Madingos are their karamors, (and we are) Lawyer Bah will always gracefully address me as Karamor. He will call me often and discuss politics, our community and his favorite subject, Islam. And when he had always called his humor was always there. “Karamor A call for learn more tiday”.
As he resides with Allah the best tribute we can pay to him is to continue his legacy of fairness, love, family and his philanthropy, love of community, irrespective of tribe, region, religion or political affiliation. Everyone dies, but not everyone lives. Lawyer Bah can only be dead if we do not follow what he taught us. Sierra Leone and indeed the world have lost a worthy citizen.
My Karanday, while you prepare the best place for your Karamor, may you sleep well. To the family I remind you of this David Harkins poem.
We can shed tears that he is gone.
Or we can smile that he has lived.
We can close our eyes and pray that he’ll come back,
Or we can open our eyes and see all he’s left.
Our heart can be empty because we can’t see him
Or we can be full of the love we shared.
We can turn our back on tomorrow and yesterday.
Or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
We can hear only that he is gone,
Or we can cherish his memory and let it live on.
Be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what he’d want.
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.