19

preparing for victory

yesterday, i read this incredibly interesting article on theRoot regarding Rev. Jesse Jackson's desire to castrate (yes, castrate) Barack Obama for not paying more attention to the needs of African Americans in the US. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to read the article. But in case you're short of few minutes, the author, Jack White, sees an Obama presidency as a major victory for members of the African diasposra, not only in the US, but globally. White contends that just like the rest of America, blacks especially, do not know what to do with an African American presidency. In essence, they have spent so much time fighting for a cause,that they, including Jesse Jackson, have no idea how to handle victory. (Or rather, Jackson, like the honourable Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a victim of the "Jealous Negro Syndrome.")

I (and I am sure the author of the article, too) realizes that an Obama presidency is not the end all of race relations issues - but it is definitely a huge move forward for blacks in America and the rest of the United States. But when we finally do get to that blessed day where "...little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls..." - what will we do with it? Before answering that, what does that blessed day even look like?

As I was going over the comments from my last post, StandTall reminded me of the sort of jaded-ness that Nigerians at home and abroad have of October 1. Its been almost 48 years since that October 1st victory and it we have not yet been able to handle its aftermath. Its seems like our forefathers failed to adequately prepare for this victory. Its the same type of mistake that Bush made of the Iraq invasion and the mistake that we sometimes make in our own personal lives when we spend years struggling towards a goal and fail to plan the next step. What does our own victory look like and how do we prepare for it?

I definitely think that Nigeria is on the road (very slowly, though) to improving itself in several different arenas - politics, health, business, etc.
We have a achieved democracy (or some version thereof)...now what?
We have passed a National Health Bill...now what?
Constant electricity is slated to come in 2011...then what?
If these are some of the victories we have achieved or are looking forward to, what's next on the agenda? What does our Nigeria's victory look like and how do we prepare for it?

Sometimes I wonder if the fact that we don't know what our victory looks like hints at our deeper personal and national expectations.

12

independence afterthoughts

question: if you had a friend, who was responsible for all sorts of tragedies on others - discrimination, murder, indifference, theft, genocide - and whose parents raped and denigrated your mother, stole and continue to rob her naked....

would you honor their birthday invitation?

that is how I've been feeling most of today, July 5th, after yesterday's July 4th - the United States' Independence day - the day we celebrate the nation's birth. Yesterday, my immediate family and I had a small celebration - the standard fare - a small cookout followed by watching fireworks from our rooftop interspersed with random television reruns. It wasn't as big as how we usually celebrate this day: several invited and uninvited guest to be followed by hours and hours of cleanup. Meaning that today, I was alert enough to think of yesterday's events and why, indeed, I really celebrated on the 4th.

To say that I have not, nor the world has not gained much from the US since its independence would be a huge lie. But I can't help but witness the bad that comes with the good. Especially as of late with the Iraqi crisis - a modern take on the brutality of Western colonialism - I have become disillusioned with patriotism as portrayed in the US. That is a patriotism that remains unswervingly pro-American without respect for the sovereignty and dignity of other nations.

As the nations continues to gorge holidays meats and desserts and pop the last of its firecrackers, I can't help but wonder what other nations, those under our thumb - particularly Iraq - must feel about the birth of the United States of America and its subsequent rise to global dominance. Independence Day no longer excites me as it used to. Actually, its quite sobering...

Empathy is a painful thing.