Stand Up Nigeria
A frank commentary on Nigeria by Julius Umogbai.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Can The Dead Trust You?
Some months ago, a Dana Air plane crashed in Lagos!
It was not the first plane to crash in Nigeria, and if we must face reality, it might not be the last!
In the past, the victims of plane crashes, seemed to be “strangers” to us: we did not have any direct relationship with them; be it family, professional, or otherwise!
In my opinion, this was the first plane crash in Nigeria, whose infamy, tragedy, and pain, was forced on our collective psyches by the mammoth information overload we were subjected to!
This was a crash that was reported by the various social media platforms in such a way that, we became acquainted with each person that died in that crash!
The husband and wife, the three generations of a family that perished; those on ground who died, and the numerous human interest stories that resulted!
Suddenly, these individuals were not just distant, abstract names on a manifest; they were people, flesh, bones, emotions, dreams, and expectations!
And that truly troubled us, and appealed to our humanity!
For many that were left to mourn the sadly departed, suffering was the new way of life; and we knew it!
While they were alive, we had gone clubbing with some of them, others were work, or school colleagues; and
some were our neighbours that we had never got round to talking to!
And now, they were dead!
Many were survived by children in primary school, some by pregnant spouses, and, or, aged parents!
In a cruel twist like they say, many of the now departed, were actually the providers for their families, and we knew that too!
Our immediate reaction moderated by anger, and a sense of deep loss, was to pledge to step into the breach that had been created!
We were going to help!
So how well have performed, in fulfilling the promises made in the heat of the tragedy?
Have we actually paid the school fees we promised?
Have we continued to visit the bereaved children as we covenanted with ourselves?
Have we paid for that accommodation we promised to sort out?
Did you pay for that operation your late friend’s wife needed?
I ask these questions, because time is a great clarifier of things!
The passage of time has a way of putting things in their proper perspective!
When these people were alive, some of them helped us! They gave us personal, and business loans, they were there for us! They were God-sent!
In other cases, we had fun with them, we visited all the fantastic joints in town, and beyond; and we had fun!
So what has happened?
What should happen?
We made pledges, we vowed, we made resolutions, and that was good!
Sadly, many of these well-intentioned” intensions”, were not well thought out!
They were knee-jerk reactions; akin to the children of Israel rushing off to to fight the giants, after they had initially decided they were grasshoppers!
If you have been faithful to your pledge, good for you! Keep it up!
If you have failed, you still have time to redeem yourself!
The secret, is not to decide to build a house for the survivors, you might get scared because you are overreaching yourself!
Break your “help” into bite size bits!
Just buy the children a blanket to keep out the cold first!
Do a little every day for them, and before you know it, it would become a routine, a good habit!
The truth is, we live one day at a time, so let your help come, one day a time!
Do not make it a one-off grant, or a grand project in the pipeline, the survivors cannot wait!
Instead, be there to hold a hand, lend a hand, or lift up one!
As you do, you will discover that the dead can truly trust you, and depend on you, for they are gone, but we are still here!
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