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“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The first Homicide was a Fratricide. The very beginning of the human history was scarred by the slaying of one brother by another. Cain killed Abel. Since then men have killed so many of their brothers, we have lost count. Amazingly homicide has held its first form, it is mostly committed by one hot-headed male on another hot-headed male, a typical fratricide.

Not only homicide retained its first form, but it is also giving the same “first excuse”. The first lame excuse is found in the book of Genesis: “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). “I am not my brother ‘s keeper?” is an excuse that has been the direct and indirect cause of all the war, suffering, displacement, inhumanity and so many evils plaguing humanity.

The motive behind the cruel assassination of Abel was jealousy. Cain was jealous because God received his brother’s sacrifice and not his. As crass and barbaric as that may sound the response, Cain gave God was even exasperating, “… Am I my brother ‘s keeper?” God dealt with him in due manner. But, let us for a moment consider the cold-bloodedness, rebellion, disrespect and utter imbecility in this short response, “Am I my brother ‘s keeper?” First of all, since there was only one nucleated family on the face of the earth it would have been pretty clear to Cain that they were meant to look out for each other. Second, the spirit underlining this answer is disrespectful. How could you say that to a fire breathing majestic being who created your father from dirt and your mother from a piece of bone? Thirdly, how and why would you answer that to an omniscient God who already know that you have killed your brother? Unless Cain himself wanted to be smitten down by God, his answer was illogical and stupid to say the least.

Today in the twenty-first century men still use claim that they are not their brother’s keeper. As a troubled Ethiopian and African witnessing great atrocities across the continent I wonder what excuse African leaders give for killing and torturing their fellow compatriot/brother in broad day light. Could it be that cold indifferent archaic answer, that they are not their brother ‘s keeper?

When people wear being a “brother ‘s keeper” as a badge of honor rather than a burden, when we all realize that all humans are brothers of the same father (God), we will conquer all evil. Until then we have to teach what a “brother’s keeper” mean to our youth. It means to watch the back of your brother, to cover his blind side, to care and tend for him in his time of weakness, to show him the way when he is lost, to tell him the truth even when it tastes bitter and to stand up for him when he is forsaken.

When a genuine fraternity flourishes across the globe it is imperative that perpetual peace becomes abundant. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalms 133:1)

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