A Pax Americana Beginning Annum Domini 2003
At least that is what the Americans would like to have, anyway. Having bulldozed Baghdad and liberated the oil-fields, the Yankees now straddle Iraqi society like an imperious Colossus. Iraqi TV used to be dominated by images and eulogies to Mr Saddam, these days the “popular” fare is A la carte Monsieurs Bush and Blair. Where once the governments militia-men roved the streets with impunity, breathing threats and violence nowadays the marines hold sway, promising one way tickets to heaven or hell. I wonder what the Iraqis make of all this! My take? As a die-hard Wazobian, I encapsulate their predicament in one statement: “Soldier go Soldier come”. © Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Given that they – Saddam and the Americans – both want the same thing, Iraqi Oil and control of Iraqi Politics, it may be tempting to see them as two sides of the same coin, and for the brave to begin to conjecture that Saddam Hussein Al-Tikriti is an American contraption positioned to engineer the Gulf Wars. A Trojan horse of modern times; a doubly-redoubled agent; a fifth-columnist; the perfect equivocator; Paradox impersonified. This may not sound so credulous if it were not for the fact that any old fool in Saddam’s shoes would have known that the Iraqi army, once, and then twice, were no match for the Yankees in open battle, yet he went out willing to the slaughter. Twice! Let us pray that he does not now re-appear, twenty years hence in an American witness protection program, living large in the rarefied atmosphere of some Aspen-esque haven. The Iraqis would have been resettled alongside the Native Americans in some desert lands up north, Tony Blair would be the Senator for Washington district, China would be the fifty-third state, and me? Let’s not even speculate!
The real target here must be bad government, the misery that it produces, and the fallout from the lives of those who have been crushed, or badly bent by the brute force of malevolent forces in high places. We should know; forty years on from independence, and we are no closer to the promised land than the day we started out on this harrowing journey. Lives are being destroyed; families are being broken; the weak and the vulnerable are being cut off prematurely; the corruptible are becoming bad; the intemperate are breaking out in rashes of reactive aggression; and a people, their culture, and ways of life perish. Pinochet, they say killed 20,000 Chileans to bring about the economic turnaround that country lived through, that Saddam has killed more than a million of his own citizens. More than twice that amount have died in Nigeria due to acts of omission and/or commission by a succession of thugs masquerading as leaders.
I do not agree with the idea that you can emancipate a people simply by eliminating a certain force that today oppresses them. If citizens themselves are not armed with means or ideas to resist and to vanquish demons, they remain victims, waiting for the latest mutation of the arch-fiend as manifest in the next oppressive person or group that comes along. Perusing the landscape of Nigerian consciousness and politics, one cannot help but note great densities of bad and the ugly. What hope is there for emancipation, where evil appears to be endemic? The Nigerian problem takes more than a sage, more than a magician; only GOD can save this country from those who we call leaders.
Bringing All This Home To Roost
There is a tale that goes something like this:
Four politicians (American, British, Mexican, and Nigerian), were caught on a doomed army helicopter with their families and just four parachutes. The pilot offers the parachutes to the heads of the families to do with as they thought best, having accepted his fate to go down with the aircraft. The American, whose government had provided the aircraft decided that the pilot should have his parachute, because he felt the government needed fighter pilots more than it needed politicians. The British man decided to give his to their only child on the principle of the gentleman, “children and women first” (in that order). The Mexican gave his parachute to his pregnant wife, reasoning that, having six children, all young, and who could not be guranteed to survive the parachute jump and trek back to civilisation, it was better to save one, probably two (the unborn child). The Nigerian announced that he would keep his parachute. His reasoning was just as simple; wives and children were to be had for the willing man, but a man had only one life and principle and emotion were never to be considered as substitutes to life.
Dem Miss Road
Maybe the Anglo-American Coalition should have come to Nigeria first instead of the Middle-East. The people we call leaders would use nuclear weapons against members of their own immediate family, much less everyday Nigerians, or anyone else that stands between them and the ill-gotten gain which they crave. The GOD that would save our nation is the same that guaranteed that in their ineptitude, the cohort that have us in a death-like grip could not manage the construction of a Molotov-cocktail, much less Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). And so tonight I shall sleep well in my bed knowing full well that I shall not be blown to smithereens by some politician-criminal trying to use chemical weapons to pry open the vaults of the Central Bank, and that even after Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Russia, Pakistan, etc. etc. the Americans will not be coming this way. There are certainly no WMD, and as for the oil, there won’t be much left by the time they get out of Iraq. That surely is the shame; that one wishes that it was this country that was invaded instead of Iraq. That one is brought to the point of thinking that servitude under the Americans would, at least for a while, be preferable to the ongoing hegemony of Ali-baba and the 400 thieves. Dis Americans dem really miss road; but GOD dey; na GOD dey drive fly for cow wey no get tail, no be so?
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