In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the author frighteningly reveals man’s truly complex nature. Using young British boys, he maroons them on an island, and they really try to set themselves up to face life in the jungle. Their plan entails getting a leader who will organise their existence on the island. But it is not long before evil asserts itself, manifested in the fight for leadership of the marooned group and the determination to stop at nothing to achieve this single-minded goal - even murder. Mind, these are very young boys, yet unschooled in the wheeling and dealing that characterises adult man’s power games.
Golding’s novel, and one of the reasons it is put on Literature school syllabuses in many countries, is to teach as many people as possible the frightening spectre of unbridled hunger for power. This is our over-riding human dilemma. But can it not be tamed?
Man’s evolution is assumed to be from savage to social animal. Every stage of human development has consistently pointed to this path of change, so the bewilderment when there is a negative, destructive reversal, however momentary.
The destructive spirit that is behind the breakdown of order in Kenya – murder, pillage, rape, deliberate capsizing of boats to drown the occupants, and every horror you can care to name – has ever been visited on us here in Rwanda.
The difference now hinges on the desire of the people to ride on the deep embarrassment that has exposed our bloody hearts, to rip out any genocidal thoughts and hurl it far away, never to be entertained again.
The pity of it is that the leaders in Kenya will have to feel double shame to be able to lead a campaign against this evil, having started the conflagration themselves.