Prof Sankara Kamara (Sydney, Australia)…
Few hours ago, I had a brief telephone conversation with an FBC student, who asked my opinion about David Tam-Baryoh’s arrest. Baffled, I told the brother that I was unaware of Tam-Baryoh’s arrest. In an apparent bid to vindicate himself, the brother told me to check the news on Facebook. As a man who previously praised the government in Freetown, David has a fair share of critics, some of whom are quite unsympathetic. I disagree with those who say David can be imprisoned, because, as an “opportunist,” he deserves the injustice meted out to him, by the same government he previously whitewashed. There is something seriously WRONG with that line of thinking. Here is why I disagree with that opinion.
Tam Baryoh may have been an APC praise-singer, but, in a democratic society, the government is obligated to PROTECT every citizen, including those who have fallen out of favor with the system. David Baryoh is a citizen of Sierra Leone. In a law-abiding society, David’s status as a citizen of the republic, gives him the right to praise or criticize ANY government, without being arbitrarily arrested. In fairly educated societies, praise-singers normally lose respect, NOT their human rights.
The rule of law suggests we defend EVERY citizen against injustice, including those we dislike. That is why it is against the law, in most democratic societies, to beat a prisoner, without provocation. If a detention officer is NOT acting in self-defense, beating an inmate would constitute an inexcusable crime, punishable by a long, prison term. Education means more than one’s ability to write grammatically correct English. “Critical thinking” is an important aspect of college education. Little wonder, most American universities do promote critical thinking, as an important element of education.
For being a one-time praise-singer of a failed government, David Baryoh can be disrespected, by his critics. His critics have the right to strip him of the respect they had for him. However, the rule of law naturally urges us to DEFEND David, or any other citizen, against illegal detention. In a law-abiding society, the rule of law will protect EVERY one against illegal detention, including double-tongued citizens. If we allow government to illegally arrest those we ideologically dislike, we should NOT be surprised when the same government decides to illegally throw MORE innocent citizens in jail. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Most often, dictatorship will prevail, in part, because citizens lack the ability for critical thinking. When the PEOPLE wake up, dictatorship may NOT live long, afterward.