"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 01/17/11

Monday, January 17, 2011

Re: Jos bombings: Can we for once be truthful?

It is impossible to publish the nearly 100 emails I’ve received in response to the above article. But what follows is representative of the spectrum of opinions expressed in the emails.

A very wonderful write-up you did last Saturday in Weekly Trust. You spoke exactly my mind, and many others' I believe. More grease to your elbows.

Saleh Yakubu (salehyakubu@yahoo.com)

I agree with your postulations about “ignorant, hate-filled, and hidebound religious literalists” but not with your belief in the contents of a website proven to have been created only days after the blasts and contained no other postings apart from that claiming responsibility. It is a hoax, believe me, aimed at sliming Islam. Have a wonderful Gregorian year.

Yakubu Mohammed (yaksayaks@yahoo.com)

I read your column titled: “Jos: Can We for Once Be Truthful?” The message advocates peace and tolerance. It emphasizes on why we as Nigerians need to see tolerance as the best solution to our religion and ethnic diversities. The two faiths—Islam and Christianity— need to see one another as serving one common God (your Qur'anic references are evidence of that). If every Nigerian believes this, no more killings.

Semiu Kunle (semocapex@yahoo.com)

I spent most of the day mulling the idea of writing about the situation in Jos. After reading your commentary, I decided my article would no longer be necessary. Thank you for your forthrightness. I sorely miss Lamido Sanusi because his voice of reason and his usual powerful argumentation would have greatly contributed to the dialog. Unfortunately those of us who long for a rational dialog would have to do without him for now. The patented failure of leadership as you stated will sadly lead to an avoidable escalation of this situation. To date, no one has been forced to resign because of repeated failure to protect the innocent. No premeditated attack has been botched even though it takes logistics, planning and training to execute these attacks. The rising militancy is going to consume us all.

 The moment for truth telling is now but we lack leaders. I am a Christian born and raised in Kano. My first language of instruction was Arabic. I learned to call prayers in Arabic and do the ablution, etc. My teachers knew I was a Christian, the son of a Christian and they respected my family and accorded us every respect and courtesy of “people of the book.” My heart breaks for our nation and breaks even more for the lack of leadership. Thank you for adding your voice. I will go to sleep tonight feeling a little light hearted because I have discovered a like minded voice of reason on "the other side" of the religious divide in the mold of Lamido. Thank you very much. May the Almighty continue to bless you and protect you.

Emmanuel L. (sheekmat@gmail.com).

Mal. Farooq I read your article on Jos bombings from your weekly column in the Weekly Trust of 1/01/2011. As you have rightly  said, you speak the minds of millions of us Muslims who abhor the ideology of hate but who do not have the guts to come out openly to denounce what sects like Boko Haram are doing.

I live in Maiduguri and could you believe we do not even mention the name Boko Haram even amongst us the family members, let alone openly criticize or denounce what they are doing for the fear of being their next target of annihilation? This is because in Maiduguri, every family member is weary of the other member who might be a sympathizer or actual member of the sect because you would not know. Since after their clash with the security agents in Maiduguri in July, 2010, they went underground and do not exhibit their known identity and trade mark of wearing black turban on the head, just below the knee trouser and waist coat. Except for those who were known to one earlier, probably living in the same area, one may no longer identify them when they relocate to other parts of the town. That way they were able to strike in different parts of Maiduguri and thus instilling fear in the minds of all Maiduguri residents.

I personally believe the major culprit to blame is corruption. It is corruption that has prevented our young able-bodied youths not to have qualitative education to discern what is right from wrong. I know some lads in our area who were caught when they first came out as Talibans and bombed some police stations in both Borno and Yobe states. All of them were virtually half baked graduates actually having confused minds.

Therefore, to me, let’s fight corruption in all its ramifications and all other things will fall in their correct places.

Mohammed Kodomi (kodomig@yahoo.com)

I read your article and I said "WOW! A northerner!!!!” Sir, I am a northern Christian and sometimes I get confused. During 9/11 I was at the Law School. I decided to get more in touch with my northern roots (I studied at UNN) by befriending lots of my brothers form ABU, BUK and UDUS. My brother, it was a rude shock—the views some of my so-called brothers expressed with regards to 9/11.

My study at UNN also had me worried due to the fact that to most of the people I met said I was a Northerner. Some insisted on calling me Hajiya (despite my Christian name). I was confronted once by a class mate (shortly after the Miss World crisis in Kaduna). He said, “You are enjoying yourself here when your brothers are killing our people in the North.” Sir, I had the chills!!!.
Most of the people (Muslims and Christians alike) in government and elsewhere like to play the ostrich. They blame it on politics. Even back then amongst Christians in my state, they blamed IBB, then Atiku (when he was VP).

God will bless you for speaking out. He will protect you too. I will start to pray for you from today. We need people like you in the north and Nigeria who say it as it is.

Tina Hanis (pwadifeino@yahoo.com)

I am Nigerian Muslim, a graduate of English with interest in literary criticism, critical method, and social linguistics. But, please, don’t expect a good command of English like yours, I am sorry. After reading your article on that senseless bombing in Jos, I automatically became your fan. Just like you, I learnt how to read and write in Arabic at the age of 8 in Kano. I’ve spent all my life learning religious scriptures. It’s very disappointing how we’ve left our religion in the hands of some shallow-minded scholars whose knowledge of the Book is nothing beyond the words on the paper. I can still remember how they always mobilised youths in Kano during the IBB/ABACHA eras, depicting Islam as a religion of blood and thunder, elevating their distorted Jihad beyond the five pillars of Islam. It is sad that now most of them have political appointments in the state. They dump the bunch of illiterates they’ve trained for others to exploit. Listen to their sermons. It’s the usual “Qatilul mushrikuna kaffah.”

Muktar Ahmad (muktariy@yahoo.com)

Related Article:

Reader responses to WikiLeaks and university vernacular articles

I have again chosen to share with my readers a sample of the responses I received on my last two articles on this column. My response to some of the responses are indicated in italics, that is, if what appears in print is faithful to the original. I am withholding the responses I received from last week’s article, which came in torrents, for a later time. Happy reading.

Salam. Just finished reading your article. I do agree with you that if Assange were anything other than what he is, America would have been at war with his country. Allah kyauta. I wonder what pleasure they drive in killing people. It’s such an unfair world.

I really love and appreciate your post on white privilege. It’s quite revealing and true. Thank you.

Abdulnasir Imam (lostdogg84@yahoo.com)
My commendations to you for hitting the nail on the head. Double (or even better still, multiple) face is a feature of the West that needs to be denounced at every opportunity; having several codes for dealing with different classes of people and nations. A just society calls a spade a spade no matter whose interest is at stake. May we be strengthened to uphold truth and justice always.

Ridwan Coker, Lagos

Hope you had a splendid weekend. I enjoyed reading your piece on the comparison of the vernaculars of American and British universities. At the same time, this piece tickled my imagination on the deep reverence for the teaching profession in American universities. But some of the revelations I found in this article are quite disturbing. Prior to this time, I’d believed that a teacher (if I may use the generic term for all category of those who impart knowledge to others) is a king in the American academe.

But to find out that some category of teachers, or 'lecturers' to be precise, are held in contempt by those who are supposed to accord respect to all category of teachers for others to emulate really portends a great danger for most of the developing nations like Nigeria who see America as a role model, a point of reference, and a vanguard of educational advancement in the contemporary world. This is real conundrum for us here and a bad omen for all societies that trivialise education at all levels.

Farooq, you will agree with me that a teacher in Nigeria, for instance, is seen as a second class citizens (even among the educated ones) rather than first class citizens and therefore relegating a category of teachers, particularly lecturers in the American academe, will further exacerbate the status of the teaching profession in most of the developing countries who see anything American as worth emulating.
I hope that the American legislators cum elites, the vast majority of whom were once either 'lecturers', 'associate professors' or 'full professors,' will work assiduously to reverse this ugly trend and accord all category of teachers, whether ' lecturers', 'adjunct professors' or 'tenure-track' full professors, the full respect they deserve. Otherwise the refusal will scuttle our quest for revamping the once vibrant educational sector in our dear country.

As a matter of urgency, I will call on our politicians who are seeking to be voted into high office in the 2011 general elections to come up with a condensed master plan that will restore the dignity of education at all levels and put Nigeria on a high pedestal of economic development using quality education as a stepping stone.

Tijjani Abubakar

My response

It's the politics of the American academia. Every place or profession has its politics. American politicians, especially of the conservative bent, think American university professors are overpaid and over-pampered. There have been several attempts to do away with the whole concept of tenure so that the distinction between adjuncts, lecturers, and tenured or tenure-track professors will disappear. But American university teachers have so far successfully resisted this. Having said that, I perfectly understand where you are coming from.

Your article comparing the vernaculars of American and British universities is an interesting reading. Waiting for the next one.


Well done Farooq. Just finished reading the vernaculars stuff. Very well written. Learnt a lot, and cleared some of my curiosities.

Dr. Usman Tar, Assistant Professor, University of Kurdistan-Hawler, Iraq (usmantar@hotmail.com)

I was also thinking the title "Dr." applies to all faculties with PhD degree in the American system while names like "Professor", "Associate Professor" and "Assistant Professor" are various faculty positions. This is completely different from Nigeria-British English language where "Prof." "Assoc Prof." and "Dr." are more of titles than positions. I remember when my HOD was newly promoted to Professor, he often got infuriated whenever someone addressed him as "Dr." Can you shed more light on this please?

Salihu Girei (asgirei@yahoo.com)

My response

I will respond to your question in a sequel to this column. I actually intended to address it in this series but decided to let it slide because of space considerations.

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