Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Au Nord, tempus non Movet ... by Alisonomi

Tempus fugit, une flèche sur la main d’un chasseur valeureux 
Et « tempus lentus est », tel un escargot chassé par un moineau 
Mais de quoi dire de l’expérience d’un simple trajet qui dure l’éternité ?
Quand le temps, dans toute sa férocité, parait-il, finalement, a perdu sa vélocité ?

Le temps, me semble-t-il, disons la vérité, ne contrôle vraiment rien 
Et les humains, pour moi, dans leur sagacité ne le saisissent pas assez bien 
Car, lorsque la providence reprend le guidon secret du voyage sur terre 
Tous nos cris plaintifs du cœur ne touchent plus personne même pas nos mères

Or ces altiers humains continuent toujours de se dire « les maîtres de l’univers »
Même quand ils savent très bien que beaucoup de choses leur passent à travers
C’était un humble avis d’un missionnaire noir à tous les pèlerins et mystiques
S’ils pensent suivre le chemin tracé autrefois par les Innus au cœur de la forêt nordique

Car partir en voyage à bord de Tshiuetin, ce train du Nord, n’est pas toujours facile 
Vu que chaque tentative de maîtriser sa durée invariable s’avère toujours très difficile 
Et même si l’on peut, avec exactitude et beaucoup de sacrifice, contrôler son départ
Le reste de ce pèlerinage, à travers le territoire innu, demeure un mystère à nos simples regards 

Mais au cœur de nuitshimit, notre peuple se souvient encore que le temps c’est nous 
Et c’est pour nous, disaient-ils toujours, ces perspicaces et heureux ancêtres, qu’est fait, le temps 
Donc, soit qu’il fuie ou qu’il dorme, nous respecterons toujours le cours du temps, pourtant  
Car, tous, nous appartenons indiscutablement à seul et le clairvoyant Tshishe-Manitou 

Voilà pourquoi nous disons sans équivoque qu’au Nord, « tempus non movet, movemus » !

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Minor Seminaries, Clericalism and Clergy Sexual Abuses by Alisonomi

As the debate on sexual abuse in the churches continues, I wish to join my voice to one of those silent voices rising up from Nigeria. During her intervention, in the shortly concluded summit on clergy sexual abuse, which took place in Rome, Sr Veronica Openibo, shcj, made some very important reflections. She examined how repeated sexual abuses by the clergy in the past, has weakened people’s trust in the Church’s authorities. Then she explained how this has made people doubt the willingness of the Church leaders to handle the issue with transparency. But before concluding, she proposed few strategies:  
“Essential, surely, is a clear and balanced education and training about sexuality and boundaries in the seminaries and formation houses; in the ongoing formation of priests, religious men and women, and bishops. It worries me when I see in Rome, and elsewhere, the youngest seminarians being treated as though they are more special than everyone else, thus encouraging them to assume, from the beginning of their training, exalted ideas about their status. The study of human development must give rise to a serious question about the existence of minor seminaries. The formation of young women religious, too, can often lead to a false sense of superiority over their lay sisters and brothers, that their calling is a ‘higher’ one. What damage has that thinking done to the mission of the church?”
Here, though she did not categorically condemn our seminary formation methods, she insisted on the necessity of including a well-balanced sexual education program in the seminary and religious formation houses. According to her, there is a direct link between the seminary formation system and the problems of clericalism in the Church. “It worries me when I see in Rome, and elsewhere, the youngest seminarians being treated as though they are more special than everyone else, thus encouraging them to assume, from the beginning of their training, exalted ideas about their status” And for these reasons, she questions the existence of the minor seminaries in its actual form and concluded that human development studies give us every reason to believe that they are no longer adapted, in their actual forms, to our modern-day society. She also underlined many other interesting points, but I’m more interested in this particular part of her presentation.I passed through the minor seminary but had the opportunity of doing the first three years of my secondary education in a public school. During my public-school years, we were taught human sexual reproduction in the company of girls, and we discussed it openly without feeling ashamed or guilty. This made sexuality and sexual related issues parts of our everyday discussions.
But once in the minor seminary, I discovered that everything about sexuality was treated differently. There was, for example, no female presence in the classes to make the discussion more inclusive. More still, the minor seminarians being prepared for the priesthood had, paradoxically, little or no moment for openly discussing sexual related topics. And because the seminary culture makes sexuality a taboo, the young seminarians dare not ask explicit questions in the class.  However, it has been up to 18 years since I left the minor seminary, but it seems not many changes have been brought to the system. For example, during my last vacations, I was opportune to pass some time with minor seminarians. Some of them were as young as 11 years old. They received evaluation forms for their Christmas break. And in those forms, they were expected to be assessed by their parish priests on their morning mass attendance, their catechism classes, pious society, and work attendance. Why should little lads of eleven years old be subjected to such scrutiny instead of allowing them to follow their normal developmental process?How can they spend all their Christmas holidays moving between morning masses and catechism classes when their age mates are running about in merriment? It is nothing but stealing away their childhood. When are they going to play hide and seek, make mistakes in their lives, learn how to cook and do other normal household chores? Already, they cannot even play with their siblings because they are made to believe they are small priests expected to be perfect boys.The worst is that back to the minor seminary, they are treated as adults and punished severely when they make little boys’ mistakes. And no opportunity is given to them to experiment even on casual friendship with their female counterparts. No sexual education, from my knowledge, is given to them. And not even their parents think of doing so as they are already set apart and even expected to be better than their parents in moral issues. The direct consequence is that many might end up remaining lads in their sexual development. And they are fostered to a very early sexual repression which could backfire later during their adulthood. The problem is that at its backlash, though adults, many have not yet grown beyond that 11-year-old lad who was forced to suppress all his sexual desires.Finally, it is beyond doubt that the false idea of superiority encouraged by the minor seminary system has done a lot of damage not only to the mission of the church but also to these lads whose childhood is being stolen in the name of minor seminary formation. And though, I am not wishing for their closure, I am of the opinion that we have no choice than to have them totally reformed, starting from the structural, through their formational organizations and down to what they are taught to think of themselves.
Ali C. Nnaemeka (mekaalison@gmail.com) ''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. Alisonomi

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Another Collapse that could have been avoided in Lagos: The State Commissioners for Housing and for Education Should Resign by Alisonomi

Today’s Lagos building collapse is one collapse more than Nigerians should bear. Lagos state has been known for frequent building collapses, ranging from resident houses through churches but the collapse of a school building which took the life of many innocent children, today should have been the last of its kind. In societies where human life has value, such negligence calls for a total reshuffling of the government. 
On April 27, 2014, South Korean Prime Minister resigned over the handling of a ferry sinking that left many Korean citizens dead. On October 26, 2018, the Reuter carried news according to which “Jordan’s education and tourism ministers resigned, after an investigation into the deaths of 21 people, mainly school children who were swept away in flash floods on a school outing in the Dead Sea region.” Here in Africa too, the Tunisian Minister of Health resigned, last week, over the death of 11 children in a hospital. 
In Nigeria, however, no one is even reprimanded no matter the number of deaths caused by the negligence of our ruling elites. It is a sign that we have no value for the lives of our fellow Nigerians. With the number of deaths in Lagos, through illegal constructions, the Lagos State commissioner for housing, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal and the commissioner for education, Dr. Idiat Adebule has no reason to remain in the government. They should both boldly resign or forced to resign to trigger the necessary changes that could curtail the reoccurrence of this type of negligence that brought to untimely death our lads. 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Genre Discrimination: One of the Greatest Evils of Our Collective Consciousness by Alisonomi

As we continue  to  celebrate the International Women’s Day, I wish to look at a few facts about genre discrimination. Feminism is one of those concepts that have created a series of debates in our modern time. And though it has never been absent in our global society, it has taken a very important dimension since last few decades. Many have seen it as a countercultural crusade while others, have seen it as an effort of few women to overthrow a men’s society. But in whichever way feminism is looked at, it reveals one important truth about our society: The hour has come for women’s voice to be heard.
Though our society continues to suppress it, it has obviously grown so loud that nothing can quench it. Their words continue to echo from every corner of our societies, denouncing the historic hijacking of feminine freedom and the entire human society by men.
This week, a documentary was shown of a group of nuns sharing their ordeal in the hands of religious men. From their heart wrecking testimonies, it was gathered that some priests, under the guise of spiritual guidance violated their body. In most cases, competent authorities were informed but nothing tangible was done to arrest the situation. In certain cases, when the male counterparts were reprimanded, they received trivial punishments whereas the female victims were dismissed outright. The reportage is a sign that female voices can no longer be quenched. They have been silenced too long that, today, no amount of suppression can stop their silence from being too loud.
It was also reported, yesterday, that the United States Women’s soccer team filed a genre discrimination lawsuit against their national football federation. In the lawsuit, they denounced what they call institutionalized gender discrimination which makes their salary, their playing and travelling conditions, their medical treatment and training experience inferior to that of their male counterparts. And this is just a case among a thousand others in the sports world.
On a related note, on the same International Women’s Day, the Nigerian women team midfielder, Ms Ugochi Desire Oparanozie was seen on the BBC Igbo News Facebook page, explaining all the hardships the Nigerian Women team faces. She stated that their preparations are rarely well organized and their salary very meager. From her intervention, one can infer that, though she recognized that there might be a little change in this year’s world cup preparations, it is certain that their treatment, when compared to their male counterparts is nothing to write home about.
Should we talk about the test-doctoring, reported this week, to keep Japanese women out of medical schools? Should we examine the ordeals of young female university students in Nigerian universities? The battle of military women to be recruited into more active duties in many countries, the honour killings of young ladies in many Arab countries? The battle of Saudi Arabian women to drive? The acid victims in India? The assassination and disappearance of Native American women in Canada?