DEMYSTIFYING THE MANTRA 'WE DO NOT SPEAK ILL OF THE DEAD'

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 30, 2017

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Submitted: March 30, 2017

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On Tuesday, 11th September, 2001, Osama Bin Laden infamously masterminded arguably the most devastating terror attack of all time. That bloody attack resulted in the death of over 3000 people within a day.  The instantly declared world’s most wanted man would then go into hiding as a fugitive in neighboring Pakistan and outlive president Bush’s tenure of office; despite all the brutalities in Afghanistan and neighboring countries that would also result in the further deaths of many other innocent lives. The details of that infamous bloody adventure, though, I wouldn’t want to revisit.  In sum, Osama was eventually killed in his Pakistani residence exactly ten years after that incidence. 

But most significantly ought to be recognized the fact that, notwithstanding the entire scar Mr. Bin Laden has left in the annals of world history, he was also a mortal whose life came to an end immediately the bullet that caused uproar on the streets of New York entered his forehead. The late Mr. Bin Laden therefore is also now considered as the body.

The popular phrase ‘we do not speak ill of the dead’ stands to reason that despite all the varying legacies of every being, we should coin a template biography for the same immediately in the wake of their demise.

As I once noted elsewhere, I unreservedly disagree with that logic, because I find it contradictory with the very moral principles it seeks to achieve. It violates truthfulness and/or frankness that are the pillars in every ethical and moral discussion.

The Holy Scripture pointedly states that “Do not withhold honor to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” proverbs 3:27.  It also states that “know ye not that they which run a race run all, but one wins the prize?” These scriptures highlights the fact that certain individuals impacts humanity more than others, and therefore deserves all the commendations therein; so how different do the legacies of human beings get, when they eventually transition into eternity or otherwise?

I have witnessed an incident after a funeral ceremony, where a closed casket being sent to the cemetery was forcefully opened by friends of the deceased, who then mishandled and removed some of the body parts of the corpse under the influence of drugs and alcohol; all because of the kinds of friends and/or association the dead person was associated with whilst on earth. I have also witnessed an aftermath of an alleged armed robber's funeral where his remembrance was marked with a robbery of a bank that led to the shooting of two police men by his allies.

The aforementioned manhandled corpse attracted sympathies from everyone but their perpetrators. And those robbery scenes admittedly looked quite disturbing and unforgivably heartless.  They also stigmatized the family of the deceased.

Hence, I know the framers of some of these quotes meant well, because it can cruelly stigmatize an innocent family member who might have a different ambition in life, but for the evil ways of their dead relatives. But in this day of progressive revelation and present day truth, we must redefine our thinking.

Everyone has got his own race on earth to run. Even identical twins have different destinies. We must call a spade a spade. The dead should be used as a classical example to reflect the consequences of whatever we do whiles alive. And that, I think, would guide the way we live our lives to help us prosper here on earth, be remembered after our death and most significantly follow what our creator admonishes us to do.

We shouldn’t practice Christianity in isolation of what happens in the world; as the bible states “truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” Mathew 25:45. Which means if you call yourself a christian, your impact in this world must still be felt in the life of mortal beings.

So in leaving it for your judgment, should a Nelson Mandela who spent some 27years in prison, because of the freedom of strangers and a Saddam Hussein or an Osama bin Laden who can be best remembered for their infamy in terrorism earn the same global acclaim? Or should the same humanitarian feats credited to mother Teresa, be equally credited to an Idi Amin or an Adolf Hitler, whose legacies were one of cannibalism, racism and heartlessness?


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