Don’t run!

I’m from Togo.
Togo is a beautiful country with the most humble, the most hardworking, and the most liberal people in west Africa. They are also the most honest in west Africa, just behind the people of Burkina Faso.

Unfortunately, the country has being taken hostage by an internal colonial regime since half a century and years after years the regime has succeeded to break any attempt to overthrow it.

Recently, I met a high ranking member of the TOGO colonial regime, and at a point of our exchange, he disdainfully joked that the people of Togo are ‘flee-ards’, meaning it’s enough for the regime soldiers to boo the protesters that they would run away in panic leaving the streets empty.

In the years 1990s, I was among the students who protested the colonial regime unsuccessfully. Hearing that Officer statement got films of how we were dispersed back to my mind.

We were cowards. We ran away once the soldiers would boo at us. And I think most of the protesters were killed and wounded running away, making themselves easier prey.

Recently, the TOGO regime developed a more sinister tactic to break protests. According to their theory, once their soldiers would kill one or two children during a protest, even if the kids are not related to the protests, the protest movement loses momentum and breaks down, because parents instinctively would exert pressure on their kids not to go out.

In the last few months I have been reading quite a bit about the civil rights movement in the United States and the reasons of its success.

The main takeaway is the strategy developed by Martin Luther King from Gandhi concept of satyagraha. The protesters in India like the African Americans protesters in Birmingham were instructed to take the beating of the police without moving, without running away, letting the blood run over their body, and more importantly letting the world know who is the evil.

Birmingham changed everything because the brutality of the racial police was met with protesters holding their ground regardless of the police beating, the dogs bites. Martin Luther King allowed kids under 14 from the schools to join the protests and invited the world’s camera to witness the stream of blood running on the streets and in the face from children, women asking for freedom.

The film of the people nonviolent resistance despite the brutality moved deeply Kennedy and Johnson and the rest is now history.

My meetings with many African activists always bring me back to the ‘flee-ards’ mentality in our people. We flee in face of adversity. We concede victory so easily. We run too quickly to safety.

Gandhi got his Satyagraha concept idea from Thoreau. Thoreau refused to pay taxes to the American government for 8 years because he didn’t want his money to be used by a state who practices slavery. He was alone doing that and was regarded as an outcast. He spent time in prison because his anti slavery stance. His writings about civil disobedience still influence social change nowadays.

Why am I writing this?

The German call something ‘superior temperament’ and weak temperament.

Superior temperament means not giving up to adversity and dedication to overcome any circumstances.

Inferior temperament means tentative plans, testing the waters, retreating once things get tough, and cowardly submitting to adversity with self indoctrination into fictions like fate, god will, fake fist in the air pride, …

What kind of temperament do you have ?

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