Life went on as usual. There was really nothing productive being done by the blacks to help the society we lived. It wasn’t our fault since the system alienated us. Since i had taken to writing articles in the newspaper, i started walking around Bijlmer to interview people. I would ask questions which half of the people were afraid to answer. Some thought that i was working for the Dutch authorities while some knew that i was working on liberating the mindsets of our people. We were being subdued on daily basis. We were relegated to the lowest level of humanity. The Dutch authorities had no respect whatsoever for the Africans. The police would burst our parties and arrest people, sent them to deportation camps and deported them without anybody protesting. Everybody was scared.
The Police would go to Churches and disrupt the services, arrest worshipers and send them to prison; nobody would say anything. The only place we protested was among ourselves. We would gather in beer parlours and condemn the acts but it usually ended there.
There was one incident that happened at a Church belonging to a Ghanaian man. The police had bursted into the Church and arrested people. The Church was located at a place called Verein Stuartveg. An African photographer known as Alhaji, was at the vicinity the very day they came to the Ghanaian’s Church. Alhaji had taken some pictures of the incident. The Dutch police had arrested him and seized his camera. They had also beaten Alhaji mercilessly for taking the pictures.
I had met with Alhaji at a hair saloon that belonged to an Igbo man.
Alhaji was a Ghanaian with Dutch resident permit, therefore i told Alhaji to get a lawyer and take up the case. Some other Nigerians at the saloon had told him never to try that. They were already defeated. That was how we lived in a society that didn’t know how we felt. We were the major problems against ourselves. Those who had legal documents believed that a God somewhere had blessed them and as a result, they should not even attempt to associate themselves with the troubles of those without documents. They never believed that injustice anywhere was injustice everywhere.
Despite Eastern Germany being known as racist area, Netherlands were the worst. I never witnessed such discrimination in all the years i spent in Germany. Of course discrimination existed in Germany but the authorities were very hard on it. The Bundes Government would punish any individual who racially discriminated against coloured people. But in Netherlands, it was the individuals that associated with the coloured people more. The government were the ones discriminating against the coloured. In many occasions, people had fallen from high buildings. It was rumoured that the special trained police pushed black people off the buildings sometimes.
In Bijlmer alone, i have seen and known numerous black men with clutches and broken legs and arms. When asked them what happened, they would tell you
They were pushed down from a high building by some men who covered their faces. The commando police squad usually covered their faces like terrorists. They never wanted anybody to recognize them.
I recalled one incident that happened in the very building where i lived. The building was called Kikkenstein.
On Wednesday 13 May 2009, A team of commando police raided the building. I lived on the 6th floor of the building. We woke up that morning to see a corpse behind the building. It was covered with white cloth. The cops had invaded an apartment at the 9th floor. No one could tell what happened. All we were told was that four people had jumped out of the apartment and one had died instantly. The rest were rushed to the hospital. News had filtered in that one of them died even before getting to the hospital. The government had sent black police men from Suriname to manage the crisis since they feared that the black community could revolt against white policemen who had apparently commited the invasion. Their excuse was that they heard that people were dealing on drugs inside the apartment.
I on my own side, knew that Nigerians were never silly enough to jump down from the 9th floor of a high rise building. It was unheard of. Nigerians loved life and would prefer prison rather than death. It was only the Arabs who could attempt such things.
The Question was , how could four young men jump down from a 9th floor? The answer was that it wasn’t possible.
Every single Nigerian i interviewed said that they would never even jump from a second floor let alone the 9th.
But who would talk for us? The people involved in the jumping were all from the same state. One was from Oraifite while the rest where from Nnewi, all from Anambra state. They were my brothers who left Nigeria to look for good life and money elsewhere.
I had instantly called for a protest walk to the police station at the Gazenhoef but people had asked me not to show myself too much or they would target me later. That was how we lived in a society that never wanted or liked us.
Back then in Nigeria, Shell oil company happened to be the largest. They declared billions of dollars in profits every year. They never cared about the people who owned the lands where the oil was being produced. All they cared about was to bribe our government officials who never cared about its citizens back home let alone those in foreign countries. Sometimes, i just boiled inside but there was nothing i could do. I remember going to Den Hague to complain some issues to the ambassador. The useless ambassador had advised me to stay out of their way and asked me to leave the embassy. There was nothing i could do except write my jokes. I exaggerated the everyday lives of our people through jokes but they never read the real meanings. They only read the jokes about what the tortoise said and laughed over it. I wondered when tortoise began to talk. That was our life in Amsterdam. That was how we lived. It was a pity.
” I’ve learned that people will
forget what you said, people
will forget what you did, but
people will never forget how
you made them feel.”