Have you had enough of 2020 yet? It’s been back to back to back of challenges, uprisings, pandemic, loss, disbelief, injustice, sorrow, pain. So many things have been exposed and unearthed in just this year alone. In all this there is an underlying theme. Our world, society, communities, and a considerable number of individuals living in them, are abusive and dysfunctional. That in itself is a pandemic that we should all be very concerned about. Now is the time to speak out.
It’s a lot. No, scrap that. It’s beyond a lot, and is overwhelming, disgusting and heartbreaking. Where do I start? I mean really, where do I start? Okay, let’s look at the tale of two countries as a case study.
A tale of two countries – Nigeria
The #endsars protests in Nigeria which has been going on for years, but reached an impressive shift in terms of buy in from citizens, backing and recognition globally, have shown the bravery of the youth and all peaceful protesters. It so shook the structure of bad governance, corruption, police brutality and oppression, such that the powers that be in the country, on the 20th of October, shot down unarmed peaceful protesters (holding on to nothing but the Nigerian flag) at Lekki Toll gate. As if that wasn’t mind-blowingly despicable enough, Nigerian leaders, governors and the Nigerian president Buhari, proceeded to try to gaslight Nigerians and the whole world on the heinous crimes they committed. From pretending like it never happened, to not getting their stories right on how and why it happened, plus whether or not there were casualties, the farce of their attempts was insulting to every sane Nigerian. I could barely verbalise my thoughts up to a week later and I don’t even reside in Nigeria. The tears are still flowing for every parent, sibling, family member, friend, of any victim of Nigerian SARS both over the years, and from the endsars protest, and from every genuinely concerned Nigerian citizen who is fighting with voice and actions for a better Nigeria. The one those of us who are over 40 years of age know is possible because we caught glimpses of it in our early childhood. The one that our children, and majority of Generation Z have never had the chance to experience. To read more about the #endsarsprotests here is an article and a video.
As the supporters and enablers of what is clearly bad, corrupt, abusive and oppressive governance continue to attempt to make excuse for, and gaslight Nigerian citizens and the world on the depths of their depravity, we watch. Those that are asleep to the lies are still asleep. However it is encouraging that rising is the number of those who are waking up to the horrors of the crooked systems put in place to forever keep them oppressed. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the powers that be, to buy everyone off with token gestures and future faking, when decades go by, and things have not even gotten marginally better, but catastrophically worse.
A tale of two countries – America
America is a country deeply divided. The seeds of division (racism, capitalism vs socialism, division along lines of religious beliefs etc.) have always been there, but over the past 4 years particularly these divisions had the added complication of blurriness of morality and decency to also contend with. President Trump rose up in power, and gave air and space for deep rooted insecurities, particularly those founded on immoral, unjust and undesirable idealogies which had earlier receded to the fringes (because they were increasingly largely regarded by civil society as such) to come out to play and wreak havoc.
For 4 years he pulled down socially accepted norms, ideological constructs and systematic structures. If others had dared to do so (if Obama had done even one hundredth of what Trump has done), they would have been proverbially “shot down in flames”. However with him, he was afforded excuses upon excuses, and his vile words and actions translated by his followers to convince everyone that they didn’t mean what they clearly did.
So, let’s put all that aside. This is not about recounting all of ways in which Donald Trump is an absolutely vile human being – there’s just not enough time plus it’s emotionally draining. The election has happened and it’s over. Despite every attempt by him to sabotage free and fair elections (pronouncing it would be rigged before it even started, putting in place a corrupt Post Master General who was actively working to dismantle the process and systems for constitutionally allowed mail in ballots, setting up unjust legal structures actively implementing voter suppression, pathologically lying about EVERYTHING to sow seeds of confusion, discord, hatred to undermine democratic processes etc.) he lost fair and square. Yet, this 74 year old, whining, sore loser, narcissistic individual will not do the right thing and concede. Many Americans who voted for him and are still today supporting him, have sold their souls to work against one of the bedrocks of America as a world leader – democracy, just to align themselves with him. How fragile must one’s ego be that they just cannot accept reality? That he needs his enablers to bend themselves into pretzels to lie to and for him, spreading stupid and unfounded conspiracy theories about voter fraud, to prop up the delusional thinking that he won, when the whole world knows he lost, and “bigly” too. What is normal about an individual who has held the highest office of the land (almost single handedly destroying it) having to be placated like you would a toddler with a pacifier in their mouth? It is such a shame and an embarrassment that will take years for America to recover from. In the words of my Yoruba friends, Trump to put it mildly, is an “Agbaya”.
Now is the time – to speak
So with all this said, what’s my point? It’s now like a broken record that I have been saying, writing and “singing” for some time now, especially in the past year. “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing” – John Stuart Mill. It doesn’t matter what country, and with just these two highlighted, it is clear that this quote is applicable, and connects the chaos going on in them right now. If anything the events of this year have done a lot to uncover and show people who the bad men (and women) are. It is not just President Buhari, President Trump, or every other corrupt leader in countries across the world. It is also the die hard enablers like Vice President Osibanjo, Governor Sanwo-Olu, the senators, ministers, governors and politicians in Nigeria. It is Vice President Pence, the Republican Party leaders, senators, governors (save for a handful), Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Fox News, Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration. It is also false religious leaders, white evangelical movement and prosperity preachers, who have used their pulpit to siphon money from their congregation, used and twisted God’s name, His principles and heart to deceive and manipulate others. They have done this whilst supporting corrupt political and corporate leaders plus domestic abusers through their twisted teachings, inactions or just turning a blind eye to clear injustices. It is also abusers, toxic individuals and narcissists in big corporations who place more value on stock market growth than human lives, and those who oppress their spouses and children behind closed doors. We know and see you. It is people like these that further enable individuals like Trump and Buhari to commit the atrocities they commit. May you all reap all you have sown, especially if you continue on the destructive paths you are on.
This call is for every freedom fighter, everyone who loves and respects human dignity, fairness, equity, justice, has had enough of the dysfunction, and is willing to stand to uphold moral principles. Thankfully such courageous individuals like Aisha Yesufu, DJ Switch, Falz, Tamika Mallory and so many incredible others, are rising up in amazing powerful ways and are doing so for the fight against racism, police brutality, bad governance, domestic, sexual, child abuse and many other great causes where the vulnerable are too scared or beaten down to speak for themselves. We must join and support them to amplify the work they’re doing. It is also incredibly encouraging to see that in many cases, women are at the forefront of the fight for an end to dysfunctions that are killing our societies.
This is the year of “Soro Soke” which in Yoruba means Speak Louder. We need more of these voices to match and drown out the voices and lies of the bad men and women who come out loud, bullish, with grains of truth wrapped in a bucket full of lies designed to intimidate, push back and overpower the righteous. If there was ever a time to speak up and speak out it is now. Where that opportunity to speak out exists and instead there is silence, that is complicity, and that how the bad men and women win. They can, and will be as low, dirty, scheming, manipulative as ever, but we go high when we repeatedly, courageously call out wrong as wrong, and refuse to give them and it space to hide, instead calling and demanding that they be held to account.
I am so here for it, and think I’m way past “enough is enough”. How about you? If you can speak, speak. If you can write, write. If you can sing, sing. If you can dance, dance. If you can act, act. If you can march, march. If you can support, support. History, generations to come, and divinity (if you believe in a higher power or faith) will not look kindly on those who could have done something, but did nothing.
I come in peace, and have said my piece.