Muawad Mustafa Rashid
People in my country usually have sharp tongues. They meddle and poke their noses in other peoples’ businesses.
Perhaps they believe that other people’s private affairs are collective property without any consideration to privacy.
Those tongues are autocratic and as such, they do not believe in individual freedoms or in the right of every citizen to shape his/her own life in the manner he-she wants.
Woe and misery will be the lot of anyone who dares to oppose the wishes of the gossipers and whisperers, no matter whether their wishes are fair or justifiable.
Sometimes the punishment meted out can be severe and harsh.
The talk of the people at times constitutes an effective moral constraint that prevents a lot of misbehavior and impudence.
Yet it can be as dangerous as wild wolves at other times.
It seems that the only way to be safe from the malicious talk of the people is to forsake our own principles and beliefs in order to live and deal with them in constant and unceasing hypocrisy.
Strangely enough, all of us fear the talk of the public.
For instance, the politician in Sudan does not behave in accordance with what he believes to be fit and beneficial as much as he acts to please the public opinion.
Workers do not stand by their ideals but rather aim at satisfying other people.
In short, we are living in a state of constant trepidation and panic.
The bugbear which is lying in wait for us is nothing other than the gossip of the people about us.
Although Allah the Almighty has blessed me with some courage, I cannot practice what I believe for fear of the biting tongues of the public.
For example, I talk and write, but I cannot dare to write what I want nor can I say everything I want to say, because – just like others – I am cowardly and faint-hearted.
I fear that the public may rebel against my pluck and flay or scald me with their stinging tongues.
Many a time, I have been invited to a party held in honour of Mr. X or to bid farewell to Mr. Y. I hear eloquent farewell speeches and resounding poems composed in honour of Mr. X or Mr. Y.
This is because people are accustomed to honour those who deserve it as well as those who do not, just out of a spirit of adulation and sycophancy.
Such dissimulation rouses my indignation so much that I find myself on the point of getting to my feet amid the audience and saying to the person being entertained: “Don’t believe even a single word of what has been said in the speeches and poems; you are neither a hero nor beloved not respectable. We hate you from the bottom of our hearts and we are determined to get rid of you as soon as possible.”
If I acted according to my wishes and stand to my beliefs and principles, I would have been able to say explicitly in public what is usually only said in whispers.
But I cannot do that for fear of the pungent criticism of people.
For these reasons, I attend parties smiling and applaud with the rest, otherwise people will think that I am a lunatic and a public menace.