Sunday, June 04, 2017

Is this really for Allah?

One of my closest friends, Raashid, is a Muslim. Whenever the kind of atrocity that was unleashed at London Bridge on June 3rd, 2017 occurs, Raashid would always insist that the perpetrators are not Muslims. He would insist that no true Muslim would lay into the innocent going about their businesses and stab them to death, chanting “This is for Allah”. This argument may make sense if we allow ourselves to accept that Islam is a religion of peace. The reality, however, is that the more these horrible acts of violence are committed in the name of their religion and Allah, and we don’t get convincing condemnation of the acts from top Muslims in authority, we struggle to know exactly what to believe.

The statement by Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain is welcome, but is very carefully crafted not to ruffle feathers. We need stronger condemnation of the terrorists and a clearer distancing of Islam from these people, if like my friend Raashid suggests, these people are not Muslims. If this kind of clarity is not achieved, there is a likelihood that people will continue to treat all Muslims with suspicion.

The perpetrators of the London Bridge attacks were killed without knowing for sure  if the attacks were for Allah or for their friends and family members killed during one of Britain’s interventions in an Islamic country. We have to look into the possibility that these are reprisal attacks avenging the deaths of loved ones. Generally nobody seems to care when hundreds and thousands of ordinary citizens in Iraq, Libya, or any other Islamic country Britain and allies have attacked in the name of democracy or freedom for the people. We simply carry on because we believe that these are just collateral costs of the attacks. We forget that the dead have surviving relatives who may not share our political ideologies.

Nnorom Azuonye

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nigerian critics of Nigeria

Nigeria has dynasties of bad leaders,
but suffers more from an over-abundance
of horrible critics of bad leaders.

These voices,
pure pestilence, are not themselves
blameless credible alternatives.

We will never know if they can be better
than the targets of their verbal fire
their names never get on ballot papers.

Facebook and Twitter are fertile grounds
breeding these driving instructors
who cannot or will not drive,

so things in Nigeria will remain the same
or get worse - unless these bright men
and wise women come forth -

away from Facebook and Twitter
to change Nigeria in deeds,
not just words,

to liberate the nation
from the old grist clogging her mill -
all ‘sais’ will be sighs indeed.

- Nnorom Azuonye

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Charlie Sheen reveals he is HIV-positive

Damn! When I saw the news a couple of days ago, I gasped, 'so it is Charlie, sad.' 

For weeks there have been these press reports about a big Hollywood star living with HIV. Pressure was mounting for his identity to be revealed. Then Charlie did the courageous thing; he went on TV and told the whole world of his illness. 

The guy has balls the size of football. I know many people are trying to paint him as some kind of monster for keeping his HIV status secret for 4 years, but then who wouldn't? It is not an like an award to shout about.

People with HIV are still stigmatised. Incidentally, last week at Barnehurst Methodist Church I preached about the different kinds of prisons people can be in, and Charlie has been in this prison for over four years, afraid of the isolation he will experience as people will be very cautious about the way they make contact with him. He kept his condition secret because of the HIV-associated stigma and because he wanted his identity to remain Charlie Sheen and not 'that guy with HIV'

Charlie is a good and talented actor and has given many of us many years of excellent entertainment. He has also been in the news a lot for the wrong reasons; the drugs, the wild partying, the alcohol, the call girls. In a world less sensitive, some people will say he had it coming or that they are not surprised, but nobody deserves to get ill.

Many voices have called on Charlie to use his diagnosis to raise awareness about HIV, to let people know it can affect anyone, and that the way he handles his status post-public revelation can also help battle the stigma and ignorance associated with HIV and AIDS.

My prayers and support are with Charlie at this time.

t. @nnoromazuonye   f: nnorom.azuonye