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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Feb-2011
24-Feb-11 News -- Clashes in Jos, Nigeria, pit Christians against Muslims

Web Log - February, 2011

24-Feb-11 News -- Clashes in Jos, Nigeria, pit Christians against Muslims

Iran's Ahmadinejad tells Arab leaders to respect protesters

Clashes in Jos, Nigeria, pit Christians against Muslims

Nigeria, showing major historic tribes.  Northern tribes (Fulani, Hausa) are generally Muslim, southern tribes (Yoruba, Igbo, Berom) are generally Christian.
Nigeria, showing major historic tribes. Northern tribes (Fulani, Hausa) are generally Muslim, southern tribes (Yoruba, Igbo, Berom) are generally Christian.

On Tuesday, attackers armed with rifles killed 18 people in a village just outside of Jos, in central Nigeria. The attackers are believed to be members of the mostly Muslim Fulani ethnic group, according to Reuters.

This is presumably revenge for attacks by Christian gangs last month. According to Reuters, Christian youth gangs from the Berom ethnic group set up illegal roadblocks around Jos, stopping vehicles, and pulling out and killing people believed to be Muslims.

Violence and atrocities between Muslims and Christians are a frequent occurrence in Jos, where at least 200 people have been killed since the beginning of December.

Jos is in the middle of Nigeria, right on the fault line between Muslims who live in the north and Christians who live in the south.

The northern part of Nigeria is mostly Muslim, because of centuries of migration from the Maghreb, the region in northern Africa that was conquered by Arab Muslims in the centuries following the death of Mohammed.

The southern part of Nigeria, especially around the Port Harcourt area, is predominantly Christian, following centuries of colonization by the Europeans, taking advantage of opportunities for mining and the slave trade. Over time, many of the southern tribes were converted to Christianity.

In the middle of Nigeria is the city of Jos, heavily populated by both Muslims and Christians. There have been a number of secular confrontations in Jos over time, so the current clashes are nothing new.

A farm owner in Jos writes the following in the blog for the Niger Delta Working Group:

"The situation is actually more frightening than open fighting because every day there are silent killings of individuals, mainly youth, who go into areas of the other faith. Muslim okada riders are killed in Christian areas, and Christian youth (also mainly on motorcycles) are killed in Muslim areas. This happens both at night and during day times. There is incredible bitterness on both sides. A lot of the killing is done between youth who actually know each other and were previously friends before the crisis intervened. Everyone is afraid to move freely around the town, and most people stay in their immediate environment where they have a sense of some security.

Jos town is traumatised and divided. Life in the town has been completely disrupted. Public transportation is very difficult, as Muslim drivers won't go into Christian areas and vice versa. The same for Okada riders. People try to find out the religion of the motorcyclist before engaging them for a journey for fear of being kidnapped and killed."

This is an example of the enormous level of mutual xenophobia that can develop between two ethnic or religious groups.

You might think that Nigeria is very close to civil war, and many people do think so, but Generational Dynamics tells us that Nigeria is actually very far from a civil war. (See "Basics of Generational Dynamics.")

Nigeria's last generational crisis war as the Nigerian civil war, or Biafran war, fought from 1967-69 between Muslims and Christians. The survivors of that extremely violent, bloody, genocidal war never want to see anything like it happen again. 40 years have now passed. The young post-war children are the Christian and Muslim gangs that are going out killing each other in gang fights. But as long as their parents are around, the gang fights will not take the next step into full scale civil war.

Additional links

The laugh of the day is from Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He condemned the brutal violence going on in Libya, and said, "How can a leader subject his own people to a shower of machine-guns, tanks and bombs? How can a leader bomb his own people, and afterwards say 'I will kill anyone who says anything?'. I seriously want -- from all heads of states -- to pay attention to their people and cooperate, to sit down and talk, and listen to their words. Why do they act so badly that their people need to apply pressure for reforms?" It's too bad that Ahmadinejad won't take his own advice and listen to Iran's people, instead of committing atrocities against them. Reuters

If Muammar Gaddafi is forced to flee Libya, and wonders who will take him in, one country that would have to take him in and provide refuge is Israel. Israel Today

Russia plans to evacuate hundreds of engineers working on investment projects in Libya, but it's not yet known how it will be able to execute the evacuations. Moscow Times

Bahrain is an island nation with only 500,000 citizens, so it's astonishing that more than 100,000 demonstrators packed Pearl Square in Manama, the capital city. NY Times

Tens of thousands of trade unionists in India, linked both with the opposition Communist Party and with the governing Congress Party, marched through Delhi on Tuesday, protesting high food prices. AP

According to a new study, the principal blame for the collapse of the Catholic mission to the Inca Empire in 16-17th century Peru goes to the policy of the Church itself, rather than to failings of the missionaries. Eurasia Review

It's been almost a year since Greece was bailed out by the European Union, and there is still plenty of discontent over the austerity measures that the government was forced to impose. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of union members attended a rally in Athens to protest the austerity measures. Violent clashes broke out. Some 15 policemen were injured, and nine suspected rioters were arrested, including a man who was allegedly armed with a longbow, arrows and an axe, police said. AP

I wrote last year about "The rise of left-wing violence around the world." No violence has yet occurred in the bitter union battle going on in Wisconsin but one Massachusetts Democratic party leader appears to be advocating violence. Rep. Michael Capuano is quoted as saying, "Iím proud to be here with people who understand that itís more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary." The Hill

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Feb-11 News -- Clashes in Jos, Nigeria, pit Christians against Muslims thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Feb-2011) Permanent Link
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