In the small city of about 5,000 people where I was privileged to have been born and nurtured to grow, we were all one family. You did something wrong and any adult could call you to attention.
The saying that it takes a community to raise a child is very true. The only thing you were warned about is eating in the homes of others. Mothers did not encourage their children eating everywhere as this might send a signal that they are not taking care of their families.
Other than that, the child was “everybody’s” in the Interior Capital tucked away in the hills with a stream of freshness flowing on the outskirts. My Dad’s house is less than 20 meters from the stream.
As happens often among boys, you get into a fight when playing. Before you can hit or hurt another you called him “animal.” Where we learnt that, I cannot recall now. Hearing this was a stimulus to fight to defend your humanity. As you grow, you let go of childish ways and are taught by the community how to behave properly.
It seems what I went through as a boy lives in many cultures to a smaller or greater degree. It becomes a problem when it is institutionalized by a nation state.
When leaders look down on others as less than them, then we have a serious problem that borders on crime (against humanity). The Nazi establishment called the Jews rats and so could kill them freely.
In Rwanda during the genocide, the oppressed were called cockroaches and so had to be eliminated. In the US they called the African Americans apes. That is where the roots of their racist tension come from. An ape is almost human but not fully human. It is said that the blacks were three fifths (3\5) human.
Even when a census is taken a black person was not counted as one but three fifths of one. (cf. Dr. Anita Philips) The slave owners thought the slaves did not have hearts. Even in the church such tendencies existed when it was doubted that a person of color had a soul.
The problem Americans have to face today is the systemic dehumanization of African Americans. That is more basic than the racial attitude that exists from the black house to the yellow house and green house all the way to the White House.
If you consider the other as less than human, you would treat him as such, something like a pet (to be loved) or a wild beast that must be tamed. Dr. Anita suggests we should all watch the documentary 13 (Thirteen) on Netflix. All of this is insidious and not so explicit always. Is there not a group of people called pigs when people are against them?
In Kenya today, a police man was arrested for dragging a suspect by his motor bike on the ground. We will focus on this kind of brutality on the continent until those who earn their living from the taxes we pay learn to respect the law. America was burning physically like Rome of old.
Today, they are burning psychologically and emotionally. Let us not forget to make people burn within in our countries by being good to them and teaching them the right thing to do. Your cell phone camera is your greatest ally these days. Use it to your advantage!
Finally, I am looking for a really good artist who can paint a mural of George Flo and many others whose lives were taken from them prematurely from South Africa to the United Kingdom and the United States. I have a huge wall that needs to be filled with such mural. That wall is my heart. I do not ever want to forget what my eyes have seen these past two weeks.
I want to memorize them that I would testify one day, that I was alive when these events took place. I will even remember the Bible carrying leaders who never read it.
To be fair, I also have a bible on the shelf gathering dust, so I must apply a lesson from the good book, ‘physician heal yourself.’ I am going to start reading mine and pray for all who are oppressed throughout the world. The sexual oppression and other forms of modern slavery need God’s intervention to stop. The mask is a life safer. Wear it.