19 Years Later
I thought about writing about Democracy day but I was fatigued by the thought of where do I start from. I honestly didn’t feel there was much to celebrate. The major reason is that we have not fully grasped the concept of Democracy; at least not as defined by the Greeks (the simple version): “rule of the people, by the people, for the people” Can we honestly say that this is what obtains; especially the part that says the rule is “for the people”?
And the characteristics: Legal equality, political freedom and rule of law? Which ones can we say we have developed and strengthened after 19years? I guess the argument will be that 19 years in human years is a teenager approaching adulthood and so it is still too early to expect that degree of sophistication. Ok. We will hear the same in October as Nigeria turns 57 even though in human years, this is an adult who is approaching grandparenthood and menopause!
The truth is that despite all the best efforts of this government, there is a problem; so much motion and so little traction. Then again, Nigerians are impatient optimists and did expect all the promises made at campaign time to come true in three years. The next truth is that we too are part of the problem.
Anyway, the simple point is that we might need to go back and define what democracy means to us. This will solve a myriad of problems. It could look like this:
1. Expectations kill, so we stop expecting anything. The next time campaign promises are made, we will merely acknowledge them, smile for the cameras and go with hope; maybe next time.
2. The constituency of Social media activists, ranters, wailers, gloaters and the like will have to be formally adopted as an arm of government. This is a powerful constituency; if only they have access to real power. There will be no need for elections here.
3. We will understand that elections are like a rite of passage for the next government.
However, if all the above doesn’t sit well with us, then we must be ready to make all manner of sacrifices to get what we want and that’s the hard part; making the sacrifice.
1. We will understand that in our democracy, all politics is local. We have come to the urban areas and have forgotten our origins. We’ve left them behind. However, all year round, they are ‘good investment’ for the politicians. We go back when we want to get married, get a chieftaincy title, go for long holidays and Christmas and when we want to bury the dead.
2. We will understand that to get to our ‘Uhuru!’ we must all participate. If you can’t Run for elective office; Vote. If you can’t or won’t vote; Support financially. Or dilute the pond; Join a party. This must be our collective effort: PARTICIPATE=VOTE. RUN. SUPPORT. JOIN
All is not knocks, at least we are now seeking answers.
3. We will have to move from stomach-infrastructure based politics to ideology based politics. This is the crucial sacrifice we need to make.
We are better than this, we just need to retrace our steps.
Sigh, HAPPY DEMOCRACY DAY (to come)
Weird Practices Around The World
It is not always politics we should be discussing. So this week, I decided we should learn about one man’s meat that is another man’s poison by going around the world and learning about some strange practices. Some are cringe worthy but I guess that’s part of the uniqueness and diversity of the world.
The Woodaabe tribe can steal women to be their wives.
Imagine your wife or female member of the family just stolen from literally nowhere? The Woodabe people are from the Fulani group who are mainly from West Africa. They usually have a festival where the members dance till late into the night and then the men of the tribe are allowed to steal women from the tribe. As long as they manage to steal a woman whether married or not, the new union is viewed as marriage unless the woman refuses. (glad to see some female say-so here!)
A tribe in Uganda, the aunt had sex with the groom to know his potency.
May sound disturbing but it is culture. The aunt to the girl getting married has to sleep with the groom to test his potency or can give away her daughter. On top of all that, the aunt is also required to test the bride’s virginity as well. The other option would be to listen to the noises while the couple has sexual intercourse between the groom and niece to prove that he is potent. (the challenge here is what if the ‘aunty’ enjoys her duty way too much?!)
Ethiopian guys who have to run on bulls to prove their manhood.
Boys in this tribe have to prove their manhood by running and jumping and landing on the back of a whole bull. They have to be totally naked while doing this. Apart from that, their female friends have to have their bodies covered in red ochre and fats. The girl is then whooped so hard so she can prove that she is loyal. (with the world loudly encouraging boys/men to turn female, this culture will go extinct sooner than expected!)
We aren’t the only ones left out in the weirdo section:
Don’t show up on time in Venezuela
Looks like Venezuelans are just like Indians! Reaching on time is considered rude in Venezuela and it is recommended to reach at least 15 minutes later than the scheduled time. Guests who reach on time are looked down upon as being too eager and greedy. Well, Venezuelans should take some cue from Indians! (I’m confused, this sounds like another set of people I know!)
Blackening the bride in Scotland
Having some fun before the wedding is great, but this pre-wedding ritual in Scotland doesn’t seem like a lot of fun for the bride. The custom involves throwing eggs, spoilt milk and, basically, all things disgusting at her. The ‘blackened bride’ is then taken around the town. The custom is a metaphor for the tough life that the bride might have to go through after the wedding. The tradition prepares her for the new chapter as after going through this, all marital problems will look tiny! (Thankfully, this is not how we find out about the new chapter called marital problems; after all that money spent!!)
Carrying pregnant wife over burning coal in China
In China, it is believed that if the husband carries his pregnant wife over burning coal with bare feet, the wife has an easy delivery. So, physical pain for the husband to ease out the wife’s labour? What kind of a tradition is this? (This is what equality looks like!)
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