Terrorism in Africa is a battle of realism and idealism
Boko Haram has always said that the world is divided into two groups, that of the faithful like themselves and those that are infidels.In Nigeria, the present war is one between the faithful, represented by Islam, and the infidel, represented by the West.Therefore your blogger is an infidel in the eyes of the terror group that has killed thousands of innocent people across Nigeria and abducted hundreds of women and children. In this war,terror groups like Boko Haram and Al Shabaab believe every African Muslim has a duty to defend Islam and fight side-by-side with them and thats how all terror muggins wants muslims to think about this chaos. On the other hand, the western countries have told the world that the present war like the one ongoing in middle East is one between civility and terrorism. Each one of us who has chosen to live by the rules of civility has the duty of defending civility to resist the encroachment of terrorism into our cherished way of life.The truth is that everyone must either stand on the side of civility or on the side of evil.Nigerians just like majority of Africans are muslims, and are divided in opinion but united that terrorism has no place in modern Africa.
In Nigeria,research has shown that there are people who have immediately decided to take sides,with some of them advocating jihad in defense of Islam in north eastern of the country where it borders Chad and Cameroon.But there are also Nigerians who seem to have been paralyzed by the debates. They have been wavering between the two stances. Worse, some seem afraid to express their opinions about this big Boko Haram controversy.Majority of Nigerians fear they could be attacked, verbally or physically, by those who happen to hold a different view.In one of the Think Tank report about terrorism in Nigeria, the authors have indicated there are dangerous tendencies among leaders and the public alike in the entire affair.Many Nigerians tend to overlook their national interests in efforts to deal with the issue and that was said to be what frustrated ex-President Jonathan Goodluck efforts. In the report,here is the tendency to be intolerant toward those who happen to have a different stance on the issue. Also a huge number of Nigerians clearly tend to oversimplify matters related to terrorism with some assuming its a way of life.
So far the rhetoric in northern Nigeria has been over the interests of Islam and Muslims. But what about the real interests of Nigeria? What will and what might happen if Boko Haram take hostage all ‘Infidels’ in Nigeria, if Nigeria nationalize foreign owned assets and sever diplomatic relations with all Western countries just because they are not subscribing to the terror group ideals?What will happen if all these things happen in Nigeria as Boko Haram wants? Can Nigeria really afford to carry out such drastic measures?No single political leader in Nigeria has ever pondered seriously such questions but there are hopes the new President will tackle the issue once and for all.When the tourists begun to leave Kenya,hotels in the coastal region are almost empty, that some Western companies have at least temporarily closed down.In Nigeria and Mali that both the two most affected countries in West Africa when it comes to terrorism, exports have been stalled, and so many have been out of a job.Still,there are still too many among Africans who refuse to look at this grand ideological and political controversy from a realistic way.The African continent could therefore be heading to an even more perilous existence, both economically and politically.The tendency to be intolerant is a social trait that has been in some pluralistic societies especially in North Africa where christians have been slaughtered in broad day light shows they do not fully realize yet what it actually means to be a pluralistic society in such countries.
When this emotionally charged Boko Haram and Al Shabaab among other terror groups controversy broke out the immediate tendency among many African states was to react according to their primordial feelings. Yet not one among African political leaders has seriously tried to restore calm and inject some kind of rationality and clarity into the public mind about the whole issue of terrorism.Among the Muslims, there are elements known for intolerance which means that they have failed in managingtheir various biases. The violence that has ravaged certain parts of African muslims societies has been caused by intolerance, be it ethnic, religious, or political. And as long as those African countries are still a pluralistic society, various kinds of prejudice will always reside within each of their faithfuls. And it is such country’s leadership obligation to manage these prejudices.Failure to do so will lead Africa toward a societal existence characterized by jealousy.If trivial disputes have been capable of sparking physical and psychological conflicts that have divided countries like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and this week in Algeria, a highly emotional issue like the current one in Tunisia where tourisms were massacred could eventually tear countries apart.
The other tendency that is easy to observe in Africa, that of oversimplifying an issue also has dangerous consequences. An issue like the one Kenya is facing with Al Shabaab now can never be simplified, let alone oversimplified. If Kenya want a genuine and lasting solution to a problem, there is no choice but to face the problem in its full complexity.Even if this issue really does involve the entire Kenya versus the entire Al Shabaab it cannot be considered simple.When researchers talk about Islam,they actually talk about Faith and civilization.I have to admit Islam as a faith is relatively quite uniform, quite homogeneous unlike other religious groups.However, Islam as a civilization is quite diverse because when Islam manifests itself as a revelation, it is quite universal.In Kenya, researchers have identified radicalization and teaching of the faith as two key elements that cannot possibly be ignored in the impacting of local cultures in the coastal and North Eastern regions. This is why Islamic civilization is not uniform in different parts of the world. Islamic civilization in Africa is not quite identical to Islamic civilizations in Asia or Europe.In this terrorism issue, the emotional intensity of this problem for Muslims throughout Africa is not the same, and never can be the same.I strongly believe that Africans and especially muslims need to look for a balance between idealism and realism if the ideologies of Boko Haram and Al Shabaab are to be defeated.