What do Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria presently share in common?
A temporary ban on its nationals from entering the United States of America.
And for what reason? Best known to the United States' government and its people. But it is not my place to dictate to the people and government of a sovereign country. Instead, I intend to point out some issues that might be in the interest of the African people and their governments.
Inasmuch as I listen to the voice of my heart, I have a way of simplifying issues to their barest forms. That way, things make more sense. Common sense. Hence, I save myself too much mental exertions that often arise from wild and high-sounding speculations that only weary the senses.
So, let us take a look at this entry ban as it concerns us, Africans.
Let us imagine that we are back in time, when we lived in hamlets and small clans, and there were yet no district officers or some official of some colonial government demanding payments of taxes and levies. Alright. So, here comes this stranger from some distant lands across two mountains, four rivers and eight hills. And he says to you: "Abandon your lands, livestock and fields. Come over to my land. Mine is too vast a land, fertile and close to rivers, but there are few hands to work it. If you come and dwell in my land, I will give you a fraction of the much land you till and the livestock you shall work to own."
What would you think of this stranger? I bet you will think him mad, accursed by Ngai or Urashi or Amadioha or any god you worship and swear by. And what would you think of a brother who heeds this stranger's words? Foolish, I believe. Let us imagine you were the foolish one, and you take the stranger's offer. And many many years afterwards, the stranger and his people want every piece of their lands to themselves. I guess the prospect of returning to your forgotten lands and people will turn your stomach sour.
Perhaps at some point somebody sold to Africans the idea that America, a foreign and sovereign land, could belong to every other citizen of the world. And Africans scuttled about to gain passage into a percieved El Dorado - or do I say, Timbuktu?
... A country does not sprout from the earth; there are people who own it...
Oliver D'Coque, an Igbo highlife musician once sang, "... Obodo anaghi epu ka ugbogiri; a n'enwe obodo enwe...". Translated, it reads, "... A country does not sprout from the earth; there are people who own it..." What wisdom. Common sense. A country which is said to belong to every Dick, Tom and Harry from any end of the inhabited earth is actually no country. It is instead, one massive circus of experimental designs.
They told Africans that they could become Americans, and then Africans became hopeless. They abandoned every effort at nation building in their haste to enjoy the goodies that litter the streets of the United States. The American Dream proved too irresistible a hope to live for. Africans became indolent, lazy, stupid, pitiable and very content with wearing hoodies, paying mortgages on houses, eating pizzas, showing off their dark skins bitten to lightness by winter colds, and brandishing picked accents which happens not to belong either 'here' or 'there'. A piece of document authenticated their stay and 'acceptance' into America. Did they forget that in Roman times, a slave is issued a piece of parchment validating his 'freedom' and residence within the empire?
They told Africans that they could become Americans, and African leaders turned into birds of carrion; plundering their lands which they are meant to till, and buying with the loots, comforts in America - and of course, Europe, Dubai, and all other safe havens for the African political bucaneer - for their children, even yet unborn.
And what about the African intellectuals?
And what about the African intellectuals? Wearied by the incompetence of their leaders, they leave for the United States of America with a sigh. I'm not referring to those other intellectuals who, hungry for validation, scamper to the United States. These ones are hollow, and are quick to hop into the bandwagon of the most bizarre ideology, and simply for validation and cheap recognition
What about those who rush to give birth in American hospitals? And we have left our education systems to go to rot because we want American education for our children who, more often than not, are sure to become totally lost to Africa or return with very unconventional inclinations.
I'm not leaving out those Africans who for generations are still struggling to gain proper integration into the American fabric. But now and then, the reality of their futile efforts stare them back in the face. And what do they do? Overwhelmed, they shrug and say, "we've gotta move on." And 'moving on' they do, but in a direction I leave to you to fathom.
Only a thief hopes for a claim to other people's portion.
Your land is yours and your children's. Only a thief hopes for a claim to other people's portion. Till your lands, mend your fences and barns, and when your gods bless your harvests, you can invite neighbours to a bountiful feast, and thereby buy for yourselves true friends and worthy allies.
About the author:
Ikenna Chinedu Okeh is a writer based in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. He writes crime fiction and poetry that mirror elements of the contemporary Nigerian society. You can find his novels and anthologies on Amazon, Smashwords or your favorite ebook stores