We all know the famous song and video “Paradise” by Coldplay where we see the lead singer Chris Martin, dressed as an elephant, finally meeting up with his fellow elephants in the beautiful “paradise” of Africa. They unite in singing a wonderful refrain:
“This could be
This could be
Oh oh oh oh oh oh-oh-o…”
One of the biggest challenges in life is to move from the “As Is” to the “Could Be.”
Yes indeed, Central African Republic “could be” – should be, paradise, and yet the reality today is more like hell.
Well the sun is definitely setting over “Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka” – the heart of Africa, as the evil thugs of the rebel army “Seleka” – joined by a heartless, eclectic mix of mercenaries and desperately abused child soldiers and street kids, wreak havoc on this potential heaven.
Here’s an SOS I received a few days ago from a friend on the ground:
“The latest atrocity: a pastor near the town of Bossangoa ( about 300 km away) was burned alive with gasoline during an attack on his village by the Seleka. The town of Yaloke has been taken hostage by Sudanese rebels, while those who brought them in simply watch and do nothing. In Bayangua Reserve more than forty elephants were cut down. My friends this is a spiritual S.O.S to pray for us in CAR.”
The blood of elephants is not as costly as the precious blood of the innocent people who are being killed, raped and robbed in a constant quest for domination of the nation by a pseudo “Islamic” force that has overthrown the previous corrupt and inept government.
However, this shed animal blood and the now ubiquitous elephant meat which feeds hungry flies, as it lies exposed and on sale in the open air markets, is a sign of the sheer devastation of this nation and the pillaging of paradise.
The “World Heritage” site known as the “Dzanga – Sangha” protected area has been home to hundreds of elephants and other beautiful animals for many years. It is one of the many assets – diamonds, gold, precious woods, oil, uranium, that this madly impoverished paradise possesses. Sadly, the greed for ivory, like the greed for natural resources has meant that this piece of heaven has been coveted by all the corrupt and violent eyes of this only too earthly world.
It needs men and women of vocation and quality to manage paradise…
Will the sun rise again over this forgotten land to reveal a new generation of men and women of vocation who might call back the elephants and work together for paradise?
Whether they be called Christian, Muslim, Communist, Animist or simply “African”, may the Spirit of Heaven invade earth once again and put a new heart of love and service into this “Béa Afrika”.
May the black skin no longer bleed, bend and beg; may it rise in sun-browned glory to reign in the world’s garden.
(The author has been involved with Central African Republic for over 20 years. Please circulate this article to raise awareness of what is happening in this part of the world at the moment. The following video clip is a kind of heart longing for what could be in this “peponi”)