One Minute Long
By Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda:
A few months ago, we were stunned by the disappearance of an aircraft carrying a few hundred people. Within the same space, a ferry capsized, killing some while others escaped. Before we could fully comprehend what was happening, a #BringBackOurGirls hash tag was started. It was global – for a moment. Boko Haram got their moment in the spotlight. Then while we were trying to make sense of that, a plane went missing in a small country in Africa and it made the news too – for a moment – there were some Americans on board, after all. But that could not be news for long because Ebola came onto the scene. More than the disease itself, the rumoured cure became the issue because rumour has it that the privileged super power had it, but, only for their own. Africa was going to have to make a plan of its own. Then Ebola showed up in Spain without any link to Africa – I wonder, does that mean a cure may finally surface? One can only hope.
Whereas Ebola continued to make its presence felt, TB Joshua claimed his moment in the spotlight and all the Christians cried foul. As if that was not enough, Pastor Lesego, the grass Pastor made headlines again by, this time, making his congregants drink pineapple flavoured petrol. Yes, petrol – the one many use for their cars to run. Have we lost our marbles? But wait, that was not enough; he went on to feed his congregants snakes and the recipients claimed these snakes tasted like chocolate. As a young man exclaimed recently, how is it that this Pastor Lesego gets to do what he does and believers or Christians are standing by, watching, gasping – while he continues to mislead and destroy lives? Rumour has it that the government will intervene and they should…in the end, Julius Malema's EFF threatens to confront the situation with a rat – but Lesego was too fast for them. He was nowhere to be found.
But Lesego and TB Joshua are forgotten because CNN and BBC and the little babies who feed from them are reporting on Ebola again – that is very important because it is now within the borders of super powers. This is news. It was always news, really but only because some Americans had somehow contracted Ebola. Poor missionaries, right? We live in a really, really, sad world. So sad that even the happiest of people cannot ignore the sadness so great in the world. We want to escape but too many have turned into sad-news-junkies.
Our power has been willingly or unwillingly surrendered. We have to. There is no way we can avoid this. There is an invisible force that drives us to surrender our power daily to the rubbish we are fed. It is like contracting a disease on a large scale without even knowing what hit you – a pandemic – yes, it is that universal. If you do not watch television, you're probably listening to radio and the force will find you. If you do not want either, the internet is at your fingertips, on your phone. You do not need to log on your local newspaper's website. No, you will find the news on every social media network – somehow. We are doomed to feed on the poison that they give us – it is the only way they can maintain some kind of control over humanity, keeping us deceptively convinced that we have no power – power to say no. We've adapted to minute-long retainers, and they that bleed as we do have our permission to bleed us out. They are us. Could they be in power without our permission? No man has power so universal that has not been given them freely.
What if we could tell a different story for ourselves? We mourn with the widespread loss in plane disappearances, plane crashes, loss born of wars manufactured in secret chambers but revealed in third world countries, loss from the diseases that threaten the survival of humankind, and loss as a result of too much mourning. Yes, perhaps this is the worst disease in reality – we mourn too much, for too long, and for prescribed purposes.
Time has passed. Time has no stillness. Media houses play on time, toying with time – the absence of stillness, even if for a moment – and so feeds us information insanely, rapidly, more than our own brains can process and retain at a given time. We are constantly forced in to a kind of amnesia; a daily dosage is prescribed.
Dare we try to remember some good times, we will always encounter the endless little stacked together moments of maddening history. What if we resisted what we are being fed? What if we dared to say no – to what truly is a deathly diet of information? Isn't it time we craved hope, pushing it to pandemic magnitudes or are we too dead to live?