Are Human Beings Partly the Architects of Their Miserable Conditions?

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Life is, basically, an apotheosis of metamorphosis. Every day, we are faced with different challenges, conditions, options, and indeed, opportunities – positive or negative. Interestingly, to some people, it is the unpredictability of life and opportunities that come with it that encourage and create the urge, goal and the desire to achieve much. Definitely, the fluctuation in life can trigger ambitions, as well as, the motivational drive to change one’s social situation. However, to others, it is just the opposite. The uncertainty of life, to this group, makes one a victim to life’s vulnerability. This may lead one to ask: to what extent are we the architects of our own destiny?

Definitely, conditions are hardly permanent. As human beings, we can modify or radically change our conditions. Likewise, we can agree to accept our situations the way they are and remain entangled in our social web. Clearly, we can only change our conditions if we have the will and determination to do so. If you agree with this view, one can rightly ask: why are, for example, the African social conditions virtually buried in the blurred state of stagnation? Why has the continent remained in the miserable social pit so long a time, while other continents are courageously changing their conditions and social realities positively? Why would an average African accept corruption as part of their social norms, and docilely adapt to their social realities instead of vigorously rejecting them and demanding accountability and a positive change in their lives? Are human beings, and for that matter, Africans so gullible to accept the propaganda and lies of their leaders, who often use and dump these citizens for their political aggrandizement? Is docility a way of life in Africa? Does Africa need a different mentality to life?

What makes us a human being is that we all dream – at least, that is still a free natural gift for now. Definitely, we dream of a better future. Just imagine. Excogitate deeply. Imagine your childhood years. Do you remember those your childhood dreams, hopes and aspirations? As a young innocent child, you had the dreams of having a fulfilled life. You aspired to go to school, become well educated, have a wonderful profession; a rewarding job. You strived to build a beautiful, healthy family. You dreamed to have a fantastic future for yourself and your children. These are not only your dreams; they are your natural rights. Suddenly – just unceremoniously – your dream is shattered. Your life aspirations are completely disoriented and forcefully altered in an unimaginable way. Abruptly, your hopes and aspirations are turned into a void of hopelessness. Yes, your future is turned into helplessness and precarious condition by the same leaders you voted for. The same leaders you trusted and believed in. The same leaders, who promised to change your life for better. A forlorn victim, you would become. That is the sad impromptu end of those hopeful dreams. But the question is, why would you docilely accept your new unacceptable situation? Why would you vote in the same leaders, who have brought misery to your life and destroyed the lives and future of your children to continue with their impunity?

Sadly, your dreams are future precipitously uprooted by these leaders simply because you allowed them to do so. Let’s go back to our various African countries. Some of our leaders have been in power for decades. For those of them who “won” elections to remain in power, there was no way this “victory” would have been possible without the acute connivance and support of other citizens. Starting from our legislators, the political harlots, who politically sleep with the highest bidder “customers,” down to the judiciary, who makes billions from corrupt politicians, who pay judges billions to make electoral verdicts in their favour. Lastly, and most importantly, the ordinary citizens who sheepishly allow and accept these illegal impositions on them. Our gullibility starts when we still strongly believe that a leader, who has been in power for 20 or 30 years has something positive or new to offer the country to change your life for better. By accepting some miserable bribes of bags of rice, sugar or salt to recycle (sorry, vote) the same leaders into office, you are not only encouraging the corrupt leaders to believe that the country will die or go with them if and whenever they leave the office, they hence stay for life in power. Worse still, that decision to accept a leader to be in power for decades equally defines your mental state as well as your future. Ironically, former President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was so synonymous with the country, to the extent that the country was more or less his family enterprise. Yet, yes, yet, Zimbabweans are amongst the most educated in the whole Africa. How can one explain this shameful irony? We are seeing the same awkward situation in different African countries, including Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Togo etc  Today in Nigeria, the notorious herdsmen are adamantly, and fearlessly killing innocent citizens in the name of cattle colony, yet none of these marauders has been arrested, prosecuted or jailed. It becomes insanity when the same senators who are elected by the poor masses to represent them, are indeed, the same lawbreakers who collect money from those with deadly destructive and divisive agenda, which they shamelessly pass into law. Sadly, the same lawmakers are voted in by the same citizens, whose rights, opportunities and future are mercilessly trampled upon and destroyed by the lawmakers (if you like, lawbreakers) they voted for. Sadly, when a desperately poor individual is forced to steal to survive (not encouraging stealing though, but first food on the table before we talk about morality), ironically, zealous “law enforcement” citizens are quick to lynch them. At the same time, and unfortunately, indeed, the same sycophants would rather praise and worship the core blatant and unapologetic thieves in the name of African leaders, who have mercilessly and fastidiously stolen, destroyed the lives and future of these citizens and children. This madness is not limited to Africa, though. Does this show the level of human insanity and foolishness?

How does this explain the degree of African problems and how these problems are directly or otherwise, caused by Africans themselves? Happily, African countries are now politically independent, so it would be myopic to constantly blame the West for all of the African woes. Accepted that the West shares some blame for the cause of African problems, one would be munching the seed of foolishness and gullibility if we still expect the world to pitifully accept African shortcomings or if we continue to point the accusing finger at others for African malaise. No! Human beings, and certainly, Africans need to take a brave look at the past, analyse their present problems and ask themselves why they still allow themselves to, just like the zombies, remain in the social abyss and hopeless chasm of social and political disenfranchisement, while the rest of the world is quickly learning from their past mistakes and correcting their future. Unless Africans erase those unnecessary sentimental, gullible and docile views of themselves and take strong and decisive steps to change their lives, they – and their children – can never come out of their present mess. Definitely, it all starts by believing you, indeed, share blames for some of your problems; however, you can make amends from the past mistakes for the sake of the future, because you are the architect of your destiny.