“Racism, sexism, bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice are an intrinsic part of our social environments that must be destroyed because our diversity is our strength and beauty.” – Ayo Ayoola-Amale
“Peace comes from becoming dead to our lives, giving beyond what we are given, giving our finest toward creating a world of great beauty that cares for everyone. Then safeguarding the space for others to give beyond what they are given.” – Ayo Ayoola-Amale
“Human beings are found from different stations in life, race, gender, religion and religious orientation, socioeconomic class, nationality, sexual preference and sexual identity, ethnic and educational background, physical, social and intellectual ability, age, and political standpoint. Discriminating against people base on any of these factors creates oppression and is not unlikely to lead to acts of injustice, intolerance, abuse, and eventually to violence. If our lives, societies, countries and our world are to be peaceful, just and safe it must be nonviolent, transparent, inclusive, unbiased and participatory. It is of great necessity that we all build peace not just because it is the correct thing to do but because it is the concrete thing to do. We must all work to build social cohesion, sense of belonging, and establish diverse, multicultural and tolerant societies.” – Ayo Ayoola-Amale
What is our attitude to peace? What is our attitude to the possibilities of peace? I like to believe that peace is possible for the simple reason that our problems are largely man-made. For that reason, they can be resolved by man. Clearly there is a global hunger for peace and love. One of the greatest challenges of humanity in this century is peace among peoples. The root of the global crisis we all face is mainly the injury that we inflict on one another and on nature.We are all witnesses to the agony, misery and suffering endured by billions of people in the world.
We must free ourselves from our prison. We must free ourselves from our prison of hate, ignorance, selfishness, and greed. We can contribute to change through our very being; by being aware of our power within our community and the world. We must believe in our own power. The way we relate with the people in our life, the people we meet in life, the way we talk and behave, what we stand for, the compassion we show a stranger can be a part of bringing love and peace to the world by being love and peace ourselves. Building peace is everyone’s work. Peace building is not only the work of peace activists and peace building community.
Are we not all affected? Are we not very concerned for all we are living in? We live in a world devoid of human rights, gender and racial equality. A world that lacks respect for the sanctity of human life and dignity, a world without appreciation for cultural diversity, the interdependence of human needs and the integrity of the earth, a world full of war, terrorism, hatred, injustice, oppression and evil. We cannot afford to remain unconcerned. In the world today many voices can be heard and many inspiring actions seen that together reflect a universal hunger for peace, we all need to play our part. We need to feel alive. We need to be real. We need to have empathy and concern for others. Peace is a matter of daily life for a lot of people around the world; everyone needs to work for peace. We all need to help make a difference by working on peace in our own unique ways. Everyone can work for peace. Everyone needs to work for peace – we all have responsibility! All of us are human beings. All of us make the world beautiful because of our diversity; we must respect this fact by valuing the dignity of every human being. Our world becomes paradise when we open our souls and hearts to peace, love, compassion and justice. The future of peace building belongs to all of us especially the youths. The latter has a critical role to play in their societies as agents of positive social change. These young peace builders must be adequately prepared to lead the future. The landmark UN Resolution is a significant recognition given to young peace builders. This resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 2250 empowers youth to promote peace. Important also is the fact that the political economy of peace and not the political economy of war is what can bring about the much needed change. The world needs to invest in peace and non-violence. The extreme disparity between global budgets for war and budgets for peace is glaring- Notwithstanding the enormous costs of war to societies, humanity and the environment and the fact that investing in peace is lucrative, and worthwhile. Surely change is needed urgently! We must think of peace. We must work for peace. We must act for peace. We must speak for peace. We must live the way of peace. We must be peace. We must know that peace is possible.
We must find out what part we can play to improve the world. Take on the big inequities. Speak the truth and search for the truth. The world needs our voice. Together we will create a better world. The time is now!
Political tensions are intensifying in the penurious African nations, in a continent ruled by dictatorship, violence, and greed . African dictators President Joseph Kabila’s DRC, and the Gambia’s Jammeh, have created political turbulence, anarchy and unrest. Presidents Joseph Kabila and Jammeh’s bid to extend their stay in power beyond the constitutionally mandated limit of two terms has left the nation’s future hanging on the balance. In the course of more than half a century of post-colonial rule, millions of Africans have been killed, displaced and impoverished while fighting for freedom, justice and their dignity by poor leadership, plundering of their country, ravenousness, lack of rights and the rule of law. These scandal-ridden African heads of state don’t rely on legitimate voters to be elected into office. Their misrule has led to civil war, a state of lawlessness, an environment of hatred, mistrust, acrimony, horror, huge underdevelopment, and failed states. These dizzy, outrageous heads of states came to believe they were the state; they cling tightly to power, irrespective of the cost and consequences. They believe that their countries belonged to them and their families. Millions of hard currency state funds has been spent in financing unrestrained, lavish, lifestyles of presidents, and their family members who inevitably metamorphose into the wealthiest in their country and prospective heirs and princess that are given powerful positions to loot the entire treasury. Children of active presidents are handpicked finance ministers. Equatorial Guinea Teodorin Obiang ,who is in line to succeed his father Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is known for his lavish, outrageous lifestyle, Africa’s longest serving ruler and Angola José Eduardo dos Santos, Africa’s second longest serving president’s daughter Isabel Dos Santos is arguably the wealthiest woman in Angola to mention but a few. Credibility, reputation and the common good does not matter here. What matters is personal ambitions, inspite of the fact that they know that the fate and fortune of others depend on their choices, decisions and what they do etc. Some of these presidents were the so called liberators from colonialism who turned out to be autocrats, tyrants, oppressors and looters. A lot of them took on flamboyant titles, medals and splashed their image and names on currency, streets and buildings during their murderous, monstrous regimes.
A servant leader culture is the norm in every sane society. A leader that is accountable to their citizens, a leader that respect human rights and civil liberties. A selfless leader. The late President Nelson Mandela strove to build a free and democratic society, even at great personal cost and humility. He was a great leader and an inspiration. Madiba served his people. Authentic leaders develop character and vision, serve their people selflessly because what matters is that s/he connects with the people by adding value and meaning to their lives. The ultimate legacy a leader can leave is to grow leaders as extensively and as deeply as s/he can. African leaders will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. They must learn to work essentially for the benefit of their citizens and all of mankind. They must understand the fact that universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the greatest foundation for world peace. They must make the best use of their time on earth to help create a better world. Unfortunately, what we find as the standard in national governance is what we might regard as drama, the scripts have already been written -tragic, and brutal… Clearly, there is a dearth of great leaders in Africa. We are saddled with leaders who rule by violence, despotism, and greed. These despots have failed not only their citizens, country, Africa but the entire humanity. They have indeed committed great crimes against humanity. The late Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, DRC’s Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire as it then was), Francisco Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and Jean-Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Guinea’s Ahmed Sékou Touré, Liberia’s Charles Taylor, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, to name quite a few. These insecure leaders are surrounded by avaricious, acquisitive family members, loyal sycophants’, boot lickers, and yes men usually from their state of origin, religion or tribes who are nothing but clowns and parasites.They have failed to invest in their people, they have failed woefully- they have failed to serve their people, they have failed to put their people into a position to do great things. They have failed to change the hearts of the people. They have failed to touch the lives of the people they lead or led.
As I always say life is lived with people. The most important thing in this world is people not wealth, power, fame or material acquisitions. The Ubuntu spirit is the true African spirit. How can one be happy when the others are sad? Africa’s deliverance from more than half a century of post-colonial and racist rule cost the continent huge losses, Africa needs to free itself from the oppression, brutality and maladministration of its post-independent masters. The glory of democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. Thumbs up for Ghanaians! They know the power of their votes, and importantly the power of the people in a democratic system. I witnessed tremendous turnout and the peaceful manner votes were cast, counted and declared. Ghanaians guard the ballot boxes with their lives, not for the sake of victory but as part of their commitment to peace and democracy.
Why do people choose to rise to the top through violent or illegal means?
How do we create great African leaders?
Is authentic liberal democracy uncharacteristic in this part of the world?
RUST TO HUMANITY
The societies beside the sunken sun have their breaths dropped in horrific ecstasy
high above, thousands of their rats somersault about uncontrollably.
They create comedy and the winds flog their minds into abyss.
They create drought
and look away into beautiful deserts.
A rat that keeps raising its romantic passion, wild and bloody
has gone deaf like steel
they cannot look in deep
they cannot see beyond
they rust in.
© Copyright 2017 ayo ayoola-amale. All rights reserved.
Slavery is not only a part of history, slavery is still a global problem; millions of people are trapped in all form of slavery- Domestic servitude, Sexual exploitation, Child trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, Criminal exploitation, and mental slavery. There is a thin line between what is and isn’t slavery.
Africa’s glorious heritage has been mutilated by the devastation of the transatlantic Slave trade, chattel slavery, the harvesting of vulnerable people as sex slaves, colonial and post-colonial predators. The current form of slavery in Africa is the post-colonial slavery. Citizens are enslaved; enslaved by their so called leaders, these horrendous plunderers chain their citizen’s in the filthy grip of power. Mental slavery is a state of mind where discerning between liberation and enslavement is warped. Mental slavery is extremely terrifying than physical slavery because the chains are invisible.
In the face of all the calamities that Africans have experienced we must not be content to be at best an observer complaining about the world, as opposed to being a change agent in the world. We must not be content to be history’s permanent victim. We must rise with the wakening light!
Here are things we can do to end slavery around the world – we can provoke companies to be fair by not buying apparels or goods from companies that do not treat workers fairly, if we do we will be rewarding evil behavior. Let these companies be provoked to fairness by buying products that are certified fair trade or come from companies whose manufacturing practices have been independently verified as slave-free.
We could prevent slavery through holistic child development by donating and meeting a child’s basic needs for education, proper nutrition, and health care.
End it! Help End slavery!
-Ayo Ayoola-Amale© 2016
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ABOLITION OF SLAVERY, December 2, 2016
Dusk falls in intensely; life declines
Day drowning continues ,the unnatural unbroken
we live in naked emptiness weary of being free
The resemblance between us, mean nothing in the desert of their heart
Their bodies rise from the dead or die not
in the prison of their mind
we sense the wounds, in the adjoining room,
No light in the sun
Holocaust, Streams split, hinge and the doom of man
Struggle for the truth until we let go to consume death
The stung healers like a thinning breath
hear the wave crack and fondle renewal like the phoenix
Pricked, punctured, perforated
© ayo ayoola-amale, 2016
Boko Haram’s over seven-year reign of terror has witness the kidnapping of thousands of Nigerians. Militants stormed the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria in the spring of 2014 and 276 girls were taken by the militants.
The Chibok schoolgirl’s high profile abduction is only the most prominent case.
This all makes me question where our humanity has gone.
The atrocities carried out by the jihadist militants can best be imagined.The hostages under their control have been subjected to physical and sexual violence, dehumanized and even killed. The Chibok abductees have been forced into marriage and subjected to sexual violence. These militants have lost their humanity.
This all makes me question where our humanity has gone. Are we losing ours?
This morning I heard on CNN that Boko Haram has released a video appearing to show approximately 50 girls dressed in headscarves, far less in number of the Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the Islamist group.
In the video, a Boko Haram militant can be seen standing before the remaining girls. The man, whose face is obscured, adds: “They should know that their children are still in our hands.” This is horrendous! My humanity is in grief. Beyond the Chibok girls, are pertinent issues that we must address as a people.
We could have had Bompai Girls from St Louis secondary school, Bompai, Kano or Federal Government Girls College, Kazaure, that is FGGC, Kazaure Girls??? I was offered admission into these choice schools but my parents enrolled me into St Louis Secondary School perhaps because I graduated from St Louis private primary school, Airport road, Kano. I often imagine what it would have been like if the Chibok incident had happened in Bompai, especially considering the fact that I graduated from St Louis Secondary School, Bompai, Kano. I often imagine what it would have been like. As a very young girl schooling in Kano, St Louis Secondary school, Bompai Kano was reputed to be the best secondary school for Girls- a leading elitist school, with highly qualified British and Irish teachers ;the girls in St Louis were the type that Boko Haram would have targeted and love to abduct. They were the children of presidents, governors, ministers, industralists etc. My classmates then were the Dangote, Abacha, Dantata, Waziri Ibrahim, Ayoola, Ezekwu girls etc.
I often imagine what the government of Nigeria would have done if we were abducted by Boko Haram. I doubt if the outcome will be the same with the Chibok girls. I have asked my dad this question several times, as a top National Security Advisor in Nigeria, what will be his reaction if his only daughter was in the custody of Boko Haram? He mull over it …His answer was that Nigeria was much better then… It tells you that Nigeria of today is different from just some very few years ago. Prominent Nigerians who could afford to send their children to Harvard or Oxford were content and very happy to have them in National Universities like Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), University of Lagos, University of Jos etc. We were also very proud to gain admission to prestigious Nigerian Universities like Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife). This citadel of learning has become a den of cultists mostly caused by corruption. Obviously this class of Nigerians send their wards abroad now.
In a country where truth and justice has since been buried; yet we yearn for peace. A great country like Nigeria has been held captive by the insanity, the monstrous greed and senselessness of a group of constantly recycled old leaders who have no interest of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart. These group of people have held our generation captive in our own country, they have succeeded in ruining the future of so many youths in that great country where am so proud to say we have very hardworking, determined and resilient youth population capable of bringing positive social change. Hopefully humanity would be restored and regained. We must secure the space for the youth in Nigeria to contribute the best that they have and all that they are to make Nigeria great and blossom like a flower.
We must let humanity in us speak, we become less human when nothing hurts within us each time a human being is hurt. We become less human when we stand by and watch injustice and evil been perpetrated by others without blinking an eye. It diminishes our humanity.
It is only human that a part of our humanity dies when a human being dies; whether white, black, or brown, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, gay, bisexual, etc., a human being is a human being first and foremost; so respect for the sanctity of life is paramount. We must not learn to tolerate murder, injustice, oppression and evil. Each time I hear stories of horror coming out of Nigeria a part of me dies a million times. We as a people must let the beauty of our lives grasp hold of our souls. We must look at life with truth. We must look at life with joy. We must realize the fact that the beauty of life is to experience yourself; you can only accomplish this in truth. We need TRUTH in Nigeria!
The truth that is in us as Nigerians are silent; we must speak the truth and allow life to flow into our souls. We should allow light to flow into Nigeria.
Our so called leaders must realize that the beauty of life largely depends on how happy others can be because of you. What they leave behind is what is woven into the lives of others not the number of Jets, luxury homes abroad, skyscrapers, luxury cars and huge foreign bank accounts that is a product of robbery, stealing and emptying of a nation’s treasury. The consequences of which is the injustice in the Niger Delta, the marginalization of minority tribes, economic and social inequalities, rampant poverty, deaths, injustice, migration, lack of social amenities, lack of infrastructural development, etc.
What kind of peace do we seek in Nigeria? Do we seek a ‘peace’ where only those in power and their family grow? A security of the slave? Or do we seek genuine peace, that is durable, and sustainable- a peace for all time.
A peace that makes life in Nigeria worth living. A peace that enables Nigerians to grow; to hope and to build a better life for their children.
Our so called leaders must listen to the voice of conscience if they still have it. Peace can only come to Nigeria from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward serving humanity. Peace will come to Nigeria and live inside Nigeria when we create a Nigeria that supports everyone. This is what can cure the virus of violence, unabated killing, hopelessness and inequality.
Peace and justice is the only battle worth waging…
It is a tough time to be a peace builder – even for those of us who have been at it for a long while. Every time violence rears its ugly head, we express anger and frustration at the proliferation of violence and search for a way to translate it into action that will help create a more peaceful world. Yes we are promoting peace and justice. But our world is dominated by messages of violence blaring out repeatedly through the barrel of a gun in shopping malls, schools, everywhere- as well as in the war and turmoil around the globe. Even with decades of peace activism pushing forward, the United States remains a violent culture.
What kind of peace do we seek?
A peace imposed on the world by American weapons of war?
A peace devoid of justice and freedom?
Let us create a world that supports everyone.
We have no more urgent task!