By JOMO SANGA THOMAS
I am sitting at my desk at the Malmaison Hotel in Oxford, England thinking
about my homeland. Oxford is a thinking town, a place for deep and
reflective thought. The Malmaison is an interesting place. For more than
300 years, until 1996, it served as a prison. For centuries, its inmates
years were persons who could pay their debts. But Since the turn of the
century the Malmaison has been turned into a snazzy hotel.
The Organization of American States (OAS) invited me to a conference on
CyberSecurity and Strengthening the Democratic Process. Among the topics
slated for discussion were:
1. Building an Open, Safe and Stable Cyberspace,
2. Threats to Election Technology,
3. OAS and the Commonwealth Experience in Electoral Cooperation
4. Digital Threats to the Democratic Process
5. The Sole of Social Media Manipulation
6. Cybersecurity Guidelines for Democratic Processes
7. Issues for Consideration in the Protection of the Democratic Process
against Digital Threats.
These are very important topics from which all of the countries in the
Americas could learn. Certainly, stake holders in SVG would do well go onto
the OAS website and down load the many presentations.
But I digressed, the Malmaison did not cause me to think of the conference.
It caused me to think of fear, jail, punishment, hardship, deprival and
even death. Physical death and spiritual death, the loss of meaning as
regards everything that is meaningful.
My mind drifted off to the Bible and the powerful refrain in the Book of
*‘*For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and
lose his own soul?’ This is a serious question that has real implications
in both the religious and secular realm. For truly what shall it profess
anyone of us if we got all that we wanted, but in the end could not really
be true to ourselves? Is not it true that in a real sense our good name and
character is all that we have got? And don’t we all agree with the ancients
when they say ‘To thyself be true’?
Why then do we live what WEB Dubois describes in the classic ‘The Soul of
Black Folks’ as double life, or Twoness? I believe the much less recited
verse Mark 8:37 offers an answer
‘What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Fear of reprisal and
discomfort and disapproval, fear of punishment and social isolation and
most of all fear of losing the ‘good life’ or aspiration to the good life
may offer revealing clues for our action and inaction, silence and
acceptance of what we instinctively know to be patently wrong.
Have you ever stopped to think what you would have become or what would
become of you if you were very comfortable, had not a trouble in the world,
no concern about how your rent or mortgage will be paid or absolutely no
responsibility to pay for your schooling or that of your children?