While we may not totally absolve the west of its historic complicity in the Nigerian tragedy, it may go a long way in setting a template for the resolution of the Nigerian crisis. If you do not bury a dead man because of his family, you will have to bury him for the health hazards his corpse constitutes. Some nations are becoming a menace to global health. Unfortunately, most of them are in Africa. And I hate to think that Nigeria is a part.
However, the recent seedless corruptive emergencies in respective ramifications, witnessed the later strand of the last century, has left a pungent puncture on Nigerian honourable garment, thereby recommending the Nigerian legion to the rising human Diaspora to be wrongly and badly punctuated and referenced. Nigeria is ken to be seat of rival-free multivariate material and immaterial cultures, exceptional traditional containment, exacting values, and among others, keeping human pulchritude displayable by Africans.
Perhaps, the Nigeria we now know has metamorphosed from primitive practices and cannibalistic savagery of nude figures dashing in and out of dense forests, with an unintelligible chatter as language and of an arboreal existence but non corruptible order, to a post-modern Nigeria with chemically polluted, sprawling civilizations, corrupt governments, failed institutions and disease-ridden interiors; of stick-thin, half-dead children staring fixedly in different postures of hopelessness at an impending fatality. This, unfortunately, has shaped our subconscious, that we no longer blush about killing.
So how did we get here? How did we arrive at this point where news of killings no longer appeal to our inner feelings? How did we finally arrive at this dead end where the country seems to no longer feel a genuine value for life? How did we travel down to this age of de-civilization where the stench of clogged human blood has become the natural aroma of our atmosphere? How did we fly to this zone where common sense is no longer common among our kinsmen? How did we lose our sense of commonality? How come we still live as Nigerians, we still crave for our oneness, we wave away the possibility of our departure from nationhood, yet we are no longer jittery to daily news of mass killings? Where did our national feeling evaporate to that we no longer blush about mass killing?
National feeling plays a central role in providing a focus for our sense of commonality. The nation survives based on the principle of commonality, operating through a shared set of collective memories, as narrated through popular culture, school curricula, the media and so forth. Ideas about the continuity of nations are often conveyed through a cultural perspective that emphasizes traditions and cultures as a set of fixed and repetitive practices, as a means of forging common feeling and combating the indeterminacy of changing events. Like any work of memory, the concept of nation is selective and, in the case of official national feeling, often reflects the interests of dominant elites. So when the country, led by the president mourned late Yakowa and Azazi, which passed as the national feeling, the other four victims were at the mercy of their own sorrowful tales. It was a case where the dead mourned the dead.
How how did we come to where we no longer blush about killing? It was a gradual journey of negligence and failed promises. The communal clashes became escalated in Jos in 2008. Till now, the city of Jos now lives in the shadow of its own fear. Mass killing became rife with the arrival of Boko Haram. Churches became ashes, families wiped off, bloodshed everywhere, suicide bombing now the order.
Suspects have been arrested but same suspects have been freed in jail breaks. Promises fell on promises, that perpetrators would be brought to book, that Boko Haram would fizzle out, that we would win the war against terrorism, that there would no longer be bloodshed. Today we are still living with the burden of Boko Haram, we have not started fighting terrorism not to talk of winning. Boko Haram’s influence is growing, and we record mass killing everyday. For the fear of the unknown, our media houses now refer to Boko Haram as "Gunmen". This is where we became hardened and we no longer blush about mass killing. Sadly, we are now used to it.
The mass killing in Connecticut took tears from Barack Obama's eyes. He was moved by actions, not rhetorics of promises. Today, the gun control debate is sweeping across the God's own country. This is why Americans blush about mass killing. The national feeling of grief overrides sentimental judgment. When Madalla bombing happened, we were told to bear the burden of the ongoing killings by "gunmen" until it fizzles out. Today, the ongoing killings refuse to fizzle out, we still live with killings and killing has become a natural part of our national life. Our newspapers have taken news of mass killings off their front page since it is no longer news to their customers.
When the president visited the police college, he did not blush about the rots, he blushed about the film. It is the same message. We are victims of our choices. Until we throw these rotten eggs called leaders into the trash-can of history. Until we action our grief and we move with conviction. Until we unite with a common purpose of pursuit. Until we dance to the rhythm of informed choices, we decide to jettison kinmanship in our electoral journey, and until we see reasons to reason with logic. Until we start seeing ourselves as electoral opposition, fighting to defend the dead, we will still not be blushing about mass killing.
Jonah Ayodele Obajeun blogs @www.obajeun.com. Catch him on twitter via @Obajeun
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters