Theresa Omoronyia: The Aluu Crowd in All of Us

Posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013 at 12:30 PM

By Theresa Omoronyia

In the face of evil, to sit silent is an even greater evil. Complacency is ever the enabler of darkest deeds‘― Robert Fanney.

I read a story of remarkable courage on the BBC website the other day. It was the story of Keisha Thomas, a black teenage girl, who saved the life of a white man from a mob that was trying to lynch him on the assumption that he was a KKK member. For those of you who do not know, the Ku Klux Klan members are white folks who believe that all blacks are inferior to them and have been responsible for the torture and murder of many blacks. For Keisha, a black girl, to have saved this man, who most people think deserved whatever he got, is truly an act of courage and forgiveness.

As I thought about Keisha Thomas, I wondered why no one made any effort to save those unfortunate four undergraduates we now refer to as ‘Aluu4′. It’s been over a year since their barbaric death. I remember how shocked we were (and still are) by their gruesome death, but perhaps what shocked us even more was the indifference of the crowd that looked on while they suffered.

I haven’t watched the video and do not intend to, but from all the stories I have read, the crowd that watched the gruesome killing were far more in number than the actual persons who committed the act. I don’t think everyone in that crowd liked what they saw. I believe some of them flinched when they heard the frantic pleadings and groans of pain from those poor young men. I believe some of them would have loved to end the horrible drama playing out in front of them. After all some of them had children as old as those four boys, or brothers or friends. Yet they did nothing.

Why were they so helpless? Why did mothers, fathers and other young people just look on? Well, based on some of the eyewitness accounts I have read, the ‘good’ people in the crowd were made helpless by fear. They feared they would be seen as accomplices if they dared to help, and thus suffer the same fate. Secondly they feared they were not strong enough to challenge the men carrying out the torture.

And guess what friends? The fear of consequences and inadequacy, which paralyzed the Aluu crowd, is in all of us. It is because of these fears that many of us find it difficult to confront bad situations no matter how sad and angry we may feel about them.

But can I just say that nothing great has ever been accomplished without fear? It was Nelson Mandela who said “…courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

I have no doubt he was speaking from experience. He knew too well the consequences that came with confronting the Apartheid government of South Africa, he also knew how limited he was in confronting injustice, after all he was not a parliamentarian or a lawyer. But somehow he found strength to confront injustice despite his well-founded fears. Today South Africans are so much better for it because the likes of Nelson Mandela refused to let their fears hold them back.

Another fear which often cripples people is the fear of doing good deeds alone. It is encouraging when people support us and appreciate us for sacrificing our time, resources and even life for a good cause. But oftentimes that is not the case. The very people we expect to understand are usually the ones who discourage us and belittle us and our dreams. All great heroes and heroines in our history books experienced that. But what made them famous is their refusal to let others hold them back.

The fear of waiting is the last fear we will look at. Most people hate waiting, especially Nigerians. One of the reasons why we go late to occasions is because we don’t like to wait. I know because I am guilty! But I have come to realise that nothing good ever comes easy or fast. Most victories we know of did not happen overnight. The Civil Rights campaign led by Martin Luther King Jnr did not happen in a day neither did the end of Apartheid occur in a year.

As Nigerians we have dreams for our country. It is sad that fifty three years after independence and with all the great resources we have, we are still behind many countries. Talking about our problems will not solve it; the newspapers have been doing that for ages. Neither will prayers alone. So why are we not doing enough? Why do we say things like “it won’t work? It has never been done before?” Why do we give up so easily?

I believe it is because we let our fears hold us back. For a religious nation like ours, isn’t it ironic that many of us fail to depend on God to help us confront bad situations? Or do we only call upon God and demonstrate faith in Him when it comes to personal blessings?

The Bible and Holy Quran are full of stories of ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things for their communities because they trusted in God. These people replaced their fears with faith in God. I think of the story of David who was an ordinary shepherd who had to face Goliath the giant. He was just a youth who was not even a soldier, whereas Goliath had been fighting for ages. No one believed in him, not even his brothers. What about his weapon of choice? It was just an ordinary sling or catapult whereas his opponent had a spear that was longer than David! Despite his inadequacies, and other fears, David defeated Goliath because he trusted in God.

Perhaps you are thinking this is irrelevant to Nigeria or Africa. This next example shows that with courage and persistence, we can do what has never been done before. In Botswana, four sisters aged between 68 years to 80 years, finally won the rights to inherit their deceased father’s property after a five-year long court battle. In a conservative and patriarchal society where women rights are unknown, according to the BBC correspondent, these sisters did something that “no-one thought was possible – they took on tradition and won.” What made these women hold on regardless of the fears they faced? One of them, Ms Mmusi said it was “resilience and courage.”

That, my dear friends is what is needed to confront and succeed in any battle whether it is personal or for a greater good. You will face all manner of fears, but if you will only hold on with resilience and courage and a trust in God, you will triumph over your fears and see your dreams achieved.

Some months ago I read about the tragic accident that occurred on Lagos-Benin expressway involving a fuel tanker and a mass transit bus. Over fifty people were burnt to death: men, women and children. Like everyone I was saddened but I decided it was time to do something about the frequency of such accidents. But I was afraid. I didn’t feel adequate or qualified to do the job. Here I was, a stay-at-home mum, living in a foreign country and not related to any politician. I certainly didn’t feel ‘important’ enough. What could I possibly do? How effective would my so-called online campaign be? Even my family members discouraged me telling me not to waste my time, that no body would listen.

But because I trusted God, I persisted, even when my emails to many influential people were never acknowledged. I persisted even when the DG of the Federal road Safety Corps didn’t reply. I was tempted to give up when people would say “didn’t we tell you?” Finally the DG of the FRSC has started replying my emails and seems keen to listen to suggestions. In due time, our roads will become safer.

I do not write this story to boast. Far from it! But to encourage all of us that we can make a difference no matter how ordinary and powerless we are. You don’t have to be old enough, rich enough, smart enough or ‘connected’ enough. Don’t let your fears hold you back from doing the right thing. If you are really determined and persistent enough, with the help of God, you can achieve extraordinary feats.

I believe each of us was born into this generation and country for a reason. Our purpose in life should not only be to make money and live comfortable lives. We should aim to be agents of change and leave our footprints in the sands of time.

To do that , each of us will have to make a choice: will you rather be like the fearful Aluu crowd or will you be like Keisha Thomas, the Botswana sisters and others who refused to let their fears hold them back?

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.’ – John Wayne.

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

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Theresa Omoronyia is a trained business analyst and has degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. She lives in Glasgow, UK with her husband and son. Theresa enjoys being with people and her passion is to help those who are hurting. Please visit her blog for inspiration and motivation at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

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  • 26 Comments on “Theresa Omoronyia: The Aluu Crowd in All of Us”

    Comments
    • Hurpeyeahmie November 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Hmmmmmm God bless you for this forgiveness is good but sometimes its good to fight back

    • Queen of Everything November 11, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      very deep words and that quote at the beginning is powerful!

    • obi November 11, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      the Bible and Holy Quran! what happened to the Holy before Bible please or is the Bible no longer Holy?

      • Theresa Omoronyia November 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Oh dear! Excuse my mistake please. The Bible is indeed very holy. It was a mistake. Thanks dear

      • urerimeemry.blogspot.com November 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        that was all you got from this whole article? smh

        • laide November 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

          lmaoo..it really is sad!

    • ify November 11, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      One of the best posts I have read so far on BN. I feel encouraged to tackle the daily challenges of my personal life and achieve the goals I set out for myself. To add to your quotes, one of my favourites is: “No thing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” -Epictetus

    • Iyke November 11, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Good write up Theresa!
      To add to the reason of FEAR is another factor called, the ‘Diffusion of Responsibility’ ..whereby an individual expects or assumes that another individual has or would be taking responsibility for an action that requires someone’s attention.It’s psychological so to say.
      Having said that,in life we often need a light…another hand of humanity that gifts us inspiration…motivation and encouragement to seek our best selves…help that makes it possible to move beyond complacency and fear…find a better way.
      Folks, I encourage you to be the hand to others you wish for…or have experience from the kindness of others… Be the difference in someone else’s life… Be a human being..it is after all the point of life…it’s the reason we’re here people…less we forget!

    • Comedian stes gideon November 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Nice

    • frances November 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      Courage is being scared to death..but saddling up anyway.-words that resound deep and true.
      Thanks for sharing.

      http://imperfectlyperfect92.wordpress.com

    • efe November 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Am greatly encouraged by this write up,Words for thought.
      Deep words l must say that needs to be fed and acted on.
      F.E.A.R- False Evidence appearing Real

    • yinka November 11, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Very deep article..thanks Theresa

    • Vee November 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      “……we can make a difference no matter how ordinary and powerless we are. You don’t have to be old enough, rich enough, smart enough or ‘connected’ enough. Don’t let your fears hold you back from doing the right thing. If you are really determined and persistent enough, with the help of God, you can achieve extraordinary feats.”

      God bless you for this write-up. I believe that ‘we are part of the change we seek’. This article is soo encouraging! Love it.

    • Ife Love November 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Quite a lot of truth in your write up. We all are guilty of this; at one time or the other.A yoruba proverb says: ”If we close our eyes for the bad to pass, We wouldn’t know when the good will pass us by too”…If we all wait for someone to take an action or fix something, we may end up being a victim of that thing/situation and wish we had at least done or tried to do something when we could and should have….

    • Queen of Everything November 11, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      it is up to all of us to be the change we want to see…
      Mahatma Gandhi I had to come back lol…

    • tbn November 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Good write up. Correction though, Nelson Mandela is a lawyer and worked as a lawyer/activist against the colonial powers and apathied till he was arrested.

      • Theresa Omoronyia November 11, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        Thanks tbn, but I wrote that based on the biography of
        Nelson Mandela on his website:
        http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography It states that
        he did not graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand as a
        lawyer, but left in 1948 because “by his own admission he was a
        poor student”. He later went on to obtain a diploma in Law with
        which he started practicing law in 1952. However he was an activist
        even before then. According to his biography website, he became
        politically involved in 1942. So basically he started activism even
        before he became a lawyer. Thanks

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian November 11, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      may i say how humbled i am by your piece and by the fact that you put your money where your mouth is

    • Leah November 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing – Edmund Burke.
      Nice piece Theresa.

    • MyView November 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      “Bystander Effect”. Good write up.

    • Ekwitosi November 11, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      Apathy is lethal! Change has to come from within each and
      everyone of us. One day all these atrocities will come very close
      to home to a relative or friend and then we are able to match names
      and faces which will make the hurt more real! Well written article,
      very articulate.

    • Fabulous Dee November 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Most touching piece i have read in BN. There is a winner in everyone of us and he needs to be awakened and be the solution he really is cos the time is short.

    • Rox November 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      hhmmm am guilty…. great piece

    • Grown Woman November 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      wow im really smitten by this piece,thanx for the wonderful
      message, we will surel spread the word around and be more fearless
      to situations.

    • jinkelele November 12, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Theresa, thank you. Cos I ask myself why its difficult to
      do good when you are standing alone. I wonder if the voices to save
      those boys were loud enough and large enough it could have changed.
      Maybe they just needed one person to speak out. God may I have
      something greater than fear when its my time to stand up

    • Adefesobi November 13, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      Thank you Theresa :-)