By Jaime Yaya Barry
Independence Day has been, for the most part, a time to reflect on Thampèreh’s struggles, the resilience of the people, the bravery of the men and women serving in the village’s armed forces, and a general call for unity, collective strength and working together for the betterment of all citizens. It is a moment for Painters to step out of their political camps, bring the village under one umbrella, and dream together. It serves as an opportunity for Painters to recognize the contributions made by citizens from all walks of life toward village-building.
And in an unprecedented move, instead of a reconciliation speech preaching oneness and nationhood, Thampèreh’s current Painter did what “henny” other Painter could do, he Sala malay koomed the village with a heavy dose of Ramatu-lie about what he achieved in forty-eight moon circles since taking office.
One of the giant boom shells in his speech is how, in his ultramodern Ramatu-lie voice, said, his government has managed the economy “responsibly” and supported private sector growth. If all the rankanomics in Thampèreh’s economy in the last few moon circles, which pushed even more people into abject poverty, is still a responsible move, then one wonders what could happen if the Painter and his cronies had handled things irresponsibly.
And how great it would have been for the Painter to show how his “quick economic recovery program” actually “kept essential goods in the market” or whether keeping them in the market also meant access and affordability.
The Painter talked about increased productivity in the agriculture sector when villagers have not even set their eyes on the harvest from his own farms. In his imaginary world of agriculture productivity, he said he “provided more input support for farmers and established more new cash crop fields.” Sub’hanallah, what-a-Ramatu-lie.
Imagine boasting about rehabilitating a $270 million “hiyaport” terminal but cancelling the construction of a new one at $400 million. The cancelled project was part of the village’s infrastructural transformation as it prepared to shift its political and administrative capital away from the over-crowded and disaster-lurking city of Sarèh.
Total darkness covered the village as the Painter boasted about his “energy expansion and improved access to electricity more than henny government has ever done in 48 moon circles.” Dozens of villagers stood in long tiring queues due to water scarcity as he Ramadu-lied about expanding access to potable water across the village.
Now imagine how Independence Day would have been if half of what the Painter said was true.
Undoubtedly, the Painter needs a quick escape from his barricaded royal walls and walks the streets of Thampèreh to see the reality of his people. But again, it’s not like the Painter doesn’t drive every day to and from work and therefore wouldn’t see the villagers’ level of hardship and painful living conditions. Maybe, in addition to his political and substantive Supreme Executive Authority, what the Painter truly needs is a heavy dose of empathy and sensitivity. A true leader must be empathetic, sensitive, and understanding of the plight of the people he serves. A true leader will not use events like Independence Day to launch his re-election campaign. Instead, he would see the event as an opportunity to send messages of hope and bring his people together.