Friday, November 25, 2005

First snow, the African diaspora and Alamieyeseigha's refilling

This morning, I am looking out on a glistening white garden square and on white roofs and enjoying the sunlight as it is reflected back from the snow and on the bare trees and lamp posts in the square. It's pretty, like something out of a Christmas card, or those Christmas annual books that we were given as children in tropical Nigeria......... Yes, it's the first snow of the year, and it's only November and it appears that the English obsessive desire for a white Christmas may well come to pass this year.......

This morning on the radio, Mary Robinson, the former Irish President was speaking on the potential value of the African diaspora to development efforts citing the example of how useful she had found the Irish diaspora in regenerating the Irish economy in the 1990s. Apparently a group of Africans in the diaspora have put together a shadow Commission for Africa report to rival Tony Blair's commission's report and it is being launched today. Apparently the group felt that the original commission ignored the current and potential contribution of the diaspora and their unique perspective.

I obviously have fairly strong feelings on this, often feeling that I am caught between a rock and a hard place as to my living abroad. I particularly resent often being told by Nigerians at home that I do not understand the situation because I live abroad. Whenever I visit home,(which I do fairly regularly) people marvel at my up to date grasp of Nigerian current affairs and politics, not realizing how much the world has changed since the sixties and seventies when our parents were here, when letters took two weeks to wend their way from the UK back to Nigeria and vice versa and where the only news people abroad got was from the BBC World Service and from yellowed newspaper cuttings, weeks out of date by the time they got to the UK. Now I often read the Nigerian newspapers online before many Nigerians at home have and have access to a wide range of internet sources and commentary on Nigeria, I text and speak to my family and friends nearly every day and can buy the latest Nigerian books, videos, CDs and foodstuff fairly easily. I think there are certainly many ways in which the diaspora can contribute and I don't just mean the ubiquitous Western Union money transfers.......

On , perhaps a lighter note, Alamieyesigha, the tummy-tucking thieving governor of Bayelsa has performed his first official action back in office in the impoverished Bayelsa State of the Niger Delta. Guess what it was? Signing the 2006 appropriations bill into law - with 500 000 pounds bail money and over ten million pounds in his frozen accounts forfeited to the British government as a result of his flight from justice, his personal coffers certainly need quick replenishing.........at the expense of the millions of poor Bayelsans, some of whom trooped out to give him a hero's welcome earlier in the week........ I hope he gets impeached soon

1 comment:

afrofunkycool said...

Very well said! What is really nauseating is the mentality of most people back home!
They use poverty and the economic situation as an excuse to commit corrupt acts against their own society and when we point this out they say well you dont live here!

As for what we can do we need to encourage a new generation of social artists to comment and prod nay even drag the country into the modern age! That cannot happen if we are using the American Capitatlist model as a yardstick for success because i feel that the part of the American dream which people buy into is really about money . They forget that under all that is a complex relationship between the state, big business and the intellectual class. For exampole in america you can have Steven spielberg Hollywood titan on one hand and Jim jarmush the master independent on the other. Both get what they want and do their thing.In africa and the rest of the world we are being encouraged to think Money is everything!
Regarding what we can do i believe we have a duty to try and encourage our people to be more irreverent and have less fear of authority! In spain Luis brunel and a few other film directors were able to loosen the hold of the religious conservatives on people by using the medium of film to treat such matters as child abuse, financial impropriety of the clergy and general abuse of power. Later day Spanish directors like Almodovar would also use film to bring issues like gender and sexuality into light. In short we need to identify real people and support them because i think they act for all us .