THURSDAY Column with Mohammed Adamu
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It was after the America-led invasion of Iraq (date) on the false charges of possessing weapons of mass destruction that I wrote the piece ‘America, Their America’, and which presumably thenceforth, shut the door to my ever getting an American visa again. Because twice thereafter I would be denied visa to go to the United States including even when President Olusegun Obasanjo authorized my appointment in 2004 as a diplomat in the office of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. By the way, the piece I wrote was a rejoinder to three beautiful articles on the subject of that unwarranted invasion and destruction of Iraq written by three eminent Daily Trust writers, namely:
Mohammed Haruna who wrote ‘Now that Arafat is Gone’, Aisha Umar Yusus, who wrote ‘A Tokyo Rose Through And Through’ in which she eloquently captured America’s insatiable thirst for blood especially in the Middle East, even as she grimly etched the pathetic picture of a warmongering nation so compulsively consumed by that habit that America was not averse even to stage-managing acts that should justify her going to war; and lastly Kabiru Yusuf whose piece ‘Their Dream, Our Nightmare’ ended with the stern and resolute voice “America has made its choice; in the same spirit of God-given freedom, we (the rest of the world I presumed) too will make ours”.
The popular acclaim then was that with the unjust invasion and destruction of Iraq, “a little silver of democracy (was) dying” -as an American Assayist Nancy Gibbs had said- and that with that waning silver also, it was feared, would commence the sowing, unwittingly, of the seed for the gradual decline of America. And what did I say in my own piece, ‘America, Their America’? I said no, the seed for the decline of America had long been sown when America “offered to play the proverbial tail that is now proudly wagged by the greedy dog of the Jewish (zionist) enterprise”. And I reminded America, that:
“From Babylonia to almighty Rome, down to once Great Britain, the world had witnessed the rise and fall of empires”, and that “none of these endured because none was just and fair”. And I warned that America –like Louise Farrakhan had repeatedly warned- “was fast becoming our modern day Babylon” and that if she continued on that path “it will not require a soothsayer to discern that it too cannot long endure”. And I said that “The scriptures are explicit about these issues: no nation can long endure that prides itself upon the creation of mischief in the land”’
And I did fetch generously even from the writings of profoundly metaphorical American literati, such as from John Fitzgerald’s fictional novel, ‘The Great Gatsby’ in which the American writer narrates the ambivalent life of a character, Gatsby, who personifies what one critic said was “the irony of the irony of American history as well as the corruption of its dream”. The novel tells, in the character of Gatsby (an upwardly mobile socialite of his hedonistic days with an inherently contradictory sense of purpose), the story of “America’s sense of mission and early dream of a great and powerful commonwealth’; but which ends tragically with the death of Gatsby, typifying the decline of a national dream –or what another critic, R.W.B Lewis, said is a depiction of “what at a particular point in the history of the Americans began as a valuable corrective to the claims of innocence”, but which he said “declined into a cult of original sin”.
And to warn America of the ‘uncertain future’, I remember quoting James Brice, in his ‘Modern Democracies’, in which the one time Governor of Maryland wrote about what Shakespeare would’ve termed ‘the mustard seeds of time’ or the ‘sneaky omens of the future’ when he warned: “Men stood on the edge of stupendous changes and had not a glimpse of even the outlines of those changes, no discerning the causes that were already in embryo, beneath their feet, like the seeds hidden under the snow of winter, which will shoot up under the April sunlight”.
I said that “when Japan preemptively attacked America’s Pearl Harbor in on December, 7, 1941 to provoke America’s participation in the Second World War, President F.D. Roosevelt’s speech to Congress justifying the existence of a state of war between America and Japan, drew its moral strength from the fact of Japan’s attack being unprovoked”, and that therefore America “had the duty to use what he (Roosevelt) described as her ‘righteous might’ to respond to Japan’s casus belli”.
In fact, I reminded America about their President’s description of ‘Dec. 7, 1941’, as “a date which will live in infamy” –before he dropped the atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But I had made sure to ask also: if America considered the date in which Japan attacked just one of its many naval bases in far, far away Honolulu, Hawaii, as “a date which will live in infamy”, -“how will innocent Iraqis”, describe that day that America led a coalition of Euro-American bloodthirsty warmongers to reduce the whole of their country to rubbles, killing millions of their innocent citizens on the strength of an ‘unprovoked’ and therefore unjustified war)
And so when the only congress woman who voted against the bill authorizing the use of force in retaliation for Sept. 11 had numerous threats of death sent to her woman, and a disgusted Nancy Gibbs said something to the effect that “when dissent is made to seem unpatriotic, a little something of democracy is dying”, I remember that in my piece, ‘America, Their America’, I said: “No Gibbs! It is not just ‘a little silver of democracy’ that is dying, but that the whole damn ‘diamond’ is gone!” Because I said: “America cannot lay claim anymore to that “practical passion” of Woodrow Wilson’s description “for social justice and for altruistic equity in settling the genuine differences of men”.
And just like Kabiru Yusuf had narrated his experience as a beneficiary of the State Department ‘International Visitors’ Program, IVP’ TO THE United States, I was also an IVP in 1998; and that “after going to over ten states of the United States, visiting The Capitol and Pentagon; in the period of Americas Midterm election, and after socializing with a cross section of Americans through two Halloween periods, I came away with the same impressions that Kabiru Yusuf so eloquently captured in his piece, ‘Their Dream, Our Nightmare’ –that:
“Here was the America, their America… a nation supposedly ‘Under God’ and a nation ‘faithfully trusting in God’, that brutally-partial ‘God’ of America’s self-serving perception who arm twists the little ‘gods’ of other divinely underprivileged nations solely for the benefit of America and the Americans”. And I said “Here was the America, absolutist in all moral claims, yet hypocritically debouched always in the act of it… (and )Here were the Americans too, to most of whom an act of aggression by their home government abroad is always merely a subject of comic relief at the dinner table; here was the America, their America, abroad an excellent sing-song bird of racial equality, but at home the worst practitioner of it; here were the Americans, in claim citizens of a globally-thinking nation, but in reality a locally-acting and grossly misinformed, under-informed or more often mal-informed people”.
This was all I said, but adding “here was the America of the American author Naomi Klein’s rebuke with blood sucking multinationals who “far from leveling the global playing field with jobs and technology for all, are (always) in the process of mining the planet’s poorest back countries” of the world. Here was the America, I said “of the ‘permanence of interest’ fame, whose chosen friends are good no matter how evil they are in the eyes of the rest of the world; and whose designated enemies are evil no matter how good they are to the rest of the world”. And then I said, that:
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“America cannot make the world any safer than it already is with big bully Uncle Sam probating and reprobating the world according to the national interest of America; nor can it be any safer than it already is today with the U.S. researching and developing more and more sophisticated Weapons of Mass Destruction ostensibly as deterrence (but that others may not)”; nor –I said- is the world any safer with the one and only ‘God’s Own Country’ alone feeding on half the world’s resources and still meddling in the way and manner the other half is rationed”. The world cannot be any safer I said, than it already is with America persistently stocking the fire raging between Israel and Palestine by egging the former to more and more land grab; nor will it ever be any safer with a war mongering America always restlessly rampaging the world creating artificial casus belli for war in order to test innovations in the avant-garde of high tech weapons”
This was all I said, and then as I prepared to close that piece, I warned that Rome especially had passed this road before, but that it is now a living relic of its decadent past. That “the principal idea underlying the Roman Empire according to historians was once the conquest of power and the exploitation of other nations for the benefit of Rome”. And that in fact the Roman refrain was once the saying that “To promote better living for Romans, no violence was bad enough; no injustice too base”; and that in fact “The famous Roman ‘justice’ was justice for the Romans alone”. And then I closed by saying that:
Historians tell us that “It took the Roman Empire nearly 1,000 years to grow to its full geographical extent and its political maturity; but (that)its downfall was so through and through that (historians lamented) that “nothing of it remained but works of literature and architecture”. And then I did a small epilogue, saying: “The future of no nation (no matter how strong or how powerful) is sacrosanct to the cruel verdict of history”.
That was all I said, and America stopped giving me visa.