My article with the above title was well-received by my readers, who sent me scores of email, text, and Facebook messages. I reproduce below a sample of the messages.
The generosity shown to you by John Baker Brown and his family epitomizes the universal beauty of African culture. It is, however, very unfortunate that many Africans today talk about religion, region and ethnic affinities when all that should really matter is love and mutual coexistence. Prof, at what point did we start getting it wrong? Is there hope for Africa? What we see today is racial, ethnic, religious and political divisions hovering over the once peaceful continent. Thank you for showing appreciation to John Baker Brown and his family. That is also a mark of a true African. Greetings to our friends and brothers in Atlanta. It is a note from Nigeria!
Emmanuel Nathan Oguche, Abuja
What a moving tribute! The Browns are really a wonderful people in faraway Atlanta. Looking back home, we’re not even willing to tolerate each other. Family ties no longer exist. All we leave in now is suspicion. As I read your article, I kept praying for the Browns for their magnanimous life style! We wish your friendship long live! You re also a true representative of your origins!
Hauwa J. Ibrahim, Abuja
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I just read your recent article about the Browns. It reminds me of the Dunaways who lived in Okuta. Great people!
Mohammed Dahiru Aminu, Lagos
Great piece. Help me tell the Browns that someone from Maiduguri appreciates them.
Abdulrahman Muhammad, Maiduguri
Your article has gone a long way in reaffirming the fact that there lies a superior quality in African heritage. Hospitality is the mother of love, kindness, care, etc. We are here proud of the Browns. Tell them that we are happy to know how careful they are in keeping to their true African identity. A big salutation to you, Farooq, for sharing with your teaming readers the experience you had with the Browns. And may your daughter continue to find home in them.
Abdullahi Abubakar, Kano
Farooq, quite frankly I did enjoy reading this note. Long live friendship and the ability to respect, tolerate, and appreciate others.
Basil Ugochukwu, Canada
I just read your weekly piece in Weekly Trust. To say d least, I was touched because I appreciate kindness and friendship irrespective of one’s religion or background and am glad you found this in family. It shows you’re not a bad person yourself. Keep up the good work.
The Browns really deserve the tribute you gave to them in your write-up today. My regards to them.
Moutar Kofa, Kano
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I have been very much touched by the Browns' gesture towards you. I am not surprised in the least as a very humble, nice and good-natured person like you will always find people that will recognize these qualities and reciprocate same. Please give my best regards and respect and a thank you on your behalf to the Brown's.
I have a good friend here in Kaduna whose Mother is African-American from Philadelphia who has one of the best private primary and secondary schools in Kaduna. Her name is Mrs. Mohammed and she is married to a retired Army General by the name of Gen. Garba Mohammed who is from Lere in Kaduna State. As far as I know, they have been husband and wife for almost 40 years and Mrs. Mohammed has been operating her school since 1982.
She has contributed a lot in philanthropic activities in and around the state.
Best regards, Farooq. Keep up the good work. We are mightily proud of you.
Abdulaziz Mahuta, Katsina
Your article on Black Americans in Nigeria wasn’t bad. Maybe you should write a book to inspire Black Americans to come to Nigeria, but if they decide to come in hordes, who would protect them? The other reason why they don’t come, and this is the best reason I can think of, it is the same reason why Nigerians always want to go abroad. Besides they can’t adapt to our life here. When I was a History student, I’d always been intrigued by African Americans and the Black race. Two questions bothered me: one was why the black race had no civilization of its own. Then I wondered if we have a gene which prevents us from attaining great feats, but after reading your piece, it now seems we can expect a miracle in the near future, thanks to people like you who are trying to restore the image of our race.
Fantastic article Farooq, but I must say it is one sided. Black Americans are typically Americans and Americans are not interested in anything but America, at least most Americans. The imagery of Africa in the Western media has also made Africa unattractive for tourism. Nigeria and Nigerians have been portrayed in a very bad light in the West and these are also factors that are responsible for the disconnection between black Americans and Nigeria. The others you have already mentioned.
George Omonya Daniel, Abuja