I had a wonderful Christmas. Had some "fam" from our church over, and just had a good ol' time with them. Talked to my grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins in Naija on the phone. Cooked. Ate. Laughed. Got some nice stuff.
After the festivities at my house were over I went to my best friend's house to do our normal gift exchange and then just hang out. I had some good Puerto Rican food over there (that's where her family's from). Anyways......we were talking and she got on her computer to check something. She saw a story on some kind of terrorism plot on her home page and clicked on it. I went to the screen and started reading it, and my jaw dropped as soon as I ran across the word 'Nigerian.'
My initial reaction was one of surprise and displeasure. "Oh no," I said. "Now Nigerians won't be known just for scams, but now for terrorism!" I was shocked to find that this man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted his plot on a plane landing in the Detroit Metro Airport, 5 minutes from my house. I groaned again. The plane was coming from Lagos, Nigeria after making a stop in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
After I got home and did more research, I learned that the man claims to be linked with al-Qaeda and said that he got the explosive in Yemen. I'm glad that the story ended the way it did, because if the man had succeeded, lives would surely have been lost.
But I can't help but think that people, if they haven't already, will begin to say, "Nigeria! Can anything good come from there?" As the Naija American Girl, I feel that I must do my own part to answer with a resounding "Yes!" But we have a long way to go before Naija gains a better reputation in the world. What I want people to know about this particular situation, though is that:
1. This man is a Muslim, but not all Nigerians are Muslims.
2. Not all Muslims are terrorists.
My Naija people, we need to showcase the great aspects of our home country. We do not need anymore negative stereotypes. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the 419ers are a disgrace to Naija and we can't let that continue to be the first thing to cross people's minds when they think of Nigeria.
I can't help but think that by his act of foolishness, Abdulmutallab has made things just a bit more difficult for Nigerians world wide. How many legitimate international businessmen will lose deals that they'd been working to seal? How many students will be turned away from universities abroad? How many people who would have otherwise gotten Visas will be denied? Sigh.......