Let me begin by acknowledging that this title is inspired by a statement credited to Pieter Willem Botha.
This uprising will bring out what is in us as individuals, spouses, parents, business owners, employees, social and public service providers, medical personnel, neighbors, religious, community and political leaders and even children, BEAUTY and the BEAST.
By BEAUTY here I refer to the best of our humanity and the BEAST I refer the worst of our humanity.
Crises in whatever format they come do not come primarily to strengthen us, they come to reveal us.
There is no soldier, who learns how to fight on field of battle. The battle ground reveals capacity or lack of it, reveals physical and emotional stamina or lack of it, reveals strategy or lack of it. Even what we call spontaneity answers to trained instinct and honed reflex.
According to the dictionary, the idiomatic expressions, ‘rise to the occasion’ means, to ‘show unexpected SKILL in dealing with a difficulty that arises.’ permit me to call attention to the word ‘SKILL.’ Nobody rises to an occasion except according to the installed capacity of SKILL. Please note that the installation of the SKILL may be by deliberate or default effort but it must be there before the day of adversity.
The book that I read say, ‘if you fail in the day of adversity, your STRENGTH is little.’ It goes without saying that adversity is never the issue but the strength of the one faced with the adversity.
The book says, ‘if you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?
Here the book is calling our attention to layers of capacities in responding to the vicissitudes of life, which are never subject to an oracular precision.
According to Olakunle SORIYAN, ‘what will come will come, it is who we are that will make all the different.’
Our response so far as individuals, corporate organisations and tiers and levels government is according to what is in us, the BEAUTY and the BEAST.
I have seen the BEAUTY of community and commitment to be our brothers’ keepers as citizens. I have seen campaign by private individuals and organisations raising resources for the indigent families among us.
I have seen the BEAUTY of the majority of our religious leaders immediate adherence to the directive of the government to embrace SOCIAL DISTANCING by suspending religious gatherings and creating innovative ways of providing the much-needed spiritual and emotional succour to their members.
I have seen the BEAUTY of philanthropy at work through monetary donations and corporate bodies submitting their properties as make-shift medical centers.
I have seen the BEAST of one-sided analysis and gullibility at work among the citizenry even the supposedly informed ones.
I have seen the BEAST of delayed response.
I have seen the BEAST of elitist approach as opposed to an egalitarian approach to the issue at hand in a country where over 82 million people are living on less than $1.9 per day.
I have seen the BEAST of us mouthing preventive measures like SOCIAL DISTANCING, without discussing the other social variables or components that make it work in the societies, who are in the forefront of practicing same.
I have seen the BEAST of pseudo-claim to professionalism where the claimants have no training or history of performance.
I have seen the BEAST of TOKENISM at work as usual.
I have seen the BEAST of premature praise of the efforts of government, which does not reckon or align with the measuring rod of the welfare and the security of the people as the primary aim of government in accordance with the tenets of Social Contact.
I have seen the BEAST of opportunistic attacks on religious bodies as if they have no role to play in arriving at a credible solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have seen the BEAST of highfalutin, high-sounding and far-fetched conspiracy theories.
I have seen the BEAST of fear instead of respect for facts.
I have seen the BEAST of fake news and gullibility, entangled in a marriage of mass distortion of facts, bearing panic and trepidation as well-fed children. Fake news is as strong as those who are gullible enough to submit their mental faculties to it.
This evening, I made the point on a group I belong to that we have to be careful what we post, particularly at this time and age…This TIME where people are already under the pressure of myriad of information about the COVID-19 pandemic…This AGE when any picture can be manipulated and fake news is the order of the day…As my last count there are over 22 news items and images which have been circulated and believed by many and are now disproved by appropriate sources. I am not sure it was everyone, who saw the fake news saw the disclaimer or are too interested in same.
Here is my conclusion to the group and to you today an information without a credible source is not an information for consumption for the wise. An information is as credible as the source and must still be subjected to triangulation. Caution is critical, particularly among Professionals.
This piece has gotten out of hand in terms of contents and I will like to crave your indulgence to write Vital Obiter Special tomorrow (Saturday, March 28, 2020) to bring this conversation to a befitting close.
Do have an INSPIRED day and see you tomorrow God’s willing.
I remain your Dearly Beloved Roving Public Interest Lawyer, Taiwo AKINLAMI
(C) 2020 Taiwo AKINLAMI