Simple: Watch the movie, "A Bug’s Life."
I will come back to that.
Since I wrote part 1 of this series, there have been revolutions in Tunisia, in Libya and in Egypt; and in Ukraine. People have pointed out that those countries are not better off after the revolution.
To those who say so, my answer is, check back in 25 years from now. The price they paid for standing up against their oppressors and the price they are paying now as they work out the fine prints of that revolution will pay off down the road.
That’s how it has always been. Sometimes, to go from bad to good you have to first visit the worst.
Revolutions can either be peaceful or violent. Whichever way it goes, its aim is always to turn over in one swoop the failed social order and then replace it with a viable one.
When Nigerians look at Ghana some wonder why the West African state is a saner society. It’s better because at one point in the trajectory of their society someone changed their orbit. He changed it in a way that a minister who dreams of making a million dollars in politics is relieved of her job. Meanwhile her counterpart in Nigeria who is caught with stolen million is celebrated by the government and the people.
In a society where there are no consequences for bad behavior, you only embolden those who feast in such behavior.
In "A Bug’s Life," a colony of ants, with the help of Flik (an ant willing to think outside the box) take on the oppressive gang of grasshoppers led by Hopper. The grasshoppers demand food from the ants each season. The ants have to gather food for the grasshoppers first before they gather for themselves.
Here is how Hopper, the leader of the grasshoppers, put it:
“It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess. One of those Circle-of-Life kind of things. Now let me tell you how things are supposed to work: The sun grows the food, the ants pick the food, the grasshoppers eat the food...”
The problem with this order started when an accident led to the loss of the food the ants had gathered for the grasshoppers. When the grasshoppers came and did not find their food, they went to harass the queen. The queen tried to offer an excuse and shift the blame but Hopper shut her up. He said to her: “First rule of leadership: Everything is your fault.”
Flik’s new ideas of freeing the colony from the grasshoppers were rejected by majority of the colony who were not willing to take any risk to disrupt the current order that was not working for them. They marshaled out all the reasons why Flik’s plans would never work. At one point they hatched a plan to get rid of Flik himself to allow them to settle on the life of suffering for the grasshoppers that many believed fate had bestowed on them.
Flik on his part kept trying new ideas of lessening the burden on the ants where old ones failed. In one plan he designed, he hired circus bugs thinking they were warrior bugs. He built a false bird to scare away Hopper and his gang. It worked until the bird was set on fire and exposed as fake. Hopper, angry at the deceit ordered that Flik be beaten for fooling the grasshoppers.
That attempt made Flik to finally defy the grasshoppers and pronounce to the colony that the grasshoppers needed the ants more than the ants needed the grasshoppers. His boldness inspired the ants to take on the grasshoppers and chase them out of Ant Island.
The grasshoppers however did not go without a fight. Hopper led his gang on a counter offensive. When he saw a bird that was an acquaintance of Flik, he thought it was another of Flik’s fake birds. Hopper taunted the bird until the bird picked him up and fed him to her chicks.
Here are some of the memorable lines from the movie. When the grasshoppers were reluctant to return to the Ant island to demand for more food, Hopper, their leader said this to them: “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It's not about food; it's about keeping those ants in line. That's why we're going back! Does anybody else wanna stay?”
For the oppressive class, it is not often about food- they already have enough. It is about keeping the oppressed in line. And deep inside they know that the oppressed outnumber them by over a hundred to one and they only hope that the oppressed will never figure it out.
Nigerians for instance outnumber the National Assembly by almost 500,000 to 1. The members of the National Assembly hope you don’t figure it out. Because they know that if you figure it out, you can occupy the National Assembly until they reduce their pay to something less obscene.
In the pivotal encounter between Hopper and Filk, when Filk’s fake bird had been exposed and Hopper moved in to punish Filk, the following conversation ensued.
Hopper: Let this be a lesson to all you ants! Ideas are very dangerous things! You are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this Earth to serve us!
Flik: You're wrong, Hopper. Ants are not meant to serve grasshoppers. I've seen these ants do great things, and year after year they somehow manage to pick food for themselves and you. So-so who is the weaker species? Ants don't serve grasshoppers! It's you who need us! We're a lot stronger than you say we are... And you know it, don't you?
We, the poor masses in Nigeria are not meant to serve the rich and the powerful. We do great things. The masses are not weak. We are a lot stronger than the rich and the powerful make us feel. And the rich and the powerful know it.
The Filks of Nigeria are hearing the same things that Flik in "A Bug’s Life" heard about why an overturn of the current order would never happen. Or that if it should ever happen would not be good for the masses.
It all boils down to this: When we see where things work, we admire the good things of life but have no idea of the sacrifices made by generations past for those good things to germinate and grow. This generation of ours can do something today as a down payment towards a better life for our children or do nothing and make the plight of our children worse than ours.
The first step is read part 3 of this series (http://saharareporters.com/column/how-start-revolution-part-3-rudolf-ogoo-okonkwo) and then watch, "A Bug’s Life".