If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that in the light of the recent world happenings, that man has proven himself to be the beast talked about by Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. I would have settled upon this stand because of the many stories of war, anarchy, commotion, fracas, destruction, havoc, pandemonium and violence that now characterize the human society. Living in today’s world, has become the survival of the strongest; the die-hard cause of the Islamic extremists; imperialism, neo-colonization, dominance of weaker nations; miscarriage of justice, war, fight for God and religion, political seizure of power and the abortion of democracy. And so for all of these, we import the guns, we make the bombs and are ready to pull the trigger at our fellow men whom we now consider as enemies and infidels making tears, pain and sorrow the daily bread of the human person. What is wrong with the world? To this question, a friend of mine once said, “the world has gone crazy.”
Lucky Dube in his lyrics of Crazy World makes clear that “…leaders start the warsevery time they want; some for their rights; some for fun and their own glory…” Thus, it’s more like man has canonized violence and war and have pronounced them as saints. Hence, with the canonization of violence around the world, what then is left of the image of nations? What growth can nations experience in the absence of peace and in the violation of human rights and freedom? The world at large ought to be one nation, believing in the ideals, ethics and values of brotherhood, love, peace, human fraternity and fellow feeling.
Against this backdrop, this write up attempts a call to consciousness on the danger of the consistent violent attacks that rocks the human family and what this family stands to lose and possibly become if she makes strife, bloodshed, enmity, violence and war permanent features of her existence. In addition, this treatise would discuss Nigeria’s share of violence while highlighting the need to move from violence to peace in Nigeria and in the world at large in order to make of the world a global brotherhood of peace and oneness.
THE DANGER OF CANONIZING VIOLENCE
I had read somewhere that violence slows down national, economic and social development but thanks to Wikipedia findings; I came to realize that violence has more devastating effects. Hence, while writing this article, I discovered that globally, violence, conflict and war take the lives of more than 1.6 million people annually. Wikipedia further related that in Africa, out of every 100,000 people each year, an estimated 60.9 die a violent death. In fact, Africa Check a project of the AFP foundation avers that in Nigeria an estimated 13,000 lives have been lost to the Boko Haram insurgency between July of 2009 and the first half of 2015 following killings from the Boko Haram insurgents as well as the Nigerian military,not mentioning the estimated 650 deaths that have occurred in the northeast and north central states as a result of the same menace since the inception of the new administration, following reports from the Agence France-Presse.
Moving a little farther from the African continent, statistics show that gunfire kills ten children a day in the United States. In fact, Dr. Richard Corlin, a onetime president of the American Medical Association posited that: “The United States leads the world—in the rate at which its children die from firearms.” He added that, “Gun violence is a threat to the public health of the United States.” It is important to make clear that for every single death due to violence, there are dozens of hospitalizations, hundreds of emergency department visits, and thousands of doctor’s appointments. It is equally without any iota of doubt that violence often leaves behind, lifelong consequences for its victim’s physical and mental health and social functioning. In the light of these unrewarding effects of violence around the world therefore, I think it’s time the world and particularly Nigeria took a break off violence for as the article captions, its puts a dent on nation building and destroys the beauty that lie in our humanity.
FROM VIOLENCE TO PEACE: The Better Part for Nigeria and the World
Over the years, especially with the Biafra saga, Nigerians have bottled up so much pent up resentment and hurt that requires the soothing balm of free speech and reconciliatory discussions. Hence, as a people of the Nigerian state, it is apt that we go back to the drawing board, to think anew, as well as act anew. As Nigerians, it is pertinent that we strive to re-sketch a proper image of our nation and what she stands for and seek to redress the ugly picture which violence, terrorism and insurgency has carved out for us. All over the world, men must begin to embrace the “We-intention” and ensure that it prevails over and above, the personal “I-intention.” Hence for sustainable peace in Nigeria, solidarity must transcend ethnic and religious ties.
To conclude this treatise therefore, Mahatma Gandhi once opined that “an eye for an eye will only make the world blind.” In addition, he writes, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” It was against this backdrop that Uzoma Ahamefule wrote in his article titled How to Attain Peace and Security in Nigeria that “...for Nigeria to have the desired peace and security, her political and opinion leaders must be ready to accommodate different views and put into practice those progressive ones even when they may come as criticisms. They must be ready to pay the price because peace and security is like freedom, it has got price tags. Our leaders must be pragmatic and resolute in their decisions. They need to be focused with clear vision and robust approach. They need the political will and sincerity to fight the monster called corruption if there must be any hope of turning things around. Importantly too, traces of any form of ethnic favouritism, nepotism, and gender discrimination must be extinguished and replaced with national interests. In other words, patriotism and fairness should be the keywords towards national policies.”
Benneth Joseph Obinna is graduate ofPhilosophy from the University of Ibadan and a Production Executive, Newscaster and Journalist with Lumen Christi Television Network, the First Catholic Satellite Television Network in Africa, located at Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.