Yesterday, thousands of young Nigerians flooded stadiums around the country for the recruitment test of the Nigerian Immigration service (NIS). There was stampede, injuries and death in some states. It was the seventh day after the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared less than an hour after takeoff.
There are days when I want to be isolated from the chaos that plagues the world. However, the internet is where I want to run to and it is the worst place to seek isolation. Every second I’m besieged with news from around the world: the good, the bad and the ugly – mostly ugly.
As the tragedy of Nigeria’s unemployment pestilence – brought to the fore by the ineptitude of NIS, unfolded in real time on my twitter timeline, one of the overlords commented on the issue. He berated the young people who decided to pay a thousand naira for a job they might not get, but would be reluctant to join a protest. He did not attempt to hide his condescension but I was not offended – at first.
You see, I’m a gainfully unemployed graduate. A fortunate combination of family pedigree, skills picked up while growing up and a little dash of personal effort places me in an employable bracket that ensures I’m not too eager to take up a job I wouldn’t be happy doing. But I have friends who wrote that exam. Smart dudes who chose to hope for the best in a process that we all know is never transparent and these friends of mine are part of those this overlord condemned.
This is one of the many reasons why I do not trust the Nigerian twitter activist. The man who sits in the comfort of his bourgeois apartment in Lekki and lambastes thousands who took a shot at hope because they do not support his revolutionist ideals does not appeal to me. What is revolution without hope? Is it more than mere suicide?
Some hours into the day, the Malaysian Prime minister, Najib Razakk, announced that the disappearance of the plane was the result of a deliberate action. The distress of families of the passengers on the missing plane turned to frustration and anger. China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, pledged to continue search efforts for the missing flight “as long as there is a glimmer of hope”.
Another overlord on twitter blamed the state of the country on the comfort of the middle class; “…they are too hopeful, too busy with religion and faith and religious leaders who tell them they will make it” he tweeted. Then he described the lower class as being blinded by hunger to have the initiative to organize and demand change; “…they too find solace in gods and men of god” he tweeted again. But I’m used to this: faith and religion has become punching bags for the online champions of a new Nigeria.
The last book of the bible contains a fantastical tale of wars, pestilence and woe. The Revelation of John is a fascinating and sometimes fearful book that at a young age had me immersed in its detailed imagery, so much that I forgot the fact that it is a book of hope. There are times when it is easy to be lost to the dire conditions of our present state that we forget to hope too. Or why do we ask for a revolution if not because we know that our conditions can be better? And what is that if it is not hope predicated on faith?
Earlier today India announced a pause in their search efforts at the request of the Malaysian authorities. They need to work out how the search effort would proceed from here.
But when do we give up? When do we throw away our hope and embrace the despair that drives us out into the street and fills our bones with so much passion and unbridled anger that we are ready to set fire to our bodies to attract the attention of the world?
How do we proceed from here?
We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. – Romans 8:3-5 (New Century Version).