Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Monday, February 24, 2014

NAMIBIA - A NATION OF SICK MEN ?

Today’s  headlines ( 24/02/2014) in   The Namibian” carried the title, “Nation of sick men written by Shinovene Immanuel and  Nomhle Kangootui.

This headline  comes  in response  to  the ninth killing  this year, and the sixth in about three weeks  of women  by their boyfriends.  The last killing, on Saturday   was said to  be  a 33 year old  Motswana  woman  who was  stabbed nine times and who had her throat slit in her flat at the Paulinium  Seminary. It was said that she was studying to become a pastor.

The article reminded us  that this gruesome murder came  hours after President Pohamba’s call, during a cabinet meeting on Friday, for a day of   national prayer.  He declared the 6th of  March as the National Prayer day.   Our church will  certainly join this initiative !

What  then shall we say?

Clearly, all this  deeply troubling. The   blood of these nine murdered women cries out from the ground. The heart of the nation  is  laid bare  at such times.  Deep anger  is expressed  and scape goats  are sought. The government is blamed, and  the church is blamed. Much heat and little light  is generally shed  on the true causes  of  such atrocities. The Namibian  Newspaper allowed  someone in their ranks to vent  their (uncontrolled) anger   against our President’s  call to prayer on the front page.  The article  (found below for your interest and information )  reflects  anger  upon anger. We are dealing here with an angry  newspaper  editor and  an   angry nation!

Back to the horrible murders. What shall  we  say about  the murderers? Our  psychologically  conditioned  society  says:   “These are  sick men!”  Sickness is thus  blamed for their actions, and if you take that  thought further, you could say , “their  sickness made them do it!”  That gives them sort of an excuse, doesn’t it ?

Here’s where Christian wisdom comes in. Biblically  we would not call them sick men.  These are angry men  who did this.  Anger is a sinful emotion,  which when not controlled   leads to all sorts  of pathological problems. The Bible  wisely observes : “Do not let  the sun  go down on your anger , and give no opportunity to the devil “ (Ephesians  4:27).  Well, clearly the  devil has had his day! He has found another  member of the human race  willing to perpetrate  a crime  which,  according to the Scriptures,  is worthy of the death penalty!

 “Why are these men angry?”  I remind you that we all  get angry at times. But  we, who come from  healthy  Christian families learn to control our anger.  I can assure you that these men did not do  this on the spur of a moment. Their hearts  were already filled with so much  accumulated anger, that  the argument   which they had  with their so- called girlfriends  was merely the straw that broke the camel’s  back. 

Much more needs to be said as  to why  there are so many angry men in our nation. Here are  a few  considerations  which contribute to  our understanding of the “angry man  syndrome” . These considerations  are rarely, if ever,   discussed in the media :

1.      Men, when they were young boys,  were not helped  by their families to deal with their anger. Absent fathers and mothers  are the curse of our nation.
2.       Anger is a most destructive emotion. Bottled  up anger  leads to  all sorts  of  societal  problems: suicide , murder , alcoholism , drugs etc.  
3.       Systematic biblical teaching  and application in the home and in the church on the subject of    proper relationships  and  the dealing with the emotions  ( including anger)   would certainly have  helped such men.
4.      Men  are often  provoked  by  the  vicious , uncontrolled tongue of a woman. A woman can drive a man to insanity.  When provoked,  men   tend to be physically violent . The woman by contrast, lacking physical strength   provokes with the tongue, and the tongue is a small  instrument that  has often set the world on fire!  Having said this, it  does not excuse  such  a  horrible deed, but it must be considered  as a factor.
5.       The marginalization of men  and the constant ridiculing and downplaying  of the male figure in our society  is  beginning to reap bitter   consequences.  The Ndeshi and Jakes column in the Namibian newspaper bears eloquent  testimony to that. Jakes clearly  is the ever  stupid  male!
6.      The  current   ‘gender  agenda’   blurs the  distinct  identity  and traditional roles   of  male and female. It  generally  favours women.  Men grow silently angry and frustrated in the process.    
7.       The Bible has amazing wisdom  to offer  concerning  the healthy  interaction between men and women. Men are called to be Christ-like  loving leaders , and women are called to be  Christ-like  partners . That is the secret ! And it really works .

The question I have  is this : Are Namibians willing to  listen to the wisdom of the Word of God?  You may be surprised  to find  the answers  here to your ultimate questions!
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Here is the article on the front page of “ The Namibian” (24/02/2014)   by  an unknown  writer . I  have expressed my surprise and disgust to the Editor of the Namibian for such  poor journalism.  

God Save us from Who?
IF OUR government is in such a hopeless state that President Hifikepunye Pohamba, his entire cabinet and the Swapo Politburo call for divine intervention to solve a nationwide problem then Namibians should be very worried.

The declaration of 6 March 2014, a Thursday, as a national day of prayers is nothing short of government’s acceptance that the politicians, who we voted into power, are overwhelmed by the challenges and have failed the masses.

Most worryingly, not only has the President, the cabinet and Swapo disregarded the very Constitution they enacted and which they are sworn to defending, but may well have sown the seeds for religious fundamentalism.

In a country founded on the principles of secularism, it is worth posing the questions: What god are we calling on for divine intervention? Whose god do we pray to? Who should people pray for [victims, criminals, would-be victims and would-be criminals we assume]? How far will the state take religion and religious interventionism now that the government brings the country to a standstill in order to pray?

Needless to say, the agnostics and atheists have been cast aside from this equation.

It may not be obvious now, but many moons down the line different religious groups (including the dominant ones such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism in our part of the world) and their different denominations would most likely begin fighting for turf.

Where religion predominates, and different sects start to demand control, views harden, killings and violence become the order of life. Evidence of religion-driven violence abound in the United States of America, China, India, Palestine and Israel, Afghanistan, Nigeria, the Sudans and the Central African Republic.

To the contrary, no proof exist that the absence of religion is the cause for common crimes such as murder and theft.

Our government will be better served by sticking to defending the Constitution in its totality and tackling challenges facing Namibians head-on without having to take a day off for prayers.

Besides, the rot is at the top where several leaders have publicly and privately been implicated in cases of violence against women and children (both domestic and in public).

President Pohamba has listed 13 points, including the day of prayers, as actions his government needs to take. How cynical!

All of those could have been acted upon many years ago – violence against women and children is an old problem in our country. Some, such as the proliferation of alcohol and drug consumption, have been ignored and tacitly encouraged over the years.

A crucial catalyst for despair and lawlessness – poverty in the land of plenty – does not even get a mention.

It is not the political leaders’ place to lead religious activities. And there’s nothing wrong with our Constitution. In the absence of complete capitulation, therefore, they must do to the job [fulfil promises] based on what they convinced Namibians to vote for them.

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