‘DIVIDED BY WAR, UNITED BY LOVE’
We woke up again, to another cheery news, ‘The Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board Bans Chimamanda’s Half of a Yellow Sun’
Just another news to cheer us up from our slumber. But the question is, are we awake from this long slumber or do we need longer time to sleep?
I was elated to read that our own Chimamanda’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun had metamorphosed into an internationally acclaimed film. Within weeks of its premiere, it has already become a hit on the international scene, if not in the home country of the Writer. Ironical, isn’t it? Only for my elation to be rudely turned into bewilderment over another news that the film has been banned in Nigeria. ‘Whatever for?’ I screamed, ‘our government thinks it will stir up more violence’, can you beat that?
I’m sure the insurgents didn’t need any novel, film or history to incite them to attack innocent civilians and make Nigeria a living hell for its people. The thinking that our past needs to be eroded to make our present and future peaceful is a mere wishful thinking, like living in denial and repression. An Igbo adage says that if you don’t know where the rain started to beat you, you definitely will not know where it stops. How do we move forward when we run away from our past? Without a past, is there a future?
Look how the Rwandans tackled their past decisively with their attitudinal changes, with movies like Sometimes In April and others. These books and movies helped pull Rwandans together, not tear them apart.
Biyi Bandele, the Director of Half of a Yellow Sun, was right in maintaining that “One of the reasons Nigeria is more divided today – 40 years after the end of the war – than it was before the war started, is because we have refused to talk about the elephant in the room.”
Should we pledge to be faithful, loyal and peaceful all over again for them to allow us watch our own movie about our own history?
Censors board/Nigerian government, the last time I checked, we still operate a democratic government,or has that changed without our notice too? Many people already read the book, so this is medicine after death.
Besides, banning the film will only make it more popular here and elsewhere, especially with the world already a global village.
I’m sure, some people already have access to the movie right here in Nigeria, so why deny Nigeria this boost to its economy because we are scared of our dreadful past?