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“Faith in humanity will overcome trying era”
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“Faith in humanity will overcome trying era”

Bryan ObajiTechnology that was hoped to bring relief from tedious work seems to have brought unrelenting bad news instead, but Bryan Obaji, 25, a Correspondent from Calabar in Nigeria, argues the solution is to maintain a focus on empathy and peace.

When I listen to the news on radio and on television, there are too many bad issues to worry about. I turn to the newspaper – it’s not different. I look at the environment around me and it’s really not encouraging.

It’s as if in the world today, every region is noted for one issue or the other. From an unending conflict in Ukraine to jihadists threatening democracies in the Middle-East and North-Africa, there is every reason to feel that we currently live in the most unfriendly era in modern history. And as terrorists bombs continue to go off even in Western Europe – with the luxury of sophisticated defense systems and a reliable intelligence network – no one knows where next it will be.

I turn to the elderly to ask if in yesteryears they had similar experiences; if they had to look over their shoulders at every point of their lives or tune on their television or radio to watch or listen to decent news for long periods without having their hearts broken by sight and sound of man’s inhumanity to man. Most of them say they were never privileged to own televisions, radio sets or even read newspapers. Others simply said technology was a major cause of the unrest in the world today. Quietly to myself, I thought computer technology was meant to make our work easier and faster. Didn’t we rejoice when those things that made us sweat and frown for lengthy hours were actually achieved in the comfort of our homes? How can a good response to man’s needs actually be the direct cause of his downfall?

Unfortunately, there is a culture all over the world that discourages empathy. A culture that prevents individuals from putting themselves in another person’s shoes; to imagine the suffering of men and women who are far less privileged than us – the child bride in India desperate for an education, the displaced woman in North-East Nigeria who needs food to eat, the sick boy in Vietnam in need of medical treatment.

It is a culture that has led many in comfort zones outside the horrors in the Middle East to think that it’s none of their business whether or not the war in Syria comes to an end, or whether the unlucky schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in the North-Eastern Nigeria town of Chibok are rescued or not. For them, whatever happens in the other part of the world isn’t their problem and shouldn’t be of any concern to them. It’s even sadder to find people in positions of authority encourage this divisive culture.

Looking at the world today, I ask myself: where have we gone wrong? What were the decisions we could have taken for a better world that we did not? Why can’t world leaders discuss the way forward and stick to it? Why can’t leaders of terror groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and many others sit with government at any level to discuss peace? We might not know or have answers to all these questions, but we definitely should never be deterred by the events. We have the strength of over-comers.

No matter what God we pray to, there’s something fundamental we all share – that whatever our faith, we live in the same world where all religions preach peace and encourage followers to act in that manner. No task should mean more to us than working to ensure a peaceful planet.

In a world where millions are desperately in need of humanitarian help, it is so important that we broaden our ambit of concern. We should keep strategising on how peace and hope can be restored. Posterity will reap from our action and inaction. Despite all that our generation has been through, I’m very certain that we shall surely overcome this trying moment that seems never to come to an end.

With the right attitude, victory will just be steps away from us. But in all, we should never lose faith in humanity.

Photo: Regent Park

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About me: I am Jetem Bryan Obaji, a trained accountant. Presently, I work for a not-for-profit organisation, sensitising the public on the need for basic education.

In the coming years I hope to channel my efforts and resources towards ensuring a better quality of life for people. Reading, writing and playing fun games are my interests.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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