For some reasons the older I grow the more Christmas terrifies me. I am not sure if WE truly express the spirit of compassion and Love that Jesus contributed to the story of humankind. I think there is a big void vis-a-vis empathy and selfless humanness or UBUNTU, which Nelson Mandela speaks of and in practice demonstrated how one can ‘walk the talk?’ Imagine living in a world where governments are led by people who GENUINELY care about the welfare of all. A world where charity is not the self-serving merry-go-round AID industry that WE have today but a truly helping platform that is run by sincere people willing to ‘work themselves out of their jobs’ because they really want to make poverty history. The circus of showing black Africans as objects of pity would be challenged because even a poor human deserves dignified representation! I genuinely believe it is possible to spread well-being across the globe if WE all put OUR minds and HEARTS to it without even relying on poor-norgraphy. This does not mean that everyone will have a swimming pool but WE would not have one billion starving people in the poor South whilst another billion in the rich North is too fat because of having too much to eat. Nevertheless, the rich Northerners tirelessly continue to give their hard-earned cash to the ‘helping’ sector, trusting them to help the under privileged of the South. A BBC documentary revealed the other day that in UK alone, last year £9 billion was raised for ‘helping.’..At such a rate it is seriously possible that every living human being on this planet can become an aid millionaire! Bless the British who keep digging into their pockets despite the economy standing on it’s knees. More than any other nation, Britons seem to think that Africa is ‘the White Man’s Burden’ as the imperial poet Rudyard Kipling puts it.
This is my last post so I do not wish to rant about the AID INDUSTRY anymore. I will let other 21st century minds to figure out how to deal with ‘help’ that doesn’t actually help, but could in fact help effectively. I am certainly done with criticizing the AID industry and it’s condescending treatment of black Africans because my PhD thesis is now ready for submission and I will close this blog with a little rant about the human story …..About US humans, about GOD and about heaven and hell. Then I will find my own little way of participating in the aid story, but this time to work with those willing to listen to the voices in Africa, because having equal dialogue with Others is to recognise their humanity and article One of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes so!
At a personal/spiritual level, I constantly wonder why WE humans find it so difficult to treat others as we would like to be treated? Especially if the Other is visibly different or a complete ‘stranger.’ What does it take to acknowledge another human being with a smile that comes from deep within? The sincere smile, which makes you experience that warm sense of well-being albeit momentarily! Smiling is a universal language… A smile transcends our fragmented human languages, cultures and races.……Smile can ONLY mean one thing…I notice you….and WE are connected!
At that moment when you smile, the universe smiles too, because, believe it or not WE are all connected. DNA scientists tell us so, quantum physicists have proven beyond a shred of doubt that every matter in the universe including little humans and our little planet are all made up of energy that cannot be created or destroyed….This energy is infinite. It is the universal ‘spirit’ if you like. One BIG energy, which was there and will always be there and OUR little human brain will NEVER totally comprehend it. Philosophers who lived many years before Christ called it ‘TRUTH-IN-ITSELF’…World religions call it ‘GOD’ ….Scientists tell us it is the ‘BIG BANG’ and even try to put a date on it! (very enlightening)….This TRUTH/GOD/BIG BANG has different names depending which corner of the little world you were born, what your parents limited you to and what exposure you have had to ‘opposing’ knowledges and ideologies. It is a great pity that in 21st century WE still hate and murder each other for a GOD WE have not even met yet! A GOD who will anyway embrace all of US warts and all. This omnipotent GOD is surely bigger, and fairer than a mere mortal Nelson Mandela who reconciled murderers/lynch men and those they wronged right before our very eyes. He reverted back to OUR empathic DNA that inscribes, WE ARE ALL ONE, and Your pain is my pain! Murdering or hating in the name of a loving and forgiving GOD seems bizarre to me because a TRUE GOD does not sanction pointing weapons at HIS/HER creations or beheading them in HIS name. But WE keep doing it over and over again. This is in fact barbaric whatever language you put it in..It is also strange that WE take it upon us to feel upset and judgmental when Others do not buy into OUR own GOD concept, in OUR own little languages. I still find it rather peculiar that in 21st century when we can all browse in the religious menu to choose what WE want, there are religions that market themselves by sending people to knock on our doors and talk about their limited version of God, because they think they have got it right! They think it will be a shame if we don’t see it their way and ascend to heaven with them. That is marketing God par excellence! …Forgotten is the idea that we are actually one…If there is a heaven, surely WE we all be there because WE are all ONE. I read somewhere that there are DNA proof that WE are all descendants of the same ancestors that lived in Africa hundred of thousands of years ago. I believe that whoever GOD maybe, HE is full of love and compassion as all the major world religions proclaim in their sacred books. The GOD concept is benevolent and uniting but the serious problem WE are facing now is that the GOD idea gets LOST IN TRANSLATION because of religious divisions caused by closed attitudes, business minded church entities, and perhaps power hunger WE inherited from the architects of world religions. True religion I believe is a profound faith in the humanness in OURSELVES and in everyone else WE have met or not met. True religion is spreading unconditional love and goodness to everyone that crosses OUR path. I still find it extremely disturbing that one religion chooses to discount other forms of religions or worship. It is wrong for one human to say unto Other that ‘your religion is pointless.’
What if all I knew of GOD was a mountain or the forest where we collect fruits and nuts? What if my ancestors made it a point to pray to the baobab tree that provided a much needed shade in my hot little village? And what if some are taught to pray to the cow that gave them their daily milk ? I met a South African ‘witch doctor’ in 2008 who prayed to a River GOD and this charismatic gentleman was one of the kindest and most intelligent person I have ever met. For him, caring for human life and protecting the earth where our bodies are eventually recycled was more important than fantasizing about a heaven he had no control of. He asked his GOD to keep us safe in the ‘dangerous’ townships and HE did, didn’t HE? Who can tell when divinity has intervened? Are not all the world religions relevant to those practicing them? How can Christians for instance claim that ONLY they have the TRUTH and Others don’t? It is estimated that of the world population of 7,021,836,020 ONLY 31.59% are Christians. Muslims account for 23.2%, Hindu 15.0%, Buddhist 7.1%, Sikh 0.35%, Jewish 0.2%, Baha’i 0.11%, other religions 10.95%, non-religious 9.66%, atheists 2.01%. (July 2010 est.)
I think we need to nurture our 21st century generation with sustainable morals that cross these limiting and divisive boundaries so that they can know the real GOD who is interchangeable with supreme GOODNESS. They should address the religious stigmatizations and practice humanness which WE in Africa call UBUNTU/UTU. It is a philosophy of being good and fair without necessarily embracing any particular religious sect! GOD is bigger and more beautiful than a fearful judgmental little white old man WE are supposed to recognise by sight! And the devil, who is by the way black with horns and tail according to Christian representations, is nothing but the hatred and individualism that WE harbour within OUR hearts. The disrespect WE have towards fellow humans in OUR world is incomprehensible because the whole universe is made of eternal energy and that is the INFINITE GOD spirit as far as common-sense goes. WE like to think that hell and heaven is a place? Speaking metaphorically, hell is living purposeless day by day, hell is worrying about dying because you have acquired too much and cannot relax and enjoy it because inequality means that Others are still scavenging for their basic needs and therefore your safety is not guaranteed. Hell I believe is the locks on our doors that are intended to keep out unwanted HUMAN intruders? (and someone naively thought WE we are one? LOL) Hell are the massive protective gates, bodyguards/watchmen intended to keep us safe from other humans. Hell are the security cameras and all other modern devices that we use to protect our individual wealth because of the unprecedented disparity between rich and poor. If YOU think hell is somewhere far…THINK again and think very fast!
In a 21st century tweeter-facebook village blessed with unprecedented information technology we must know better! We need to venture into our spiritual selves to get balance instead of just depending on fragmented religions or poisonous drugs. I am not surprised there is suicide in rich countries where people have everything materially, but find life pointless. I think we need to leave behind a world where life is fulfilling, goodness reigns, and individualism is stigmatized as untoward and pointless. It is a bit like practicing a heaven here on earth as WE can connect spiritually starting with that sincere unprocessed smile that lights up a positive glow in our hearts. Heaven begins with this positive energy and fades into INFINITY where we harmoniously join other lights/energies of the universe and continue into ETERNITY. Scientists tell us that our energy/light will ALWAYS persist! ….LOVE is central to this positive energy. Ideally, heaven is a society where adults care and are capable of loving all children unconditionally…it is where a child can call any adult male PAPA…and childless mothers could be called MAMA by children they do not know. How can it be otherwise? It is heartbreaking that the lonely childless man cannot exchange a kind word or comfort the sad little girl on the bus without onlooking passengers tweeting the police!
Creating heaven on earth can be achieved when we all focus on practicing goodness and keep that infectious smile on.
I believe that it is possible to practice goodness….
It is called UBUNTU….
I define it as the ORAL MORAL BOOK of our African ancestors! Nelson Mandela showed us how to do it, and he died a beautiful fulfilled death, which to me is proper enlightenment.
Abraham Maslow called such a full filled state self-actualization.
Back then before what we now consider ‘modernity’ our ancestors abided by UBUNTU. Some Maasai communities still do. They do not have or need police, because the wise elders will tell you off if you intentionally offend Others. If one is hungry, all are hungry. There are no locks on doors because there is nothing in your hut that your neighbor wants to steal from you. And if there is, he or she can ask you for some, knowing you will always share. My grandfather Lemnge a Maasai nomad who was displaced to Kilimanjaro after fighting in the First-Word-War, never used the word I. There is only plural ‘WE’ in kimaasai language. It expresses the oneness of humankind. You are because of everyone else, that is the story of humankind that WE need to instill in our children particularly during this festive season where they are overly obsessed with Christmas presents having prepared shopping wish lists that are longer than their school essays. Besides, many children today have no clue what legacy Jesus Christ contributed to the humankind story. I wish I could shout it to them that Jesus said WE should practice proper goodness and love. This is quintessentially the central message in UBUNTU and the fundamental message in all World religions. Your humanity is only complete in presence of Others and therefore you can not speak of I, my, mine etc. I am not surprised that Monarchs speak of ‘WE’….because who would they be without their subjects? ‘WE’ communicates human unity. My belief and I stick with it.
The best Christmas gift this year is to share a smile with people you do not know….Remember WE are all ONE…
They now speak of an EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION, which I strongly believe is possible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g