Rev. Agbali responds to No. 970:

This piece is well written but it still refuses to answer certain
fundamental questions as it relates to the issue of the
radicalization that becomes a choice for certain immigrant groups in
such spaces like Britain, due to the process of their existential
othering, based upon noxious stereotypes and discriminatory acts. As
I attempted to grapple with the emotive and intellectual
ramifications of the horrific expansion of terror across the world,
not just only with the 7/7 London Bombing that claimed the lives of
some African nationals, I was again incensed by the another attempted
act recurring, but fortunately without incidence, on July 21st. Much
to the chagrin of many of us African immigrants this time it was not
people of Pakistani descents or Middle Eastern but some of our own.
At that point, I understood the mood in which certain public opinions
would take, namely to demonize Africans and Africa as the site of
terror breeding.

Such antics are myopic and sensational at best. In reality, the
African continent for no just reasons has suffered in the hands of
terrorists out to rumble the globalizing dominance of the West,
reckoned with materialistic opulence and portrayed with the neons of
magnificence. In Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, Africans suffered
grievously in the hands of the terrorists that struck at the American
Embassies. Many died unsung, uncelebrated, and forever forgotten
within their own national psyche and by those on whose pavements they
died, crushed by incendiary weapons and crushing debris, matched
under foot by the forces of terror. Again, in 2003, in Mombasa,
Kenya, the terrorists struck a hotel patronized by Israeli tourists,
we were told among them were young African entertainers, dancers, who
were sandwiched by the strike of terror in the lobby and hallways of
that hotel, that fateful days. No one remembered them, they died as a
collective, and individually or collectively no dirge singers
chronicled them as heroes. In fact, they like the proverbial tale of
two elephants fighting suffers grounded underfoot by the titanic
forces at each others throats in search of existential relevance and

Yes, it is true that some African immigrants are involved in the last
attempt in London, and some were in Madrid, as is Mohammed Bouyeri
the killer of Theo Van Gogh, but the fact remains that Africans,
including Moslems from the same Somali, the aboriginal homeland of
some of the recent culprits of London 7/21, are at the forefront of
fighting such senseless fundamentalism. Hirsi Arya Ali, a Somalian
Born Dutch Parliamentarian has staked her live in fighting against
such fundamentalism. In fact, she was so much innundated by threats
that she hid for months after Theo Van Gogh's assassination. She
believed that she was the target since she collaborated with Theo Van
Gogh in his documentaries that so ambered the stoking flame of the
fanatics. Yes, African Immigrants are standing up to terror, and so
attempts intended to subtly bastardize Africa as a terrain of
terrorists, and a breeding ground of life-haters must be detested,
else such writers should learn how to balance their perspectives.
Africa might be suffering economically, and even striving to overcome
physical hunger as Ethiopia depicted in 1985, and twenty-years later,
we are faced with a similar instance in Niger and even Cote d'Ivoire,
we must assert that in spite of our sufferings, pains, and trauma, we
are a life-loving people for the most part.

Certain misplaced logics are only intended to nurture antagonism
against the hard working African immigrants, many of whom are dying
daily to make their host societies and adopted nations better each
day, as well as attempting to make something better of themselves.
However, this has not often been easy. They are insulted and
molested as it happened in Hackey, UK sometimes ago, when even the
government collaborated to get the names of African immigrants from
the city councils payroll computers, as a way of targeting and
discriminating against aliens. We must look within such dubious
events to see where and how immigrants are degraded, and sending the
wrong messages to their offsprings and descendants they are easy
swayed by sugar-coated religious machinations, that itself is often a
product of disenchantment and disillusionment with the non-fulfilment
of the promises of capitalism and the forces of globalization.

Yes, religious fanatics have crept in, much within our politics as
they now do in the West. We have cried long and wearied about the
sources of funding that provides the means for some onslaughts in
certain spaces on the continent, but it was considered as our unique
African issues. When Churches or Mosques goes up in flames, when
religion incenses riots and murderous orgies evoking tributaries of
blood rivers, it is the Africans who are barbaric, creating for the
western media a cause celebre in feeding their audience such specters
in validating the African backwardness within their adduced schemes
of social evolutionary equations.

We have long lived with such situations facing some parts of the
West, but we have learnt to pocket our sorrows or simply battle with
courage at times subtly overcoming such social trends. Now that the
parasitic tendrils of terror is fanning its tentacles, it is not the
time to blame Africa. Rather, it is a time to learn also how we have
survived with courage all these past years, and how we have learnt to
combat the bull of hate, through dialoguing especially, toward
creating community, realizing that we lack the kind of weapons now in
sight in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. We fight another way, just
by trying to overcome hate by meeting the sources of hate and talking
about the monstrosity of hate. Unfortunately, at times, like in
Nigeria, it is Mano-a-Mano that sometimes calm some nerves, for
"do-me-I-do you-God-no-go-vex! " It is the rule of the jungle! It is
a civilization of settlement by tenacity, the only recipe that can
restore calms to strained relations when all seems lost. In fact, in
places like Kano, Nigeria since the Igbos started brandishing their
Pump actions, there has been no more beheading of their folks like
they did to Gideon Akaluka in 1995. Too bad, Man-a-Man is a strategy
of last resort, it is not a tactics that we recommend because we
know, it exacerbates the terror with time, but does not totally
eliminate it. Plus, we do not want the provoked to become aggressors
another day!