Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Email Exchange with a Nigerian Christian about the Boko Haram Kidnappings

The first I heard of the Boko Haram kidnappings came in an e-mail from a Nigerian brother. I’m not sure what site he was quoting – the same information appears verbatim without credit in many places – but as far as I can tell it came originally from the Segun Oniyide Blog.
I responded with the message below after reading a post by longtime journalist Eric Margolis, to which I link.
May Christians in Nigeria be properly skeptical of the "help" offered by the West, who, don't forget, drew the borders of NIgeria precisely to set it up to fail.


I don't excuse Boko Haram for what they've done to those girls, but if Margolis is right that Nigerian Christians have been collaborating with the West over the years to cheat Muslims, there may be more to BH's actions than lust and greed.

Again, I pray that it will be you and other Christian leaders, looking to Jesus and not to the UN or Uncle Sam or other godless political entities and politicians, who will bring peace and justice to what is now Nigeria, winning many Muslims to Christ in the process.


My brother responds (reformatted for easier reading):
Henry this guy doesn't know much of the history of Islam in Nigeria and what Christians have been passing through in the hands of Muslims. He may have some political scores to settle with his own country but he is not competent to speak on the Nigerian situation. What he has said about Christians in Nigeria is the most unfortunate and is pontificating from a position of ignorance.
Most of the Presidents or military Heads of state in Nigeria were Muslims from the north. They have dominated in political leadership but they were more interested in self aggrandizement than developing the whole nation especially the north. Most of the individuals having oil wells in Nigeria are northern Muslims. Most Inspector Generals of Police were Muslims. The current National security Adviser to the President is a Muslim. The current Inspector General of Police is a Muslim. The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs is a Muslim. The Minister for Defence is a Muslim. Muslims dominate in the army in their ranks and file, in the Nigeria police, in immigration, in customs and virtually all federal government agencies.
In the past those who were Christians never got promotions under Muslim leadership, which some who were not strong in their faith turned to Islam in order to get promotions and also acquire wealth. Muslims started destroying Christian property and lives way back in the mid eighties until Christians were forced to rise up collectively to resist that. But even so, Christians don't carry arms against Muslims but Muslims do that at will many times against Christians. What usually compounds problems which appears as if Christians have been retaliating is just that when Muslims go wild here they lump all those who are non-Muslims together for destruction.
Many non-Muslims who are also non Christians retaliate in some cases and a number of Christians may be found among them. The northern Muslims believe that political leadership is their birthright and no one else is qualified to govern Nigeria.
All this Boko Haram saga is a reaction against Goodluck Jonathan [Could this have been what Margolis was referring to?] just because they believe that it was the turn of the north to produce the President, which is an undemocratic way of producing leadership. As soon as Jonathan was declared the winner of the 2011 elections some prominent Muslim political leaders who lost in the election said openly that they would make Nigeria ungovernable. Then things started going wild with violence springing up in the north against Christians everywhere. This is a mere scratch on the volume of reality of the Muslim north causing mayhem against Christians.
Apart from the north, there is a significant number of Muslims in the south especially among the Yoruba people of the south-west. The Yoruba Muslims live peacefully with their Christian brothers. The Yoruba, both Muslims and Christians have been agitating for dividing the country so that they would move away from the northern Islamic madness. They are tired of one Nigeria but such an opportunity has not come yet.
Why are the Muslims in the north this way? I have personally struggled with their issue but the Lord has given me the grace that helps me not to hate them or hold resentment against them but I do hate their criminal behavior. I have a very cordial relationship with my Muslim colleagues in our university. One is free to sympathize with Muslims who are not actually the victims rather than Christians who are usually the victims of Islamic violence, but it is very sad for one who doesn't know much about the Nigerian situation to make such a spurious statement.
My response:
Thanks for writing. I said, "If Margolis is right," and it sounds like you don't think he is, and I would take your word over his. I'll read your comments a few times so I'm sure I know what you're saying. (The words are clear -- it's this old brain that needs repetition before it sinks in!)

I do think he's close to right, though, about how the West has furthered its own interests by drawing national borders to divide ethnic groups and "unite" hostile groups and by supporting the politicians that have oppressed you. Nothing you say contradicts that. My point was that the Obamas and their henchmen are trying to rally support in this country for a military invasion to "save" Nigeria. "Our troops" have turned Afghanistan and Iraq into rubble, and they're working on Syria. The US-backed government in Ukraine is shooting unarmed "insurgents." For that matter, Obama killed more Pakistanis in his first three days in office than Putin has in the weeks in which he "invaded" Crimea.

I don't want to see US Christian soldiers do to Nigeria what they've done in the Middle East. I want to see the church in Nigeria show that just the kind of thing you've been doing -- digging wells, working with the Muslims in your university, reaching out and trying to make peace -- will defuse injustice and bring Muslims to Christ. At least that's what I'm praying for.

I'm glad to hear that Christians in the south are "tired of one Nigeria." It sounds like you've been oppressed by northern Muslims at least as far back as the Biafra war in the 1960s, and this current situation may be pushing people over the line so they realize that nationalism is a Western imperialist lie and that your real people are your family, your tribe, those who follow the same social rules you do, and most of all your fellow Christians. 

Thanks again for writing! I'm praying for you especially, but also for the families of the girls who were kidnapped.

My brother’s response:
Got you brother. Remain strong in him.

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