The past few months have seen a lot of dynamics and interesting exchange of ideas from different forums concerning political, economic, social and spiritual matters, and these things prick one’s mind. Of course these issues are part of daily life, but there appears to be very unusual occurrences touching these issues, like a wave of relentless uncertainty is doing the rounds, all around the world. We can attest to the fact that from many fronts, things are not going very well currently in our Motherland.
When things go wrong people feel a need to speak up, but it becomes a bit hard to have our voices heard, especially when we are in foreign countries. Navigating the web of bureaucracy to ensure people do not unnecessarily ripple still waters or interfere with personal interests can make matters much more difficult. It also becomes hard because there is the common belief that people in Diaspora have it easy and do not necessarily understand what goes on in the Motherland. Not exactly the truth, because it is only the wearer of the shoe who knows how hard and where it pinches.
It is a noble idea, which has been floated in many of the forums I refer to above, to stand up for Motherland, to ensure she remains healthy and vibrant so that she continues nurturing her many children. Each one of us (human beings), have in us a part of the earth (soil) from which we were born and raised; we are the sum total of the food we eat, and since food comes from the earth, we belong to that particular part of earth whose food nurtured us even before birth – it fed us (and continues to), just like our mothers – hence the fitting name of Motherland! That is why every so often, we get home sick, and when our days are done, our earth (body) returns to the earth (dust to dust). There are some strong souls that having found new habitations, have no intention of ever going back to their Motherland, and to these people, I say: “Hats off!” That is bravery. Whether or not we want to be associated with that place remains our individual choice: That is our right and it is OK.
Standing in unity to ask for what is right is of vital importance. Where there is unity God commands a blessing. (Psalms 133). Requesting to be heard is a bold thing, but the point to remember is this: It is not about who is right or who is wrong – it is about protecting and standing up for our Motherland, and doing what is right. When there is so much innocent bloodshed, the land agonizes and it becomes hard for good to prevail, no wonder there is so much evil going on. In an ideal situation, there would be strategies in place to prevent catastrophes from happening, but the situation is far from ideal, that is why we see things sliding southwards. Having unity of purpose in forging ahead could help create the difference that might change the direction of the wind. From personal observations, the problems at hand are far much greater than can be handled by men alone, and even though our efforts are commendable, we also need to pray earnestly that God intervenes and changes circumstances for the better without further bloodshed. We can never pray enough. I have personally witnessed prayers changing some very difficult situations. These are just my personal observations.
During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, we woke up one day to find on the front pages of one of the main newspapers, the photo of a small girl, about 2 years old, holding a dirty empty cup. She had lost all her family and looked lost, lonely, confused, and very afraid, amidst the terrible devastation around her. My youngest daughter was only 2 years old then, and no matter what I did, I could not rest. That small girl haunted me – “What if that was my daughter?” Many of us stood in unity, for the purpose of praying to God for Rwanda, for restoration of normalcy and peace. I believe He heard our prayers.
During the Multi-party era, a certain Italian lady who was on holiday in Kenya, sensing the negative energies and hostilities in the country then, said: “When Italy was going through a rough time during the Great Depression, we prayed for Italy”. “Pray for Kenya”, she said. Those words have stuck with me ever since. We have prayed for Kenya before, but now we can pray even more fervently.
Much as we want to come together, we have a great setback in the very worrying trend in our community that lies in the old belief that competition is healthy, so we fail to support one another, and are busy trying to out-do each other and bring one another down. This is especially disturbing when it happens while in foreign countries! It is like adding pepper to our own wounds, on top of the hardships and discrimination we suffer, just for being foreigners. I hope we are not missing the reason why God allowed us to go to Diaspora. Yes, we all know the familiar explanation, that competition is healthy. A question I always ask myself when I hear this explanation is this: – “Why don’t children compete with one another to be born?” We are all born fully equipped with the resources necessary for the journey of life. We are born complete. Competition is an old colonial scheme that was used to divide and rule us. Sadly, the colonists are long gone, but we still hold on to this toxicity to date. And, just to mention here, it was this competitive venom, after being entrenched in the Rwandan community for so long, that led to the genocide. Maybe we can learn from that country, and instead of competing, perhaps it would be better to complement, strengthen and support one another in our unique individual abilities, so that we stand strong as a community. We do not have to go the way of Rwanda to wake up, because we have been granted the opportunity, to do what is right. Although today that country is a model of what good leadership and unity in a community can do, but what a heavy and dear price they had to pay!
We always come together as a community to help one another in times of need like pre-weddings, hospital bills, funerals, etc., so that thread of cohesion is active and alive. Perhaps we just need to put aside our petty differences and join hands not only for ourselves, but for the common good of Motherland, our innocent children and future generations. Consider those voiceless people suffering in silence because they have no platform on which to stand. Let us not be deceived, if we just stand, watch and do nothing and (Lord forbid) disaster or other misfortune befalls our Motherland, we too shall be affected whether we like it or not, even if we no longer live there or want nothing to do with it. That part of the earth is still in us, and we have family and friends there.
No matter where we live, I believe that God granted us the opportunity to be alive at this current time and to witness what is going on, because He knew that when the time came and opportunity presented itself for us to stand up for our Motherland, we would do the right thing. For those in Diaspora, I refuse to believe that we came all this way and endured so much, just to benefit ourselves and our children, and then move on. No, life is much more meaningful, fruitful and fulfilling when we positively affect others, not just by living for ourselves. Nature will always place circumstances around us and along our paths so that we impact others positively, and that way, keep changing the world for the better, while spreading cheer and love. History will judge us by our deeds.
Famous people who stood up to be counted did not do it because it was pleasant, easy or not risky, but rather, they considered that the benefits to be gained by standing for what was right far outweighed any dangers that the effort presented, and when they got to the end of their earthly journeys they rested in the knowledge that they did what they believed was right; not only for themselves, but for humanity and for generations to come. I believe we can rest in that same assurance one day, if we stand up and do the right thing for our Motherland. To quote our famous brother, P.L.O. Lumumba: “We must do it, because if we don’t do it, we will be done”.
I will end by referring to the famous young Queen who was an illegal immigrant who God granted the grace to be married to the king. When an enemy of her people threatened to kill all of them, she at first hesitated to approach the king to plead for them, but her wise uncle told her: “Do not be deceived, if this plot to kill our people succeeds, you will not be safe either, even though you be in the king’s palace”. And so Queen Esther hearkened to her uncle and saved her people by pleading with the king for them, even though it meant life or death for her. Now, who knows, just like her, maybe for a time such as this were we appointed to be alive and to see these things so that we could stand in unity of purpose and do the right thing for our Motherland.
Let’s continue taking care of one another as we take care of the universe, because we are all one.
Strive to be happy, it is still a beautiful world.
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