So I am sitting here jèjèly checking out more smoothies recipes
when someone alerts me of a response by an unnamed dude to Chimamanda’s letter on the Anti-gay law passed…
What?!!!! You didn’t know she wrote one? You should visit LIB every now and then. Yes girlfriend has some really ‘one kain’ gist on but she has news too ooo. And information. Just sieve…
OK where were we?
Ehen Anti-gay bill…
So yesterday Priceless sent me the LIB link on Adichie’s piece.
She was sorta disappointed about her stand but even before I read it, I knew she would be against the bill and throw the ‘ibiri k’am biri’ line… That is live and let live. I read it… Brilliant writer, Watery points. I usually don’t like to publicise stuff I don’t believe in but I already said I would put it on my blog and take it apart. Y’all know I totally love Adichie. LOVE!!! If Adichie writes it, I am reading it!!! If Adiçhie is interviewed, I am you-tubing it!!!
I may not agree with all her points (and sadly I find myself agreeing with fewer things she says these days) , but guys, Adichie ma edeeeeeeeee…. Choi. The girl can write. And talk. She has a gift of words or letters. Now if only she uses it ……………. (Fill in the gaps) lol.
Truth is when I read her piece, yes her literary skills as usual were brilliant, especially as the story teller stays within her niche and tells the story of Sochukwuma, I just kept smiling cos I could take that article apart piece by piece without much effort sef… Trust me, it is not easy to tackle that babe. I have watched/listened to/read several interviews and have seen girlfriend take interviewers apart EASILY and remain very composed through it all. And i love her laugh smile. But this one wasn’t it at all, in content and arguments that is, not literary prowess. BTW, Sochukuma translates to ‘Only God knows’ and trust me guys, that story is most lîkely pure fiction though not improbable. Some of the people in the comments section that countered her even already picked the holes…
Anyways so I flip to open the counter argument hoping this person did it justice and boy!!! First few lines, I stop. Copy link and send to Priceless before I come back to read. I LOVED it totally. I love his own childhood story too (while we are sharing childhood stories). I loved the line ‘…what the hell is wrong with these ‘internationally acclaimed’ African writers’. I loved how he included Nsukka. I loved how he picked out her own words and subtly deflated them. Infact I am embarrassed that someone can even tackle her like this. So easily. In just one day? It didn’t even take him a week at least of research. Ah!!! Covers face. Lol. Even the writer keeps asking ‘…Adichie did you REALLY write this?”Even for less acclaimed writers, it was weak… I love the line ‘…human character/behavior can be learnt/unlearnt, built/rebuilt and redefined at the instance of the individual involved…’. Or when he says after quoting the bible ‘…rings a bell? Anyways moving on…’ Wow!!! I loved the subtle yabis he even closes with… I will paste both articles and I will insert my opinion in the body… Yes everyone is allowed to have an opinion but this Adichie’s own fall my hand… And that is my opinion too…
OK enjoy Adichie’s “Why can’t he just be like everyone else…’
I will call him Sochukwuma. A thin, smiling boy who liked to play with us girls at the university primary school in Nsukka. We were young. We knew he was different, we said, ‘he’s not like the other boys.’ But his was a benign and unquestioned difference; it was simply what it was. We did not have a name for him. We did not know the word ‘gay.’ He was Sochukwuma and he was friendly and he played oga so well that his side always won.
In secondary school, some boys in his class tried to throw Sochukwuma off a second floor balcony. They were strapping teenagers who had learned to notice, and fear, difference. They had a name for him. Homo. They mocked him because his hips swayed when he walked and his hands fluttered when he spoke. He brushed away their taunts, silently, sometimes grinning an uncomfortable grin. He must have wished that he could be what they wanted him to be. I imagine now how helplessly lonely he must have felt. The boys often asked, “Why can’t he just be like everyone else?”
****** Can I also ask us why we can’t just let kleptos be? Why can’t they be like everyone else especially those who claim they were born that way… OK you will argue that kleptos pose a threat while homosexuality doesn’t… We will get to that************
Possible answers to that question include ‘because he is abnormal,’ ‘because he is a sinner, ‘because he chose the lifestyle.’ But the truest answer is ‘We don’t know.’
There is humility and humanity in accepting that there are things we simply don’t know.
***I love this line of humility and humanity… But we can roll over the things ‘We don’t know’ to divinity and/or ‘medicality’***
At the age of 8, Sochukwuma was obviously different. It was not about sex, because it could not possibly have been – his hormones were of course not yet fully formed – but it was an awareness of himself, and other children’s awareness of him, as different. He could not have ‘chosen the lifestyle’ because he was too young to do so. And why would he – or anybody – choose to be homosexual in a world that makes life so difficult for homosexuals?
*** Jeeeeee, I dunno too… But Why would people still choose to STEAL in this Nigeria where you can be burnt alive for even something as senseless as a mobile phone? Could it be because, among other reasons, inherent in the natural human being is the desire to just do wrong, break laws etc even if only for the fun of it… Please note NATURAL MAN ***
The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.
****That’s the thing, homosexuality ain’t benign. It may seem benign but nne, aren’t we, nursing a malignant tumour if we do nothing. And oh about our myriad problems, how does this bill affect it? I actually dealt with this point in my post… http://eziaha.com/2014/02/07/this-is-madness/ ****
A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love. This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people ‘suspected’ of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law – ‘mutually beneficial,’ ‘directly or indirectly?’
*** People who engage in Jungle justice have to be the worst criminals of all. It is so super wrong gosh!!! But sadly crimes of violence and jungle justice ain’t exclusive to homosexuals!!! Then if you look closely enough at any law, you would see grey areas. Why? Cos the makers are humans… But should we altogether toss laws and law-making? I didn’t think so too. Other issues raised here were tackled by the rejoinder… ***
Many Nigerians support the law because they believe the Bible condemns homosexuality. The Bible can be a basis for how we choose to live our personal lives, but it cannot be a basis for the laws we pass, not only because the holy books of different religions do not have equal significance for all Nigerians but also because the holy books are read differently by different people. The Bible, for example, also condemns fornication and adultery and divorce, but they are not crimes.
For supporters of the law, there seems to be something about homosexuality that sets it apart. A sense that it is not ‘normal.’ If we are part of a majority group, we tend to think others in minority groups are abnormal, not because they have done anything wrong, but because we have defined normal to be what we are and since they are not like us, then they are abnormal. Supporters of the law want a certain semblance of human homogeneity. But we cannot legislate into existence a world that does not exist: the truth of our human condition is that we are a diverse, multi-faceted species. The measure of our humanity lies, in part, in how we think of those different from us. We cannot – should not – have empathy only for people who are like us.
*****Oooooooohhhh *sigh* Nne one of the roots from which laws emanate is religion na haba. I learnt this in sociology and Chimamanda who proposes that more sociology (and civics) should be taught to kids from a young age should know this… Then this majority-minority and normal-abnormal argument is too watery… Should I begin to list other ‘minority’ crimes too. *sigh again* **********
Some supporters of the law have asked – what is next, a marriage between a man and a dog?’ Or ‘have you seen animals being gay?’ (Actually, studies show that there is homosexual behavior in many species of animals.) But, quite simply, people are not dogs, and to accept the premise – that a homosexual is comparable to an animal – is inhumane. We cannot reduce the humanity of our fellow men and women because of how and who they love. Some animals eat their own kind, others desert their young. Shall we follow those examples, too?
***The comeback I have for the part of this paragraph I understand is not good. The other part I can’t make sense of. But I coulda sworn that some humans already tow this part. Truth is some humans already behave like beasts and I can almost bet that you would call a man who beats up and/or kills his wife a beast!!! Where we can manage it, let us ***
Other supporters suggest that gay men sexually abuse little boys. But pedophilia and homosexuality are two very different things. There are men who abuse little girls, and women who abuse little boys, and we do not presume that they do it because they are heterosexuals. Child molestation is an ugly crime that is committed by both straight and gay adults (this is why it is a crime: children, by virtue of being non-adults, require protection and are unable to give sexual consent).
***whoever even brings this argument up is unserious. Homosexuality is not related to child abuse (sexual) so I am with Adichie here***
There has also been some nationalist posturing among supporters of the law. Homosexuality is ‘unafrican,’ they say, and we will not become like the west. The west is not exactly a homosexual haven; acts of discrimination against homosexuals are not uncommon in the US and Europe. But it is the idea of ‘unafricanness’ that is truly insidious. Sochukwuma was born of Igbo parents and had Igbo grandparents and Igbo great-grandparents. He was born a person who would romantically love other men. Many Nigerians know somebody like him. The boy who behaved like a girl. The girl who behaved like a boy. The effeminate man. The unusual woman. These were people we knew, people like us, born and raised on African soil. How then are they ‘unafrican?’
***The argument should not be that homo is ‘unafrican’ rather it is abnormal/a crime/a sin. If the west choose to endorse it, good for them but we have higher morals here in Africa (though we are sadly loosing many all in the name of WESTERNIZATION), we won’t endorse it here***
If anything, it is the passage of the law itself that is ‘unafrican.’ It goes against the values of tolerance and ‘live and let live’ that are part of many African cultures. (In 1970s Igboland, Area Scatter was a popular musician, a man who dressed like a woman, wore makeup, plaited his hair. We don’t know if he was gay – I think he was – but if he performed today, he could conceivably be sentenced to fourteen years in prison. For being who he is.) And it is informed not by a home-grown debate but by a cynically borrowed one: we turned on CNN and heard western countries debating ‘same sex marriage’ and we decided that we, too, would pass a law banning same sex marriage. Where, in Nigeria, whose constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has any homosexual asked for same-sex marriage?
***So we should wait till we get there okwaya? ****
This is an unjust law. It should be repealed. Throughout history, many inhumane laws have been passed, and have subsequently been repealed. Barack Obama, for example, would not be here today had his parents obeyed American laws that criminalized marriage between blacks and whites.
An acquaintance recently asked me, ‘if you support gays, how would you have been born?’ Of course, there were gay Nigerians when I was conceived. Gay people have existed as long as humans have existed. They have always been a small percentage of the human population. We don’t know why. What matters is this: Sochukwuma is a Nigerian and his existence is not a crime.
***Repealed? Well never say never sha but the closing argument in the rejoinder was an incredible sub of an answer… I almost cried laughing at this guy’s wit…***
OK now the brilliant rejoinder…
OPEN LETTER TO CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
WHY WE CAN’T BE LIKE THEM.
My dear sister, as always your literary skills and prowess with words can never be in doubt; you are
indeed one of young Africa’s best in terms of modern literature.
********He used the sandwich approach here. Start with praise, then go for the jugular in a subtle way, then end with praise. That’s a great conflict resolution skill I learnt in psychology loool. The ‘My dear sister’ opening line cracks me up. I can imagine Adichie’s reaction reading this line. Reminds me of one of the stories in ‘The thing around your neck’ where she…….. (Go and buy and read it :p) *******
However, after reading your recent piece on Nigeria’s Anti Gay law, I found myself still admiring your
literary skills but at the same time wondering;
“What the hell is wrong with these ‘internationally acclaimed’ African writers? Must they always present
an ‘Anti-African Government’ posture in order to impress their western audience?”
It’s becoming a common phenomenon these days for creative Africans, born and bred in Africa who
suddenly attain international recognition in their chosen fields be it journalism, art, entertainment or
literature to suddenly become pro-western advocates against the social, cultural and political ills of their
home countries in Africa.
Like I wrote in my review of Americanah, which I loved BTW, I thought she wanted to be more ‘accepting’ and with this, I actually now confirm same http://eziaha.com/2013/07/12/my-americanah-story-part-1/ ***
These western endorsed African ‘geniuses’ immediately join other international (white) organisations in
broadcasting to the whole world that majority of their own people live on less than $1 a day.
Chimamanda, I did not expect anything less from your opposition to Nigeria’s Anti Gay laws; using our
local lingo, “Dem born you well to support am?”
If you had (by mistake) supported the Nigerian government on this, the all powerful LGBT community in
your ‘oyinbo’ country would have shred you to ‘pieces’. In fact by the time they are done with you and
your books black listed in their respective countries, you’d be forced to return to Nigeria and become a
third wife to the ‘Igwe of Nsukka’.
*********This Igwe of Nsukka almost killed me. Adichie grew up in Nsukka and talks about it a lot hence the reference****
Let me start with your touching ‘gay friendly’ (*****loool*****) story on Sochukwuma-the girlish boy from your childhood
era that was bullied, as a matter of fact permit me to share my own childhood story. (***since we are sharing stories****)
My first three years of secondary school was in an all boys school; one fine afternoon after closing hours
I strolled into our schools’ vast unkempt field covered with over grown bamboo grasses. My sole purpose
for going into the fields was to catch grasshoppers and frogs, a favourite personal routine as a JSS 2
student in 1991. Long story short, deep into the field I bumped into two of my (male) classmates making
out under a huge tree close to the fence. I saw them, recognised them, turned back and went my own
way…I never told a soul.
****so when people revert to jungle justice, I taya ooo***
Unlike your ‘hip swinging’ Sochukwuma, these boys were as masculine as kids our age could be back
then. I met one of those boys at a Lagos mall recently; he is now married with two children. Is he now straight?
Is he now a closet gay? Is he bisexual? I can’t say, but what I do know for sure is that the human nature
is very complex and complicated filled with realistic and unrealistic desires. Human character/behaviour
can be learnt, unlearnt, built, rebuilt and redefined at the instance of the individual involved. The job of
society and leaders of society (methinks) has always been to enact laws or rules that seek to protect
certain societal values deemed as important to their distinct peoples general well being.
**** how brilliant is this!!!! Wow!!! *****
In your article, you said,
“The Bible can be a basis for how we choose to live our personal lives but it cannot be a
basis for the laws we pass,”
Did you really write this? “Thou shall not kill!” “Thou shall not steal!”Rings a bell? Anyways,
**** hahahahahahahahaha. I dunno whether tz the ‘anyways,moving on’ or the ‘did you really write this?’ that I am tripped about. What he means is that those lines he mentioned, which are now laws in Nigeria today, are actually lifted wholesale from religion. Christianity actually. The 10 commandments to be more precise. The truth is, the basis of some of our laws is religion. This I learnt in my ‘Crime and deviance’ class. ****
You also said, “A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime?”
Again Miss Adichie, did you really write this? (***dude stop!!! This question is not fair ooo Loooool ***) Remind me again on why suicide is a crime when the only victim is the person actually committing it. Suicide is harmful to society because no nation wants to see its people killing off themselves at will. Same way no (sane) society will want to see its entire people
becoming homosexuals which could make them stop reproducing and lead to their extinction. But you
may say, it’s not possible for an entire population to be gay? Well, it’s also not possible for an entire
population to be suicidal. So, can we now hit the ground rolling for the total legalization of ALL FORMS of suicide? I guess not.
***Did you notice he had ‘sane’ in a bracket? Kinda like saying ‘The choice is ours so do we choose to remain sane or go insane? And I love the line on suicide. In an American Sociology textbook I had called ‘Social problems’, Suicide is listed as a social problem and I am like ‘what?!?!? How can suicide be a SP especially as we define a SP as a problem which affects a MAJORITY of people? Then I read the reasons and I understood. Dude spells it out above***
In your adopted United States of America, Polygamy is outlawed in most states; perhaps ‘Polygamy’ has
been identified as a threat to the very fabric of American societal values-good for the Americans.
In Saudi Arabia, it is still a crime for women to drive cars in that country; perhaps driving of cars by
women has been identified by the Saudis as a threat to their common existence-good for the Saudis.
Off topic, I’ve always wondered why American/International feminists and equal rights activists have not
spoken out HARD against this type of discrimination against Saudi women. I haven’t even heard of you
speaking against it, Yes you Chimamanda Adichie, a ‘Beyonce endorsed’ feminist.
***So this ‘live and let live’ argument is selective much? I am feeling you***
Back to Nigeria, as imperfect as we Nigerians are, most of us are either Christians or Muslims, with subtle adherence to African tradition religions.
Is it now a crime for us as a people to make laws against vices that we feel threatens the fabrics of our own society based on the Bible, the Koran and our African Culture?
Indeed Nigeria has bigger problems like Terrorism, Kidnapping and corruption, but all these vices are also criminalized by Nigerian law.
If my bible tells me that two great cities called Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of
homosexuality- as a Christian should I not be concerned? Don’t I have the right to bring up my children
as Christians and teach them to despise the act of homosexuality but not necessarily the sinner?
Must Nigerians prove to your western world that we are civilized by adopting their Atheist based liberal
laws on same-sex unions, abortion and other perversions?
What Africans need to copy from the west is the art of industrialization and technological advancement
NOT the art of love-making by same-sex couples.
**** This guy is too much abeg!!! ****
Make no mistake about it; there are many homosexuals in Nigeria and in Africa. Yes, they are a minority
and yes, they must be protected and treated as human beings if they abide by Nigerian laws like
everyone else. Even if they (gays) or any criminal for that matter are caught breaking our laws, mob
justice must be totally discouraged. BUT we will not wait until these ‘sensitive’ gay minority starts to
parade the streets of Lagos, Abuja or Nsukka (***looool again at Nsukka***) dressed in lewd outfits, holding up rainbow flags and showing off ‘rehearsed’ same-sex public displays of affection before we decide to enact laws that protect
our cherished values.
A Pastor friend of mine once had this to say about Gay rights in Nigeria,
“Don’t mind all these white people o, they have developed their countries very well and so they can now
legalize homosexuality. Whenever God decides to punish them for their sins with earthquakes, wild fires, blizzards, tsunamis, volcanoes and so on, they can still manage it. Nigeria is still very backward in
almost everything and we have offended God in many ways, should we now add ‘Gay rights’ to our
problem with God? If God decides to give Nigeria half of the natural punishments he gives to the west, we
will all be finished o.”
I honestly feel that you were subtly pressurized by your host nation and foreign patrons to put out your
‘why can’t he be like everyone else?’ article. They already got Professor Wole Soyinka (an Atheist) to
condemn Nigeria’s anti-gay law earlier.
Let me conclude here with a parting question to you Miss Adichie, mind you this too may appear as very
off topic, it probably is.
In your latest book Americanah and in several fora you have talked about racism in America and my
question to you is, are gay black people in America no longer discriminated as black people?
This is just a ‘spontaneous’ food for thought and is not meant to support my argument in anyway.
***** Now this line is like saying ‘upon all your shouting against racial discrimination, it hasn’t stopped. Not even for the gay blacks. So this your ‘this law must be repealed’ is just, well, NOISE…’ Kai. This guy came tough loool and now says tz ‘spontaneous and probably off-topic’ … Indeed!!! *****
I’m still one of your biggest fans
*** I said ‘sandwich approach’ yeah? Perfect closing.
Dude, I dunno who you are but Imela… Afo eju go m… I am satisfied.
Again, I am not homophobic, I love the gays. Just like I am expected to love everyone, sinner or not. Tz actually about the sin!!!
And of course, I am still absolutely in love with Adichie and her incredible talent. Probably a bigger fan than this guy too. She remains a major inspiration and motivation for some stuff in my life including my natural hair
(Would have added TY Bello but she does some ‘ojoro’ a lot with her hair loool) But I am wary of ‘too much book/human knowledge’ without God. And I do mean God bad indeed the LORD over your life and to follow this God, you would appear to be ‘foolish’ and ‘unpopular’
Longest post ever yeah? I didn’t wanna just put the links. I wanted to put the posts together so I too can easily read it anytime.
Btw, thanks to everyone who took two minutes of their time to fill the survey. God bless y’all.
Still need more respondents so please if you haven’t, this is the link
Thanks a lot…
Then about the prayer group, sorry we have reached a limit. Will let err’one know when an opening is available.
Ditto the #31Voices… Please no more entries 🙂 Thank you for understanding.
Then finally, email is email@example.com . Please let’s send mails to only this one.
Tz almost weekend yay!!! By weekend, I mean Sunday and y’all know I mean COMEDY GOES TO CHURCH. You really can’t miss this mother of all comedy shows, and this time, clean comedy with amazing musical interjections… Don’t dull ooo. Grab your tickets NOW. Call numbers on flier for yours.
Then @inthemidstofher please update your blog oooo. I miss you mega.