15 Dec 2018


Lugala At Large: We Are A Rumour Factory

"Don’t believe those loudmouthed sycophants or hot air sloganeers. If you really, really want to know whether you are loved, liked, or if you want to audit the list of your true friends, try dying..."

By Victor Lugala
We are the biggest rumour industry in the world. Give us an idea, a tip, a clue, and we will sprinkle some salt here and pepper there, and before you know it we will have spun a long yarn out of it; and thanks to social media, it will be too late to put a lid on it when it goes viral like HIV.
Traditional journalism is dead. Disc jockeys and clones have taken over the airwaves. The who did what, where, when, why, and how, are moribund questions collected in a dust pan to assist in burying truth.
What is truth? Pontius Pilate asked.
I’m the way, the light and the truth, Jesus had said in retrospect.
We are highly and fantastically illiterate. Those who know how to read and write are writing less and less, or don’t write at all, instead we talk and pontificate more and more. Others can quote and misquote what we say and the story telling goes on.  What comes out of one mouth is transmitted through another and so on and so forth. Scientific analysis is not important in the word of mouth.
Who believes in hard news embellished and tagged with labels like reliable sources, unnamed sources, anonymous sources, or hackers in hoods?
As for those disciples who are followers of social media, the manufacturing of half-truths to amplify the rumour mill is to justify absolute freedom and get away with murder?
We wake up with rumour, rise to the occasion with rife rumour, repeated over and over until Joseph Goebbels kicks open his Nazi coffin. As for dinner a gourmet of rumour is a choice smoothie.
Our typical rumour starts with a conversation, a question, in most cases the conversation is preceded with a tease, an appetizer, or spicy intro. These days if the matter is sensitive, rumourmongers will talk in whispers while casting glances over their shoulders.
Did you hear the news? Word of mouth, or bush radio says this and that. Go and tell so and so that the sky is falling and that wings are being sold in the black market. Then it turns out that the chicken wings and gizzards are frozen.
I wish I could fly...
Our brand of rumour is for people with thick skin to be able to recover the aftershocks. Death or the fake news of the death of other people is peddled at will because it is fashionably biblical to say, God gives, and God takes. That is what newspaper death notices say for a fee.
Rumour about someone’s death is the in-thing in the rumour factory.  It is modern day cyberspace opinion poll to test one’s popularity.
Don’t believe those loudmouthed sycophants or hot air sloganeers. If you really, really want to know whether you are loved, liked, or if you want to audit the list of your true friends, try dying (metaphorically, of course, unless you are fed up with price hikes and start carrying a big cross round your neck labelled #Anataban!)
Now this man, a vegan by tribe (for we love using this word a lot until it has become our second nature), he eats mangoes and water lilies for supper to toughen his teeth on chlorophyll and wild fruits. He thinks God has turned His back on poor mortals like him.
He has prayed and prayed until his knees have developed warts. The man’s daily prayer goes like this:
#Anataban#Anataban#Anataban. Amen!
And the more he prays and speaks in tongues, the more he thinks and peddles the rumour that God has permanently pitched camp in Aleppo, and that it appears that his prayers are not reaching God.
The man wishes that if he was popular like a footballer, a chess player, or even a wrestler he would have faked his own death via social media. But between him and social media is a void called extreme poverty.
When poor people die or are rumoured to be dead they become statistics tucked away in a papyrus mat before red soil is heaped on their cold shoulders and forgotten there and then. Their names don’t hit fake headlines, do they?
And as it was in the beginning, as it is now, and as it will be, the man, the vegan man went to sleep, tonight on an empty stomach as a man does not live by mangoes and water lilies alone. Another name for starvation is spiritual fasting.
And the devil, Lucifer himself, takes the man on a voyage to dreamland, where he is declared dead after starving himself in the name of denying himself or depriving himself of worldly pleasures.
The man is happy in his dream that he is dead. He wants to witness the unfolding story of his own funeral. It is like someone accessing his Facebook page to see how many people like what he has posted. But he is no social media man. He is in dreamland. And dead, or supposed to be.
He sees himself lying on his back for viewing. Camera people and pretenders carrying smartphones are milling around him. He is dead and enjoys the special attention being accorded him. He wonders why in real life people don’t pity him in his suffering and destitution.
He also sees his friends and foes troop by glancing or frowning at his cold self. He sees the people, especially women crying with a passion, and he notices that those who cry more are his real enemies. He feels like jumping out of his fake coffin to scare his enemies.
When the devil, Satan himself releases the man from bondage, he returns to his former self. Happy to be alive again. Whether his death is fake, the man places his hand on his chest to make sure that his heart is beating.
Rumour is a stubborn thing which cannot be censored. 
Posted in: Opinions
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