EDITORIAL: We are guilty of silence

22 October 2021 | Opinion

A lot needs to be discussed in our country – from race and sexual rights to abortion. The country can’t stop talking, even when such talk can hurt a few feelings. The aim for discussions is to share perspectives and reach some middle ground.

However, for any discussion and debate to be fruitful, it must have a certain amount of discipline and decorum.

Decorum and civility of debate often depend on the weight of the subject. Friends debating about this weekend’s match between Manchester United and Liverpool do not have to deploy as much courtesy as multi-sectoral officials discussing the thorny subject of abortion.

This week, we were very proud of our country. To see the church, non-governmental organisations, lawyers and government discussing abortion frankly - but with common courtesy and graciousness - reminded us of where we would be right now as a country if this was the norm in our republican life.

We are obsessed with being correct and too afraid to be wrong and corrected. When we are proven wrong, even politely, we crawl into defensive mode and set off a hail of insults because we see every conversation as contestation of superiority.

Whether the pro-choice or pro-life advocates emerge as ‘winners’ after this week’s robust hearing is not even the point. The point is that Namibians are starting to converse, differ respectfully and graciously admit where they lack genuine understanding.