by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
Sunday morning: the Lord’s day! In many families, there is often a heightened atmosphere. There’s a rush to take baths and get dressed quickly and on time. In church, there is a lot of singing and rejoicing; clapping of hands and body gyration in appreciation to the God who has kept them. After service, the family returns home and it’s lunch time and then depending on the nature of the family, rest or television.
This couldn’t have been the same for most Kenyans on the morning of Sunday 22nd September 2013. They must have been troubled by scarred images of bodies: flesh gunned down and full of blood, wasted like one butchering cows. The Westgate Mall deaths join the countless millions who have been thrown into the graves this year without any prior preparation or inclination of the impending doom. And one explanation for these deaths have simply been TERRORISM: many of which are attributed to Islamic extremist groups.
Gradually, we have acclimatised to seeing these gory images. Killings of men, women and even children no longer affect us. There’s so much bloodshed all around that we have learnt to close our eyes and wish it away.
As I look through the pictures of the killings in Abuja, Nigeria and the Westgate Mall, Kenya, I am scared for the human race. The human life has lost all forms of sacredness. Taking of lives seem only a normal thing. Newspaper headlines are no longer complete without these : ‘200 blown off in Maiduguri’; ‘158 killed in new Syria uprising’; 39 feared dead in Kenya’.
I look at those images and I am bothered about the world that my innocent children will be given birth into, a world where 6 year olds have been exposed to bombs, guns and nuclear weapons. A world in which my innocent children will grow up with words such as murder, kidnapping, terrorism etc forming part of their everyday vocabulary. I cannot but fear for the next generation. Perhaps I should say Maranatha!
Must we continue to wake up each day with a fresh news of yet another bomb blast? Is there no solution to this global problem.
Politicians have not been able to solve this problem, so I thought ‘if religion created this problem (even if it is in error) then religion should also be able to solve this global disease constantly and rapidly ravaging our world and threatening our existence.
Understanding the sensitivity of religion, please note that this is not an accusation, it’s what I feel may help us in putting an end to this. And it’s a simple question borne out of serious concern and longing for an end to the bloodshed and I am directing it to our revered Islamic clerics:
Since Allah and the Quran do not support killings especially of ‘infidels, how do we stop this misinformed and overzealous ones who have chosen to fight Allah’s ‘battle’ on his behalf? How do we tell them to let Allah fight his own battle? After all, Allah is immortal while they are mere mortals.
Tribute to Prof Kofi Awoonor
Dzoghese Lisa has treated me thus
It has led me among the sharps of the forest
Returning is not possible
And going forward is a great difficulty
The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces
Into which I have stepped
When I clean it cannot go.
I am on the world’s extreme corner,
I am not sitting in the row with the eminent
But those who are lucky
Sit in the middle and forget
I am on the world’s extreme corner
I can only go beyond and forget.
My people, I have been somewhere
If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world
Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it.
The world is not good for anybody
But you are so happy with your fate;
The above is an excerpt from Prof Kofi Awoonor’s popular poem ‘The Song of Sorrow’. I have loved this poem since my secondary school days. I have performed it on two or three occasions at Poetry recitation and performance competitions. It is a shame and pure tragedy that Prof Kofi lost his life in Kenya while promoting the Literature. In a year in which Africa and the world was left bereaved by the departure of Prof. Chinua Achebe, another African literary icon is gone. Adieu Prof Awoonor.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @tosinfat