Chika Onyeani may have something to say but often his writings erect a wall between me (the reader) and the text. I have always wondered where my resistance came from. After reading his last posting, I think I can put my finger on the source of my alienation-the author's unbridled generalizations and mind-boggling hyperboles that are incredibly sweeping in their unfolding and numbing in their impact.
Consider this: "Africans are not a forceful people, neither are they aggressive to the point of a fight to the finish... Intellectually, we are bankrupt and decrepit. We have a very short attention span." To paint a whole continent and all its peoples with a broad stroke of intellectual inferiority, puerility, and attention deficit syndrome disorder (ADD) is antithetical to methods of serious inquiry. The irony here is the deployment of an anti-intellectual methodology to expose the so-called anti-intellectualism of African intellectuals.
Indeed, the generalizations from Onyeani are disputable on two grounds at the least-the first is factual and the second is cultural. First, the generalizations are not based on fact; majority of Africans I know are not "intellectually decrepit" and are far from being victims of ADD. Second, the following considerations are inscribed at the core of many African cultures I know: middle ground, balance, compromise. The cultures teach measure and reject excess. Extreme generalizations and hyperboles epitomize excess.
I disagree slightly with the moderator's description of the submission as "provocative." I make a distinction between a provocative text and an inflammatory one. A provocative text elicits an engagement; it draws the reader into an argument; it creates space for dialogue. On the contrary, an inflammatory piece engenders resistance and alienation; it compels the reader to walk away.