Are you wondering what that picture is about? You should. This is not one of my humorous posts. You are not expected to laugh after reading this. You are expected to sit back, look up to the sky, close your eyes, sigh and then stare blankly into nothing. After that, then read this post again and ask, ‘What happened to Humanity? When did we become this low?’
The boy in the picture is Mubarak. He is from Ansarudeen Primary School in Oke Balogun, Oyo state. He is 9 years old. I do not know Mubarak. I have never seen him before. I may never see him in my entire life. I’m not sure Mubarak knows that any blogger called Michael exists. The only reason why I’m writing this is that I have realized that there is a need to give voice to the voiceless.
I got to know about Mubarak from a Facebook post by one of my CISCO ICT teachers, Mr. Abdulkabeer Ishola. Here is a copy of the post:
“Came across a 9-year old boy in his school sitting calm while other kids were playing. Then I discovered the mark of wiped tears on his face – he just finished crying. On enquiring further what was wrong with him, he narrated:
“I have an abnormal extension towards the rear region of my head. Others make jest of me about this situation. So a boy touched me there and I retaliated, then he beat me up that’s why I was crying”
We consoled the boy and gave him a lunch pack, only to discover while leaving a few steps from where we sat, his food was scavenged by other students again.
There are many kids like this in school without food and security. I just wonder how we’ve lost our morals and values to this extent.”
Mubarak is in Primary One. He is a boy, but not like every other boy. Mubarak has an extension on the rear part of his head. And this is not a good thing. Because of this abnormal extension, his colleagues make jest of him and he is easily bullied. From the picture alone, one can deduce many things. One is that Mubarak is lonely and probably has no friend. It is sad that at this tender age, this poor boy is living a sorrowful life.
Mubarak’s story reminds me of the story of a boy I lived with while I was the supervisor of a JS 1 hostel in my secondary school. This boy, whom I will call Eze for the sake of this blog post was a small JS 1 boy. He had pneumonia. And he was a stammerer. He had no friends. His colleagues would bully him and abuse him and make jest of him. And because he was a stammerer, shouting back at them was not an easy task. So this boy would sit alone and sulk and cry. I’d imagine him asking God why he brought him to a boarding school.
What drew him close to this guy was the fact that he had pneumonia. That, to me, was a common ground. I got myself acquainted to this boy and fortunately, he had a couple of friends before I left the school.
But Mubarak’s story is different. As I write this, I can imagine him dreading tomorrow, Wednesday. I can imagine him wondering why he is different. Why he is the one that has an extension towards the rear of the head. Why his colleagues don’t want to be his friends. Why he is being bullied. Whether it is his fault or not. I can imagine him asking ‘Will this ever end?’
And I’m asking that same question, ‘Will this ever end?’ Will this thing ever end?
We call ourselves humans, not animals. It is an animal that will eat whatever does not look like it. When did we become like this? In some African countries I do not wish to name, albinos cannot move freely. Simply because they are albinos. People like Eze don’t have friends. Simply because they are stammerers.
So I wonder, when did we become this low? When did we become this blind?
You might read this and say, ‘Who cares?’ That’s become you are what everyone thinks is normal. That’s because you are not an albino, a stammerer or a poor boy with an abnormal rear extension. You might read this and sigh, say a few prayers and go back to your Facebook new feeds. But that won’t do anything. You might read this and feel sorry, sincerely sorry and then drop a comment. This is also beautiful. But we need more that that. We need a change.
And it starts with all of us reading this. It starts with the way we groom our kids. It starts with we showing them that, in the end, we are all the same. It starts with we living it out for them to see. It starts with treating evey fellow human the same regardless of their status, tribe, colour, health condition or anything. We have to stop telling our kids not to be friends with that boy because he is a stammerer or because he carries an inhaler about.
It starts with the way we teachers teach in class. It starts with making a decision to stop referring to that boy as ‘the boy with the abnormal head’ or ‘that stammerer boy’. He has a name for God’s sake! What type of example are you showing to your students if you are treating some of your students unfairly? Are you teaching them equality or something else? It’s time to decide whether you will be a teacher or not. You can’t be a teacher and make those who are supposed to be learning under you feel sad about life. You can’t say you are a teacher and watch this height of bullying happen right under your nose
And what we don’t know is that, we are wreaking more havoc than we can see. By watching boys like Mubarak suffer; by telling out kids to run away from them; we are building Bullies. We are building Inferiority Complex. We are building Low Self Esteem. We are building up kids who will feel insecure and keep asking their parents why they ever brought them into this world. That is what we are doing.
And may I quickly add that we have a responsibility? Yes. It will be required of us one day. We go to church ten times a week. We got to mosque and pray five times per day. We sacrifice all sort of beasts to Ogun and his associates. We all will be asked one day. Where is the Love you claim to have? Where is the Love you were taught in church? How are you living it out? Is it by discriminating against people who are different? Is it by promoting prejudice and bully? How can you claim to love God when you have not shown Love to your fellow brother? To Mubarak? To Eze? To every other different person around you? How?
If you have ever been discrimated against, you will know what this is all about. And even if you haven’t, for the fact that you are a man, you will understand. I have done my part. Now is the time to do yours. The ball is now in your court. You can now decide to turn a new leaf. You can now decide to call your kids and teach them morals…love. You can now read this again and share so that others can learn a lesson. And on the other hand, you can decide to let it pass out through the other ear. It’s your choice.
But I have done my part. I have decided to never discriminate against anyone regardless of how different they are. I have decided to show the love I hear my preacher preach. My teacher, Mr. Ishola, has done his part. He has given a voice to the voiceless. He has brought the story of Mubarak to the attention of the world.
You might ask, what will I gain? I will answer you right away. NOTHING! Nothing but a sense of satisfaction. Nothing but a clear conscience. Nothing but a confirmation in your spirit that you have made the right choice. You might not make any cool cash by deciding to show love to ‘different’ people. But I tell you, God will take note of your action. And people like Mubarak will be able to live a better life. That is what you will gain.
Thank you for your time. Share and drop a comment.