Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In My Humble Opinion #2

Terrorist? No Way
I am proud of my home country Nigeria, but recently Nigeria has been portrayed in a negative light through the American news media. My country’s name has been dragged through the mud because of an alleged bomber from Nigeria. A 23 year-old- named Hmar Farouk Abdulmutallab was caught hiding and trying to detonate explosives in plane 253 was carrying passengers from Amsterdam to Detroit. I personally would gladly say on behalf of all Nigerians that we are pleased that Abdulmutallabs attempted act of terrorism failed and he was contained by the American authorities or else Nigerians will be singing a different tone and not a good one.
For this act of terrorism, Nigeria is now listed as a terrorist country and now being monitored for any terrorist activities by U.S homeland security. Although, it is a very humiliating situation, that someone’s evil intentions puts the entire country of Nigeria on a constant terrorists watch list.
The story was all over the news media especially CNN. The phrase “The Nigerian Bomber” was constantly slash all over or stretched across the television and radio news.
In my humble, opinion Nigeria is definitely not a country that practice terrorism.
It is a country that would never be associated with terrorism. We Nigerians will definitely not fold our arms and watch this act of terrorism to be a big smear on our already sodden image of our great Nation and puts the traveler’s comfort of over 150 million in great danger.
The recent news from Nigeria, is that the Nigerian officials have decided to denounce the alleged bomber their country despite the fact that he left the country about ten years age and the Nigeria has also decided to tighten its security from such an alleged terrorist plot to ever happen to them.
The U.S had released a list of 14 countries under terrorist watch in which Nigeria is part of; the remaining 13 countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Cuba , Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
Not to talk of the nightmare Nigerian passengers travelling would have to go through and face extra security screening. This screening includes body-pat and carry-on baggage checks. The sense of security has heightened in American airports.
Nigerian- Americans are having to signed up on Facebook to petition in getting Nigeria off that horrible list. Nigeria has contributed the 4th largest contingent to UN peacekeeping missions for over 5 decades now. We have produced world-class citizens like Nobel Peace Prize winner Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe a great international novelist amongst others.
So why should we now acknowledge a Christmas Day attempted bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; a terrorist? No Way!!!! Like the Facebook page said “Nigerians are good people, we are not terrorists, we love life.”


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fish Out of Water

Curiosity kills the cat; they say. Well that is true in my case. As I walk around campus and came across a poster for a Drag Show to be held at Morris Daily Auditorium. The Drag Show is presented by the Q.T.I.P. The full meaning of Q.T.I.P is (Queer Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice) a program solely for the gays and lesbians, bi-sexual, and transgender students.
This program is funded by the Mosaic Centre and it was their third annual Drag Show on campus. A drag show is show hosted by a drag queen who is usually a man dressed in drag or in women clothes and make-up for special occasions, usually because they are performing and entertaining as a host or hostess, stage artists at such event. Drag queens are also known as cross-dressers, they something look like a Transgender person.
The Show had about seven drag queens some of which are students and professional performers alike. I have never been to a drag show; I only see such shows on television, so I chose to curiously witness this evening event. It was truly an out of body experience because I never have been to a place filled with men dressed like woman and female stars impersonators.
Some look like Britney Spear and most looked like the highly anticipated Lady Gaga.
There were also some participating female drag queens (dressed as men), but despite there were ladies at the show, I could not help feeling out of place or more like fish out of water.
The show had a D.J that cranked up the volume of a mix of power ballads, nice oldies, and definitely, lots of Lady Gaga’s music. There were drag queens walking around the campus auditorium. The host for the event was a drag queen named Tiffany. He really knows how to work up a crowd because he hopped all over the stage and kept shouting “Make some noise” and the crowd went wild. There was a drag queen competition both male and female drag came on stage to show who look more like the celebrity they were impersonating followed by lots of singing, dancing, clapping and shouting from the queens and the crowd.
In the competition, there were lots of Lady Gaga impersonators and of course the drag queen named Jason who pull off the most look alike of Lady Gaga won the competition.
The Drag Show was not only for entertainment, but it is also a support ground for the gay community because ten percent of its proceeds will be donated to the Billy Defrank LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual, and Transgender) Center. The show was truly a fish out of water experience for me.

Japanese Internment Memorial

The Japanese Internment happened during World War II. The date was December 7, 1941, a day that went down in America’s history and a tragic one. It was Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was a sneaky and well-executed attack on United States Navy's battleship and over 2400 Americans were killed. After the attack, America declared war on Japan; so on February 19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.
The order was to force the evacuation of all Japanese Americans, stripping them also of their constitutional rights to be protected as American citizens in the name of national defense. The order also bans people of Japanese descent who were living on the West Coast from getting a liviehood in certain locations in America. Now perceived as the enemies of the state, the U.S. government forcefully uprooted more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes, schools, farms, jobs, and businesses.
They were forced to live in bleak, horrifying remote camps with deplorable conditions, behind barbed wire and under the watchful eyes of armed guards. From 1942 to 1945, almost four years the Japanese Americans stayed in the Internment camps.
Ruth Asawa is one of America’s highly recognized women artists of the 20th century. She is an advocate for the arts that celebrates the richness and beauty of everyday life. She is able to use grace and intricate forms to create her famous masterpiece wire sculptures. She is also called the "fountain lady" because she displayed so many of her fountains art work for public view in San Francisco.
Born in Norwalk, California in 1926, Asawa is the fourth child of seven children. Her parents who are immigrants from Japan works as truck farmers growing seasonal crops for a living until she and her family were forced to go to the Japanese American internment camp during World War II. As a teenager, she experiences the deplorable condition in the camp but she used her experience to express her work in artistry.
As proof of her work, in 1994, she made the Japanese-American Internment Memorial Sculpture put on display in San Jose. In San José over 3,000 Japanese Americans lived in the Valley before World War II period.
After the war, many Japanese Americans came to San José to re-establish themselves. As the started-over, San Jose's historic Japan town was founded.
It is like starting over after the Japanese internment policy was revoked in December of 1944. There is also the Japanese American Resource Center in the Santa Clara Valley. The purpose of the Center is to preserve the rich history Japanese Americans contributions to the American growth in arts, culture and the significant development of the Valley.
One of the vignettes that I found very compelling was a picture of a man trying to comfort his little daughter holding her doll, who would not stop crying after seeing her home with their mailboxes on the side is for sale and a huge “Evacuation” sign on it. I understood the little girl’s pain because it is devastating that place you grow up or things that you are use to be suddenly taken away from you. Another picture of a U.S guard holding a gun and shoving Japanese Americans and their frightened children toward the houses in the camp.
The third vignettes has a picture of a huge train that is transferring hundred of Japanese-Americans to various Internment camps in the country and many of their friends and relatives holding their hands from the train windows and waving goodbye to them, not knowing if they will see their friends and families ever again.
As I went studied the history of Japanese-American lives in American, I looked into the events and the factors which led to Japanese American internment.
The Japanese were treated the same way the Nazis treatment the Jews on the concentration camps. After 75 years, I know horrible events like this will never happen again.
Browsing the web, I came across a photograph by Dorthea Lange from the National Archives. It was a picture of a Japanese American posted a banner saying “I AM AN AMERICAN” on his store front the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and shortly before he was sent to an internment camp. Seeing this, it shows that nobody or country wants to have America as an enemy. I believe America has matured over the last 75 years to know how the deal with terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.