Holocaust, 9/11 And The Nation With Chronic Amnesia | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Holocaust, 9/11 And The Nation With Chronic Amnesia

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Last week, the United States celebrated the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in different parts of the country that witnessed the death of thousands of people in what today stands as the face of terror attacks in the world. Just last July, the United Kingdom celebrated the 10th anniversary of the July 7th terror attacks that recorded the death of almost sixty people.

Again last month, Japan and the world marked the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. In Nairobi, Kenya, the Westgate Shopping Mall that was attacked by terrorists in September 2013 was reopened and those who lost their lives then were remembered and some landmarks built in their memory.

In all these anniversaries, while the world prays for peace and the cesation of wars and conflicts, the various anniversaries are celebrated not for the mere flamboyance of displaying military parades and honouring the war veterans, terror attacks and conflict victims, the countries concerned celebrate a lot of other things.

The city of New York built a Memorial Museum with plaques bearing the names of all those who lost their lives in the attack of the New York Twin Towers that were hit by the terrorists. Each anniversary sees the roll call of the victims and the honour and prayers by families, friends and the nation.

The Memorial Museum in New York now stands as a tourist attraction not merely for the revenue accruable but as a monument that would continue to remind humanity that terrorism is a human problem that must be fought collectively. The dead came from all corners of the earth. Like all terror attacks, races, gender, age, creed and social status has no secluding features.

The countries who decide to fight terrorism as a human problem see the humanity in the victims and the anniversaries are bold ways of giving value to the dead and strengthening the living to fight a common scourge.

On the contrary, the Nigerian state seems to sweep under the carpet the pain and memory of the victims of war and terror attacks. More often than not, political divisions creep into issues that ought to be treated as a purely human problem and that is probably why the war on terror is appearing insurmountable.

The victims of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war that lasted for all thirty months have nothing that was set up to document the victims and their memories. The state would rather the war and its victims be buried with the sand of the 20th century.

Since after the civil war, we have had various other tribal and religious conflicts; the Tiv/Jukun conflict, the Ife/Modekeke conflicts, the Aguleri Umuleri conflict and all other mushroom of cases that left tears, blood and sorrow in their wake.

The victims of various Maitasine religious attacks of the 1980s are all forgotten and their graves are only identifiable by the vultures that tore what was left of their burnt or massacred bodies. The Nigerian state has chosen to forget because in these climes, anniversaries and histories are merely for political offices and the occupants.

Today, we are seeking for the release of the Chibok girls that are victims of terror. Sad as their abduction is, hundreds of victims died before their abduction.  Many villages were wiped out with their indigenes in the North East. Many worshippers in Churches and Mosques have been killed, people were killed as they attended the 2010 Independence day celebrations, travellers at bus stations in various states including Abuja have been killed by bomb blasts and job seekers died during the ill-fated recruitment exercise.

The Mubi secondary school boys who were killed as they retired to bed after evening prep classes do not have a dot in their memory.  The College of Education students in Kano that were bombed only now exist in the memories of their families and friends because the Nigerian state chooses to always forget.

This column is probably handicapped by space in terms of listing the casualties of both the Nigerian state and the insurgents but suffice it to state clearly that this nation has not validated its status when it comes to caring for victims of violence and terror attacks.

The essence of setting up monuments and other items of historical documentations especially as regards modern day terrorism is almost one way of winning the war. It gives citizens a sense of value and strengthens their resolve to be partners in the fight against terrorism.

Today the war seems intractable because the citizens do not have much history that serve as reminders of an ongoing war. Anniversaries and the validation of citizenship through national reinvigoration of a sense of belonging and value is one sure war of gingering collective citizenship participation.

The efforts at rescuing the Chibok girls would have been more successful if politicians of the past and present administrations have been working on a tradition of system that puts no political tag on the value placed on citizens or even on the pursuit of national security.

Security of nations succeeds better when there is a standard display of citizenship protection that goes beyond politics, ethnicity and race.

The climax of the hypocrisy of the Nigerian political system is fully but sadly demonstrated by the abolition of the teaching of History in Nigerian schools. It is the ultimate indicator of the value those who have had the opportunity to give some policy direction to this country place on historical occurrences from which nations learn and strategize for future. 

All the victims of insurgencies around the country now merely exist in the memories of their families and friends. In a way, the nation has not only lost those direct victims, it has equally lost those families who would have no sense of patriotism to make any sacrifice for the country.

The rescue of the abducted Chibok girls would be one of the best news the world would receive from the Nigerian state. The world would however be happier that the country takes a better notice of the value of history to nations and not continue to put value on the long celebrated selective sense of chronic amnesia and the devaluation of victims of violence through the present attitude of merely commiserating with families of victims and moving on to another tragedy