[Yawn]…Morning breaks, not to the crows of the cock as it once was. Neither to cries of the crow atop my window seal. But rather, today, to the cries of microphones and loud-speakers bellowing from across the street. Microphones strewn around the representative symbols of the major monotheistic faiths whose structures lie in numbers along my street. Alongside are the foot messengers with handy microphones hanging down their shoulders each representing denominations with sharp contrasts in the interpretations of the ‘word’. In all, resounding and conflicting echoes of the ‘word’…prayers, songs, sermons laced with excerpts from the Holy books.
I pry my ears trying to make sense of any but to no avail as the conflicting sound waves continually conjure up the competitiveness of its messengers. Yet, I’d be guilty of ignorance if I claim not to know the underlying messages behind the competing agents. A parental influenced background in teachings of the faith translates to clear understanding of the ‘word’. In simple words, ‘salvation’, ‘redemption’ and today, an added dimension that goes with modern day societal obsession – ‘prosperity’.
The conflicting messengers and messages alike, the beauty of the free world is brought to bear as each goes about unhindered by the other. And for this reason, I need mention that censorship of public actions on the basis of religious affiliations contrasts in no small amount to the unifying traits that ought to be exhibited by all regardless of our geographic, religious or ethnic differences.
Enemies of free speech are themselves enemies of democracy and of the free world. I’ve found not one evidence to suggest that targeted actions of persecution at any faith has actually led to the complete extinction of any such faith. Not even the bloody Christian crusades nor the Jihadist crusades many centuries ago ever resulted in the complete extinction of the other neither did it make extinct the lesser religious faiths. Even the humane actions of the famed Mary Slessor did all but destroy the traditional faiths whose rites involved the killing of twins. Same goes for the traditional faiths that remain amongst us today. If any, human face has been given to them with the near abandonment of crude rites that go against basic human rights and acceptable principles.
In the end, the messengers do their bids with the messages only going as far as presenting relative interpretations to its intended audiencce. Thus, for Uche, my next-door neighbor and corporate employee who must make it to the island before 8am, without staring at the clock, He knows the timing represents the best bet for him to make it to the bathroom of his face-to-face apartment block and have to himself an unhurried bath. Not faraway, Mama Sikirat is also reminded that it’s time to start preparing the day’s menu for early morning customers like Uche to the buka. Baba Sikirat knows it’s time to hit the Lagos road with his danfo bus and make just about enough before the many horrid faces in shabby uniforms like Ganiyu still revelling from an alcohol induced sleep wake up to man the roads for inexplicable tolls. The significance of the message no doubt lost in the myriad of thoughts and concerns plaguing the minds of its intended audience. And so, the messengers presence present unconsciously an alarm so to say reminding the Uches, Mama and Baba Sikirats that it’s a new day and time to get up from bed. As they wade through the day’s activities, the message must now be music to their ears as the conscious mind ponders through the characteristic demands that society presents. Furthermore, therein lies a microcosm of the big picture across the many suburbs in urban Lagos.