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Shameless exhibition of the unknowable

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Bad things must, under ideal circumstances, remain unknowable.

Depending on interpretation of the law in a given area, and hinging on how deep-rooted one is in values and beliefs, one is supposed to determine how they would go about ensuring that hideous things remain as such; unknowable.

However, when what was supposed to be an unknowable thing becomes frequently knowable, people may begin to take the now-common occurrences as normal. That is when people, no matter how religious or God-fearing they claim to be start glossing over issues with the lame excuse that it is a way of life.

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Talking about glossing over hitherto unknowable things, one of Malawians’ areas of preoccupation has become violence, especially the gender-based violence (GBV) type.

Of course, Dear Pain, there are many forms of violence. Politicians lying about things they will do for the people, especially when on the campaign trail, is a form of violence.

A woman dumping a knifeless businessperson to marry a gun-wielding soldier is a form of violence, too.

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And, sadly, perhaps because fairness is sometimes dumb, some of the perpetrators get away with it.

Sometimes, grounds for violence are lame; in other cases, those perpetuating it and those at the receiving end of it may not even remember the reason for their misunderstanding.

Whatever the case, when one extends a part of oneself, as to forcefully land it on a part of ‘another-self’, behaviour is born.

If repeated now and again, it forms pattern of behavior and, overtime, becomes part of one’s character.

The way GBV is becoming a negative part of Malawians’ character.

Gender Minister Patricia Kaliati put this in perspective when she addressed Parliament this week.

Just in nine months, the country has registered 13,056 cases of GBV.

As we are commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, we must be ashamed of ourselves for letting bad things happen on our watch.

When the 13,056 cases of GBV were being recorded in the first nine months of this year, some people were busy embezzling money at the place they work.

As 1,224 cases of defilement were being registered in the first nine months of 2021, some public officials were busy moving up and down on foreign soil, spending taxpayers’ money as if there is no tomorrow.

As 4,051 cases of marital and interpersonal conflict were being put in black-and-white in Malawi Police Service records across the country, some lawmakers were busy getting kickbacks so that they could back this or that other initiative.

Just as 4,051 people were involved in 2,440 cases of economic abuse, some of us were busy doing nothing, believing that the government owes us a living.

It is exactly what President Lazarus Chakwera said the other day, when he had 500 messages from myriad people who wanted him to buy relish for their families, with others among the lot [500 WhatsApp messages] asking the President to please, convince my daughter and son to take a bath today or something like that.

I believe there was one message, among the 500 the President referred to, asking Chakwera, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to please tell that soldier that the woman he has married was supposed to be my newly wed wife or that Please tell that woman that the man she married was supposed to be my lawfully wedded husband.

All I mean is that we have taken another step, in as far as expecting too much from the government is concerned, that we no longer focus on things that matter in our life.

That is why, as 1,586 cases of conduct likely to cause breach of peace were being registered in the country, some were busy attending to personal, read unproductive, affairs.

That is why we have had 122 cases of suicide, of which 101 cases involved males and 21 cases involved females.

We have become so engrossed in ourselves that we have lost touch with the painful reality out there; not just the reality, we have lost touch with Umunthu/Ubuntu philosophy, which is the spirit that has been at the heart of our extended family system.

This sad reality, of unknowable things becoming knowable, should bring us back to our senses.

After all, there is nobility and dignity in reaching out to others who are distraught.

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