By Debbie Olujobi
The dream of parents back then was that their offspring have a better life than they did and education and a disciplined upbringing were an integral part of that. Parents back then were the generation of baby boomers and they gave birth to us. They had many struggles, life wasn’t easy but they lived as members of a community and took their place gladly.
Judging by the funky photographs that we see of the 60s and 50s; they had a lot of fun; they partied more than we do, but had the luxury of very little crime.
They enjoyed a social network that was people to people instead of the pathetic people to computer interactions we now swear by. They had pen pals around the world and where they weren’t able to reach; they were certainly better connected by the words they sent.
My mother had close friends around the world and I am ashamed to say even with the aid of lightning fast technology I have less interaction with people. I don’t think life back then was perfect, nothing ever is; what I do believe is that we can take a leaf from their book and get involved in our own communities and the world as a whole. We can start caring without an agenda of financial or political gain and just exist in a way that nurtures the earth and its entire people; regardless of colour or creed.
We are certainly financially richer than the baby boomers generation were and can point to many ostentatious things to show for a higher level of Westernisation and civilisation but I doubt posterity will judge us to be a better breed of people. We are like bottomless wells of consumption and are never sated! The tragedy of our situation is the total disconnection from humanity and its community. The bottom line for humanity now is profit at whatever cost. Gone are the days of a moral obligation that the strong must protect the weak.
In the 60s, people in America/Europe/Africa rallied and fought for people they had never seen in different parts of the world and their voices were heard by their governments and corporations alike. People fought for people against oppression, they fought against unjust wars and, as a race, we were still connected and communal. I remember the 80s and the gathering of the musical geniuses that rallied to the aid of the hungry in Africa and how we all felt involved. The songs are still coming and the charities are still flourishing, but the problem is that we are creating a majority of the problems we are raising money to solve.
It is a fact that every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death. Every single day, 16,000 children will die of hunger-related causes and ironically the hotel and restaurants throw away enough food to feed all the hungry of the world daily!! Nearly one billion people are illiterate and nothing or too little is being done to change the situation. Closer home, our very own West Africa has 46.3 per cent of its population classified as poverty- stricken. Surviving on less than a dollar a day!!! What a world!!
I find it a travesty that the UN will quickly sign a resolution that protects Libyans from Gaddafi after a few weeks of unrest yet they folded their arms and watched the Rwandan genocide; I guess the presence of oil on one’s land is an appropriate value of the price you put on human blood! Where is the humanity in that!! Darfur is an ongoing time-bomb and I don’t hear of any UN resolution; where is the humanity in that?
The Niger Delta region in Nigeria is raped by multinational companies and government alike, yet no one thinks we should begin a clean-up of the area and develop it at par with its treasures; where is the humanity in that? I am reminded of a passage in the Bible in the book of Isaiah 60:2 “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people… It’s almost as if we are disconnecting from feeling each other’s pain and therein lies the problem.
The earth is sick and the evidence is everywhere you look. In the one month it has taken me to write these series, we have seen over 10 earthquakes, 2 tsunamis, countless floods and let’s not forget, the Middle-East is on fire; the governments are crumbling and the people are braying for the blood of dictators!!