841 views | Justine John Dyikuk | April 22, 2020
Given the rising fatalities of COVID-19 across the globe, there is no time that the world needs Michael Jackson’s timeless “Heal the World” hit tract message than now. The song is Jackson’s sixth single released from his 1991 album “Dangerous.” He would later disclose that the music was principally “a call for understanding and compassion, decrying man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.” To truly relish this blockbuster label written and produced by the King of Pop in a nostalgic fashion, it is essential to review the lyrics in the light of the current pandemic which is sweeping the world in monumental proportions.
A soul-touching excerpt from this song which gives hope at a time like this reads: “There’s a place in your heart and I know that it is love and this place could be much brighter than tomorrow and if you really try, you’ll find there’s no need to cry in this place you’ll feel there’s no hurt or sorrow.” Therein, the Music Icon speaks to the heart of love which humanity needs the most now. He assures that love guarantees a brighter tomorrow. Amidst the fears, anxieties and tensions we are going through, Jackson proclaims a social gospel of consolation that there is no need to cry even in the face of hurt or sorrow.
Another epic part of that music says: “There are ways to get there if you care enough for the living, make a little space; make a better place.” This is even much more soothing because the stanza reminds us of the heroic efforts of our front-liners (medics and paramedics) who are risking their all to curb the menace. For example, it is in a bid to care enough for the living and make a little space for a better world that the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Most Rev. Stephen Mamza Dami graciously donated the Bishop Patrick Sheehan Memorial Pastoral Center in Yola to the Adamawa State Government in support of the fight against Coronavirus. The Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos also announced the decision to make St. Raphael Divine Mercy Hospital, Ijede available for use as an isolation centre.
The magnanimous efforts of Bishop Dami et al succinctly connect with the verse of Jackson’s undying tract which reads: “Heal the world – Make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race – There are people dying – If you care enough for the living – Make it a better place for you and for me.” If leaders would be passionate about the most vulnerable members of the society especially those whose lives appear to be “on the brink of the grave” because they have been infected and affected by the deadly disease, then the world would become a better place for all of us.
Although Dami’s style of “Heal the world” may be inspired by the healing ministry of Jesus and his desire, as Chief Shepherd, to tend the flock of Christ in his diocese, his action fits into another stanza of the song under review which goes thus: “If you want to know why
there’s love that cannot lie, love is strong – It only cares of joyful giving – If we try we shall see – In this bliss, we cannot feel fear or dread – We stop existing and start living.” This act of pure love is so strong that it cannot lie. Indeed, this philanthropic action engendered by joyful giving challenges us to stop existing and start living.
For this writer, the most appealing part of this song is the chorus which says, “Heal the world, make it a better place.” During this isolation period where many Nigerians are battling for their dear lives at various isolation centres across the country with their families living in fear, we are urged to initiate actions such as those of kind-hearted Nigerians like Bishop Dami who defied time and circumstance to donate a facility to care for COVID-19 victims. Those who have died and their families need our prayers for peaceful repose and God’s consolation.
At this time of global emergency on health, we need large-hearted citizens who would complement the heroic efforts of health professionals, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Federal Ministry of Health and Lagos, FCT, Osun and Kano States in bringing the situation under control. Beyond Jackson’s lyrical beats, we need to allow the lockdown period to reorder our DNA towards putting some sense of concern for humanity in us. Like a good driver who checks his car daily, we need to constantly check on one another or else we remain endangered species.
It was St. Augustine who said: “In what is necessary, unity; in what is not necessary, liberty and in all things charity. You cannot attain to charity except through humility. Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul’s beauty.” Our actions must be inspired by the ardent need to “Heal the world [and], make it a better place.” This (COVID-19) too shall pass away. May God heal our world – God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Fr. Justine Dyikuk is a Catholic Priest and Researcher who combines being the Editor of Bauchi Caritas Catholic Newspaper, Communication’s Director of Bauchi Diocese with his job as a Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Nigeria. He can be reached through – firstname.lastname@example.org.