Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life is a battlefield

I've been doing some interesting historical research at the University of Lagos library. One thing I've learned is that the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) is a recent revival of the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) that the Nigerian government launched in the mid-80's under military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.

Whereas KAI's main priority is street trading, WAI was a much broader social reprogramming effort to get the general Nigerian population to be more courteous, honest, and orderly. It focused on things like reckless driving, rumor-mongering, the buying and selling of chieftancy titles (!), and the mysterious practice of "cash-spraying," which apparently is a way of showing off at parties by throwing money around the room and watching people dive for it. They even made you do frog leaps if you were late for work!

But the language and trappings of war remain. For example, I attended a KAI "parade" this weekend where the KAI Marshal General, a former army captain, announced to his troops, below: "You are not civilians! You are a paramilitary organization!" He has used this language before.

Does anyone find this alarming?


No comments:

Post a Comment