Trust Nigerians to make light of even the hottest hot-button issues. We would hardly pass up on the chance to milk a few good laughs out of every situation. It makes no difference to us how terrible or extreme the situation in question is. For us, the laugh is always worth it.
Such was the case when the unfortunate news of some parts of the Island being flooded began circulating this weekend. As the news spread, I want to believe, Island residents must have expected compassion from fellow Lagosians. But, instead, they got wanton mainlanders who instead of showing support exploited the opportunity to mock them. Posting spiteful comments on social media and having a good laugh, unbothered by the seriousness of their plight. In little to no time than the news broke, we had a good old fashioned one-sided shade throwing session online. And, on the receiving end of the shade flying around, we had Island residents. Even with their most pressing challenge unabated.
In typical Twitter fashion, people have come out to criticize this ‘disgraceful’ act of poking fun at other people’s misery. Not mincing words as they came down hard on the shade throwing mainlanders, reprehending them for their insensitivity. Also, dispraising them for casting the first stone. But, here is the truth; mainlanders did not really cast the first stone. Even if they did, it wasn’t with this act. This feeling of animosity has been in existence for a pretty long time. How and why it came to be, I have absolutely no idea.
This is not to justify the unkind behavior of the mainland shade throwers. But you have to understand this. The unkindness of their response, I believe, was due to the actions of the ‘some’ of Island residents who unapologetically demean the mainland. Those who have by their patronizing words have created an imaginary caste system with Island residents seated atop. Explains why mainlanders decided to be savage this time around. Some dissatisfied mainlanders feel like they have endured this feeling of being condemned to the bottom of this imaginary caste system for far too long. The embittered mainlanders saw this as an opening to get back at the ‘overloads.’ Finally, their chance to touch the ‘untouchables.’
Of a truth, some Island residents can be unnecessarily condescending when talking about the mainland. I can very well assure, I am not speaking vaguely. I have experienced this first hand. Someone, an Island resident, in my presence, once told someone to his face, “I cannot come to that your mainland.” Wait. What? “…your mainland?” How and when did it become “your mainland?” Is it not supposed to be one Lagos? Now I see why these people chose to be uncivilized in your time of need.
Let me reiterate, there is no justification for this finding of fiendish delight in mocking those in trouble. All this explanation doesn’t change the fact that reacting in that manner was shameful and highly insensitive. A little bit of compassion, concern, and sensitivity would have been a better response. Two wrongs can never make a right. We understand some mainlanders are hurt. But, poking fun when people are stranded, losing property and are at risk isn’t the best way to clap back. You don’t hit a man when he is down. You don’t.
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