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Good lies, bad lies.

“The wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others’ advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling.”

So says the legendary Mark Twain in his book titled ‘On the Decay of the Art of Lying’.
Lies are a fact of life. Almost everybody lies now and then. Bill Clinton lied.  He lied about his association with ‘that woman’. 

“A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets a sexual encounter no matter how bad it was”. It’s Barbara Bush’s words not mine.

Everywhere, lies are always classified as bad and this is not something you didn’t just learn at Sabbath or Sunday school.

In a court of law, before a witness can open their mouth to give evidence, they are first made to swear that they will tell nothing but the truth. Only half of them do, the rest are told by their lawyers to lie. Another topic for another day.

From a young age, my own mother made it her daily business to remind us of the terrible punishment that awaited us on judgement day if we lied. Never mind some other misdemeanours such as stealing, fighting or buying fat cakes with offering money on the way to church; in her books lying was the number one sin, one that guarantees eternal hell fires!

This week there is another raging inferno. The social media nation is up in arms against one mother. The mother found herself in this not-so-enviable position when her only child fell ill with a terrible illness that threatened to snuff out her young life some three years ago.

The moment the nation was alerted to the little girl’s predicament, hearts immediately went out to her.

Her prognosis, we were told, was not good and she needed urgent medical intervention which unfortunately she could not get locally even in the continent. Worse, the government could not assist her for whatever reason.

Several months later the good news was that well wishers had not only opened their hearts, but even opened their wallets to her. In no time an operation was scheduled abroad and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when she later recovered from the successful operation. A spirit of compassion and hope never before seen in this country was at

play. God was at work.

Fast forward to today.The tide has turned. I would be wrong if I alleged that well wishers have turned that tide because I have no proof. All I know is the nation of social media is now up in arms against this same mother.

Her charge sheet has only one charge; alleged Fraud. The fraud charge isn’t very clear, for the most part people are clutching at straws while some are scratching their heads hard trying to convert Pula’s into Sterling pounds!

Others are not even sure whether the ruler of England is still Queen Elizabeth or Prince Charles, but the group is dead sure that the little girl has been receiving free health care in England. When is the Queen visiting our country anyway? It’s been years!

I know I risk being labelled a village-idiot but I once read somewhere that lying for a good cause is always preferable to telling the truth for a wrong one. If, like in today’s modern churches, someone surrenders a considerable part of their fortune to the church in the belief that this will make them go to heaven or have a better afterlife, that’s a lovely lie! I know I am now stepping on toes here.

‘White lies’ have always been about being virtuous but at the same time lying is also the ultimate act of humility. If you pay attention to someone when you suspect they may be lying, there is always this air of humility about them.  Even the vilest humble themselves a little when they tell a lie and if you think their demeanour doesn’t look normal, your instincts are usually spot on. That’s lying at play, right in front of your eyes!

The only sure way we can know whether the fraud accusations are true is if we wait for proof.  There are two kinds of lies: lies with short legs and lies with long noses. For the mother’s sake, I am hoping for the former; that is if there are any lies at all.

Above everything else, I am hoping for a dignified resolution of this matter, free of drama for the sake of this child.

Tumy on Monday



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