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Lesson From Marie-Antoinette - Politics - Nairaland

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Lesson From Marie-Antoinette by ajuksobi: 9:08pm On Feb 06
LESSON FROM MARIE-ANTOINETTE

By:
Ajukura, Fidelis O.
ajukurafidelisobi@gmail.com
6th February, 2024.

The life of Marie-Antoinette represents the true picture of the 18th century European society which was made up of the aristocrats and the commoners. Though members of the same society, their experiences were radically different. While one group (the aristocrats) enjoyed life, the other (the commoners) toiled and gnashed their teeth before they ate. This was the time Marie-Antoinette featured.

Marie-Antoinette was born in 2nd November, 1755 in Hofburg Palace, Vienna. At the age of 14, she was married to Dauphin Louis, grandson of France's King Louis XV on 16th May, 1770. Eight years later, she ascended the throne and was actively involved in policy and decision making.

One day while being dressed in her tastefully furnished room by her lady-in-waiting, she observed from her window that a large crowd of people were around the palace. Confused, she asked, "why is that massive crowd gathered outside the palace gate?". The lady-in-waiting replied that; "the people are hungry and crying for bread". Marie-Antoinette, due to her alienation and unfamiliarity with the people's plight or predicament said, "if there's no bread, give them brioche (cake)". Because her life was confined to the ivory tower of France, she didn't know that brioche (cake) was only available in the palace. At the end of the protest which turned out to become one of the fiercest in world history - the French revolution, she and several others were consumed; they lost their head to the guillotine.

In Nigeria, members of the aristocratic or political class, like Marie-Antoinette are unaware of the excruciating hardship that ordinary Nigerians are going through. Those living in the ivory tower of the Nigerian society do not know that many people are dying because of starvation. With the rising cost of living, many people have resorted to taking the easy way out - suicide. For others who must survive by every means necessary, crime and criminality is the answer.

During an interview with a renowned Nigerian political economist and former presidential candidate, prof. Pat Utomi recently, he said, "every Nigerian is in distress except those stealing money". Similarly, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E.A. Adeboye during February Thanksgiving Service (last Sunday) confirmed that political office holders like; Governors, President etc will, no matter the situation, lack food and fuel for their vehicles. This situation is made worse by the fact that these people or members of the political class are alienated from the ordinary people. For instance, despite the biting hardship in the land, they throw lavish parties, buy jets, expensive cars, build gigantic houses etc: they and members of their families are ignorant of the troubles that the ordinary people go through every day in order to stay alive. As the economic situation continues to deteriorate, people are most likely to hit the streets with a view to registering their displeasure over the fate of the economy. Yesterday, 5th February 2024, residents of Minna the Niger State capital took to the street to protest against the biting hardship and rising cost of living in the country.

Yesterday's protest in Minna should not be treated with kid gloves by the government; as a matter of fact, the protest should be viewed as a warning signal. The suffering of the masses must be addressed immediately to forestall the type of tsunami that swept across France consuming Marie-Antoinette and other members of the aristocratic or ruling class.

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