The full cost of our peace

The full cost of our peace

Until he opened up his satchel and took out his engraved journal, the figure sitting two seats away from me on this flight was just any other man, the name in silver on the cover of his diary, however, revealed who he really was; a famous South African cricket star whose rise to stardom on the cricket field as a left-handed batsman and part-time right-arm off spin bowler was at the expense of Australia losing a Test series at home after a long-held 16 years.

This 33-year-old from Strandfontein, Western Cape, is something of an enigma in cricket circles (and I am an avid fan of the sport), not only because of his style of play, but mainly because the record books attest to his constancy when it came to maintaining the breaking of records in his field of play.
I am not one to be wowed by the extravagance of a loudmouthed celebrity, I am ‘bowled over’ by the simplicity of men who have achieved much but still keep their sense of humility; as Jean-Paul (JP) Duminy did on this flight from here to there.

History has proven that we are a country of loudmouths with little in actual and real achievements to show, the loquacity somehow always supersedes reality, engulfs it in rigmarole and rhetorical tautologies, and at the end of the day leaves a nation confused as to who they really are in terms of achievements over the course of history.

Lies, lies, lies, and more lies we listen to on a daily basis, lies of different and varying sorts, lies that have pushed a kingdom that once was the beacon of African hope in education into the shameful rubble rouser that has achieved less than a short chisel would trying to carve a mountain’s side.
The rhetorical speeches of the politicians tell a different story, that we have walked thus far because we are a “peaceful” nation (peaceful as a well-fed crocodile that does not have to lurk for prey in the waters of the river because it lives in a pond in a zoo and thus receives its ration in chunks of meat from the zoo keepers).

A tortoise could have covered a million miles by now if it were this nation, the sloth could have climbed all the way to the moon in the past 50 years: we have walked backwards all the way to the period before the Lifaqane (circa 1810) in terms of understanding what our peace means.
Moshoeshoe oa Pele founded this nation on the basis of assimilation, inclusiveness, detribalisation, humility, diplomacy, mutual trust and acknowledgement of obvious and hidden differences, the pursuit of peace, and a spirit of unity.

His model went well until the usurper to the throne (the politician) actually thought he could rule, ignorant of the fact that he was just a mere commoner.
The commoner posed as a saviour of the people that had already been saved from perdition by the wisdom of the one true king with whose presence the Basotho were graced with.

Moshoeshoe I understood the true value of peace because he had spent many years fighting real battles with real armies . . . we do not value the full essence of peace because we do not understand the amount of sacrifice that has gone into ensuring that we are a nation with its own state, in brief; we do not respect the wishes of the forefathers and foremothers of this here country.

Respect does not mean we bow as concubines would in a harem, respect means that our sense of reverence for the sacrifices those that came before us is the source to the wells of our patriotism.
One cannot claim to love their land enough to desecrate monuments and markers that were left behind by the forebears for the current generation to follow as guides when the days are hard and the road is unclear.
The lighthouse is there to guide the ship in a storm, and the captain knows they should not forget the importance of the bright light of the tower that guides the ship in the stormy seas.

We have the fortune of being a nation that was formed by a king who lay the foundations of the peace model, a figure who understood the true essence of recovering peace, restoring a nation, and reconciling a people divided by strife and war.
What vexes my understanding is the now fashionable tendency to seek external intervention when there are problems that threaten peace and stability domestically.

I do not understand how a nation formed of the originators of the concept of peace copied by Nelson Mandela and others across the globe could at this moment in time be pining for external intervention, or, to be precise, be threatening each other with it.
I think the world that is watching thinks that we are a bunch of ungrateful dimwits. And I agree that we are nincompoops because we forgot who we were before the politician came along with his temporary solutions to long term problems.

The country is generally stifled by what one can term as “Big Brother Syndrome,” itself the legacy of the colonial era. Lesotho most often than less behaves like the beggar it is because the colonial lord taught the native that help would fall as the manna from distant England.
Well, England packed her bags and moved on to Pretoria, she had lived for the larger part of the first half century in a house on the same street as the old parliament was on.

It seems that the Basotho did not see the silent exit of the English overlords as a sign that the Basotho must get up and confront the world as it is, for the older brother was now gone. Instead of picking up their mattocks and dealing with the infringing forest of political problems, the Mosotho thought asking for external intervention was the solution.

Well, external intervention may have been relevant in the days when the pink boys in veldskoene and Martini Henry rifles wanted to annex this piece of land on this side of the Mohokare.
The wise king back then realised we were not strong enough to weather the incessant onslaughts of the laager boys and so sought the help of England through their emissaries such as Wodehouse, Warden and others.

He was forced to look out due to real circumstances and challenges; why should we at this point in history always be looking outwards to solve internal problems?
Lack of common sense rules the day, and it tells me that one cannot always call the neighbours to have a rat in the house removed.
There are only two solutions available, the first of which is to have rat poison, and the second which is to be willing to remove the rat after it is dead.
This issue that external intervention is seen as a more viable solution to current political problems prevalent in the country is a sure sign that we have become haughty and pompous to the point where we cannot speak to each other as neighbours and this attitude has spread out to the rest of the nation.

If a family cannot converse to flesh out issues that affect them as a family unit, then the neighbours in their genuine concern will attempt to unite the family members that seem to have issues with uniting as a family.
Though it may seem the most sensible solution, the more sensible solution to the division problem in the family is that the individual family members first question their role in the family, to question whether they are the source to the problem and whether they can provide the remedy to the problem.
Adopting a self-righteous stance can never solve the division problem, for then everyone thinks their position is right and therefore cannot be criticised.

This country and state needs to engage in a national dialogue at whose core should be the peace concerns, for pretending that we do not have a peace problem will only lead to more strife and political self-righteousness.
National dialogue for the sake of peace may seem a difficult task to execute at this moment, but it can be done if one has had the time to listen to the various polarised radio stations where each commentator often comes to present their own views of what can be done based on political affiliation and not on the basis of the credo that formed the Basotho ba Moshoeshoe, that is; the credo we shall unite despite the obvious and subtle differences to sort out various problems that present themselves to us.

There are good comments one hears on the various media platforms on how we can garner in a kind of peace the nation can benefit from.
Using those good comments and ignoring political affiliation can in the long term serve to salvage this country out of the miry depths of poverty and political division. Claiming that one is right and the other wrong on the basis of political opinion can never provide lasting solutions.
It is true that one side will see solutions, but those solutions will be of a virtual kind; for where the political leader is loved, the followers often see him or her as the messiah that saves them.

The reality however, is that such a political leader is only serving the interests of one side (the supporters), and the other sides are short-changed in terms of what they rightly deserve as citizens of the state.
And there are sections of society that comprise of apolitical citizens (of which I am a part of), and these sections are forced to watch as the dogs of political wars tear each other to pieces over nonsensities at the expense of the peace that could benefit everyone in terms of rendering an environment calm enough for the full potentialities of the state to be explored.

The past 50 years of Lesotho’s independence have largely been governed by political intolerance, and this misunderstanding on the basis of difference in political opinion has been the arrest that has prevented the state’s progress despite the immense socio-economic potential the human and mineral resource base the state possesses.

Rather than focus on establishing appropriate ways in which the resources can be explored, the heckling on who was right and who is wrong goes on and on and on to disgusting infinity. I am sure the alumni of the first university in the land are wondering how their state universities progressed whilst the old man that gave most of Africa education in the dark pre and post-independence remains stuck in a moment he cannot get out of.
The university is as it is because of the political nature it somehow imbibed somewhere along the way. Depoliticising the core institutions of the land such as education, policing, defence, civil service, and the related could well send us on the way to being the kingdom the world once admired.

Claims that are empty are as loud as empty vessels, and the kind of loud talk on achievements one hears these days is just a sure sign that what once was is still going on as it did. The donkey on the winepress may have been changed, but the tedious grind to crush the grapes of wrath is still going on.
If I had seen Lesotho on the flight to somewhere and Lesotho had opened his diary, the engraving on the cover would be nice to look at, but the pages would be tattered, yellowed out, and full of irrelevances that were contrary to what had been presented about the individual I was observing.

I have so far observed that when prosperity is made, it is made in silence; the loudmouth expends their energy serving the need to satisfy their loquacity.  In the process of their blabbering instead of performing the necessary task at hand, the loudmouth loses valuable time needed to finish the task on or in time.

Political talk without real achievements has gone on for too long in this land; the blabbering on nonentities should from here on be left and a new page turned.  The full cost of our ‘peace’ is clear enough for the blind man to see: we are lagging far behind the rest of the world in terms of socio-economic achievements. What use is it being peaceful and poor? I would rather be known as violent but work at the mint, printing notes of lucre the world needs.

Tsepiso S Mothibi

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