Anytime I hear words like ‘the world has gone digital’ my body cringes. The reason is that the digital age has come with several other unintended consequences. Just because most of our operations have ‘less’ of many of the things we are used to does not mean we can do with less of every other thing.
Today many of the facilities we use are ‘wireless’. Our transactions are ‘cashless’. Even our banking operations will soon be ‘branchless’. Our vehicle tires are ‘tubeless’. Our telephones are ‘codeless’. Perhaps it is because of all these that we are now making our humanity ‘worthless’.
I was driving home after a hard day’s work one day, that day it was raining heavily. Four vehicles lost control and had multiple accidents. There were a few dead bodies. Many who stopped looked at the dead bodies with scorn. No empathy, no sympathy, and no sense of loss. I was taking-in all this remembering how we suffered similar fate in the hands of terror groups in the Northeast. Dead bodies no longer raise concerns in Nigeria. Even government agencies do not hurriedly evacuate dead bodies from disaster scenes. Burial ceremonies for victims of disaster whose families do not come to pick them takes a long time sometimes till the corpses decompose.
Imagine a situation where a man falls into river and is drowning, instead of someone to jump in and rescue such a person, what we do today is to film the scene on our handset and post it on social media. Avoidable death is seen to get likes on social media.
So ‘heartless!’ The same situation occurs at an accident scene where the injured are writhing in pain while those who are supposed to assist the victim simply bring out their handsets and film the scene. Wayyo Allah! What has become of us? How can we recover our humanity, or have we lost it forever? When will the dead during natural disasters cease to be statistics and become human beings? Its indeed worrisome.
Another worrisome aspect of the loss of our humanity which has become very manifest is in the number of street children and vagrants roaming our streets. They are either Almajiri up north, Alaye in the Southwest, Area boys in most of the South and creek boys in the Niger Delta. When we allow such children grow in the street, they grow into gardawa, agbero, militants or they ultimately grow into Insurgents, Bandits or Saboteurs of our economic lifeline. What growing in the street teaches them is loss of human feelings such as love, pity, empathy, sympathy or even fear. Yet we seem not the bother at all or feel its not a danger.
But there is a great danger in letting children grow into adults in the street. Deprivations, dependence when they beg to survive, and the harsh life of the street all make them stone hearted. So, for them life is one hell of a dead end. That is why they have little or no humanity in them. And most of them do not understand this world or even their purpose of living. A person without humanity thinks anyone with all the advantages he or she lacks is simply an enemy. When they beg and are denied, all they see is wickedness. Unfortunately, those of us privileged to escape the vagaries of deprivations think only of our entitlements rather than our historic duty to pull others out of it.
That is why we the members of the class of the ruling elite believe that we can destroy everything that gave us advantage so that we can restrict the advantages to our families. Public school system has all but collapsed. What we have are shadows of schools for the public and high-class citadels for our children. Our next generation is growing on two opposite and sometimes opposing trajectories. Some privileged few growing within insulated environment with no feelings or empathy and the vast majority exposed to all the hardships with no feelings or empathy. Little wonder therefore that when the vehicle of one of them knocked down people in Yola Adamawa State, he simply came out ignored the dead and injured and was lamenting the dent on his car.
Social inequality is the biggest open display of insensitivity to the humanity in us. When we keep building tiny islands of riches in vast oceans of poverty, we are inadvertently promoting man’s inhumanity to another. We need to recover our humanity. We need to rediscover our humanity. We need to treat each other as humans with feelings, empathy and care. Ahmad Sajoh reporting for;
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