Sunday, April 25, 2010

Should bus drivers be armed themselves?

On Saturday, a member of Sanyu FM breakfast show face book page posted a photo that almost destroyed my day. I thought of it all day long. I was asking myself many questions over and over but no one could answer me. It disturbed me so much that even when I went for a free thinker’s meet up in the evening, I still thought about it and this forced me to seriously inquire from my friends if this story and picturewas truly true and they all said YES and interestingly, some of them confirmed that they read the story and saw this pictures sometime back. It was the first time for me.

As I left the venue, while riding in a public taxi, I again asked myself why this could happen in Nigeria. As I think more of this, I decided to start thinking of writing a blog post on it and here are my opinions on the story.

I don't know how this happened, why people would obey by lying down.  Knowing me, I would have run ----just run and have them shoot me.  I would have screamed "fight the robbers" or something like that.   Screaming is a good self-defense tactic.  Being a victim of several instances of violence in my life, I know that screaming does unnerve criminals.

 I am sure that the bus driver (basing my remarks solely on what is reported) is doing a lot of re-thinking about this.  Should he have allowed himself to be killed by refusing to drive over people? 

Should bus drivers be armed themselves? What about technology that alerts the police in the local area? Where are the robbers? Or are they long gone and will never be brought to justice?

Why are people driven to this point?  The partial answer is that the very poor have nothing to lose, so they do anything because the specter of punishment means nothing. But there are so many things that led up to this. This is small when compared to the violence in Jos State.  And there so much that goes unreported.

I remember an article in Time magazine, published sometime in the 80s, describing the parties the rich in Nigeria had.  The air conditioning made the house so cold that the female guests had to wear furs to keep warm.  They wanted to mimic the Europeans who wore furs to their events.  It didn't occur to them that even the rich in Europe don't wear furs to parties in the summer-time.  But the point was the class divide--the very rich that can carry out their expensive fantasies vs. the very poor in Nigeria.  Or the very poor in Haiti who eat salted mud cakes

The second point concerns oil executives who care only about how much wealth they can extract from the oil wells in Nigeria (or any other country).  In their contracts, they could put in human rights clauses which would demand that 80% of the wealth derived from Nigerian oil be dedicated to population control, school repair and construction, hospitals & medical supplies, trained doctors, etc., housing and other programs that would uplift the poor.  But they don't! Since am in Uganda, let’s keep our eye widely open and see if Ugandans will benefit from oil revenues.

 The rich control the U.S. population and the world.  International boundaries are meaningless to the world’s wealthy.  The 20% for the rich, far fewer in number, would go a long way.

The Republicans are opposed to women's rights and population control. More poor people looking for work benefits the wealthy with cheap supply of labour.

President Museveni  and you can also see this is getting very cozy with one of Africa's most evil men, President Mugabe. What does this mean for poor people in Uganda?  I'm not exactly sure, but nothing good!

And there's the problem of the news media which, for the most part, is controlled by the rich. 
For example, the news media deliberately did not publish photos of the more than 2,000 people who jumped from the World Trade Centre on 9/11.   Why?  Are they protecting the sensibilities of the readers, or are they protecting the upper class?

How long will it be before the rich control the Internet?  China, North Korea and Arab countries are demonstrating how it can be done and that it can be done. With technology, where so many people have cameras, we can find out things that the news media just won't report.

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