Did We Do Any Learning? [6]

equality v justice

Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.
Pope Francis

 

Life isn’t Always Fair

It is a lesson we have all learned. Sometimes fate turns around and bites us. But I have never seen this inequity so clear and so devastating, as I have over the last three months in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

Ebola.

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia from 1965 to 1967, a long time ago.  It was an incredible experience for me, going from the University of California at Berkeley and California’s super-urban Bay Area to the then small upcountry town of Gbarnga, where I met Africa face to face and received so much more from the experience than I was able to contribute.

Afterwards, the terrible civil wars tore Liberia apart in a way that was incomprehensible to those of us who had lived in the country and had come to know her people and culture.

Recently, I began to feel more optimistic about Liberia’s future. There was hope. Liberia had known peace for ten years. Children were back in school. There was laughter in the street.

And then Ebola struck. Once again, Liberia teeters on the edge of chaos. How much more can the country take? Yes there are things we can do, must do, to help. But I can’t help thinking, over and over: isn’t it time that fate gives the people of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone a break?

 

Curt Mekemson @ Wandering through Time and Place

Half of the profits from Curt’s recent book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam and Other Tales of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia West Africa, will go to Friends of Liberia, a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers.

 

Wake Up and Think for Yourself

This year my sixty-seven year old country finally woke up. Millions of Pakistanis learned to think for themselves.

Four months ago, frustrated people stepped out of their homes and stamped their thoughts on the streets under the leadership of Imran Khan. Old men, housewives, students, and children slid open curtains of indifference and made history.

War is when your government tells you who the enemy is. A revolution is when you figure it out yourself. ~Anonymous

This year millions of Pakistanis learned about pain. Pain that transcends boundaries of flesh and geography. Pain that sets things into perspective. Love, family, home, and health. Everything else seems extravagant. You don’t expect to send your children to school and never see them again.1

We saw hope and held on to it tight. Perhaps too tight because it left blisters. We learned about healing as skins of faith quickly formed protective layers on our stubborn wounds. My people are even more stubborn.

This year I learned about victory. A victory that marks an end to our closed minds and blind hearts. I have seen my extraordinary people walk to hell and back. They tell me to keep going. Because that is exactly what they will do. They always do. And this revelation makes me realize our power.

I had a dream about you last night…and in it you said, ‘Chin up; it only gets harder.’ ~ Marshal Ramsay

Think. Question. Challenge.

Because once people begin to think aloud, they are impossible to ignore.

 

Nida S. @ on the road to inkrichment 

  1. On 16 December 2014, terrorists ran down an Army public school in Peshawar (Pakistan), leaving 132 children and 9 members of the school staff dead in cold blood.

 

 

In Search of a Messiah

I have thought about poverty and inequality, and for me, there are no easy answers yet. Years of inequality, poverty, rising unemployment (indices to gauge development according to economist Dudley Seers), and insecurity, have made many Nigerians pant for a benevolent dictator, a fairy godmother with a magic wand to wave all our problems away, while we dance with the prince and midnight never comes.

In the lyrics of Bob Marley, Most people think great god will come from the sky take away ev’rything, and make ev’rybody feel high. I believe in The Messiah, but I don’t want to be guilty of a messiah complex. These days when someone offers me help, I ask why, I ask how, I ask what, I ask where, I ask how much. And, I keep asking until I understand.

The race for the 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria resembles a dem-all-crazy; they say we have to choose the lesser of two devils. Democracy delivers to us what we demand of her. Poverty and inequality like kwashiorkor, can make people swallow nutrition devoid of protein, and then roll over to sleep not realising death is waiting.

I have learnt that on the drive to my destination, it is unwise to hand over the keys of my life and snooze in the passenger seat. Going by what I read on social media it seems many have learnt this too. The challenge is to remind the driver that he is driving our car and so we decide where he goes and when he stops.

Timi @ Livelytwist

 

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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26 thoughts on “Did We Do Any Learning? [6]

  1. Yes! We must remind whoever is driving that it’s not his car to do as he pleases.

    War is when your government tells you who the enemy is. A revolution is when you figure it out yourself. ~Anonymous

    This stuck with me, particularly the part about revolution.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Dear Timi, that’s a Very Powerful post. Hearty Kudos. AND on Your having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Blessings.

    Personally, I do not believe in Fate, or what people call ‘life,’ etc. Fate and Life are what We make of things.

    I keep my eyes closed, I get hit.

    I keep my mouth closed, my Neighbour gets hit.

    One with You in Your Deep Desire for a Better World. One with You in Fighting for it.

    Love and Regards. Yesudas.

    Like

    1. Hi Yesudas, I hear you. Proactivity is definitely called for on the road to where we are going. I like the words you choose to describe it:
      “I keep my eyes closed, I get hit.
      I keep my mouth closed, my Neighbour gets hit.”

      Still, there are ‘circumstances’ beyond our control that we can only choose our respond to … I guess maybe that’s what you mean by, ‘what we make of things’?

      Btw, Curt, who wrote about Liberia, Ebola, etc, is the one who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Hearty kudos to him. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello, Timi, Thanks for the response.

        And Hearty Kudos to Curt. To You, being of the same mind and all that.

        To continue, I believe that WE, the Society and I, and Totally responsible for Everything that happens in any situation.

        Let us say a volcano erupts. It is the neighbour and I who are going to be responsible for what follows. People cross lanes, cause a jam, pull out guns… SOCIETY. Made up of Individuals. And their Behaviour.

        I can choose to remain Calm. Maybe I will be Incinerated. But,

        Choosing to reside in a danger area,
        Ignoring or Being late to respond to warnings,
        In a Disciplined way,
        The Way I have Trained myself,

        all those play their part.

        I still do not believe in Fate! It is Society and I who are Responsible. Human Beings and their Behaviour!

        Love and Regards. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was watching a show (Law and Order) which made me remember this post, I had liked it, read it and not commented… Not sure why not?
    Anyway, we all get busy and this post resonated with me almost two weeks later.
    Life is not always fair. Fair actions are not always carried out in courts of law, therefore justice is not always fair…Nigeria, Pakistan and Liberia, other places in the world, also facing so much turmoil, poverty, deaths and sickness.
    I wish we could put a big band-aid on everything and everyone. I wish that the world could live in peace. Thanks for sending me a message, which has been haunting me, (not making this up) for awhile, Timi. Hugs, Robin

    Like

    1. I think injustice bothers many people at some level. The scope is so far reaching that sometimes one is tempted to throw up one’s hands in despair. We are inundated with news reports and it’s easy to become desensitized. I guess we can focus on an area that breaks our hearts the most.

      This post certainly pulled at your heart strings- this is your second comment. I’m moved by your sensitivity. Thanks for coming back.

      Like

  4. “I have thought about poverty and inequality, and for me, there are no easy answers yet.”
    –I hear you, loud and clear Timi. I don’t think I’ll ever find the answers. At least answers that leave God out of the question. I’m a fan of Francis Shaeffer. Have you read any of his stuff? I watched a five hour documentary he did back in the 70s called, ‘How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture’ It’s also a book. If you get the chance, you should check it out. Very heady stuff, and very very good. I know it deals more with the construction and evolution of western culture, but I think there are some very key points he makes that are universal.
    Great post Timi, as always.
    🙂

    Like

    1. Yes, for people who believe in God, any of life’s equations that excludes him doesn’t add up. Personally, I believe in the God of justice who provides more than a moral compass for our world. However, my belief hasn’t provided me with all the answers, though this doesn’t worry me. 🙂

      Thank you for recommending some resources. I have heard of the book. Perhaps it is time I read it for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also believe in a God of moral justice. I believe that God cares about every facet of society. The mission’s organization I work with is really big on influencing the 7 areas of influence that a society has:
        family, church, education, media, arts, technology and government.

        My husband is a film maker and he produces films in order to influence society and culture with Kingdom values. They are not ‘Gospel’ films, but films with a purpose other then the proclamation of the gospel.

        I really think you’d like this book. You must let me know if you read it and what you thought.

        Happy New Year to you Timi.
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This was lovely teamwork and the message is universal. I believe in fairness and justice intermingling so equality can be had, with fair treatment for all. This is a hope for mankind, too. Although, for some reason, the world seems to want to fight and not get along…

    Like

    1. I share your hope Robin.
      @Although, for some reason, the world seems to want to fight and not get along… Watch toddlers play, observe how after a while one grabs the other’s toy and refuses to give it back, while the other wails . . . hmmm

      Like

  6. “The challenge is to remind the driver that he is driving our car and so we decide where he goes and when he stops.”

    Sadly, while this statement makes logical sense, the bitter pill to swallow is the fact that we may not even see the car as our own (talk less of the destination). It’s “government property,” and since no one owns the government, we can treat it with disdain and it won’t cost anyone anything. At least that’s what we tell ourselves as we rape the coffers blind!

    Like

    1. Hi Joseph, could it be that years of misrule without vision and direction have created apathy and inertia? Indeed that sense of ownership seems to be lacking and it would seem we only want to grab our slice of the national cake.

      But then you hear people clamouring for better governance and a saner society. I hope we realize that we are architects of our destiny.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Man made tragedies are always worse than nature created tragedies, not so much from the extent of the damage created— both can be horrendous, but because we have more responsibility for the problems we create.

    Sometimes we are dealt bad hands, really crappy hands, but still there are choices to be made. Do I roll over, do I fight back, do I run?

    It’s hard to pin down just one Timi, so I will go with three. 🙂 One was a deeper cross-cultural awareness and willingness to accept people for who they are. Two was a commitment to give back to the communities I live in. I’ve spent my life as an advocate for public health and the environment. And finally was a love of travel. Liberia was my first great travel experience and I have never stopped traveling.

    Thanks for the opportunity for sharing on your blog.

    –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @a deeper cross-cultural awareness and willingness to accept people for who they are – nothing like living in another culture and getting your hands ‘dirty’ to teach one this.

      ” . . . and I have never stopped traveling.” 🙂 I like how this sounds.
      Thanks Curt.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Nida, my heart bleeds with you and your fellow Pakistanis.
    Can we cling to hope too tight? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? It is good that your people are stubborn enough to continue in the face of acts of terror.

    Perhaps we have more say and take in our future than we’ve believed. Perhaps today, not tomorrow, is a good day for the future to begin. Chin up! The future belongs to the brave . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Collaborating with you on this post was an absolute honour Timmi:). I like to think that we think alike in many perspectives especially related to our native countries. This post made me think hard and deep. It made me pluck out the hope when all we see is death. And you are right. Hope can’t be relinquished. But a lot has to be done to keep that hope alive. For starters believing that “today is a good day for the future to begin”, like you said, is most important.

      Looking forward to writing with you again :)!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Curt, you have wandered through time and place and shared about something that matters to you and to many others I suspect. Unfortunately, some of Liberia’s tragedies are man-made. I like to think that we cannot always choose the hand that’s dealt us, but we can prepare to respond. I salute all the courageous people working tirelessly to contain Ebola in the three countries.

    What is the one thing that remains with you from your experience in Liberia?

    Liked by 2 people

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