Monday, 19 January 2015

The 30 Day Challenge: Day 25, A Case For Forgiveness

It was a biafra- related project. Massive house, posh decor, classical music playing in the background. I was there because someone had recommended me as a Project Manager.  He came and sat down. His presence filled the room literally. Because I hadn't made up my mind, I asked him to tell me his story. I needed to connect to the project emotionally before I could make a commitment.

It lasted more than 4 hours. I sat there and watched this very distinguished man in his early sixties deal with emotions that made me worry about his blood pressure. During the war, he fought as a soldier. He wasn't even 16 before he was conscripted. He told me his story from the perspective of someone who fought on the Biafran side and survived. It was gut wrenching. He had to stop several times during his narration to collect himself.

I went away with the sense that whatever I needed to do to ease the pain I saw in his eyes, I was just going to have to do it. 40 years after, one Biafran soldier has not moved an inch from where he was in 1967. I believe it is the same with survivors of all the other horrors that happened and are still happening - Zaki biam, Asaba massacre, Kaduna/Jos riots, Boko Haram - survivor are angry, bitter, resentful, heartbroken and totally unable to overcome their hurt.

Nigeria is a country that has been pillaged, raped and abused for ages. I think if we can have a sincere conversation about the things that have happened in this country, we will be better for it. A reconciliation effort like the one that took place in Rwanda is what we need, but that's the ideal. In the absence of that, I make a case for forgiveness. I'm saying let it go even though no one has told you sorry.

For the rest of us, for whom these experiences are unfamiliar or distant, show some sensibility. Your tactless comments and 'Get over it already attitude' is like stepping on a wounded soldier. Why would you want to do that to anyone?
©Naomi Lucas

The 30 Day Challenge started on the 14th of January and will last until election day (February 14, 2015).
To read previous articles on the subject, type 'The 30 Day Challenge' in the search box.
You can nominate your friends (And foes) to take the challenge by hitting the share button and tagging them or copying and pasting the link on their timelines.

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