The Woolwich Murder: Another case of Religious Insanity.

I am sad but not so shocked by the savagery and pure barbarism displayed by the two murderers who butchered a man to his death in broad daylight in Woolwich, South East London. The victim, a serving soldier was attacked with knives and a meat cleaver by two men shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

 

I am also very sad because this really did not shock me as much as I would have expected. In fact the only shock seems to be the weapon they chose. Meat cleavers and machetes aren’t normally associated with terrorists in UK; bomb seems to be more of a weapon of choice than machetes.  Or could the weapon of choice have something to do with the Nationality of one of the attackers?

One of the two men who committed the dastardly act, Michael Adebolajo, is said to have a Nigerian background. I must say, as a Nigerian, it is not uncommon for aggressive people in an attempt to strike fear in their opponents, to boast thWoolwich-attacker-suspects-1905276at they will bring out a machete to butcher their enemies. However, I only see this on ill advised Nollywood movies, but even in the movies, while menacingly brandishing their machetes, they never butcher anyone. I do see Americans rush to bring out their guns and revolvers at the approach of an intruder, but then I am told that is not just a Hollywood tale, it is reality.

The murder is a reminder of the stark insanity that is Religion.

According to BBC sources, Michael Adebolajo, a Briton of Nigerian descent, comes from a devout Christian family but took up Islam after leaving college in 2001. He was described as “bright and witty” when he was at college.

This British born Nigerian was shown with a bloodied knife which he had used to butcher his victim. The two murderers made no attempt to flee; in fact they were happy to be filmed, they even asked people to take pictures of them in anticipation of being the latest YouTube sensation. [Read more…]

Accents and the Tragedy of Self-Hate

I recently started Video blogging and with it came the barrage of opinionated comments on my looks, appearance and quite interestingly, my accent! YEMMY IN JAPAN

I have never been self conscious about my accent.  I started making guest appearances on National TV programs almost two decades ago as a young human rights activist and vocal feminist. I remember the first time I appeared on one of the ‘posh’ Women’s programs which at the time passed as a ‘feminist’ TV show, I was immediately approached after the show by the popular presenter who told me, “Yemisi, you were really brilliant on the show, it would be great if we could get you to lose the accent”. Well, it happened that the presenter also ran a ‘Finishing school’ for girls … hmm do not ask me why a “feminist’ TV show presenter had a “Finishing school for girls’’… well, this is Nigeria we are talking about, and feminism, like many assumed “imported” ideology comes with its colonial baggage!

Anyway, she was so impressed with myyemy ituc points but not so impressed with my accent that she offered me a free session in her ‘Finishing school’ to get rid of my accent. I remember asking her why I would want to be rid of my accent. I mean, I wasn’t self conscious about my accent, especially since Nigeria is a diverse country with many local dialects and accent is one of the ways you immediately identify where a person is from.  Well, the young me was told that getting rid of my accent would be great for my profile, I declined her ‘priceless’ offer and  insisted that  I’d rather keep my accent as it is an integral part of my identity.

That was almost two decades ago. I have since gone ahead to speak at many national and international events, sometimes with heads of states and diplomats present. I have made a few speeches at UN meetings, appeared on a live televised round table debate with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and some other world leaders, but I never for a minute felt self conscious about my accent, and well, my audience never really complained and they mostly seemed to appreciate what I had to say. Shows you should choose your audience well! [Read more…]

Why “Thank God I survived” or “God knows best” is a terrible thing to say in the aftermath of a fatal disaster.

The aftermath of a tragedy always see many people praising ‘God’ for how they managed to escape and survive the tragedy. From natural disasters like the fatal earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan, Tornadoes in Oklahoma to the very avoidable road accidents and man-made plane crashes in Nigeria, many always come up with the “Thank God I survived” and “God knows best” supplication.307120_290237154324821_100000156154826_1443765_1849047904_n

Truly—Thank God? Really… God knows best?

Do people ever pause to really comprehend how selfish and distasteful this statement is? There you are, staring at the burnt remains of humans from a fire accident, grossly twisted bodies of innocent children from a car accident, pieces of charred human flesh scattered at a bomb blast scene or your neighbor’s body, half buried under a pile of debris caused by a natural disaster and all you could say is, thank God it wasn’t you. Really?

Yes, you might be glad that you are not one of the burnt persons, that your child is not the grossly twisted child who groaned and screamed in agony but should you not save your ‘Thank God’ supplications for the privacy of your room when only you and your ‘God’ is present?

How do you think it seems to the family of those bereaved when for example:- [Read more…]

I AM A WOMAN AND I AM WEEPING!

I am a woman and I am weepingSDC11524

The tears won’t stop seeping

Like a river it keeps flowing

At my heart it tugs, nipping

My eyes are bleeding

My nose keeps running

They say I should slow it

But all they do is blow it

Teardrops just like crystals

Not mine alone but all sisters!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

On my feet I keep thinking

The dreams I have to maintain

The tears I cannot curtail

From day to night I toil

In the fields I till the soil

Bent over with hands, this I can bear

Hoping my behind I wouldn’t have to bare

For the children and the aged I have to care

The burdens sometimes leave me bare!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

In the boardroom I am seething

They negotiate my seat

As I take in all the heat

It matters not that I have the brains

The body is what they want to drain

With my pen poised I stand on the stool

But they tell me brain is not the tool

As all they want is my body to drool

And for me to play the fool!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

From the corners I am peeping

Paving the streets in my high heels

Hoping the deals I can now seal

My health and safety are at risk

But the children can’t eat sticks

In the boardroom, on the street

It matters not where I sit

My brain makes me an expert

But all they want is a Sexpert!

 Yemisi Ilesanmi speaking at the London 2010 July Pride

I am a woman and I am weeping

I fight the system but hope is fleeting

The streets I keep combing

While my heart keeps sobbing

How long shall I be suppressed

Now they say I am depressed

I do not need a mental operation

What I hate is this oppression

You can keep your psychiatry

While I kick your patriarchy!

 BY © YEMISI ILESANMI

The Deafening Silence of Nigerian Left on the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill and Lgbti Rights

On October 31, 2011, at the senate house in Abuja, many religious groups mostly Christians from the Catholics and Anglican denominations were mobilized to support the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill titled “An Act To Prohibit Marriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”. The majority, religious homophobic groups showed up_45557832_gay_shirts_226 with placards and t-shirts emblazoned with hate words. It was a macabre dance of the majority and rich oppressors against the few voiceless minorities.  Children that were supposed to be in school were dragged to the public hearing as part of the homophobic crowd. The hate is already been fed to the next generation and yes, some of these children wearing these t-shirts today would grow up to discover that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or Trans. I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma this would cause them in future. 

 The angry, religious, homophobic mob and the not so bright selected senators at the public hearing rained abuses on the few Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transsexuals and human rights activists at the hearing. These activists had come to defend their human rights and point out how the bill violates their rights as Nigerian citizens, they were hardly given the opportunity to speak as they were constantly booed and shouted down.

Senators asked the few activists who presented papers inappropriate questions like:

“What is your religion?”

“Can you openly stand up right now and identify yourself as gay or lesbian?”

The few that stood up were further booed and humiliated by the senators and the homoph338200_2116761727337_1494540329_31789395_1105197553_oobic majority in the house. The senators violated the rights of the protesters by asking them to stand up and identify their sexual orientation or religious affiliation. It was supposed to be a parliamentary room not a guillotine room. 

Homophobes want sexual minorities to identify themselves publicly, and when they don’t , they claim LGBTs are ashamed because they know they are perverts. This discriminatory action of Nigerian lawmakers could be likened to Hitler asking Jews to stand up and identify themselves during the holocaust.  Homosexuals are now the target of hate and ignorance. Once upon a time, not so long ago, blacks were called niggers and considered only fit to be slaves,  Jews were considered sub-human, women were classified as property, now homosexuals are called faggots and considered only fit to be thrown in jail or stoned.  [Read more…]

I AM COMING OUT!

I AM COMING OUT!

buterfly rainbow resized new

I am coming out, out of my shell

Long under the influence of your spells

Locked away in your antique culture cell

Where no one could hear me yell

I had screamed all in vain

Only I could feel the pain

It is time to break the chains

The ghosts of the past I must slay

Weighed down by societal shackles

Banging to be out, proud and sparkle

 

I am coming out, out of my shell

Doing away with your lying shields

It is unnatural, you scream

You will burn in hell, you preach

Fires and brimstones you rake

From your societal grip I break

In angry defence the truth I seek

To be free, to be me, I must speak

Coming out, head high, sets me free

I am proud, out and ready to peak [Read more…]

Commemorating International Day Against Homophobia

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), now also known as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). I strongly believe it should be International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of IDAHO this year, which is,  “Fight the Homophobia Web Virus: Fighting homophobia on the Internet and in social media”, I shall be posting some videos and poems to spread the message of Equality and speak out against discrimination.

I am kicking this off with a video of the protest rally I organized last year to mark IDAHO, under the auspice of my group “Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora  Against Anti Same Sex Laws” . The protest took place outside the Nigerian embassy in London. We were joined by notable human rights activist, Peter Tatchell and also our Ugandan comrades, brothers and sisters. It is difficult for Africans especially immigrants to participate in protests especially one that is deemed very controversial. We salute the bravery of the few who turned up to give a face to the many faceless, voiceless and persecuted Nigerian LGBTs. The quality of your solidarity cannot be quantified!

558125_663152280377499_1234960509_nThis year I am spreading the IDAHO message via websites and if I am up to it, I will join the London Pride flash event to mark IDAHO later in the day! Enjoy the video and subsequent ones, I am happy to answer your questions on the subject matter. HAPPY IDAHO!

 

COMMENT POLICY

SDC12353Hello everyone, I didn’t think I would need to put up an extensive comment policy so soon, but this is so needed right now. Yes, I am happy that my blog is getting a lot of attention and some posts are generating a lot of comments but I am certainly not happy when the comments have little or no relevance to my posts. It seems some of the commenters are more interested in creating a battle ground than they are in listening to what I have to say.  Since I am more interested in quality than quantity, I will have to moderate my blog. 

 First and foremost, I appreciate all constructive comments, criticisms  and diverse views. [Read more…]

SLAP SOME SENSE INTO BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO!

I am angry, not just angry but very, very angry. I am indignant, not just for myself but on behalf of many sisters especially the voiceless sisters! If you are not angry after watching the infamous video of Bishop Oyedepo slapping a young girl to the thunderous applause of his church members, you are also a target of my anger!

 It is said that “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”. Present day examples abound, e.g.  

“Homosexuality is a sin, let us kill Gays”

“Witchcraft is evil, let us slap young witches”

“I am the chosen one; therefore I will bomb out all others from my holy land”

“Sorcery is a sin; let us behead its practitioners”

 “Adultery is a sin, let us stone the unmarried pregnant woman”

 …and the list goes on and on.

 The YouTube video of Bishop Oyedepo slapping a young girl he accused of witchcraft should make any sane person angry. The thunderous applause from his followers during this dastardly act is nauseating enough to make one vomit. Why is there a complete lack of common sense amongst religious fanatics? I guess if they could reason, they wouldn’t be fanatics anyway! Really, how could any sane person encourage the molestation of a young person and actually applaud the torturer?

 

Religion is the opium of the masses, yes, many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, but really, for how long must these atrocities continue before we break the chain of religious oppression in Nigeria?

The colonisers that introduced Christianity to Nigerians would noDOGt in this age, in their own country, dare openly embrace such atrocities as perpetrated in the name of God in Nigeria today. Africans need to wake up from their slumber and see religion for what it really is; an addictive drug that numbs reason and robs away common sense!  I do not even want to go into the mental slavery aspect of organized religion and how much it has Africans, especially Nigerians, in its evil grip! 

Bishop David Oyedepo had the audacity to slap the young girl who dared to assert that she is not a witch as accused, but a witch for Jesus. Now, how is being a witch for Jesus a crime? [Read more…]

I am a Single Mother

In our patriarchal and pseudo-conservative societies, single mothers are often victims of moral judgments and societal pressures. We all must learn to respect the choice of the other and not seek to impose our lifestyle choice and doctrines on another, for only then can we truly be free!

This delightful poem is for all single mums out there! Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

I am a Single Motherfeline mum

I am a single mother

Proud like the other

I was a young mummy

Now wise and yummy

Yes I have a son

As bright as the sun

You say he needs a daddy

For him to be dandy

But I need no ring

To make me sing [Read more…]

It is not called labour for nothing!

This poem is dedicated to all mothers, who fresh from birthing say “Never again”, only to do it again! Written in a funny tone, it encapsulates the pain, frustration and joy of having a baby. Happy Mothers’ Day!

It is not called labour for nothing!189843_10150179435806873_539426872_8333704_5919905_n

Ouch, what is that kick

That makes me sick

Breaking in sweat

Oh mine, I am wet

Is that mucous

Oh just focus!

It’s coming, go get the doctor

Stop looking at the buttocks

Tis no time for old wives tales

For I am in pains and already pale

 

I am coming, I am coming, you screamed

Keep pushing, keep pushing now you screech [Read more…]

Mother Nature, My Explosive Lover!

Hello, I did promise that one great advantage of checking out my blog is that you get to read some of my beautiful poems for free.  Here is a poem I wrote when I picked up a newspaper on the tube in 2011, and was hit by the horrifying news and devastating pictures of the Tsunami in Japan.  What I felt poured out in words and I found myself furiously scribbling this piece, “Mother Nature, My Explosive Lover!”

My heart goes out to the many trapped in the wrath of Mother Nature, from Tsunamis to earthquakes. I had not penned a poem in almost a decade before writing this piece and the last time I did, it was to sing the praises of my first love, Mother Nature. But with age comes the knowledge that even first loves are not perfect!

 

Mother Nature, My Explosive Lover!198288_10150172423171873_539426872_8262983_128307_a

 Mother Nature

Beautiful you are

You smile and I waver

You kiss and I quiver

Aroused by your touch

Fed by your smooch

Melting my heart

Twisting my feelings

Swinging my being

With your seduction

Warm in the embrace

Of your blazing love

 

Your magical fingers

The waves conjures

Your tsunamic orgasm

Blows high and mighty

Many cry and scream

As you explode in cum

Your volcanic temper

Leaves me high and dry

In the grip of your love

I gasp for breath

How long shall I drown

In your magical prowess

Making love drenched

Like there is no tomorrow [Read more…]

Is the Atheist+ label really confusing?

Would people object to an atheist group showing up at Pride with a banner “Atheist for LGBSDC14859T rights”? Would this confuse onlookers and make them assume that all atheists are for LGBT rights? I was at the 2012 World Pride in London and right behind my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora, was another group with the banner “Lawyers for Equal Marriage”. I am a lawyer and I also happen to know many lawyers who are against equality rights for same-sex couples. Should the anti-LGBT equality lawyers protest the use of the name ‘Lawyers’ in such context?  Well, that would be silly!

 Just like Lawyers, Socialists and Humanists, I can also use my Atheist self-identity to complement other causes I identify with. No other atheists get to tell me, “Hey do not add ‘plus’ to Atheism, you are redefining it”. I am not redefining it; I am only using what I already am to promote other causes I believe in. [Read more…]

What are Anti-Atheists+ afraid of?

I do not know what the hullabaloo is about Atheism+, why all the hate and tantrums? I understand that people fear change, people with power fear anything that would or could threaten their power base, and because atheists are people, they are not exempted from this fear of change.

 People who enjoy power hardly want their privileged positions questioned. They fight the change makers, they cast aspersion on the oppositions’ characters, they fight tooth and nail to discredit the change and this is mostly what the fight against Atheism+ is all about. The sad thing is, many of those fighting the Atheism+ concept would hardly agree that they fight because they are afraid of change, nope; they would hide under so many notions to justify their stance against atheism+.

 People love to have power over others; the ‘insignificant’ minorities are always the victims. Many so called progressives still use their residual patriarchal power, sometimes unconsciously, to lord it over others but they loathe it when they are confronted with this fact.

 Why am I in support of Atheism+? I am a black African woman who also identify as atheist, bisexual,391462_507881772571218_1254845999_n feminist, socialist and humanist.  Sometimes I join groups that promote all my identities or at least acknowledge some of the things I identify as and with. For example, I identify with Black feminists groups, African labour groups, Labor women organizations, LGBT Atheists, African bisexuals, Black Atheists groups, Working class Atheists, Secular humanists and female workers groups. When attached to my birth identity, these self-identity tags afford me the opportunity to understand at a glance, the demography of the groups.

 I am conscious that not every organization that I identify with, shares my values or all my identities, however when joining or identifying with a group, I consider it important that I network with groups and persons who do not only share a birth or self-identity with me but who also share core values.    [Read more…]