Street protests over the Hamas-Israeli War have exploded in several Nigerian cities as Moslems exited the mosques after Friday prayers last week. They excoriated Israel for attacking the Gaza Strip. The situation in the Gaza strip is dire; around 600,000 Gazans used to live in Gaza’s eight refugee camps.
Now, the entire Gaza is one sprawling refugee camp. Most Gazans are Sunni Muslims, but there is a Palestinian Christian minority. Yet, do I wonder why those Nigerians failed to protest, in God’s name, against Boko Haram’s, bandits’ and Fulani Cattle Herders’ terrorism against innocent Nigerians.
According to the report of 23 Sept. 2023, “frustrated families of eight Akwa Ibom state graduates kidnapped in Zamfara state since 17 August on a bus journey to Sokoto state National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp, have resorted to fasting and prayers on the fate of their children as the abductors denied them freedom after receiving N13Million demanded ransom”.
Niger State Emergency Management Agency records show that 152 farmers have been killed while 355 others were kidnapped by bandits in various attacks on communities in Mariga, Paikoro, Rijau, Wushishi, Rafi, Shiroro, Munya, Magama and Mashegu of Niger State between April and September this year, 140 communities were attacked and 36,071 farmers were displaced.
That happened in Niger state alone. The Global and International Terrorism Research/Analysis Group in its half yearly report for January-June 2022 assessed that Nigeria was the second most attacked and terrorized country in the world with Iraq being the first and Syria being the third. While Iraq recorded 337 terrorist attacks, Nigeria recorded 305 and Syria 142 terrorist’s attacks.
So, why did the Nigerian protesters forget that famous biblical injunction: “Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ while the log is in your own eye?”
In the mid-1980s, I asked Chinweizu what happened to the Black population that obviously lived in North Africa before the Arabs arrived. Why did the Berbers and other African peoples who produced Pope Victor, St. Augustine and Monica and Hannibal disappear and the Arabs took over the entire place? His reply: “Ah, Tony, you don’t understand that if we do not stop the apartheid system in South Africa
NOW, future Africans would ask what happened to the Africans that once owned South Africa”. And who spares any thought for such Africans of the pre-Arab era in North Africa? 7th-century invasions brought Islam to the region. From then on, centuries of Arab migration to North Africa shifted its demographic scope in favour of Arabs.
We may split hairs over Palestine and Philistine. The Biblical Philistines died out eons ago, just like the 10 out of the 12 tribes of Israel, with just two tribes, Judah and Israel, surviving. The ancient and Biblical Philistines no longer exist today. After their land was conquered by the Neo-Babylonians, they were assimilated into the culture of their conquerors and became extinct over time.
In the early 2nd century AD, the name “Syria Palaestina” (literally, “Palestinian Syria” was given to the Roman province of Judaea after the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 AD. Roman Emperor Hadrian did that to erase the Jewish presence as he dispersed the Israelites to the four winds and brought in strangers to settle there.
Traces of Jewish religion and Christianity were wiped off. Jews were thenceforth forbidden to enter Jerusalem. Then came 1948: The Israeli return to the homeland was an astounding event unprecedented in world history. Never had a decimated ancient people managed to retain their individual identity, language, religion, alphabet, etc, through almost twenty centuries and reestablish their nation in their original homeland.
The real issue is expressed in the clash of two national anthems – Israel’s and Palestine’s. First, the Hatikvah (The Hope); Israel’s anthem: “As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, Then our hope – the two- thousand- year- old hope will not be lost: To be a free people in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem”.
At the Sixth Zionist Congress, in Basel, Switzerland, in August 1903, the Uganda Proposal to create a temporary Jewish State in East Africa passed by 295 to 178 votes. It’s opponents then got up and sang Hatikvah. That poem made the difference as it pointed the participants’ souls and spirits and minds towards Jerusalem and saved Uganda for Ugandans and Africans!
The Palestinian anthem, Fida’i (Fedayeen Warrior) is a call to arms:
“Fida’i – My Redemption, My country, my country, My country, my land, land of my ancestors Fida’i, Fida’iFida’i, my people, people of eternity, With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my vendetta, With the longing in my blood for my land and my home, I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars, I have conquered the impossible, and crossed the frontiers, With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the weapon. And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle, Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire, Palestine is my vendetta and the land of withstanding, By the oath under the shade of the flag, By my land and nation, and the fire of pain, I will live as a Fida’i, I will remain a redeemer, I will die as a Fida’i – until my country returns”.
So? As Bob Marley sang in REAL SITUATION, “well, it seems like total destruction, no resolution. Ain’t no use, no one can stop them now”.
All I will add is just a question: What really did the Hamas leadership expect after that Saturday Oct 7th 2023 invasion of Israel, massacring people and taking others hostage, that Israel would pay ransom to reclaim hostages? Such nonsense takes place only in Nigeria.