A thought provoking article from Bukom born and bred resident, who is also an artist NII LANTEI MILLS.
“But then what makes you think I’m interested in avoiding any virus? Why do you assume that I’d take all this trouble to stop the spread of a contagion just to help you go on living? What do I really stand to gain from doing that? What’s the guarantee that my life will get any better on the other side of the pandemic?
You live in a multi-bedroom home with over one hundred meters square of walled compound around you. You probably have a private swimming pool and a gym with shady trees and gardens.
Your front door opens into a large living room that has everything in the world to make you never want to leave home.
A massive television set equipped with satellite units that give you access to hundreds of channels of leisure and entertainment, a powerful home theater you hardly even use, every indoor game imaginable, comfortable cushion sofas and armchairs, a state of the art computer set-up with months of internet allowance, a cellar full of good wine and other beverages.All these in homely central air-conditioning. You even have a pool table in your bar.
Your kitchen is fitted with huge freezers and fridges all stocked with more than six months supply of food and drinks of various kinds. Plus you have access to mobile delivery outfits to deliver other delicacies to you within minutes.
Your wife, your kids and a few of your nieces and nephews were in to spend the lockdown with you. Then there are the house boys and the house girls.Altogether about fifteen people were in the house with you during the period.
So why wouldn’t you have the confidence, the audacity and the impudence to go and sit in a radio station and vehemently object to the lifting of the lockdown? Why would you not have the temerity to call me recalcitrant and a hard-eared decadent hooligan because I ventured out of the lockdown once or twice?
Do you know what home is to me? Do you have the slightest idea how it feels to stay locked up within those four bare walls of space smaller than a fifth of your car garage? With a single window that opens over a putrid and stagnant neighbourhood drain?
Can you show me how to stay locked in when my front door opens directly onto a busy pedestrian pavement beside a highway? Do I keep it shut and suffocate in that prickly and putrid air within those walls or do I open it and expose my shame and embarrassment to passers by?
How do I survive an indefinite lockdown if I do not wake up at dawn and get off that threadbare raffia mat, the only furniture in the mosquito infested furnace of a room and rush to push my truck so I can make something to prop up my mortal remains?
Do you think this life I have is any better than a death threat by a Covid 19 infection? How dare you assume that this struggle for sheer survival that my existence has been reduced to is inspiring enough to make me want to help minimise the spread of a virus just to enable you to go on living? To enable you go on savouring the luxury and the glory as you watch me crucified on this torturous cross called life?
If your call for another lockdown succeeds, you would have to count me out. I am not under any obligation to die of starvation and misery just so you can continue living in your selfish and wanton luxury. That virus you dread so much is nothing to me compared to the death I go through every day just to go on living. Those policemen and soldiers you unleashed would not do half the harm you have already done with your decades of segregation and misrule.
So if you want me to save your life by wearing masks and using sanitizers and washing my hands and staying ‘home’ and keeping to all those other so-called protocols of yours then you must in turn save mine by standing down on your abject and inhuman refusal to realize that I also have the right to some comfort and joy. You must be prepared to hear and acknowledge my groaning and my moaning when you step on my scalp with the soles of your hard-heeled shoes.
And you must recognize the fact that the stench of your own shit, as unpleasant as it smells to you, smells far worse when you flush it down into my neighborhood.
Don’t just go and sit in those media houses and throw your weight about ordering for a re-imposition of the lockdown and think it’s going to be as simple as that. Not this time, not with this situation that gives me a strong stake in the matter.
And remember that I really have nothing to lose, unlike you. So do a very sober introspection and start doing what you have to do to make me see the need to want to live and let you live.
Unless you’d rather we died together.”
Nii Lantei Mills.
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