Where Is The Nigerian Half Of The Yellow Sun?
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It’s official … the Nigerian government is afraid of History.
I take that back … the Nigerian government is afraid of history that makes them uncomfortable. How else do you explain the Half Of The Yellow Sun debacle. This is a movie written by a celebrated Nigerian, directed by a Nigerian, shot in Nigeria with Nigerian actors and actresses. Plus the movies is about an actual Nigerian event.
This movie that is so Nigerian … has been shown in America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, even United Arab Emirates where they don’t speak English as a first language. But when it comes to showing it in Nigeria, people start trembling …. I mean the movie is so Nigerian that you expect it to be denied viewing in South-Africa over some flimsy yellow fever card excuse. But the only flimsy excuse is coming from our government…the Nigeria government.
The same government that a few days ago announced that they would be launching the first made in Nigeria car, which was meant to make us feel proud and patriotic … is the same government that is blocking a made in Nigeria movie from showing in cinemas. So now the only thing really Nigerian about the movie is the fact that it is a whole month late from its original April 24th release date!
At first we thought it was the naked sex scenes causing the delays, I mean for a country with so many churches, mosques and virgins
that just happen to be the most sexually active people in the world one would understand the concern. I mean we don’t want young children watching the movie and thinking about sex at such a young age although it’s okay to marry them off. I get that, but a little editing and blurring can fix that. But wait that’s not the issue!
The main issue is that the movie is actually talking about Nigerian history that wait for this … actually happened!
There is a fear that the movie will open up emotions amongst Nigerians and could potentially add to the Muslim versus Christian and North versus South tensions. For a few seconds that makes sense until you realize that the book has already been in Nigeria for years.
That’s like banning the movie The Passion Of the Christ but letting the Bible circulate. That is like banning poronography on DSTV but allowing the magazines on our streets. The levels of stupidity is so high it confuses me … unless they believe that Nigerians don’t actually read, in which case they should check out the number of pirated copies of half of a yellow sun on the streets of Lagos alone!
The other thing is that even if the movie is eventually released, only a few Nigerians will actually go to the cinema to watch the movie. I mean its not like we have thousands of cinema’s in the country, just a handful. At the end of the day 90% (no research done) of the movie will likely be illegally watched on mobile phones and no matter how much censorship occurs nothing can stop the viral spread of the movie.
So the whole censorship stance is a delay in the inevitable, the movie will be watched one way or the other from USB to USB. But the harm will already be done. The producers would lose millions of dollars thus driving home a subtle message that movies that address the uncomfortable parts of our National history are not welcome in Nigeria!
So if ever you needed proof that the Nigerian government wants to forget about what happened in the civil war this is it. Now I know people will say this has nothing to do with the government, but trust me it does. It smells of government censorship all over and is symbolic of the government’s stance on biafra … silence.
Which is the same way we address domestic violence, rape, and corruption, with an air of silence as if it never happened, too afraid to ruffle the feathers in fears that the chicken might wake up, not realizing that many of the errors we are making today are simply because we have not faced our past and have ignored our history.
At the end of the day HOAYS suffers from not just being made in Nigeria but being too made in Nigeria… being too real and being too true.
Written By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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