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“DON’T BELIEVE THE BIG SCREEN – THEY’RE LYING…!”

“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.”  These are the words of Dorothy Allison about the issue of lying. Likewise, as noted by Mark Twain, “The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance.” Therefore, a community of people built upon lies will fall apart in no time. This reminds me of the incidence of the ‘Orange revolution’ in Ukraine. In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency.

On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. The ruling party, not to be denied, tampered with the results. The state-run television station reported “ladies and gentlemen, we announce that the challenger Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.” In the lower right-hand corner of the screen a woman by the name of Natalia Dmitruk was providing a translation service for the deaf community. As the news presenter regurgitated the lies of the regime, Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate them. “I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The deaf community sprang into gear. They text messaged their friends about the fraudulent result and as news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth. Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election. The government was forced to meet their demands, a new election was held and Victor Yushchenko became president.

But for the deaf people of Ukraine, Yushchenko would have been deprived of justice by the power that be. The ruling party wanted to use the power of incumbency to steal the mandate of the people. That is how power can corrupt a depraved mind! I do believe a leader who would serve the interest of the people would do no harm in seeking to be elected into a political office. It is those who would fulfill their selfies ambition that would scheme to acquire power by all means.

Today, our airwaves is rent with news of the foolishness of some of our leaders. Their popularity increases by the number of their misdemeanors displayed on our big screens, and in our print media. What makes many of their subjects know them is not the number of bills they raised at the parliament, not the number of community projects they have executed, but by the frequency of their show of shame. Many got into office not by the mandate of the people, but by their so called “political god-fathers.”  Many of our leaders only represents their own interests and not of the people.  They are custodians who hold power in trust on behalf of others, yet their behaviors are motivated out of self-interest.

What they project on our big screens are their act of vindictiveness and self aggrandizement, while critical national issues which concerns the poor masses are treated with levity, or excused for religious tolerance. Whilst the killings of local farmers by armed herdsmen continues in the villages uninhibited, with many of such activities either shown as a flash news, or not reported at all, the foolishness of some of our leaders are displayed on the big screen. And they expect us to believe that they represent our interest? No, don’t believe them, they are liars!

Another lesson that is germane to this piece is the issue of moral perversion that has taken over our societies. Our societies promote moral decadence, in place of moral values. We sacrifice human rights at the altar of injustices. We project corrupt people on our media more than those who serve humanity selflessly. We magnify the voices of the rich, and quiet the poor and the benighted people. When you go to any magazine rack or turn on the television, the message is consistent -it is the message of why a just and uncompromising man cannot be rich, or how a man without any political affiliation cannot be elected into a political office. Those who make the magazine covers are the celebrities, the political icon, the fashion icons and the super rich.

We have sacrificed moral values for indecency, and have re-defined true liberty. A good example is the United States Of America, a perviously Christian Nation by default, now turn hedonistic. Over time the moral values of godliness, and morality have been thrown to the dogs. Now, the country which was once a society in which chastity is of great value. Where every citizen was united against abstinence from sex by unmarried person, and that homosexual conduct was unnatural or perverted, and where abortion was a terrible crime. Sadly, this is no longer the case: The new moral standard in America is now summed up in four principles, according to David R. Carlin, in the crises magazine:

  • Do not harm others — “harm” being defined as damage to health (including mental/emotional health) or wealth.
  • You are free to do whatever you like — provided, of course, that in doing so you don’t harm others.
  • You must tolerate the behavior of others who do what they like while not harming others.
  • Pursue wealth both for yourself personally and for society as a whole.

Thus, self has taken the center stage and the principles of God’s words have been jettisoned. Godlessness is being celebrated while the things that glorifies the creator is either put at the corner of the screen or not even permitted at all.

Nigeria is adjudged a very religious country, yet it is no longer fashionable to be called a Christian. With many churches occupying every the nooks and crannies of our communities, yet the banner of righteousness still flies at half-mast. God is only magnified on the lips of many, but he is far away from their hearts. We idolize our spiritual leaders and celebrate their gifts and not the God who endowed them. Likewise, we promote immorality on our big screen and yet restrict religious programs from being aired on our National screens. We undervalue education by promoting immoral reality shows, and we offer mouth-watering gifts for such indecent acts,  and yet reward academic excellence with peanuts.

I may not call for a revolution that would make us take to the streets to protest against selfish leaders. But I would call for a revolution that begins in the mind. Such as would see us imbibe a new orientation and motivation to take our destinies into our hands and elect true leaders who would serve our interests and not theirs. We should not allow ourselves to be deceived with empty promises, in the name of manifestoes for change. We should not because of greed or the pleasure of a moment sell our rights to hypocrites, and power mongers. “Lets uphold godly moral standards; let’s celebrate sanity and strive for what makes for peace and truth. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phillipians 4:8). You’re winning! Yes, we are winning!

GreatMark

 

Source: Philip Yancey, What Good Is God, pages 184-186

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