Sunday, May 30, 2010

What keeps you awake at night?

Gulf coast Oil Spill, Global warming, Global economic meltdown, corruption, moral decadence, etc. We wish it didn’t have to be so. He said that his heart breaks for this generation of young people because we are faced with increasing despair. He was a total stranger but we were not strangers to the challenges in the world. We were both flying to Boston, he was returning from vacation with his girlfriend and I was going for an official meeting with my team.

He once worked for the coast guard, and then served in the US Air force. He is retired now, a Septuagenarian, but has seen much of life to leave his head bare of hair. He asked me where I was from and I said Lagos Nigeria. His neighbor back in Cape cod is also from Nigeria. He has been to Europe but not to Africa. Then he asked me the million-dollar question "Are you going back to Nigeria?"

I was used to being asked that now, so instead of feeling annoyed, I smiled and said yes. So many people come to the US and abandon any plans to return home soon. "You mean you want to leave all these opportunities behind?"

I’ll be doing my country and generation a lot of harm not to return to serve my country. To whom much is given, much is expected. He said he would visit Africa someday. I didn’t ask for his name, he did not ask for mine. We both went our different ways when the Plane touched down at Logan Airport.His words stayed on with me for the rest of the week.

It didn’t take long before tears welled up in my eyes again. It is no longer news that this generation is facing so many challenges caused by what seems to be a Goldman Greed syndrome- celebrating other people’s misfortunes. The greed for power, materialism at the cost of other people’s well being etc.

Do we have to wait until "only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught…" to realize we cannot eat money?When we were kids, we could harmlessly watch TV without the terrifying images of "sex-sell" scenes splashing across the channels. Super Ted, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, Speak Out, Tales by moonlight and its likes. We were children, not in a hurry to become adult overnight. But today, many kids have forgotten what it means to be a child. Family Economic Crisis and societal decadence stand out as a challenge. And the government, you and I must stay awake at night thinking of what to do to ameliorate the situation, I hope.

First published in "Dis Generation" The Nation newspaper

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