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-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians to the 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, the so-called “spiritual leaders”.
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 two young men of Nigerian origin murdered Drummer Lee Rigby, a 25-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 the New York and London bombings, respectively. These days you detect it when boarding planes across the world. Being in London where many races live side by side it is, however, not common to feel uneasy. This amazing city has more tolerance than most. But let us talk of something else.
First the important thing: the psyche.
The 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 heroine) 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, suspicion 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 Shabaab, 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.
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 been 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 YouTube:
“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 been able to contribute its knowledge to the world. But we have knowledge in Africa!”