Opinion

The irony of Good Samaritanism [Part 1]

By Edward Ladu Terso

A person is visibly and as a matter of fact, vulnerable to life’s fateful cruelty and moved by the sense of responsibility and empathy for life itself and for humanity, the vulnerable person you think you have rescued, is secretly consumed by hate, anger and revenge towards you.

And as generous, innocent and angel-like as you are, the beneficiary of your humanitarian rescue is secretly up in meeting out revenge against you. Little have you known how much hate, anger and revenge is brewing until the day you are stabbed at your back for no good reasons.

In life, some unexpected things can always happen. Some could be psychologically hurtful and devastating. Call it traumatic if you like. It all depends on one’s natural aptitude to cope but such things could literally overwhelm a person’s resilience and render them vulnerable to all kinds of senseless and unwise habits that are self-destructive. The habits range from emotional revenge attacks, addiction to drugs, excessive drinking and smoking, or in a word, suicide. You could as well lose your faith in God and resort to sorcery or idolatry.

This is a fact of life. How about the sudden loss of your loved one like wife or husband, father or mother, sister or brother? What about the killing of your only child right before your very eyes, sudden loss of a lucrative job on which your entire life depends? How about your supposedly lovely wife who you finally discover has been dating someone else right on your matrimonial bed? How about your intimate friend who you later discover has been responsible for your miserable life by spreading dangerous and hate speech against you?

But a person full of love for humanity comes to your rescue and ironically, you shift your anger and hatred and desire for revenge on to such an innocent person. You were vulnerable, helpless, psychologically and mentally broken down. A Good Samaritan came and stood by your side, offering you all the support you needed to recover. And you turn around to punish your helper for doing good.

The biblical Good Samaritan has become bad, wicked. Yeah! What a world!

Some brothers who rescued their sisters after loss of their husbands, took care of the kids in terms of up-bringing, education, health, safety and protection, shelter and food,  have been terribly punished for their well-intentioned intervention and sacrifices. Are they merely victims of circumstances, or of wickedness or demonic powers?

Honestly, how could your sister tell her children that you are responsible for their predicament and misery and therefore, their number one enemy? How could your sister tell her children not to listen to you as an uncle? Demonic powers at work? Have we replicated the Nigerian juju-juju thing here also? After all, Nigeria is in Africa and we are in Africa. What do you expect?

And by extension, is this not what we have been doing to our innocent country that caters for our safety and welfare? Who gives us the oil, fertile land for agriculture, river for transport, fishing and drinking water, mountains for stones to construct beautiful mansions, forests, wild and tamed animals, and air to breathe, …?

Yet we continue to soak it with innocent blood, destroy its forests by spraying it with variety of bullets, litter it with dead human flesh, compromise its beauty and sustainability with plastic bags and crystals, insult its innocence by irresponsibly contaminating it with wastesfrom oil extraction, polluting it with generators’ gas emissionsinstead of using hydro-electric power …

South Sudan, our mother land, has suffered because of our uncontrolled and disordered emotions and passions. Our mother land has suffered from our inability to manage, transform and resolve conflicts. We punished our mother land because greed overpowered us. We continue to insult the generosity of our mother land who gives us abundance of resources. How could abundance of resources become a reason for hatred, anger, intolerance and violence?

Our country gave birth to full human beings endowed with intelligence, wisdom and imagination and even good memory. What have we done with all these freely given faculties? When shall we emulate the generosity, patience, serenity, and love of our mother land? Has mother land ever denied us anything, hated us, angry with us, insulted us, deprived us of anything, abandoned us, betrayed or rejected us?

Our mother land has always been there to console us when we are displaced, provides us with rain, gives us air to breathe, provides us with security light from the sun, and gives us mud to construct walls for our tukuls, grass for our roofs and also variety of trees for charcoal to cook food.

And for all these good things we stab our mother land on the back?

All the cattle we have are gifts from our mother land. What made us to kill each other because of cattle freely given? Was there bloodshed when mother land gave us the cattle? Our problem is that we want more than we need. Is this not greed? Is mother land responsible for our greed? Is it not one of our disordered passions? We have to satisfy needs not wants because wants are luxury. Who has ever died luxuriously?

Every human being dies miserably. By this, I mean every human being dies without taking along luxuriously accumulated wealth.

If we need more cattle for marriage, our good traditions which are the product of the wisdom of our ancestors, have provided conflict-free mechanisms based on the spirit of sharing. We contribute from what we have so that one of us can bring a wife home. In our tradition, a wife is a blessing not only for the husband but for the whole family and clan.

A wife serves not the husband alone except for the intimacy that leads to family expansion through procreation of children. If I am a woman, I will not accept a husband who pays bride wealth out of stolen cattle and especially when lives were lost in the process of stealing the cattle. That would constitute a curse for my young family.

If we want more cattle than we need, that again is greed which must unnecessarily lead to prestige. Prestige is neither a value nor virtue. At best, it is vanity. It is, as in the book of Ecclesiastes, like chasing the wind. Who has ever caught up with the wind? This is the result of uncontrolled passion for wealth which must be obtained through any means, including loss of human lives. Humanly speaking, there is nothing interesting here at all.

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