Love is often considered weak. Many think it’s butterflies and kisses, innocence and naivety. Love is far more than goose bumps, wet kisses and popping of cherries in abandoned spaces. Love is more. Way more. To fully understand Love, take a look at a world without it.
In the slave castles of Ghana, you’d find a church right above a dungeon. Whilst the captives suffocated in shackles in the stinky, dingy dungeons, these men prayed above to God. For what, I do not know. To the sick, selfish mind, the ancient command to love neighbour as self is impractical, incomprehensible and unacceptable. The world is dangerous without love.
Over one hundred million Africans died in the period of the transatlantic slave trade and the few who survived were treated terribly by those who claimed to own them. The world is dangerous without Love. Love is not weak. Slavery still persists today.
In every continent of the world, you’d find somebody being abused, mishandled, exploited and used by the strong. Only Love can stop wrong.
Last night, Daniel, my assistant introduced me to some of the young men we will be photographing for my series “Bed Room Portraits”. I noticed the boy, now in his mid to late teens, was reading our lips for comprehension. When Daniel, who has known him for quite a while asked him if he had problems hearing, he said yes. It turns out two years ago, he was slapped terribly several times by a certain man because he didn’t return a pair of borrowed football boots in time. By the time the man found out the boots were actually returned but his kid had failed to notify him, he had damaged the boy’s eardrums. I walked away with tears in my eyes. I might be able to help him get justice but it won’t bring his eardrums back. Daniel, sensing my sadness, warned me there were worse stories and if the interviews begin, I will have to brace myself. Love is not weak. Love is what the world needs.
Today, terrible news doesn’t shock us anymore.
But we need to train ourselves not to get used to wrong, even if it’s happening at the other end of the globe. It’s very common to see someone eating their dinner calmly whilst the announcer on TV goes on with “59 people reported dead in a suicide bombing in Kabul… The body of a woman has been discovered in the bushes 30km away from her house. Police suspect she was raped, robbed before being killed. No suspects apprehended yet… According to a WHO report, a child dies from Malaria in Africa every other second…Flooding kills hundreds in Indonesia. Thousands displaced… Woman escapes shallow grave with her engagement ring. Boyfriend found guilty…” Terrible news doesn’t shock us anymore.
As we bid Christmas farewell and get ready for 2012, I hope you’d remember in every instant of your life, that Love is the better option. Be kind to neighbour. Don’t be rude to the stranger. Don’t judge a person by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Remember gentle words are easier to eat back. Fear no one. Respect everybody.
Choose Love. Love is stronger than Strength. Go Love.
*All the Pictures in this post are from the Elmina Castle, in Ghana