Update from Qudus' blog

Sep 9, 2010


What does it really take in recent times to get the world listening to us, not that some really have anything sensible to say, in fact, i think the stupider the better, because they've realized that we no longer under estimate the power of stupid people getting along. As Nigerians, our national anthem calls us all to rise and serve our father land with “love” and “strength” and “faith.” This trilogy will be my point of departure for this article. Every Nigerian might have perhaps forgotten such unconscious pledge we all made to our father land, such that demands us all to serve Nigeria with all our strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honor and glory. Well, so help us God. Reciting this pledge over and over again for more than a decade, must have had a hypnotic effect on most Nigerians who had at any given time, passed through a primary or secondary education in Nigeria. This similar so called call of honor that is embedded in most national hymn might perhaps be the beginning of fascism.

Most of you must be aware of a certain Terry Jones, who is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., who hatched the plan out of his certifiably insane head, thinking that burning the Quran was some symbolic gesture that would effectively protest the fact that more than 3,000 Americans lost their lives on 9/11. If we are attentive enough to all the analysis of this pastor, then we will see that the problem with him is certainly not illiteracy, but ill-literacy, both on western education which asserts that humans are entitled to human right and self defense, and christian education that teaches love, then he must have taken this through negative pacifist tools. So let us start by assuming that; if a man kills an innocent person in the pretext of love and strength or faith, we should all be against it, and same goes to the American foreign policy in Latin America and the middle east, we all agree that they are not acceptable. 3,000 Americans died on 9/11, now that's really bad and we must baptize Osama bin Laden a terrorist for that, but what should we call Mr George Bush who killed 2,000,000 Iraqis? what about the first and second (western) world war that resulted in the death of over 70 million people, what about those 2 atomic bombs that killed 186,000 people and destroying 2 cities in a day? i mean the one uncle America shitted on Naga-shima, and now we talk about it, as though it was a natural disaster. NOW i am really scared to go to the USA, because i will be very affected if a "BURN A BLACK GUY DAY" meets me there.

I don't support "TERRORISM" but i can understand it

If this shameful phenomenon of burning a Quran could become so popular on mainstream media, then i am really scared. I SMELL RATS! They said he has the constitutional right, what about the threat on NATIONAL SECURITY? However, i wonder what sort of burden this pastor has placed in his heart that made it his right to fight for the 3,000 of Americans (Both Muslims and non Muslims) that died during the 9/11 incidence. The justice or the injustice behind today’s conflicts are too clouded by spin and hype by the powerful who controls the media. Shame it is always the innocent people who are at the receiving end of the pain. And it is immaterial whether love or faith is what is at stake, but strength. The superiority of “the civilized terrorists” (who shit out bombs from 30,000 ft. unto innocent people) over “the barbarous terrorists” (who wears it and goes with innocent people) is evident in the far greater number of innocents they massacre. It is a thousand pity on the human family though, these chaos and clash of civilization that prevails our shared humanity is the exact weapon of global destruction in this 21st century.

What the western media and their agents refer to as "Terrorism" is the weapon of the weak against the strong which has little or nothing to do with intolerance. The media-named "Terrorists" strike where they can, not necessarily where they should. And the coalition of the willing to resort to killing, have no mercy either for the guilty or for the innocent. They wreak vengeance on the easier targets, often letting “the prime suspects” get away, and this tactics is not an alien to American politricks. We try to make sense of the prevailing horror all around the world; we analyze to unveil the circumstances that drive people to desperation and to the perpetration of terrible atrocities. I guess their intention (just like this crazy Pastor) is never to justify terror, or the shedding of blood: On the contrary, they all claim to want “peace”; to find out ways of arriving at a “peaceful” settlement of problems.

Then again and again and again, terrible injustice is done on innocent people!

When people are driven out of the land of their birth; when their homes and shops are demolished; when cruise missiles are directed at unarmed people; when schools and hospitals are bombed; when water purification plants and tanks are destroyed; when cluster bombs and DU bombs are used systematically over civilian populations — when all these are done, and further deals are made to oppress the same people who suffered before, the beast created out of those people is literally an ANJONU, who will never go out and be the same again, they become desperate, almost crazy, and lose their balance and they commit atrocities otherwise never contemplated. This is what happens again and again to people we collectively baptize “TERRORISTS”. To truly love anything or any cause other than oneself is to willfully let go all logical reasoning and be led by other extraterrestrial ecstasy in a near to foolish manner, which justify why Shakespeare concluded that "Love is blind". The psychological effect of love is what result to narcissism, which on the converse begets hate and profound rage for the "other" especially one that insults the things loved: FANATICISM! Yes fanaticism is not just about religion, everyman or woman at a point or two in our lives have been a fanatic, and defended some things with love and strength and faith.

Islam is not just a religion but a nation, a way of life and an entire civilisation that is based on peace, in fact ISLAM is an Arabic word which translates to "PEACE," and any individual out there, who have at some point or the other do worst things to negotiate his space for peace and tranquility, for liberty and his rights will understand why the Muslims go all out to attain the height the holy book places the moral bar. As Muslims, OUR faith is the sole justification of a powerful force unseen, and WE tend to guide the word of God with love and strength and faith. However, Things are unfortunately far more complicated. All what you and I can do, is call for good governance, which is the hallmark of wisdom, justice and peace. Then pray that the balance of power becomes more just, that common people would rise above patriotism of all sorts to start asking the right questions. And be counted as one of those that equip themselves with a voice from crushed soil. When you love something, you got to set it free, allow it decidedly into the abyss and bring back distant exotic brick with which you'll both use to rehabilitate and reinvent yourself in your own image.


Sep 8, 2010

My trouble with Contemporary African dance

Dance in Africa has since been expressed in many interpretive styles and techniques, but now, in this post-modern day, there are two types of contemporary dance in contemporary Africa; the European-inspired and the non-European-inspired. The former is also known as contemporary African dance while the latter is simply contemporary dance. This magical aggregation takes me back to the wonders of my discovery of a certain elementary mathematical magic, which says anything multiplied by one remains itself, but anything multiplied by zero is zero. DILEMMA! So no matter the size, 1000 X 1 is still one thousand, while 1000000 X 0 evaporates to zero. Just like mathematics, what then characterizes this contemporary dance makeover is not so much in the style, nor subject, nor audience, but a fundamental idea of Africa and the age and circumstance at which it exists.

Contemporary dance in Africa – in my definition – is not a specific dance technique, but a genre of dance performance that employs systems and methods that could be traced to traditional Yoruba-total-theatre of the 50s (also known as Yoruba folk opera). Contemporary dance however, draws on here-and-now influences, as well as newer philosophies of movement that depart from traditional dance techniques, by deliberately omitting structured forms and movements or NOT.

African dancers, the other dancers

More than a word or mere geographical expression, Africa has become an enigma, a place, a succession of depressing event and a human condition which makes dreams and hopes evaporate to zero. Africa has since turned to Europe’s latest invention which has with time, incessantly distorted from a place of fantasy to exotic beings, from the future project to a shore of material civilization, landscape of contrasting images and extraordinary experiences. Now that these plenty fantasies are disappearing as our communal history come of age, and gone are those days; those days that the contemporary African never saw, those days that is never part of our contemporary history books, those days when Europe never existed in our narratives, I’m talking about those days we let to be ruined by European sophistication, re-made by Europeans and significant for the persuasion of the European thinkers, students and visitors.

The choice of African in contemporary “African” dance is therefore, with a touch of derision and as well canonical. Aside the fact that it suggests a honest geographical location and a common historical narrative, it also makes the unforgiving blunder of plunging into an ideology that thrives on reductionism, which seek to reduce the African peoples, all 1 billion of us - no matter our various cities, nations, cultures, religions and other rhetoric of identity that isolates us from one another, it doesn’t matter, it suggests that – we can all be shrivelled into a geographic, moral and cultural pod. Many thanks to such aggressive manner of addressing the other, now it is possible for artistes and other creative minds to imagine from Europe – and other infected corners of the globe – a factual or fictitious African personality, an African scenario, an African dance or an African mode of living, and be entirely understood without consequences. Before I am misread, I distinguished between Africanism and Pan-Africanism.

It was during my days at the circus school in Chalons en champagne that I initially came into a direct contact with such aggression tainted by a reversed Afrocentric prejudice. Between 2001 and 2006, I travelled widely throughout Europe – especially in France – as a dancer in Heddy Maalem’s company. The feeling that gets to one during those period of tours were somewhat ennobling, for the relationship I had with people and western culture were timed and based on an artificial construct, which I will later realize fully and totally despise when I will decide to stay in France for my studies. I found it rather too difficult to grasp the point or the least sense, behind any individual, claiming to have a legitimate knowledge of who I am, even, before taking time to meet me, though it never bothered me, for I couldn’t just claim responsibility for other people’s ignorance. As a result, it took me a long time to eventually realize that rather than ignorance as I had dismissed it to be, it was in fact, power that was at play in première degré.

The Power of stereotyping

In today’s world, supremacy is mostly associated with knowledge than it is with military or economic power. Knowledge in this term therefore, means rising above immediacy, expanding beyond space and time, beyond the self and the local, into the foreign and distant. Africa, as the object of such knowledge becomes intrinsically vulnerable to analysis and risks to be repeatedly analysed through such misdirection; that even in 4000AC, Africa will still be referred to as the future continent, this “Africa” then becomes a fact which, with time transforms itself into a standard image. Hence, to have such prejudice over me is to dominate me and have authority over me. To have such authority suggests that I have less autonomy over my identity and individual destiny. It will become extremely difficult to analyse – or approach – my works as an artiste without referring to Africa or a colonial time past, but on the other hand, my contemporaries who happens to be Europeans don’t talk about their reality and situation in relation to colonialism, slavery or other vices in our shared historical inheritance.

I found it rather curious and snobbish that all other guises are often ignored, all other forms of insular reflection and whatever that could have possibly condition the being of our works, ignored. The experience of growing up with different cultures at parallels, being educated at the borders of a world at war, and conflicting interests. Growing up at a period when pop culture and globalization is getting to its immorality peak. All these don’t tend to matter. Hence that trademark: African, in contemporary “African” dance is pregnant, pregnant with ambiguous meanings, pregnant with a non forgiving gaze of the “other”, impregnated by an uninformed self appraisal, misguided by the early foreign eyes that saw it, told its story and showed its story to the world through rational caricature, and in a funny way we in turn see ourselves through such portraits.

This consciousness will from onward augment my need for a distinguished identity, with a peculiar voice, my personal history must be understood – at least by myself – and be rationalized within the context of a larger historical and social experience. Until then, anything I multiply myself with, will still remain my-whole-self, for every other thing is ONE. I require no alibi for my un-civilization which might appear un-African.