“Unity in Diversity”, I have heard since I was a child but today, I dare to say, Diversity in Unity! On a cursory glance at my stance, one can not but notice a deviant inversion from what is conventional. However, this bohemianism underscores what constitutes the heart of man, as captured in Holy Bible, as ‘desperately wicked’. This DNA of mankind is portrayed further by William Shakespeare, speaking through one of his characters in MACBETH, when he posits: ‘there is no art to show the mind’s construction on the face…’. In other words, eyes have not seen nor ears heard what despicable things a desperate heart can do.
According to theology, God, the Unmoved Mover, Uncaused Cause, Unnecessitated Necessity, Unperfected Perfection and the Undesigned Designer created man – man and woman; white and black; rich and poor; strong and weak, in His image after His likeness. This implies equality of human race. To strengthen further the emphasis on equality, the Messiah enjoins the love of one’s neighbor as oneself – that is, treating others the way one wants to be treated; as enshrined also in Islam and universal law. This was to create a world where love, equality and tranquility would guide human actions; a world where strife, dominance(political, religious and racial) would have no root.
Abysmally, man has ceased to be man. Man has become a cruel beast. Man is a ruthless machine with no iota of humanity left. The misapprehension is imputed to the ominous nature of human heart, the depth of which is unfathomed. It is against this backdrop, one can best begin to appraise monstrous beings like Adolf Hitler, who orchestrated the Holocaust, which resulted in the death of six million Jews and whose attack on Poland in 1939 was the beginning of World War I I; Leopold II, a colonial leader of Belgium, who enslaved and killed nearly fifteen million Congolese under the guise of his Congo Free State; Mao Zedong of communist China, who in his first five years exterminated about four to six million people and whose deuced policies starved about twenty million citizens, to mention but few.
Indeed, the heart of man is like a chasm, who can decipher it? It is the ‘Bermuda Triangle’, where mysterious films are premiered. The act of man’s inhumanity to man is as old as religion. Its effects are maddening and its memories excruciating. One can not but wonder why the heart of man is shrouded in so deep a mystery. Otherwise, how can one begin to reconcile the fact that black race suffered the worst forms of dehumanization, degradation and abuse in history, during transatlantic slave trade; where blacks were equated to mere items or at best beasts of burden, by supposedly fellow humans – ‘superior’ white. It is even more demoralizing and heart wrenching to learn that some blacks sold off their kin for such frivolous stuff as piece of mirror, matchbox and tobacco.
Diversity in Unity: the scourge of man’s inhumanity to man is unending. It cuts across religion, race and politics. Or how else can one explain the once human instituted anguished machine in South Africa(apartheid system), where minority white suddenly metamorphosed into arch devils and reigned malevolently on black majority. We may not fully grasp the magnitude of horrors that went down there. But Nelson Mandela, Peter Abraham, Alex La Guma and a host of others were victims and witnesses to terror, tears and pains. In fact, they had the graphic images of what played out imprinted in their memory. The heart of darkness – one would have thought that people with such horrific history would appreciate more the sanctity of life and dignity of humanity. But unfortunately, today, South Africans – white and black would attack and kill foreigners especially Nigerians, on any slight provocation under what they maliciously tagged: xenophobia – fear of strangers.
The heart of man, who can unveil it? The epidemic is endemic in Nigeria, my land of birth. It rears it monstrous head from our immediate families to extended families and communities, through our states to the entire federation. It is evident everywhere. The anti – Igbo/Biafra pogroms in Northern Nigeria; Nigerian Civil War, where million lives especially children were sacrificed on the altar of ‘One Nigeria’; the incessant killings and bombings by Boko Haram sect; the nefarious activities of Niger Delta militants; IPOB’s unending agitations and the marginalization of some regions of the country by the ruling government, are but a few examples of this scourge.
Nevertheless, the leaders of this world had sought for and continued to seek for a viable solution to peaceful coexistence of humanity. The League of Nations was established to foster peace in the world, after World War 1, but failed when it could not forestall World War II. Again, the United Nations was founded at the end of World War II for the same purpose but there have been series of threats to world peace. But the question is: Are the so called ‘super powers’ really interested in keeping the world at peace, or are they merely advancing self interests? Only time will tell! The world is indeed sick and in dire need of healings. Mankind has fallen short of his glory as allotted him by the Creator. However, humanity will remain restive and restless until he returns to his godly state, where love, equity, justice and peace would guide his pursuits. Create in us a new heart; and renew your Spirit in us, oh God.
written by: Francis Onyechi