Perhaps Paris is closer to us here in Nigeria than Baga is, that is why we can wail and roll on the floor in agony over the loss of 12 cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo that surely many of us did not know existed before news of the shooting broke.
It’s not hard to imagine, we are after all more particular about our Chanel bags and shoes, our Yves Saint Laurent belts and perfumes, our Pierre Cardin suits, our Dom Pérignon Champagne, and indeed all the fine luxuries and vanities that France continues to provide us, even at the expense of the souls of our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Nigeria is after all over populated, right? So what is the fuss if a few thousands of us are shot down and blown away, compared to a world without the luxuries that illuminate our bodies and darken our souls?
As long as horror is not at our doorsteps, it is none of our business. We should not concern ourselves with matters that do not affect us directly (unless they are international of course, those are more ‘classy’), lest we invite the same horror upon ourselves. Yet ‘We are Charlie’ and we will not allow our ‘freedom of expression’ to be subdued by terror.
Nothing is home grown; we import everything in this country, even our ideas, our concerns and our sense of worth and value. Whatever the West has not endorsed, does not exist to us. In fact, our very own sense of existence exists only because the West recognises us, however accurately is far from a concern to us.
And so because the West has not started shedding our own tears for the lives lost in Baga, we will suspend our crying until they finish with Charlie Hebdo. Meanwhile, our leaders are busy touring the country taking jabs at each other online and offline for another chance to sit in Aso Rock and wipe out whatever is left to be consumed of the oil money that has set this nation on a steady descent since the 1950s.
“May it not come near thy dwelling”, is that not what we are taught to pray in church? Our neighbour’s fate should not concern us, he is ‘on his own’, he should have paid his tithe and given that special offering the pastor called for in church last Sunday. Perhaps the people of Baga have sinned against ‘God’ and that’s why they are being punished for their wickedness, but the Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists are saints being persecuted for righteousness sake, no?
For those who are unaware; the Boko Haram group attacked Baga town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base there on Saturday. Almost the entire town had been torched and the militants were now raiding nearby areas. You can read the news here: Boko Haram Attack Baga Town in Borno State