Wednesday, 14 May 2014

#BringBackOurGirls Now!

Over 250 girls were kidnapped from their school on 14 April 2014 by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. The world decided to forget about them for about two weeks because, until we felt that it had become worthy enough for our attention. I mean even their very own president Goodluck Jonathan only made an official statement two weeks after the girls went missing. This is nothing short of an utter shame, what was the world expecting? The girls would be delivered back with ribbons in their hair. These girls may have been kidnapped kilometres away in Nigeria, far from Zambia and yet we have a reason why we should care.

I have a young sister of similar age to the girls who have been kidnapped and like them she too is at a boarding school, I cannot even begin to imagine what I would do if I was told the next morning that some militia had kidnapped her. It is this very thought that to a small degree I am able to empathise with the hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who find themselves in this predicament. The Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by a group that has become notorious for bombing attacks in Nigeria on several occasions. It must have equally been painful for the parents of the girls to cry for the return of their daughters and yet no one paying attention to their plight. It was as if the world had grown tired of their problems.

There is a sense that the world is getting, if it is not already fatigued by all of the problems in Africa. Every day brings with it the same old problems over and over, even the news networks are running out of novel ways to present the challenges. What is further frustrating is that even after decades of independence African countries are still unable to render any assistance to their neighbours and other countries on the continent. African countries decided to add their voices to the plight of the girls when countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom decided to get actively involved. Our government has sent a message of solidarity to the Nigerian government in the recent week.

I may never be in a position to understand what it is like living in a country that has Islamist extremist like Boko Haram, or to be afraid to go to the market for fear of what will blow up in my face. I may live in a country that does not witness kidnappings and hostage situations. I may also be getting tired of hearing of the world’s problems. However, now is not the time to forget these girls, we cannot believe that 200 girls somewhere in the forest is an unfortunate case. The girls did not ask to be kidnapped; they should not be punished for seeking an education.

On the other hand we should be angry at the Nigerian authorities for doing nothing earlier on when the girls were taken. We should be angry at our own African authorities for not saying a word or offering solutions to our brothers and sisters in this position. We should be angry at ourselves for changing the channel each time the story of the girls appeared on the news. I should be angry at me that it has taken one month before the girls story has featured on my blog. Until the girls are back home, may we not grow tired of requesting our authorities to do something and let the noise only get louder. You may begin by joining the Facebook Page Zambia Cares .

So it's Okay for a Woman to Hit a Man?

If I was ever a professor of Psychology the Solange (Beyonce’s young sister) attack on Jay-Z would be a case study. There are so many dimensions to the attack and the mere fact that we are not currently privy to what it was about, we are left to speculate. The setting of an elevator with nowhere to run or hide was a setting that Solange must have thought about before her onslaught. Perhaps the upsetting issue about all this fiasco is that why the rest of the world is not upset about Solange’s attack on Jigga man. I can only imagine the backlash and wrath that Jay-Z would have had to deal with if it was the other way around, just ask Chris Brown.

Solange assaults Jay-Z and you have some quarters of women praising her instead, “Way to go sister!” This is absolutely ridiculous; this was a woman with heels, kicking someone with all the strength she could muster despite being held back by a bodyguard. Okay, she has one hell of a kick. Solange abused Jay-Z in that elevator with her punches, insults (I presume) and above all she bruised Jay-Z’s ego. Unlike the Chris Brown and Rihanna bust up where we did not have video footage, in this case we have hardcore evidence. Solange cannot deny that she did not attack Jay-Z and he can proudly claim that he did not hit back. Awe kwena, he deserves a trophy. Human instinct would be to retaliate when threatened but Jigga man kept his cool. I can only imagine how many brothers would have been as calm as he was, because trust me if it was others in that situation Solange would have begged to be let out of the elevator.

When Chris Brown beat Rihanna, Obama said something, Oprah said something, women’s groups said something, other musicians said something, and Chris Brown’s sponsors dropped him. Solange viciously attacks Jay-Z and Obama is quiet, Oprah is quiet, the women’s groups are not marching and above all no one is calling this gender based violence. This silence is annoying and very upsetting, Solange is not feeling any wrath for her actions and in fact it is Jay-Z who is becoming the laughing stock of world. This attitude of silence gives the impression that it is okay for a woman to beat up a man and it is a sin for a man to hit a woman.

Jay-Z had the capacity to put Solange in her place and prove to the world that he is “Macho”, but I guess he did the most “Macho” thing by stepping away and let raged Solange unleash whatever was burning in her heart. Like we are always told that there is never a reason why you should hit a woman, in the same vein it should be said that there should never be a reason why a woman should hit a man. In this instance talking about it over a family dinner was not an option.

Now back to the case study and Beyonce in particular who was in the elevator while her sister attacked her husband appears to back away and watch the action. She did not attempt to stop her sister neither did she try to shield her husband. I reckon the thought that was rushing through her head was the paparazzi are going to have a field day when that elevator door opens. There should have been audio in that elevator, yaba.
Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange leaving the elevator

At the time of writing this piece, we still do not know why Solange went all crazy on Jay-Z. However, whereas we are happy to demonise a man who lays his hands on a woman, we must equally do the same when the tables are turned. The excuse that men are able to protect themselves therefore cannot be victims is rubbish. Yes, men can protect themselves and instinct tells us that we do that by hitting back. However, if we begin to assume that it is acceptable for a woman to hit a man because she is angry then we are losing the plot. Solange should not be glorified in any way rather she must be condemned with as much venom as would have been spat Jay-Z’s way if he was the one throwing the punches.