*peers at cobwebs*
I’m almost ashamed of how long it’s been since I posted anything. Almost, but not quite. That’s how boring my life has been.
Anyway, on to what brings me here today. Anybody who keeps up with happenings in Nigeria cannot have escaped being bombarded in the last few weeks with news of the killing of 4 young men, students of the University of Port Harcourt. Initial (and much disputed) reports stated that these boys were accused of terrorising a certain local community, Aluu, with armed robbery and rape. Upon sighting of these boys, mob justice swiftly took over – they were beaten, stoned, and finally burnt alive while tens of people stood around and looked, took pictures, and even recorded videos. Pictures and videos of what transpired are available all over the net.
Update: above is the beginning of another post which my phone swallowed mysteriously over a month ago, and regurgitated this afternoon. Thank God for my brilliant mind, which remembers what I was going to say! He he he.
Where were we? Ok.
So about two weeks after, there are people who are signing petitions against mob justice and what not. I even signed one myself. I’m probably going to lose a lot of goodwill, but I have to say this – I’m not entirely convinced mob justice is a total evil, or even that the evil outweighs the good.
I live in a town where mob justice has been the saving grace of many a community. Where the only thing that stands between an entire neighbourhood and anarchy, is 4 tyres, a jerrycan of petrol and a full matchbox.
My issue today is not to exalt the pros of mob justice. It is to concede that actions have reactions. How many of us join in the hue and cry against mob justice, but stand by, watch, and even aid and abet the torture and oppression of the masses? How many of us cut corners, defraud, lie and cheat innocent people in order to get what we want? How many of us steal another person’s money, their dignity, their innocence, their soul?
After having gone through a traumatic experience which brought the capacity of the human heart for wickedness home to me, I cannot guarantee that I would act any different from a common mob member, if I had a chance. I cannot deny that I would not kick, spit on, scratch, bludgeon, burn the person who looked into my eyes, and plunged a knife in my body.
I know is at some point, reason has to prevail over animal instinct. At some point, we have to overcome our basic instinct for revenge, and set a sustainable precedent.
The problem is, when?