The Guardian
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How free should a country be?


US President Donald Trump / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Sir: While engineers are currently designing passenger planes that could fly London to New York in three hours, many Nigerians are given the carte blanche to say anything and act out any script, however unhealthy to the sensibilities of people? Can we live with the risk of a disorderly society? Jesse Jackson snr. in the 1980s once referred to New York City as a “Hymietown,” a put-down reference to Jews. Not long after that, he called an Israeli prime minister a terrorist. Although he apologised to Jewish leaders, it damaged his relationship with people in the US/Israel and even ended his presidential ambition.

Glenn Hoddle once held the reins as England’s national football coach. In 1999 he put out an offensive remark which posited that,” people born with disabilities were being punished for the sins of a former life.” Despite Hoddle’s apology that he was quoted out context he was sacked by the British government. After 9/11 attacks in America, media mogul Ted Turner called the Attackers brave but ‘a Little Nuts’, a statement he was to regret, which still haunts him even though he swiftly apologised after the solecism. Jim Clancy was a staff member of CNN for 34 years where he worked as a journalist until after the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015 when he was asked to resign – over his insensitive tweet about the paper being the agent-provocateur to the terrorist attack in Charlie Hebdo.

Recently, Kathy Griffin, was fired by CNN for posing with a severed-head photograph of Donald Trump. She ought to have known better. Soon after these churlish behaviour, all of these persons above and many others apologised. I see statements that are insensitive and hurtful in print and I wonder where the Nigerian DSS officers are? Who are the publishers of the irredentist newspaper promoting hatred? How are they distributed/circulated and sold openly in public places side-by-side competing with national newspapers? Hate messages are caricatured and accepted as normal by readers. Not once have people been arrested at vendor stands for promoting hate speeches. ‬

Have all these trouble-makers everywhere put together a think-tank that has conducted a thorough research on economic viability of their so-called state and region?

All these questions are yet to be addressed by the agitators. Some people are called ‘cows’ and others ‘goats’, in Nigeria. Spoken and printed, nothing happens. ‬
We need to do beyond noise-making, spewing abusive words and calling for civil disobedience. This country needs a revolution to change the mind-set for the growth of country not one for anarchy.

Simon Abah, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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