A Note To Humanity

by Ernest Armah

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace
– Jimi Hendrix

So I have been reflecting on the gruesome blotch on the human conscience. How compassion and tolerance have been sold to all manner of fluffy, stupid and nonsensical ideological pursuits. Do you catch my ire?

On 21 September 2013, scores of Al-Shabab militants attacked the Westgate Shopping mall killing dozens involving a notable Ghanaian Poet, Politician and Diplomat, Professor Awoonor. On October 2012, a school pupil from the town of Mingora of Pakistan named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen for asserting her right to education, speech and women’s rights.

This morning, among the gory stories I came across was the massacre of 50 students of the College of Agriculture in Yobe State, Nigeria. Boko Haram has taken credit for the killing.

It would not take you long to attribute the brutal devilish incidences I have listed to religious fundamentalism; Muslims against Christians. But that would be an over-simplification of the matter which would elevate the perpetrators of such barbaric acts to the pedestal of saints. And that would also add a grain to their collection of smoke-screens meant to instigate a religious friction that would cause a wider and broader disintegration of the world through stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

Faith may be like the mustard seed but it can also be elusive. And to shred away any thoughts that I am been bias (in a diplomatic way) by citing atrocities perpetuated by Islamic extremists under the guise of the Jihad, I would like to cite some extremism that also occurred in my faith – Christianity.

In 1978, Reverend Jim Jones (supposed Man of God) led a mass suicide of over 900 of its members at Jonestown in Guyana all to satisfy his vision of a better world; which could only be attained through death. Until the Mormon church renounced polygamy in 1890, a Mormon man could have as many wives as he wants without any issue regardless of whether the women were interested in him or not. Even after the renunciation of the practice, they had a break-away group who still upheld it.

The crucial point we have to understand is that religious wars, whether implosive or explosive, have rehashed themselves severally in history. The causes of such wars have always morphed – from safeguarding of the faith against oppression and persecution (as captured in the Jihad) to maintaining the sanctity of the faith. Clearly, these are the outliers. These are the sentimentalities that would whip up emotional outrage and make people throw their frontal lobes into the gutters. These are the diets nourishing militancy across the world.

So at the end of the day, this is what it is all about. Power. The boko haram may claim to be fighting against western imperialism and for a Sharia state. But these demands are just secondary to what they actually want. They want power – over resources, over women and over children. Thus, those who took up guns to spray innocent people, for that matter, students who were asleep, did so not for Allah but for power-drunk megalomaniacs, psychopaths, diseased brains, perverts who thrive on violence.

Perhaps, what could put an end to this reckless militancy would be clarity of the Sharia and Khalifa. According to Bright Simons, Founder and President of Mpedigree, “The issue of Khalifa (the re-birth of the Islamic Empire) and Sharia (Islamic Penal Systems) are central to the hijacking of Islam by extremists. So long as it remains unclear whether the majority of Muslims support the notion that in countries or regions where Muslims predominate Sharia should be the official law and Khalifa the ideal, miscreants loosely related to the religion, or even unrelated to it but claiming to be fighting for these concepts will proliferate, recruit misguided zealots seeking instant relevance within the community, and spread politically motivated violence.”

I have Muslim friends that I interact with from time to time. When I compare their behavior to what Islamic militants have done on TV, there is a vast difference. That leads me to conclude that the Islamic faith in itself is not violent, it is perverted and diseased minds that make it so.