I was in my international relations class sometime ago, when we began to discuss on the subject of human rights. The lecturer had tactfully avoided the issue of Gay and lesbians rights to aviod derailing her class. Unfortunately for her another issue took the fore, when the issue of women’s right eventually sent the class into an endless and continual rebuttal.
I was particularly taken aback when the issue of rape came up. I was not taken aback because it was rape but because, instead of looking at our own society here in Africa we went all the way to India! There is nothing in itself wrong about discussing the grotesque nature of rape in India but I believe there was no need to go that far to look for examples of rape. Turn around to Sudan and South Sudan, where rape has unfortunately become culture. What of Somalia, Rwanda, Central African Republic and even here within the boarders of Nigeria. These things happen and go unreported yet we sit down in our sofas and watch Indians fight their battles themselves yet we quiver in disgust at the inhumanity of the Indians who commit such acts without giving credence to the fact that India as a nation is slowly rising up and taking responsibility especially at the citizenery level. Unfortunately that quiver, that disgust at the repugnance of what goes on within the African continent remains within us as Africans and finds no expression, hence the problem continues to grow unabated.
Till today Africa is the most illiterate continent and the backbone of globally poverty, yet the storehouse of global wealth. Statistics show that Africa has 15% of the worlds population and only produces 3% of the worlds economy and by the year 2050 it will have 30% of the worlds population (that is 1 out of 4) and other things being equal produce 6% of the worlds economy. That is quite unfortunate. Why are we always concerned about what’s hoping on outside the shores of Africa and apathetical to what goes on in Africa.
There is what is called Social Media Advocacy. This is thanks to technology. What this implies is that campaigns and protests are not only limited to the streets but can also have the same effect and in many cases a greater effect online. Sometimes when I look at the trending topics on social media platforms like twitter I am saddened. You see sometimes important national and continental issues are going on but don’t see them trend, instead you will see things like #tweetpicyourface or #TGIF or some other irrelevant thing, or even worse you see #Justinbieber trending in Nigeria and the boy was performing in Australia! Not that I have anything against it, but it goes to show the level of insensitivity of Africans to the happenings in Africa. The debate that street activism is dangerous is no longer tenable. What happened to your twitter, facebook, goggle+ and skype accounts?
I remember I blogged and tweeted something just a few days ago about Nigeria and some one was telling me that I should not have done such a thing. The funny thing was there was nothing extraordinary about it. My question is if I cannot talk about what I feel about my country and continent at large on social media then what is the whole point of living in a democracy.
Even travelling between African countries as an African, you are treated with such level of hostility that makes you consider whether truly you are a terrorist. There is hostility between Nigerians and South Africans, between Sudan and South Sudan yet these countries are at peace with countries on the otherside of the globe, with a different race, culture, orientation and language. Once again there is nothing wrong in peaceful relations across continental boarders, but make peace with your brother first.
Imagine if just 5 million Africans everyday decide to speak about a particular issue on every social media platform alone, how much difference would we make?