Which of Denzel Washington’s kind of pain is relevant to Nigeria of today?

As I tried to process the pain I felt from news of the death of Peter Owolabi, the youth corps member serving with Channels TV as a reporter in Abuja, who was shot during the Shiites/Police clash yesterday, I remembered Denzel Washington’s ferocious performance in the movie, Equalizer 2.
In the movie, the famous actor had returned to Turkey, on the trail of a gentleman who, having forcibly taken their only child from his previous relationship and was now taking her to Turkey, had left the girl’s mother miserable in the United States. Denzel encountered the ‘insensitive gentleman’ and his brothers on a Turkish Railway line bounded for Istanbul. After roundly despatching his brothers, he had the attention of the guy, whom he left with this famous line: “There are two kinds of pain in this world; pain that hurts and pain that alters.”
I did not know that pain could be divided into such queer categories. Unfortunately, Denzel did not elaborate on his pain thesis. Consequently, I could not tell if the pain that hurts do not alter or if pain that alters do not hurt. What is the difference?
What can we do about the daily pain staple that has become a national emergency even if it has not been so declared? I am about stimulating a conversation around the subject in exactly the same way that experts have charged us not to allow any crisis go to waste.
Obviously, pain that alters is the better of the two. Pain that provokes contemplation, introspection, evaluation and analysis. Pain that enables informed dialogue and facilitates the making of true change (not of the propaganda variant). And pain that yields results in line with current realities. Such pain that would teach us how to separate and break away from a system that only produces hurt, instead of one, which having incorporated some degree of hurt in the process, eventually yield a hurt-free end.
As we go to the various homes of mourning, and come face to face with those inescapable realities bordering on our own frailties, may the experience significantly alter our collective attitude, in such a manner as to produce a reaction similar to the Never Again response of others from a different era who allowed their pain to alter them in enduringly significant ways. God forbid that we allow those feelings be like dew that soon evaporate as we step out of the mourning-ridden doors, like it has been over the years. God forbid that there will arise a people, from among us who will rise up someday and proclaim, ‘Who pain epp.’

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1 Comment

  1. Thelma July 25, 2019 at 11:08 am

    I live for the twist that comes with each blog post Sir. Always deep!

    Reply

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