Who really feels our pain?
Sir: The expression “I feel your pains” is a popular statement synonymous with sharing in the grief of another. It is sympathetic. One will definitely feel the pains of another, where there is a special relationship or close affinity. To share in the pain of a very distant person and where the pain sharer had no similar experience will be an irony. Even, where the pain sharer has had similar experience long ago, there is likelihood of time to have healed the pains. It takes personal reflection on “common humanity” to share in the pains of a very distant person with no close affinity.
I recently pondered on this, our government officials have no restraint as to the use of this statement wherever there is hardship of any kind. Government officials are very quick in saying: “I feel your pains” To what extent? An official with a privileged background that has never experienced hunger in his life, saying he feels the pain of downtrodden people. Officials who usually enjoy constant electricity, even with the help of giant generators, will also say he felt the pains of aggrieved citizens who are protesting against poor electricity supply. How can political elite who are chauffeur-driven feel the pains of commuters queuing in the scorching sun, waiting eagerly for commercial buses?
I have not seen any of our political office holders queue at filling stations in this hard time of fuel crises, their aides pay the price. How can our leaders who live in high brow estates with all infrastructural facilities as in developed society feel the pains of citizens living in slums and government abandoned areas?
Let our leaders occasionally join the queue for public buses, stay in the slum for some days, let them queue personally at the filling stations to fuel their cars. They should do this diligently not for political propaganda. Then we can accept that they feel our pains.
• Tunji Ajibola,
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