Nigerian legislators are attempting to pass a bill that will punish people for “telling lies” on social media with up to 2 years imprisonment or a fine of 4,000,000 NGN or both imprisonment and a fine of 2,000,000 NGN.
As expected, this has sparked some serious outrage and has birthed the quickly trending #NoToSocialMediaBill on social media platforms.
Normally, I would only fume and rage and talk with my friends about how preposterous this is. However, in recent times, I have begun to wonder- will it not be tantamount to abysmal waste, if I do not employ my gift (that is how I see my writing) to address some of the ills of society?
This is mostly due to the fact that I am a very non- confrontational person and would rather be slighted than “disturb the peace”. But a certain time comes in life, when confronting the facts is no longer an option- it becomes in fact a necessity.
I wouldn’t consider myself a social critic or anything like that, but then I know that I have an opinion even when it comes to those topics that I wouldn’t normally discuss publicly or write about. Many times, these opinions tally with those of many people, who may not be able to eloquently articulate their thoughts into words. I feel bound by duty- to myself and to those people to let these opinions out in the open for all to see.
This one avenue, where I can push back and confront the truth with my words without physically hurting anybody, is under attack and I can no longer fold my arms and watch.
Okonkwo, the hero of Chinua Achebe’s Things fall Apart said “If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head…”
For far too long, these issues have sullied my hut and I have kept stoic silence, until the sheer volume and stench of the filth is threatening to expel me from my own very obi. No, the time has come to take a pen and break their metaphorical heads, so this is my response:
… Beware, long poem ahead!
To the vile and gangly senescents
My bitter tale goes forth
I’ll gladly walk the 2 year trip
And laugh my stinking breath
In the face of your smiling lies
I’ll tell the lie with gall
My satire- a tale that lies
To tell the truth
May the spirits that lived within the trees
Whose woods were plundered to give pulp
To those sheets
Which you so desecrate
With the affix of your names,
Arise and knock you lifeless
And paralyze your corpses
A curse on both your houses
A turd by any other name
Would stink as foul.
I agree to give up my pen
And my place in the cloud-arena
In exchange for fairness.
I have no fear- I will tell the lies
That will drag my bleeding feet to the stocks.
I will give up my pen
And my freedom
When you agree to bind yourselves
And your brothers with the same chaffing cords,
When you agree that for every lie you told
In the full glare of the devil’s box
For every chirp and tweet that gave hope
To starving little birds, then took it all away
For all the empty words you threw
Across the airspace of our invisible web
To fill our mouths with rushing air
Until our lips turned blue from choking fumes
The fumes from the little power plants
In use, because the bigger power plants
Do not feature in your power plans
They only sit within your slippery speeches
For every house that never was
And every road that never runs
For every mother with pleading eyes
And trembling hands
Clutching a dying child
Because of hospitals that never were
While your pictures tell a thousand lies
Across this airspace- of our invisible web
I would agree to such a deal
Provided that for each scoop of libel
That defaced the litter feed
Of our media- mass and social
Each swaddled promise
That your robust fingers strangled
In your pockets
Before it could breathe the life of day
I would agree to walk the path of shame
And take my place within the stocks
For such lies as I have told
Within this airspace- this theatre of our dreams
If you agree to take your places beside me
And be pelted with rotten curds and putrid cobs
But I know your lack of conscience and integrity
You will throw in the paltry pennies and walk away- daintily
theMD_muse 2016 ©