How do we turn our heads so easily away from the injustices and greed and human abuse seen and unseen? Why are we so willing to accept the talking points pushed out to us, asking no questions? Why do we ignore the gift that we've been given to have dominion over our lives and our world?
Although, many work hard to justify our behavior as humans based on religious differences, the evidence doesn’t support our human tortures, stealing and other abuses we inflict on one another:
The Qur’an reminds us that the individual responsibility of every man and woman is charged with to work goodness and shun evil as much as one can do it, and thus make this world itself a blissful place to live in.
The Bible tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Talmud informs us, “Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.”
So how do we justify our indifferences and planned ignorance, while we rest in comfort. I ask myself this every day, feeling so very lost about what to do. So I write. I share. I hope. What has helped me most is putting a human face on issues I never opened my eyes to see. It changed my actions. It is changing my prayers. It is moving me to do things I once wouldn’t, but it is not enough. It will take YOU + ME + YOU + YOU + YOU + YOU + YOU + YOU + YOU...
to make the lasting difference.
ENLIGHTENED THINKING CHANGES CONSCIOUSNESS
Oguchi Nkwocha, M. D., Igbo visionary from Biafra/south-eastern Nigeria PODCAST
Dr. Nkwocha enlightens us with his deep conviction and knowledge of the state of south-eastern
Dr. Nkwocha opened my eyes wider a few months ago with a story of a young woman named Chioma. Because I have a daughter and granddaughter, the story suddenly made the harshest of realities unbearable. I share this story with you. Imagine if this was your beautiful daughter and your friends:
This is Chioma. She is 16. She is Igbo. She lives in Nigeria. She and her family are part of the Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), a non-violent organization, built on Gandhi’s principles of non-violence. The organization is highly respected with tens of thousands of Biafrans joining in a non-violent pursuit of their dream of actualization of Biafra as a sovereign and independent nation.
In September 2004, in Nigeria, a group of 54 people, including women and children were attending a MASSOB football tournament in a public community park. It had been widely publicized event. During the event, they were rounded up by the Nigerian police, arrested and were in detention for over three months before being charged. Chioma was in jail for 330 days at age sixteen in the most brutal and inhuman conditions for doing nothing but attending a recreational event. The courts later declared the detention unlawful and unconstitutional, but the system did not let go.
Excerpt of a message from her family...
“This is to thank God and to inform you that 16 year old Chioma, the youngest of those the 54 MASSOB Biafrans in Nigerian prison, was let out yesterday evening. She spent 330 days, almost a year behind bars inside the Nigeria, lonely hell-cell. On behalf of her mother, we wish to thank all who offered prayers, protest letters and sent letters of hope. ...Chioma came out yesterday, I saw her in high spirit for Biafra. The experience confirmed her understanding of the need for the movement for Biafra. ...The court clerk came to Chioma to give his apology; he was not a member of the judges or lawyers that may have contributed to her trials of no offense. ...”
One might think that this is just the view of one family or that it is just a passing series of unfortunate happenings, but it makes it even harder to turn one’s head away, when you hear personal accounts from those experiencing it first-hand from non-Igbo eyes too. How about this account shared by Lawal wrote from [...], Onitsha, Anambra State:
“The fact that the Nigerian civil war ended 35 years ago is like a fairy tale to most Easterners. The policemen and soldiers still act as if they are an occupying force in an enemy territory, subjecting the people to their whims and caprices. Policemen here do not collect N20 at checkpoints, but demand thousands of naira especially during festive periods when many of the people will be coming back home.
While Arewa youths in the North, OPC in the West, and Niger Del! Ta Force in the South-South are allowed to run amok, causing terror, f ear, and death, MASSOB members who are not violent are usually hunted, killed or imprisoned without an option of bail. 54 footballers, spectators and match officials participating in the Uwazurike Cup tournament, were arrested and detained by the police last year. No one, not even journalists, NGOs or rights activists ever fought for their fundamental human rights. Yet, Asari Dokubo was given a presidential welcome in Abuja with a N300 million "gift" to stop his chaos in the creeks of the Niger Delta.”
We CAN change this evil in the world with a change in our consciousness---a little shift in thinking; a big bold step that lies within each of us; an unwillingness to be satisfied when your neighbor is being abused and their homes and property and children are being taken from them.
What contribution will you make?
Make a commitment to get informed. Use your influence to start the forward motion. BE the change we want to see as Gandhi commanded for us all.
“It may be a long before the law of love will be recognized in internal affairs. The machineries of governments stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.” ---Gandhi
Founder, Global Dialogue Center