By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor

We have, on these pages, reviewed “The Beggars’ Strike”, a literary masterpiece byAminata Sow Fall which showed that beggars are useful to people, even to the rich.

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“The beggars’ Strike” is a story of how the rich, after dragging off all the beggars from the streets, came to have a pressing need for them. The Imam prophesizes that the rich man must give alms to beggars at their posts on the street in order to be promoted in the office.

The rich man buys his gifts and goes to the beggars at home and says it is okay; that they can return to their posts on the streets from where they were dragged off recently. But the beggars speak as one and say they will never return to their posts. The rich man is traumatized begging the beggars to return to “work”. That is the beggars’ strike.

From the platform of “The Beggars’ Strike” on the street, we can see other levels of begging. If we ponder a little more about it, a deep contemplation of the subject of begging ensues. Excited, one artist with whom I have shared this perspective has agreed do a painting titled “The Beggars’ Hierarchy”.

At the level of street begging on the hierarchy, there are many other levels above the street, and it may surprise you to know there are still other levels below it. Surely, many street beggars have families who depend on them. Every level is determined by how much a beggar is begging. The street beggar begs for food, or money for food. The rich man begs for hundreds of millions to establish or sustain or expand his business.

Some may argue that the rich are not beggars, because what they take from the banks are “loans”. Observe how the word “borrow” is dressed up as “loan”. Undress the loan, however, and you will see that every borrower is a beggar.

It would be impossible for any one going to borrow to say to the one he wants to borrow from, “Common lend me 50 million!” Such display of arrogance may put him or her at risk of being denied the loan.The language of the borrower is, “Please, give me 50 million. I will pay you back little by little for 2 years. I will even pay you some interest.”

In the relationship between debtor and creditor, the creditor is king; he could say no, thereby jeopardizing the plan and intent of the borrower.

The begging phenomenon is not limited to those who beg for money on the streets or take loans from the bank. As we have already seen, some people beg for food. Others beg for love, sex, clothes, cars, jobs, political offices, power, and many other things. People concentrate more on begging for money because they believe that money can buy almost all those other things.

At the apex on hierarchy is God, or if you like, nature, for everything we beg for flows from God, or nature. That is why people kneel down and pray to God and say, “Please God, give me money; give me good health; give me long life. This is one of the senses in which everyone is a beggar. If we are not begging from man, we are begging from God.

I am a bit worried about the number of people who come to me for help as poor as I am. I do not blame them as I try my best to do the little I can, because many of them believe I am rich. I discovered also that those people who beg from me also have those that beg from them. And you can bet your life on it that those people who beg from those that beg from me also have those that beg from them. That is the Beggars’ hierarchy!

It starts from the lowest to God, the source of all wealth. It’s only God that is not a beggar on the hierarchy. He is the source.

There is another form of begging so beautifully camouflaged that we are completely unaware of it. When you have a skill or product that is not in high demand, you must need to beg some people to buy your skill or product. That is why we write applications when we are looking for jobs. And after we have forged such relationship with the buyer of our skills or products, we live in daily dread of him or her, afraid that one day he or she may not need our products or services any longer. This is also another level on the Beggars’ hierarchy .

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As individuals beg, so also do organizations, communities, and states. If states borrow from the Federal Government and theFederal Government borrows from foreign countries through the World Bank, those foreign countries may also borrow from other countries who have obtained from God or nature in forms of human or material resources.

Last week I shared on the social media, a video of an elderly woman, probably in South Africa, who was on the street begging for money to buy food for herself and her family at home. It was such an emotional video for me.

She met a man who asked her to go into a supermarket and shop for whatever food she liked; that he was going to pay. Next, we saw the beggar in the large supermarket with a basket in which she had a few food items she had selected. Although a beggar, she was not greedy.

Her benefactor caught up with her and urged her to pick as much as she really wanted. He even helped her to select: “Don’t you like milk? Take a carton of milk. What about frozen chickens? Take as much as you like.” I could see the restrained happiness and gratitude on the dusty face of the beggar as she smiled palely.

The beggar, followed by her benefactor, wheeled the basket filled to the brim with food items to the counter. The man paid the bill. “Where do you stay?” he asked her. She mentioned where she lived. “Now, take this money for your transport,” said the man, giving her some money, “and also these for other things you may need.”

She thanked the man in the same restrained, but genuine manner. We watched her as she slowly wheeled her food away and receded.

Tears coursed towards my eyes. God, through that Good Samaritan, has not only provided her daily bread for the day, but also for many days to come. I remember what Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 25:34-40:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Honour God to earn His honour

Jesus is the reason for this season. I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year in advance.

Vanguard

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