Speaking on Religion, Secularism and Fundamentalism at a panel discussion organised by Workers’ Liberty on 12 February, 2015.
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.
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 the 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, [Read more…]
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
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.
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.
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
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…]
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 endorse 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…]
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 fire 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…]
I am often approached at LGBT events especially at protests rallies by filmmakers and journalists who want to write a piece or make a documentary on the ‘horrible’ situation of African Lesbians and gays (they hardly take cognizance of bisexuals and Trans).
There is no doubt that African LGBTs who reside in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalised face a daunting task. Living a closeted life or choosing to face the consequences of being out and proud in a society where one’s sexual orientation is criminalised is frightening and dehumanising. I have been there, I am still there, and I know how horrible the threats can be. So yes, I understand why the filmmakers and writers are fascinated with telling this horror story.
However, a recurring theme makes me cringe every time I am approached by filmmakers or journalists demanding that I tell the horror stories or at least provide them some graphic pictures of violence suffered by African LGBTs. There is this fascination with the horror stories and abused bodies of African LGBTs that I am beginning to wonder if it is a voyage into morbid porn and/or just another way to portray Africans as victims.
When I inform these filmmakers and journalists that I do not have pictures of abused African LGBTS to share with them, they are immediately crestfallen. It is my opinion that most of them haunt African LGBT activists protest grounds not because they are interested in the fight for African LGBT Rights but because they see the plight of African LGBTs as a way of furthering their career in Journalism or film industry.
A heart-wrenching, graphic documentary on the abuses suffers by African LGBTs and why African LGBTS need white saviours could turn a [Read more…]
When President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, was presented with a private jet for his birthday on the 40th anniversary of his ministry, he probably did not envision it was going to be his waterloo.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s private jet was seized in South Africa on the allegation that it was used to convey $9.3 million cash allegedly meant for the purchase of arms and ammunition. South African immigration officials discovered the undeclared money. Two yet to be identified Nigerians and an Israeli were said to be aboard the jet. According to latest reports, the private jet has been released after Nigerian officials entered into diplomatic dialogue with the South African Officials, but the $9.3m is still confiscated by South African government.
Funny enough, Nigeria’s government has moved in to defend the embattled Pastor. Government spokespersons have claimed that the money [Read more…]
The Barbican center is yet to cancel the awfully racist, dehumanising and traumatising exhibition titled ‘Exhibit B’ by white South African, Brett Bailey. Exhibit B- the human zoo, is a dehumanising, racist voyeurism in the name of art.
Below is a video of a great talk by “Reparationist, Jurisconsult, dynamic community advocate and radio Broadcaster Esther Stanford-Xosei” courtesy of London Live 360 TV It is a must watch interview!
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals from countries where their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is criminalised need international solidarity. What we do not need is seeing international leaders who claim to support our fight for LGBT rights wine and dine our oppressors.
When we watch international leaders who are supposedly LGBT allies frolicking with our oppressors, the message we get is that we do not matter. In the long run, it is all about their politics, not their words. International leaders should please WALK THEIR TALK.
If I say #BlackLifeMatters and your response is “Why not EVERY life?” Unfollow me. You dont get it & I dont have time to explain it to you.”
I came across the tweet above and i had to say, “Well said, Elon James White, well said“. Unfortunately this kind of tweets always get some of my white friends on facebook in a twist. What is so unfortunate is that some of them think they are well meaning people who want equal rights for all. If only they would take a minute to do their research and understand how the society they live in works. Everyone should learn to see their own privilege, be it skin colour, sexual identity, sex birth, geographical location, religion or class.
To be blind to your privilege is to not understand or see how you benefit from the society due to your status, a status you might not be conscious of but which is enough to deny the persons who don’t have that status the benefits you get. Heck, it might even cause the persons their lives while you go around not even acknowledging that you have that privilege. Yes, it is frustrating.
A few of my very good white friends on social media think this is sad and they don’t like it when I put up such status calling out [Read more…]
Kate Harris interviews Yemisi Ilesanmi
Published in Workers Liberty’s Solidarity Newspaper
How did you get to where you are today as an LGBT activist and out bisexual woman?
It has been an interesting, tasking, journey towards self-awareness. It is also a journey that has involved studying society and finding my place in it. It is a continuous journey and one where I have to constantly remind myself that I have a right to be who I am in a world that is desperate to make me into what they would rather I be.
I started being politically and socially aware of my human rights at an early age. I was born in Nigeria in the mid-70s and grew up in a society that was marred with constant military coup d’états. There was no stable democracy. It was confusing because people took to the streets to celebrate successful coup d’états. I wondered why it was a good thing for the military to forcefully overthrow elected officials. But the people’s response was that the elected officials were corrupt. However, after having a taste of what military dictatorship means, people stopped celebrating coups. This started the difficult journey towards demanding and organising for a civilian regime where they would have a say in electing their own political leaders. [Read more…]
Speaking during the demonstration, Yemisi Ilesanmi said:
“We are here to speak out on behalf of all oppressed Nigerian LGBTs who have been denied a voice in Nigeria. We are here to put a face on Nigerian LGBTs. We are here to remind you that LGBT Nigerians are not criminals and are worthy of celebration. We are here to remind all those who criminalised us and are turning us into asylum seekers that we will not be silenced. We are LGBT Nigerians and we are proud.”
The demonstrators left the guests with the message “Nigerian LGBTS and LGBT rights supporters are not criminals and we will not be silenced in our fight for our human rights. We hope as Nigeria celebrates its hundred years of existence, its people will also celebrate diversity and do away with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic laws.”
It was shocking and depressing watching the video coverage of African men as they attempt to migrate to Europe on-board a squalid boat, in highly dangerous situation. Their boat engine developed a fault, they were found after two days drifting in the sea without food. They were arrested and squashed together in a horrible small cell. They were the lucky ones. Many had died trying to cross the sea illegally into Europe. Many will still die attempting the dangerous voyage.
The number of people attempting the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa to Italy has risen sharply, says Frontex, the EU border agency.
Quentin Sommerville gained exclusive access to one group, detained by the Libyan authorities while trying to make the crossing.
Some people may find his report from the city of Misrata distressing.
Well, I didn’t just find it distressing; I find it highly depressing and shocking.
What are African leaders doing? The politicians obviously do not care at all about the conditions their African brothers and sisters live in. It is these very conditions that force many Africans to flee their continent, sometimes employing life threatening methods just to get away. Wars, poverty and desperation continue to push people towards dangerous escape routes. [Read more…]
I have so far refrained from writing about the Nigerian ‘missing girls’ for some reasons. Firstly, I wouldn’t want to cause any more pain to families of the missing girls, if indeed there are missing girls.
I got a glimpse of just how much Nigerians love conspiracy theories when Lee Rigby was hatched to death on the street of London by Nigerian/British born Islamist fanatics, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. Many Nigerians went into conspiracy frenzy on social networks. They claimed it was all a set up and made the murderers out to be victims of a twisted immigration plot! Surprisingly, many of the conspiracy theorists were self-identified skeptics and freethinkers. I got fed up of their conspiracy theories showing on my newsfeeds that I reached for the block button. One thing I emphasized was how much pain their insensitive posts were causing the bereaved family. So, let’s get this out of the way, I loathe conspiracy theories, not just because they are mostly misguided but because they do tend to cause pains to the victims and their families. [Read more…]