I said in a previous post that the next decade is going to be very volatile, uncertain, unpredictable, constantly-changing, advancing, and challenging. I also said that anything you do in any part of the world can become a global issue.
The most powerful instruments today are not nuclear weapons; it is a mobile phone with a camera and internet. The most powerful judiciary in the world today is the court of social media. You dare not perpetuate injustice anyhow and go free like people did in previous times. There is no longer a ‘remote place’. As long as there is a mobile device with internet, you can be brought to the court of social media. There is nothing more unifying today than the internet and social media.
The greatest instruments of evangelism today are mobile devices and the internet. According to a friend, you do not need banners, handbills, or rent a trailer with a band to advertise a program. You do not need to rent a hall; right in your sitting room, you can send a message to the world.
The challenge of today is that this a decade of questions. People will question and verify everything. My generation was so afraid to ask questions. The drivers of social media are the generation that we sent to school early, and were asking difficult questions immediately they could talk.
With mobile devices and the internet, we were able to see one woman being healed of a hand that elongates like a spring, in several churches, by different pastors.
It was the power of the phone and its camera that made us know that the man that was raised from the dead, in a church in South Africa, had his phone with him in his jacket. Yes, a phone in his pocket in a coffin. He wanted to be sharing scenes from the land of the dead. He wanted to do what Lazarus—that Jesus raised from the dead—could not do.
Be very careful what you say on social media; even the comments you make on the posts of others. Your mind is being analysed by experts. Your character and attitudinal inclination are being analysed. From your birthday pictures, your drink habits can be decoded. Foreign embassies can run through your social media platforms and know who you are. Young girl and boy, your posts, snaps, tweets, etc. can prevent you from getting married or affect your marriage.
Young social media activists in the Niger Delta, particularly amongst my tribal group—the Urhobos of Midwestern Nigeria—who talk rudely to people on social media, the friends and colleagues of the big man or elder, you are insulting, all over the world are taking notice of your insults. They will not comment, but they have marked you. They usually don’t forgive; even if you eventually change camp, and become their media aid; they can’t trust you. Your insults are on their phones, tablets, and PCs; you have created enemies that you do not know, and they are more connected than you globally. You will not know where your problems are coming from in the global street.
Your problems and your solutions are just one phone call away. The world is watching you on the global street. You are not as distant from people as you think; you are only a microsecond away from every other person with a phone. The irony is that they know where I am typing this message from. They are forming an impression about me.
There are countless cases, especially in developed societies, where actions captured on social media affected people’s jobs, livelihood, lives, and even their families. We are not too far away from it in Nigeria.
In my language—the Urhobo language—in Midwestern Nigeria, there is a saying and even a name called Ejukornemu. It means, “let my activities be devoid of trouble, disaster, misfortune, or catastrophe”. Ejukornemu is a prayer I pray regularly.
Whoever raped Uwa in that church thought it was their usual local ghetto rape case that remains unsolved. He (They) did not know that the church and the unplastered house that Uwa left to go and read is part of a global street. The Inspector General of Police is now aware and is interested. This is not a case that can be swept under the carpet. They will be caught. Her phone will be analysed. Sperm and pubic hair will undergo DNA analysis; they can’t run far. In Nigeria, before now, streets used to be locked down for ceremonies. Thank God for a national ban on interstate travel in Nigeria, which we have never seen before. One never imagined that the whole country could be locked and an interstate travel ban imposed. Nigeria has become part of a global street.
Imagine four police officers arresting George Floyd for a 20 USD bill suspected to be fake or a fake cheque. People from different angles took shots of the activity. The video of the policemen holding him down and one kneeling on his neck, and his plea that he could not breathe went viral. His cry for his mama touched the hearts of many young people of all races all over the world, particularly in the United States of America.
Imagine the consequences of that singular act. He thought it was just about arresting a black man as usual. He imagined that it was killing an unarmed African American as usual. Imagine all the protests and the subsequent loss of lives and property by that singular act. Imagine all the lives of people that have been (and will be) affected. Imagine the economic impact.
The policeman did not take into consideration that there is an army of more than 30 million Americans without jobs because of COVID-19. He did not know that these people have so much time on their hands. They have lost more than a hundred thousand fellow Americans, loved ones, jobs, and businesses. He was not self-aware to know that there was so much anger in the land, particularly among young people globally.
The demonstrations and COVID-19 spread so rapidly because the world is a global street.
Imagine the financial implications of shops and malls that were looted, cars that were burnt, police stations that were set ablaze. There is breaking news that there is going to be a probe of the Minneapolis Police Department over George Floyd’s death. Many heads are going to roll. Police officers will lose their jobs; several have been injured.
This time when the economy of the United States of America is supposed to be recovering, there is so much upheaval and disruption of economic activities.
Donald Trump did not handle this incident particularly well. The imagery of police officers and military men tear gassing peaceful protesters and members of the media because he wanted to go to a church to take a photo shoot has not gone down well with the public. There has been a backlash because of that picture with a Bible in front of the Episcopal church.
Trump should have prayed several Ejukornemu prayers. There have been too many Ukors (troubles, catastrophes, and misfortunes, which are usually unanticipated and have disastrous consequences). He had a good economy going for him, with great unemployment numbers and unprecedented stock market figures. But just one infection that started in Wuhan province (a far away corner of the world) crumbled all the indices that would have made him cruise to victory in his second term bid. The novel coronavirus spread from one end of the global street in Wuhan province to another end of the street, USA, and to different ends of the global street, from Africa, Asia, to Europe.
Time is an impartial judge. I don’t know what will happen.
I must state again that you must be careful of all your actions on the global street.
Can you imagine Iran telling America to respect citizen rights and to stop brutalizing her citizens just because of four reckless policemen and one overzealous officer?
In all that you do may you have the spirit of Ejukornemu in Jesus name amen.
God Bless You.