Let Us Ask The Americans The Same Questions Asked Of Nigerians!
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Recently, I read writings by two Americans about Nigerians and Nigeria that were very critical and unfair to Nigerians and Nigeria, Suellentrop’s article appeared in the Slate Magazine, in which he highlighted the other writings about Nigeria by Karl Maier.
Americans are too frequently, exhorting one principle, while simultaneously, the Americans are actively engaged in the pursuit and practice of another principle that is the exact opposite of what they publicly advocate! Everything done by the Americans always have the smack of agitation, propaganda and self-interests of the American empire a la Pax-Americana; This has led some, in the past, to conclude, that America’s greatest export is propaganda, and not Coca cola drink, McDonalds fast food or even Microsoft products.
American foreign policy at best, is a deceptive twirl, just like the state of New Hampshire, a state whose official motto is emblazoned on the registration plate of every car registered in that state, the motto that loudly proclaims "Live Free or Die!" And the state of New Hampshire, it turned out, was the last state in America to recognize and declare the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as an American national holiday.
Apparently, no one told the people and government of New Hampshire, that Dr. King lived free and was murdered in cold blood, only because he advocated and sought more freedom for everyone living in the USA, including those in New Hampshire! Did you see the contradictions and ironies? The ironies probably completely lost on New Hampshire?
Just as the American foreign policy rationale is lost on me? How else does anyone explain the fact that the US is always screaming freedom, liberty, democracy and free trade etc, while the same America peddles oppression, genocide and deaths at home and abroad? Historically, America has opposed all sorts of progressive forces like Patrice Lumumba as the US favored Mobutu in the Congo, the US supported a puppet Jonas Savimbi and opposed Dr. Neto in Angola, these American activities of political interferences caused wars and endless conflicts or crises.
Every literate person knows that Nigeria became politically independent on October 1st 1960 and became free of illegal British imperial impositions, domination and usurpation, contrary to the factually incorrect statements in the reeking article written by Chris Suellentrop of the slate magazine; Suellentrop cannot even get basic facts about Nigeria right or written accurately? Yet he is t he expert at analyzing everything Nigerian?
I thought every literate person knew or can at least find out basic facts of Nigeria’s political history, such as, dates of political independence of any country? It is all over the Internet! At CIA website, US State Department website, Nigeria and Nigerian related websites or it is just a phone call away.
Suellentrop, erroneously stated that Nigeria freed herself of British control in 1961! Just as I would have stated that the United States became politically independent in 1777 instead of 1776 and then pretend to be an expert in American political history, ancient or contemporary?
America is the "civilized" country that participated in the abductions, snatching, and stealing of fellow human beings in Africa to cultivate the land that America equally stole from Native Americans or American Indians; Essentially, America has stolen fellow humans and their properties for the development and benefits of Anglo-Saxons, America stole and branded fellow humans from Africa like animals, to work the farms and industries at the expense of the captured and branded, and without compensation, Africans’ forced labor helped to develop America! Lets talk reparation Suellentrop?
Chris Suellentrop compared Nigeria ethnic diversity and disagreements to the historical crises in the Balkans, more particularly, Yugoslavia, But Suellentrop and his types are quick to gloss over America’s share of ethnic tensions and frequent ethnic brawls?
America would have invented slavery and genocide, if it did not exist! All anyone has to do for proof, is ask African Americans and Native Americans/American Indians about their experience.
America has had a patterned history of oppressing people and or conniving, colluding and being in complete complicities with oppressive and tyrannical government or regimes, but the same America turns round to pretend self-righteous indignations and superior morality! Who helped Batista in Cuba? Who helped Somoza in Nicaragua? Who overthrew Allende in Chile? Whose client was Noriega before he fell out of favor? Who installed and protected the Shah of Iran? Who was the protectors and godfather of Ferdinand Marcus of Philippines? Who was friends of Mobutu and enemy of Patrice Lumuba and Nkrumah? Who supplied Stinger Missiles to the Mujaheedeen in Afghanistan before the Talibans? Who propped up Saddam in a proxy war against Iran and the Ayatollah of Iran after the fall of client of America the Shah of Iran?
It is America, America, America! Why do Minster Freedom, Liberty and Democracy manage to always share the same bed with the most unsavory of characters?
Now, presently, in order to continue to lubricate the American Military Industrial Complex, Americans needed to invade and occupy Iraq and such other countries for oil, a precedent has now been set by America! Especially and particularly by the hawks in the current American government, bent on imposing a "new world order" on the world.
When Americans like Chris Suellentrop, Karl Maier the new armchair experts on Nigeria, and others like them, write about Nigeria, they are clearly engaged in a biblical reverse of the axiom and advise, to "remove the log in ones eye" before worrying about the specks in the eyes of others"
Too many Americans are too quick to embark on their condescending and patronizing "worries" about the specks in the eyes of others, while neglecting the log in America eyes! Nigeria will take care of the specks in her eyes in due time, America needs to face their own logs squarely.
There are several True Life Documentaries such as "Eyes On The Prize" "Africans In America" "The Rosewood Boys" and their companion books that would make good gifts to Suellentrop, Karl Maier and other countless Americans, that would enrich them immensely in the wretchedness of American treatments of fellow human beings, and how America generally have created very painful and checkered history for others.
Suellentrop, Maier and many other Americans, are too willing to bury their collective heads in the sands, and the rest of us, need to remind them of the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression and depravity that America inflicted on other peoples.
Americans need to be reminded constantly of the vicissitudes of slavery, segregation and magnitude of the dehumanization that America visited on other countries, America has all through history, perpetuated all types of sufferings through wars and the use of weapons to maim people, through the use of Weapons of Mass of Destruction, it was America that used Atomic and Nuclear Weapons etc in Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities in Japan and America used agent Orange and other toxic chemicals in Vietnam and the after-effects of these toxic chemicals are still very apparent in thee countries.
Americans need to be reminded of how the government of the United States arbitrarily, jailed and quarantined American citizens of Japanese descent less than a lifetime ago, and their non-offense was just being Japanese American! Americans need to be reminded of yet other atrocities of earlier time, when the government of America sought to annihilate and eliminate American Indians/Native Americans in the sordid American Indian Experience a la Little Bighorn Battles and The Trail Of Tears for Indian Tribes in America! All is not well with America! All has never been well with America.
Why pretend perfection? And put up the facades that all is well with America? When the past and present clearly indicates that America has the flaws and imperfections that all human societies have? There is nothing to gloat about the human condition anywhere.
Where do America, Suellentrop and Maier etc come holy? And as some Americans present a holier-than-thou attitude? History is my witness! I cannot make this stuff up, even if I had the inclinations! America it was, who used WMD in Japan! America used Napalm in Vietnam, all these weapons, including land mines, are securely embedded in the psyche of those who were the unwilling and unfortunate victims recipient of America "golden geese" of mass killings and deaths.
Those of us who defer to the international law and multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, those of us still willing to yield to the mundane tenets of laws, norms, conventions finessed diplomacy, are still shocked and awed, in horror, over America government’s gunboat diplomacy worldwide, and America’s surging unilateralism and preemptive strike doctrine.
America have acted without restraint historically, as when, America used unbridled power and demonstrated arrogance, against Maurice Bishop of Grenada, Manuel Noriega of Panama, the nearly five decades of blackmail and blockade of Fidel Castro and his Cuba and most recently, America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, against the popular will of the people of America and the whole world! As America used cranked up and sexed up spurious information, as excuse to invade Iraq, to fulfill a pre-conceived agenda.
America has done all these without recourse to the international law! The international community, or the specific authorizations from the United Nations! America constantly disregarding the entire world and international institutions, when America is in pursuit of its "national interests" One wonders whether other countries should have national interests and whether these other countries could pursue such interests in American-like and ruthless manner?
Whether Suellentrop and Maier knows it or not, there are people inside and outside the United States who also wonder whether America will be the next to implode just like the former USSR or the former Yugoslavia to which Suellentrop ungraciously and giddily compared Nigeria in fractiousness and future cousin in implosion or failure.
Suellentrop and Maier in all their giddiness and garrulous predictions of doom and gloom for Nigeria nay Africa, seem to forget to take a good look at America itself, they should take a good look and reexamine America’s multiple standards of morality and decency, America’s hypocrisies and America’s holier than thou presumptuous attitudes.
Americans, such as Suellentrop, Maier and others, are ironically the first to wonder why some people may hate America, more particularly, hate America’s wrong-headed policies.
Suellentrop and Maier should even start from themselves! What if they start with themselves? They would find the open secret answers! Why does Nigeria for example deserve the dabbling and unthinking meddlesomeness of Suellentrop and Maier? Why does Nigeria deserve Suellentrop and Maier’s gratuitous insults? How can Nigerians possibly love Suellentrop and Maier? And why Nigerians and Nigeria must happily accept being denigrated by them?
American double standards policies are everywhere for even the blind to see! Yes! Even the blind! American domestic and foreign policies are hugely influenced by race and ethnicities, region and religion etc! Slavery, segregation, racism etc are proof of these heinous practices in American policies domestically, race still determine the outcomes of lives in America, where one lives, where one goes to church, the worship hour in churches on Sundays still remain the most segregated hour in America, as people worship separately and at death, race even influences what cemetery in which one is buried.
American foreign policies are motivated similarly, by the same paradigm and same type of racial superiority mindsets and the depraved robotic philosophy, which have been evident in America’s foreign policies that gave the world Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and now Iraq.
If some Nigerian peacekeeping soldiers were to engage in questionable conduct, while in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria’s other peacekeeping missions, Suellentrop and Maier will be screaming loudest to the high heavens! But how about the American troops? How about the recent scandals involving American soldiers and journalists who looted Banks and Museum etc in Iraq? During the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, the conduct of American occupying force was not America’s finest hour! How did the Americans do, compared with the Nigerians?
In Vietnam, Americans were engaged in all manners of unfair war, genocidal war practices and massacres, some of which, were source of recent embarrassment and haunt for a US Senator, who is also a Vietnam war hero.
In Vietnam, rapes and sexual assaults were common and routinely visited upon Vietnamese women! And in the end, there were many children born of criminal and violent sex that was visited on Vietnamese women by the "very kindly" American troops! The American troops that are supposed to be "refined" and "civilized"?
Today, there are a large community and colony of Vietnamese Americans that arose from all these sexual liaisons by the American troops, some of these Vietnamese Americans are descendants of war sex that qualifies as war crimes a la sexual assaults and rapes during wars.
Some of these descendants of American soldiers war sex were left behind in Vietnam with solemn promises by the American soldiers, some of these promises were kept, but most were not meant intended to be kept and some other promises were eventually kept 30 years late.
But of course, what Vietnam did not have in Diamond, gold and oil, the American soldiers found and took in, instant sexual gratifications from the hapless Vietnamese women.
Vietnamese men were gooks to the American troops on turkey shoot, but the Vietnamese women were a different story! Vietnamese women were wonderful sexual entertainment for the American soldiers? Kill the men? Appropriate their women? All is fair in war?
In Japan, American Soldiers pick on children and underage-School girls, as their sexual victims! American soldiers frequently and routinely face accusations, arrests and prosecutions in Okinawa Japan.
American authorities frequently shied away from dealing with the erring soldiers, but instead, shield these offending American soldiers-sexual predators from the full wrath of Japanese legal system, as the American citizens/soldiers are too sophisticated, too civilized, too sexy to be brought to justice in Japanese courts?
Japanese schoolgirls continue to fall preys to these wayward American soldiers sexual predators! American soldiers are above the law in Japan? Vietnam? Iraq? And even courts established by the United Nations?
Americans and Europeans frequently engage in all sorts of ignominious hypocrisies and platitudinous condescension, while pretending to be more" civilized" and "superior" to the Africans and everyone else.
But, are the sexual escapades by the Americans soldiers in Vietnam and Japan the fault of anyone else?
Were the massive lootings by American troops of Iraqi Banks and Museum, looted of monies and artworks the fault of anyone but the Americans?
Some Americans appears not to know of the universality of human conditions, human behaviors, human frailties and human foibles?
What exactly is the difference between American troops’ misconduct, in extorting, and compelling sexual favors in Vietnam, Japan or the Philippines etc? And the Nigerian troops in diamond deals? (I make no excuses for American or Nigerians criminals, soldier or civilian) Diamond is a victimless crime and rape and sexual assaults have direct and immediate victims, with the degradations and traumatic experience that they have to endure for life! Rape and sexual assaults are ever lingering crimes, with definite human victims that are ascertainable.
What is the difference between American troops or soldiers and journalists greedily stealing and looting amidst the terrible war chaos in Iraq and the imperfections of some Nigerian soldier peacekeeper? The difference is in the nature, scope and magnitude of American troops’ misconduct, the difference is in the egregiousness of the offenses committed by the American troops, the difference is the proportions, scale and extent of the size of the populations that are adversely affected by the misconduct of the American troops! As can be clearly seen, American troops have committed more misconduct in more countries than their Nigerian counterparts.
American military presence, as already enumerated, bear testament to these facts! The America military are everywhere in the world.
American troops because of their wide spread, have visited more countries with their egregious behaviors and misconducts and consequent negative impacts! The American takes the trophy in sex crimes and lootings in the occupied territories in Vietnam, Okinawa Japan, and more recently, Iraq.
Regarding domestic policies and domestic ethnic happiness, equality or fairness received from the "mainstream" Anglo-Saxons or "majority" I will defer to the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other African Americans, American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, Native Americans or American Indians, America’s neighbor to the South… Mexico, the Urban League etc for a true definition and true description of America’s democracy, freedom, equality and America’s claim of having exclusive preserve to human benevolence, decency and uprightness; The overwhelming evidence further demonstrates and put a lie to the perennial American hypocrisies and pretensions of being holier than everyone else.
On the matter of corruption, I wonder if the following companies names rings loud bells of corruption in the ears of Suellentrop and Maier? Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Imclone, Merril Lynch, Health South, Arthur Andersen, Savings and Loans, Halliburton, etc
Suellentrop and Maier should realize and accept the facts of human frailties and foibles! Human greed and vanity is common to all humans! What else led some Americans to steal Space Shuttle debris? Despite it’s the fact that the debris was associated with a national tragedy? Despite the very gory nature of the shuttle accident? And despite the American government advise and warnings about the toxicity and chemical danger the space debris might pose? A uniformed American was one of the thieves arrested.
Again, human nature of greed and avarice led some Americans to file false claims for death benefits or compensations arising from the Twin Tower World Trade Center September 11, 2001 disasters! I am Nigerian, and I would never do a thing like that in a million years! It stealing from the dead! It is just unpatriotic, unconscionable, immoral and debased etc..
It behooves Americans to accept the fact that, Nigerians and other human beings are just like their American counterparts and that, all humans are liable to be good of course, but sometimes, not so good, and further, that bad behaviors, in soldiers and civilians alike, are sometimes found.
For the some Americans to pretend otherwise, with a "we are atop-of-the-mountain" looking down at the rest of the world down the valley condescendingly? Is not a good way for America to amass friends and allies! The "we are on a high-horse looking down on Nigerians and other human beings that are not Americans, is to say the least, silly and smack of immature false pretense.
The rest of the world should be the true arbiter of whether America is what it proclaims to the world it is! Or whether America continues to engage in self-serving agitations and propaganda as America have always done.
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.