Saturday 1447 – 3rd November 2012.
The start of my second year of blogging on 1500 Saturdays and I had intended to start with something cheerful but I’m sorry to say that is not going to be the case at all. I was deeply affected by a video I watched today and I mean DEEPLY.
To say it disturbed me would be the biggest of understatements. I felt tremendous anger and sadness. I wept as I watched and felt my very humanness threatened.
So why did I watch it? because to bear witness to something terrible, to human beings doing something terrible to other human beings is to honour the truth and know it will never be forgotten.
I felt a light go out in me today and I couldn’t get it relit. Everything seemed pointless and I could concentrate on nothing. I couldn’t take photos, or edit them. I couldn’t meditate or find any peace. Those who regularly follow my blog will have seen that I want to make a difference in this world, with kindness and compassion. I don’t want to leave without trying to make it a better place but can I really do that?
I question that now.. maybe humanity is designed to be cruel after all; designed to kill or be killed. I don’t want to believe it but it is hard not to after what I saw today. It is easy in my comfortable Western,Well-fed, Ivory Tower to pontificate on compassion and love being all that is needed to change the world but what do I know of what is REALLY happening in other parts of the world? What do any of us know?
I’m sure you are wondering by now what it is that can have had such an effect on me. Well I was catching up with some of my favourite blogs early this morning as I am rather behind with my reading. I started with Love Versus Goliath, written by a lovely Australian woman called Robyn who is married to a Nigerian, Mr O, and I got back as far as her October 14th post called We Are The World and this is where I first saw the video. They worried about whether they should put a link to it. I do not. We cannot and must not hide from these horrors and pretend they are not happening or we will surely lose our humanity.
The video shows the most gruesome possible scenes of the beating to death and burning of 4 young male students who were said to have stolen a phone and a laptop from someone who owed one of them money.. The truth may or may not be entirely different but what is absolutely in no doubt is that no-one deserves to die like this. If you are going to watch it, I have to give you the strongest possible warning as it is harrowing in the extreme and from the first moments.
Many people stand and watch, both men and women and no-one comes to their aid and one films it as we can see.. The photo below is of the four young men killed and what makes it even sadder is that this is not, by any means, an isolated occurence in Nigeria. Click on the photo to watch the video.. but please remember that I am not exaggerating about how brutal it is.. you will need a very strong stomach and the first seconds may be enough but I think it is very important that it is seen.
2 of the boys Lloyd and Ugonna recorded Heart of the City with others a while before they were killed. Couldn’t have been more appropriate.. you can hear why I say that by listening to it here..
“The killed students have been identified by the management of the university as 19-year-old Lloyd Toku ( 200 level Civil Engineering); 18-year-old Ugonna Obuzor (200 level Geology student); 20-year-old Chiadika Biringa, (2oo level Theatre Arts student); and Tekena Erikena, a 20-year-old a diploma (Technical) student.”
If you have or have not watched the full video please, please, please follow this link for the Justice for the Uniport 4 petition on Causes and sign it. It will be available for 57 more days and is addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark and to Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State Nigeria where these killings took place. A quote from the petition:
“We demand that whoever is involved in this killing must face the music, Nigeria must show to the rest of the world that this country is not a banana republic. You cannot be asking investors to come and invest in your country when barbaric acts such as this are happening almost everywhere in the country”
Robyn bemoaned the fact that the petition had only 11,000 signatories on Oct 14th, it is now November 3rd and still only 14,890 have signed. It’s not enough, there needs to be hundred of thousands. I simply don’t understand why so few, maybe it is because of the way it is worded? I feel the petition should be going viral to show Nigeria and the world that this kind of brutality is never acceptable.
I have shared the link to the petition on my Facebook page, with some *friends* on there directly and on many other pages on there from Amnesty International to Nigerian pages, I can do no more but I hope some of you who read this will sign and share with others. Let’s do this thing together. Thank you.
Now I need to go to bed and get some sleep, though somehow I think it is going to be hard to get to sleep tonight as I am haunted by those images.
Addendum Sunday morning – when I woke this morning I thought people may want to do more or think a petition will make no difference. So I have emailed the Nigerian High Commission in London and indeed the British High Commission in Nigeria to ask what the Uk policy is on this. Links below if you would like to tell them how disgusted you are that this kind of barbarity persists in Nigeria.
or Australia http://www.nigeria-can.org.au/
Lets add our voices and say NO to this, it took me just a few minutes to do..
Further addendum – Sunday afternoon
Please see the comment by my good blogging friend Scilla and my response below. This post is not in anyway meant to paint all Nigerian people as killers or brutal and I do indeed recognise the danger of a single story misrepresenting a whole people. I respect Scilla’s opinion greatly as I have found her to be very wise and thank her for her comments and for the link she has posted which I hope you will follow and watch. She made me question whether this was a good or damaging post to write and it could clearly be seen as either but I have decided to let it stand because to withdraw it would be to pretend the incident did not occur and I could not do that. Life is made up of a series of single stories and if I felt this was an isolated incident maybe I could pass it by but I know it is not. Please follow this link to a piece written on the AllAfrica website “National women leaders of registered political parties yesterday in Abuja protested the killing of students in Mubi, Adamawa and Aluu, Port Harcourt, Rivers States, saying the killings are one too many.”
“We are killing our future by murdering our promising youths on daily basis. Every day we are burying our children and yet this is peace time or are we at war? We cannot keep quiet any longer. We are calling on all mothers and Nigerian women to rise and demand answers from Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and President Goodluck Jonathan. We must hold them responsible for these killings.
“We are tired of palliative rhetorics like ‘the perpetrators will be brought to book’, ‘they will face justice’, etc. We recall the case of NYSC members killed during the electoral crises, was anyone arrested and prosecuted? What was done to protect them? If we do not as mothers, fathers and leaders arrest this descent into anarchy, we are doomed as a nation,” Hajia Mohammed said.
I do always research before I post and this was no exception.
Saturday Girl signing off ’til next week
You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.