For the last four years, there has been a conversation that is by and large underground. A conversation where we speak in whispers about the concerns and worries we have for our brothers, our sons and, even sadly, for our boyfriends and husbands. That conversation doesn’t seem to break the sound barrier because we are all afraid that calling the madness by its name may somehow force us all to face it.
I have watched a young man called Trevor Mwendwa put together a charter to help young males become men and earlier this year, Al Kags called me to pitch titles for something of the same nature. I have been asked to look through a 32-page manual for a man-guide that some corporate types want to release. It doesn’t matter if the people speaking are church leaders, teachers, corporate chiefs or regular folk, the message is clear: SOS - Save Our Sons.
In 2010, I caught a quick glimpse of an article in the Standard that said “the golden era of the girl-child is upon us; the New Constitution will undoubtedly spur gender parity in all spheres. The boy-child, on the other hand, is facing his greatest challenge yet and his pole position on the podium is no longer guaranteed. Indeed, he is close to being regarded as an under-performer.”
I dismissed the article as some guy trying to rain on our parade as the new constitution came into being. However, the message never left my mind and to be honest, I didn’t really believe there was a big issue — after all, men are genetically wired to strive to achieve. Nor did I think that it was fatal until I saw the Pulse last week (April 25, 2014). That was not an article on the promiscuity of young girls, it’s about the castration of a generation. The mental, sexual and social castration of young boys.
This is not about castigating promiscuity or not — morality is relative. Each nation, culture and even generation defines morality differently — what this is about is ensuring we remind ourselves that a life of ease doesn’t make men in any sphere.
Ease isn’t living, it’s dying. It’s forgoing life and awaiting death. Ease brings a halt to a man’s growth. Whether those words are said by Theodore Roosevelt, John F Kennedy or as in recent times by HH Sheikh Mohammed, ease is not only useless, It’s evil; it’s a cancer that can kill a nation.
Ease has an ugly twin brother called laziness. Sadly, in the last decade or so, we are all guilty of encouraging the young boys in our lives — our sons, brothers, students, boyfriends, husbands — to be lazy. The idea here is not to point an accusing finger at the young buck who seems to have no spine, but to call on the women around him to give him a chance to grow a back-bone.
Young lady, from the day you give yourself up, your sexuality, your very feminity to a young man who hasn’t hungered, plotted, planned and even pinned for it, you have effectively introduced him to a life of ease and you have poisoned him for life. The human male doesn’t have to learn to hunt so he can eat from an early age like those in the animal kingdom, his first true hunt is that for a mate. Whether what he wants is a kiss, a hug, a date to the school dance — whatever — he must pursue it until he thinks he is going to lose his mind. Therefore when he finally gets it, he celebrates it and cherishes it.
When you speak to the guys who have been through the “hunt”, for anything in their lives, they tell of their tales with pride, you’d think he hunted a lion or came back from war. But then again, men who didn’t do anything, didn’t get anything, forget “any”.
Why then, in a world where we yearn for leaders, for strength of warriors, do we kick off a young man’s hunting years by taking that from him? Why? That is evil and we will all pay for it dearly if we aren’t already. It starts with the mother who won’t stop calling her son “baba” and won’t let him learn how to dress himself or tie his shoe laces. The female teachers who cut him some slack because he’s just not that smart and let his poor grades slide. Then during his adolescent years, some silly girls throw themselves at him rather than allow him to do the manly thing and pursue and woo her. Further on in life comes the girlfriend who allows him to move into her flat or her hostel and worse still feeds him. Men who don’t work should not eat. By the time that young man is in his early twenties he is biologically, mentally and psychologically castrated. He goes onto social media sites looking for women to keep him. Then horror of horrors, some cursed woman marries him and he allows her to fend for him and her children while passing her hardwork off as his own.
In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech entitled the The Strenuous Life. “I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labour and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”
Something else, all women who glorify the idea of absolute wanton sexual promiscuity, think about all the women and girls you put at risk. Think of the very clear massage you send out to the world, that says girls like to be objectified, to be used, to be discarded like rags. Think of the seed you have planted in the minds of men that you are valueless and not worth a thought or the pursuit. Think of the escalating number of rape cases committed by young men who no longer value the idea of how precious a girl is, and ask yourself what role you have played in that. Owning and celebrating your sexuality does not mean rubbishing yourself.
For those of us, men and women alike, who know something is wrong with the current picture, then allow me to leave you with the words of HH Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in his book Flashes Of Thought, “An Easy life does not make men, nor does it build nations.” Stop this mental castration of a generation or else we shall all pay dearly.