It was a lazy Friday night. I have just finished listening to my favourite jazz artiste on YouTube. Then, bang came an idea. Ol boy, watch the Libyan enslavement and murders of Nigerian in the desert and comment on it. Most of the offerings on YouTube distilled the Manichean struggle between good and evil, justice and injustice, freedom and slavery. I was spellbound and held captive, or rather oscillated between anger and sadness. What is the reason behind the Maghrebian nation of Libya’s documented savagery and blatant Mediterranean racism on black Africans? Why this slippage into a mournfully morbid cyclone of insane wickedness….why…..why?????
Majority of the huddled mass of migrants trapped in the Libyan enclave of sadism were Nigerians. Young, beautiful and talented Nigerians. These are the wasted generations shaped by the unending corruption of their government: total neglect, evil democracy and the abdication of responsibilities of the Nigerian government to its vulnerable citizens.
The voice of democracy with its promise to be the government of the people, by the people and for the people has fallen silent. Democracy, which is supposed to make a difference in the life of average Nigerian, has turned these “Desert runners” into slaves, beggars and prostitutes.
In the desert of terror, all I saw was man’s capacity for savagery, brutality and evil. There was a relentless and horrific struggle to redefine racism and wickedness. Nigerian migrants were despised and treated as commodity to be domesticated for domestic slavery and shanty town prostitutes. Lawless Libya and its lawless armed militia could not hide its lawlessness on defenseless migrants passing through its border to the greener pastures of Spain and Italy. The Libyan desert guerrillas had to quarantine their fellow human beings as sheep destined for the slaughter according to their mood. Talk of mood swings here!!! Weak, tired and captured migrants, who all looked forlornly hopeless, could only wait in turn for a gruesome fate of merciless beatings, stabbing, rape and murder.
The story of Libya under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi need no retelling here. Permit me to quote his last speech here. “For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union. I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10-room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed “democracy” and “freedom” never realizing it was a cut throat system where “the biggest dog eats the rest”, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup. No matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we’ve had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination – from thieves who would steal from us. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself… In the West, some have called me “mad”, “crazy”, but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free”.
Yes, Libya under Gaddafi was a small paradise Mediterranean nation of sufficiency. You may call him a dictator, mad or crazy but the man delivered the true dividend of democracy to his Arab people. He embraced, defended and provided every basic amenities that would make life worth living to his people: jobs, houses, free medicines, good roads, free education and a sense of Arab nationalism on all levels. To Gaddafi, what gave democracy legitimacy was the promotion of fairness, justice, social happiness, equity and unity of all Africans.
Nigeria has stubbornly remained the very anti-thesis of all the democratic virtues listed above. Worse is the depraved indifference of President Muhammadu Buhari to the dark events in the desert of Libya. He remained serenely untroubled by the ferocious savagery and murders of his citizens trapped in a desert wasteland. There is no rebellious zeal on the part of Buhari’s government to pursue and unearth the truth behind the near-genocide visited on Nigerians by their Libyan haters.
His ongoing agenda is to preserve the status quo and those dark forces that had held down Nigeria since our independence. His change mantra, with its promise to take Nigeria to a sinless paradise nation, has remained a pipe dream. The eradication of corruption which was the magnet that drew voters to him has remained hard-wired into the very structure of his own administration.
Nigerians who have been denied, neglected, dumbed down and damaged by Buharonomics, zero vision, insecurity, lack of opportunities, impunity, unemployment, status quo oppression, political pretences, fear and self-centredness have turned out to be the victims of brutality, violence, rape and murder in the Libyan desert wasteland. These victims of death and decay had to vote with their legs by embracing the nihilist orthodoxy of “by all means necessary”.
Out there on the streets, there is a huge sense of disillusion that Nigeria under Buhari should have made a massive hell of a noise by demanding persecution of all Libyan perpetrators of the crime against Nigerians. Also, there should be a massive reparation to all the surviving victims of terror, forced incarceration, slavery and prostitution. We demand this as a matter of justice and the right moral way to exorcise the Arab savagery on innocent black Africans.
. Tijani can be reached via [email protected], [email protected] and +447424701166 (sms only).