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The Sweep with Hassan Hassan: The Danger Short Memory Holds for Tomorrow


One of the recurring decimals in the life of this nation is the short memory of its people. Individually and collectively, we are all guilty of the illness of forgetfulness, of failing to remember yesterday.  And forgetting yesterday is too bad in life, and too dangerous in the bargains of politics and democracy.
It is too bad and dangerous for the simple reason that if you cannot remember the past you are nowhere near the good to see what your today gives or what your tomorrow promises. This is the bane of our life for a long time.
A short memory for us has not just been bad. It has been the disease that inflicted our capacities to reason and make good judgment about what we ought to do as a people.
And that is our problem in everything about this country we failed to nationalise as result. And the ignorance about this reason of short memory must not continue if we must forge for better.
It is also our problem with persons who understand the weakness in every one of us to remember yesterday – the politicians use this since against us. Whether we see them as good or bad leaders, most of our politicians the system, not us again, finds wanting, are too good on the other hand in knowing too well how poor we can be in letting our memory fail us much of the time.
This is good reason why one prominent politician broadly prided themselves about how forgetful Nigerians are, and how they know us too well in this and many other regards.
When a politician sees and thinks so about you and all of us, they can say anything true or false about our yesterday and we take it because we cannot remember what it was like. Easy and foolish as it sounds, that is the truth about how politicians mess us a number of times and get away with it every time.
Why is the consequence of forgetting yesterday? The past is a good judgment about today. It reminds us of how and where we came right or wrong and how we can correct it today and move ahead.
But the ability of the past to judge today in fairness depends on a good mind that can remember every bit of yesterday and all that happened in words and actions. The extent of the capacity of our minds to do that is the problem we must see and address.
A short memory simply fails good judgment. And it lies against the self-evident truth of yesterday that manifests in today’s challenges and raises questions about our tomorrow. We have misjudged our past by saying many lies about yesterday.
We forgot the truth about how political, social and economic life treated us even in the recent of times. And because of that, the managers of those aspects of our collective lies will always change the facts about them to suit their selfish interests.
A short memory fails management of facts. So much of facts about our history and recent developments have changed due to our failure to remember the past and say the truth about what happened to us. So much has been written about the first generation of leaders, the first civil war, the role of the military institution and military figures.
The mismanagement of facts about those and the lies we told in many ways are the reasons we are battling to understand our today and are careless about the future. It is here that lays the dislocation between what we suffer from and what we want to get instead.
So much has been said about past development efforts, the input of leaders and how their efforts were used or abused by us. So much has been accounted for in many specifics. And in each of the accounts – either in books, occasional verbal vibrations – you get conflicting ideas about certain incidents and the role of individuals in them.
And so we keep perambulating about what we ought to do now and tomorrow. As a result, even our values, education and religiosity is defined by lies, mismanagement of facts, to the extent of redefining even the idea of God himself. Why? It is because we lost sight of where we came from.
It is also because a short memory is a disease to honesty, sincerity, and fairness. It fails the heart when a failed mind cannot recollect the truth about yesterday, either due to time lane or mere human incapacity.
There is an alignment between the mind and the heart that processes common judgment about facts and when that alignment fails for any reason, the mind and the heart fail to deliver. And the recognition of that alignment is as good as working that alignment to function well.
And that brings us to the point of fundamental questions as: Do we forget by will or by human inability? Do we choose to forget or we are forced to forget? Are we forced to forget by dysfunction of our innate attributes or by external forces from society’s pressure like, say, a dubious person who banks on our poverty of memory? Do we forget by choice or by mistake?
Well, there is a known fact about the limits to the human capacity to do or fail to do just anything. But what is the truth that we hold of this understanding of human limits, itself? Is it a reason for us to bank on it and continue to fail and justify our failure based on that?
Or we simply don’t think our human limits are not reasons enough for this kind of damaging failure of our minds. There is just no justification for the failure of our generation and that of our children.
Human capacity is limited. And there is a limit to what you can and what you cannot do. But what do you do to keep you do well and minimise failure to do well? Are you relaxed by the fact of our limits or motivated by it as a reason to work hard against our limits?
Again, the answers to those questions are as varied as we all are different, from our different locations across the nation. But there is the other human factor called determination. And it has been a good help for many people who are determined to change their situation.
We are talking like that because we are suggesting some intention behind the degeneration of our hearts and minds to the extent that holds us all to national ransom. To say the least is to think that even if there is no deliberate will to forget and to lie, there is at least the lack of equal will to work hard to avoid failure. To say the best, there are both. And that is an added problem to our short memory. So what is it that is all this about?
2019 and the much talk about it is going to be all about the extent to which our memory helps or fails us. It is going to be about that because; we are all going to be in two different camps: the camp of those who remember our life before the last election and the camp of those who can’t or fail to remember it.
Whichever camp you are, or you find yourself – just in case you are pushed there by someone or some circumstance – make sure you don’t forget the ever truth that we are all traveling together along the same fate line to a common human destination.
You can choose to take any side. But when you do, provide yourself to the judgment of your conscience and the good attributes God gave you but you failed to use.
When you choose, make sure your choice in the coming campaign does not affect others in the Union because you are going to be a reason for whatever befalls them.
And remember: Good conscience liberates.

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