Thursday, 29 January 2015

How Easy…

In 2009 I went to live with my Uncle and Aunt in South Africa for a couple months. I was there to see how the life of an Architect was, I kinda think my Dad sent me there to scare me straight concerning the decision. Before I left I got a couple sermons from my eldest brother, Mwindula, decent chap. One of them was a sermon by C J Mahaney called “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”. No offence to C J because that is quite the sermon but that sounds like a dumb tittle and yet the relevance of that sermon echo true to date and I think will be the same till the day I finally leave this earth.

There's a song too, not by C J though, it's by some other guy

A line that really got me from the entire sermon was “How easy we forget!” and C J would bellow this a number of times during the sermon. How true is that my one reader, how easy we forget? It’s like one of the things that we do as humans, isn’t it? It’s as sure as death, even more sure than taxes. No matter how important or significant an event or occasion is we forget. It is such a painful reality but let me give a couple examples to prove my point.

On the night of the 14th of April 2014 about 276 girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria. The world was in uproar, me too. How could such a thing happen? What kind of people kidnap children, let alone that many. How soon till they are found? How will the families find Justice? These and many more thoughts rang through the world like the continuous beating of a giant bell at the top of a hill. And the noise of it echoed around the world. People were moved, I can say that from memory no other event united the African Continent like that one.

A year has not yet elapsed and yet to a large extent we have forgotten. We have forgotten the feelings that we had and how they made us act and react. We have forgotten how for a moment we stopped looking at the guy next to us as anything more than our fellow man. We have forgotten the families that live through this reality. We have forgotten those for whom forgetting would either be a reason for self-loathing or some level of consolation, much like sleep at the end of a tiresome period of days.

Very few can claim to not have been moved by the kidnapping

At the beginning of December 2013 250 nurses and midwives lost their jobs because of a strike in Zambia. The nurses were on strike because they wanted, one could even argue needed a 100% increment in their salaries. The government did this to show that they would not be held to ransom. Nurses were hired to replace those who had lost their jobs though not all 250 job slots were filled. Fast forward a year almost to the day and Zambia is on the verge of a presidential election because of the passing on of the president. All 250 nurses where given their jobs back. Not at the cost of their replacements, no, they were just given their jobs back.

Now one could argue that this was just the benevolence of the government or that this was done to win favour in the upcoming election, I tend to think the latter but that’s all conjecture and I’m not intending to go into conjecture. The jobs where given back and the ruling party kept its status as the ruling party. People forgot, maybe not the nurses themselves but people forgot. They forgot how they once associated and felt for those who lost their jobs as well as a dozen other feelings but at the end of the day what can’t be missed is that people forgot.

Three things I would like to point out to wrap this all up. I am not saying that EVERYONE forgot, I am saying that people forgot and this is because people forget. We don’t even know or notice that we are forgetting till we think back over something and realise that the day for it has passed, like an anniversary, or that the item is lost, like a wrist watch or a ID card of some sort, or even a memory of a person. One day we just realise that we forgot, not all of us maybe not even most of us in a couple cases but we do forget.

It does happen so we must take time to remember.. lest we forget

Secondly, and I hope I showed this through my spectrum of example choices, the reason for forgetting have little to do with the gravity of the issues we forget. We forget, it’s what we do. It does not make the issues any less important. There are those out there who enjoy pointing the finger at others saying things like “see how you forgot, we knew you were just after the attention” NO! Sometimes we just forget. The days I do not think about the man who died while we were playing football do not show that the event did not mean something to me, it shook me to the core of my being. We should not beat ourselves up over the occasional forgetfulness

But this brings me to my final point. We must make the effort not to forget. It pains me that I forget and I try not to beat myself about it but it pains me that I forget. It pains me that I forgot about the Chibok girls and that I do not pray for them as much as I ought to. It pains me that I can only think of the 250 nurses who lose their jobs when I want to criticize and crucify them in the court of public opinion over their potential vote. It pains me that I forget the man who died because I could do nothing to help. It pains me!

C J Mahany spoke of how easy we forget the things we should remember and begged, I heard him beg, the listener to take time to remember the important things. I must go out of my way to remember daily the things and people I should pray for and think of. I should increasingly find ways to forget less often such things and though I will continue to forget, because that’s what we do, I must try to forget less and less. It pains me that I will forget people and things but I will try to remember more than I forget, progress will be slow but I’m in it for the long haul

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