If you have it, the feeling of unworthiness is a feeling that others can see when they look at you unlike some other feelings like, say, love, that you can hide and can even fake for one purpose or another. You reek of it; this feeling of unworthiness. Like a chronic body odour, it fills the air around you and might even choke you if you let it get pass the limit that your miserable soul can take. They all have it. Aside from chronic malnutrition which is their main problem, their leaders tell them every day at dawn after the morning prayers that they must strive for the worthiness of their souls. They must be ready to sacrifice this ephemeral life for the everlasting one that only the worthy will be stakeholders.

They are all illiterate teenagers, homeless and completely hopeless about their future. These are the hallmarks of an unworthy person. Nobody sees you; you can only be smelt.

“I am hungry…” Farouk said to the youngster beside him in their native language. There are about two hundred teenagers holed up in the large room. They are all males. The females are fewer and are usually at the beck and call of their leaders when they are not preparing food for their male counterparts. They all wear loose clothes and their faces are covered all the time. And of course, they are kept in a different building. The last time Farouk tried to count, he thought he counted more than two hundred males. They are fewer now. That means some of them are already in the company of the worthy. These are usually the bolder ones; the more desperate teenagers. The ones that believe everything their leaders say and are not afraid to carry out their instructions. These instructions are usually acts of violence that only the heartless will not flinch at. These ‘worthy’ teenagers are carefully separated from the ‘unworthy’. They are then given proper care akin to the ones their leaders get. They are taught the basics of formal education and religions, the emphasis being on Islam and Christianity and the reasons why Islam is the only accepted form of worship. Now that they are well fed and clothed, these youngsters will pledge their loyalty and their lives as an extension to the cause of their leaders and never for the cause of Allah, who they are told they are fighting for. But by then it really doesn’t matter anymore what or who they are fighting for. These leaders gave them life, so to speak. It will amount to nothing if their lives are taken by these same leaders. They are even given wives among their female counterparts when they are old enough to be married. And their violent acts of devotion to their leaders continue. And because they are now robots in the hands of their merciful benefactors, these brainwashed teenagers can go as far as strapping remotely controlled bombs to their now ‘worthy’ bodies… after all this life is nothing compared to the everlasting paradise in which they are stakeholders.

Farouk repeated his statement to his equally hungry counterpart and silently made up his mind to leave the company of the ‘unworthy’. It is the right thing to do. It is the only thing to do.

MUYIS ADEPOJU writes for


@abdulmuizzx on Twitter.

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In the beginning...Let there be Light

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