Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Sex slaves and Oil in Nigeria
Nigeria should be Africa’s powerhouse, even though its boundaries were arbitrarily created by its British colonizers.
The story is so incredible that only fiction can make any sense of what happened. For that go to Chinhua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.”
Within seven years of independence it was plunged into a civil war mostly between Muslims in the north on one side and Christians and Animists in the south and east on the other side.
Oil riches have made it a leading OPEC producer, and it should be the giant of Africa.
Instead it is back to struggling between Muslims and Christians.
It usually makes the news only when churches are blown up and girls captured and enslaved, most often by fantatical Muslims or when foreign workers are seized.
It is so unsafe for journalists to travel there that news giants like the BBC rely to certain extent by begging for news from its Web site. To its credit the BBC was continuing to focus on the kidnap of hundreds of girls, allegedly by the Muslim group, Boko Haram. The Lagos government, the BBC said, is avoiding talking about it, sticking to its concern about deadly bombings. Hundreds have already died despite President Goodluck Jonathan deploying the Army to suppress them.
The New York Times this week reported the lack of success in finding the girls. They were abducted in an area with a strong Boko Harem presence.
The Times said it was feared the girls would be used as “sex slaves and cooks.”
People who have visited West Africa talk about WAWA: West African Wins Again.
Clumsy reporting by Western journalists was celebrated in Edward Behr’s “Anyone Here been Raped and Speaks English.” It tells of remarks made by foreign TV journalists to Belgian nuns in the Congo.
It may not only be apocryphal that someone once painted on the wall of a luxury Lagos hotel saying “Beam me up Scotty.”
Again, the struggles of Africa leave journalists with no words to describe them.
Children are widely used as soliders, as shown in the Oscar-nominated film “War Witch.”