ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home   ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)  

Google
 

Surely 47 is a landmark in the history of a nation, even individual. We need to put

behind us whatever that might have brutalized our minds during the year and celebrate.

There’s cause for jubilation; when there’s life there’s hope.

 

 

Nigeria @ 47: Laughing Off the Grief

By Hakeem Babalola

 

Another day of October 1st has arrived and just like the years before, Nigerians all over the world would use the occasion to remember their country. We would dance and sing. We would party irrespective of sufferings in our land. Our leaders would rejoice in their usual rhetoric, luring us into believing there’s reason for festivity. It is another opportunity to award phony contract. Remember EtteHouse? Both leaders and followers will have forgotten that Alaru ti o nje buredi, awo ori re ni o nje ti ko mo [the occasion needs thoughtfulness instead of usual festivity]. 

I have this silent believe that every citizen does love his country in a certain way even though critics are always branded unpatriotic, because they expose all what is wrong in the land. But how can I keep quiet when the government that is responsible for the growth of its citizen is ironically the one that stands in the way of such growth? The highest form of criminality is when a government deliberately uses the instrument of state to crush its citizens—from development.

There are many ways the Nigerian government—either present or past—annihilate its citizens’ thought. Nigerians are being killed every now and then by policy of inconsiderate. I would cite two typical examples of such callous implementation. Elections in Nigeria, for example. We have had no free and fair elections in our land, except the one believed to have been won by MKO Abiola and which was annulled in 1993 June 12 by the power of that moment.

When you deprive a people from choosing their leader, then you murder them without spilling blood. I am not talking about physical killings like unresolved political assassinations. I am not even talking about road accidents that have sent thousands to their early grave due to bad roads which of course should be the duty of a serious government. I am actually talking about mental killing that follows the victims to their grave.

The second way a government can crush its citizens’ thought is by refusing to adopt free and qualitative education to a certain level. When a citizen is deprived of such education, she is unfairly treated as a citizen. She is dispossessed of knowledge that would liberate her. She is made to suffer throughout her life. She is forced to be a slave and treated like a servant in her own house. She is condemned to the street to become area boys to be used to rig elections. She is permanently restricted to a class of nonentity. She would never know but she would be happy to celebrate October 1st simply because they have managed to conquer her thought.  

The experts recent reports about high level of illiteracy in Nigeria serve as illustration here. They have rated Nigeria as having the highest number of illiterates in the world, according to The Guardian newspaper. They have therefore warned that the country might neither meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving illiteracy by the year 2015 nor its dream of joining the 20 world largest economies by the year 2020.

What exactly are those factors keeping my people from progress? I don’t need to highlight more of these factors, for even a ten-year-old Nigerian understands our profound problems and the solution. This is of course frightening. I mean if one knows the solution but refuse to implement it accordingly. When are we going to be serious about seriousness? Isn’t the future started from yesterday? Why is it the same song every year? “E go better...e go better”. Millions of Nigerians have carried such hopeless hope to their grave without tasting the “e go better”.

But as usual, Nigerians would put on their best clothes on October 1st and celebrate 47th anniversary of self-rule. Those in the Diaspora would use the occasion to organize cultural activities to showcase our heritage, which is not bad in its form. But instead of doing it with reflection, we would do it with festivity. We would do it with such fanfare that suggests things are well in the land of our birth. On this day we will have forgotten what drove us away from our land of birth. The thing we enjoy in our new land and which is virtually missing at home has undernourished our perspective. After all, we have made it out to be "God’s Own Country".

So let Nigerians in the street of Amsterdam or Berlin or Stockholm or Vienna or Sydney or Budapest or London or New York blow their trumpet and rejoice for escaping poverty in their own land. Let them celebrate by poking fun at those who could not escape the hardships at home. Let them celebrate the glee of freedom they enjoy in white woman’s land but lacking in their own. Let them fly Sunny Ade to thrill the occasion in their adopted countries.

What exactly are we celebrating? That the queen gave us her language? That we are better off since the so-called independence? That the factors which led to the civil war that killed millions have been rectified? That the civil servants are still civil servants? That the wars on corruption have been won? That the living standard is standard? That the Nigerian Police Force has stopped killing or maiming or harassing the citizens indiscriminately? That armed robbers are still walking our street with pride of locust? What is it that has forced us to the street in celebration instead of reflection? What is it? Yet God knows I want to feel jubilation rather than sadness. I want to celebrate a nation, a nation greater than the so-called America. That is why the success of the Nigeria’s Under-17 World Cup in South Korea is still written on my chest. We rule the world is exaggeratedly displayed on my forehead for the world to see.

Oh, the school children would not be left out of such burlesque show in the country. They would trick them as they had tricked us. They would ask them to wash and starch and iron their uniforms for October 1st patriotic carnival.  Most of these children would march and sing the national anthem, and pledge to Nigeria their country without or with little food in their stomachs. They would play on their innocence as they had played on ours. They would tell them they are the future leaders of tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. Does it? If only we had known.

Surely 47 is a landmark in the history of a nation, even individual. We need to put behind us whatever that might have brutalized our minds during the year and celebrate. There’s cause for jubilation; when there’s life there’s hope. That was the reason given by the immediate past president for celebrating October 1st. And the new one, a Caretaker President as far as I am concerned, shall echo his predecessor’s patriotic sentiment. May God save Nigerians.

Copyright 2007                        mysmallvoice@yahoo.com

posted 30 September 2007

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

*   *   *   *   *

Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007

By Matthew Wasniewski

Black Americans in Congress, 1870–2007 beautifully prepared volume—is a comprehensive history of the more than 120 African Americans who have served in the United States Congress. Written for a general audience, this book contains a profile of each African-American Member, including notables such as Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Oscar De Priest, Adam Clayton Powell, Shirley Chisholm, Gus Hawkins, and Barbara Jordan. Individual profiles are introduced by contextual essays that explain major events in congressional and U.S. history. Part I provides four chronologically organized chapters under the heading "Former Black Members of Congress." Each chapter provides a lengthy biographical sketch of the members who served during the period addressed, along with a narrative historical account of the era and tables of information about the Congress during that time. Part II provides similar information about current African-American members. There are 10 appendixes providing tabular information of a variety of sorts about the service of Black members, including such things as a summary list, service on committees and in party leadership posts, familial connections, and so forth. The entire volume is 803 large folio pages in length and there are many illustrations. The book should be part of every library and research collection, and congressional scholars may well wish to obtain it for their personal libraries.Pictures—including rarely seen historical images—of each African American who has served in Congress—Bibliographies and references to manuscript collections for each Member—Statistical graphs and charts

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)  

 

 

 

 

 

update 15 April 2012

 

 

 

Home Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World

Related files: The Second Slavery Ship  Living with Immigration Torture   A Nightclub Forbidden to African  Nigerians Blood on their Hands  Gambian Godfather  They Make Me Hate My Type   Life as African Hungarian  

Etteh's House of Area Boys     African Hungarian Union