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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Peace succeeds over brute force

12th September 2012
Editorial Cartoon

It was a feat usually viewed as rare indeed but which editors and the men and women under their professional command and guidance made look both easy and simple.

We have in mind the peaceful demonstrations hundreds of media practitioners in various parts of Tanzania staged yesterday, chiefly to mourn and honour slain Iringa-based Channel Ten TV journalist Daudi Mwangosi.

True, much as they wanted to hold mourning marches of their own in their respective duty stations, some journalists were not that lucky – as they were told their notices to the relevant authorities did not meet laid down conditions.

But no matter; those who managed to remember Mwangosi by way of the demonstrations and the brief solidarity speeches and messages that formed part of the climax of the events were representative enough of the country’s media fraternity.

No one can tell whether their decision to march was inspired by these words by legendary French pilot, writer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery:  “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”

Nor is it easy to say whether they were prompted the belief by whoever it is that said: “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”

What is of most importance and relevance, though, is that they so soldiered on in unison that the young journalist they had set out to fete posthumously would have ordinarily found cause to applaud.

But, alas, that was just not possible under the circumstances, as it is over a week now since he was silenced so brutally as he innocently went about his day to day duties.

Yesterday’s marches punctuated the reliving of a truly tragic day when the life of a messenger was cut short as he strived to collect information and data that would help him deliver a well-researched and professionally packaged message.

In mourning him yesterday, his professional colleagues were in part demonstrating their readiness to remember him by ensuring the war he so gallantly fought amid numerous odds continued.

The demonstrators were very clear about why they were marching, as evidenced by the messages the placards they brandished (one read: Why kill the messenger?) bore and pronouncements those who spoke at Jangwani grounds made.

For one thing, they were telling whoever cared to listen that Mwangosi’s killing was unacceptable and similar incidents should never ever happen again.

The journalists also made impassioned appeals to the government to ensure that Daudi Mwangosi’s killers faced justice, adding that they would not rest before that was done.

They further demanded guarantee of their basic right to personal and professional safety, cited the struggle for a free press as a prerequisite for the advancement of democracy, and vowed never to be cowed or intimidated into retreat in that struggle.

Through their marches, the journalists have demonstrated to the world that the treasure known as peace can prevail over brute force. What a noble way to salute a fallen hero!

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