At Last, It Is Man Against Himself

October 5, 2018 Environment , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

UNAMID photo

 

By

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

When Tupac Amaru Shakur released his third studio album, Me Against The World, on March 14, 1995, considered by many reviewers to be his magnum opus, rapping enthusiasts were perplexed with the revelation.

 

Many critics argued that with Me Against The World under his belt, Tupac had become more “professional”, reflective (in the real sense of the word), and “soul-bearing” for the excessive revelation the song unfolds.

 

Cheo H. Coker, a song reviewer, opines that “by and large [the song is] a work of pain, anger and burning desperation”. It was probably the first time the world renowned rapper took the conflicting forces that were troubling his life head on then.

 

What makes Tupac a phenomenon in the song was his ability to conflate sheer “desperation” and “tenderness”. He decried the happenings in his world that killed his kind and brought to many untold sufferings; and at the same time counselled his race on how to survive the unrelenting challenges facing society, especially the youth.

 

Unlike most men today, Tupac saw himself as an activist-cum-revolutionary and that was why most of his songs, especially Me Against The World and Only God Can Judge, are typical examples of his preaching. Whatever, Tupac Shakur was one of the best rappers that ever walked the earth, who spent his life fighting the inhuman policies he perceived against his race. The question here is why is man today, instead of building his life, tirelessly undoing it? He is not only against the world but also against himself. What an irony!

 

Looking at our environment, one wonders whether humans are the most intelligent creatures on the surface of the earth. Where is the intelligence we all brag about when we cannot keep our houses clean let alone our environment? Today, we consciously or otherwise pollute our environment and in so doing invite agents of diseases, thereby destroying ourselves. And still we blame either the government or others for our misfortune. Are people not aware of the health implications of poor attitude to sanitation? Isn’t it hazardous to our health?

 

Many people lack basic personal hygiene. They simply do not know how to keep their body clean, keep their food and water from biological and chemical contaminations or engage in activities aimed at improving their environment; in addition to safeguarding their environment from basic environmental conditions affecting the well-being of the people.

 

There are many cases of malaria these days. Our hospitals and chemists are full to the brim with patients. People are suffering beyond measures from these cases. While men and woman are moaning, children are bawling in pain. But still our nonchalant attitude towards personal hygiene and environmental sanitation has no match. And we are not ready to ease the pain by changing our attitudes.

 

Malaria is a life-threatening disease and is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. But still we give safe heaven to the infectious agents of malaria (parasites of the Plasmodium genus). We pave their way into our homes thereby giving them a hiding place to feast on our flesh. As they suck our blood they transmit the disease from one person to another. Aren’t we captains of our fate in this case?

 

Conversely, we hardly clean our environment and if we do, we indiscriminately dump heap after heap of refuse close to our homes. Those heaps are ideal bases for mosquitoes to be our neighbours. They stay there and breed regiments of armies at last to attack us. We throw refuge carelessly. We do not have proper arrangement for waste disposal. What a race!

 

Interestingly, before, there was communal environmental sanitation that took place at least once a month. People would come out in droves with sanitation implements like rakes, shovels, daggers, brooms, hoes, etc. They moved from one street to another to clean it and clear drainages. But now, perhaps due to our individualistic nature, people have no interest in sanitizing their environment that is why, perhaps, there are too many diseases.

 

Also by throwing scraps of food carelessly in our homes or leaving food left-overs open in our kitchens or living rooms, as one consultant medical doctor told me, we are inviting rodents into our homes. Simply put, we contribute to the making of most of the diseases that are ravaging humans today. Hardly will one find a home which is not infiltrated by rodents. And in slum areas what one has are dingily rat-infested houses. These rodents are said to be responsible for most of our skin diseases.

 

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, rats and mice spread more than 35 diseases the world-over and these can easily be contracted by humans through contact with rodents’ faeces, urine, saliva or bites. Imagine what will become of this part of the world that is struggling with a poor healthcare system.

 

Nowadays rodents are our close associates. They eat from our food and drink from our water and infect our bodies with different diseases. We sleep in the same room with them. We are so used to them that we barely pay attention to their presence and what that will bring. Haven’t we a hand in all this? When the situation is out of hand, we start thinking of rodenticide to deal with them. Gosh, rodents have developed a specially concocted defense mechanism to defend themselves against external aggression. It is still man against himself.

 

Nevertheless, we do not want rain to fell our walls or destroy our houses; but concurrently we do not want to build drainages or de-silt the existing ones either. Does this not sound childish? We want every existing structure in our environment to take care of itself. We only complain when things are deteriorating.

 

It is not news that some communities have no waterways at all. What they have are small ponds in front of their houses to tame the waste water they send from their houses. Apart from softening the soil; it also serves as a hatchery for mosquitoes and in the end they swarm into our houses. Is such a community just to itself?

 

As a concerned citizen and social analyst, I have noticed how rain has felled many walls and destroyed many houses. It creates puddles here and there, too; and we pack them with refuge, thinking this is the easiest way to get rid of waste materials. This is an aftereffect of our poor attitude of refuse disposal. Sand, polythene bags, sugarcane bagasse (its fibrous residue), etc, that we throw indifferently and are carried by flowing rain, sink to the bottom of the drainages, block them and force the water to forge its own way. And if it can’t form its way, it fills our houses and knocks down the walls. At last who is the loser?

 

I was very privileged to meet one civil engineer, who told me that flood is caused by three major things: (1) people’s refusal to remove suspended silt from water ways. When waterways: sewages, gutters and drainages, are choked, water cannot pass. The more it collects in one place, the more damage it causes to structures, (2) people never reckon with benchmark (a point of reference from which a foundation of a building should be set) when they come to build their houses and (3) existence of new structures like flyovers and underpass. In this case, engineers design them reckoning benchmark of the land as against the remaining structures (buildings) whose builders may not have done so. Society’s inability to comply with these unwritten laws is what leads to flood. Haven’t we witnessed many floods this year?

 

It is sad today that man terrorizes his environment and the consequence is a huge loss. Man catches many diseases, which in essence is his own making. We have created our own monster, in alluding to Frankenstein, who created a monster that led to his waterloo, by injecting malaria with a belligerent vitality.

 

The earlier we revisit communal sanitation efforts, imbibe the habit of personal hygiene and learn to clean our houses and environments the better.

 

 

 

 

 

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Kano based, is graduate of B.A English from Bayero University, Kano. He is a budding writer, social analyst, freelancer at Sunrise Language Practitioner (SLP) and regular contributor to Nigerian dailies. 
His writings have appeared in The Communicator, a magazine published by Kano State Polytechnic and in Dailytrust, The Triumph and The cable newspapers. He has a strong interest in literary theory.

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