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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

LETTER FROM ABROAD on Nigeria's Independence Day celebration at 56!


By Salem Hephzibar Afangideh

Dear Nigeria,

Where do I even begin? Maybe I should begin at that time in the 15th century where the British called you a bunch of savage creatures in an undiscovered colony and you started believing that your traditions and cultures were savage, and theirs was the standard.

Or maybe in
the 19th century when they decided that it was more convenient for them to merge random colonies that didn't even speak the same language or practice the same cultural norms into one country - through force and manipulation.

Or maybe at the fact that even your name is a reflection of the creative genius of a British woman! Apparently your newly formed people group could not even pick their names. 
Ms Afangideh catching fun

Or maybe I'll start in the 1950's because the fact that your children taken into American slavery were fighting for their freedom more than ever gave you the courage to tell the British ENOUGH. To fight, to sacrifice your children so we could have the liberty to choose our own national anthem and run ourselves. 

Or maybe I start with the civil war? The civil war that killed my grandfather and took my father a prisoner of war as a child. The war that was a test to see if we needed to split back into various different groups or stay as one country. The war that answered that question in an affirmative STAY TOGETHER. 

Or maybe I just point to the fact that right now you are going through the worst recession you have ever experienced- but maybe these are growing pains? Maybe we need to learn to live together (Muslim & Protestant Christians, team Buhari & team Jonathan, Niger/Delta & Fulani Nomads) without resentment. Maybe we need to deal with our collective anger at people within & without that destroy the soul of Nigeria, maybe we need to celebrate that we have come a long way in our history. 

Maybe we need to forgive ourselves and our ancestors for being powerless to the British. Maybe we need to forgive ourselves for being part of the problem. Maybe, just maybe if we remember our history and grow from it the next 56 years will be our best years! I love you my country #Nigeria. I bled green & white.

(Ms Afangideh is a 21 year old immigration and human rights lawyer making her country proud in Alabama, USA.)

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