A letter to President Goodluck Jonathan

I went down to Nigeria House this morning. No official protest, just me and my friend of more years than I care to count and her daughter, all of 16 and a half months of Nina awesomeness. We stood there with our little placards just the three of us, people passing by looking at us in that special way that is reserved for crazy people who think that standing up at the side of the road in the cold is a good idea.
Eventually we tried to give them the letter. They sent us from one entrance to the next until finally one man came out and told us that he isn’t authorised to receive letters for the President and that we should send it via Registered Mail. So it’s been sent registered mail and it will also be sent to this email address provided by the Nigerian High Commission in Trinidad nigeria.portofspain@fma.gov.ng 

Dear Sir
We are concerned mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters of various nationalities. We are writing to you to express our deep concern on the disappearance of the 234 school girls in Chibok, Borno.
We are writing to ask that you treat the issue of the missing girls with a bit more urgency.
The history of Nigeria, the ethnic, political and social realities that gave rise to this tragic situation are all areas in which we have limited knowledge. It does not help that we continue to get distorted versions of these stories from international media sources, that neither understand nor care to explain these contemporary and historical problems, nor how colonial powers were and continue to be involved in the instability of countries all over the global south.
Our concerns are for girl children around the world. We cannot imagine our lives without the girls who surround us.
We imagine that if our own children were to go missing we would want the world to come to a standstill and help us find them. We stand in solidarity with the families of the missing girls and ask that you use everything in your power to return them to their rightful place.
We also ask that as the leader of the largest democracy in Africa you consider why so often women’s bodies become the battlefields upon which wars are fought. And why young women continue to be scarred by battles that do not not concern them. We echo the concerns of the relatives of these young women, the future of Nigeria, the world.
We echo their concerns because we too are surrounded by young women who are under threat in different, but similar ways. This is not a problem that involves a small town in Nigeria, this involves all girls everywhere.
We hope that you feel neither shame nor pride in calling on the help and support of those who have the concerns of these girls at heart.
The real shame would be for them to live scarred lives or worse for their innocent blood to be on your hands.

Who is protecting us?

Zombie nah go kill
Unless you tell am to kill
Zombie nah go stop
Unless you tell am to stop
Zombie
Go and kill
Go and die

Zombie, Fela Kuti

Not that I’m a fan of the British royal family or anything, but it was quite interesting to note that Prince Harry son of the soon to be King, was being sent to Iraq kill.
It’s heartening, at least, for all those mothers now mourning their dead sons that it’s not just poor people’s children being sent to kill other poor people’s children.
Of course the fact that he’s so high profile makes him and his Blues and Royals regiment even more of a target for the insurgents.
It would be the ultimate scalp really.  Anti-West fundamentalists around the world would rejoice.  Kind of like I would if EMA would actually grow some balls and turn down Alutrint’s Certificate of Environmental Clearance.
But I digress.
I wonder what the delightfully melancholy Princess Di would have said about her boy child being sent to kill people.  After she devoted so much of her life to being a poster girl for clean white folks in well-starched safari outfits embracing the unclean, the maimed, the fly ridden children of the world.
Only for her son to become a certified killing machine.
I guess that’s the chance you take as a parent.  You don’t make their minds, no matter how well you try to shape them.
I mean, who watches their sweet powder smelling popo and says, ah yes, this one’s going to be one hell of a killer?
My verdict is still out on how I feel about soldiers.  On one hand they are state paid strong men.  On the other hand, perhaps a soldier also plays an important role as freedom fighter.  But that all depends on who is giving the orders. And whose version of freedom we’re going for.
I feel the same way about the police, security helicopters, the blimp and all the other accoutrements the state has come up with to supposedly protect us.
But it seems like our soliders engage in more dress up and grand charge than defending our patrimony.
This month marks another anniversary of the 1970 Black Power Revolution which climaxed in a mutiny of members of the Defense Force after the original Big Daddy Eric Williams declared a State of Emergency to deal with the revolting natives.
Come to think of it, that mutiny was probably one of the most noble things ever to be done by the protective services in Trinidad and Tobago.
I see soldiers in City Gate and I wonder if they’re there to protect me or kill me if I get out of line.
And from reading the blogs of Iraqis, I get the feeling that they have the same questions about whether the Allied Forces are there to free them or simply to make it possible for Dubya to get his grubby hands on their black gold.
So the Commissioner of Police will act all pleased with himself that the Carnival was incident free.  And everybody will jump up and say ray.  Well allow me to lead the chorus of boos.  Because I saw lots of incidents.
I saw lots of incidents of Trinidad protective services intimidating regular citizens, strong arming people who were trying to enjoy their Carnival.
Between the annoyingly ever-present blimp and security helicopters hovering like a bad dream, I didn’t feel safe.  I felt like I was in a war zone.  Where the people are the insurgents and the police and soldiers are trying to protect us from ourselves.
This is not the kind of security we need.  And I feel like a stuck record saying again that homeland security is not about how many soldiers and how many jails and how many blimps.
Homeland security is defending your nation against marauders of all kinds.
Prince Harry speeds off in his Spartan armoured recon vehicle to defend the rights of the free world but who protects the regular men women and children of Iraq?
While the blimp is busy watching for crimes in progress, who is watching how to stop them from starting at all?