Scribbles on Inclusion and exclusion

By

Noel Ihebuzor

 

 

 

 

 

Societies are made up of groups. Each member has to contribute but not everyone must hold similar views. Good societies are built on the principles of

 

Some common vision

Some common bonding/cohesion

Some shared values

Some commonly agreed norms along with

a recognition of the need for individuality

a commonly agreed and shared purpose interacting

with a recognition for the importance heterogeneity and diversity

for without diversity and heterogeneity,

Uniformity would not only be stifling but also suffocating

 

These elements make up what we call social capital

 

Good societies recognize and accept all their members, on the understanding that unity is not the same as uniformity

 

Happy human societies are founded on the principle of:

 

·         Human dignity

·         Mutual respect,

·         Social justice

·         rule of law

·         equality of all before the law

·         Social responsibility

·         Equity and fairness

·         Mutual trust,

·         Cooperation and inclusiveness

 

Good societies are inclusive There is a danger in some conceptions of inclusiveness as demanding uniformity and zero diversity as sine qua non for its operation. This is a flawed view as it could lead to a loss of individual freedoms as an individual who fails to meet its flawed and narrow requirement is singled out to become a victim of exclusion. Exclusion is the opposite of inclusion. It is negative and highly destructive.

 

What are the dangers of exclusion?

 

Exclusion – why do we exclude – we exclude because of fear, prejudice, wrong information, ignorance hatred, envy, xenophobia.

features of exclusion, Exclusion as Us versus they, antagonisms, blame games ,scapegoating, hate speech, demonizing the other consequences of exclusion – physical, psychological, emotional (trauma, self-pity, fighting back),  ethnophaulisms, marginalization, intolerance, mistrust

 

the features of exclusion – Exclusion is irrational, hurtful, destructive and subtractive. It creates tensions, creates scapegoats, uses negative words, results in us-they world, leads to further incomprehension and misunderstanding, creates suspicion, can provoke conflict.

 

when people are excluded they feel self-doubt, self-pity, anger, hate, and frustration, bitter, resentful

 

a culture of tolerance for diversity.

 

difference and diversity are not enough reasons for mistrust between people

 

Tolerance is a virtue.

 

Tolerance breeds more tolerance.

 

Difference and diversity enrich, we can build on these. But to do so, we need to include others.

 

We are all unique and same at the same time different. I am like you, you are like me, but yet each one of us is different. The “Ebony and Ivory on the key board” song by Stevie Wonder brings out this enriching aspect diversity.

 

The principle of reciprocity – you accept me, I accept you.

Discrimination, bias, stereotyping make bad sense

 

 

 

 

 

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New meanings of political sophistication

by Noel Ihebuzor

Recent events in Nigeria are increasingly making me to believe that our politicians are now beginning, by their acts and omissions, to broaden the meaning of the term “political sophistication”  to mean any or all of the following  –

  • the ability to hold/live divergent political loyalties at the same time with no visible show of cognitive dissonance.
  • the effecting of political somersaults and display of inconsistencies not accompanied by any sense of remorse or shame.
  • the ability to step-down considerations and respect for your political icon for immediate short-term gains!
  • the ability to be consistently inconsistent and undependable!
  • the death of morality, honor, principles and decency in dealings on all matters political

we all are all the poorer because of these unfortunate semantic shifts and extensions because they signify fundamental erosions of values and a society is a robust as its values..

 

A song for Susan

Noel Ihebuzor

Something touches a key.

The touched key comes alive and moves,

humming stroking and caressing,

 

Soon, it blends notes and nuances,

nudges other senses to move and dance,

like alija, like nubile hips stirrred by ngelenge,

 

suddenly the soft shadows of a new song emerge,

fleeting inchoate,

some gentle touch by the potter,

and the new song explodes,

 

reason, rhythm and rhyme join hands

skipping along, spraying flowers,

red roses sing along

softliest and are heard most,

 

purple hibiscus, furl and unfurl,

hum shyly and wave

Rosemaries, Queens of the night

Explode and lather the awakened day

 

The aroused frame

whetted ears and noses aflame

with message laden bouquets

 

dripping deep messages,carousing

that caress our aroused eyes and ears –

with the beauty of Susan’s Poetry,

coated in the dazzling polysemy of an engaged voice.

 

****This is a piece I scribbled for Susan Daniels, my duet partner on Feb 15, 2013. Saw it in my archives this morning. Long may she live. Long may her poetry flourish!

On bathos and pathos, a reflection on the on-going boju-boju in Nigeria

By
Noel Ihebuzor
When an ever enlarging comedy has the effect of overwhelming you with sadness,
it is no longer a comedy, no matter how innately talented the actors are in the art of the comic.
When tragedy slips out of control and verges towards the ludicrous,
it loses its capacity to inspire pity.
Soon bathos and pathos will converge.
And before long, the audience finds itself unable to feel either pity or compassion.
Rather, it finds itself increasingly burdened by the weight of ineptitude on display,
and irked by the profound shallowness and triviality with which serious matters are being treated by clumsy clods.
Clumsy clods are at their most farcical when they take themselves seriously,…..
and when sick souls in pursuit of selfish agendas sequester a sick man,
putting him out of reach of his constituency and out of touch with reality,
preferring to put utterances in his mouth,
when a group of elected officials go off at public expense for empty photo shoots with the hale and hearty
and return home with excess baggage of shopping
full of hackneyed expressions,
unconscionable and empty
they also reveal the depth of their own sicknesses and their burgeoning moral bankruptcy,
their very hollownesses.
Cry, the beloved country. Cry for that country where the rich and privileged go abroad to visit the sick.
Cry, the beloved country, cry for that country because the trips of the privileged sick abroad
to seek medical care speak of the deep sickness of our health delivery system.
Cry since the sick medical system, victim of neglect by the privileged now takes its revenge
on those who supervised and benefitted from her neglect!
Pathos and bathos now reunite.

The snuff box choice

by

Noel Ihebuzor

Do not ask the Asaba woman

why she chose the snuff box

reasons are not always logical

the chooser knows best

and though saints shock us

by choosing to suffer, sadists believe

happiness awaits such a choice

 

Saints are not created by words

nor by fiat but by their works

Heroes are hailed not for their haste

but for their hard choices

 

Wizened eyes in the present

see shady pasts clearly,

and to such,

the present appears shady, unclear

 

Would saints sing the Asaba woman’s choice

as a sin,  pure without any comma

or would their deep thoughts

judge her lightly as the victim

of a conscience that was in a coma

 

rationalisation potent as indignation

often bars the doors to truth,

shutters the windows,

sheds shady lights poorly to the realisation

that though choices are always personal,

choices are also always finally weighed

on a scale steeped in ethics

soaked in morals

Musings the day after

By

Noel Ihebuzor

 

when lies triumph over truth

& cheap trumps deep,

when shallow heels profound,

& cats are at the mercy of gropers

flee, my daughter, flee

 

fly, my daughter

the why of the lie

festers in the lair where lies the liar,

fast lips & slimy tongue crowding

the loud unrepentant mouth

 

when right is treated with levity,

& superficial is spun as profound,

noise drowns intellect,

asinine equations mistake

rectum for rectitude

 

lying tongues lie

in wait for the unwary

with syrups that dull-drowse

but rouse slippery rodents

of fear, hate, disdain of the other

A Song for the Naive

by

Noel Ihebuzor

 

 

I will laugh with the greenness

of young blades of corn

thrusting forward, green and bold

in a land where virgins are

two for a grand

and impotent randy men

roam wide spaces

in quest of unstable risings

 

Do you hear the whispers

of the blade of corn,

young and talkative

as it sways to share its secrets?

and sell its prophecy?

 

The secrets of the farm,

its short tales, of staggered truths,

tales of men with huge trumpets,

elepant egos and stiff backs

tales of the empty baba rigas

are not told on market days,

nor on farm days

 

songs of noisy plantings

the flapping and chatter of leaves, empty

but full of naivety,

an empty harvest follows

and the once wet song

soon turns dry, wilts and withers

leaves, once green,

now brown, twisted dry,

now cry.

 

 

 

 

For Madiba – A clumsy tribute for one of our greats!

Noel A. Ihebuzor

madiba 2
some flames never die
some loves never end
some gifts never fade
some glows defy the coldest winters
some touches last seven lives and more,
like yours to a grateful world
that rejoices, weeps and
remembers, O Madiba, Great Nelson.
 
the flame you lit and then lent us
brightens dark souls,
illumines hearts filled with doubts and fears
burns and shines brightest today,
its tongue soared and sang sharpest
warmed our grateful hearts best in its last season,
Jee nke oma dimkpa asa!
This dying opens the doors
of a new life for you
and new hopes for a troubled world