We live in a world where most people do not know what it means to be free – to be free to go to school, associate with a particular religion, attain their life goals and the list goes on. Most people do not have life security in their own country. On the other hand, most people know what it is to have the opposite of all the things that I have listed above. Sometimes it is just hard to face the reality that we are not all treated positively equal, although some of us live in the same country.
In Nigeria, a thief or suspected thief who is caught in public is beaten and burnt to death by members of the public, and the justice system does not frown at such behaviour. The practise of members of the public taking laws into their own hands has been going on for a long time, in Nigeria and that is very unimpressive.
That same backward attitude was the kind employed in late 2012, when four male undergraduate students of the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria were beaten and burnt to death. The four youngmen were accused of engaging in what I will term ‘basic theft’. They were suspected to have stolen a computer. Till today, it has not been proven that those young men who were cut off at their prime are guilty of what they were accused of doing. I cannot phantom what in the world came across the minds of the perpetrators of the murders. Did they think that they themselves were perfect? Did they consider themselves to be gods? Then I turn to the case of the on-lookers and wonder: why didn’t they rush to find help for the boys? Someone even took a video of the executions. There is yet to be justice for the families of those four boys who were taken from their families, from their schooling and from their dreams, as a result of barbaric attitudes.
In developed countries just like the one that I live in – Canada, such unauthorized executions will be evaluated seriously by the courts. The judicial systems of developed countries do not always serve what seems to be the right judgement. However, they must consider every law related to the crime before making a judgement. Why are we not all free?
Also, in Northern Nigeria, many people have been murdered for being Christians, and several youths have lost their lives for going to school. In the Eastern, Western, Southern and South-Eastern parts of the country, Muslims and Christians befriend each other, and secondary school children are not targeted for violence. Why are we not all free?
In parts of the Middle East, lots of innocent people are killed regularly. Why are we not all free?
I live in Canada and it is very admirable to see how multi-cultural the state is. Residents of Canada, including myself boast with that fact. However, not all cultures in this celebrated multicultural society are equal. Aboriginals in Canada for a long time, even since the 19th century, have been treated as unequal to other Canadians. Aboriginals in Canada live in very poor conditions. They earn less than the Canadian minimum wage and the rate of employment for them is very low. Why are we not all free?
The scenarios that I have discussed above are just a few of the injustices that citizens of our world go through. If you are free, help the captive know what freedom looks like. Take peaceful action to elevate the oppressed in your society and in other societies. We were all made equal, so we need to put a stop to the man-made structures that try to tint reality and group equals into different categories.
Read the reflections of my sister who is an experienced blogger, on the murders of the University of Port Harcourt boys here: http://www.kalaharireview.com/nonfiction/2013/4/2/the-art-of-mourning.html