Hell on Earth: Massacre in Nigeria
AFRICA, 19 Jan 2015
12 Jan 2015 – I suspect that, if there wasn’t a way for the Fear And Trembling Caucus to link it to the awful events in Paris, the massacre of somewhere north of 2000 people in the Nigerian fishing village of Baga might not even have registered on American radar. The details are horrifying. People fleeing the violence and drowning in a lake. People stranded on an island in said lake. Bodies still littering the streets and bushes.
District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents. “The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press. He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” Gava said.
Or, perhaps, we would have noticed when, in two different places, young girls wandered into crowded marketplaces and the bombs with which they were accessorized exploded.
The bombing by two suspected child suicide bombers in a crowded market on Sunday capped a week of horror and marked an ominous escalation in violence with elections in Africa’s most populous nation less than five weeks away A day earlier in neighbouring Borno state another young girl, who is also believed to have been about 10 years old, was stopped for a security check in the capital’s main market when bombs strapped to her detonated, killing at least 16 people.
If you will note how carefully that passage is written, it goes out of its way to make sure we know that the girls didn’t necessarily trigger the explosions themselves, which actually is more horrible, if you think about it. The idea that all of these individual acts of savagery are linked, and, therefore, the comforting fiction that there is one solution for the infinite facets of the problem — “More NSA spying!” “More torture!” “Immigration quotas!” “Listen To Lindsey Graham!” — is as dangerous as it is fanciful. Hell, they’re trying to have elections in Nigeria in five weeks. It’s open season on anyone seen to be campaigning for the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan. (Jonathan and his government have been every bit as heavy-handed in their response as the terrorists were hoping they would be.) Not many of us were aware of that, either. Now, we are, although I suspect not for long. But for the moment, ti wani Baga, I guess. Sometimes it seems we’re all on an island, where the screams fade.
This blog is about politics, which, according to Aristotle, a truly veteran scribe, is the result of humans being the only herd animals capable of speaking to one another. It is written by Charles P. Pierce, a writer at large of Esquire magazine.
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