So as you might have all heard, the world's famous romantic city recently underwent a terrorist attack. Also, some other cities around the world experienced this too. If you find yourself struggling to name these other cities, you are not alone. And this right here is why we pray for Paris and not a bunch of other cities most of us can't even spot on a map. A lot of Nigerians have been coming out swinging over the Western media's bias towards Western states. Like seriously? Would you expect the WESTERN media to be doing anything other than protecting & promoting WESTERN interests? And while we are at it, let us call a spade a spade. News is presented and promoted based on reception and relevance. Media houses are in the business of selling to people what people really want to hear or crave for because they need the ratings to attract advert revenues; they have salaries to pay & overheads to maintain too.
Magdalene McCann nearly held the British media to a standstill, but it took the same media a few days to report the Chibok girls; bad right? Not as bad as the Nigerian government officials, as well as our local media people, who are still not able to give us a number to go by when we think of how many Chibok girls are missing or a trusted list of photographs (say, from their WAEC/school forms/records) to identify them with. Let's not even mention how poorly covered the whole thing was with the media being unable to get us in-depth video footage. Prior to that, Boko Haram had killed a sizeable number of boys in a boarding school up north and Nigerians barely blinked. And somehow, we really think the rest of the world cares about problems in third world countries? We can't even carry our own news, and yet we want to take to arms about unfair representation on the world stage.
Let us start from the basics. Nigerians can't even hold their leaders accountable for corruption. In fact, a Nigerian politician is more likely to be jailed abroad than to be jailed in Nigeria. Then what about our intellectuals? If Chimamanda didn't get foreign recognition and a sample on Beyonce's album, please tell me if she wouldn't be just another Igbo girl writing books. Wole Soyinka's work on absurdist literature will compete with anything Albert Camus had to write, but the typical Nigerian knows him as a Nobel Prize winner and couldn't even tell you why he won or what absurdist literature is about.
The point I am trying to make is that Nigerians and most developing countries have a habit of valuing whatever the West declares is worth some value; then we turn around to complain when they fail to value us. Like they are supposed to give value to people who never even value themselves. For the most part, people in the East and South of Nigeria view Boko Haram as a 'northern thing' and will gladly carry on with life as usual as far as they are assured it will not spill into their states. And yet, somehow, we want the West to report our case like they reported that of Paris...really?
And lately I have been wondering, why is it that the rest of the world is always bitching about how badly the West is treating us? Has anyone ever noticed that countries like Japan that have their affairs together never have to complain about any of this? Qatar built Al-Jazeera because they wanted to control their own narrative, so yes, if you want a voice, speak for yourself. Oh, and while I'm on this path of political incorrectness, let me also add that I felt more touched about the Paris attack than about other places. That is because whether I am French or not, I identify more with Paris than I do with Katsina. I can tell you more about France than the north of Nigeria and I have never been to either.
Just because I am a citizen of Nigeria doesn't mean I have to pretend that it is so amazing here and I am the most patriotic guy alive. And guess what? Most Nigerians are no different. Apathy is the number one attitude towards matters of state and culture here, so please let us not fool ourselves with childish sentiments because we feel the need to make a point. I used to say to my Muslim friends who complained about the West when I was in UK: 'well if you feel so badly about how you are being treated here, there are over a dozen predominantly Muslim states you can move to.'
As a writer, I have penned countless articles about our culture and social structure, but guess what? Hardly anyone cares. But just try an article with sex and relationships and the comment section will run deep with contributions. In the words of Chinua Achebe, until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. If you want to be represented in history, in the times, pick up your pen and stop waiting for CNN to do it for you. They have their own agenda to attend to.
Please let us not pretend to be something we are not. There is no solidarity here. There can be none where we live without, even a unifying culture.
William Ifeanyi Moore