Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Obituary for the Sultan of Sokoto and A History of Air Crashes in Nigeria

Here is an obituary for Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, the 19th Sultan of Sokoto


An unbearably long list of air crashes in Nigeria.

It's unbearable to think too much about this. So, I continue on with what I have to do, and read articles about other things, like the K-boys, a Hausa hip-hip group. But, when my mind comes to rest on the crash, when I think of R's mother, who only last year was planning R and B's wedding, stopping over at my professor's house to ask where he had his furniture made because she wanted to copy the style for their new house, when I think of R's little sister, listed on the airline manifest as "infant," (and the manifest was how I first knew that they had been on the flight--before I checked my email and found my professor's email), when I think of the kind and stately Sultan who graciously welcomed my German classmate and I (when his research assistant said we must go see the Sultan before we left Sokoto) and his son and his grandson dying altogether, and when I read this sentence from the Vanguard article again: "Also killed were outspoken Senator, Alhaji Sule Yari Gandi, his wife and mother, four children of the same parents just named Abdurahman aged 5, 6, 8, and 11 respectively...." it's too much, it's just too much.

I try to imagine Sokoto right now, as it is, in mourning. The rains must have stopped by now. It must be turning brown already.

Outside my window, golden leaves flutter in the sunlight. The sky is bright, bright blue like that September morning 5 years ago when I stood on the pier watching silver towers collapse into dust. This weekend I felt like I was living in a yellow cloud. I felt light and happy.

This keeps happening, and happening, and happening. It's neverending. Oh God, how can we stand it?

1 comment:

Christian Writer said...

We should not stand it. And I don't know why we do. But more than anything else, it makes me think of that Bible verse, "Man is but a wisp. Here today, gone tomorrow." It doesn't mean that we should ignore safety guidelines a la the Nigerian aviation situation but when it comes down to it, we really don't know when our time is up. I was in London when those bombs blew up. I missed being on the bus by a wisp. I followed thousand of other Londoners walking through the streets in a daze. And the one thought that carried me through was this, "My Redeemer lives". Yes, even in the midst of evil.