The devil and the deep blue sea moment proved to be much tougher than it seems.
The incident in Inabanga last Tuesday ignited the glowing coal burning in us. We, who have picked the pen as our weapon in telling people how we have fared against the escalating demands of civilization thought we were braver than the rest. We thought with a journalist’s responsibilities as our blanket of authority and the idealism stoking the embers of service for God and men, handling information is easy. No it is not.
We opened our radio sets Tuesday morning for the customary breakfast news while a steaming mug of black brew sits on a platter. It was supposed to be just like any ordinary breakfast. But the news about the bandits being able to settle in the remote upstreams of the lazy Inabanga River unsettled us.
Then, we were elated and tried mentally composing our supposed to be aptly worded salute to the joint police and army force, for getting the 11 bandits. Seconds later, we were thinking again.
Hardly have we emptied the mug, we have lost count of how we have revised and re phrased the manner we could relay the information. So we decided to get a clearer picture by getting to the site and hearing it from the horses mouth.
There were coordination meetings, such where operational details would normally keep the media off. But at least there would be one single source of information, we thought.
We thought wrong. Nobody was speaking and everyone was asking questions nobody can answer.
Such is the beginning of the victory that the terrorists have achieved in Inabanga.
When local officials and the military failed to consider what they know that terrorism thrives in fear, failing in the critical job of bringing information down is exactly feeding the fodder.
We thought managing crisis is a strength of our local officials. What they did with Inabanga is sure thing not anything nearer than we thought.
When you have an information vacuum in a crisis, believe us, there speculations come rushing in to fill the abyss.
When you have people whose times to relay information is to the national media, then you deprive the more culturally grounded information workers the opportunity to dissipate the boiling babel.
So, why when calls for screening information which officials did not tell, trust that the people who obtained them would readily take the task.
So we have a babbling insanity at out midst, and we can hardly control it.
Here, you can hardly blame people when they think and decide for themselves based on the limited information they get.
And we have a terror getting fanned across, eating everything in its path.