I was not too surprised when I checked out the Facebook group created to denounce the Nigerian Terrorist today and found that from a meagre 700 members on Friday when I first blogged about it, there are now over 56,o00 members on the group. This is very nice, right?. Very impressive. It shows that we care about the implication of this unscrupulous scandal, or at least about our public image. It is not surprising. We are a patriotic people when something has to do with our image, most of the time. Right? Today on the BBC Focus on Africa, Mr Henry Omoregie, the creator of the group was interviewed for his perspective on the matter. In a matter of days, he has become the voice of “concerned Nigerians” eager to distance themselves from one unthinking act of an idiot. While speaking with my American friend, Chris, a few days after the incident, he told me how impressed he was by the Nigerian reaction. Few days after 9/11, he told me, there were televised celebrations of the event in some parts of Pakistan. Young men went to the streets jubilating that America was being attacked, he says. But in Nigeria, people are rising up to condemn the fool. It shows responsibility, he concludes, and I agree. That was until I heard in a line of comment on the same Facebook group that another Facebook group has been created titled “Free Umar Abdulmutallab. He is not a terrorist!”. I have not been able to find the group page so I am keeping my fingers crossed. But I won’t be surprised if such group now already exists. It’s still a matter of freedom of speech, I guess.
So now that Umar Abdulmutallab has got his fair share of vile from all “concerned Nigerians”, let us return to face the hard truths of the matter. We are not a nation of terrorists, but we have our own mammoth of problems which include poverty, drug trafficking, bad governments, militia unrest and financial crime, which are neither better than terrorism nor good for our global image as well. There are lots of things to do with my time now that the University’s resumption date is still over a week away, and the cold weather has confined the traveller to his now king-sized bed in a cozy Cougar Village apartment so I am discovering humour and satire, both as instruments of social transformation as well as personal coping device against inevitable idleness. Over the past couple of days, I have come up with a theme which would no doubt make some folks wince over there around the Niger river. But they are not just jokes. They are nuggets that should force a re-examination of the current state of the Nigerian polity. Feel free to copy them if you dare, design them with Corel Draw and appropriate caricatures, paste them on your car or shirts, and share them with your friends on Facebook. Include, if it makes you feel better, the texts: “KTravula.com’s Politically Incorrect” or “Nigerianstalk.com’s Terror Humour”.
After all, self-examination is really the best first cure for most anomalies.
Bumper Stickers You Will Never See
- “I’m Nigerian, not a terrorist. I don’t kill people that’re not from another part of my country.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I kidnap foreigners, but I don’t blow them up. That’s not my style!”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I’m a 419 Internet Scam artist, not a terrorist. Don’t spoil my image!”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I destroy oil pipelines, not airplanes.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. Whenever we blow ourselves, we are actually coming, not going.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I smuggle cocaine, heroine and weed in my pants. Not explosives!”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I would kill and die for political positions, not for martyrdom.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I murder for tribe, and not for cause. I can never make a good terrorist!”
- “I’m a Nigerian. The only virgins I want are the ones I can marry, or make into mistresses.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. I get my virgins before they head out to Italy. They’re not in Yemen, or Heaven.”
- “I’m a Nigerian. The only cause I support is the one that fills my tummy, not blow off my junk!”
- “I’m a Nigerian, and not a terrorist. I can never blow myself (up) to save my life!”
Seek ways to make them more sarcastic, if possible, more biting. The more acerbic, the better. Let us go out there and wake the country’s conscience up with subversive humour! Maybe it still has a conscience left to wake, not for America, but for ourselves. I would recommend this beyond the usual cry for the head of Abdulmutallab which by now should be nearing its climax. When all is said and done, it is who we are that would matter as we return to our routine lives in the course of the coming weeks and months. What will stand the test of time? Do we move forward in some way or do we return to the inner inequalities and lesser evils that make this particular case just a case of the first among equals of evil?