Kardashian Redemption

15 04 2019

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere says Martin Luther King Jr, and Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and glamour girl, seems to have taken it to heart. She announced recently that she is studying to become a lawyer to better help prisoners. She told Vogue magazine that her decision was inspired by her recent success in persuading President Trump to commute the life sentence handed out to a 63 yr old woman in Tennessee for a first drug offense.

She has also helped to win clemency for another woman was convicted as a teenager of murdering a man who paid to have sex with her.

“I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society. I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more,” she said.
Kardashian, dropped out of school, started the reality TV show with her sisters, called “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” and developed a line of fashion and beauty products worth millions of dollars. Now she wants to go back and for good reasons too.

Gold is buried deep in slug, and a prostitute washed Jesus’ feet.

Kim Kardashian is hardly a saint. Yet, no matter what you think of her, her sex tapes, her nudes pictures that often break the internet and jar the senses, whether you love her or hate her, this good she is doing stands tall, and that’s the truth.

Even though her heart hungers for fame and fortune as wildly as a starving lion hungers for game, yet, having eaten to her heart’s content, she has left some affection for the incarcerated poor of America. They now have a voice and an advocate willing to undertake an inconvenient adult education to serve them better.
Let us hope that many super rich will toe her line and look beyond themselves at others who have nothing and sometime less than nothing.

The world isn’t black or white, but different shades of gray

We may not endorse everything in the world, but we must endorse every good in the world. In a world where an average person hears a million bad news daily, and believes he will go deaf if he hears anymore, any good news is as refreshing as clear cold water to a thirsty deer.

Yes, she sometime represents the worst of our time; other times, the best of our times. A diamond in the rough, her actions sometimes reflects foolishness; at other times reflects light and wisdom from distant stars.
Her love for prisoners must come as a refreshing call to action for her fellow rich and famous, to extend their helping hands to the less miserables of their time,
Perhap, her Catholic high school background has a hand in it, for care for prisoners is indeed a work of mercy cherished by the Church
Prison reform, is so noble, so worthy, and is needed everywhere. In Nigeria, many in prison are held without charge for many years, thanks to the reckless actions of the police, who are quick to arrest on mere suspicion and quick imprison without relevant paper work.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere and it is up to everyone to fight it. Anyone who barricades himself in the citadel of his own selfishness will never come down onto this battlefield.
As is expected, at 38, she isn’t finding study easy.
“The reading is what really gets me. It’s so time-consuming,” she said.
But then, she has her late father’s spirit, Robert Kardashian, a great lawyer who helped OJ Simpson in1995 to win acquittal for double murder. She is sure to ace her bar exam come 2023 when she will sit for it.
Best of luck.

No doubt, the time she devotes to this worthy cause may set her back a few bucks, but she is financially secure, and wouldn’t miss the bucks. But she will miss the train ride to redemption at the twilight of her life if she misses this great opportunity to give her life to something higher than her ego or her fame.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Forgive but Never Forget: 25yrs After Rwandan genocide

9 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

crowd of Rwandan at 25 yrs of genocide

 

Forgive and forget is an old saying but not in Rwanda as it marks 25 years after the genocide that killed close to a million people. The people are convinced that peace will continue only if they never forget.

 

“We are family once again, but never again will this happen”, said Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president on April 7 during the lighting of the commemoration lamp that will burn the whole of 100 days, the time it took to end the genocide that began on April 7, 1994.

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana – a Hutu – was shot down, killing all on board. The government blamed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi led guerrilla fighters in the north. The next day a well-organized campaign of slaughter began. Youth militias (Interahamwes) were given hit lists of Tutsi victims. Many were killed with machetes in acts of appalling brutality. They set up road blocks to find Tutsis, incited hatred via radio broadcasts and carried out house to house searches. The killing lasted a 100 days ending when the RPF, led by Kagame and backed by Uganda, marched on Kigali. Some two million Hutus fled, mainly to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Unlike the sowers of hatred who orchestrated the genocide and ethnic division, Kagame has fostered unity and common brotherhood of all Rwanda.

Today, the country has recovered economically, with President Kagame’s policies encouraging rapid growth and technological advancement. Growth remains good – 7.2% in 2018 according to the African Development Bank.

“The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation,” Kagame said. “We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. He added: “The fighting spirit is alive in us. What happened here will never happen again…”

From the constant bloodletting of Boko Harm in Northern Nigeria to the threats of vicious Somali gunmen in Kenya. African sees a lot of blood and horror. The African leaders present at the ceremony are hopefully here to learn how to stop the constant bloodshed, hatred and injustice in their own countries by building bridges that create spirit of brotherhood like Kagame has done in Rwanda.

 

True peace comes from Forgiveness

Immaculee Ilibagiza

The 1994 genocide destroyed the illusion that African fault line wars are triggered by lack of religious homogeneity. With an estimated population 5.6 million, 80 percent of Rwandans are Christians, mainly Catholics, yet they ditched the truths of the Catholic faith taught to them as children to heed the screech of murder and rape.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the genocide hiding in a pastors toilet for 90 days with seven other women but lost her entire family with the exception of one brother who was outside the country, in her New York Times best-selling Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, she talked about her struggles with hatred and desire revenge against those trying to kill her, and her initial inability to forgive. Then one day like one who had since been looking at a tapestry from behind seeing only a meaningless jumble of treads, she was finally given through prayers to see it upfront, and marvel at its beauty . She tells the story like this:

One night we heard screaming not far from the house and then a baby crying. The killers must have slain the mother and left her infant to die in the road. The child wailed all night; by morning, its cries were feeble and sporadic, and by nightfall, it was silent. I heard dogs snarling nearby and shivered as I thought about how that baby’s life had ended. I prayed for God to receive the child’s innocent soul, and then asked Him, How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant?

I heard God’s answer as clearly as if we had been  sitting in the same room chatting: You are all my children . . . and the baby is with Me now.

In God’s eyes, the killers were part of His family, deserving of love and forgiveness. I knew that I couldn’t ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children. At that moment, I prayed for the killers, for their sins to be forgiven and for the first time since I entered the bathroom, I slept in peace”.

immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women

Immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women when she returned to Rwanda after the war

True, bad indoctrination can contribute to evil actions, but every evil act is still an individual act. Those who choose evil exercise personal freedom and thus are responsible for their acts.  It is heartening to note that many  Hutus chose to die rather than kill. They were true Hutus because they chose freedom rather than slavery of evil and their action are an indictment of those who took up the machetes to kill.

One can be trapped in the most horrendous and inhuman prison and yet be free, by accepting God’s will and by loving sacrifice, thinking of all the souls on earth Immaculée found her deepest relationship with God, learning to love all mankind, especially to pray and forgive her enemies.

She reached the peak of  forgiveness when she decided to visit Felicien, the man who killed her mother, and personally forgive him. After she had told him so, she asked him: “How can you have done this? Killing so many people, you can’t be at peace.” In rags, he seemed small and confused. “”I wanted to reach out to him,” she said. “I cried, and then he himself started to cry.”

The official in charge of the jail, a Tutsi who was a survivor like Immaculée  who was initially angry at her for forgiving the man latter came to her and said, “You don’t know what you did to me, when you went to the jail and forgave Felicien.  I was shocked but I learnt the necessity for forgiveness.”

Just like a tennis ball striking a soft pillow decelerates and loses its power to rebound, violence stops when it hits a forgiving heart. This is a lesson that Rwandans and millions of African victims of violence should take to heart and never forget.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Tears to Joy (Ekundayo)

4 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Tybello

Photo journalist, TY Bellow, who discovered the bread seller model also discovered an unsung hero, Ms Ekundayo, a woman who had single handedly cared for near 500 orphaned children without any public or private applause.

An economist graduate, who had a brief stint in Government, Bello is a passionate Christian who has an amazing eye out for underdogs. Transforming the life of an illiterate bread seller caught in her camera by accident to a supermodel. But she wasn’t done yet.

In 2003, on a whim of philanthropic spirit, she decided to go visiting orphanages round the country to see which was in dire straight and how she could help, to her great surprise, she discovered an unknown and unsung heroine, who had quietly fed and sheltered close to 500 children in the backwaters of Kogi state.

In 1959, Mama Ekundayo, a married woman with five biological children of her own, decided to take care of orphans and abandoned children as well. Without money or power, she set about her goal and by 2003, she had taken care of well nearly 500 children without any government or international aid.

mama ekundayo

Mama Ekundayo

“Ekundayo,” which translates, “(my) tears have turned to joy,” captured Bello’s sentiments the days she met this woman.

“After talking to her about 10 minutes, I just started to cry,” TY Bello said.

“I felt so empty, you know there is something about her that is very peaceful, very wholesome. You can tell that she was happy but I felt that my whole life was just about me and my project and the things that I wanted.”

Greatly edified by sheer munificence of the woman and the gloriousness of this hidden sacrifice and the contrast of her own life Bello wrote a song for her which she turned to a music video called “Ekundayo.”

ekunday ophanage

Just like many things in life, there are many unsung heroes, people who do good quietly while the world largely remains unaware. Men and women who spend their lives serving others selflessly, at the cost fortune and family. They are so noble, inspiring and out of the ordinary.

It is like catching a glimpse of that image of God we bear in our souls, so obscure and difficult to see in a world marked by unchecked greed and selfish ambition for power, lust and personal gratification.

Using one’s talents or money to serve the greatest number of people is obviously more rewarding and effective, yet it is strangely not common in Africa, and in Nigeria especially. The truth is that it requires degree of spiritual awareness rare and hard to acquire, and even more, it requires willpower and self mastery over the animal instincts of self preservation that only very few can achieve in society rife with insecurity and poverty.

Yet, the Ekundayos of this world aren’t superhuman. They are people with deep convictions who choose to live out the consequences no matter the odds.

ty bello with mama

TY Bello with Mama Ekundayo

But they are the truly free. Those who understand freedom as the radically arbitrary license to do just what they want and to have their own way are living in a lie, for by his very nature man is part of a shared existence and his freedom is shared freedom. His very nature contains direction and norm, and becoming inwardly one with this direction and norm is what freedom is all about.

It is this radical shift in thoughts and philosophy that distinguish Ms Ekundayo from many. Yet, all Nigerians retain the capacity to walk the footstep of this giant.

Admittedly this is no easy task from start to finish in Nigeria. From scarcity of adoption agency to fraudulent agencies that run orphanages with a mind of achieving a clandestine agenda, to lack of proper documentation, to legal challenges to bureaucratic bottle necks ensure that only the truly convinced can walk this course on scathe.

“Mama Ekundayo has shown us how you can do so much with so little. There are countless examples of people like her out there,” said Bello,   “I hope the videos inspire us to help make their work easier or at least spread the word as much as we can.”

EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO (video)

LYRICS: EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO

Ekundayo sugbon E mi ko

Ise Oluwa ni

Her words resound over and again

Undoubtedly I’ve been changed

Madam your life your heart touched mine

And finally I realized

Even I can give a life

Ekundayo sugbon emi ko oluwa lo fun mi se

Mo dele ever before open my door

Jojolo

 

Life was all about me

My life was all about me

Did not see nothing wrong

The life that I lived

Was far from her reality

Don’t know how empty I was

Madam your life your heart touched mine

I was struck by the purity of your smile

Now I know

Realize the change I can bring (Change I can be)

To suffering children who’ve got no home

Pray for me so I can see

Through your eyes

Repeat Do you know beautiful you become

When you make way

For the all little ones

Who otherwise would not have made it through their day

You become a part of their tale

Oh how beautiful are the feet of every man

Who brings tidings of hope to children broken

Blessings from heaven gate

Will shower you every day

Everytime you open the door to link a child

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Eje kan wa oh oh

 

Open up my door (Say yeah)

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Ki won wa oh oh

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Cure’s Robert Smith Humble Response at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

1 04 2019

 

English rock band the Cure have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but that news has been overshadowed by an interview on the red carpet, according to the guardian.uk. Lead singer Robert Smith’s humble response to a very excitable American interviewer has been viewed more than eight million times. It becomes glaringly apparent that the band was a lot less enthusiastic about their induction into the rock hall of fame than their interviewer Carrie Keagan.

“Hi, guys, so nice to meet you, I am Keagan, congratulations  to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” she goes almost jumping out of her shoes as the rock band approached

“Are you as excited as I am?” Keagan asked the Cure’s Robert Smith

“No”

“But no? What are we going to do?”

“I am sure we will get there, it’s a bit early isn’t it? ”

Maybe we just need a few drinks” Keagan suggested.

“God forbid” Smith chirped to applause from a much delighted audience.

Cure’s Robert Smith humble unenthusiastic response to fame calls to mind a brilliant commentary by Professor Donald Demarco on humility, reproduced below for your enjoyment:

The humble person makes a realistic assessment of who he is and puts that unillusioned judgment into practice. He does not judge himself to be smaller or larger than he really is. In so doing he avoids despair as well as pride. Consequently, the humble person enjoys the freedom to be who he is. He is not troubled by accidentals, such as reputation, self-interest, or failure. He takes joy in the importance or excellence of what is done rather than in the incidental fact that he happened to be the one who did it. As for illusions, which often consume huge amounts of time and energy, he has none to defend. He is not troubled by feeling obliged to defend an imaginary self to people who do not know who he really is. Nor does he expect others to be who they are not. He has no concern for trading in unrealities. He is not a candidate for being victimized by self-pity. He is not likely to be saddened by not being who he cannot be. Because of the priceless freedom to be who a person truly is, Thomas Merton can say that “the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy.[5] For Confucius, “Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”

The great mathematician-physicist Albert Einstein confessed that he was troubled by the adulation he received. He felt it was grossly disproportionate to his own more humble and realistic estimate of himself. “There are plenty of the well-endowed, thank God”, wrote the author of the theory of relativity. “It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few of them for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular estimate of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque.”

A philosopher, who understood the fundamental importance of humility in the broad scheme of things, was once asked what the great God was doing. He replied: “His whole employment is to lift up the humble and cast down the proud.” Since humility is fruitful and pride self-destructive, such an employment would be perfectly consistent with God’s love for his creatures.

Jascha Heifetz and Mischa Elman, both preeminent violinists, were dining together in a restaurant when a waiter presented them with an envelope addressed to “the World’s Greatest Violinist”. Since the two were good friends and held each other’s artistry in the highest esteem, neither wanted to assume the letter was addressed to himself. When Heifetz begged Elman to open the envelope, the latter bowed and deferred to the former. When Elman insisted the letter must be for his companion, Heifetz, likewise demurred to his partner. Finally, Elman’s persistence was persuasive, and Heifetz reluctantly opened the letter and read the salutation: “Dear Fritz” (their illustrious colleague Fritz Kreisler).[6]

It is easy to imagine the two violinists being humbled by the incident. By contrast, Socrates interpreted the oracle’s statement, “No man is wiser than Socrates”, with rare humility. The “gadfly” of Athens correctly took it to mean that no man is wise. “Humility”, as Cardinal Newman once explained, “is one of the most difficult of virtues both to attain and to ascertain. It lies close upon the heart itself, and its tests are exceedingly delicate and subtle.”[7]

Among philosophers, Socrates is perhaps best associated with the virtue of humility. Because he knew he did not possess wisdom, he was constantly in pursuit of it. Hence, his life-long search for a master-teacher. Yet his humility proved to be a great asset inasmuch as it freed him from the distorting influence of pride. He saw the human condition with exceptional clarity, so much so that he earned the distinction of being the “Father of Moral Philosophy”.

“Humility”, states Henry David Thoreau, “like darkness reveals the heavenly lights.”[8] All genuine appreciation of things requires seeing them against a boundary of nonexistence. From the perspective of nonbeing, all light seems lightning, every sensation becomes sensational, and each phenomenon appears to be phenomenal. The attitude of humility, because it expects nothing, is ready to appreciate everything. The person who empties himself is best prepared to fill himself with the wonders of the universe. As G.K. Chesterton has pointed out, “It is one of the million wild jests of truth that we know nothing until we know nothing.”[9]

On a more theological level, Saint Augustine maintains that humility is the first, second, and third most important factor in religion. It is, in his judgment, the foundation of all other virtues. Consequently, there can be no virtue in the soul in which humility is lacking, only the appearance of virtue.

Even the devil may clothe himself in the appearance of virtue. When Saint Macarius once returned to his cell, he met the devil, who tried to cut him in half with a sickle. The devil failed in repeated attempts, because when he drew near the saint, he lost his energy. Then, full of anger, he said: “I suffer great violence from you, Macarius, because though I greatly desire to harm you, I cannot. I do all that you do and more. You fast once in a while, I never eat. You sleep little, I never close my eyes. You are chaste, and so am I. In one thing only do you surpass me.” “And what is this thing?” asked Macarius. He answered: “It is your great humility.” And with that, the devil disappeared.[10]

Canadian artist Michael O’Brien dedicated a year of his work to illustrating the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. When he came to the “Assumption of Mary into Heaven”, he found himself devoid of any inner suggestion as to how he might depict this particular mystery. In fact, he was so barren of artistic ideas that he even thought of omitting it from the series. It was at that time that he happened to read a passage in Thomas Aquinas that stated that God sends an angel to assist people in completing a work that glorifies God. Encouraged by this passage, O’Brien prayed for an assisting angel. Then it all came to him. He suddenly knew, without any accompanying emotion, exactly what colors, shapes, figures, and design he must use in executing the painting. As he himself readily admits, “What was to have been my most difficult painting was the easiest one I ever painted in my life.”[11] The painting is actually the most captivating of the series and adorns the cover of the published edition of these illustrated mysteries.[12]

Humility is the mother of many virtues, because from it knowledge, realism, honesty, strength, and dedication are born. “Humility, that low, sweet root,” writes the poet Thomas Moore, “From which all heavenly virtues shoot.”[13]

THE AUTHOR

Donald DeMarco is adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut and Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo Ontario. He also continues to work as a corresponding member of the Pontifical Acadmy for Life. Donald DeMarco has written hundreds of articles for various scholarly and popular journals, and is the author of twenty books, including The Heart of Virtue, The Many Faces of Virtue, Virtue’s Alphabet: From Amiability to Zeal and Architects Of The Culture Of Death. Donald DeMarco is on the Advisory Board of The Catholic Education Resource Center.





Even Cardi B’s Dirty Past Can be Forgiven

30 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

carddi

Cardi B

This year’s Grammy best rap winner, singer and songwriter,  Cardi B may soon be in deep waters. A video in which she claimed that she used to drug and rob men to survive, has surfaced.

Many are clamoring for her to be held accountable, especially in the wake of the women take down of many men by the famous #MeToo movement

Accused of sexual assault that happened years ago, super celebrity like Bill Cosby is doing time and R.Kelly’s fate hangs on the edge. Why should we forgive Cardi B?

“Is there any chance at all that a man could admit to drugging and robbing women and still keep his career?”  Some ask.

While critics are calling for her head, as the only fair way to deal with the revelation, her fans argue that she committed the crime out of desperation, unlike other celebrities who allegedly committed their crimes at the height of fame and fortune abusing their privileges

She admits she isn’t proud of that ‘dirty past’ and no longer tows that path.

And a dirty past it is. She became a gang member at 16 and a stripper at 19 when she was fired from the supermarket where she was working, and yet she is Catholic and claims a “strong relationship” with God in interviews, often saying that she directly communicates with God.

But as the saying goes, “Behind very dark clouds, there is sometimes a silver lining”, in age where celebrities daily celebrate their disdain for marriage and having babies, Cardi B surprised everyone by doing both.

She secretly married her friend and confidant, Offset, in their bedroom in September 2017 and when the rumors broke, she confirmed it on social media.

They have a daughter and have been together for 3 yrs a now are rare feat in music industry today. Her husband even accompanied her to the stage to receive her Grammy.

cardi and baby

Cardi B with her Husband, Offset and their daughter

“All I can do now is be a better me for myself my family and my future,” the mother of one said on Instagram.

While it is true that it is never right to do evil so that good may come and her rise to the top will never justify her criminal actions and that she may probably go to jail for soon, yet, her dirty past can be forgiven, wiped clean by God, through the sacrament of confession if she is truly contrite and has sincerely repented of her past life.

Confession is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which the faithful obtain absolution for the sins committed against God and neighbour and are reconciled with the community of the Church. By this sacrament Catholics believe they are freed from sins committed after baptism. The sacrament of Penance is considered the normal way to be absolved from mortal sin, by which one would otherwise possibly condemn oneself to Hell ( click here for a complete guide to confession)

 

No matter how black our sins are God always forgives

“I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; I desire that the wicked turn back from his way and live.” Says Holy Scriptures, and as Pope Francis said, “There are people who are afraid to go to confession, forgetting that they will not encounter a severe judge there, but the immensely merciful Father.”

In human tribunal we can only expect justice, in Divine tribunal we only expect mercy

“In itself, mercy is the greatest of the virtues, since all the others revolve around it and, more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies…..it is proper to God to have mercy, through which his omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree”. (Apostolic exhortation, Gauduim et spes)

The problem is that there is a great loss of sense of sin today, a loss which originated in Hollywood in the 60’s and have spread everywhere via movies and many today do not feel they need forgiveness.

Yet sin multiplies daily in the world and we all need forgiveness

Catholics distinguish between two types of sin. Mortal sins are a “grave violation of God’s law” that “turns man away from God”. Acts like murder and robbery are good examples, but still are specks in a wide spectrum of sin men are capable of.

Someone who is aware of having committed mortal sins must repent of having done so and then confess them in order to benefit from the sacrament. Venial sins, the kind that “does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God”, can be remitted by contrition and reception of other sacraments but they too, “constituting a moral disorder and are rightly and usefully declared in confession”.

Yet, for my money, there is more to contrition and confession than just the act. When you rob someone of his money, you need to give it back. The Catholic Church teaches that the penitents practice restitution, returning of stolen goods and prayerful reparations to those whom our sins have wounded.

Cardi B needs to examine her conscience and ask God for a soul sensitive to sin because without interior repentance, confession is useless. She needs to make attempts to repair her past misdeeds.

One area she could work on is her music dance videos. While some are brilliant, most cuts too close to sexual immorality and sexually suggestive moves could lead her millions of teeming fans to temptation and sin from which she cannot be exonerated.

Again, her use of four letter words, wide currency in modern music, is scandalously out of control, and contributes to the corruption of her young fans. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea,” says sacred scripture.

Unfortunately, her spiking fame and fortune will make her battle to come clean tougher, for it’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, than for a camel to pass through the eyes of the needle. Yet all things are possible with God.

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 

 





A boxer’s Kiss and the Story of Virtues

26 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Flaunting female journalist gets forcibly kissed by a shirtless boxer. Both need virtue therapy.

Bulgarian heavyweight boxer abruptly grabbed a female reporter Jennifer Ravalo on live television, and kissed her on the lips. Jennifer who works for the Vegas Sport Daily was interviewing the still bleeding and shirtless boxer Kubrat Pulev, Pulev had just knocked out Bogdan Dinu in a Las Vegas fight, his 27th victory in 28 professional fights, according to gaurdian.uk

She was all smiles, leaning in way too close, cleavage clearly visible, as she smiled to the camera and right in his face. His drawled responses was getting more and more distracted, and he lost  self control, abruptly  grabbed and forcibly kissed her on the lips and walked away.

“Thanks you, Jesus Christ!” Jennifer exclaimed, embarrassed.  This seemly abrupt and strange action may not be entirely inexplicable. A boxer brimming with adrenaline, in close proximity with a sweet female with some flesh in display may just grab her. It is called original sin, a sin as old as mankind; it led to the fall of the first man and woman according to Christian scriptures, and occasioned the banishment of man’s first ancestors from paradise.

It’s clear that simply being a good person requires some kind of self restraint. If a man gives in to his anger he’ll be impossible to live with, and may even end up a murderer. Furthermore, if a person doesn’t know how to deny his excessive desire for alcohol, he’ll become drunkard, a child who does not curtail his desire to watch television or play computer games will fall behind in his school work, a boxer who does not want to control his desires will grab female reporters on live television and kiss them on the lips.

Virtues are what we use to control ourselves.

What are the virtues?  Virtues are habits that help us act according to right reason, to move us towards what is truly good. Virtue come from the Latin, vir: Life .Virtue is a state of character and excellence that make a person do good. They are realized and grown by constant practice. There are four virtues, called cardinal, on which hinge the whole moral life. They are: Prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. Each of these four virtues has bullet points.

The Catholic Church describes these four cardinal virtues as “human” (in contrast to the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, which are of divine origin).  The cardinal virtues are habits that, when practiced and cultivated, allow us the ability to make right choices.

Prudence

Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.”… It guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. If boxer Pulev practiced prudence, he would know that forcibly kissing a woman could land him in big trouble and possible lawsuits in this age of #MeToo.  Again, one of the bullet points under the virtues of temperance is modesty. Perhaps, if Jennifer kept a modest distance from the boxer and showed less cleavage, she would have helped him maintain control. This is not to say that she is responsible for what happened.

boxer kissing reporter

Justice

Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor … Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.

Fortitude

Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. Pulev might have resisted the Jennifer’s alluring lips, perhaps looking away,  this resolved could be strengthened by thinking about his wife and children, not wanting to embarrass them.

Temperance

Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable … In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.”

It’s clear that these qualities are essential for everyone, today as they were yesterday, if not more…and for celebrities, much more.

Chinwuba Iyizoba is the editor of Authors-choice





How to Shield Your Children from Corruption

24 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Rife in every section of Nigerian society, corruption is more visible in the armed forces who clog highways with sandbags and drums, and openly extort money from motorist.

I was driving with my 7 yrs nephew, Jonathan, by my side. It was a hot afternoon. We came to a police check.

“Do you want to be a policeman? “ I asked mischievously.

 “No,” the boy answered, without hesitation.

“Why?”

I was curious to know the reason for such categorical rejection. A police job is honored work in many countries.

“They are corrupt!” he quipped without blinking.

The policeman by the car in front crumpled something into his pocket waved him on. We were next.

 I wound down and greeted him cheerfully.

“Anything for your boys?” drawled the officer.

“Nothing today, sir” I said, sheepishly. “May be tomorrow.”

He waved us on.

We drove on in silence. I was wondering how much harm was done to children by witnessing daily daylight graft on our roads by men in uniform.

It reminded me of another story a woman told me, some time ago, about her 7 yr old son, Hamza. He had just joined the boy scouts, the uniform and badges gave him such a trill, he felt like an officer, and like officers do, he wanted money. The next day, on his way to a scouting activity, he stepped into the middle of a busy road and faced a fast approaching taxi. He had seen policemen do all the time. As the car raced towards him, horn blaring, he raised an authoritative hand. Stop!

 The car swerved at the last minute to avoid running him over, the driver spat at him, passengers cursed and showed him their five fingers. Passersby screamed as they hauled him by the ear out of the road and someone whisked him back to his shocked and grateful mother. That was the end of his scouting career.

The difference between Jonathan and Hamza, it occurred to me, was that Jonathan goes to a private school where Christian ethical codes were taught every week. During classes, teachers emphasize the difference between good and evil, and how lying, cheating–in a word corruption, harms. They help them discover good and do it, they help them uncover evil and avoid it; they learn that they can make mistakes and how to be quick in correcting themselves.

Hamza, on the other hand, attends a public school ill equipped to teach him Math’s and English, but very efficiently creates an environment that makes it hard for him to be virtuous.  He learns from older pupils how to steal, smoke, drink and climb school fences at night to visit brothels. He has never been furnished any argument against the corruption he sees.

Yet more Nigerian children attend public schools than private schools, and we cannot have it both ways. Either we teach these children about the evil of corruption now or we have corrupt citizens later.

This troubled Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author until she decided to do something revolutionary.

 In 2012, frustrated with all the rhetoric about fighting corruption in Liberia she wrote anti-corruption books for kids. The first one, Gbagba loosely translated, means ‘trickery’ or, ‘corruption’

 “I realized that integrity must be strengthened at the earliest stages in a child’s life in order to mitigate the practice of corruption in the next generation” she said.

Gbagba is the story of young twins, who leave the countryside to visit their aunt in the capital, Monrovia. The intrigues of adults in everyday corrupt practices—robbery, bribery, fraud, vigilantism—collide with the children’s strong moral sense of right and wrong.

Immediately after the children arrive in the city, a thief “in dirty clothes” snatches their suitcases in broad daylight. The description of the robber tells us that that the man is poor and desperate. But the idea that it is greed rather than dehumanizing poverty triggers the man’s thievery incites the threat of mob justice

And in no time, the twins later observe their aunt’s driver bribing a police officer. Their aunt’s indifference during this encounter stands in stark contrast to the twins’ sharp perception of the unfair advantage that takes place after the transaction.

You can watch the video adaptation of the book below and please share with your children

Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as compulsory reading by Liberian Ministry of Education

“Eight to 10-year-old children are the perfect targets because it is at this stage that they begin to form an ethical core,” Pailey continued.

 “In writing Gbagba, I imagined myself a proverbial anti-corruption pied piper, without the instrument of doom…. Even though Gbagba‘s setting is Liberia, it remains a universal tale about children’s emancipation from the confusing ethical codes of the adults around them”

As Pailey says, children are the moral compass of Liberia if not the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.

The book has been turned into a play and the play was well received by parents, teachers, and school administrators in Liberian and other African countries.  It has also been converted to a play, and 200 theatre-goers enjoyed the performance in the audience on debut day.

A parent of one of the cast members informed Pailey her daughter is now the integrity police in their household, pointing out when her parents and siblings are being dishonest.

This is a worthy investment Nigerian government should consider making, inviting Pailey with her project and give children like Hamza the knowledge they need to fight corruption in themselves and later in the Nigerian society . Pailey has since written a sequel to Gbagba called Jaadeh.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba








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