The news coming out of Nigeria during the last 2 weeks has seriously got me down. (If you are unaware of what I'm talking about, you could certainly be forgiven: the press has done an abysmal job of making the stories high priority. But if you want to know more, you can read this and this as an overview, although fair warning -- the stories are seriously grim.) It has been 8 months since Boko Haram kidnapped schoolgirls from a boarding school (most of whom are still missing), and nothing seems to be slowing them down. Nothing. If anything, it's getting worse.
In an attempt to keep those who have been affected in my thoughts, this morning I bought a calla lily plant -- callas are indigenous to Nigeria. It's a silly little gesture, but honestly, I don't know what else to do. I'll be tweeting to various news organizations asking them to pay more attention to the story, so that it stays in the consciousness of the public (and I hope you do too), but news organizations and world leaders seem unperturbed.
Even though I self-identify as Trinidadian, and therefore West Indian, I know that my background is, in large part, West African (thanks to a DNA test; however, admittedly I have no clue which country/countries in West Africa). In fact, many years ago I visited Nigeria, and was stunned at how similar it is to Trinidad, from the food, and clothing and definitely the music. It was familiar. But that aside, and even more importantly, if there's one thing that global travel has taught me, it's that we -- all of us, no matter what part of the world we're from, no matter what cultures and nationalities course through our veins -- are connected. We are brothers and sisters. And so all the news lately -- of interracial and intercultural and interreligious conflict, of national publications mocking the oppressed, of state officers killing children, of guerrillas hurting women and the young, of homicidal maniacs gunning down innocents and terrorizing neighbourhoods -- enough. Just enough.
Today, Naija ni mi -- I am Nigeria. I am keeping the good people of Nigeria in my thoughts, and praying for peace.