Good Readers are Good Leaders: Please Read to Lead!


Dear Ready Reader,

“They say only about a quarter or 27% of South Sudan is able to read and write.The supposedly said literate quarter of the population of South Sudan will never help the baby republic because of this reason brought about by the independence euphoria. This too much culture of leading with so little culture of reading is eminently going to murder the baby nation at its infancy! So, if you want to lead, please read.”

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU WERE MY 10,000TH READER ON THIS BlOG ON SATURDAY, NOV. 26, 2011!

If Baby Tabby, my daughter, could open a book at the age of 2, how about you at the age of 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62…?

Just to repeat what you can see on your right hand side of the widget area on your favourite blog, since it’s my belief that a good reader is a good leader, I prayed last Sunday to have my God pour upon you, especially your brain, the knowledge that can make you not only a diligent reader but also an intelligent leader wherever you work.

Especially if you were one of the 300 visitors of the Weakleaks site on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, I warmly appreciate and congratulate you, my readers, my leaders, and also encourage you to keep on encouraging me to write even more. By diligently and dedicatedly following my weekly postings on my Weakleak via Facebook,  you explore my literal mind and exploit my literary mine, hence a blessing from the bottom of my heart dialled from the button of my art.

I have observed, among the over 10,000 followers of this blog, that more than 90% are not pessimistic critics but ready to give me their unique critiques on my Pennique techniques, news, views, interviews, reviews, previews, overviews, etc. That is the incentive or the fuel that keeps me writing into this financial vacuum (blogging for you on free internet), which is viewed as a failure by my detractors. “Imagine if all those ten thousand readers on your blog were diverted to a newspaper by your column, would you still be using a boda-boda now?” asked one of my friends who wished I were a columnist to one of our current papers. But I told him politely this morning, “I know what you mean, especially when I brought 10,000 readers to The Sudan Mirror. What did I get by the end of the day? A university dropout and a weeklong ordeal in the hand of kidnappers in 2006, followed by stabbing a year later!”

If we are scared of opening the book openly, then let’s try a secret reading club.

However, the kidnappers and stabbers of this writer, me, those days were not the ones arresting Dengdit Ayok and Ngor Garang, today. If they were, bet me by heaven and hell, I would be in USA or Australia in the name of asylum seeker today. They were all my fellow fighters for the common cause that took us to the bush, and brought us back from the bush to Juba. Where is that cause now if most of us are ‘vacuum writers’ while our leaders are hiring our former schoolmates from our neighbouring countries to write reports and letters for them at our expense? I was once shocked to see my fellow coursemate, a Ugandan, working as a curriculum consultant in our Ministry of Education. I felt like I was stabbed at the back.

Reading, I believe, is a lifelong classroom between you and the paper.

“Come on, my reader. I am writing about you, not about them, this time. You are a leader better than they are if you can find this and other similar writings online. Nobody, if not less than 10%, of our current leaders, give themselves enough time to read and research about how to run a country, a ministry, a county, a company, etc. from other advanced countries through the internet. “I am not a dotcom!” said one of the directors when asked whether he had read any background literature to the project he was presenting in a certain conference about education in South Sudan.

My problem is on reading. If all our leaders were readers, we would not experience project problems in the ministries today, and would not be shopping around for foreign workforce to ‘help’ our economy. For instance, and by instincts, the millions of dollars/pounds being spent on a government ministers’ ‘retreat to discuss projects’ with their counterparts in Kenya would be saved for our roads and other projects like electricity and water, which are on a deficit budget. Best of all, that money used for begging Kenya to send us their man power would be used to develop our own workers so that in a few years to come, after our independence (which has happened), no other incompetent leader would spring up over night and announce an Iddi Amin type of a decree expelling foreigners from our country. I bet by my new nation, if such a dumb leader does it so, I would be the first to oppose as I am now the first to propose that we develop our own man power through reading, much reading (I mean studying)…not foreigner-facilitated conferences of internet type of copy-and-paste policies not fit four our economy and autonomy.

I am concerned, if you are not! Because I am jobless, and will be jobless forever if our leaders do not make the hay while the sun still shines. I mean it will be too late for me to call for a repulsion of some Eritreans or Egyptians later with the false hope of replacing them with myself. I must be a job-creator, not a job-seeker. Job-seeker or job-inheritor workers or leaders throw their countries into an abyss of economy failure as seen in the Zimbabwe nationalization policies. You don’t nationalize somebody’s idea, foreign or native. I don’t want us to be like the hero, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who, though a good reader, was not a good leader. Why, like the present Kiir who raised our flag in Juba this year, Mugabe raised the Zimbabwean flag in 1980 and wanted to liberate Zimbabwe (of the White) in 2010. How many years? I don’t mean Kiir is not a reader, I mean independence flag bearers are not good liberators. They are obsessed with power and pride, especially when we are now ‘Oyeeing’ them into dictatorial tendencies by which they will be thinking for us like Robert, I mean to say like robots…bad or good deals.

Back to the topic, those lavish study tour trips must be given to young ones who grasp things, not some oldy generation whose brains have gone moldy under degeneration. Some friend lied to me that the trip, according to GOSS’ Gossips of the Tea Parliament under the trees over there, cost our country 3.5 million (indicate the currency here) for a number of ministers and the vice president to go to Kenya and shop for supplementary experts. This expensive Kenyan exports of expert expats will be difficult to remove later should they be allowed to take over our country and run it their way. Who will dismiss a director who has legally registered a bank or an NGO when we are a legally run nation later? God, give us a visionary champion, a reader leader, to read our future before we regret it!

Ethically, my journalism and principles warn me not to rely on rumours. But even if the figures are not disclosed, is it worth it? I mean is that project worth the travel allowances and other costs involved everytime a minister(s) travels to see how it is done and sign the contract documents in that country? What I am still decrying here is lack of reading culture. The intellectual anaemia that has hit our country today is only curable by the influx of a certain post-school generation, which is still in the waiting, and which I should still recommend to maintain their patience till it happens.

And should we, at all, at least and at last, lose our patience and choose to become no more patients to their political marasmus and literature anaemia, then let us do it through reading and writing. As I mentioned it online the other time, we should dedicate our energies to rioting but by writing. This is the most constructive criticism that can impact not only a positive change but possible education to those who are allergic to criticism; I mean, those who mistake criticism for antagonism. When we tell them to put themselves in the right position, they tend to put us in the wrong opposition. That is why I have been rioting by writing. That is why I am calling upon our youths, who know how not only to read but also to write, to come out and riot by writing. That is why I warned (or moaned or mourned) in another piece of thought last week that it really causes me ulcers to find myself on the ‘wrong side’ of the government that is already on the wrong side of its own law. Real readers, not surreal leaders, may mis/understand me on this statement, but I mean it. That is why Jesus was crucified on the wrong cross, to justify Machiaveli’s belief that “the ultimate truth is penultimately a falsehood”. This means what is initially seen as wrong is eventually proved right; and that is by means of belated confirmation at the end of the bloated condemnation. If I am wrong, ask Hosni Mubarak, and those still struggling to put on his shoes even after they have heard and watched he is in prison.

So if we cow away and leave it to the few sorts of sods in the name of Penn de Ngong, Dengdit Ayok and the like, the cross will be too heavy to carry to the calvary of freedom. Even Jesus was helped to carry his cross by a north African man from the town of Arimothea (don’t check this on modern maps). I mean our neighbours have helped and can still help us carry our cross in the name of love your neighbour like you love yourself. So dear Josephs, given the political atmosphere of utmost fear being undergone by literary rioters (writers) today, I urge you to follow me and others closely like soldiers who are marching to the calvary by cavalry. Since I am not yet at the age and sage of being quoted, let me quote myself again but on an Easter piece I wrote in The Southern Eye newspaper a week before I was kidnapped in Kampala in 2006, “The one and only crime that I have committed, and am committing, and will be committing hereafter and thereafter is what Jesus Christ committed, telling the truth, and telling it as it is. The T.R.U.T.H: and nothing but the truth!”

This is what I told my sponsor when he warned me against indiscipline in Gulu High School in 1999, “Dear Dan, the only crime I promise to commit is smuggling, smuggling books onto the other side of the border, not on but in my brain.” I am trying my best to fulfill this, but will the criticism-allergic people not interfere with my vision?

Therefore, if you share in my belief that ‘non-violent writers are none but silent rioters’ and that ‘it is our right to write’, meaning to riot silently and not violently, then join me in this eventual fight for our intellectual right; support me on the ride to write. Back to myself again, my poetry book preface has this to say about burying your anger in the book, if you want an African dictator not to find it while he is still in power:

“Thence, should one in accordance with stanza 1 of Poem VIII misguidedly think I am being critical and cynical of my mentors mentioned, one would not find any direct expression of impression or knowledge of acknowledgement for them elsewhere in this volume. Both my cattle camp and bush school experiences taught me that, for boys, appreciation is cocooned in bullying just as teaching in teasing for girls. Prove it herein. All my attitudes; including both gratitude and ingratitude, aptitude and fortitude, rectitude and certitude, solitude and solicitude, and the rest of -titude attributes, are sporadically but economically, politically but poetically, socially but emotionally sprinkled throughout the book, especially on chapters like The Horror of Terror in the Era of Error, The Leftovers, Acknowledged-men, My Selfography, My Selfistory, My Theolosophy, Tender Addenda in Gender Agenda, and everything of that kind.  Lo, we go…!

“However, on the one hand, I owe a sincere apology that a great number of the poems, plus their introduction which you are now reading, may not make sense to a great number of readers, not to mention of leaders, especially those Sudanese brothers; those browsers who turn their pages very fast: either – of course – they have not got used, or because they want not to get used to today’s world standard of reading culture, especially this written Afro-culture. On the other hand, they owe us an apology that they are unwilling to resort to reading agro-culture, whose economically returning toil is in turning the soil very fast by burning the oil very fast. Disguised idleness, be it in digging with metal tools or rigging with mental tools, is as sinful as an adulatory act of adultery, if not idolatry. Just this, Apostle Paul seconds in his epistle to Corinthians and Christians that greed and idleness are forms of idolatry, and to Thessalonians, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Similarly, to the ‘salonians’ (salon or saloon idlers), if anyone will not read, neither shall they reap. Lo, we go…!

Therefore, if I were a president of the Republic of Literature, I would make that a decree to publish not the literary pedigree but the literary degree in every manuscript. Lo, we go…!”

And do not forget, good readers are good leaders, just as good writers are good rioters. So from today, Sunday 27, 2011, I am proud to invite you as one of my 10,000 followers to the party celebrating both my birthday and my blog’s birthdate, which falls on December 22, 2011, just on the eve of the Eve of Christ’s mass. From that day, I will crown the winner of my blog’s “Leadership by Readership Award”. Keep looking out for an invitation online (Weakleaks and Facebook walls) to be released seven days to the day. I also hope to launch my poetry anthology, The Black Christs of Africa, from which I always quote poetic expressions on my blog. Watch this space….

But before you go, mark my first word again, which are ominously pointing towards what a call a political Armageddon in the new future of our new nation.They say only about a quarter or 27% of South Sudan is able to read and write.The supposedly said literate quarter of the population of South Sudan will never help the baby republic because of this reason brought about by the independence euphoria. This too much culture of leading with so little culture of reading is eminently going to murder the baby nation at its infancy! So, if you want to lead, please read.

As usual, let me sign off with three poems from that book’s chapter 11, entitled:

Literacy, Illiteracy and Ill-literacy

*

Poem 124

*

Illiterate or Ill-literate?

**

Y   r   U

n

Y   m   I

– not right to write?

– not ready to read?

**

Y    r    U

Do you still believe in the literary taboo that too much reading makes Tom a dull boy? If not, then Y R U not Ready to Read and not Right to Write?

n

Y    m   I

unable to:

– get education?

– give education?

**

Y   m   I

n

Y    r   U

– illiterate?

– ill-literate?

*

Relevant Quote

Ignorance and illiteracy are obviously not synonymous; even illiterate masses can cast their ballots with intelligence, once they are informed.

William Orville Douglas.

***

Poem 125

**

Let literacy make us a little racy

*

Out of womb come we vacant,

Or with matter subject to recant or decant;

And if timely done not so,

It makes us as follows sow:

**

For those illiterate

Will spread ideas akin to all illegitimacy.

For those ill-literate

Will sow seeds of discord and evil literacy.

**

The aristocrats, elites, and those who are literate

Should  resist being egocentric but be a little racy.

And they who are in one: illiterate and ill-literate

will suffer their innate disability called illiteracy.

*

Relevant Quote

Perhaps the most fateful gift an evil genius could bestow upon our times is knowledge without skill.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 – 1827)

Swiss educational reformer.

***

Poem 126 (based on the letter I wrote to my girlfriend when I was in Gulu High School).

Booked by books

*

Dear Abook,

I live

T’ love

U know.

But now

am in love

Wi’ the lib

And the lab.

I am hooked

To the  books,

Fully  booked up;

Hooked up by books.

Sorry for no love letter.

I promise to love you later.

Never ever mind being called sassy.

Bullies here draw and label me silly sissy,

library bookworm, laboratory hookworm,

an old mummy’s boy and ladies’ scarecrow.

But am proud to be the ladies’ scarce crow.

It’s their day to make me their boy-toy

but every dog has its own day.

Life isn’t all straight points,

…crooked like my poems.

You know now, I, right

from old Adam and Eve,

my apparent biblical parents,

all the way down to Waa and Maa,

my transparent biological parents,

am the one and only descendant

to learn how to read and write.

My mind is booked by a book,

my heart hooked by Abook.

Both are totally throttled

Into this lady-like bottle

In a win-win battle.

*

 Relevant Quote:

He felt about books as doctors feel about medicines, or managers about plays—cynical but hopeful.

Rose Macaulay (1881 – 1958)

British poet, novelist, and essayist.

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