so I am sure many of you are familiar with the Uzoma Okere tragedy and the footage that has been posted online. If not, I would suggest visiting this site, this one, or this.
While the blogosphere, particularly the Nigerian blogosphere has surmounted an amazing response to Okere and other recent travesties to human rights in Naij (note Elendu and the more recent Asiwe detentions), I am somewhat disappointed by the silence on the part of the Western media. (okay, so I only did a google news search....but I am quite confident that most of the coverage of these incidents has been performed by Nigerians at home and abroad).
While checking out the facebook group organized on behalf of justice for Okere, I was recently reminded of the Amina Lawal issue a few years back when Sharia law demanded her stoned for having a child out of wedlock. Women's groups, international organizations, major western newspapers and the like were all over it once the story broke....all over it....like white on rice...(sorry for the reeeeeally lame joke, but i just couldn't help but amuse myself a bit)
While replaying the events of Amina Lawal case in my head, I couldn't help but wonder why there is not a similar response to the Okere incident. Where are the western feminists, the American bloggers, the New York Times...Brazil, for crying out loud!
Understandably, Amina's life was very much on the line...moreso than Okere (though both events are grave examples of Nigeria's devaluation of basic human rights). However, there is a part of me that still wonders why the response to the Amina case was so much adopted by the Western media...I'd hate to say it but it seems that the Amina case was much "appealing" to the West. The Lawal case had all the elements of a "let's save the backward Africans"-type drama - a religion that the West finds abhorrent, adultery and sin, and the suppression of sexual freedom mediated by an ancient patriarchal system.
Probably, in a few days, I will be proven horribly wrong or someone will correct me that the Uzoma, Elendu, and Asiwe cases have been accorded the same gravity as the Lawal case....I hope. But if not, I think it just further goes to demonstrate that to look to the West to fight our battles will not give lasting solutions. While the participation of the West in matters of Nigerian human rights is encouraged and much appreciated, I think we all as Nigerians need to look to ourselves to efficiently organize around such issues - mounting a response that rivals that of outsiders. I think to a degree we were able to effectively do so in the British Airways case (at least to the extent that we were able to get some type of apology from them...small steps, people). Personally, I am at a loss as to which means of organizing ourselves will be most effective in Nigeria (admittedly, I am much more familiar with American forms of grassroots-level organizing and protest and I don't assume you can transplant their methods to the Nigerian context...or can you? Hmmmmm...).
(ooooooh, check this out, i blogged twice in one week....this toad is starting to enjoy this afternoon sunshine)
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