The THISDAY Bombings in Nigeria – Reflections on the Roots of Violence

Reporting from Nigeria: Emeka Nweze

My dear readers, I would like to commence this entry by proffering my sincerest apologies for the tardiness of this particular post. My commitment to this project involves a minimum of one entry per fortnight. Unfortunately, recent turn of events have been…sigh.

Most of you are familiar with the bombing of one prominent newspaper called THISDAY. The locations targeted were branches in Jabi, Abuja and Kaduna. This is the latest in a streak of wanton pain and cruelty perpetuated by the group known as Boko Haram. As is the case with unnecessary violence, there are no words that can do justice to the carnage wrought when wisdom abandons men. How does pen, ink, paper, or electronic images adequately convey the screams of people flushed out of buildings by makeshift incendiary devices, only to be gunned down as they pled to be spared?

A possible knee-jerk reaction is to assume the problem is regional. While it is certainly true that Africa, taken as a whole has more ethno-religious conflicts, genocides and corruption scandals, can our western counter-parts truly claim to be honest Abes? Africans did not invent concentration camps. The British did, and the Nazis fell in love with the notion. The perfect answer to the “jewish question”. The final assembly line! Be it death marches or mass rape perpetuated by the Chinese, Japanese, Americans, Russians, please add your nationality here, humans seldom seem to run out of methods for inflicting unnecessary pain and misery. While I consider suicide an irrational decision, I cannot help but sympathize with the likes of Iris Chang, who strove to shed light on our nightmares in the hopes of rooting out what instigates them.

Given the seemingly insatiable urge to annihilate that which we do not understand, much less create, is a career in arms dealing really such a bad idea? The earliest humans skeletons had spearheads in their rib cages. I have yet to hear of a weapons manufacturing company file for bankruptcy.

To switch gears or a second, is Africa really an anomaly in a globe jam-packed with “clean money”? Companies such as Tyco, Enron, global crossing, Halliburton come to mind. It certainly was not a corrupt African politician that perpetuated the greatest ponzi scheme of the information age. Prior to his confession, Bernard Maddoff was educated, highly respected and last I checked very white.

So we can safely conclude that despite the intensity of the situation in the heart of Africa, the Dark Continent is not unique in this regard. I for my part have come to realize that the absurdities and confusions of others are beyond my control. What is within my competence is working through my own confusions and absurdities.

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