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BN Hot Topic: My Blood Flows Green White Green

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An article was published in the opinion section of the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago about Nigeria and the dire state we are currently in. It received good reviews from some, and it was badly bashed by others. Apparently, the fact that it was written by a non-Nigerian diminished the efficacy of the opinion editorial in some way.

While feedback on social media is but a minuscule representation of the opinion of the Nigerian people, it’s interesting to observe the patriotism of Nigerians on social media.  There’s an intense fervor with which Nigerians defend the  honor of Nigerians when there’s any form of “disrespect” coming from outside the shores of Nigeria.

A few weeks ago, Twitter was abuzz with a “Twitfight” between Kenyans and Nigerians. The Nigerian Twittosphere was the face of online patriotism as far as it comes. It inferred that no Nigerian would sit idly while Nigeria is being painted in bad light. Also, when Rick Ross shot his video in the slums of Lagos, there was an outcry! Why should an American come and showcase a side of Nigeria that was unflattering? Nigerians were quick to show that there were other parts of Nigeria that didn’t look quite displeasing. Last week as well, when there was a tweet allegedly from an American TV reality star, Nigerians were affronted. She dared to call us apes? As it was revealed that the offensive tweet didn’t emanate from her, but from a young Nigerian, nothing further was said about the inappropriate use of the term “ape” to describe Nigerians.

It makes one wonder about our sense of patriotism? What actually makes one patriotic? Are you automatically patriotic because you are born to a particular country? Do you feel patriotic because of the intense beaming sense of pride you feel for your mother land? Or do our leaders and those we put in charge of us give us that pride?

Also, why is that a lot of Nigerians online are much quicker to be ‘patriotic’ than in ‘real life’? Like Banky W’s speech talks about, is it just okay to defend the country verbally and on social media and not be part of ‘the change’ for the better?

Do you believe that no one but you is allowed to criticize the flaws (real or imagined) of your country? Like Yoruba people say ” ‘Help me beat my child’ isn’t stemming from the depth of the heart of the mother”

What do you guys think?
Let’s discuss!

Photo Credit: omojuwa.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

26 Comments

  1. sugar and spice

    April 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Interesting article. Personally I feel its a normal reaction to defend one’s territory when any external affront comes in. Its just the same way you would not allow a stranger call your sister a prostitute even though she’s one but you’ll still defend her and then when you get home you can bash her. Its just a thing of holding dear to one’s territory.

    Lol Banky W’s name sha had to enter it, biko he’ll notice you soon dear Atoke and we would have peace 🙂

    • tabushuoyingwen

      April 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      lmao @ Banky’s name had to enter it 😀

    • Jo!

      April 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

      oh enough jare, can’t she mention someones name again?

  2. Partyrider

    April 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    talk is cheap , therefore it is easier to be ‘patriotic’ when all you have to do is rant and fill people’s timeline with your ramblings with NO actions.

    • OK

      April 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      True talk…the problem also is that we have so much foolish/misplaced pride that we hate to accept the truth…that the fact Is from a non-Nigerian should make no difference, after all don’t we criticize other countries too? The painful truth is that the country is sick and we won’t start making progress until we at least accept that fact that our situation is drastically messed up and take concrete ACTIONS to correct them…emphasis on the word ACTIONS, not cyber/mouth “patriotism”

  3. Mz Socially Awkward...

    April 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Atoke, yes, we know say Naija no good, abi no be our very eyes we dey use see as these very stupid politicians dey embarrass us publicly to all the world with their idiotic governance and failure to put an end to corruption and boko-haram?

    All the same, I can’t sit back and listen to any oyinbo abuse us anyhow oh. For wetin??? Okay, so I’m not so keen on coming back to fight any fight (been there, done that, have the scars on my back to show for it) but my blood flows a very thick green-white-green, mehn! I haven’t given up on the country, I’m just refusing to invest any further effort in that direction until I see positive signs that we are prepared to welcome change.

  4. tem

    April 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    AS for getting involved with issues that concerns the governing the Nigeria nation, most of ppl long to be participate, but the Nigeria politics & politicians could be well defined as “The coming together of murders and harm robbers of Nigeria.” Being part of it means ur volunteering to die young.

  5. me

    April 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Whats the difference between these statements?

    “Are you automatically patriotic because you are born to a particular country? Do you feel patriotic because of the intense beaming sense of pride you feel for your mother land? ”

    Just asking.
    (Abeg no yab me).

    • masked

      April 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      you don’t have to be born in a country for it to be your motherland…Nigeria mayb your motherland but you may not be born there and still you would fight tooth and nail for it and also you may fight for it cos you were born there….pick one of the two abeg….whew!

  6. jcsgrl

    April 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Good write up. To answer your question, emi omo o! I just dey siddon dey look this country for now while praying silently for change. I don tire to judge these politicians and the country in general. Hmnnn!

  7. Jenny

    April 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @me….born of a particular country is ur place of birth eg I am british by birth but Nigeria is my motherland ie where my ancestry has its roots. Truthfully I have a bit of patriotism for the UK especially during sporting events. I proudly sing along when the National anthemn is being played yet, nothing beats Naija. With all its decay I am loyal to this country, deep to my bones.

    • Jo!

      April 5, 2013 at 7:47 am

      awwwww

  8. Amazeballs!

    April 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    While this is a very relevant piece, theres nothing “hot topic” about it! sorry

  9. x factor

    April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I rep Naija oo

  10. imeanit

    April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I believe that Nigeria, like any other country has its struggles, its challenges, demons that they are faced with and fighting, that does not give any fool the audacity to insult Nigerians because many Nigerians are struggling and making honest living, because of these one It certainly upsets me when I hear or read about derogatory remarks made by some idiots to Nigerians in general. It would sound better If they say ‘some Nigerians’.

  11. Vashti

    April 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    The reason why Nigerians receive a lot of negativity and bashing from non-Nigerians is because a lot of Nigerians like to make noise, puff chests and think of themselves highly above others…For what, I don’t Why (I guess if you want to compare Nigeria to small neighbouring countries i.e Benin, Gambia etc, but I assume Nigeria for the resources and size it has should not even compare itself to such countries and should be thinking of comparing itself to advanced nations).
    I will give you an example; I was at a formal Dinner reception being hosted by a Minister of a small African country, very humble atmosphere no pizzazz. At our table sat a mix of African senior professionals, myself and another Nigerian (I’ll call him Mr Patriot). We all kicked off on a nice banter on the event and politics when (well as usual), our African colleagues started on the negativities of Nigeria, giving examples of their experiences (which sadly were very true). However Mr Patriot became very aggressive and started hurling insults. I asked him why he thought it was necessary to be aggressive despite the fact that he knew they were telling the truth. His response was simply that he would not stand around while others bash his beloved country (it was more of an ego thing as well, he wanted to remain the most popular on the table). I just laughed and I said how I wish you would turn the same aggression at your leaders and your fellow Nigerian citizens who make of a mockery of you at home and expect you to stand up for them.
    I just asked a non-Nigerian if he was a patriot of his country and what that meant: In his words…Yes I am patriotic about my country, I am proud of its welfare system (ability to take care of the weak), governance system, history, character, geography (it’s a beautiful country).

    • nene

      April 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      i agree with you. Nigerians like to “show” and that annoys non-Nigerians. i don’t blame some african countries for disliking us.

    • OK

      April 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      very well said..

  12. Abana

    April 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Where is the link to the LA Times article? IF you refer to an article, put a link biko. Thanks

    • OK

      April 5, 2013 at 12:52 am

      True

  13. African Queen

    April 5, 2013 at 5:42 am

    I am proudly Nigerian, and willing to scream it to the heavens. I do not tolerate anyone saying bad things about Nigeria, but I also defend Africa in general. Living in the U.S., Africa is beaten down so much and depicted so terribly that any true African has to say something. I have lived in the U.S. for quite a while and it also annoys me when other Nigerians go on about Nigeria deserving its poor reputation. America is just as bad as Nigeria. If you think there isn’t corruption in America, think again. 52 of Atlanta’s public schools were caught in a cheating scandal recently. If I photographed certain areas of the city I live in and told someone who knew nothing about America that that is America, they would think America is the most wretched place on Earth. Be proud that you are Nigerian and instead of berating Nigeria, help create positive change. If Nigeria censured its international image the way the U.S. does, we would look like the best nation on Earth. I sincerely believe that Nigeria is the best land on Earth.

    • Miss

      April 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      African queen patriotism my arse…….you think others don’t know they have problems in their own countries? How do you translate your patriotism in doing the right things when you are in nigeria…..the truth of how Naija is has to be told….Nigerians give people a reason to talk cos Ur bad behavior is displayed all over, loudmouths, noise makers and no respect for simple rules…..I live in nigeria and have traveled round a lot it how aot of us behave that make them talk to us anyhow…I.e you go to board an aircraft Lagos or Abuja bound from say America, they start to call priority boarding and you see all of them gather round not even forming a single line….haba simple English, this is what they do in all airlines and ple respect it why can we just obey simple instructions….yet they carry all kinds of degrees and qualifications and make noise everywhere yet no respect and comportment…..am proundly African, nigerian, dark skinned and cannot hide it, I will not allow anyone disrespect me cos of that but all that patriotic bullshit when they tell you the truth about what you are just makes me laugh…till we begin to change our image and attitude more shit will be said about us….

  14. Vashti

    April 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @ African Queen. Glad to hear that you are proudly Nigerian! Please lets start from your goodself as regards creating the positive change…Oh But I guess to make an effective impact you need to bring yourself down to Nigeria (live and work here that is) and then send us some results and we’ll follow on your take that Nigeria is the best land on Earth!!

  15. slice

    April 6, 2013 at 4:34 am

    when you think about it, different countries get a bad rap for different things. Yes there are some good things about Nigeria but we Nigerians are also guilty of generalizing the bad things about other countries. How many times have I heard someone go on and on about how Americans don’t discipline their kids, Americans don’t care about marriage, American women don’t value their husbands, they shoot guns in ALL American schools, American kids are rude. Of course these things are not true of the WHOLE country but Nigerians sure love to say that. In fact, I visited a Naija church here in America and for about 45mins the pastor talked about how the people in the U.S. have low morals because the women are blah blah blah.

    • Boobsy

      April 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Don’t mind them, hypocrites…..the average nigerian is quick to generalize and call oyibos names while the same sins ou accuse them of are in your backyards…..watch the average Yoruba or Naija movie and every wife or child from abroad has no respect or manners, yet they talk patriotism crap when they are told the home truth…..as long as our shit smells all over the world they will talk…..we all know there are good people everywhere but when there is a number too many then generalization comes in.

  16. zsa zsa

    April 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I will defend Nigeria if the need arises in conversation, but i prefer to be the change that i want to see in others. The truth needs to be told. I don’t think Americans bad mouth Nigeria more than they bad mouth themselves. They face facts, just watch 360 with Anderson Cooper or any news program on american TV…or heck just watch saturday night live and pay attention to the political satire. Americans are the first to admit their system needs fixing. Nigerians need to do the same. I was not born in Nigeria but i did most of my growing up in Lagos. My allegiance is more with Nigeria…when people ask where i am from i say i am Nigerian. I don’t bother explaining where i was born.When i get into a conversation about Nigeria, i calmly explain what our struggles as Nigerians are and most times they see reason with me. It is how you present your argument. And yes, some nigerians can be quite condescending especially to the african americans. They brag and point fingers and act like the ills that happen in america do not happen back home. I can’t count how many little girls or boys that were sleeping around on my street in lagos…how many referrals for abortions my dad had to give…how many defiant kids i had to stay away from. We are not that much better.

    I am not waiting for other people to change the country. I will acquire whatever skills i can while abroad with the hopes of going home someday and making a change…however little. Every bit counts. Lets stop worrying about what others are saying about us and do what we can to make a difference.

    Pls forgive any typos…was typing in a mad hurry 🙂

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