Much Ado about Shitholes

Meet the Founder of Nairaland, Hero of Nigerian Tech Space
January 21, 2018
Nigeria’s Adekuoroye Reigns Supreme At Pro Wrestling League
January 22, 2018

Much Ado about Shitholes

Dear Millennials

So Donald Trump made a very derogatory statement about African countries and a few others. And now we are all aflutter, screaming bloody murder because a man we have all adjudged unreasonable called us an insulting name.

My take: get over it y’all.

We have a thousand and one things to worry about. Donald Trumps comments about us is not one. His policies on immigration are a problem, at least for African immigrants in America. But his words, not so much.

Believe it or not, he is not the first foreigner to hold such a view. Even some blacks on the other side of the ocean think this place is a wasteland. And they say it, with their mouths and with their actions.

Now we can run up and down like headless chickens, summoning ambassadors and trying to inflate our pin pricked ego, or we can actually face the issues that matter.

We can try to find a way to fix our besieged continent, so that our young people stop running into the ocean and trying to cross the desert to reach a place where they are treated like the creatures beneath the feet of cockroaches.

Won’t it be sad, if after all this noise about how we have been insulted, we still have to go ‘cap in hand’ to the same person who insulted us to beg for handouts and a hospital bed for our own president?

What then is the value of our outrage?

Welcome to global politics dear Africa.

Respect is not freely given fam.

The presidents and heads of state who came before might have been solicitous and diplomatic, but have they really been anymore respectful?

We are like that relative you need to run your errands that you throw a bone every once in a while to make them feel important. You treat said relative with a patronising kind of condescension, knowing as they know that they have no choice but to smile their thanks for your puny handouts.

We want to have a leg to stand on when it is time to respond to insults from racist old men. Then perhaps it is time to earn the currency that sells in the global market.

We cannot be a consumer nation that cannot even refine our own oil, cannot produce pencils or enough of the rice we eat like it is going out of fashion to feed a third of our teeming poulation and still imagine that we will be respected by the big boys of global politics.

A lot less corruption and a lot more development is the answer to our many problems.

I smile when I see us parading the names of our authors and athletes and intellectuals, in an attempt to ‘show’ how awesome we are and how undeserving we are of the shithole tag.

These same authors and intellectuals and athletes that we cannot publish or sponsor ourselves.

Our runners wear the colours of foreign countries. Our footballers only find success outside our shores. Our professors feed their families from the fees they are paid by foreign universities during their sabbaticals. They daily feel the sting of racism and suck it down because those disrespectful foreign lands are the only places where they are even remotely valued.

I am sorry Africa. But even if Donald Trump should break character and actually offer an apology, it changes nothing.

We will still be disrespected by embassy officials when we go for visa interviews. We will still experience the embarrassing cavity search when they see our passports at the airport. We will still have a ridiculously weightless vote at the United Nations.

If we want respect, it’s time to earn it.

There is no shortcut.

Yours faithfully,

Fellow Nigerian Millennial.

Omeghie Okoyomoh
Omeghie Okoyomoh
Omeghie Okoyomoh is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. She is a seasoned public speaker with Media experience and an advocate for women's rights. Omeghie is an editor and contributor with TheTransverse.

Leave a Reply