Over the past few days, I have seen so many things that I feel it imperative to write, to vent. I have cried more in these times than I have over the past 3 years put together.
The numerous accounts of people being dehumanized and brutalized makes me feel a lot of things and living alone in a foreign country makes it harder for me to share it with others and move around like I'm normal but I'm anything but.
I have felt a wide range of emotions since the #EndSars movement started and it's a little hard to articulating myself properly so I'm gonna type as I see fit without worry.
The first video I saw that broke my heart is of Chibuike's father crying about how they "wasted" his son for him. That word is very important but I digress. You hardly see a father cry except he's in severe agony over something. This man was. Chibuike was 20 years old when he was killed outside a hotel and his car driven off by the SARS operatives. (SARS in Nigeria means Special Anti-Robbery Squad)
I think that video incited everyone's anger! He prayed at the end that God avenges his son's death. I think what is happening in Nigeria is the answer to that prayer.
We all know Nigeria is corrupt, we've known since we were little. Millenials and Gen Z's we all know. But this is the first time we have come together like this to fight a common enemy.
I've cried more in the past few days than I've done in years but I've always donated to help my brothers and sisters, I've resuscitated my twitter account to add to our legion of online protesters, I've sparked up conversations with my family members and friends, I've protested under the hot sun in Ghana and my mindset of Nigeria has taken a complete u-turn. I used to think everyone in Nigeria was alone, "na only me come this world" mentality, I used to think we never would go out of our way to help someone else in need. I don't think these things anymore.
In the past few days, I've seen Nigerians bend over backwards to help people, I've seen people protect someone's unlocked car and wait till the person returns so nothing is stolen, I've seen people pick up phones and try to get it back to the owner, I've seen people STAND IN LINE!!! (this one burst my head), I've seen people contribute the little they have so someone who was beaten or had their cars or phones smashed to replace it, I've seen lawyers drive hours to release protesters that have been detained with NO pay, I've seen people donate food, umbrellas, mobile credit, it's just unbelievable. I so much love it.
We are indeed the future!
The word "sympathize" has been on the forefront of my mind and I think that is the virtue we have all gained during this fight. To sympathize means to suffer. So if you say to someone, "I sympathize with you", it means to "I suffer with you. I'm in this with you." It means to feel the pain of the other person. To suffer with them. I have suffered with more Nigerians in the past few days than ever before.
I suffer with Chibuike's father who had his son's life wasted after 20 years.
I suffer with Joy who was shot in the mouth but a SARS operative who doubled as an abusive lover.
I suffer with Esther who at 17 was detained for a crime she didn't commit, was not released because no bribe was paid, was stripped naked against her will in front of multiple police officers, was tortured and detained without trial for 3 YEARS.
I suffer with DJ KAKA whose twin was killed and he was jailed and tortured for 4 years.
I suffer with Treasure and Felicia who were pulled by the neck like animals and beaten simply for protesting and asserting their rights.
I suffer with everyone who has ever been brutalized by Nigeria. I'm so sorry.
We will win this. A new dawn is upon us in Nigeria, God is with us.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves and we Nigerians are finally living according to that.
I love you all. Keep fighting the good fight. Shalom.