An article by Muniini Mulera that I read some time ago keeps ringing in my head. Dr. Mulera, the columnist based in Canada, writes for the ‘Daily Monitor’ of Uganda.
As he watched the mighty Niagara Falls through the window of his hotel room in Canada, Dr. Mulera was pondering the insignificance of man in comparison to the vastness of the features of our earth and that of our universe.
At my workstation, I am equally awed, gazing at a much smaller but equally grand feature of our part of the earth. Mount Kigali stands tall in the whole area of Kigali, overlooking surrounding hills and valleys that seem to genuflect in diffidence of its imposing presence.
Only when she looks to the north of Rwanda, at the more imposing volcanoes, does Mount Kigali probably feel cowed by a more powerful presence. Even then, imagine what she has seen over the generations.
Smaller than ants in comparison to her size, men have lived together at her foot as Banyarwanda and she has always seen them as that. From time immemorial, they laughed together, cried together, ate together, drunk together, prayed together and narrated their stories together.
At times, of course, she watched bemusedly as a few ants jostled for supremacy and killed brethren, but never comprehended what that power was that they fought over! Still, after their little useless scuffles, they always settled back to leading their little lives as before.
Then, one morning, a totally different kind of ant arrived and it was as if the orderly life of the black ants was disrupted for ever. The new arrival, the red ant, invited its fellow red ants and together they manipulated the black ants until the latter completely lost their identity.
The red ants taught the black ants how not to live, laugh, cry, pray, eat, drink or narrate stories together again. And so, after a time, Mount Kigali was not surprised when some black ants turned against their kind, killing a number of them as the red ants cheered them on.
However, the order of things was not that the red ant would for ever be master over the black ant. Time came, therefore, that the red ant had to go. It happily went, knowing that it had at least changed the social order of the black ants in this region.
The black ants that were left in charge, on their part, were thankful that their social order had been disrupted and they set about making this disorder permanent. They were not contented with being in charge alone and devised a grand plan of eradicating all their other ant brethren.
Mount Kigali mourned and grieved as she watched helplessly as blood of her little people drenched her feet. Stupid, these miniature beings did not seem to comprehend the tininess of their little existence in comparison to the vast expanse of the Natural System.
Poor, useless things, did they even know what the Natural System was? She, Mount Kigali, for instance, is a giant compared to man. Yet she becomes a mere dot on the African map, and less than a spec on the world map.
Think now of the many earths (planets) that exist and the many universes and our world itself becomes less than a spec in space. That, however, is not all.
Mount Kigali has lived for many years and is yet to live for many more. The longest a man can hope to live, however, cannot possibly exceed 150 years.
When you remember that our earth may not be the first that lived and that it will die also and many other generations will come after it, then you begin to comprehend the tininess of man’s existence, and even of the earth, in time.
That arrangement of things in time and space, the order of things, is what Mount Kigali considers to be the Natural System. This may be what the red ant introduced to Rwanda as God’s creation but, whatever it may be, it shows the futility of man’s effort in trying to permanently disrupt the Order.
Natural hazards apart, the order of things is that they all live in harmony. Man, in his spec of existence, can only live for a legacy and hope that the legacy will outlive three, four generations.
That is why we should for ever praise the sons and daughters of Rwanda who have dedicated their lives to cementing the harmonious co-existence, and to improving the welfare, of Rwandans.
Upon which note we must remember one of Africa’s most illustrious sons, who dedicated their lives to the cause of Pan-Africanism. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who died last May 25, the same date on which the OAU was formed.
May Allah rest his soul in eternal piece!