If there was ever the chance of a second death on this earth, it is most certain that some people would have signed on for the first death. It would be just so one could see how our world would stop for family meetings to plan for the funeral and how all the related drama to do with the funeral proceedings would go.
Call it standing attention for the dead, one is amazed at the extent our society sometimes go as we prepare to send a dead relative or friend off to the other world.
Many lessons could be learnt from the way and manner we organise funerals and our attachment to how we send the dead off. One thing is clear. We love to stand up and run around for the dead. And as if they have eyes to see us, we salute them all the way until the grave is covered when probably they no longer have the eyes to observe things.
Before and during the funeral of a deceased, we try hard that certain things must stop in order to show respect to the dead. And in the process of doing that, one tends not to care about the inconveniences our actions and inactions tend to cause the living. The dead being whisked away in a green ambulance or a hearse, whether from the mortuary to be laid in state, or on the last journey to the cemetery, families and friends see it as more important than anything else happening on the road.
And so the green ambulances and hearse would sound their siren, defy traffic regulations and rush in front of everyone because we all have to stand at ease for the dead to pass. They rush through red lights with a trail of vehicles and sometimes motorcycles behind them all flashing their hazard lights because they are in a procession to ensure a dear one meets their appointment in heaven in style.
If you were ever caught in such a procession and therefore delayed for an appointment, do not be in a hurry to divert your route. The chances are that you might meet another inconvenience and be forced to stand up a second time to another corpse because a funeral is underway, the road has been blocked, canopies and chairs are set up ready for the after party. You would be lucky if you see a warning sign ahead before you made that regrettable turn.
That is when it dawns on you as to whether we have any laws ordering our lives in this our society. That is when you see that in our culture we stand up for the dead all the time and the inconveniences to the living are a secondary matter. These days, there are many spaces available such as school compounds, Church halls and other facilities suitable for funerals.
Yet, we continue to flout the convenience of others and block public access roads just for funerals. Even with the Assembly’s permit or not, why should an access road be blocked for a private event? How about if an ambulance or a fire tender is called to an emergency on that same road?
If the funeral is that of a youth, the inconvenience caused by the mourners is even greater. To them, the dead relative or friend is the man or woman of that moment and so all must stop and stand at ease for the body. In their starring red attire, a procession of youthful mourners take over the road, sometimes from the mortuary to the cemetery, with songs and obscenities, they dance in front of vehicles as motorbikes and taxis play antics, virtually bringing every vehicle on the road to a stop because the dead is passing.
Ours is an environment where we have little respect for ambulances carrying the sick or injured to the hospital. Vehicles and motorcycles refuse to make way. They speed up rather than slow down or stop completely for the screaming ambulance to pass. Ironically, we stop and rather allow a corpse to pass because sirens and hazard lights are on signifying that a corpse is on board to heaven.
Why do we do the kind of things we do for the dead at the inconvenience of the living? Why would we continue to stand at ease in traffic for the dead but rather speed up when the sick and injured must be moved fast for medical help? The answer is not farfetched. It is all about being nice to the dead.
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