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Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora need to unite to help their country

28 September 2017 at 05:22 | 2244 views


By Sanpha Sesay, Texas.

For more than two decades, Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora have been shaped by periods of intense political and ethnic partisanship across the globe, ignoring their fundamental value of patriotism and nationalism.

Even though I had argued wholeheartedly before this time that it is sometimes necessary to come together as an ethnic identity or form political groups, I have come to realize that this model of community formation has created a serious issue among us in the Diaspora.

We are losing our values in terms of shared cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set apart one group of people from another.with some sort of understanding of themselves as a discrete and separate entity based on their ethnicity or political parties. That does not give us any sense of uniqueness as nationals from Sierra Leone living in a particular country.

We are also losing our ardent attachment, devotion, love, support, and defence of our country outside Sierra Leone because of our political and regional differences. People’s habit of blaming politicians or government is related to their lived activities, emotions and perspectives based on their political parties differences and or regional differences.

In the different news network and social media, the people of Sierra Leone living in the diaspora are inundated with notions of political pluralism/ethnic groups operating as a social construct in another man’s country. Any tragedy that occurs in our country, people will talk, tailoring the lies on social media, squabbles and politicize the issue to cast the blame on government.

Disparities in our establishments in the diaspora are social arguments underlying a social issue which has exacerbated the retrogressive nature of development back home. This disparity is mostly accounted for by the fact that most Sierra Leoneans living in the western world have divided into different ethnic groupings and into two major political groups; the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress party (APC).

This idea of partisanship might attempt to lead us into disintegration and it will open the door for ethnicl, regional, and to a large extent, political conflict that will broaden to our homeland. I will not comment on the political stalemate in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), but look at the situation unfolding in trying to elect a flag bearer in that party. The social media is furnishing us with a lot of negativity about the conflict there in just trying to set an administration to man the affairs of the party. What are our contributions as people with different knowledge and ideas from abroad to effect a change?There is no way diasporans can influence any situation while we are ethnically and politically divided.

In any community gatherings today in the United States and England particularly, the center of discussions could be about politics even in funerals, weddings and other events, according to my findings. How does that impact the country or the nation as a whole by establishing political parties outside Sierra Leone with our focus on discussing nothing important, but just politics?

Forming ethnc groups also has a negative consequence for the socio-political fabric of the country in different ways. Many Sierra Leoneans who read this article can agree with me on certain things that are objectively important to calling yourself a Sierra Leonean. For example, in the United States or in the United Kingdom, no one will ever ask you to which ethnic you belong to or which political party you are affiliated.The most common question of identification is, where are you from? Because, in America, someone will say, ‘who cares’ in relation to your ethnicity; whether you are from the North or South, your country of origin matters.

My observation is that, all those political parties and tribal organizations set up outside Sierra Leone could create room for sectarianism and is a deterrent to our national identity. All those political groups and tribal organizations could provide a tendency to deepen our differences in our heritage. This deep cultural divergence is the prime cause of our social and political instability.

Let me give you an example. Whenever the country faces a disaster, many individuals and some organizations will adamantly refuse to galvanize together to organize a fundraising activity so that the community could contribute to help victims. This is just because they don"t like the government, and according to some people, the government is corrupt therefore there is no need to help anyone in a situation of catastrophe.

The nation faces the challenges of changing our attitudes in and outside Sierra Leone. This challenge extends to Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora who have failed to apply a multidisciplinary approach to bridge disparities and eliminate especially ethnic partisanship in our various communities. Everyone is bent on morphing into ethnic, regional, or political categories instead of adhering to nationalism. The reality is that, the responsibility of promoting unity and preserving diversity not only lies on the government and onSierra Leoneans living in the country and in the diaspora as well.

Across the United States, for example, Sierra Leoneans are losing their nationalism/patriotism because of their adherence to political partyism that has caused a huge political effects of political in our country. Politics has made us to lose our moral values which do not bring any positive change to achieve the millennium goals.

The New York Times stated that politics is obviously a passionate activity, in which moral values clash.Let the politics and all political activities stay home and build up a coalition that will contribute to the development projects in our country as the Association of Sierra Leonean Organizations in Texas (ASLOT) has exemplified..

ASLOT is to be commended for on the mobility of its purpose in forming some kind of umbrella organization in Texas. Its main goal is to organize Sierra Leoneans in the State of Texas into a more loving and cohesive community, while employing interdependence together with non-Sierra Leoneans to support and promote sustainable growth in healthcare, education, infrastructure, agriculture, and social empowerment to benefit the people of Sierra Leone. This is a kind of cohesion expected Sierra Leoneans all across the diaspora ned to have for a common purpose.

People continue to build disparity gaps by forming different organizations ranging from ethnic groups, alumni associations, and regional organizations with no intention to merge these groups to form a coalition for social change in our culture; a social change that has a significant alteration, modification, or transformation in their organizations and operation of social activities that we dearly need.

It is clear from all these examples that ‘togetherness’, a common phenomenon that I believe in, is often considered important for us, although the reasons behind the creation of different organizations may be different and not always clear with their objectives. It is easy to suppose that in some cases there are mutuality expectations behind it, but such expectations are certainly not always the main drive for togetherness for Sierra Leoneans outside Sierra Leone.

The tendency towards togetherness or forming an umbrella organization like Ghanaians did in Germany, have become a greater dilemma in our various communities because people feel sociallyand emotionally attached to their partisan groups with a strong ethnic dimension to discourage national unity. I believe that we should live harmoniously together as Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and explore that unity to influence business people, millionaires, and politicians to help Sierra Leone. The community in Dallas Fort Worth in Texas has manifested signs of togetherness in practice despite a huge challenge to accomplish that goal.

We need to establish umbrella organizations by bringing all political groups, alumni associations, ethnic and regional groups into one umbrella organization in our various countries in the diaspora in order to bring about change in and find solutions for issues affecting our country.

Community leaders need to invest collaborative initiatives that bring together diverse interests to accomplish a common objective.