Saturday, 6 June 2009


The expression that is closely related to this in English language is called Circle of Life and in the modern Roman Catholic theological parlance borrowed from the Swahili language it is called Ujamaism and no other time in history are we called to show the meaning of these words than this point in time we all are supposed to join Australians to mourn the death of about 173 people who have lost their life in the on-going wild fire spreading itself ferociously in the semi-arid regions of the country.

Reports claim that the fire was probably set by arsonists but we should not leave the main issue to pursue the substance and the main issue at the moment is to give a helping hand to those affected by this disaster. We shall come later to identifying those responsible for we must surely get them and bring them to justice.

Often when we are faced with problems like this our initial reaction is usually how is it my business after all the event is not even taking place at my backyard. Though Australia maybe too far from each one of us, the fact still remains that the consequence of what happens there today is going to affect us all in one way or the other and that is exactly what the English had in mind in coining the word Circle of Life, the Swahilis Ujama and the South Africans Ubuntu. Amongst the Igbos of South East of Nigeria they called it Umunna and that simply means kindredship, solidarity, comradeship or camaraderie.

The idea behind the principle of Cycle of Life, Ujama, Ubuntu and Umunna is that no man is an Island and no man would ever live in isolation and survive. He needs company of others and that is why even monks and nuns live in community. The idea is that a tree can never make a forest. A man no matter how rich, intelligent or great he is can never win a judgement against his kindred. We always need someone to lean on in times of trouble. 

This is the reason people would always turn their heads almost up to 360 degrees to cry on the shoulder of others when they loose their beloved ones or in agony. Even the dying appreciates the presence of their beloved ones in their final journey. The difference as we thought between us and other animals is that we are very social but strong evidence have shown that we are no more social than monkeys, ants, elephants, bees and others. They all have same social traits in them and emotionally manifests it even stronger, compared to us when they loose their beloved ones or when one of them is in agony.

We cannot continue keeping quiet that what happens elsewhere is not our business. Since humans are interpedent on each other, the action of one would always have a consequnce on the other. The inabilty of all of us to speak out against the dehumanisation of Zimbabwean people is today spreading cholera into South Africa and other neighbouring nations. The failure or naivety of the west to strongly sanction corrupt leaders in Africa and other parts of the world is fast affecting the west in the name of illegal immigration and this is how the problem will continue till we all learn how to use that one voice and one mind and say enough is enough.

It is therefore against this backdrop that we have to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Australia over this incident coming especially at this time the whole world is battling the problem of credit crunch. Let us not sit tight and pretend that someone somewhere would soon make a change. The change has to come from everybody. It can come in form of donations, no matter how small they are and whatever we can contribute is surely going to make a way. For the believers prayers are also very necessary-of course has to be matched with action- just as persuading not only the Australian Government but Governments of disaster-prone areas to take a concrete step towards ensuring non-occurrence of the incident in future is also more apt. 

Every hand must therefore be on deck since these incidents are now reminding us that despite all the securities and barriers we are building to protect ourselves including the ongoing project to make the UK borders very strong, we are still not safe for the threat we are facing today is not only man made just like the July 7 bombing in London and September 11 attack in America but also natural disasters which we have witnessed these past years in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis and famine not forgetting also wars, genocide and totalitarianism in different parts of the world especially Africa and the Middle East.

We do not therefore need to be reminded the need for us to join hands together as one and help each other. There is no other point in time for us to cast aside our political, cultural, sexual, racial and ethnic differences to work together as one than this time. The job is not just for OXFAM, Red Cross, USAID, the Salvation Army or CAFOD but for each and every one of us since the consequence of what happens there would surely have a repercussion here little thanks to globalisation.

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