- Media outlets
- Sierra Leone
In light of recent politically motivated violence in Sierra Leone, this is a call to active engagement and action among concerned Sierra Leone citizens to ensure that our 2012 elections are just and peaceful.
To all concerned Sierra Leonean citizens:
In light of recent events and in preparation for what we hope will be a 2012 election that truly reflects our motto of unity, freedom and justice, we call all Sierra Leoneans to action and solidarity in the following ways:
1. A call to active engagement
Sierra Leone is a nation of diverse peoples from various backgrounds, political persuasions and religious affiliations. We should not allow these differences to be used as divisive means to separate us or ignore them in a misguided effort to achieve uniformity. Like other diverse nations, our country is enriched because of our diversity and this diversity should be used to strengthen our conversations, create new ideas and move towards positive action.
To this end, it is important that all voices be heard and none silenced during this critical time of political dialogue before our next election. We encourage all Sierra Leoneans in their various capacities to ensure that in whatever spaces they meet to engage in political discussion, that a spirit of openness prevail and an active invitation to engagement be given to those individuals and groups whose voices are not usually heard.
Now is the time to speak out and join the dialogue.
2. A call to respectful and factually based assertions and disagreements
While disagreements among people are inevitable, it is within our power to determine the rules within which we choose to engage one another.
To this end, let's challenge ourselves to engage in our political discourse by imagining our disagreements as "a contest of ideas". Let us not make the debates a platform for divisive politics along ethnic or religious lines. We encourage all Sierra Leoneans to resist making accusations that have not been proven or using inflammatory language that is designed to lay blame or cause more trouble rather than find ways for us to collectively take responsibility for the present state and future of our nation. Let us challenge one another to ensure that we have first checked the facts behind any claims and hold others accountable for doing the same as we engage in public political discourse.
Let us challenge the Sierra Leonean media to consistently and responsibly report the facts on any given issue and leave us to draw our own opinions and conclusions. Let us commend those who uphold their journalistic responsibilities and unite to remind those who report irresponsibly, that we the Sierra Leone public will not tolerate shoddy and irresponsible journalism and will hold them accountable for their words and reporting.
Now is the time to move from a system of blame to one of personal and collective responsibility whereby we seek out solutions to our problems and use our strengths, expertise and talents for the betterment and progress of Sierra Leone.
3. A call to openly reject in a unified spirit any and all politically motivated violent acts regardless of their perceived origin or cause
If our recent history with a civil war has taught us anything it is that violence solves nothing and damages any progress that we have made slowly, through much pain and sacrifice.
In response to the recent political violence, it is not enough to show your displeasure or non-support by remaining silent. Let us be proactive in showing our commitment to support nothing short of a unified and wholesale condemnation of any and all forms of violence. We expect this condemnation to be reflected in the press releases of all parties, the media, government press releases and in the conversations we hold within our communities. We will hold all equally accountable to this high standard regardless of their or our own political persuasion or background.
Now is the time to speak out in a unified voice that political violence of any kind does not reflect the true aspirations of Sierra Leoneans who are committed to our unity, freedom and justice and we expect our fellow citizens to hold these our shared core values in high regard by their words and actions.
4. A call to frame our political discourse as a positive contest of ideas to establish and implement a progressive vision for Sierra Leone
Let us challenge all political candidates to present their ideas and vision, providing compelling arguments for why they are the best candidates based on the most important criteria: their own character, expertise, proven track record and experience. Let us challenge them to prove that they have a history of promoting an inclusive and just Sierra Leonean society and have not promoted or supported sectarian and divisive political discourse. Let us challenge our media to identify and report on these qualities which are of the greatest concern and interest to Sierra Leoneans.
We encourage those who seek political office to challenge themselves to compete on the basis of who can best articulate the strongest vision for Sierra Leone's progress in a manner that shows respect for our country and a desire to include all Sierra Leoneans in the process of building a more just and equitable society.
Now is the time to focus our attention on our future aspirations and on developing the tools which we need in order to achieve them.
Concerned citizens of Sierra Leone
The Concerned Sierra Leone Citizens: Call to Action petition to Media outlets was written by Joy Spencer and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.