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Bernie and Moses

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Bernie is pregnant with a revolution. His commitment, passion and sincerity towards the common good is beyond question. The truth is that the very vast majority who toil and labour daily with little respite in the work force, cannot make ends meet and scarcely benefit from the nation's cornucopia. This is overwhelmingly due to the existence of an oligarchy, whose very raison d'etre, is the unrelenting pursuit of rapacious and unconscionable exploitation of human and natural resources. They are the king makers, the puppeteers and faceless ghoulish specters, whose vise-like tentacles grip the throne. They wield more dastardly power over the long-suffering masses, than the "democratically elected" Pharaohs they prop up.

Let us cast our minds back to a legendary champion of the exploited and voiceless. His name was Moses and he lived in a time when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Bernie and Moses are kindred spirits and natural allies, as both assumed the role of "deliverer". Bernie's sentiments loudly echo the immortal and poignant battle cry Let my people go! Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, whereas, Bernie seeks an "exodus" into a just and equitable society, in which the majority of citizens can find a place in the sun.

Moses was born at a time when his people, the Israelites were an enslaved population in Egypt. His mother had hidden him at birth because Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed. Pharaoh's daughter adopted him as an infant, and he was raised as a member of the Egyptian royal family. Moses was always aware of his heritage and he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, thereby incurring the deadly wrath of Pharaoh. Moses fled from the royal court and made his home on the backside of the desert for 40 years as a shepherd.

In today's world, such a drastic, downward change in circumstances would be viewed as nothing less than a human tragedy and a colossal waste of talent. A veritable grace-to-grass story, in every ramification. However, it was all part of the master plan, a necessary curve in the moral trajectory of the universe. Moses was raised as a Prince, with all the powers and privileges of a ranking member of the Egyptian royal household. The world was his oyster. However, in order to fulfill his divinely ordained mission as God's emissary and tool, in freeing the Israelites from the bondage of Egyptian slavery, he had to learn key life lessons.

Hence, from the grandeur and limelight of princely life, he went into a lowly existence of obscurity and humble modesty, putting aside notions of worldly self-importance and entitlement, to which he was accustomed. Through this process, Moses imbibed essential, transformational leadership traits namely - humility, forbearance and self-sacrifice. It would not be an easy task to deal with his compatriots, comprising of a mixed multitude, even though he was commissioned by God and was a good faith actor. Some would be rebellious and rambunctious, whilst others might reject his leadership. Moses had to get it done; it was his duty to take the Israelites out of Egypt, through the Red sea and into the Promised Land.

Moses had learned that the messenger was just as important as the message. Thereafter, God proclaimed the message: "Go back to Pharaoh, the Lord commanded Moses. Tell him, this is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. Exodus 9:1 (NLT) Moses did as he was told; facing down Pharaoh with the full backing of a righteous and omni-potent God. Pharaoh was bereft of the fear of God and was not even moved to release his slave labour as an act of mercy. Instead, he embarked on a campaign of defiance against God with the assistance of his enablers - his court magicians.

God sent plagues to the land of Egypt which decimated their cattle, crops, marine eco-system and water supply and afflicted the health and wellbeing of all the inhabitants. Pharaoh remained unyielding until he lost his first born son as a result of the final plague, which called for the death of every first born son. It was left to Moses to corral the Israelites as a homogenous unit, under his authority and direction and lead them out of Egypt, on an uncertain journey to a predestined destination.

If Moses had failed to connect with the Israelites on a profound level, they may have decided to act against their own interests and remain in bondage to Pharaoh, or having left Egypt en masse, they may have descended into internecine war, resulting in their self-annihilation. In both possible cases, God's grand design would have been thwarted and Moses would have failed.

Bernie has never laid claim to a wilderness "burning bush" experience with God. This is in stark contrast to the present occupant of the White House, whose leadership brand commonly known as "Trumpism", is a mounting toxic brew of actions and rhetoric, inimical to global democracy. Despite the existential threat he represents, and the unambiguous widespread revulsion Trump provokes, he has the temerity to tell the world that ''he alone can fix it'' and moreover ''he is the chosen one."

Bernie is a perfect portrait of humanity at its best. He is an open book and wears his beating heart for economic and social justice on his sleeve. As a Christian, human rights advocate and a born and bred African, sharing a common DNA with African-Americans; I doff all three hats to him. His fight is for an equitable and harmonious society, in which the marginalized and downtrodden are not only free of the yoke of perpetual debt servitude, but can also fairly partake of the bounty of the wealthiest nation in the world. Bernie and Moses intersect at this juncture. I strongly believe that Bernie's righteous cause would be well served, if he were to take a leaf from the book of Moses for the following reason: "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun''. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NLT)

Bernie is a standard bearer for radical societal changes writ large. Moses called for his people to lay down the accoutrements of slavery, revolt against their task masters and follow him in an act of blind faith. At this pivotal time, Moses was a broken man and his vulnerability was on full public display. He claimed he had a speech defect and as such, God told Aaron his brother to speak as an assistant for Moses to Pharaoh. Without a doubt, Bernie is an obdurate and recalcitrant zealot for his cause. His strength is also his weakness, because people may only see the zealot and get very few glimpses of the human - warts and all. Bernie needs to strike a balance. Not everyone would have connected with Moses on a cerebral level, but many might have connected with him as a flawed and fallible human.


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Irene Fowler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a female Nigerian International lawyer (LL.M Harvard),based in Lagos, Nigeria. My career spans the United Nations, Geneva (WHO, UNHCR), Nigerian energy sector(Shell Pet., Conoco), Human/Women's Rights and Education. Oped writer for Guardian (more...)

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Is Bernie today's Moses?

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2020 at 4:10:05 AM

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