In times of illness, we must not care about what kind of divinity, religion or belief system we ascribe to. The point here being that, in circumstances such as these, we need decorum, irrespective of our beliefs. Instances like these provide us with moments for inner reflection, on the frailties of being human life.

Understanding that, at one point, we may find ourselves on the same path, irrespective of our Islamism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism or any other isms, that we have fashioned for ourselves.

It’s politics, stupid. And people make stupid comments. The discussion on social media is about the purported obituary of Journalist Sarjo Barrow of Star FM Radio. Personally, I think we should have, and not so much for the optics of wishing someone death.

We talk a lot about optics — how something will look to those around us. That just doesn’t look right, we say. Think about how that will look to the rest of the world, we say. As I attempted to move on, I stumbled upon one man’s take on Sarjo Barrow’s obituary. A stranger to me had broadcast on WhatsApp criticism of journalist Sarjo Barrow. “I can’t wait for Sarjo Barrow to die so I can skip his funeral”.

This is certainly not the first time someone had wished the journalist dead, and probably not the last. About certain people affiliated to a political party, dislike his political views and disapproves of Journalist Sarjo Barrow leaning to President Adama Barrow.

“I can’t wait for Sarjo Barrow to die so I can skip his funeral,” the WhatsApp stranger broadcast. It hit me, hard. I didn’t ignore it. We envisioned a life without someone still larger than life. I was sad, and I did something I rarely do — I replied to a stranger’s post.

“‘That’s awful,” I wrote. “No matter how you lean politically, he is someone’s father. That’s awful.”

“It’s a joke”, someone wrote below me. It’s satire.

We cannot in turn celebrate an ailing man’s tribulations and say, “let your disbelief heal you.” Or “let your belief heal you.” As proper human beings, we can only offer goodwill, empathy and the hope that things will get better.

We may disagree on many fronts, as we often do, including religion, politics, form and manner of worship, prosperity gospel, the existence of a divine being etc., but we must never turn into empty animals that celebrate the sickness or illness of another, for we are all mortal beings.

We must also acknowledge that belief is deeply personal. We cannot impose our belief on others nor pretend that what we believe is better than what others believe. That is what the Atheism of this man is attempting to do.

Your Atheism must not seek to be “better” than my religion and vice versa. Belief being deeply personal, your Atheism must remain yours, my religion, or lack thereof, mine.

We can debate the demerits of miracles, prayer etc., if we take liberty to elsewhere, but not framed as against the tribulations of an ailing man and his family. In this instance, I must submit, that the man spreading hate speech is an exemplary idiot.

Wishing someone dead is never a joke. There’s nothing satirical about wishing the ultimate grief upon another. Don’t wish someone dead. That’s never funny.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow

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