Today’s Post newspaper editorial
In life, we are advised not to burn bridges. But there are many temptations in life to burn bridges.
Even in military engagements, when under pressure to slow down the enemy advance, there has always been a high temptation to blow up one’s own bridges. Wise commanders always try to avoid blowing up their own bridges because the cost of reconstructing them is usually very high and can also sometimes slow one’s pursuit of the same enemy whose advance one was trying to slow down. Sometimes fortunes change very quickly in life. So it is important to keep the bridges that enabled you to cross and be where you are today.
This is a lesson our politicians in Zambia have problems keeping. Many of them today don’t even talk to people who three years ago were their campaign managers. They have forgotten all those men and women who gave them their money, their time and not to talk about their support. They have crossed the bridge and blown it up. Some of them don’t even know how they will go back in 2016 and seek the support of the same people they abandoned after victory in 2011.
Even in ordinary day-to-day life, this happens. Think about it; if you cross a bridge and then set it on fire, there’s no more bridge, right? There’s no way to go back where you came from.
It is the same thing in life. Let’s say you’re living with a family member who was really good to you. You decide to steal all of their money or whatever and move away to live with someone else. The person you’re living with now changes their mind and doesn’t want you living there anymore. You try to go back to the family member that you stole things from. They tell you “no, you burned your bridge by stealing from me after I’ve been so good to you.” Do you get it?
We are seeing this today with some of the leaders and cadres of the Patriotic Front. They seem to be forgetting very quickly where they are coming from. Some of them don’t even want to be reminded of who did what to get them where they are today. They even want to rewrite history and change the roles played by other people to get them where they are today. They want to downplay the roles played by others and up their own and make things look as if everything happened because of them.
They are trying to clean out everybody who played a key role because that undermines their own standing in the Patriotic Front. Some of them don’t even want to acknowledge the critical and strategic role played by Wynter Kabimba to secure the Patriotic Front victory in 2011. They will never acknowledge that because it takes away something from their own standing and undermines their hegemonistic ambitions.
They would rather deal with new people. Even for us in the news media, the corrupt and tribalistic clique that is trying to assume hegemony over the Patriotic Front has turned against the media on whose coverage and support the Patriotic Front was almost exclusively dependent. They have crossed over to what once was ‘enemy’ media, the media that supported Rupiah Banda and his corrupt and intolerant regime. These are the people they are working with today. This is the media they are giving money to carry out their propaganda against those who helped them to cross the bridge and consolidate their new government when it was still very weak and under serious attack. And for them, it is not enough just to move away. They want to leave the media that helped them cross the bridge completely annihilated so that no one can talk about it anymore. This is what the Lozis call puchukwe munyelela siliba. The Chewas say pamsasa saipisa.
When you look at the attitude of some Patriotic Front leaders towards us, The Post, one wonders if some of these elements really have any sense of justice and gratitude in their hearts or they are simply jackals, hyenas!
People who forget, or never learn, the language of gratitude will never find themselves on speaking terms with happiness.
Thanksgiving, you will find, creates power in your life because it opens the generators of your heart to respond gratefully, to receive joyfully, to react creatively.
It is said that there are three enemies of personal peace: regret over yesterday’s mistakes, anxiety over tomorrow’s problems and ingratitude for today’s blessings.
Count your blessings at every opportunity. You were living in squalour, today you are a minister living in a nice government house. You had no job, today you have a nice office with secretaries, drivers and all sorts of aides. Yesterday you had great difficulties putting food on the table, today you have all sorts of government contracts and you are awash with money. Take some time to reflect on all you have. The words think and thank come from the same Latin root. If we take time to think more, we will undoubtedly thank more. Be humble, be grateful, don’t burn bridges that helped you get across or you will stumble, you will drown. There is an inescapable relationship between corruption and ingratitude. A corrupt man is seldom a grateful man.
The most highly satisfied life can be found in being thankful. Appreciative words and deeds are one of the most powerful forces for good on earth. Thankful words don’t cost much, yet they accomplish more than can be perceived. No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. The person who isn’t thankful for what he’s got isn’t likely to be thankful for what he is going to get. Ingratitude never ends.
Attitudes sour in a life that is closed to thankfulness. Soon, selfish attitudes take over, closing life to better things. Thanksgiving is the attitude of a productive life.
In Xhosa, they say, ‘Ungalibali intaka yobusi’, meaning, don’t forget to give the honey bird some of the honey it helped you to find.