IS OUR WORLD REALLY SPOILED?
Growing up as a child in my farming village, I saw the sun rise from the east every morning I woke up from sleep. This morning, I thought I’d see it coming from the west, but no, it still came from the east. The path that led me to the farm every day when I was only five is the same path that would lead you to the farm today. I experienced harmattan every December when I was a child, and I still experience it as I write this piece as a father.
Is it far-fetched to conclude that we are the problem and not the world? Can’t we spare the world the incessant blame and cure ourselves of the cancer that’s gnawing at our collective heart?
Growing up, every community was noted for one activity or another. The man who played the flute so beautifully might not be the one who would give you a good hoe handle. The man who treated people for leprosy and other mysterious ailments might not be the one to pull the trigger of a gun to put the lifeless body of a partridge in the cooking pot of the best cook in the compound. Life was worth living in the dark days of our forefathers when idol worship was fashionable. Those were the days when the main sources of education were tales told by the old at night and during mealtime when the old men would teach some moral lessons to the children they saw as the owners of the future.
In every community, families were recognized for what they possessed that was of benefit to them and others within and outside the community. You send a case of food poisoning to a community, and the folks would tell you where you’d get a cure before long. If it was farming prowess, it was clear who the pacesetters were. Hunting as an art had owners. Even laziness was traceable to some people in the days of old.
Everyone knew who was stronger than who in the community. People were sincere in telling you who was responsible for the goodwill that the community enjoyed when it came to entertainment. Without the drummers, dancers, singers, and those who’d appreciate the performers by watching them perform, the fame of the community would diminish.
We blame the abstract world every day. That’s absurd, isn’t it? Those who want to be who they are not are the ones to blame for the woes of the world and not the innocent world itself.
The problem of the world today should be blamed on those who’d want to be drumming, dancing, singing, and watching themselves at the same time in our communities. The objective to arrogate everything to a select few to the neglect of the generality of the people must be watched if we are to experience a semblance of what our forefathers enjoyed in their world we consider dark.
Today, there’s no single community that’s either not grappling with chieftaincy conflicts or land litigation or both. How did the foremost settlers of our lands resolve these disputes that we can’t emulate today? Why would we rely on money, political leaders, the courts, and so forth to determine who has allodial right to which land and who’s eligible or not to become chiefs of our communities? How can we blame this on the abstract world? We have been grossly unfair to the world that’s too patient, and it hasn’t devoured us but continues to feed our ungrateful stomachs.
Not until we come to terms with the fact that money is just one of the many things and not everything in the world, we’d die ceaselessly blaming the world.
Most leaders can’t be educated to understand that power is ephemeral. They can’t be persuaded to know that power is transient. They behave capriciously in our communities, not taking into consideration what would happen in the event of their death.
Have our leaders taken the time to learn that we aren’t in monarchical regimes? Mustn’t they be told that we’re in a democracy and no traditional leader holds the power to final judgment? Can we spare a moment and listen to Mahatma Gandhi when he maintained that “there’s a court higher than the highest court of adjudicature. It’s the court of the conscience”? Have we lost our collective conscience?
Well, our world is this messy not because it lacks wise men. We have professors, doctors, and other educated professionals. Our forefathers had men of mettle and candor, men of unassailable integrity, and leaders who’d go to bed without dinner if it meant telling the truth and starving their pious bellies.
Regrettably, our world can’t be better or properly analyzed without drawing in politics and its players. Political officials and leaders would exploit every opportunity that presents itself in our communities. Some highly placed political officers would feed on the ignorance of the people, leverage the burning greed of a few village folks to perpetuate their stay in office, even if it’d mean that the people should bathe in blood instead of water.
But must the politician be blamed? I guess not! Why must I depend on someone who knows nothing about our history, our culture, and our ethos to be the one that’d determine how I relate with my people traditionally? It may be mind-boggling, but it’s a notorious fact that politicians are feeding on the ignorance and naivety of the village folks to the detriment of the growth and development of our society.
Let’s spare the world we came to meet and blame our actions and inactions. I agree largely with Emperor Haile Selassie when he said, “all through history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should know better, and the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made possible for evil to triumph,” and Dante when he put it so adroitly that “the hottest places of hell shall be reserved for those who in times of moral crises maintain their neutrality.”
Our world isn’t that spoiled; we’re the pollutants that are bent on adulterating the only continent that supports life by the divine grace of God almighty.
“That” Bukari Ali, Former UWR Regional communication Director – NPP – firstname.lastname@example.org