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Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Violent Acts - Lasting Change?

   "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
                                                                                          Mahatma Gandhi
Do not dismiss this as the musings of a naïve girl. Dad has always spoken to me about Nigerian issues (politics, tribal and religious segregation etc.) for as long as I can remember (we are side-kicks lol). We would vent our frustrations, suggest our solutions, and talk about possible miracles that could lead to change – all in our sitting room. Then we would end it all with the resigned knowledge that our country has such a long way to go – conversations like this end up with me feeling deflated when I realise how much ground we still have to cover has a nation. 

I believe I am not the only one who feels like this and I know that these feelings of deflation and frustrations drive the passion behind the on-going calls for protests be it online or on the streets. There are positive and negative effects for different actions, so my question is this: 

Have we really thought about our modes of protests?

I have always admired leaders like Burmese pro-democracy campaigner 'Aung Sang Suu Kyi', African-American civil rights leader 'Martin Luther King' and Tibetan autonomy campaigner 'the Dalai Lama'. The aura around these figures is always inspirational. I have always been enthralled with the grace with which they carry (in MLK’S case 'carried') themselves. I have no business with their personal lives, no human is perfect. However, as leaders, their ways of calling for change with peace keeps me glued. Is change with peace ever truly possible?

The willpower and inner strength of these leaders must be so great and the knowledge of this is humbling. This is because a lot of times I am impatient. I want to know how things will change, when they would change and I want the changes as soon as possible. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest several times totalling about 15 years in the last 21 years, the Dalai Lama is only revered in some countries and Martin Luther King was murdered. Their methods of calling for change seems awfully slow.

However, Ms Suu Kyi has recently won her fight to be able to contest for a seat in a parliamentary by-election, Martin Luther King's legacy lives on and the Dalai Lama has been able to increasingly publicise the plights of Tibetans. In their quest for change, they do not call for blood or violence. They are not asking people to rise up in arms and violently force change through. Can this work for our nation? Do we have such depth?

Changing is hard; even in our personal lives. Have we considered the possibility that the force needed to drive a change might not be violence? Do tyres need to be burnt? Does human blood need to be shed? The thought of one human life being lost while asking for their rights should make us all shudder. Nobody should be that easily dispensable. Do we make grave mistakes in our hurried fight for freedom? Is freedom earned through violence lasting and real? When people who take up arms to fight for their rights achieve some sort of victory, do they voluntarily hand the arms over? Can minds that plot to maim and slaughter other human beings also lead progressively when change comes? 

I do not claim to know a particular way of causing change and I know that national issues are extremely complex but if creating change without violence is our only option, what would we do differently?

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Ogunyemi Olaitan Bukola said...

Nice piece, insightful and thought-provoking. However, I believe 'violence' is an essential drive towards any form of change - positive or negative - and especially positive. The question is: how violent should 'violence' be. As you said, its hard for even us as individuals to change and break certain habits. It takes a level of 'violence'. Breaking an addiction to pornography or masturbation for example may entail the confiscation of pornographic materials within the reach of the addicted and cutting off, for a while, access to internet. This is a 'violent' process and I am aware the process of rehabilitation of drug addicts is even more violently detailed. The same applies to everything in nature: the formation of diamonds entails a volcano, nitrogen-fixation is aided by thunder, a man has to reach a 'violent' peak in his affairs with a woman for conception to occur, and the violence nature inflicts upon a woman in labour is beyond words. These are violent acts that lead to lasting positive changes. Even our lives are sustained through violence! We live in a world in which the forces of good and evil are eternally at war, with the balance of power tilted largely in favour of the latter. For good to triumph over evil therefore, it must employ a dose of violence, if not ar a form of attack, then at least for defense. The flood in the time of Noah, and rain of fire upon Sodom are examples of violent acts of God aimed at overcoming evil in a world that is perennially evil. Someone said: those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable. The question is: how many times in worlds history has men, of their own accord, made peaceful change possible? America got her independence 'violently', and a civil war was fought before slave trade was abolished in the same nation. If we are going to witness any meaningful positive change in a nation like Nigeria where evil reigns supreme, we should be ready to get 'violent'. Even the kingdom of God suffereth violence.......and the violent has to use force to get it. The question, perhaps, is: how 'violent' is 'too violent?'

Aremo Adebayo Router said...

Our literacy level is obviously low because of the various methods we engage in to press for changes. Violent approaches are not used in countries like Canada with a high literacy level of over 85%, Japan with 99+% literacy level, Switzerland with almost 100% literacy level etc. These countries believe in vivid dialogue and not violent drama, brain storming and not blame storming. Nigeria can not get to that height if our people are not educated more so, with the recurrent absence of a Nigerian vision.

Anonymous said...

Violence is one of the pressing issues around the world. Violence has a very long history and there are different types of violence people face each day. I, personally think it needs to be addressed because it has taken an entirely different dimension. Violence has claimed a lot of innocent lives, destroyed lands and infrastructures, and has even left people with long lasting terrible memories. From my perspective, there are other ways to disagree with something. Such as coming together as normal individuals to talk about the issue. But no oo! people always want it the hard way. I've noticed that people use violence to show the amount of power they have over their opponents.