I Am Not Charlie. Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.
On January 3, 2015, Boko Haram men went to the city of Baga and killed up to an estimated 2,000 people, mostly civilians. They ravaged the town, burning down buildings and leaving the largest body count they have yet. This is their deadliest act in their reign of terror in Northern Nigeria, and 30,000 people have been displaced because of this attack, trying to find safety. Some swam to nearby Chad, and many died on the way there.
It took at least 5 days after it happened for us to find out about it. And 8 days later, it is still not headline news in the United States.
Last Wednesday, two men ran into the Paris office of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 people on their staff and 2 policemen. In other attacks, 5 more people were killed, leaving 17 people dead in France at the hands of extremists who wreaked havoc in the name of Islam.
Since last week, people have been saying #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) to stand with French people and to condemn the attacks. 40 world leaders went to Paris and marched yesterday.
Well, I cannot join them to say “Je suis Charlie.” I got on Twitter to say why. If it doesn’t show below, read “I Am Not Charlie” on Storify.
Oh and while I’m here. I’ve seen people post pics of burned bodies on their Facebook pages to get our attention about what happened in Nigeria (and whether or not they are of the people from Baga has been unconfirmed). I get it but I won’t be doing that and I ask people to pause before doing that too. Why? Because the images that people tie to Africa are already of suffering and starvation and death and gloom.
Besides, why do people need to present proof of bodies charred to elicit emotion about the death of African people? Because we’re all so accustomed to turning the other cheek that some feel like to get you to care, you need to be faced with their remains. And I’m not sure if it’s honoring their humanity or leaving us with a memory of these people as nothing but carcasses.
I don’t know. I just know that I have never been presented with a picture of Europeans burned in my feeds, or with their heads blown off. But I’ve seen far too many of my skinfolk, lifeless, floating around. We don’t get treated with care.
#IAmNigeria #NaijaNiMi #AbuMOnyeNaija #NiNeNaija