We need more than tears
Pain and joy are two antithetical features of human existence. While pain reminds one of the sore sides of life; joy brings one to its brighter flank. Via pain, we reveal traits that may not show in our everyday life – those that are only triggered by horrendous occurrences. One of such traits, of course, is tearing. But then, how to we describe tears spurred by no emotions?
As a matter of fact, Nigeria is in pain. Pain caused by long years of deceitful leadership, religious xenophobia and ethnocentrism; long years of autocratic-democracy. Amusingly, Nigerian leaders still don’t find a reason to desist from deceits. Instead, their kit of guile keeps accumulating.
Just like the popular “New Year, New System” saying, many Nigerian leaders who, indeed, are good at improvising, now find it official to shed tears when they get to scenes of fatalities, even those ones that have happened weeks after. But, are tears strictly elicited by sights of terrible incidents or merely from the sound of inhumanity whatsoever? Do we start crying after seeing the corpse of our relative, or on hearing the news?
About three years ago, the President was spotted wiping his face with his handkerchief at the site of the destroyed UN House in Abuja. It was a devastating sight indeed. But instead of instigating strident moves toward finding a lasting solution to the cause of the incident, it was only a dress-rehearsal for the real tear-opera we were to watch.
Just in about a month ago, the First Lady was also reportedly moved by emotions to weep on a national TV. It was another emotion-spurring incident. But then, Sun Myung Moon explains in Return to tears that tears could be shed for two people: for oneself or for another person. So, what was spurring the emotion: the thought of probable loss of the Aso Villa in 2015 or a share in pains of the aggrieved parents?
To continue the opera proper, another character joined the cast of wailers. Brig. Gen Ibrahim Sabo, Chairman of the Presidential fact-finding Committee on the Chibok issue, also shed tears during his committee’s meeting with the disconsolate parents of the abducted girls, one month after the incident. Is that how he sheds them daily, or he needed to court attention at all cost, like Robert Greene said in 48 Laws of Power?
Truthfully, I have no problems with those manifestations of emotion. Good leaders share in the problems of their followers. Even Sun Myung Moon explained that God cried for the fall of mankind. But then, almost as immediately, God made provisions for amelioration of man’s conundrum. So, when a leader snivels without taking action, there’s need for a probe.
Unmistakably, it’s been four years into this political dispensation, and four years of unprecedented killings and destitution. And, of course, it’s been three years since Mr. President openly expressed his displeasure with the Boko Haram barbarism. Yet, nothing has been done, not even close, to allay the fears of the people or solve their problems. Nigerians still live in trepidation-primus inter pares. Hardly does a day pass that we do not record deaths in any part of the nation. And with all this privations, our leaders still derive joy in celebrating centenary memorial.
I know a good leader cries with his men. Just so Evo Morales, first indigenous President of Bolivia, did during his inauguration, when he stood firm to protect his people against the imperialist intrusion of the West. But what we have here is tears of deceit and fake pathos, which reminds one of O’Brien’s help to Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984; tears that only elicit a presidential threat of withdrawal of the nation’s army from a state because of a governor’s frankness. I thought a society’s interest supersedes that of any individual. Tears that only leave the whereabouts of 200 glories in oblivion, and 200 families in unwarranted mourning, for more than three months. Tears that make a President say on an international TV that there are illuminations where stiff darkness exists. Tears that could solve no problem –at least it didn’t convince Hitler to lessen his attacks on innocent people nor did it help the Negroes convince the racists of how precarious their condition was. Indeed, tear is not a suitable weapon of war.
The motive of tears should not be forgotten. It is not a suitable agenda on one’s manifesto, so it won’t boost support in any election, be it 2015 or 2019. It is not a palliative for headache; neither is it a panacea to incivility. It didn’t dissuade Bin Laden from being a terror. Tears won’t make these insurgents release our girls or shelf their abominable acts. It is only an expression of emotion. We need more than tears. Tears bring fears. Fears bring sleepless nights and horrific journeys. To wipe our tears, we need allay our fears. And to allay our fears we need responsive and pro-active measures from our leaders.
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