By Steven Birija
Dear friends and fellow Banyoro, in good faith and from the objective point of view. Having gone through many deliberations concerning Bunyoro here, and more so the most recent ones, on Bunyoro fora: I find that our issues and debates will always suffer, stagnate or prematurely abort, hindering any way forward or progress, because of what I have come to believe to be our complicit criminality “Willful Blindness”.
Borrowing from the wisdom of one writer, Margaret Heffernan, the author of a book, “Willful Blindness”, she observes that, “You cannot fix a problem that you refuse to acknowledge.” And, “When we care about people, we care less about money, and when we care about money, we care less about people.” So, “As long as it (an issue remains) invisible, it is guaranteed to remain insoluble.” It seems this is the ideological path we chose as Banyoro: always to sound politically and socially correct, on the side of the powerful and the rich! But, is this tenable and sustainable?
To make it more clear, in another observation, one Briscoe, also observes that: “The doctrine of willful blindness imputes knowledge to an accused whose suspicion is aroused to the point where he or she sees the need for further inquiries, but deliberately chooses not to make those inquiries. Willful blindness has also been described as the state of “deliberate ignorance” of a certain fact.
Therefore, we the Banyoro need to reflect on this societal flaw, which seems to rule in our society. This tendency of always seeking refuge in the most powerful, the rich and well positioned, even in potential criminality, at the expense of facts, the objective truth and common plight only leads society to disaster.
For example, we have seen or see everyday presidents – ripped us off: land, wealth, beat and killed, still pretend-, many priests, pastors, have turned wolves, we still follow and praise, or even the would be benevolent dictators in our tradition institutions like Kingdoms can rob and abuse us, but we always want to sound socially correct and safe; the “well-mannered posture”, or within the sight and catch of the eyes of power holders or money magnets, whatever the truth, we don’t care- just remain wilfully blind. Why? Is it greed, fear or just potential criminality in us?
I know, such deep probing and analysis of issues is very dangerous in Bunyoro, and can fetch one or put you in line a lot of hatred, scorn, abuse and isolation, but let it be said that, we need to discuss such criminality of “Willful Blindness” and “hypocrisy” if Bunyoro is to progress.
The author is the former Masindi district chairperson
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