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.
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