I was on my way to town at the weekend when the ramshackle of a minibus we were travelling in got caught in traffic.
The jam was caused by a beehive of activity comprising about 20 vehicles ahead of us as Samaritans worked to rescue a driver trapped in a mangled wreck following a head-on collision.
Naturally, the minibus driver quickly parked the minibus by the roadside and called for willing passengers to alight and join the rescue effort. It was all instinctive and humanity drove men and women into action.
I saw determined men, like possessed machines, firmly working on metal entrapments on the mangled wreck. Ideas flew in the air on how to rip the metal apart. Team work ensued and progress was rolling in by the minute. It was an enormous pride to be part of a society that values life.
But then there is a breed of useless men and women caught in the petty frenzy of social media and its call for instant messages and updates.
While others worked their hearts out to save lives, this band of lazy minds rushed to the scene with their phones held high in their hands, fighting for angles at which to take shots of the wailing victims for instant upload on social media.
Kindly picture my context: 20 years ago, upon arriving at an accident scene, the only sensible thing to do was to throw your jacket and tie to the edge of the road, roll up your sleeves and clench your teeth in determination as you rip metal apart to rescue the trapped souls.
Life had more meaning then. Success lied in serving others.
Today, things are getting silly. At the sight of mangled flesh and rivulets of blood criss-crossing an accident scene, it is time to fish out our phones, hastily manoeuvre to camera settings and aim the flashlight at the trapped souls.
Yes, like salivating hounds, we poke our tongues out of the corners of our mouths as we steady ourselves to shove into the crowd for the silliest thing ever—a photograph.
At the weekend, I saw one muscular guy pump his chest like a gorilla ready for war, hastily cutting into the crowd for what we all thought was to help with the rescue. Alas! It was all to get as close to the wailing victims as possible so he could worsen the victims’ painful battle for air with that camera flash.
Minutes later when the victim had been rushed to hospital, the photo-happy guy was by the roadside, running a library of pictures for those that were willing to see them. His day was made and he seemed happy. This is plain cheap.
Society has turned utter stupid.
People at an accident scene today need to get a life; they must own their heads and control the pulp that floats inside them. Life is larger than the camera viewfinder.
We are better off as unsung heroes who sacrificed their jacket to warm a bleeding victim than that showy and silly camera-obsessed oblongata that screamed their way to the front to take pictures for instant upload on social media.
May the souls of victims of the recent road accidents nationwide rest in peace. May those that they left behind find strength to face another day. n