OCTOBER 21, 2014 By Oswald Hanciles
Why didn’t ‘they’ listen to me…since April, 2014, when I started writing in this Column that the Ebola virus is waging a war on us – and there should be a military war response from us? I wrote here that we should fight a “Preventative War” against the Ebola Enemy when it was yet in Guinea: why didn’t they listen? I have been pensive over the weekend as I asked myself those questions. Still, I applaud President Ernest Bai Koroma’s decision to rename the EOC the “NATIONAL EBOLA RESPONSE CENTRE (NERC)”…… to “develop a synchronization matrix….”, for the “…efficient utilization…of massive support” our country is receiving. Congratulations to Major (retired) Paulo Conteh, the new CEO of NERC!! These moves vindicate my public advices published in this Column since April, 2014…. – ‘Finally, dem done yeri watin ar bin dae tuk’.
This other news also heartened me: “Thousands of UK troops would be sent to Sierra Leone to enforce…radical plans to defeat Ebola… From a military perspective, Ebola is like a biological warfare attack…”. (Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2798713/3-000-uk-troops-germ-warfare-style-ebola-blockade-plan-sierra-leone.html)
I plead with you, and you…and the ‘powers-that-be’ … to listen to me!!! I do not claim that I am extraordinarily clever. It is just that… Well, I can ‘see into the future’… While I was a pupil in the Albert Academy some forty something years ago, and my peers would be taking down a few pages of notes from teachers writing on blackboards, I would ignore the ‘boring teachers’, have my head bowed, reading three hundred pages novels in a single school day; plus other world-class magazines, comics, etc. This has enabled me to think deeper, and see further than others… To humbly (!!!) prove my point, I am going to reproduce below excerpts from my previous articles on the Ebola Outbreak.
The Ebola War is a NATIONAL SECURITY issue
“…The ‘Ebola war’ is NO LONGER just a health ministry matter, it should be… a NATIONAL SECURITY issue. We simply cannot afford the ‘Ebola enemy’ to make the same advances the RUF made into the heart of Freetown, while we keep on underestimating the ‘enemy’… The ‘war’ the Ebola virus is waging on us now must get us to harness the best and the brightest among us. …There must be a form of ‘Truth Center’, a form of Ebola Strategic Command that would harness interdisciplinary forces – health, communication, education, internal affairs, Sierra Leone Police, defence ministries; NRA and immigration department…the mass organizations (petty traders, okada riders, SLPP, APC; UDM; PDMC, etc)….” (From: THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN: It’s ‘War’!!!! No ‘Peace Treaty’; Published in Cocorioko, June 1, 2014)
God, Through the Ebola Virus, Reminds Us: Fight Wars or Die
Read another article of mine:“…Disease-causing micro-organisms are ALWAYS waging war on man…. The Ebola virus is just one of these micro-organisms that ‘God’ has put on the planet to remind mankind that he must fight wars…or die!!!…… Late Tejan Kabbah failed to appreciate this ‘God reality’, and lulled Sierra Leoneans into believing that ‘war’ is a very bad thing, and that the best way to approach a diabolical enemy, like Foday Sankoh, would be to appease him…. Point: we must ‘cure’ ourselves of the ‘Tejan Kabbah Syndrome’ as the Ebola virus wages war on us – and respond with holistic war…
The article continues: “…President Kabbah could see the enemy – President Koroma cannot see ‘the enemy’ …. The debate raging in cyberspace now is that should Sierra Leone close its borders with Guinea and Liberia to prevent Ebola infected persons coming into the country? The World Health Organization (WHO) is opposed to this. The question for…H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma…is: should he under-react, belie the Ebola threat…and wait until the Ebola enemy penetrate our country, before he reacts…? Or, should we over-react, pass new Ebola laws in Parliament, take stringent stance at our borders, absolutely prevent any movement of people from Ebola-infected regions, and over-react? What will we lose if we are accused of over-reacting?…” (Source: THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN; The ‘Tejan Kabbah Syndrome’ and Ebola, Published in Newswatch, April 6, 2014)
‘Ebola War’: Anticipate!! Be Proactive!!!
Read this excerpt from another article: “…That is why in this ‘war’ the Ebola virus has declared on us, we must ANTICIPATE how the ‘enemy’ would strike, and, understand our own strengths and weaknesses, and be pro-active. Apparently, we are not aware of this: the Ebola enemy, like a ‘good military’, is using our weaknesses against us. Such explanations to the public through the press are good. ‘Di minister done try, but…’ What Sierra Leonean society needs in future are wonderful stories on how the government, indeed, the entire ‘governing elite’…would outwit the Ebola enemy. NOT explanations on how the Ebola enemy would defeat ‘us’ by infecting “just five people” – using our people’s cultural attitudes against us!! The Kissi Teng chiefdom in Kailahun (like the Pujehun District chiefdoms closest to Liberia; the chiefdoms that border Guinea in the Kambia district; the same for Koinadugu) have been declared ‘Ebola war frontline’ zones. The ministry of internal affairs, the local government councils, the MPs, etc. should have helped to get the health ministry to better understand the THINKING of the people in the frontline chiefdoms, and, co-opted their traditional, political, and religious leaders into an ‘Ebola War Plan’…
The article continues: …Wars mandate extreme measures, and have to have ‘Collateral Damage’….Some of our local journalists have been hyping up a rumor that armed police were sent to the Kissi Teng chiefdom in Kailahun to apprehend Ebola suspects. They made this to sound like a horrible thing for a government to do. What if it becomes a necessary thing to do? What is the use of maintaining a military with millions of dollars every year and when we are faced with one of our greatest threats to national security the troops cannot be used? We have to begin to think out of the box in this Ebola war. The physical presence of well-armed soldiers in the ‘frontline chiefdoms’ could send a message that… Or, before the troops go in, there should be media bombardment that people must be vigilant about movement in and out of Ebola suspect areas. Such a message could then be followed with the military’s intimidating presence…
The article continues: “…Let me restate what I have published in previous articles on the Ebola menace. After 9/11, the US government established the Department of Homeland Security – to better coordinate all the formidable intelligence and security branches of the US government. They risked violating some of the US’ cardinal tenets of not invading privacy by allowing these security agencies to tap nearly ALL telephone calls; to peek into nearly ALL e-mail messages. And, those who were arrested as terrorist suspects, were incarcerated in Guantanamo, out of the jurisdiction of US law. The lesson for us is this: when a nation is threatened severely, there must be firm action by its leadership; the greater good has to take precedence over individual liberties…
The article continues: “…The Ebola virus could be in every district right now – because we did not close our borders. We have to encourage people to let ALL recent visitors from Guinea and Liberia be ‘put out’ – to go for Ebola tests. We have to anticipate what could happen. Be proactive. We have to build up scenarios to PREVENT any more Ebola attack; scenarios of an Ebola attack – and scenarios of actions to take…” (Source: THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN: ‘Ebola War’: Anticipate!! Be Proactive!! – Published in Cocorioko, May 31, 2014).
Mr. President, New CEO of NERC…: Listen, Please!
Mr. President, new CEO of NERC, compatriots, all: Listen. I know it will be very difficult for you to listen to me. I am black; African; Sierra Leonean. That Africans generally do not listen to brilliant and prescient Africans is not peculiar to Sierra Leone. In Liberia in the 1980s while I struggled to establish a regional marketing research and marketing corporation, which I conceptualized to extend into a development/environment organization, I only gained momentum with the idea when the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-International and the German Forestry Mission to Liberia sponsored the production of GREENLOVE magazine in 1989 (I was Editor for the magazine); and I put the WWF and GFM logos on my GREENLOVE letterhead – then the same Liberian ‘power-elite’ who had disdained by efforts would say, “Mer mehn, so di you ting ya da serious business, ehneh?”. Right now, the Ebola War is crimping our economy to dangerous levels. Every 30 minutes, all the major television networks in the world are flashing news on Ebola – creating a ‘fear stigma’ about our countries in the consciousness of the world. We are bludgeoned in the global media. We can use this same relatively negative media to stimulate necessary billions of dollars to re-energize not only the economy of Sierra Leone, but that of all the Mano River Union countries. How? You have to promise to listen to me – to help put into imaginative perspective such appeals by President Sirleaf which has given traction to the Ebola War Effort.
In her recent “Letter to the Word”, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf warns: “Ebola is not just a health crisis… Across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe.”
Africans should stop their ‘cry baby’ stance when dealing with the West in such existential crisis as the Ebola outbreak… – i.e. ‘they have not come to our aid speedily enough…They are not giving us enough assistance’ … Shame!! In the 1970s, the West, and Israel, were strongly opposed to Nelson Mandela’s ANC, and were giving military and diplomatic support to Botha’s racist Afrikan regime – in UK Prime Minister’s Margaret Thatcher’s then much-touted “constructive engagement”. The resolve of Mandela, and the ANC, forced the West to change. We can turn this Ebola war on the global stage – but, listen to me. As you read my advices in articles as far back as April 1, 2014, you would agree that the worst could have been averted if my advices had been listened to, and put into action. ‘Nar for yeri watin are dae tuk, duya’!!!