Spanish Lullabies

The only response he got from the officer he met was a stupid question. Since you moved to this town, have you ever seen a man or woman with a skin colour as yours driving a bus for the traffic department?

Life for a brilliant mind cannot rot in a racist Spain where even a successful footballer like Dani Alves got stoned with bananas while playing for Barcelona.

Spanish Lullabies

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola_17 jan

When Kofi left the Gold Coast behind he was certain that the grass was greener on the other side. He was hopeful that his life will be better and that his sojourn in Spain will make his dreams come true.

Kofi had learnt that humans just like the flowers could bloom where they have been planted. Still he hoped for a replanting in another land. The most remarkable thing in his education was when he learnt about the equality of men. All men are created equal.

The day he left his home behind, he wept. It was a mixed feeling indeed and he looked forward to the greener pasture in Spain.

That was more than 10 years ago.

When l met Kofi in Stockholm 2 weeks ago, he had just left one of his jobs and was going home to rest before he would continue to the next job.

He worked during the day and then at night.

He was friendly, jovial and did not hide the anxiety of the new lease of life. He seemed happy.

The first time l met Kofi, we exchanged pleasantries as two strangers would do. during our subsequent meetings our conversations grew longer and he was actually fascinated that l am from Nigeria.

I thought you are from Somalia because l know Nigerians are very open and they like to talk.

These comments from Kofi added one more point to the many ways l have changed and lost my Nigerianness. But l forgive him. I intend to keep my humility.

After living more than 10 years of his life in Spain Kofi had to continue his sojourn which has now taken to Sweden.

During the last holiday season his family visited from Spain, spent 2 weeks and went back.

Kofi needs a little more time to be re-settled. Job, accommodation and stability in a new system always take their time and tolls.

His wife almost suffered a shock, or should we call it a heart attack when she saw Africans driving many of the buses in Stockholm city. Facing her husband and pointing a finger she screamed –have you seen that?

Kofi said, yes. I am used to it. I live here now remember.

In Spain the stories have been different.

Even l remember that in 2007 l wrote about my good friends who are from Spain but in whose land a fellow Nigerian was murdered by the Spanish authorities.

Osamuyia will always be in our hearts. He was one of us. He sought the greener pasture. They made him kissed the dust. Gone too soon!

Kofi told about the stories of other people and that about summed up his experiences in Spain.

There is a young woman. Her name is Joyce and she broke the norm when she was employed at a bank in Spain. She was at the counter and most part of her job would involve attending to customers.

The Spaniards avoided this woman at the counter. They never went to her to transact any business. Invariably Joyce became redundant. She lost her job.

Life for a brilliant mind cannot rot in a racist Spain where even a successful footballer like Dani Alves got stoned with banana while playing for Barcelona.

Joyce went to England. She settled well and continued with her professional job.

Listen, you haven’t heard or seen the worst about Spain. But let me add 2 or 3 more short stories.

Julius thought he had it all when he flashed his driving license and professional certificates that qualify him to be a bus driver in Spain.

He put forward an application and followed it up with a visit to the department of transport.

The only response he got from the officer he met was a stupid question. Since you moved to this town, have you ever seen a man or woman with a skin colour as yours driving a bus for us?

We don’t know what Abdullahi did with his life after this rejection.

There was another African brother who attended the university in Mallorca. He gave his all and showed his gifts. He became the best graduating student in his department when he got his degree.

Sadly, our brother Abdullah was not offered the automatic employment he deserved in line with the principle of the institution. He is a foreigner and cannot be qualified for automatic employment.

There were protests. There were demonstrations. In the end Abdullahi left Mallorca and settled successfully in England, just like our sister Joyce.

There are sad stories of permanent racism emanating from Spain and her sister country Italy. It is sad how these stories (several thousands of them) don’t make the headlines.

The world has come to accept that racism is incurable. It appears that some humans will be born with severe cognitive deficiencies such that they are unable to accept the equality of the human race unified as Homo sapiens.

African people are humble; they don’t press it in about their existence before the emergence of other races. True, Africans, their history and civilisations suffered very serious setbacks that are beyond the scope of this essay.

But bit by bit, and piece by piece, we will reconstruct our history and tell the truth.

We know now that the origin of racism lies in self-denial of one’s true origin. Those who love the truth can do their own research. African will rise again.

Kofi sat with me at lunch time and told me 5 heart breaking stories. I can imagine what he had gone through in more than 10 years of ploughing the greener pasture in Spain.

Even a short visit to Palermo was like a trip to hell. An African man driving an almost empty bus because Italians won’t take a ride in a bus driven by our brother was an experience that added to the loads of burden Kofi had lived with in Spain.

One day when Kofi thought he had seen it all, another incident happened on a bus. A young African man disembarked at his stop and went his way. As a young girl was about to take his place on the bus, she got shouted at by an old woman. You dare not! Can’t you see it was an African man who just left that spot!

You can understand why Kofi’s wife nearly suffered a heart attack when she saw Africans working in Stockholm. She must have seen that Stockholm will be paralysed on a day that the African bus drivers down their tools.

Many institutions and even the health department will collapse in Sweden if people with foreign backgrounds are thrown out of their jobs.

Sweden too, has uncountable stories of racist incidences far beyond the scope of this essay. I mean Sweden is the land of the midnight sun, not the land of the saints.

However there are reasons why the economies of some countries like Greece, Spain and Italy are worse compared to other countries like Sweden and Germany for example.

By almost turning down all foreign useful workforces, the Spaniards have done more harm than good to their economy. Why won’t they go borrowing? It now seems that the entire economy is tied to La Liga, where even racism is a major problem. Ask Dani Alves.

The personal experiences of Kofi (though not outlined in this story) and the others like Joyce, Julius and Abdullahi are reference points for our dear continent Africa.

But no matter how beautiful Africa or any other continent for that matter becomes we cannot stop the migration of the human race.

Our forefathers walked the earth and established it. That fact no one can erase.

It is just imperative that we don’t forget or ignore our ancestral homes as we continue to trace the indelible steps of our ancestors. May their spirits guide us right.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

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Gaddafi, Stop Killing Nigerians..!

By Adeola Aderounmu

Seriously someone has to talk to Gaddafi straight in the face. With all the killings that have been reported in the past days or weeks Gaddafi should be on his way to the criminal tribunal.

Killing people secretly or after secret trials is unlawful. Stop this mad act.

There are allegations that would-be-immigrants are being rounded up at the desert and taken to Libya for execution. This is not right. It is unlawful

There must be an authority somewhere to call Gaddafi to order and another authority to issue a warrant of arrest on Gaddafi.

I am also calling on the Nigerian Government to take off their garments of corruption and tackle this deadly issue as early as NOW.

GADDAFI STOP KILLING AFRICANS, STOP KILLING NIGERIANS.

Death of Nigerian immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea (The Nigerian Guardian Editorial)

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian Monday 4th August 2008.

THE shocking news of the death of two Nigerian children travelling with their father aboard a boat ferrying immigrants across the Mediterranean sea en-route Italy once again brings to the fore the harrowing experience of many Nigerians who are desperate to escape the hardship in the country. The depressing economic condition in the country is taking a toll on the population. How to address this problem and check the flight of Nigerians from their own country for largely economic reasons remains a major challenge for the country’s leaders.

The two children reportedly died at sea of starvation and were thrown overboard by their father who was travelling along with 74 other illegal migrants before the Italian coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea picked up their boat. The migrants had set off from Libya. This is happening at a time the Italian authorities have declared a state of emergency on illegal immigration.

A fortnight ago also, 14 Nigerians perished in the same Mediterranean Sea off the Spanish coast. A small open boat, presumably not seaworthy, carrying over 37 Nigerians, capsized in rough seas with waves of up to six metres on July 8. A Spanish maritime rescue ship reportedly managed to rescue 23 of the illegal immigrants while 14 were unaccounted for. The dead included two pregnant women.

This is not the first time that Nigerian illegal immigrants have perished in the Mediterranean waters in a bid to enter Europe. The Organisation for Human Rights in Andalusia (APDH-A), a Spanish human rights group says more than 921 illegal immigrants died at sea trying to reach Spain in 2007. Out of this number, 732 perished close to the western coast of North Africa at the start of their journey while another 189 died near the coast of Spain. The majority of the immigrants were from sub-Saharan Africa of which Nigerians constituted the largest percentage.

These incidents should compel a sober reflection on the worsening state of the nation’s economy that has made the country hostile and uncomfortable for many people thereby forcing thousands of citizens to flee the country even at great risk to their lives. The death of these unfortunate Nigerians in search of better opportunities in Europe, even through illegal routes, is a sad comment on the Nigerian situation. It is sadder still that reports of tragedies such as these do not discourage other would-be illegal immigrants.

The embassies are besieged daily by thousands of Nigerians who are seeking visas and hoping to remain abroad illegally. The presumption is that the streets of Western countries are paved with gold and that life outside Nigeria would necessarily be better. Many have lost their lives and hopes in the process.

The harsh economic situation in the country is to blame. There is mass unemployment, social infrastructure is decaying, there is insecurity in the land, poverty stalks the land as virtually every sector of the economy is depressed. The list of woes is unending and nothing could be more scary. Since the 1980s when the economy took a plunge for the worse, large numbers of Nigerians have sought refuge abroad to escape the hardship at home. Many believe that doing odd jobs abroad is better than languishing at home. This is the driving force.

Consequently, thousands of Nigerians queue up daily, at the gates of foreign embassies in the country seeking visas. The embassies have devised stringent conditions to prevent many from obtaining visas. As a result, only a handful of visa applicants succeed. In utter desperation, therefore, those denied visas seek alternative means to accomplish their desire. To worsen the matter, a syndicate of unscrupulous Nigerians has capitalised on the ugly situation to defraud unsuspecting would-be immigrants with promises of visas and jobs abroad on payment of fees running into thousands of dollars.

It is these crooks that organise such hazardous and illegal trips across the Mediterranean Sea after the victims have paid the agreed fees and have, in most cases, been issued fake visas. In the case of immigrants whose destination is Europe, the syndicate would first transport them to any of the North African countries from where they are ferried by rickety boats across the sea. It is in the course of such ill-conceived trips that accidents occur.

This has smeared the image of Nigerians across the globe. Consequently, on arrival at foreign entry points, security operatives subject our citizens to untold harassment and inhuman treatment. Unfortunately, Nigerian government officials at home and in foreign missions have not helped matters. In a way, the maltreatment of Nigerians abroad is a reflection of how Nigerians are treated by their own government.

To discourage more Nigerians from fleeing abroad as illegal immigrants, governments across the federation would have to improve conditions at home, and make the governance process more citizen-friendly