You know what, I’m glad that the President’s media team has not decided to launch a defense for him this time around. They should allow people to have their say. He really brought it on himself this time.’ I said, putting down my phone after reading the various reactions to PMB’s ‘necessary evil’ sallah comment.
‘Really? For an avowed defender of the president you are really singing a different tune today. What is it that you expect the media team to respond to?’ Tahir asked, raising his head from the newspaper he was reading to look at me
‘The barrage of criticism that followed PMB’s description of FCT residents as ‘necessary evil’ because they voted for the opposition in the last election.’ I replied.
‘But did he really say that? I mean you can’t always go to town with stuff you read on social media.’ He cautioned before returning to his newspaper.
‘This isn’t a social media sensation Hubby dear, it’s all over traditional media since it was even shown on the network service last night. And this morning all the newspapers had it. Along with it was, of course, the reaction of the people. However I don’t blame the people at all this time. To be described as necessary evil is highly offensive.’ I opined.
‘Maybe, but I’m sure Mr President was only being humorous.’ Tahir offered.
‘Maybe he was but it didn’t sound that way to his victims. I mean some of them complained about how painful it is to be called a ‘necessary evil’ because it means you are only being tolerated because there is no other way out of it. A kind of “I can’t live with you and I can’t live without you” situation. Others say what’s more painful is the suggestion that the President is only obliged to make them secure because he and his vice live among them. Otherwise for their great sin of voting his opponents, they deserved no protection from his government. Still to others, the most offensive part of the president’s humour was his using the occasion of the Eid il Fitr sallah homage to make such unguarded political statements. They believe he had turned a solemn occasion of solidarity and goodwill to make some people uncomfortable and unwelcome, and it shouldn’t be so. The belief in this group is that he displayed bad sportsmanship by exhibiting a grudge against his visitors.’ I explained.
‘I think all this criticism is unnecessary if they just chose to see the president’s comments as jokes. He probably decided to be humourous, in tune with the light mood of the festive season. Unfortunately he ended up ruffling feathers due to the political undertones of his comments.’ Tahir observed.
‘Look Hubby dear, don’t bother to defend the president. Even his media team is keeping mute this time because they agree he overdid himself in the name of humour. I hope next time he decides to make people laugh he’ll weigh the consequences and choose his words with care. Calling people evil even in the name of necessary humour cannot be a thing to laugh at by many. In any case, The Prophet SAW, had said ‘Either speak good or be silent’ It would have served the President better if he had received his guests in silence than to make such charged political comments hoping to make them laugh. Now tell me what has been achieved by this joke when the target group is only complaining of being offended.’ I asked, rhetorically.