NELSON MANDELA DAY: Take Action! Inspire Change 2016

SAID joined the global community in celebrating Nelson Mandela’s Day on 18 July 2016. On this Day, people around the world are asked by Nelson Mandela Foundation to Take Action! Inspire Change. By devoting 67 minutes of one’s time- one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service, it is hoped that this will help people to make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. Of course this is a call to strive for a better world. This is precisely what SAID is doing daily in the many communities we serve.

This call can also take the form of a reflection on how our world is today structured and how we could make it more humane. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor; it is obvious that a world where all people have the opportunity to access the available resources would be a more human and better one than what we have today. If we identify ourselves not first as members of this or that state or country but simply members of the same human race, perhaps, we would begin to care more for each other. This will certainly galvanize us to take action and to inspire change in the fights against hunger, extreme poverty, and gender inequality. These global issues it would seem can only be solved by global citizens demanding solutions from their governments and the global community.

We are experiencing increasing cases of mass killings, shooting all around the world. In the US we hear of students killing shooting and killing tens of fellow students, Police officers shooting and killing unarmed people and People shooting and killing police officers. The same story goes for France where hundreds of lives have been lost in various terrorists attacks. Just yesterday, a lone gunman killed nine people in Munich. In the wake of all these, we cannot fail to ask: What is going on and where are we heading? These tragedies warm us to cease making ourselves false Saviours.

We are creating artificial intelligence in computers, teaching designing robots and biorobots, machines modeled after real humans and real animals that are capable of handling complex tasks and teaching cars to think and self-drive. We are placing people on the Moon and have made incredible advancements in all known areas of science and technology. Nonetheless, it would seem that we have not made an iota of progress in human development. The same passions that governed our so called primitive ancestors are still our driving force today. We are spending much of our world’s resources in inventing and manufacturing weapons with which we kill our fellow human beings. We have created a global political, social and economic system that has been rigged to work for a few at the expense of the many.

There are 263 million children, adolescent and youth of school age who are not in school. We have a global system where a few people own over 50% of the resources in this world while millions of people are starving in homeless shelters, refugee camps. We live in a world where a few hundred people have trillions of dollars while so many have nothing to eat and are dying of hunger. Banks use credit scores to determine if you are trustworthy, but there are 2.5 billion people around the world who cannot access a loan to begin a business, buy a home or improve their lives. They are theoretically and practically excluded from the global finance system.

Politicians and governments seem unable to solve real problems. The mega-rich and corporations are usurping the powers of politicians and governments around the globe. Politicians are no longer able to stay as politicians and leave business alone. They now double as both. Politicians and rich people think that it is fame and wealth that we make them happy. Of course this is not true as many studies have shown.

When I look at this life, I feel like crying; because there is so much falsehood and lies as there is also so much beauty waiting to be discovered and shared. It is not true to say we live in an age of unbelief. No, we believe today just like any other time in history. The difference lies in whom, how and when we believe. Some of us may believe in the bible of the New Yorker or Harvard Review, democracy. We desperately want to believe, we need to believe.
With what is happening today in many parts of our world, it may be time for questioning. What about if our firmly held belief about global economic system, democracy, capitalism and all other beliefs we may be having are not true representation of reality? What about if these are only false saviours? Perhaps it is time to question our beliefs and embrace uncertainty and change our framework. The things we believe most firmly may turn out not to be quite true. We reach out to something to believe. For us in Nigeria, the political second coming of Buhari may not save us neither were we saved by the gentle and sweet name of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. We cannot simply accept the salvation that the systems of the world are offering. It was neither in PDP nor is it in APC. They are all false gods.

We see suffering as a necessary evil of the act of capitalism and democracy that have become our gods. We take the test of technological progress to be infallible truth. We fail to question this system because we fear it will shake our foundation. SAID is inviting you this Mandela Day to start believing new things. We can admit that we are wrong. Let us refuse to be seduced by the gods of superstitions that we often find soothing to our anxiety. We cannot just be waiting for second coming of the Lord while His command is for us to be good Samaritans There must be another way for our world. It is time to starting questioning capitalism and democracy. Where are they taking us? There is no length to which we would not go to preach this new gospel- hunger and extreme poverty are the works of human hands. We are more than convinced that at this moment and time, our world has enough resources, skills and knowledge to end hunger and poverty. If people have been taught to hate, they can also be taught to love. Take Action Now!