Monday, 17 June 2013


For days now almost everyone has been talking about last week’s killing of a young British army guy at Woolwich, south east London. Most were shocked and appalled at the same time. Discussions about the whys and whatnots have been the theme.  Views range from blaming policies of the big nations Vis a Vis Israel and the Palestinians to presence of soldiers in Afghanistan, to religious extremism, ad infinitum...

And speaking of the elephant in the room, i.e. religious extremism…

Murdering in the name of sacred scriptures is always instigated by clever clerics and fanatics, so called “spiritual leaders.” According to press reports the recent four years attacks, were inspired by teachings of an American born Imam called Anwar Al-Awlaki, taken down by a CIA drone in Yemen two years ago.  Awlaki, influenced many youths by capitalizing on the good will (free service) of the internet.  No wonder governments are calling on Google and Yahoo to shut down “sick websites” which can easily be seen on You Tube and the like.
Of most significant things this “intelligent” fanatic did (apart from encouraging home made bombs) was launching – Inspire- an Al Qaeda magazine. The E-journal motivated would- be- assassins to launch attacks anywhere and “just do something” …which has seen major incidents like the Boston Marathon bomb attacks in April and the Woolwich ferocious stabbing.
And what is the outcome?
Whenever a terrifying terrorist attack occurs, suspicion and a mood of distrust and fear of immigrants are heightened.
 I had this feeling when I ventured into the Woolwich area a day after the two young men of Nigerian origin murdered Drummer Lee Rigby, twenty five year old father who had served in Afghanistan. While in the train I felt white people watching me more closely and cautiously than normal.  This sense of heightened distrust was high after 2001 and 2005- following New York and London bombings, respectively. These days you detect it when bordering any plane across the world. Being in London where many races live side by side it is however, not common to feel uneasy. The amazing city has more tolerance than most.  But let us talk of something else.
First the important thing: the psyche.
 Image of Michael Adebolajo, his bloody hands holding two equally bloodied knives and talking fanatically to the camera was a front page item in majority newspapers. Another image of a white mother (applauded as a hero) facing Adebolajo’s blade wielding associate, has turned iconic.  The woman and two other white mothers, fearlessly confronting Adebolajo were dubbed: “Angels of Woolwich.”
By calling the women, “angels”, it has a significant subliminal message.
These images of young black males having killed in broad daylight and justifying their actions because they were aware of ordinary citizens filming have a negative impact on the psyche of black people. For obvious reasons I have mentioned earlier, suspicious of non whites is boosted and enhanced; secondly, stereotypes of what young blacks are about these days continue to flourish like locusts in a Madagascar field.
Think of aggressive rap and gangster lyrics by some hip hop artists, think of black males continuously  portrayed as irresponsible fathers; think of the growing line of Africa’s terror groups, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Ansar Din…think. Think! But do you need to think that hard?
“Now we are being grouped alongside Arabs. This misuse of Islam is condemning us to the same fate,” is one comment I heard.
“Economics are bad. No job no money, and then these guys come with this?” Another comment.
Link those few opinions to recent racist attacks on immigrants in Greece and Sweden; to the capture of foreign whites in certain parts of Africa.
The picture that is emerging is the same historical line. Blacks are trouble, blacks are doom; blacks are trouble.
 One Caribbean musician said of the Woolwich killers:
“If you listen to these young guys, Mmmh… they are a lost case. They are talking a language that is not from the Caribbean or Africa. They have no roots. They were born in the UK; they have not being raised to embrace their culture. They worship stupid beliefs that say go and kill someone and then justify it. That is not someone who comes from a sane, sensible culture. These are uprooted individuals. And most of kids born out of Africa are like that these days. They are lacking direction.”
Lacking direction because of what?
Many years ago, the late Nigerian musician Fela Kuti said in an interview on a European TV which can be seen on You Tube:
 “In Africa we have our own modes of worship. When the African does not want to understand the reason why he was born, then he becomes a failure. So all the African leaders look up to Europe for progress. You see Africa has not being to contribute its knowledge to the world. But we have knowledge in Africa!”

Also published in Citizen Tanzania

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