Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Violence in Need of Repair

SHARE THIS

This our democracy has been costly if this past election is anything to go by. Add the cost of the inauguration and the price tag staggers up some more. Then again, money is cheap. And if you know anything about Nigeria, you know we have a lot of it. We’ve bankrolled far less worthy things in our history as a nation. We’ve lined the pockets of thieving politicians. There is no crime in splurging a little when it comes to the sacred rites of a democracy for which we yearn so strongly.

The cost that keeps me up at night, however, is the cost in lives, the body count that is in fact still rising in Bauchi and Maiduguri. Why do we have to climb up a mountain of dead bodies to get to our promise land? Isn’t there something deeply unsettling about how Nigerian lives are being spent so lavishly like they are going out of style? To pick a random starting point, since the independence day bombing, so many have died from ethnic/religious conflicts and post election killings that our country is slowly becoming a grave yard. We have to stop and think. I hate to sound like Prophet Doomsday, especially when everyone is trying really hard  to stay positive and give JEG’s regime a chance to make good on their rather generous promises. But everyone knows that I am not saying anything out of the ordinary. Let’s do the arithmetic–Independence day bombing: 10, Suleja bombing 13, Maiduguri: 6, post election killings: 800 with 65, 000 displaced and a host of other deaths in between. Some of the dead were young men and women, recent university graduates, who found themselves in the middle of a war that was not their making. Most of the perpetrators of these violent acts still run free and unknown. Meanwhile, the violence continues.

It is not just that these lives have been lost in the most senseless of ways but that their loss continue to go unavenged and as such unacknowledged.  Don’t you think it’s funny when you hear people say, “aside from the post election killings, the election was peaceful?” Since when did we become that kind of people who use idioms like “aside from,” “except for,” and “apart from” to bracket off lost lives and sweep them under the carpet like they are dried out flies. Play the numbers game, and you would be able to guess how many more people will die in the months to come and how many more of these deaths would go unaccounted for.

This our democracy is surviving but only because it is becoming more blood thirsty by the day. One day, we will get where we so desperately desire to be as a nation. But at the rate at which we are going, we can only hope that we are alive to see what that day will look like. My fear is that a democracy that is littered with unburied corpse, a democracy that is gotten at the expense of lives that we, whether we admit it or not, secretly believe to be cheap is a democracy that will haunt us forever.

Photo credit: Kate Knight

Tags: , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

One Response to “Violence in Need of Repair” Subscribe

  1. samuel dzombo December 20, 2017 at 3:52 am #

    Africa and its elections.It is always a big headache.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

The Queen of Dahomey: Episode Three | The Witches of Auchi Series | Anthony Azekwoh

5F1614B1-66B7-4191-94D8-30BD62A651A9

There was an old woman with a ragged scar on her cheek who lived alone on the outskirts of Dahomey. […]

Befeqadu Hailu, Ethiopian Writer-Activist & Co-founder of Zone 9 Blog, Named 2019 International Writer of Courage

Befeqadu Hailu with Lemn Sissay at PEN Pinter Prize ceremony Photo credit to George Torode

Befeqadu Hailu, the Ethiopian writer, activist, and co-founder of the Amharic-language human rights platform Zone 9 Blogging Collective, has been […]

Kalaf Epalanga, Angolan Author & Musician, Named Curator of the 2020 African Book Festival in Berlin

Kalaf Epalanga by Matthew Pandolfe_2MB

The Angolan musician and author Kalaf Epalanga, who looks like the actor Mahershala Ali, has been announced as the curator […]

Addis Ababa Noir, Edited by Maaza Mengiste & Featuring Mahtem Shiferraw, Sulaiman Addonia, Linda Yohannes, Meron Hadero, Hannah Giorgis, Forthcoming in April 2020

addis ababa noir - graph

Each anthology in Akashic Books’ noir series is “set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city” and […]

The Frozen Heart: Episode Two | The Witches of Auchi Series | Anthony Azekwoh

Untitled design (71)

“To you, oh Goddess, we give our dreams, To you, oh Goddess, we give our faith, To you, oh Goddess, […]

Unoma Azuah’s Embracing My Shadow, Nigeria’s First Memoir About Being Lesbian, Forthcoming in March 2020 & Now Available for Pre-order

Unoma Azuah by Jose M. Osorio and Chicago Tribune - graph

Unoma Azuah, novelist, poet, academic, curator, and one of Nigeria’s leading LGBTQ rights activists, has a new book, her third, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.