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When I was five years old, I returned from school one Tuesday afternoon and I was ecstatic after I realized that my frenemy, NEPA had given us electricity. I turned on the TV for my usual Channels TV afternoon cartoon digest (as I usually did whenever NEPA gave us light). That afternoon there was no cartoon, no kiddies show, there weren’t even Nigerians on the TV. They were showing smoke coming out of gigantic buildings and I wasn’t in the mood for smoke coming out of gigantic buildings, I wanted smoke from Voltron in space not aeroplanes on the earth. I was angry but what could I do. I sat I front of the TV not understanding the impact of what it was I was watching. The fallout of that day would spur the US into a decade long war in the Middle East and open the gates of hell for the entire world. Osama bin Laden had crashed planes into the heart of America and the America wanted his head on a pike and now the movement bin Laden catalysed want all our heads, preferably in tiny bits.
That was a time when one terror attack slowed down the earths rotation, attacks were fewer and far between but claiming a lot of lives with each strike. Wars were started and many of those wars haven’t ended while some just changed weapons from bullets to ideology. You felt a terror attack like you were a citizen of that country, we were all global citizens then. But the bullets kept spewing out from the chambers, the bombs kept detonating, planes kept falling out of the sky and we keep losing people like its the rapture.
Then Boko Haram came to my home country of Nigeria. We thought we crushed it, we massacred the leadership, showed the carcass on national television, we thought we had won till another bomb went off and we realised we only cut of the snakes tail. Explosion after explosion, gunfight after gunfight, my country men and the brave soldiers in the front lines couldn’t hide it anymore, we were losing. We lost our towns in the north, many of them only need a tumble weed to look like scenes from abandoned Wild West towns in the movies. Now we’re losing the south too, fighting one war on multiple fronts.
I became scared of Christmas bangers, something I had loved as a child. The loud exploding sounds were no longer joyous and my fear grew to dread and now disgust. I hate the sounds of balloons popping and every loud bang has me looking for the nearest table to duck under. I anoint myself every morning before I leave the house, not even because I’m looking for divine favour but just I want to hire Gods private security team. This is normal to me, not as normal as those living in war zones, but it’s something I no longer get surprised by.
Bombs now go off everyday.
Suicide bombers now sit beside us.
I have grown numb, I’m no longer as grief stricken by the loss of life after terror attacks, I now concern myself with the political fallout and military reaction. What’s that saying, “people die everyday and it’s only when it’s someone close to you that you care”.
I know this is wrong but what can I do, I’d be clinically depressed if I took every terror attack personal, unfortunately sometimes I have to unlook.
I dream of a world were terrorists didn’t mislead people with religion and dogma, where bombs didn’t go off and bullets were not shared like pure water, where people weren’t blown to smithereens or perforated by bullets. But then I wake up, and boy oh boy am I wide awake. But I still pray that my dreams will come true. They have to.
God keeps us all safe.