On October 20, 2014 when the World Health Organization declared my country Nigeria Ebola-free, I couldn’t help but imagine my people dancing through the streets victorious like bakers juggling fresh loaves of bread through the slums full of hungry people. So when the President and CEO of Fiesta International Group of Companies asked me to write a piece on this deadly issue, it was truly an opportunity to call my fellow Africans to action—and to inspire and educate under the guise of entertainment. “Keepers of our Brethren” calls Africans to unite instead of ignore and deny; and now that Ebola threatens our nation “America” as well, perhaps this call is to us all?
Keepers of Our Brethren
Brothers, where art thou?
Doeth thou hide amidst the darkness?
Feverish and in pain, your blood spills out while delirium transports you to death?
Brothers, where forth doeth thou come?
From Guinea whose lands secure rich deposits of diamonds and gold
To Mali, eloquent in vibrant dance and verse
On to Sierra Leone, who we revere–the strength you bear, oh Lion Mountains.
And Liberia–oh Liberia! A society of love and reunion!
You all stand guard at the Coastlines like the Guards of Africa, taking this full-blown attack
Like the Keepers of the entire continent!
Brothers, how have we failed?
Our lack of education, our misunderstanding of microorganisms and illness handicaps us all!
But one response is sure:
For as some celebrate health and freedom,
And others dance through the streets victoriously
Whilst we collect honors and higher degrees…
There is no way we can win
Unless we weep with those who weep
For unless all win, we all lose…
So where art thou my Brothers? Still in the dark?
Come, let us teach you and liberate your mind.
For we are the Keepers of Our Brethren; the onus is ours
We are Americans now, abi? “Give us liberty or give us death”?
As our Brethren die by the masses, let us remind ourselves of the power still within our hands.
We can stand together and “Each One; Teach One”: our friends, our neighbors, our Brethren.
So with the Republic of Guinea we cry: Work! Justice! And Solidarity! For you won’t face this alone. We who are free with help you!
With Mali the Republic we sing “One people, one goal, one faith”!
Oh Republic of Sierra Leone—you are not a-lone. We stand in Unity with you, for Freedom and Justice! We join you to pursue the Realm of the Free.
And The Republic of Liberia–the harbor of love & liberty; you have reuniting many a man with home. We will not forsake you; you are our own.
Oh Brethren where art thou not?
We hear about you everywhere
And rather than hide away to deny you
We stand by you instead.
For we are the Keepers of Our Brethren.
-Lyrics by tia 11/08/2014