Simango’s ‘Thinking Aloud’ on people who throw bigotry on Nyasa Times

All I have been doing on Facebook (FB) these past 6 months or so, was just to share interesting happenings that were popping up on friends’ walls. The reason for this was that after reading through and even participating in some debates, I have come to the conclusion that trying to write anything, here, for purposes of having a meaningful discussion or debate is a futile exercise.

Simango: Thinking aloud

Simango: Thinking aloud

You see, for some reason, Malawians, including, well-meaning Malawians just sulk at this – having a good debate and disagreeing without getting personal, attacking the argument and not the person is something that is just alien to our culture (talk of culture as a basis for an argument). And to be fair, I think I have seen this sickness even on other international fora, as well. Still more, we, Malawians being what we are, we are just excel at being bad on this one.

Somehow, some people just specialised in being stupid bigots who refuse to see reason. I have joined – and left – several FB and other social groups and it is the same story everywhere – people just love to wallow in their entrenched positions and will refuse to see reason even when you shine a floodlight on it.

The sad thing is that these are the same people who will engage you in a very fruitful discussion at work, in a meeting or even on professional fora. But when it comes to economic and social-political issues outside the office, they just coil back into their entrenched positions and start spawning bigotry and stupidity. How they do that is a mystery to me.

I have no problem with a person who is out of depth arguing from a position of ignorance. Even I have learnt that I cannot sustain an economic argument against Thomas Chataghalala Munthali or a finance one against Onjezani Kenani or an IT one against Matthews Mtumbuka (by the way, congratulations and welcome back) What I just cannot stand is seeing an otherwise intelligent person insist on being stupid. It’s annoying beyond measure.

And of late I have come to accept the sad reality that the people who throw bigotry on Nyasa Times under the guise of fake names are not from Mars. They are actually Malawians. They are the same people we meet in meetings at work everyday. They wear suits and stellatos and they speak a lot of sense in boardrooms. But once they go on Nyasa Times and put on their masks, you will not believe how much hatred they harbour against Northerners, against Lomwes, against Yaos, against Chewas. And  their language? Eish!

But as I said, these are not strangers or members of some haters club who stay in some excluded community, in some desert. These are people we stay with, we sleep with, we work with. These are our, otherwise, decent friends on FB, even present here, on this very timeline. Sad.

But then there were times when, once in a while, I had some very interesting debates on Facebook. I have missed those days. I miss arguing with Patseni Mauka. who always debates fiercely but fairly even behind his mask. You see, this guy understands the etiquette of anonymity: a mask may give you permission to speak freely but the only person you can insult – if you so wish – is a fellow masquerade and no one else.

Anyways, he had some very good arguments in support of the now ruling DPP during the campaign and I, never one to be politically correct, was on the other side. We had very good disagreements, in those days and I just enjoyed sparring with him. Unfortunately, there is very little uncommon ground left between us, nowadays. You see, Patseni Mauka (yes, it does sound like a Nyasa Times  pseudo or Chigoba name) has now seen what I saw then. But, no, I will not tell him, ‘I told you so’. A gentleman does not brag!

  • Off the wall of Charles Simango Facebook page
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Matthew Phiri C. O.
Guest
8 months 11 days ago

Quite a word worth reading, an advice worth embracing and a revelation shocking that those setting and ambush are those we rub shoulders with.

Sai
Guest
Sai
8 months 12 days ago

Long time Charles, you are a columnist I have held in high esteem for quite a long time. You are right objectiveness is what is needed. I expect that political and economic authorities would take advantage of the debates taking place in the social media, more especially Nyasa Times.

Mnjuzi D Nyirenda
Guest
Mnjuzi D Nyirenda
8 months 12 days ago

very true!

Kenkkk
Guest
Kenkkk
8 months 13 days ago
November Rain, I said the article was excellent for the same reasons that are articulated by those who support the writer. I didn’t want to bore people with repetitions but to me the message of the article is simply we should debate in a civil and humane manner without insulting each other or being personal. We should stick to the topic and debate our pros and cons of the message, not the messenger. I do differ occasionally with the analyst as in this case and others and I say so and he says so to me as well in other… Read more »
Ain't analytical
Guest
Ain't analytical
8 months 13 days ago

It’s a mockery how someone can call oneself ‘Analyst ‘ and yet literally fail to know the source of the article, let alone grasp anything from it. What a bogus analyst!

Funzo
Guest
Funzo
8 months 13 days ago

I think that the article makes its points clearly and well. I agree that many writing comments write disrespectful and hateful comments that I am sure they would not say to people’s faces. Having since read the comments, I was amazed at the responses, many of which were of the sort the author was referring to.

It seems many write without really thinking about the issue. Think before you speak is a good premise on which to work.

nguluwe
Guest
nguluwe
8 months 14 days ago

That is what happens when a society has been under oppression for so long, and suddenly you are free to talk.

All-i-can-say
Guest
All-i-can-say
8 months 14 days ago
Mr Simango has a point and there is a problem with inflexible mindset that has plagued a lot of Malawians manifest itself in social media circles. I would like to look at this inflexibility of thought in a positive light. Our institutions of learning needs to wake up and change the way we are taught and debate issues right from primary schools. We simply do not learn to discuss issues without getting personal and being offensive. Strong democracies are built on debate of issues and they change their world very effectively through constructive debate and disagreements for the common good.… Read more »
Obvious Phiri
Guest
Obvious Phiri
8 months 14 days ago

In my understanding, Simango’s point wasn’t against people holding opposing views. It’s just that he would rather those ideas were expressed civilly without insulting or otherwise attacking the person expressing them.

For example, if someone doesn’t agree with my point of view, Simango would prefer that that person lays out his own point of view or at least points out why he can’t agree with me without.

Surely what’s wrong in wishing for civil debate that doesn’t resort to name calling?

Mkalira Henry
Guest
Mkalira Henry
8 months 14 days ago

I agree what James Mhango has written

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