Boko Haram and a Nation collapsing under the weight of Corruption, Deception and Religion

Just as I finally summoned enough interest to write about the Baga killings, news came in that Islamists terrorist group, Boko Haram, has struck again, this time in the city of Maiduguri. According to Sahara Reporters-

Top security officials just confirmed to SaharaReporters that Islamist fighters today overwhelmed the 243 battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed at Monguno Barracks. The insurgents killed an undetermined number of soldiers and wounded the brigade commander of the barracks.

Our sources said soldiers who put up resistance to the invading insurgents were killed, adding that many soldiers then ran in different directions. They disclosed that 1,400 soldiers were stationed at the barracks at the time of the attack, adding that military authorities were not aware of their exact whereabouts or how many of them had been killed. “We still don’t know what has happened to them [soldiers], but we know that Boko Haram now controls the barracks and Monguno town,” one officer based in Abuja confirmed.

When the Islamists terrorist group Boko Haram struck in Baga and killed a disputed 2,000 people , it was no longer considered newsworthy, at least not in Nigeria. I must confess that even as a Nigerian, I did not bother to check out the news, deven though the headlines screamed at me.  According to CNN –

During the raid that started January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military base.

Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last weekend, according to residents.

Though local officials gave conflicting death tolls, they agreed on the massive number of fatalities.

More than 2,000 people were killed in attacks on 16 villages, Bukar said. He could not explain how he arrived at that toll.

But the local district head said hundreds of people had been killed, not thousands. The actual toll will be known after a headcount of households is complete, Hassan said.

And BBC reported an eyewitness account- 

Two days after the attack, a man who claimed to be Abubakar Shekau [the leader of Boko Haram] came and addressed us. He said: “Today, where is your government from local to highest level? You are now under our control.” And he preached to us.

After that, Shekau and many of the insurgents left the town in the hands of some Boko Haram members who are from Baga.

These men have taken control of the young women in the town. They rape and abuse our daughters.

In the evening they choose ones who are neither pregnant nor nursing mothers and take them away. They don’t bring them back until the morning. If it is not rape what are they doing to them?

I guess we are now so desensitised to the atrocities of Boko Haram that it seems more murders in boko_haram561_2the name of Allah is no longer news, at least not when it involves Boko Haram. This might sound callous or insensitive, especially since the Baga killings occurred around the time of Charlie Hebdo killings, which I took the time to write about. So, why this seemingly uncaring attitude towards the Islamists terrorists presently ravaging my birth land (Holy FSM, I can’t even bring myself to call it my homeland anymore)?

I think this ‘What else is new’ attitude towards the misadventures of Boko Haram is indeed sad and scary. When an abnormality becomes the norm, there is cause for concern. It is not a case of indifference but a case of wondering how to write about what has been written about so many times. What words that have not already been used can one use to condemn the ever-latest atrocities of Boko Haram? We are surely running out of adjectives to write yet another screaming ‘Boko Haram has struck again’ headline. Even as I was finally writing on the Baga killings, news filtered in that Boko Haram has struck again, this time in Monguno and are making a bold attempt to capture the big city of Maiduguri.

Sadly enough, what grabbed the headlines in the atrocity of Boko Haram in Baga was the disputed number of victims of these callous Islamists terrorists. The government, when it finally deemed it fit to comment on the murders via some comments made in a hurry by a government official, claimed that the number of deaths was about 150 people. International papers and some Nigerians have pegged the number at 2,000. Of course, there should be total outrage regardless of the number, however this is Nigeria where lives means little and certainly means nothing to the government in power and politicians jostling for power.

How does a country that cannot even verify the number of people killed in yet another terrorists attack be bothered to sympathise with the families of the victims? Even now, it is still difficult to verify how many schoolgirls in Chibok were abducted by Boko Haram.

Nigeria is a country fast collapsing under the heavy weight of corruption, deception, and religious platitudes. Corruption reigns supreme. The country is like a headless chicken running helter-skelter with no sense of direction. It knows it is nearing its death but well, it will still run, even if headless.

When I think of my once beloved motherland, my heart feels heavy. They say there is no place like home, and that home is where the heart is.  However, I dare say, home is not necessarily, where the heart is, but where we feel most welcomed and safe. Our hearts can be in a place where we are definitely not safe and we truly can’t refer to that unsafe place as home. So yeah, I now find it difficult to call Nigeria home especially since the passage of the anti Lgbt law, which stipulates 14 years imprisonment for engaging in same sex relationships and 10 years jail-term for advocating for LGBT rights. I dare say, #NigerianLGBTLivesMatterToo.

Many wondered why the world did not condemn the Baga attacks with as much gusto as they did the Charlie Hebdo attack in France. I was not surprised at the seeming indifference. Even the Nigerian newspapers hardly covered the Baga attacks and of course, the government could not be bothered to make official statement on the attack. Maybe President Goodluck Jonathan got tired of recycling the same old statements and empty promises. More so, his election campaigns can’t be derailed because a few more people lost their lives to Boko Haram, afterall #Electionmatterstoo.

I can’t blame the world leaders for not making noise about the latest Boko Haram atrocity in download (1)Nigeria. In fairness, the world did make a lot of noise about the abducted girls. The hashtag #Bringbackourgirls generated a lot of publicity and there were many leaders and celebrities brandishing this demand. Yeah, “Bring back our girls”, they all demanded but the girls are yet to be brought back. However,  one must wonder, was the demand directed at Boko Haram, the Nigerian Government, or the international investigators that were dispatched to Nigeria by concerned world leaders to assist with this investigation? I guess we will never really know. Maybe it is a demand to all concerned. Yes, bring back our girls. Sigh.

I wondered though if after all that ‘Bring back out girls’ outcry, the international investigators discovered the mess that is Boko Haram is indeed a mess that can only be sorted out in-house.

Boko Haram is an in-house mess.

Boko Haram is Nigeria’s Shit and only Nigerians can clean it up.

Many greedy Nigerian politicians contributed their excreta towards making the shit that is Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is a mess created and sustained by Nigerian leaders and politicians who use religion as a tool of power.

Boko Haram is a mess that is consuming its creators and has grown wings above the contributors that excreted the shit.

Boko Harm is a mess that has taken a life of its own but it is still very useful to those that are willing to play the religious game to gain political power.

I was not surprised that Boko Haram chose to attack again as elections gets near, after all it is just buhari and jonathanabout 3 weeks to the Presidential election.

What better way to put the fear of Boko Haram in Nigerians than to strike when the elections are at hand?

What better way to show Nigerians that the present president cannot curtail these rampaging Islamists terrorists than to kill at will, very near the presidential election period?

What better way to send the message across that they would prefer power goes to the only other viable presidential contender (who btw, happens to be a sharia fanatic who was handpicked  by Boko Haram to negotiate on their behalf), than to kill as many as they can and cause people to be more disgruntled with the present government?

I won’t be surprised if we witnessed more Boko Haram attacks leading to this February 14 elections. They probably are saving their signature assaults for the week leading to the presidential election.

Nigeria is a country collapsing under the weight of corruption and deception. It is a country where fellow Nigerians don’t even trust what is coming out from the mouths of their own neighbours, never mind the mouths of their leaders and politicians.

This deception is endangering social movements in Nigeria and the lack of transparency is affecting just how willing we are to be part of these movements and in what esteem we hold these movements.

How are we going to have grassroots led revolution when the masses can’t even trust the self-styled social crusaders?  For example, during the ‘Bring Back our girls campaign’, there were actually women who were hired by social groups to pose as mothers of the kidnapped schoolgirls. People blame the first lady for lashing out at these groups when they paid her a visit. I can imagine the contempt she feels for them because she knows just what game they are playing.

As a Nigerian who has been very much involved in protests and social movements, paying people to join protests is actually the norm, it is nothing new or strange. It is simply how it is done. Simples. Nevertheless, why would anyone need to hire women to pose as mothers of these kidnapped girls? As i stated in my post Boko Haram, #Bringbackourgirls, conspiracy theories, media and the mess called Nigeria, these actions only serve to compromise the investigations. It is also self-serving, as the group who claims to have the mothers of the kidnapped girls becomes the group to reckon with. And with recognition comes publicity, money and all sorts of funds. It is a sad case. But well, this is a country where some people are actually hired to cry at funerals, so really, it is nothing new.

Deception and corruption is not just a government ill, but also an illness that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the social movements in Nigeria. This monster is having a field time bedevilling the socio-political groups close to my heart and that include the LGBT community, and the burgeoning Nigerian atheist/agnostic /freethinker community. However, that is a story for another day.

Even the socialist/progressives/left groups were distracted from demanding a better government and preparing for the political elections by the juicy money on offer in the recently concluded National Conference charade. It was a case of satisfying what we Nigerians call ‘Stomach infrastructure’.

Their participation in the fruitless National Conference had nothing to do with genuine change. The progressives can pat themselves on the back for the few minutes they had on the floor to accentuate, postulate, and jargonise their rhetoric, but they know and we know that these ‘postulations’ are all going to end in the dustbin. In fact, all the papers and talks have already been consigned to the trashcan of history. It was not the first national conference and it won’t be last, at least not until a truly sovereign National Conference is convened. In the meantime, the self-styled social crusaders/activists can pat themselves on the back and smile to the bank with their share of the National Conference bounties. That is the face and spirit of Nigeria.

Boko Haram is not necessarily what is killing Nigeria, the country is collapsing under the weight of corruption, deception, bad leadership and lackadaisical citizens. Boko Haram would be a thing of the past if we had a country that was not already ravaged by corruption, deception, tribalism, religious fanaticism and the ‘God is in control’ attitude of Nigerians. I guess even international leaders and their investigators had to wash their hands off Nigeria and the Boko Haram saga when they realised it is a home problem that requires a home solution.

Nigerians can demand this solution from their government by demanding that Boko Haram be brought to justice and doing it not just via hashtag but the Egypt/Tunisia revolution style, and with a concrete vision of what type of people and ideology they want in power.

On its part, the government can curtail Boko Haram by first starting with cleansing its funders and sympathisers from the seat of power and make sure the large security votes actually goes towards equipping the army and police force. However, I guess, that would mean blocking the source of corrupt money going to the thieves in power who are the backbone of the leaders.  A dilemma indeed, especially for a president seeking re-election.

We don’t know the number of people killed in Baga because life really means little. What difference would one more life or one thousand lives lost to Boko Haram make to a failed nation like Nigeria?

Just the other week, I suffered a personal tragedy as i lost my 3-day-old niece because doctors in Nigeria were on strike. The doctor in the private hospital where the child was delivered gave false assurances about his capacity to perform a needed minor surgery on the baby. As it turned out, this was just so the baby could be delivered in his hospital to enable him charge for the delivery, knowing fully well he wouldn’t be able to perform the needed surgery. He ended up sending the new-born baby to a deserted General hospital where doctors have been on strike for months and after three days of waiting for a doctor who kept promising to perform the surgery but kept postponing the operation, the baby died. It was such a needless death. Just another life taken so young, another life that was unfortunate to be born in Nigeria. Sadly, there will be no justice for the innocent life cut short by greed, deception, corruption, and a failing state. This is Nigeria and life is not sacred in Nigeria.

When we argue about how many lives were lost in Baga, let us just remember that Nigeria is not a country that values the lives of its citizens.

It is a sad situation and I hope we get to a place where all lives matters. But right now, Nigerian lives don’t matter, at least not to Nigerian leaders. If Lives don’t matter to doctors, why should it matter to Nigerian politicians? And if Nigerian lives don’t matter to Nigerian leaders, I wouldn’t blame the world leaders and celebrities if they are not hashtagging #Nigerianlivesmatter.

Charity they say begins at home and I concur.

Related articles-

Boko Haram, #Bringbackourgirls, conspiracy theories, media and the mess called Nigeria.

Choosing between the Sharia fanatic and the inept, incumbent President: The sad case of a gutless nation

Why I can’t be bothered to wish Nigeria a Happy 54th Independence Anniversary.

Boko Haram kills in the name of God, AGAIN; Nigerians pray to God for solution, AGAIN.

Another inglorious medal for religion as Boko Haram invades secondary school hostel, Kills 43 students in the name of Allah

 

 

The Charlie Hebdo tragedy: The five crowds that are getting it wrong

In the wake of the atrocious murder of Charlie Hedbo’s journalists by Islamist fundamentalists which led to #Jesuischarlie, it is sad that some people have chosen this horrendous time to falsely accuse the magazine of the very thing it stands against; Racism, Sexism, Homophobia and Misogyny.

As Libby Nelson wrote in Charlie Hebdo: its history, humor, and controversies:

Charlie Hebdo is known for its cartoons, which are often raunchy and provocative, whether they depicted the Prophet Mohammed or portrayed the Pope performing holy communion with a condom.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, who was murdered in the attack, described the newspaper’s positions in 2012 as left-wing, secular, and atheist.

Below are 5 different crowds that are getting it wrong and why.

1- The “Charlie Hebdo is racist and sexist” crowd

This crowd eagerly post some of Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons with the aim of accusing the magazine of racism and L4057-1011.0sexism, without caring to dig into the context.

The context of Charlie Hebdo’s Parodies/cartoons is easily understood by the French but not easily understood by outsiders, unless they are conversant with French politics. Some of these cartoons can be viewed and understood under the piece What are some of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cartoons?

At first glance, these cartoons might appear racist, sexist, and ill-thought-out, but after reading the contexts, this is usually not the case.

So, “What was the context of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting Boko Haram sex slaves as welfare queens?”

This is what Libby Nelson has to say:

Charlie Hebdo covers often combined two unrelated stories to make a satirical point. In the context of the magazine’s leftist politics, this seems to be about spoofing not Nigerian trafficking victims, but French welfare critics, who have argued that France should cut welfare programs to prevent immigrant women from exploiting them. The cover, in this view, seems to say, “Hey, welfare critics, you’re so heartless that you probably think that even Nigerian sexual slavery victims are money-grubbing ‘welfare queens.

This is what French people have to say about it on Quora [Read more…]

Islamist Barbarians Have Struck Again!

Islamist barbarians have struck again, as 3 gunmen went on a killing spree, murdering 10 journalists, 2 police officers and injuring 7 people in the name of Allah.

BBC reports

Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven in an apparent Islamist attack.

At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.

The gunmen shouted “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad”, witnesses say

This is truly sickening. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the last time Islamist terrorists would kill to protect the honour of their attackPaedophile prophet, while shouting Allahu Akbar.

Barbaric, primitive religious fanatics and those so-called moderates, who feign disgust at these atrocities but still spew passages from their Holy books to justify atrocities, need brain transplants!

This is another blatant attack on Freedom of Expression by these barbaric religious fanatics.

It was also reported that 2 of the cartoonists killed had personal body guards because there has been ongoing life threatening messages from Islamists who feel offended by the cartoons the Newspaper published.

Imagine what it is like to be under constant fear for your life for exercising your Freedom of Expression.

I am so tired of hearing the rhetoric that people should not upset the religious community. Why should we care that religious people are [Read more…]

Choosing between the Sharia fanatic and the inept, incumbent President: The sad case of a gutless nation

Nigerians seem to have lost their memory, again.buhari and jonathan

Who votes for a man who truncates democracy?

Who votes for a man who has repeatedly shown his disdain for the rule of law?

Who votes for a man with a record of appalling human rights violations?

Who votes for a man who advocates for Sharia law in a supposedly secular society?

Who votes for a man who cares not that lives, especially young lives, were lost because he lost an election?

Who in their right mind endorses such a despotic being as a presidential candidate?

How could a decent person openly campaign for votes for this despot?

What type of self-acclaimed progressive party fields such a candidate?

I was flabbergasted when General Muhammadu Buhari, a 72 year old ex-military despot and Sharia law fanatic was adopted as the [Read more…]

New Year Resolution? Do away with God and Religion

A perfect New Year resolution would be to do away with God and all its attendant delusions. Most importantly, it would mean you no longer407171_2699056189303_1043602147_2867789_1434976931_n give a stamp of approval to all the ills, harms and atrocities perpetrated in the name of God under the umbrella of Religion as commanded in the Hoy book, be it the Bible, Quran or any other deluded book, aka the Word of God.

In recent years, we have seen how much harm and havoc God delusion can bring to humanity. It is not just about hearing old stories about how God sanctioned and even commanded slavery, genocides, plagues, jihads, stoning to death of non-virgin wives and gays, we cannot in good conscience, continue to say “Oh that was days of old”.

In recent years:

  1. We have seen innocent people beheaded in the name of God to the shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.
  2. We have seen children blown up in schools in the name of God.
  3. We have seen young girls kidnapped and married off in the name of God.
  4. We have witnessed young girls shot in the head for daring to seek an education.
  5. We have seen people blowing one another up because of God‘s promised land to his ‘Chosen people’.
  6. We have seen lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Trans oppressed, bullied, forced to commit suicide, thrown in jail, and even stoned to death all in the name of God and Religion.
  7. We have seen women denied equal rights because the word of God says women must be submissive.
  8. We have seen women denied the right to have an abortion even when the life of the mother is in danger because, well God, and soul.
  9. We have seen right before our eyes, wars and suicide bombings induced by people fighting over whose God is better.
  10. We have seen these atrocities, discrimination, and oppression being justified with quotes from the very book we look up to as the perfect word of God.

[Read more…]

Free and Equal Naija campaign should be without a BUT.

To mark this year’s international human rights day,  a group of Nigerian individuals and organisations came together to adopt the Free and Equal Naija campaign todownload promote inclusiveness of LGBT rights as human rights.

I am a firm believer in equal rights; therefore, the Free and equal Naija hashtag appealed to the human rights activist in me. However, when I got the memo and guideline that came with the concept note, I was once again, disappointed. The memo came with the guideline-

Important Notice:

The #FreeAndEqualNaija Campaign is not a marriage equality campaign. All advocacy outputs should be directed toward inclusiveness and accountability in the promotion and protection of human rights of all Nigerian citizens.

Once again, marriage equality is being treated as the taboo words that must not be uttered if we are to win the support of Nigerian human rights activists and organisations.

There is this growing stigma attached to marriage equality campaign especially amongst African LGBT activists. Although i appreciate the effort to speak up for LGBT rights in a country where it is a crime to do so, but as a staunch supporter of Marriage Equality, I could not fully get behind the Free and Equal Naija campaign because i did not wish to be part of anything that stigmatises marriage equality campaign. [Read more…]

Islam Deserves No Respect From Me

No religion deserves respect from me. However, when in this modern age, a particular religion is always grabbing the headlines when its adherents kidnap and open 396079_10150480627647772_276988682771_8924818_2014902550_nfire on innocent people in shopping malls and cafes while screaming, “There is no other God but Allah”, and murder children for simply daring to seek an education, I can say, Islam deserves nothing but contempt. My heart bleeds for all the innocent lives lost in the latest atrocities committed in the name of religion and a mythical skydaddy.

No lie or myths sold as truth deserves respect and all religions are myths and lies. However, when lies are used as brainwashing tool to harm innocent people and cause havoc in the society, that lie deserves nothing but contempt and condemnation from decent people.

Child marriages, subjugation of women, persecution of LGBTs, stoning of women found guilty of adultery, public flogging as punishment for drinking alcohol, cutting off hands as punishment for stealing,  jungle justice, Jihads, Fatwas and beheading for blasphemy are just a few things of my least favourite things about Islam and its holy book, Quran.

What do we expect from followers of the Abrahamic God who took pride in ordering the execution of children? Genocides were a thing Skydaddy was proud of, and some of his delusional adherents are still proud to follow his sadistic orders. [Read more…]

Santa Came To Turn Me On!

Some time ago, I broke my waist or thought I had, and excruciating lower back pain sent me running to my doctor.

I wondered why my waist could no longer support mySnapshot_20141212_117 big bums. After MRI scans and prescribed painkillers, it turned out; it was just some muscle strain probably from my gym workout. As it turns out, pulled muscles can be very painful. For a minute, I was convinced i had a mild stroke in my sleep, until my doctor put my mind to rest! Now, i know better than to lift heavy weights or do some strenuous cardio at the gym. I am definitely not taking any body-parts for granted again.

Many of you were concerned and some of my Naija friends recommended the local sprain and strain ointment, aboliki, which was actually very effective! I also promised that as soon as I was up and well again, I would make another dance-exercise video. Since I always make good on my promise, here it is!

Dancing to one of my favourite songs of all time was indeed fun and the sequinned Santa cap i got it at 99p shop came in handy as a dance prop!

I think my waist is at least 95% back to normal, therefore i consider my waist healed. What do you think?

I am glad to be back in good health, grateful to be able to shake my bums again and of course rock my curves!

Here is a toast to good health and Happy Holidays!

 

Related link-

Body Parts And Little Things We Take For Granted

#Ferguson: Mike brown and the “It is not a race thing” Apologists.

I have been unable to bring myself to write a blogpost on ‪#‎Ferguson for weeks now. Reading the updates is overwhelmingly heart wrenching. However, my sadness and pain won’t shield me from the myriad of stupid, wilfully ignorant and racist comments and memes that pops up on my newsfeed. If anything, those comments, status updates and memes contribute to my pain and anger. Michael Brown, 19, was unarmed when he was shot eight times in the middle of a street in Ferguson. And now, there is the case of Eric Garner, an African American choked to death by a white police officer.

It is disheartening when in an attempt to deny the racial aspect involved in Mike Brown’s murder, people who should know better post things like:

“This is not a race thing”

“I married a white person, my in-laws are white and they are not racists “

“All black people are not criminals; All white people are not racists”

“What if Mike brown was white?”

“Can’t we just move on?”

“But all lives matter!”

Those comments expose the comfortable ignorance people maintain on race related issues. Many white people are quick to deny white privilege. Some black people are quick to exclaim in unison with their white in-laws, “Not all white people are racists, can’t we just move on?”

An atheist black friend who should know better posted a video purportedly showing Mike Brown shoplifting, without any clarification and the first commenter, another black person, immediately wrote, “He shoplifted, he should be shot.” [Read more…]

Bullies Are Not Born; They Are Made.

Our society is not doing enough to address bullying of vulnerable young people, especially young people with disabilities. I grew up in a society where even teachersstop-bully-logo laughed at and maltreated students who suffer from learning disabilities.

There was this particular case, which even decades later, still makes me furious. Whenever I hear of children with disabilities who are bullied by adults, I instantly think of this boy in my junior high school class in Nigeria, who was constantly bullied not just by students but by teachers too.

The boy, I think his name was ‘Jamiu’, was always falling asleep during class sessions. We were told or rather, there were rumours that the boy was bitten by Tsetse fly and as a result had ‘sleeping sickness’. For years, I was terrified of flies.  Obviously, the child suffered from some sort of sleeping disorder, and he constantly fell asleep in class.  Teachers told us to mock him for falling asleep during class sessions. Teachers made him stand in front of the class where he was humiliated with the whole class staring at him like a freak. Since it was our first year in high school, we were between the ages of 12 and 13, but it seems the boy was much older. He was also bigger than most of us in the class. However, I rarely heard him speak. He seemed to bear his constant humiliation with stoic fortitude.

This young boy had learning disabilities and did not perform well in class. He sat at the back of the class. Looking back now, it seems that young people who had learning disabilities were always sat at the back of the class. The ‘bright’ ones were always sat at the front rows, while those who did not perform well were pushed to the back seats. The further down you are, the lower you are in the hierarchy of ‘intelligence’.

I used to feel so sorry for the child but also I was terrified to go near him for fear of ‘catching’ this sleeping disease. I felt sorry for him because he could not have been [Read more…]

Calling Out Misogyny or Bullying is Not An Attack; It is a Social Duty!

There is this unfortunate trend in social media where calling out someone for their sexist, misogynist, and/or inhumane remarks is seen more as an invitation for a fight rather than an opportunity to engage in rational discussion. Many, especially women, are discouraged from calling out sexist, misogynist, or stereotype remarks made by friends on social media like Facebook or Twitter, for fear of being tagged as the “type of feminist that gives feminism a bad name”.

There seems to be a renewed effort to tag outspoken,social justice conscious women as aggressive, judgemental, over-sensitive ‘bitches’ who just want to ruin everyone’s fun. It is particularly sad that this type of silencing technique is becoming even more prevalent in the Humanist/Atheist space.

November 17th-24th is  anti-bullying week and I pledged sometime ago not to be a bystander when I witness bullying. Of course, this has somehow earned me a reputation as the “fun ruiner”, especially amongst some of my fb friends.  Whenever i post or comment on such issues, it is at the risk of being referred to as the “type of feminist” they don’t like. Therefore, such discussions tend to irritate some ‘friends’ and many do get aggressively defensive when called out. However, i am sure that those who resort to aggressive behaviour when called out on how they treat others do not deserve the space they occupy on my virtual/real friendship list, simples.

I was shocked when I came across the status update below from a somehow close FB friend who identify as humanist and feminist: [Read more…]

On the street harassment video: Calling out racism should not drown out the sexism in the video.

When I watched the street harassment video titled 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman, my first thought was, forget 10 hours, that is my experience as a woman 557264_423393704397930_1730387465_nwalking the 10 minutes distance to my gym!

Catcalls and street harassments are daily experiences many women have learned to live with. Many of us have spoken out against this experience many times. However, are we ever taken seriously? No. Instead, trolls invade such posts with excuses like “Not every man”, “I am not your kind of feminist”, “This is why I hate feminists”… blahblahblah

Therefore, I was actually happy just to see a video documenting an actual experience of catcalls and street harassment going viral. In all honesty, I was not looking at the skin colour of the guys in the video, I was more about their words and often I went,  oh, I have heard that or oh that is a popular one. I guess to me, my street harassers have one thing in common, they are men, they say the same shit, they want control, they treat me like objects, and they feel entitled to my body. They are men that feel entitled to my time, who feel they must compliment my body and they get annoyed when I don’t beam at their validation of my beauty. They get angry when I don’t smile when they command me to smile on the street while going about my errands, some even get violent when I don’t reciprocate their unsolicited attention. They do all these regardless of their skin colour. So nope, I was not watching out for skin colour of my everyday street harasser in that video because what binds street harassers together is not their skin colour but their male identity, male privilege or better put, misogyny.

However, I was glad when people started pointing out the racial aspect of the video, especially when the maker of the video was exposed for a similar racist editing he had done in a previous ad video and also a homeless man makeover ad video.  The discussions were good and enlightening.

However, as a woman who is very much affected by this catcalling, street harassment culture, I am worried that in an attempt to call out racism, focus is being taken [Read more…]

Jamie Olivier; Hands Off My Continent’s Jollof Rice! #Jollofgate

 

Like many West Africans, I was aghast when I saw the picture of what Jamie Olivier tried to pass off as Jollof rice. Twitter was set ablaze by the B1aijQDCEAApYGlrighteous fury of West Africans, protesting the audacity of an international white celebrity chef, who dared to plagiarised (and badly so too), West Africa’s much beloved dish, Jollof Rice. To an outsider, this might seem like much ado about nothing, but hey jollof rice is not just any rice, it is a national treasure, a national signature, and as #Jollofgate fury has proved, it is an African pride. Touch our Jollof rice; we will come at you with united fury! [Read more…]

Culture is not an excuse to perpetrate injustice; LGBT Rights are about Human Rights not Culture.

As part of the celebration marking Black History/LGBT Month, I was interviewed by  Tundun Adeyemo, presenter of the program ‘Outspoken’ BookCoverImage new vistaon www.africaukradio.com. Below is a text of the interview, also available on her blog.

October is Black History/Lesbian Gays Bisexual Transsexual Month. In parts of London, people have been marking this in various ways. To help us give that some perspective is author Yemisi Ilesanmi who joins us from London to talk about her book and why homosexuality is not just an European concept.

Hello Yemisi, Many thanks for joining us.

 1- You have written this book ‘Homosexuality is not unAfrican.’ Why did you write this book?

Thanks. I wrote this book to counter the erroneous impression that homosexuality is Un-African. This is a rhetoric that many African politicians keep sprouting in their bid to defend the discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and Transsexuals. With the upsurge of anti-gay bills springing up in many African countries, it became imperative to provide necessary information and create awareness on the issues of sexual orientation especially homosexuality and bisexuality. Information is power and education is key to human development.

In this digital age, where information is easily accessible, it is sad to know that many people especially Africans still fall for the homophobic, biphobic and transphobiic rhetoric that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. In the book Freedom to Love For All; Homosexuality is not Un-African, I put together a collection of my essays debunking the myths that Homosexuality is Un-African.

First, I started by clarifying the meaning of sexual orientation and providing accepted definition of the different kinds of sexual orientation and gender identity that we [Read more…]

London Black Atheists Celebrates 2nd Anniversary In Style!

London Black Atheists (LBA) celebrated its 2nd anniversary on Saturday, 25 October 2014 at Conway Hall, London.  It was also an opportunity to mark Black History Month. It was a fabulous evening with fantastic people, amazing talents and delicious food and drinks.

Clive Aruede and a few other atheists with the aim of bringing together black atheists in London founded London Black Atheists two years ago. LBA provides a nurturing atmosphere for black atheists to come out of the closet and interact in a safe environment.

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London Black Atheists organises meetups including talks and social outings. It announces scheduled meetups on its Meetup page. Its ‘About info’ states: [Read more…]