Monday, January 12, 2009

Myths about Them

I saw it happen!!
It was about four second viewing but the context in which it happened, made the images stick.Just getting off the bridge that links the Ojota end of Ikorodu Road to Lagos Ibadan expressway. It was about 10pm at night and there was me, driving listening to music. Music playing was "Shooters" by Lil Wayne ft Robin Thicke. Just as the lyrics go "mama, hey mama, I think they want me to surrender" I see something lurking in the dark. When it becomes clearer, there were images of a man struggling with two young boys (ages between 21 and 23). As he struggled, they kept on unrelenting as they carried him to the other side of the road (the side where you have Motorways and Seven Up). A big tussle took place in the middle of the road and I think the one carrying his legs dragged off his trouser, slung it on his shoulders, and got back to carrying their victim to the destination, wherever that maybe.

In one way the scenario was like a modern interpretation of natives carrying their victim for ritual sacrifice. But also, it seemed like a choreographic imitation of vultures as they attack their prey.Of all things that blew my mind about the situation, and I think also made it stick, was the fact that I could not understand what I saw as there was no way the motives of the attackers made sense. Their antics had no similarities to anything I understood as human and this was the first time I came face to face with such encounters.It is easy to believe that my concern is in vain but that inability to relate to their experiences echoes a flaw in how our society is organized especially when these breed of people are pushing for the majority. High unemployment and incomprehensible growth in the economy has lead to an "unevolution" of the society's lower class as the weak, strong and wise, quest for ways to survive within harsh economic conditions that benefits only a few.

But what does it mean to unevolve? For context, unevolution would take place when there is a decline in the use of civil means expected in people's interaction and negotiation ethics with one another or strangers. The result would be everyone being suspicion on every encounter with every other person, as the former unconsciously make inquiries on indicators the describes their current realities of the latter.
Without insight, both parties are defensive and would hold no common/friendship grounds in negotiations unless some ice breaker is successful in brokering a peaceful union.All these results from lack of understanding who we are. Unlocking that requires detailed day to day narration of our lives in our environment the way it is, and communication that image in ways people can assimilate and get the information right. Art (in form of music, paintings, documentaries and drama) usually attempts to do that by providing us with a mirror from where we can look at ourselves and make adjustments where necessary. Such medium provide the platform where belief systems can be updated and people can now engage in more intimate conversations.Our arts and all information we collate about our society appear to exclude a growing aggressive attitude we have one with another. Though Nigerian music, art and Nollywood are getting increase global recognition, no one seems to be drawing any picture of the real issues.

  • No one is speaking on the university graduate driving Okada for a living
  • I have never come across a story on young Nigerians as they migrate Lagos in search of greener pastures
  • There is nothing done (even loosely) around how people rent apartment on shift basis
  • We don't see any intelligently constructed play that show how criminal operations are planned from scratch to finish.
  • Or do we see dramas narrating the life of doctors in a Nigerian teaching hospital?

With art that fails to describe, people are left with no other choice than to ascribe flawed characteristics on the next man. Without any assurance of the capability of the other person, there are limits to how much plans can be made that will truly be meaningful. In a society where everyone is skeptical about the next man there will always be higher than average need for caution and suspicion in basic dealings. Aggression will reign during transactions and violence will be more fatal.

Myths will guide as most people will never clearly get the true picture of the person in question.


tobenna said...

What did you do about that incident you saw happening at 10pm that night?

Mr C said...

Well, I be James Bond? I wished I could do something my dear but I just kept driving. There is nothing I can really do that will make a positive impact.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure but who exactly do you propose do something about this. The government has proven herself to be the onus falls on Men such as yourself and Ladies such as I. I dont know but something must be done.

NoLimit said...

don't think little of your effort Mr C...your little effort MIGHT have helped...
Your post is poignant and heavy with the truth!!!
Question I keep asking myself is "what is the way forward"...I feel helpless...

Mr C said...

Termite, I have that feel and thats what made me write this post.

No Limit, thanks for the nice words. I am hoping that the little effort I put in (which is writing this post) might actually start making people think further about ways in which these issues could be handled.

mmmm...that's delicious said...

This is not just a Nigerian phenomenon. It is the story of life here in the U.S. among Black Americans and I often think of what to do. It's tough because you know you risk putting yourself in peril sometimes because of the breakdown in humanity that you seem to be describing. However when I do step up--even when I get cussed out :) I feel like I have done something with integrity. For me it is hard as a woman, well, it is hard for anyone...
Keep pushin'

Anonymous said...

No be lie, i got almost attacked by a dope head once and it scared the shit outta me.

Its didfficult for a sane person to walk up to an insane and try to get him to be sane.

We will hope for the govt to do something, atleast one thing.