Empathy, sympathy and staying in our lane

If there is something that is to be admired about the Chinese, it’s their ability to stay in their lane, to prioritize for development at home and to move on after disasters. I think some African states should learn some of these qualities which China has.

Every few years, China is hit by devastating earthquakes, and lives and infrastructure are lost, but that has not stopped the Chinese from building. China is one of the leading countries in infrastructural development.

If this was Namibia, at the rate at which we are building, earthquakes would have us all living in shacks. China is also like that kid who sits in the back of the class, does not comment on any of the politics in class, but her work is always up-to-date. 

Namibia and other African states should learn to be like China, where our involvement in the issues of other countries is limited to us empathising with them, but not exceeding a point where we want to fight their battles.

When we declare our allegiance, it has to be from a sensible point, because now as it stands, we are behaving like a man who wants to go to his neighbour’s house to tell his wife what to cook for dinner.

Now, getting to the real issue, what happened in France lately is a sad misfortune, and what has been happening in the Middle East is even a bigger misfortune. But I think Africa, and in this case Namibia, which is at the very bottom of the continent, has made a poitjie out of bones and beans.

The extremists were on Facebook, saying how they would not empathize with France when innocent people were slaughtered like animals in their own lands, while trend sheep were quick to change their profile pictures in support of France without knowing when and how the tragedy happened.

Brothers and Sisters of the soil, this is where you need to pick up the trends of the Chinese, who choose not to participate in wars which have nothing to do with them.

We are the same people who can watch another person get robbed or beaten in broad daylight and do nothing or pull out a phone to record the commission without feeling any sympathy for our fellow countryman, but we are quick to get involved in things that have nothing to do with us.

Please, do not get the Judgement Call wrong. As human beings, we are capable of feeling pain on behalf of other people, it’s empathy. But to go as far as almost starting a movement for France when you cannot even show up at a mass land clearing function is a little ridiculous.

We need to prioritize because right here at home, we have a lot of tragedies happening, and we do not act this extreme. Why can we not pledge allegiance to our own countrymen, when we are willing to go from pillar to post to get the world to know about the happenings in France?

Let me reiterate that it is a tragedy what happened in France. It is also a tragedy that millions of dollars, which are supposed to get a lot of Namibians services, would go missing from government office, but Namibians would not bat an eyelid, or they would not go on hunger strike.

Like China, can we mind our own business and cry for the things happening in our backyard before we cry for things whose politics we do not understand? But what can you expect for a State which issues a statement for French tragedies that was welldistributed in the media, but we did not see the same done for the attacks in Kenya, or the attacks happening to our brothers and sisters in Nigeria?

The State was even tongue-tied at speaking out against the attacks on our SADC brothers and sisters during the xenophobic attacks. This should also be a lesson to African media, which has not been able to set its foot down on prioritizing events happening at home. We should be able to free ourselves from the chains of relying on foreign media to tell us what to prioritize.