Dr. Sylvia Blyden the publisher of the Awareness Times of Sierra Leone is often referred to as the Iron Lady. Since the British first gave Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the Iron Lady insignia, every tough woman in Sub-Saharan Africa is called the Iron Lady. In neighboring Liberia, President Johnson is called the Iron Lady. In Sierra Leone, we can run the table on numerous women of distinction that the general public refers to as Iron Lady. From the top of my head, Chief Justice Umu Tejan-Jalloh, Health Minister Zainab Bangura, Bio’s running mate Dr. Kadie Sesay, Kono District Council Chairlady Diana Konomanyi, etc are all known as the Iron Lady. How many Iron Ladies do we have in Sierra Leone? Are we lethargic to the point of classifying every woman of substance as the Iron Lady? There is no telling about the number of Iron Ladies in Sierra Leone. One size does not fit all women of distinction in Sierra Leone; some are made up of steel. What if Dr. Sylvia Blyden is more like Esther, the orphan Jew who became Queen of Persia to later save her people from Haman’s gallows? Better yet, is Dr. Sylvia Blyden Sierra Leone’s Rosa Parks?
Dr. Sylvia Blyden is very much AWARE of the social-ills destroying our national fabric. She is conversant with the root causes of our dwarf nationalism. When a “clique” is preoccupied with propagating tribal supremacy, very little is accomplished in the area of nationalism. What emerges is a segregated, unfair, prejudicial, and tribal profiling nation. If not addressed there is the high probability of genocide is such a nation.
Dr. Blyden is conscious of the fact that the enemies of Sierra Leone are not outsiders but those within who propagate the doctrine of tribal/regional dominance. They have the idea that members of other tribes should take a back seat while they, the majority tribe take the front seat of power. Our enemies are those who have revised the “Jim Crow Laws” of 19th and 20th Century USA to fit their diabolical plans for Sierra Leone in the 21st Century.
Tired of giving in like Rosa Parks, Dr. Blyden has taken an uncompromising stance: expose the tribal superiority clique in addition to “name and shame” all those who support the division of Sierra Leone. In many ways, Dr. Blyden is an icon of resistance as Rosa Parks was during the civil rights era.
Rosa Parks is known as the first lady of civil rights and the mother of the Freedom Movement in African American history. After slavery, Blacks were considered the inferior minority and faced widespread discrimination. As Americans, Blacks experienced an un-American nightmare instead of living the American Dream. Similar to Apartheid in South Africa, segregation and racial inequalities made life miserable for people of color. They were denied the rights enshrined in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. Before Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat in a bus to a Caucasian, many individuals carried out similar defiance.
However, her act in the late 50s became the vanguard of the civil rights movement. The moment was right as leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and others articulated the struggles of people of color born in America. Rosa Parks’s resistance led to the Montgomery bus boycott and other civil disobedience activities that subsequently took apart segregation and racial inequalities in the United States. Rosa Parks rose to prominence because she took a stand against the wrongs in America.
Asked years later about her boldness she said “I was tired of giving in.” Rosa Parks won many medals and have streets named after her in almost all major US cities. After her death in 2005, she was the first woman lying in honor at the US Capitol Rotunda.
There are unimpeachable reasons to consider the possibility that ‘perhaps’ Dr. Sylvia Blyden is Sierra Leone’s Rosa Parks. To her disadvantage, Sierra Leone’s movement against the injustices of tribalism and regionalism has just begun, while the civil rights movement for all practical purposes ended a few decades ago. African Americans now face a different frontier. To her advantage, Dr. Blyden is just as defiant as Rosa Parks was. Rosa Parks act raised the awareness of all Americans about issues bordering on racial inequalities and inclusivity. She made America look in the mirror to see if the status quo truly reflects a united homeland with equal rights or a divided nation with substandard for people of color. Just as Rosa Parks was too tired to give in to racism, Dr. Blyden is too tired to give in to tribalism and regionalism in Sierra Leone. She has boldly labeled the southeasterners who’ll use tyranny to politically divide Sierra Leone, “God Damned hypocrites.”
Yes they are hypocrites to talk about one nation one people but regard themselves an elite gang with the tribal objective to eradicate the leadership of the people “they are opposed to” by all means necessary including starting a war. Add to the political issues of the era, the movement toward nationalism as never seen before.
Many who were once too shy to speak against tribalism are standing up to articulate their displeasures with tribalism in Sierra Leone. The tactics once used by the clique to destabilize Sierra Leone all in the name of pa-o-pa power, are being exposed. Although viciously attacked by members of the gang and their supporters, Dr. Blyden stance is resolute.
Sierra Leoneans from every region must join the movement to name and shame all those attempting to partition Sierra Leone. Dr. Blyden is a walking encyclopedia of our recent past and has an input in terms of aiding Sierra Leoneans to defeat and bury the evils of the past. Sierra Leone will develop even faster when we free ourselves from the tentacles of tribal inequalities.
Just as Rosa Parks stance led to the Montgomery boycott, Sierra Leoneans should boycott the activities of any candidate, clique, party, organization that seeks to segregate our beloved country.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, a new movement has been birthed and Dr. Sylvia Blyden is the first lady of civil rights in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, Dr. Sylvia Blyden is the mother of Sierra Leone’s nationalism movement.
Former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah noticed her genuine sense of patriotism and gave her the Order of Rokel medal a few years back. Because she is too tired of giving in, millions should now stand with her in defense of the Unity, Freedom, and Justice enshrined on our nation’s Coat of Arms. Lonta!
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