The birds don’t know it’s election day. Or maybe they do, but they just don’t care.
I was just out for my occasional 6:30 morning run, and saw people already lining up at the two polling stations I passed. I tried to get a feel for any underlying tension, but everyone seemed relaxed so far.
Then, as I continued on, I saw a flock of cattle egrets flying low over the papyrus marsh around Nakivubo Channel. On the power lines above, the bulbuls were singing, and as I sit here at my home I am being serenaded by a robin chat. It dawned on me that life for them, and for the many other wild animals we share this world with, just goes on as it always has.
It’s hard to keep things in perspective when you are human. Everything in our lives feels monumental, and when we have a bad day we are convinced that “the world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Our own, individual experience gets transferred to the whole planet.
There are monumental things happening right now on a human scale. Protesters in Bahrain are being gunned down by their government, Egypt and Sudan will never be the same, and South Africa just parked a gunship off the coast of Cote D’ivoire. It’s even monumental that for the first time in recent history, the world’s eyes seem to all be on Africa.
But I think it is important and humbling to remember that not everything happens at the human scale. This aggrandized sense of our own importance is what makes a dictator willing to kill a hundred more protestors to stay in office long enough to skim a few more billion dollars. It leads people to rig votes to stay in power and can lead to murder when our feeling are hurt or our egos are bruised.
But we are a blip in the history of this planet. There are trees on this planet that are 6,000 years old. Mountains date back millions of years.
Uganda is going to the polls today. It might be peaceful, it might not. But let’s just try to remember, when all is said and done, the sun will still rise in the morning, the tides will still ebb and flow, and what really matters is how we treat each other every day.
Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala