We are Never Nigeria. Or Pakistan. Or Kenya.
I’m taking on a very serious topic today, and it’s something very close to my heart.
I really planned to write about Holy Thursday and how I got emotional at the washing of feet because I know that Jesus would wash everyone’s feet. Whether you’re the woman who sold oranges across from my house in Kaduna, or you live in the White House, which was across from my summer internship last year.
He knows, He remembers, and to Him you’re all the rave.
We are Never Nigeria. Or Pakistan. Or Kenya.
When I was five years old, there was a sharia crisis in Kaduna, the city in Northern Nigeria where my family lived till I was eighteen. I remember that day vaguely. I attended a fantastic primary school in Nigeria, and my family lived right across from the school. For safety reasons, the gates to the school compound would be locked once school resumed and no parents or guardians could gain access to the school unless they had a meeting with a school administrator.
That day we heard very loud banging on the school gate and parents screaming for the security to open the gates for them to take their children home. Since I lived right across from school, my family was unperturbed, because we also had numerous aunty and uncles (much to my chagrin) who lived with us, so the house would not be empty and there would be someone to pick me up. I got home in literally two minutes. But I had classmates who lived very far away, but made the trip to attend that school because of it's standard and reputation.
That night, we heard several gunshots. I am unsure if they were from the sharia people or if they were from soldiers who were sending warning signals. But there was no school the next day, and I was terrified because it finally dawned on my small mind that this was a serious affair.
That memory has remained with me for the past fifteen plus years.
A few years ago, I left Nigeria for A Levels in South Africa. In my first summer holiday back from South Africa, something similar happened. My father had come to pick me up from the airport in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, which was a two hour drive from Kaduna. After my father picked me up from the airport, I noticed that he was making frantic phone calls. My mother had called to advise that we remain in Abuja, at least for the night. We could not travel to Kaduna because there had been some violence and unrest.
The conflict persisted and there was a curfew in some parts of the city for about one week. Everything was shut down- markets, banks, everything. Several families starved because your average Nigerian family cannot afford to buy enough food to last them one full week. Many families starved. And for those who had the money, there was no market or store to purchase the food items and other household necessities.
My own family was saved by miracle because my mother bought food stuff in bulk and stocked the house, as the holiday season was coming and the house population would double. Some would say it's luck, I call it the Holy Spirit's prompting.
In the summer of 2014, I did an internship in Lagos, Nigeria. One day during the summer, there was a bomb blast in a shopping mall very close to my family home in Abuja, where we now live. You literally could see that plaza from my house. I was not terrified, because somehow, I knew my family was fine. But they could have been hit by that bomb blast because my brothers frequent that mall. That evening, I called home and everyone was fine, thankfully.
As you probably can tell, terrorism has been a part of my life in many diverse ways. I understand it, I know it, and although I haven’t lost a family member to terror, there have been times when I have come dangerously close. The emotional torture alone is enough to kill you.
I currently am attending university abroad and I still wonder from time to time if my family is truly safe, although we live right in the heart of Nigeria’s capital city. That should be safe, because it’s the heart of the country, right? Wrong.
Here are a few pictures of Abuja for your perusal. I love this city. So "peaceful" lol.
I also live with the painful knowledge that some lives are worth more than others. It’s extremely difficult for me to articulate how I feel when there’s a bomb blast in some European country and the world goes on a stand still, yet, people have been dying in Nigeria, in other parts of the world, yet there seems to be very little done to ameliorate this situation. I'm not saying that we should not mourn, but... yeah, I don't know.
Also, what's with this rhetoric that muslims are against the rest of the world? Growing up in Kaduna, I gained early exposure to other religions. I knew all the muslim prayers even before I learnt about Jesus. I always stood, knelt, bowed, with our muslim security guard, as he prayed, even before I started school.
So no, muslims are not after the rest of the world. ISIS is a terror group that has so far, killed more muslims than people from other religions. Stop with the lies, Donald and company.
I wish I had the answers. What can we do, third world? The first world clearly will not save us because in this our capitalist world, your paper does all the talking, and if you’re poor, you have no currency and your life has minimal value. Also, the West has a lot of problems too. Or?
What can we do? I’m asking honestly. What can we do? Who is going to save the third world from terrorism? From poverty and the myriad of things that bother us? Please please, leave me a comment.