Being an African woman who is privileged to have been born British and raised African in Nigeria,I am always keen to compare the way of life in the two countries. Some people consider this wrong as the two countries are at are two different levels of development. I consider the claim that democracy is still at infancy in many African countries without any visible effort to grow unfortunate. In human terms any able child over the age of 54 as in the case of Nigeria who refuses to take responsibility for his actions is an adult who is likely to die a complete failure.
I believe that I do so because it’s such a great privileged to have the choice of where I want to call home. To so many people, this is absolute luxury which they are willing to pay anything for including their lives. The recent boat deaths which claimed the lives of over a thousand would be African migrants are typical examples. Additionally, I love and cherish people and easily despair on hearing accounts of human sufferings no matter where it is in the world.
So often when I hear about things that may cause pains, hardship, human suffering of any kind or death I panic and want to know why there is so much difference in the values Africans and people in the West place on human lives.
Earlier in the day while listening to the news, I heard about the suffering of gays and lesbians in Cameroun. They are mocked, beaten, arrested and placed in prisons with dangerous criminals.
Many of the criminals are life timers who have accepted that they are going to die in prison and so do not care what they do or who they hurt. What is even more worrying is that some of the criminals and the people who are accused of being gay or lesbians are not homosexuals. Those notwithstanding, some of the criminals who have resigned their fates to death in prison with no hope of ever stepping out to enjoy conjugal bliss, regularly molest and feed their sexual appetites on these innocent people at the risk of transmission of serious life threatening sexual diseases.
It is claimed that many of the Prison officers are very well aware of the predicaments of these innocent people but would often laugh them off as their punishments for being different, whatever that is.
The big question on my mind is, why is it that society hypocritically frowns at homosexuality, rape and xenophobia as abominable conducts but are always ready to accept them as means of punishment against sometimes very innocent people whose life styles, religion or status in society differ from that of the majority? Does the complexion of abomination change because it is punishment not pleasure?
As Africans, why are we always desirous of better lives in other countries where ignorance of the type that continues to pervade our minds and dictate human relations are no longer condoned but are always very happy to tolerate the same in our countries?
A government spokesperson in Cameroun pointed out that since it is clear that over 90% of the citizens are against homosexuality the government is obliged to respect the wishes of their people by treating our own innocent siblings as criminals. This reminds me of Nigerian government’s similar defense in respect of the law which criminalised homosexuality a few years ago.
This then takes me to another big question which is “why do we Africans condone and promote ignorance? Why are we so selective about what is right or wrong yet ever so ready to accept what is wrong as right so long as they promote and protect our primitive idiosyncrasies?
Is there any common sense in tolerating pure idiocy in the name of culture, religion and traditions? If there is why are we constantly running away from our countries and seeking to settle in other countries where these naturally occurring human conducts are no longer issues and life is tolerable? Is it not about time we drop the hypocrisy and face all the troubles facing Africa?
I am perturbed and want to get my people thinking and acting positively. We cannot justify condemning South Africa against xenophobia while at the same time condoning conducts which tend to humiliate, gradually ruin and kill our siblings? Whether homo or xenophobia they both cause human suffering and eventual death and must not be tolerated at all. I think that it’s time to rise against ignorance and make the difference from inside.
I find it quite worrying that as a people we are very resentful of what we consider poor treatments and discrimination against us by Western countries while at the same time giving them the right to justify their unfounded views that some of us are still very primitive and living in dark ages. This therefore means that we should continue to be treated like sub-humans until such a time that we are tamed and ready to look after ourselves.