A Continent Bleeds; a rant on Love, Xenophobia and Afrophobia

Image Credit: BBC

…Flipping on the news, be talking, talking
All about the problems, shocking, shocking
We put on our headphones walking, walking
We put on our headphones…

Imagine Dragons, Love

The atmosphere was a bit humid when I realized it was one of those days that work didn’t seem like work. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t exciting (not that work is always that), but this time it was mundane, vapid, insipid and fucking boring. If I’d had a Smith & Wesson, I would have willingly played Russian Roulette just to ease myself of the mental drainage, but there was no Smith & Wesson. All I had was the internet, and the internet I turned to.

I’d always been a fan of Imagine Dragons, ever since Radioactive, but I fell in love when I heard ‘Demons.’ The first time I listened to their album ‘Origins’ I wasn’t all that impressed because the ‘Evolve’ album wasn’t all that save for a few songs, but isn’t that how the greatest things in life are? They start off uninteresting, till you lose yourself, and this wasn’t any different.

Have you ever thought about how intricately connected the universe is? So many pieces working together in harmony to maintain balance. If one part fails, it affects other parts. Have you bothered to think about what would happen, if the earth was to rotate backward? Or if it was to rotate at 1500 miles per hour? Chaos is the right word to describe the consequences.

Chaos ensues only when harmony is forgotten.

There’s this ancient Eastern mythology called ‘The Red String of Fate’ that is fascinating. A TL:DR version of it is that “the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way

What this means is that somewhere on the other side of a large planet slowly spinning into chaos, two hearts are destined to come together, regardless of what happens.

You want the real smile?
Or the one I used to practice not to feel like a failure?

Slipknot ‘Solway Firth’

We know failure all too well. It is like cotton candy. We know what happens when we take too much sugar, but we just can’t stop because we love how sweet it is. That’s pretty much how failure works. You fail, then fail some more, and keep failing till you finally strike gold. The challenge is knowing when to stop failing and this is usually after you’ve learned the lessons you so desperately need to stop making the same mistakes.

How long will the great nation of Nigeria learn from her mistakes? No one really knows. Blame is by far one of the easiest actions to take. Responsibility, on the other hand, is one thing a lot of people shy away from. Blame relieves you, while responsibility weighs you down, and that’s why it’s so difficult, but we sometimes forget that resistance is what eventually builds strength.

With great power comes great responsibility or as Mark Manson cleverly put it ‘With great responsibility comes great power

Ben Parker and Mark Manson

We blame corruption but fail to take responsibility for what leads to corruption.

Corruption is the egg laid by the copulation between the hen of a faulty value system and a cock of uneducation. Corruption has never been the problem, and it never will be. It is the effect of a cause that is not so readily brought to the fore because it is so innocuous that it can be ignored. Ask the average Nigerian what he wants more than anything in the world and 9 out of 10 answers will be ‘Money.’

Wanting money is not a bad thing. Matter of factly, it is a very good thing. Without money we surely wouldn’t have a lot of things, I certainly wouldn’t have the device with which I wrote this article or the internet with which I got the awesome songs and quotes but to what end and to what limit? And where do we draw the line? It has been proven that at a certain point, more money doesn’t translate to more happiness, so where do we decide that what we have is enough?

Uneducation and a faulty value system have inadvertently created a parasite, maybe more than one. Greed, selfishness and the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ have been cast aside. These parasites have provided the breeding ground for the widespread virus that is now called corruption. “Me before everyone else.” This is why people kill and get killed for political positions. This is why funds meant for strengthening the armed forces get diverted. This is why Nigerian leaders amass ridiculous wealth. This is why a Nigerian senator would earn N1,240,000 as hArDShiP allowance while the minimum wage for civil servants is N30,000.

The mentality of scarcity has eaten deep into the thresholds of our minds, and this is why we always almost think of ourselves first. Love is not a value that is readily taught in Nigeria. Love is seen as a weakness, except it fuels the passion that will drive you to the 1% of the world. We’re not taught to love the next person as much as we love ourselves, because we’re not even taught to love. We’re taught to survive, and this is generally ‘self-love.’

Imagine Dragon’s ‘Love’ has this mid-tempo feel to it. It’s not too fast, too loud, too slow, or too low. It is just right. That’s what has kept the world in balance ‘just right.’ Just Right is about balance. It doesn’t tilt too much to the right, or to the left, it has a perfect equilibrium. Perhaps perfect just exists after all, and it is ‘just right.’ Even Thanos in the MCU knows this.

We all know his views on balance is downright maniacal, but you get the general idea.

Where did we all, where did we all go wrong?
Love, love, love, love (as darkness will throw the dawn)
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love (love is our only hope)
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Lo-lo-lo-love, love, love
Where did we all, where did we all go wrong?
‘Cause we got the same blood, blood
We got the same blood, blood
But will it be enough, ’nuff?
Will it be enough?
We got the same heartbeat
We’re living for the same dreams
We got the same bloodstream
Where did we all go wrong? 

Imagine Dragons ‘Love’

I first listened to ‘Origins,’ a few months ago and as The Red String of Fate would have it, ‘Love’ was tied to Xenophobia. They were just waiting for the right time to meet. They finally did and in devastating fashion.

We are the bitter, the maladjusted and wise
Fighting off a generation too uptight
We’re all dressed up with nobody to kill
The rhetoric stops tonight

Slipknot ‘Birth of the Cruel’

Allow me to rehash a couple of things;

  • Apartheid ended in South Africa on 27 Apr 1994
  • Nigeria invested about $61 billion dollars to champion the cause of independence and to end apartheid in SA and other countries
  • South Africa and Nigeria started to have fractured relationships ‘Post Apartheid’ era
  • Xenophobia is reborn in South Africa
  • Nigeria retaliates by attacking South African owned companies in Nigeria
  • The South African companies are run as franchises owned by Nigerians
  • By extension, these companies employ majorly Nigerians
  • The stability of the Nigerian economy relies on these companies
  • Some Nigerians are currently jobless because of this reprisal attacks
  • Nigerian Insurance Companies will compensate the attacked firms
  • Some Nigerians jumped on the trend to loot and carry out deep-seated violence on their own brothers.

Uneducation and the lack of a well-defined value system will lead to a people attacking her people in a bid to avenge her people being attacked by other people. While nothing justifies the treatment being meted out to Africans by South Africans, it is even worse the evil being perpetrated by Nigerians to Nigerians.

Afrophobia is a perceived fear of the cultures and peoples of Africa, as well as the African diaspora A term originally coined to describe Jasmine during SSEA, based off of her discriminatory actions.

Our story is much like the proverbial unending conflict between Israel and her Northern neighbors (same father, different mothers) that started just after the death of Joseph.

Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:

Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

Exodus 1:8-10

Ignorance when ignited by fear fuels hate.

A-Ash-Den

What the Egyptians and South Africans fail to realise is that their fears were unfounded.

Surely Madiba didn’t spend 27 years in prison to deliver South Africa from apartheid only to hand it over to xenophobia but while South Africa should be punished and rightly so, it is high time Nigeria took responsibility for herself and Africa.

The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.

Madiba

What is our ethos as Nigeria? What is our value system? On what foundation was the blood of over 2 million people spilled on? The USA has what she calls ‘The American Dream,‘ and while the nation is far from perfect, she sure doesn’t cower in the doldrums dug by her leaders and citizens.

A nation can never rise above its value system. Perhaps, just perhaps when we discover and fully define what that is, we shall begin the upward climb, but until that time comes, I’ll leave you with a masterpiece…

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon ‘Imagine’

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