By: WALE AKINYEMI
After the tragic events of Friday November 13 in France, there was an outpouring of grief and support with major iconic buildings in the world beaming the red white and blue colours of France and social media sites providing France icons.
Now the effect of this was outrage from some people in other parts of the world that have been also hit by terror attacks but did not get the same level of attention.
For instance thousands of people have been killed by Boko Haram and when two thousand people were massacred in one attack on the town of Baga no one put up the Nigerian colours on any iconic building. It was hardly enough to warrant international solidarity or a coalition against Boko Haram.
The easy way out is to blame the international community for playing partial or for appearing to subscribe to George Orwell’s position that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. Of course there have been more events that seem to point to this which is why in recent times there have been a few drives to emphasise the fact that all lives matter.
Today I want to talk as I always do as a passionate African who can tell the truth to Africans.
PASSION AND VALUE
Why are we upset that there seems to be a lack of passion about us from a global community? Why are we angry that the world rallies together in solidarity when things happen in some places but when more serious things happen in other places it just receives a little more than a casual mention.
The truth is that passion follows value. The level of passion that people give to something is directly related to the level of value that they get or that they perceive to get from the thing.
Why are people passionate about religion? Because of the value that their belief gives to them. Why are people passionate about sports? Because of the value and joy and the sense of honour and pride that winning gives. Why are people passionate about other people?
Because of the value that the other people contribute to their lives. Now one may argue that a persons sense of value may not be an accurate yardstick. For instance people will probably be more passionate about their rock star than about their teacher who equips them for life but that is the point. Whether real or imagined value, passion will still follow value.
While blaming the rest of the world is a more convenient position to take, the question we should be asking is that as a people, what is our value to the rest of the world? What are we contributing significantly to the rest of the world? if we cannot answer that question then we have no right to question where people decide to place their passion.
What do Airbus, Alcatel, Dassault group, Chanel, Christian Dior, Michelin, Loreal and many more have in common? They are part of the French contribution to the world. French wines, perfumes, fashion and style are represent French value to the rest of the world and passion follows value so is it wrongly placed for the world to rally behind value?
Now I am in no way saying that there is no imbalance but that is not what we should focus on. What we should focus on is, How can we as individuals, as organisations or even as a nation create the level of value that will elicit passion.
In April 1985 the Coca-Cola changed its formula and introduced New Coke, people hit the streets in protest. Now why on earth will people protest because a company decided to change its formula? Passion follows value. The old formula had a sentimental and emotional value that could never be replaced.
So, before you complain about people not being passionate about you or what you stand for, ask yourself what level of value you offer. When we address the value question the passion issue will be resolved.