Asking The Right Questions | Tolu Daniel 

It seems these days, that terrorism has adopted a new name. It has taken up a new identity and it is wielding a power we never knew it had in the first place.

Yesterday, around the afternoon while the sun was reclaiming the space the rain had taken up in the early hours of the day, I stumbled upon a video of the Nigerian National team and their struggle to win the 1996 Olympic football gold medal. The video went beyond telling the story of the Triumph to explaining the level of patriotism which led the boys–now men—to give their all to achieving something they believed could unify the broken country as at the time.

It was funny seeing that video,  because beyond what I saw with regards to the Olympic team, I was hit with a feeling of when even I was more patriotic than I currently am, when I believed that things would work out even though evidences to the contrary were more than we could handle. The video even reminded me that I wasn’t a young man any longer.

So I spent most of yesterday contemplating this. As darkness overtook the light of the day, a friend called and shared news of a fellow writer who had been kidnapped on account of his activism on LGBTQ. This news shook me for the simple reason of the fact that the individual in question had been writing Facebook posts about how he had been receiving death threats since he got in the face of the public as an activist following the publication of one of his essays on a popular blog which people like me took no notice to.

On the same night, while we were about planning our sleep, after seeing Real Madrid out-class an overhyped Juventus team in the final of the European Champions League, news of terror activities went viral across. social media. At first it was a troubling report of an explosion in Turin and then it moved to London. And in two different spots in London, men who claimed they were acting on behalf of a god, began committing acts which the world have now come to acknowledge as acts of terror.

These events may not be synonymous with each other in the real sense but what they have done and what they are doing is that they are helping people make a choice. They are shaping our opinion about government’s ability or inability to protect us. I have no doubt that the young writer who was captured would be feeling helpless right now for the simple reason that his country does not care about him. He at best, is a criminal under the Nigerian law for his insistence at supporting and preaching against a law of the state. While those who were attacked in London could possibly have confidence in their governments’ ability to protect them,  but cannot be certain that such events won’t happen again any time soon.

So by many standards, yesterday was a terrible day.  And it is important that we acknowledge how terrible it was, so we can move on. From the case of the abducted writer who I hope regains his freedom in one piece, to the acts committed by the so-called radicalised Islamists, I can’t pretend that I am not afraid for the future of the world. I can’t pretend that I am not scared about the levels some humans are willing to go in defense of senseless ideologies.

Last night, I posed a question on my twitter account (@iamToluDaniel), and today I will ask the same question again,  why can’t we allow people be whatever they want to be. Why does a way of life of a particular group of people bother another so much to lead them to cause pain and suffering on those people and anyone who sympathizes with them.

Another friend called and asked why I was wasting my strength being bothered about something I may not have the ability to change. I am taken aback by his statement. It reminded me of a short course I did in history where the lecturer mentioned how terrorism had metamorphosed through the centuries to its present form and how he likened colonialism and Globalization as different forms of terrorism in whatever ways we choose to think about them. This assertion also lends credence to an opinion my dad once discussed with me, about how the concept of terrorism as known to us now could also be likened to reactionism. When a people who had been so oppressed over the years, silently wait for their own chance to pay back the evils done on them.

On such backdrops, one is tempted to take a seat and watch everything play out. However no matter how hard you try, how does one justify the issuing of a decree of death on a writer for writing opinions which may be at best fictional or abduct same person because he sympathizes with a community you have no love for.


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