What really matters?
Prince died some years ago. If you don’t know who Prince is (I’m not talking about the Mavin artist), here’s a hint – he was Michael Jackson’s biggest rival. He resented/hated/disliked Michael for reasons best known to him.
Anyways, Prince died and there was uproar all over the internet as usual. Someone remarked then that she found it upsetting that people can get upset over the death of Prince, a man they barely knew, while ignoring the disappearance of the Chibok girls, the death of so many others, and Nigerian tragedies.
That made me think.
I remember at the time the Paris shootings happened, Facebook created a flag add-on that you could apply to your profile picture to show your support for France. They did the same thing when gay marriage was legalised in America – and they do it for the various premierships and clubs.
Anyway, a lot of Nigerians put on the France flag then and they came under fire because a lot of people felt that the rest of the world (for the most part) ignores whatever happens in Africa – especially when it comes to terrorist attacks and mass killings. But when something similar happens elsewhere, they’re all up in arms, Africans included.
What’s my opinion?
I believe everyone has the right to mourn what and when they choose. I believe everybody has the right to be happy or sad at whatever they choose to be, though I believe there’s such a thing as propriety. I cannot judge people for choosing to stand with another country and ignoring theirs.
However, what gives me concern and the reason I decided to put this together is not that we ignore what’s going on around us. It’s why we ignore what’s going on around us.
My fear is we’ve all subscribed to what I’d like to call “learned apathy”. We’ve become so used to the deaths and bomb blasts and fuel scarcity and darkness and bad roads and no water that when disaster happens, we only raise our eyebrows then look away.
This is something that bothers me. Where is our humanity?
I remember the first targeted bomb blast that destroyed the UN building in Abuja. I remember then-president Jonathan’s insensitive comment and I remember most of all the way Nigerians reacted to it. At some point it started to feel as though people were going to spill into the streets and start a riot over something the president said.
Personally, apathy for me is a defense mechanism. I ignore most of what goes on around me as a way to preserve my sanity. It’s the same reason I do not read newspapers or watch the television. They have nothing but bad news to share.
But then, if I’m indifferent how can I change anything? If we all turn up our noses and pretend like we don’t notice, who is going to put a stop to all that is wrong with us as a nation? They say “The day a madman realises he is mad is the day he is cured.”How do we even deal with the problems when we refuse to acknowledge that they exist?
At the end of the day, to each his own. Still, if we do not learn to think as one where Nigeria is concerned, it may very well be the end of the country. Or what’s left of it. Things are going from bad to worse steadily – and it’s interesting to note that the one thing keeping the country from falling into complete chaos is the same thing stopping the country from moving forward.
Our resilience – or, more realistically, our apathy.
What should really matter to us as Nigerians?
I do not know what the future holds for this country. I do not see change anywhere. Promises were made to us and the same people who made those promises have come out to say that the people that represented them (the people that made those promises) were not speaking for them. I do not know whether rice that was once sold for seven thousand naira but is now sold for fifteen thousand naira tastes better.
I do know, however, that we cannot continue like this.
By the way, continue to R.I.P Prince.
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