Blame the Tyrants…

The reason tyranny will never cease is because there’s loads of sycophants whose aim it is to ensure that tyrants never realise the harm they’re actually doing. Of course they do this for personal reasons (very ulterior motives). After all, when evil thrives so much, one is compelled to cast aspersions on the ‘good people’ whose resounding silence (or indifference) has allowed it reign freely.
I’m of course assuming that we already know what tyranny is about. I wouldn’t want to spend time perusing lexicons and encyclopedias in search of meanings. So you’ll have to make do with my explanation here (I crave your indulgence). Tyranny is a system of government (Yes oh! A system of government) where power resides in the hands of one person. Examples readily come to mind. Tyrants on the ‘related hand’ are people who tend to use power in such an arbitrary way that they leave cruelty, lack of reason, injustice and partiality in their wake.
Africa has a fair share of tyrants (at least in the secular world). We recall rulers like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Charles Taylor of Liberia, our own Sani Abacha (5 years was more than enough for him to cause mayhem), Sekou Toure of Guinea, Siad Barre of Somalia, Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya and many others. We do not readily see tyrants on a large scale in the religious environment. But don’t be deceived. History shows that religious leaders actually have a more ruthless tendency towards tyranny than secular ones (maybe you should Google ‘theocracy’ and ‘ecclesiocracy’ for more insight). Again, church people usually don’t wash their dirty linens in public (this explains why there’s a seeming lack of ready examples on church tyrant leaders). By the way, have you googled those words I asked you to? You should. This article will not run away. While you’re doing that you might also want to look up Pope Alexander VI (Rodrico Borgia). Ever heard of the Borgias?
I remember reading a story off a little book once, very many years ago (I can’t even remember the name of the book). I’m sure many of us must have read it. It was about a tyrant ruler whose tyranny spread far and wide. The fear of this ruler was the beginning of wisdom and all who opposed him were tortured and given the death penalty. One day, some cloth merchants came from afar and asked to be allowed into the King’s presence. When they came in, they brought out many coats and linens of fine embroidery. The tyrant King was impressed. He wanted all their designs.
Having heard of the tyranny of this King, the merchants decided to teach him a lesson he would never forget. Just as they were about leaving the royal court, they told the King that they had one last material for sale; made of linen so fine and pure that it was invisible to the impure of heart. Immediately fear gripped the King and his attendants. They all knew in their hearts they were anything but pure. When the merchants brought out the fine linens, behold not a single person in the room could see it. But the King wasn’t about to admit to all those in his court that he was impure of heart. So he looked keenly at the hands of the merchants and whistled loudly. He even got up from his throne to inspect the material closely. He finally admitted that it was indeed the finest linen he’d ever seen. He then ordered his court attendants and his entire household to come inspect the precision of the embroidery and the expertise of the tailoring. Although none of them could see a thing, they all pretended they could and encouraged the King to purchase it.
The king was amazed that they could indeed see the clothing while he couldn’t. The courtiers on the other hand were surprised that the King could see the material while they couldn’t. In the midst of that grand deception, the merchant-tailors made the King strip. Then they wore him the robes of the finest linen. As proud as he was, the King ordered a procession through the length and breadth of his Kingdom. So he went all round, head raised proudly, eyes glistening with pride. His people who by now had heard about the fine material that only the pure of heart could see came out en mass to applaud their King. They described the linen in many ways (after all no one wanted to admit they couldn’t see a thing).
Then a very little child looked up at the King as he rode past and said very loudly to his dad, ‘but papa, the King is Naked!’ Everyone around the child heard him clearly. Now there was no way this child was impure of heart. So how come he couldn’t see the fine linen? The word was passed from mouth to mouth until it reached the King’s ears. THE KING IS NAKED! Suddenly everyone breathed a sigh of relief. “Ehen, we first talk am!” They said. “The King is Naked!” But the wicked King had to finish his procession in shame. It took a little boy to speak the truth. By then the merchants had disappeared into the next village. Hmmmmmmmmm…
I hope we haven’t forgotten the point oh? We’ve been talking about tyrants and their praise-singers. From the story above it is clear that the people couldn’t tell the truth to the King even when they knew in their hearts that the man was about to go round the village stark naked. Who’s going to speak up against tyrants (religious or secular)? Who’s going to resist them? Idi Amin did what he did because he had a company of sycophants who applauded him and cheered his evil ways. Hitler was just one man. He was ruthless, yes! But he wasn’t a god. He was able to gas over six million Jews because there were people too afraid to resist him. What about Sani Abacha and all the others?
If your boss tramples on the rights of his employees and treats them like ‘shit’ on a daily basis, would you keep quiet because you don’t want to be sacked? If your Government tramples on your civil rights would you be silent because you’re a peace maker? Tell me! If your priests treat you without the respect you deserve and rain abuses on you for no just cause (sometimes even slapping the faces and knocking the heads of your fathers and mothers) would you keep quiet because Scripture says ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm?’ If you do, then you’re a lot worse than the tyrants. Yes! It is because of people like you that the country is in a mess. It is because of people like you that the Church is in a mess. It is because of people like you that the world is in a mess.
There are those who would say I’m trying to incite unrest. Am I? Seriously? It’s better to have unrest than this facade we call peace; this grandiose deception in the name of the Chruch and the State. I do not encourage violence. It can never lead to peace. But I do encourage RESISTANCE! Learn to resist tyrants and tyranny. Learn to resist oppression. Learn to resist evil. Know your rights and fight for them. Martin Luther King Jnr. did it. Mahatma Ghandi did it. Nelson Mandela did it. Pope Francis is doing it. None fired a gun. None fought in the streets. But they did raise their voices, against oppression, against deception, against injustice and impartiality, against cruelty and tyranny. Yes!
Don’t be found speaking evil against your brother/sister behind their backs, therefore sowing seeds of discord. Don’t slander your colleague because you want his/job. Don’t condone evil because you want to be seen as a peace maker. Don’t praise tyrants and support them because you have your eyes on their position. Stop being a sycophant and a praise-singer. BE REAL! Instead of being used, raise your voice against tyrants and their ‘supporters club’ today.

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Fada Oselumhense Anetor

Studied at St Paul Minor Seminary, Benin City; Saints Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan; Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. Ordained a Catholic Priest for the Diocese of Uromi on the 11th of August 2012. Loves working with young people

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