Left handedness refers to a person using the left hand more naturally than the right. They are commonly called lefties and the general populace have often looked at them with one kind eye or corner- corner eye. In some places they have faced persecution for their left handedness having been tagged as evil, demonic or even witches. Lefties make up 10% – 15% of the general population.
In most Nigerian tribes and culture it is disrespectful to give or collect something from someone with the left hand. It is commonly viewed as an evil act or at the least out rightly mischievous. Parents have commonly been known to beat children repeatedly to cause them to become right handed.
In school, some teachers enforce this with the cane making natural left-handers to seek ‘correctness’ by switching to right. The practice is also extended to meal times where lefties are forcefully made to eat with the right hand. Often Lefties find this stressful and are awfully clumsy while attempting to eat with the ‘almighty’ right hand.
Left handedness is as old as Biblical times as attested to by Judges 20. 15-16. ‘ And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss’. Given the accuracy with which these men could sling stone…those hands must have been something else. Judges 3.15 attests to how God delivered the Israelites using a lefthanded man. ‘Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and He gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. In killing Eglon king of Moab ‘Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly’.
It was previously thought that the genetic differences between the left and right hemispheres of the brain determined whether someone would be left- or right-handed. But current research appear to suggest that answer could lie in the spinal cord. It has also been documented that our preference for our left or right hand is most likely determined before we are born. Ultrasound scans suggest that this may happen as early as the eighth week of pregnancy. From the 13th week in the womb, babies tend to suck either their right or their left thumb.
International Left Handers Day is observed annually on August 13th to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in the year 1976. The day also raises awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.
Several past American Presidents were left handed, they include Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Whoopi Goldberg are also lefties. In Nigeria, lefties include Funke Akindele, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Segun Arinze, Emeka Ike and Desmond Elliot. World class boxers who are lefties or in boxing terms Southpaws include Manny Pacquio, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Oscar de la Hoya.
So parents and teachers listen well-well….stop terrorizing that left handed child. The child no be devil, is not possessed and no be mumu. That child fit even become presido.