Posted on February 12, 2011


Unaware and unsuspecting of the momentous news that was about to break about the man’s departure from power, up to just before the announcement was about to be made, many people in our country catching glimpses of the continuing mass demonstrations in Egypt when surfing the TV channels were still shaking their heads in disapproval, making derogatory remarks such as:

“These people have nothing better to do…”; “They should just disband and go back to their daily life and work, and not be in other people’s way…”; “Can’t this people face the truth that their country’s leader will never go…”; “What do they think? That their government will take notice and just back down?”; “They are miscalculating…”, etc.

These are the NAYSAYERS. People who habitually express negative or pessimistic views about anything and everything, particularly about political changes in their own countries as well as other people’s countries. In the main, they are literally arm-chair critics, qualified or otherwise. Their primary purpose and aim is to criticise others.

Theirs is not just a case of apathy, couldn’t be bothered, that is, don’t care-don’t watch- don’t say kind. On the contrary, they watch and they say. Indeed, they always and invariably have things to say. They cast themselves as knowledgeable, well-informed experts of sorts on this and everything else. They sit in their own comfort zones and carry on a tirade about what other people are exercised to do.

Like those who were in their eighteenth day on the streets demonstrating against their president in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in Egypt.

The NAYSAYERS seize on every conceivable, reasonable or imaginable thing to be able to say “Nay” to the cause of the demonstrators:

– What you do will never be effective; why go through all the trouble?
– What you do, even when you do succeed, will only play into the hands of worse enemies than those you are fighting against: the military, the religious fanatics, the foreigners.
– You have done enough, vacate the street and leave it to those who can actually do something to do their work on your behalf. (In other words, leave your destiny to others. Trust these other people and heed their promises.)

And now that the man himself has been forced out of office, the NAYSAYERS will not necessarily credit or compliment the demonstrators. Instead, they will now say to them:

– So you got what you wanted; now go home and report for work since your demands have been met.

In actual fact, this point in Egyptian history is not a done thing yet. It is not the end but rather a beginning and those who sacrificed eighteen days of their life will still need to apply their pressure to send a message to the transition powers that be that they are still watching and still waitng for real change to take place.

The People’s Power movement of Philippines still awaits more substantive change to their country’s systems of governance. In Indonesia, when Suharto was forced out of office, in effect four presidents have taken turns to undo what he did to the country and to put in place what was needed. (Of course, with each also leaving his or her own faults behind to be undone in turn. But make no mistake about it: the removal of corrupt, suppressive, timeless rule is still an accomplishment of major proportions without which there can be no departure from an undesirable status quo.)

Political change takes time, courage and perseverance. It requires a continuing vigilance on the part of the people. Without sustained and continuing people pressure, succeeding powers that be will still stray and become errant.

This is the reason why THE NAYSAYERS are so dangerous. Those of us who think otherwise from them better learn to respect such people and the mindset that they can inculcate in the people of our respective countries. If those who stand and act for change listen to these NAYSAYERS, what will happen to the state of the country?

NOTHING. And it is this NOTHING that we must fear. For NOTHING is SOMETHING BAD. The malaise we need to fend off, to prevent and not allow to set in. Otherwise, necessary and desirable change will never see the light of day.

The most dangerous effect of NAYSAYERS is encapsulated in what Jesus said of the religious aristocracy of His day:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.” (Matthew 23.13)

And you know what? There is a little of the naysayer in every one of us. So in every one of us lurks a danger to action and movement which is essential to usher in desirable change.

Posted in: Perspective