By Prof Sankara Kamara……
Patriotism is so ABSENT from the Sierra Leonean mindset that I can go to that country, run around with an American wife and contest the presidency, without offending the nationalistic sensibilities of any Sierra Leonean. What am I talking about? I am NOT criticizing Sierra Leoneans with foreign wives. My argument is based on the belief that PATRIOTISM is so ABSENT from our thoughts, that even presidential elections are not enou…gh to make us discuss the status of Sierra Leonean citizens, in their own country. Almost every African country I have visited, did exhibit a high level of NATIONALISM that almost bordered on xenophobia. Gambian people and politics, for example, will always remind non-Gambians that they are “foreigners,” a word frequently used in that country with a tinge of hostility.
We are supposed to conduct elections in a year’s time, but I have NEVER heard the government or presidential candidates make reference to our female CITIZENS in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Arab World, where Sierra Leonean women have been enslaved, by racist Arabs. Unlike most countries, the Sierra Leonean national mindset does NOT respect its own citizenship.
I have a phrase for our condition. We are suffering from “Patriotic Deficiency Syndrome,” a malady which has robbed us of national pride and self-esteem. Ruled and ABUSED for a very long time by a criminal, one-party dictatorship that hated its own citizens, Sierra Leone suffers from Patriotic Deficiency Syndrome, a condition which has rendered us incapable of loving ourselves, as a nation.
During elections, a fledgling but PROUD nation will discuss questions like, “How do we streamline our immigration to STOP non-citizens from criminally acquiring our passports?” “How do we ensure CITIZENS are prioritized, when it comes to employment?”
I was expecting at least one presidential candidate from either the ruling party or opposition, to frequently use the word “CITIZEN,” in his speeches and interactions with the PUBLIC. A country with a nationalistic mindset, would have definitely used a presidential campaign, to at least talk about our ENSLAVED female CITIZENS in the Arab World, the public campaign needed to discourage human trafficking, and how to ensure that non-citizens either respect Sierra Leonean CITIZENS, or face the full weight of our legal system. Sierra Leone is dangerously suffering from “Patriotic Deficiency Syndrome,” a condition which affects millions of Sierra Leoneans, including those who claim to be educated.