Whenever life’s difficulties causes the poem “On the Beach at Night” by Walt Whitman to reverberate in my mind, it sends multiple emotions down my spine and the efficacy has most often been a still flow of tears running down my cheeks.
Permit me to quote few phrases thus: … Weep not, child, Weep not darling, With these kisses let me remove your tears, The ravening clouds shall not be long victorious, They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition, Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge ….
This particular poem has sent me thinking a million times about the many sufferings a great majority experience in this world; just between the century I was born and today we have heard of – the 1st and 2nd world wars, the holocaust, Vietnam war, Chinese civil war, Russian Civil war, bombing of world trade centre, recently the bombing at Paris and many other wars in the Western world that have sent many to early grave, exterminated “yet to invent, inventors” and leaders that would have made the world a better place.
In Africa, we have experienced series of bloodsheds – wars, genocides and the likes. Some of these brutish behaviours were effectuated in contests like – Shaka’s Conquest, Second Congo War/Great war of Africa (the Pygmy Genocide), The Biafra War, the Rwanda genocide and recently, the Xenophobia in South Africa.
It is in the context of these difficulties that Africans have displayed their longing for that day when they shall live without fear of the unknown, when they shall live without fear of another war, fear of another bomb blast, fear of disease and fear of hunger.
African children are hungry for a number of things and for a number of reasons. We are hungry for justice; we are hungry for peace, equity, discipline, love and unity.
We are hungry for that day when our leaders will be servants and not tyrants, when offices are occupied for the common good and not some selfish interest.
We are hungry for that day when our students would be able to stand in a debate with that Harvard or Cambridge student in a fair field of knowledge, hungry to end strikes at work places and at schools.
We are hungry for that day, when our little savings would be used in things useful to us than ‘sorting’. Hungry for that day, when our teenage bodies would be regarded as the temple of God, and not desecrated due to rape (or in schools by lecturers).
We are hungry, we are hungry… amidst this hunger, who shall we turn to, who shall quench our hunger?!
I think that in the context of such miseries mentioned above, that the father, as portrayed in the poem patted his child on the back to console him about happenings around him saying: Weep not Child, Weep not darling….
How many children did cry their hearts out during the Biafra War, how many did starve to death, how many were displaced and how many were killed during the Rwanda genocide? How many are still crying due to Boko Haram?
Today, as at then, and especially during this yuletide season, when the prices of things are hiked, children long for their Christmas clothes but have none, they weep! Weeping of disappointment!
We were hungry for change, yes we had gotten one; from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC), from Jonathan to
Buhari, from Militancy to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), from corruption to appointment of corrupt ministers, etc.
We were hungry and angry with the last administration; we ousted them out of power due to hunger for a good Nigeria.
Few months into the new administration, bitterness still fills the air, corruption still festers, life is still hard, Buhari is still watching, the polemics of APC still virile, Boko Haram still killing, children still starving, women still being kidnapped, oil price still declining, Dollar still raising and perhaps the good is that Christmas is still celebrated!
The hunger still continues, the APC led government cannot quench this; hunger for change, justice, discipline etc. who then will quench our hunger, you or I?
I think a bended knee will, God will! Pray for our Nation, Pray for your Family, Pray for yourself. You don’t know how to do that? Just pray (the Spirit comes to help us in our weakness, for when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words, Rom. 2:26).
Pray that God may quench our Hunger!