Just as our forefathers did ages ago, ferried overseas, packed like sardines at the bottom of the ship, chained down like dogs, like cattle to the slaughter house, the abattoir, panicking like turkeys on thanksgiving, panicking from the uncertainty of what is to come, how the future makes all men uneasy! Heroes and cowards alike.
We take that bold step, move from our homeland to lands that we aren’t sure of, it almost seems like history is repeating itself-but not in the same order;
We aren’t chained down, we aren’t ferried via the sea, the great ocean, tossing and tumbling. No, we are flown over from what the Wright brothers had invented, a machine they were almost stoned for, accused of heresy for..
One thing is similar though, we are still packed like sardines, the gross majority of us, for even though we can afford the flight, we choose to take the cheapest seats , to be “cost effective ” and be cramped up in economy with other blacks who make up majority of its population. Does this mean that we still have inherent the tenets of slavery? Choosing to be cramped like grains of rice in a bag. Do we think about the reason “economy class ” was created? Do we wonder why any class was created at all, as we sit relatively comfortably in the belly of a metallic winged bird, or are we too concerned with our destination and our future, as we migrate over the vast oceans.
Just as it did our forefathers, life serves us a cup of anxiety- anxiety of what is to come. This is where the quest for knowledge has led us, quest for a good paying job, nice clothes, houses, exotic cars, quest for a better life, a life that we have to travel miles away from home to make and many believe that only through a Western education can we achieve our dreams.
How ironic is it that when our forefathers were taken from their villages and carried to this land that we journey to, this land we are so excited about, a land where some of us have bragged about visiting to our peers, and for some, even lied about visiting…did we ever stop and recall that they did it against their consent?
It wasn’t for a better life. Oh no! quite the opposite, subjected to harsh working conditions, like miners in a mine, the plantation fields were there offices. But we, being ‘modern and knowledgable’,do not see the similarity, we do not see that we are slaves to the system, our plantation fields being our 9 to 5 jobs, we are on the way to being entrapped in a rat race, an endless circle, never stopping till we die.
Nevertheless we journey, with grins on our faces, wishing the plane could go any faster, wishing we were there already!
But what about those who we have left behind? What about our peers who couldn’t afford the fare? Couldn’t afford economy class or any class for that matter? What would become of them? Do we even think about them? And if we do, are we even bothered? Are we concerned ? Do we care? Whatever happened to communal living? How our forefathers survived , thrived and lived ? Did we store our empathy away with it? In that dusty box under our beds.
Who should even feel empathic for who? Ofcourse we have left them, but are we really going to a better place? Whatever happened to those who were taken from the black continent all those years ago? Were they better than the ones who didn’t go? Of course the criteria for selection then was to be fit physically. Does this mean we aren’t fit? And if not, what is the criteria for selection now?
Perhaps we are getting it all wrong, perhaps we are the ones whom empathy should be shown. The potato admired and secretly envied his brothers, the ones who were selected from the baskets and taken to yonder, stories have sprung that they are taken to a better place , where they will be transformed, where they will be beautiful, where they will be golden fried, where they will be free…he envies them. Little does he know, a change of environment doesn’t always mean a better life, it doesn’t always mean success.
Success amazes me every time I think about her, like a woman of the night, she’s in bed with everyone who will have her, both those who leave and those who stay , she meets them anywhere and everywhere. She tells them all the same thing, she preaches to them, using her religion to captivate their minds, like a preacher during a Sunday sermon, she preaches her gospel of greatness, and makes them fall even deeper . Slowly, as they discover her wonders, their grip tightens, like a Python against the neck of a Chimpanzee. Drinking from her cup, they grow even more intoxicated with what she has to offer, many wander off, seeking other brides , impatient with her continuous teasing of the good life, but for few, who have sworn their hearts to her, they eventually pluck from her branches, and like bees , they continually hover around her flowers, hungering ever more for her nectar.
Thus, can’t we say, success is like a woman, who lives both here and abroad
Written by Obinna Obioma.