Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nigeria at 55

Happy " Independence" Day Nigeria. 

Frantz Fanon is one of the best people to theorize the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized and the effects of this situation on our psyche. He most famously discusses the power of language in creating and perpetuating conditions of oppression. I wont delve into Frantz Fanon or the theories of post-colonialism or the process of decolonization, but I understand why people express disinterest in celebrating " Independence" or the end of " colonization". 

I would urge everyone to watch this documentary titled " Concerning Violence" which combines film from colonization and different freedom movements with the words of Frantz Fanon:-->    Concerning Violence . Let me know what you think ! 

Is decolonization an end? What does it mean to decolonized? What does it mean to be colonized? What does it mean to be independent? What does it mean to be sovereign? What does it mean to be free? What does freedom look like to you as an individual and to the world around you? How do we use history and our current situation to re-imagine what we think is possible or attainable? How do we decolonize the mind? How do we celebrate one another by simultaneously recognizing the colonized state we are in? 

Interview with Fela 

Below are excerpts from an excellent author Toyin Falola in " Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria". A great read that i HIGHLY recommend. He perfectly compiles different acts of resistance by Nigerians against the British. I think we often romanticize colonization or water it down; part of that is through our language and the way our independence is framed and discussed. 

This is a passage from a complaining woman about her oppressive situation during colonization . Often times the role of women in nation building is overlooked . During colonialism Nigeria women were the most oppressed as a result they were the group most likely to resist . The British were extremely violent to Nigerian women from kidnapping to rape to cold blood murder. Nigerian women endured a lot during colonization and are still suffering from the generational trauma experienced during that time . Moreover , There are hundreds of resistance/rebellions documented against the British but one of the most important Acts of resistance was the Women's war of 1929 . Like the#blacklivesmatter movement , this movement was led by women in a decentralized yet strategic and intentional faction . This movement gave future nationalist the pride and confidence to stage both violent and nonviolent acts against British rule . Many armed resistance strategies followed after this war and put pressure on the British to leave Nigeria and also gave way for more nonviolent Measures to be deemed acceptable . There would be no Nigeria without this movement . The Women's war of 1929 and it's undeniable success paved the way for what we call Nigeria today . 

Falola states,  "Colonialism undermined and subverted the position and status of women in many African societies. The Women's War of 1929 represents an early response of African women to their disempowerment and the subservience colonialism perpetrated and legitimized. The 1929 riots also reveal traditions of women's activism among the peoples and groups of eastern Nigeria. ria. While there were other examples of protests by women in other parts of Nigeria, the 1929 example offers rich data with which to understand the role of women in the colonial setting."

Colonization was about economic exploitation and political domination . The British were very violent to Nigerians . They cut off the heads of many village elders to send a message to the community . They imprisoned any person who spoke against or fought colonial rule in Nigeria . They burnt down whole villages .They murdered and raped many women and children . They continuously justified this violence by referring to Nigerians as dumb , stupid , uncivilized , primitive, animalistic, untamed, Black, ugly, niggers . As in the United States , Nigerians were not even allowed to use the same public accommodations as British in Nigeria .

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