Broken glass on pedestrian path
Two weeks ago, a trailer, loaded with sacks of grains, tilted and fell to its side on a major street in Kaduna. It took the efforts of the Road Safety Corps and Police to control the traffic until the accident vehicle was evacuated the next day or two. However, the broken windshield of the vehicle which fell to the ground was left there, never to be removed. On a busy road with uncountable commuters, beggars whose place of trade it was and traffic, the windshield remained there. No one seemed to care. In the beginning, people would walk around it, then the rains would come and mix it up with the soil. People started walking over it too. Gradually becoming part of the soil. I do not know if the glass is biodegradable. This is just symbolic of our attitude to little things that may pose big problems.
We have slowly built a culture around letting little things linger, unaddressed and unattended, till they grow, morph and become big things. Then we pay lip service to address the big things. Make noise, create huge budgets and then suddenly quieten down. Meanwhile, the big things are growing bigger, to a monstrous level. Too many examples of the little things that have become so big, that we are choking on them. Our morals, our collective security and our personalities.
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It starts from the little things. We overlook a lie in a child. The child assumes it is okay and continues to develop skills that would enable him to circumvent the truth. It started with one lie. When the insurgency started in north-eastern Nigeria, we felt it was a bit far off, since it hadn’t reached our doorsteps. When the kidnappings started across major highways in the nation, we only tried to find alternative, safer routes. We keep adjusting. Like the frog does, when the temperature changes. Instead of nipping things in the bud, we adjust. Like sitting ducks, we keep adjusting, as long as it doesn’t affect us directly.
This is one of the most fundamental problems we have. Letting things that should be addressed fully and finally, linger. Paying lip service to addressing fundamental issues and the attitude we have to finding alternatives. This is the foundation of our moral decadence as a society. What is even more troubling is that the ones who insist on doing right are named and shamed. The society enables wrong doing, we hail persons who steal our common wealth so they can splurge and squander in the name of having “arrived”. We hail thieves. If you stand in the way of someone trying to steal, you are the bad guy. In the society we find ourselves, the bad guy gets no sympathy when “vawulence” is unleashed on the person who has refused to join the bandwagon of the corrupt. Bad guy must either unlook, or find another space to exist.
We should have started yesterday but since we have let things linger, let’s start today to do everything with heart. Have a scale in our minds where we weigh right vs wrong and just make an effort to count how many morally right decisions we take daily. It can be from removing broken glass form a pedestrian path…. We just need to start from somewhere.
Dr. Maryam Shehu Mohammed