KAMPALA – As we commemorate Uganda Martyrs day we must remember that patriotism is martyrdom and the same as humanity. Like the Uganda martyrs we emulate a man is patriotic if his heart beats true to his country. In the face of impossible economic odds, escalating prices of commodities, people who love this country can change it. National pride is to countries what self-respect is to individuals. Often, I remind my children that the best way to be a martyr and be celebrated is by upholding a strong value system. Also connotes being a responsible citizen, ethical, exemplary, serve others selflessly and remain accountable for all your actions. Effective and efficient leadership founded on the pillars of accountability and transparency firm on strong ethical and moral values/standards is also martyrdom.
Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility. The Uganda martyrs were a group of committed and determined 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the historic kingdom of Buganda who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27th January 1887 on the orders of Mwanga II, the Kabaka of Buganda. They sacrificed lives for a good cause. It is evident that this was a collective responsibility for them all. The Martyrs stood firm by their strong values, moral, principles and most importantly for their country. Whereas they had strong religious conviction, their patriotism compelled them to refuse to denounce christianity. They believed as a country we needed Christianity and paid a price for it which is patriotic martyrdom syndrome.
Undoubtedly, patriotism is your conviction that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it. One can only be a martyr in the area of conviction one you choose and determine to be. Martyrdom starts with us on individual level and influences others. The historic Uganda martyrs set an example that national pride compels one to sacrifice for his Nation. You can only do as much as you love your country. In that regard sacrifices and generosity of all kinds is linked to martyrdom.
The martyrs strongly advocated for Christianity. Patriotic martyrdom is easy to promote where charity is so wide that it covers your community and nation. Patriotism demands the ability to feel and sacrifice to uphold the rule of law. Becoming a law-abiding citizen evolves into martyrdom.
There are no boarders outside of the ones that we create. Commmunity and citizenry participation in government initiatives/projects to combat all forms and manifestations of corruption, sand lead by example is martyrdom. Commitment to elevate others through efforts to celebrate high achievers and encourage the youth to be responsible in all spheres is patriotic martyrdom. Citizenry collective efforts to guard against impunity while promoting and upholding rule of law is absolute martyrdom. Developing a strong support for family establishment and networks is also martyrdom.
The blood of the martyrs proved to be a seed of faith. What seeds are we sowing to make yourself, family, community and Uganda better? We ought to look out for ourselves and how best to improve and develop our country in the different spaces and sectors we subscribe too. In both the formal and the informal sectors we can set a good example of integrity and honesty as positive strides towards martydom.
Undoubtedly, a patriotic attitude and mindset will distinguish us. Adopting that feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. Patriotism is depicted through individual actions by choice. Can we decide and choose strategic philanthropic interventions to help and support the less privileged in our communities as martyrdom?
So let us summon the new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolve to pitch in and work hander and look over not only ourselves, but each other. Today, let us start the journey of being martyrs.
Happy Martyrs Day Uganda.
Ms. Joyce Nalunga Birimumaaso is a senior advocate and member, leadership code tribunal