By Uthman Shodipe
IN the significant etchings of history where there is a conflict between good and evil, when terror scars the signposts of benignity, the great souls are invariably illuminated in immortal awe: destroyed but never defeated; vanquished in a physical annihilating permanence but triumphant still in that stubborn wrought of iron wherein their ideals endure, flourishing in timeless significations.
It is true; the portrait of good is never swept away in some eclipsing promptness. No, it is reified in eternal beatitude, involving in us all a reference of national rectitude. Indeed, beauty which is truth defies a cordoning into a dark oblivion. It invalidates the ephemeral flaunting of evil in its vast, illimitable canvass; it asserts its own light.
Truth does not die. But its challenges are often invaluable; its pursuit provoked by the storm and fury of the aberrational moment; its triumph validated by the inexplicable workings of fate.
It is true: the invocations of the soul, the armoury of truth does not yield its course in a supplicatory acquiescence to evil. In the strengths of its convictions, in the strengths of its infallible recesses, it achieves a deathlessness. Thus, hewn in a glorifying permanence, truth inevitably becomes a guide, an inspirational avatar that strengthens the weak, voiding our ambivalence, brightening our dark passages in vivid moralistic flame.
Therefore, in the nurturing of the national growth, there is a deepening of the collective vision; the maturing of the light. That is the ideal! Alas, more often, truth lives a solitary life. It can be companionless; deserted by the prostrated throng, hounded by the instruments of terror, flung alone into the pit of murderous crucibles. Stripped of supportive embrace, truth indeed lives a difficult life.
But therein lies its heroic magnification. For truth cannot be acknowledged without the genuine emblem of adversity. Truth is weightier when perceived in sacrificial fixity. It must be seen on the cross before we are awakened to its liberative urging. It must be buffeted by the caprice of the moment before we are stirred about its emancipatory resolve.
Hence it is in the sternness of its confrontation, it is in its brutal moulding, in the cauldron of evil that truth redefines our values, invoking an ennoblement of the soul only common among the great. And in our grasp of this triumphant enlightenment, there is an avulsion of our fetters, there is a banishment of evil.
Unfortunately, since the destruction of evil is not achieved in a peremptory license, truth is invariably delineated in tragic necessity. The light must be tarnished before a revelatory apprehension of the darkling auguries. The symbol must fall before a laudatory comprehension.
That is the fated badge of those who are evocative of the truth. Truly, such souls do not really die. They are beyond the reach of envy, immune from the withering malice of the fusillade. They speak to us still beyond the destruction of the physical frame.
We witness their eternity in the instructive refrain of their ideals. We see the concretions of their deathlessness in the evaluation of our pursuits and the brightness of our dreams. And surely, we see their stirrings still in the quiet affirmation of hope in a more paradisiac tomorrow. In this, we cannot really grieve the passage of the truth destroyed. For we are enhanced in the courage of its assertions, strengthened in the heroic hoard of its attainments which we can always summon to girdle us against the strewn hurdles.
This ought to be the discernment of the wise now confronted with a shocking villainy which just nullified a life. There is an imponderable vileness in the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Olayinka Abiola. There is a despiteousness in the brutal instant which diminished our common humanity. On only the emotional plain. For it is evil which is indeed morally diminished in its betrayal of its inherent depravity. Kudirat Abiola is not dead. Her light kindles more even beyond the grave.
In the deathlessness of this apotheosis we perceive our own redemption. The philosopher tells us that truth may not prevail against the dungeon and the stake. No matter, there is validity in Tennyson: “Victor from vanquished issues at the last”. The immortal refrain of Arthur Koesler is relevant here: “The witness is gone; the testimony will stand”. It is in this affirmative defiance that the dead is not dead but alive!
Moral: Evil is a wandering scourge, indifferent to the tawdry hovel of the poor or the sturdy ramparts of the mighty. Unchallenged, evil can circle.
First Published Tuesday, June 11, 1996.