By Abdu Rafiu
There is this inexorable sliding down the slope of the cliff in most parts of the world. In Nigeria, robust discourse is fast giving way to rancorous threats of violent conflict. The air is filled and thick with talk of imminent war and you wonder: Do we know what we are saying? There is shooting and there are killings. In recent times, there is hardly a day it is not said that someone has been shot dead by invisible gunmen. Kidnapping is going on unabated. As I was writing this yesterday, there was the newsflash that the security aide of the Governor of Benue State a retired AIG, had been shot dead. He was killed by gunmen in Jos, just a few days after Ahmed Gulak, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, when he was in the saddle was shot dead on his way to the airport in Enugu. About 136 school children have been kidnapped in Niger State. Many students of Greenfield University in Kaduna are still in captivity. The situation in the land has deteriorated such that it can be likened to the ancient days when all that gave man fulfillment is savagery, carnage and merry making. It is instruments which may have become sophisticated. The form may have changed, the substance remains the same.
Given the nature of women, I am sure a number of them who are inwardly alive would have been assailed with warning signals saying: “Our husbands are going mad again.” Apologies to Professor Femi Osofisan. And where is the man of stature who will call the nation to order with enrapturing thoughtfulness and uplifting pronouncement to awaken our humanity and light the fire of patriotism in the souls, and automatically you have the sheathing of the sword. Where you expect balm and healing words, it is muscle flexing that we are assailed with. Yet, I am convinced we are not fated to chaos and confusion, to anarchy and doom. Any step that moves the nation away from the promotion and path of violence must be a welcome one. The country is, therefore, in urgent need of a handful of men of goodwill who are mature and pure at heart, who are imbued with love in their hearts and who see themselves as forthright servants of truth. The Abuja man has proven himself ill-suited to galvanize Nigerians to acts of love and goodness. He is too burdened by undisguised embrace of provincialism which in the main has triggered suspicion and distrust and it is today one of his transgressions tearing the country and her citizens apart. Every school child today knows what is called insecurity.
The Israeli-Palestinian just halted violent conflict can’t but remind us of what wars do to a people. The war does not ever end. In view of tribulations the Jews had gone through for thousands of years, they are perpetually on edge and in fear exacerbated by the partitioning of Palestine in 1948 through the UN instrumentality evinced in a 1947 Resolution 181 so that the Jews hitherto rejected and scattered everywhere could have their own home state. The Palestinians cried foul that they had been rendered homeless by that Resolution, especially after 2million of them were evicted from East Jerusalem about 70 years ago. In the 60s and 70s you had Yasser Arafat ever on the move, shuttling between Jordan and the UN, between West Bank and Washington in search of homeland for his people. The relationship has always been combustible. It requires only a careless drop of a cigarette end to explode in a conflagration. It is about land; it is about homeland. It is about dignity for a people, the Palestinians. In the latest confrontation, about 220 Palestinians were killed and 13 Israelis were felled from aerial bombardments and firing of rockets. Of course, destruction of property is given; it is an inseparable accompaniment of carnage. Tiny Israel has always has had an upper hand. It was reported that about 7,000 buildings were destroyed in the Gaza Strip, always the bone of contention, and more than 50,000 made refugees in schools. We are talking about practically the same people. Can we talk about the Lord Christ without Palestine or Israel without Jerusalem? What a twist that Jordan or Syria could be arch enemies of Jerusalem!
The Israelis and the Palestinians met face to face for the first time in Madrid in November 1991 since the Middle East war of 1967. The historic meeting, if we recall, was to draw up an interim Palestinian self-rule in West Bank and Gaza Strip occupied by Israel since that war. Earlier in October ahead of the meeting, about 30,000 young Jews demonstrated in Tel Aviv, urging the then Israeli Premier Shamir to opt for love and not war. They could not understand why their country, Israel would occupy other peoples’ land for that long. It was a very moving stance of the youths, raising questions uncorrupted youths have been known for over the ages.
Up till today, the Palestinians are homeless. It is encouraging that there is cessation of hostilities after nearly two weeks of horror in that belt last month. It is in the interest of all the parties, the Jews and the Arabs, and the world at large that peace should be given a chance in the war prone region. Who knows, an Arab today may be a Jew tomorrow; a Jew today may be a Palestinian tomorrow, deprived of homeland, leading battle against Israel. Such is the Law that an Israeli soldier today may be a Palestinian commander tomorrow to experience what the shoe looks like on the other foot and vice versa, so that when either party tastes hate or evil, he can abhor it, move away from it and save himself from perdition.
The problem of the Middle East requires a large heart to solve and knowledge of higher correlations of life. The Palestinians need a homeland. The Jews need assurances of security. Both can be accommodated peacefully. A Palestinian or Jew who kills in the name of the state to achieve the two objectives is deceiving himself. Whoever kills or destroys another man’s property for whatever reason, burdens himself. He bears personal responsibility, not the state. The Laws of Creation do not know state; they know human spirits. It is human spirits, we learn from higher knowledge spreading on earth today, that account for their own conduct, acts of commission or omission. It is the same responsibility those who harm or kill others in the name of politics, revolution or religion bear or business, in the name of being smart by upstaging business partners. Adamant is the Law.
The general attitude of many a ruler is that it is the majority who count in a country or community, not the minority regardless of the verity and merit of the latter’s position, and once the yearnings of the masses have been met, the minority may be ignored. The voice of dissent is muffled—the ayes have it; the nays have it, and the gavel hits the table! The defeated party bites their lips and grits their teeth. Such is it that there is agitation to tax heavily the minority in the upper socio-economic bracket to keep the majority, what instigates GOPs to suffer umbrage from the Democrats unceasingly in the United States. Any injustice done to a single individual exerts bitter consequences on the person who took the decision and the person who carried it out or when the seed sown has gone through maturation processes and the fruit of the act ripens. It is injustice as defined by the automatic and self-enforcing living Laws of Creation which do not heed the opinions of men or a nation, their comfort or their inconvenience. In the eyes of the Laws, right is right and wrong is wrong. The Jews and the Palestinians can co-exist peacefully if they want to. The rest of the world can support them with our best wishes, that they may see the wisdom of a peaceful co-existence, and each party respecting the other.
The Laws which apply to the Jews and the Palestinians apply to Nigerians as well. They apply to the Jew as they apply to the Gentile. They are universal Laws, the outworking of the Power of the Holy Spirit Who is Law and Justice as Part of the Most High, the all Highest Creator in Holy Trinity. Several parts of Nigeria have been turned into killing fields. Farmers are killed or maimed on their farms by herdsmen, their women mercilessly violated, in some cases houses are set on fire with glee, totally oblivious of the path of horror to which the perpetrators sentence themselves in life hereafter when they depart earthly life–including those who clap for them openly or in their closets. Or later in another earth life! Man must bow before the Omniscience of the All Highest.
The world is plagued with evil in an unbelievable scale and multidimensional. No wonder, Isaiah was to tell us when he looked at the future world from his time: “From the sole of the foot, even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” (Isaiah 1:6). That is how, we are told, sick mankind are today. But after all said and done, “The Almighty is not mocked.” (Galatian 6:7). Isaiah went further to reveal what will befall our world: “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.”
The signs of the collapse he foresaw are already here with us to which we are not paying attention: “Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: For God is with us.” God with us is the Holy Spirit. We are in His time that is widely referred to as the Age of the Holy Spirit with mankind oblivious of what it portends.
There is too much talk about war in Nigeria today as if war is child’s play. As we are made to understand in higher knowledge, speeches are seeds as thoughts are which later bear fruits for harvesting by the individual sower. The sowers find themselves somehow in nations besieged by war, which is their keen and boastful desire. If that desire is not realizable in the present time, the threads of the weaving will entrap and unswervingly connect them in some other life to cities engulfed in war. We must, therefore, replace thoughts of war with thoughts of love and goodness to be able to reap love, peace and harmony, and we will find that it is better to jaw jaw than to war war, as they say.