Monday, February 6, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: The Dangerous Criminalization of Fulani Ethnicity

Good day everyone,
It is important to note that those who blame Pastor Johnson Suleiman, should first of all blame and caution the leader of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, who justified the southern Kaduna killings on the ground that it was a retaliation of the 2011 killings. This he clearly and brazenly stated on a national television, and no one saw something wrong with that. Or does justice entail taking the laws in your own hands. He who wants to stop a fight MUST first of all stop FINGER POINTING.
On Sat, 2/4/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <> wrote:

Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: The Dangerous Criminalization of Fulani Ethnicity
To: "USA Africa Dialogue Series" <>
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2017, 8:30 PM

Many thanks Prof
for this timely intervention. I'm
sure that apart from that "ignorant
and hate-filled preacher by the name of Apostle Johnson
and some
members of his
good-hearted person is with you on this one.
Johnson Suleman , in
the name of Jesus or even in the name of common sense, ought
to know better.
Nefesh is a very high ethical value common to some other
non-satanic religions such as Islam (Surah
Al-Ma'idah ayat 32) -
it's Ahimsa
in Hinduism (which
sees beef - from Fulani
cattle for
example – as
murder –
the murder of holy
mother cow and
children – indeed " no beef" is the universal Hindu
but this
non-injury to
others in thought, word or deed, is taken to an
from which the ethic probably entered Hinduism and
that compassionate, caste-less religion which for
once, doesn't talk
about God, Buddhism.

But first things
first :
The Nigerian media/ social media of which you speak and
which is
guilty of orchestrating this malicious campaign against the
without discrimination labelling everybody "Fulani
should be brought to order – this kind of hate speech and
should be criminalized and brought to
The media's
hysteria in
classifying the Fulani people with one brush fits all :
herdsmen" and thereby promoting a witch-hunt of the people
demon-ized. " Are you Fulani? " - Yes ? – stand over
there -
(thinks, he must be a Fulani herdsman or one of the
- "Constable – here is one of them..."
Time for one more
of what I
hope is not an "anecdotal
irrelevancy" or worse still lashon
hara :

The persecution of
Fulani herdsmen reminds me of an incident with my late best
Dr. Mikhail Tunkel (a dentist, of Lithuanian parents but
born and
raised in China, in Harbin, before emigrating to Israel in
1952, at
the age of thirty four) he sometimes liked making dramatic
statements, I thought just to get attention. We were at a
festival at Kungsträdgården, had some beautiful female
company -
it started to rain suddenly so we had to rush indoors to the
Restaurant and no sooner had we sat down than he announced
it : "All
Germans are Nazis!"

" All?", I
asked him in
disbelief and this was in the autumn of 1999..
" Yes, All
!" he
snapped back and wiped his moustache with a serviette,
dumped it on
the table and went on to tell his tale : He had visited a
doctor for a check-up - he said that soon enough the doctor
identified his blood as being Jewish and from that point on
doctor pretended that he couldn't understand
Tunkel's German – as
if Tunkel's German was so awful - and that the doctor
then started
speaking a strange German to him, started some kind of
speaking-in-tongues, the doctor started mocking him by
speaking some
kind of garbled, fantasy Yiddish
and gave us the impression that from Tunkel's point
of view he
could have been speaking Greek or Nigerian English as far as
he was
concerned and was beyond comprehension. Sill enraged,
"Was that
not Nazism in action ?", he appealed to one of the ladies
in our
company (one Kerstin Eriksson) no doubt to get some
sympathy. In my
opinion the doctor in question was obviously practising a
rabid form
of anti-Semitism and possibly a Nazi, but why Tunkel bought
matter up then , is still a mystery. Perhaps his memory had
stimulated by the Klezmer
And so it is, that
a victim
that has once been bitten by a Fulani herdsman or his
bodyguard may
erroneously believe that ALL Fulani people are
Of course, I can
someone like Fathi
Hammad , also variously guilty of incitement

this Apostle-pastor
Johnson Suleiman (in
link heard
preaching murder)
should be arrested – by the state police - for hate speech
and for
incitement to murder his fellow citizens most
of whom are
organic members of the communities in which they
Sheikh Anta Diop refer to the Fulani people from Mauritania
to Lake
Chad, as one of the lost tribes of Israel? The Fulani people
Islam to Sierra Leone , all the way from the Futa
Jallon in Guinea. Gambia's new leader Adama Barrow
is Fulani.
The greatest Fulani hero of all time is undoubtedly Shehu
Usman dan Fodio (r.a.)

On Saturday, 4
February 2017 08:40:31 UTC+1, Farooq A. Kperogi
wrote:My column in
today's Daily
Trust on Saturday:
By Farooq A. Kperogi,
The Nigerian mass media—and the online
echo chambers they have spawned on social media and
elsewhere—have normalized the pathologization and
criminalization of the Fulani ethnic identity through their
popularization of the odious "Fulani herdsmen"
collocation. Criminalizing and pathologizing an entire
ethnic identity is often the precursor to
That's why an ignorant and hate-filled
preacher by the name of Apostle Johnson Suleiman could
glibly tell his church members to extra-judicially murder
"Fulani herdsmen." "And I told my people, any Fulani
herdsman you see around you, kill him," he said in a
widely circulated video. "I have told them in the church
here that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake,
kill him, kill him! Cut his
Before I am misunderstood, let me be
clear that I am not defending, excusing, or minimizing the
mass murders attributed to some "Fulani herdsmen" in
Agatu, southern Kaduna, and elsewhere. No human being
deserves to be killed by any group for any reason. For as
long as I breathe, I will always defend the sanctity of
human life. That's why, although I'm not a Shiite, I
came down very hard on the Buhari government for its
horrendously bestial mass slaughter of innocent Shiites in
But we can condemn a wrong by a people
without tarring an entire community numbering millions of
people across vast swathes of land in West Africa with a
broad brush. The Fulani people are far and away the most
widely dispersed ethnic group in West Africa. And, although
they dominate the cattle herding trade, they are not all
cattle herders, and most cattle herders aren't violent and
murderous. Nor are all cattle herders
Most importantly, though, although
"settled," urban Fulanis are mostly Muslims,
cattle-herding Fulanis are mostly neither Muslims nor
Christians. Their whole religion is usually just the welfare
of their cattle. In addition, cattle-herding Fulanis don't
recognize, much less have loyalty to, Nigeria's prevailing
geopolitical demarcations. In other words, they are not
invariably northerners.
So if they have sanguinary clashes with
farmers, those clashes aren't instigated by religion or
region. They are just age-old farmer/herder clashes. I
admit, though, that it isn't just Middle Beltan and
southern Nigerian victims of farmer/herder clashes that use
the lenses of Nigeria's primordial fissures to gaze at
Fulani herders; northern Nigerian Muslim politicians,
especially those that have a Fulani bloodline, also use
these lenses to defend and protect their "kinsfolk,"
often ignorantly and
In 2000, for instance, General Muhammadu
Buhari traveled all the way from Kaduna to Ibadan to protect
Fulani herdsmen who were at the receiving end of retaliatory
killings by Yoruba farmers. Governor el-Rufai is also a
self-confessed Fulani supremacist who once threatened
retaliation against other ethnic groups on behalf of Fulani
herders. I think it is these sorts of misguided
parochialisms that conduce to the conflation of Fulani
herder identity with the identity and divisive politics of
urban northern Nigerian elites with tinctures of Fulani
But this is all wrong. My late father
was raised by Fulani herders for the first 12 years of
his life. I also have adoptive full-blooded Fulani cousins
who were raised by my grandfather and my paternal aunt. They
were abandoned at birth in the hospital when their mothers
died in labor in my hometown, and they were adopted by my
grandfather. That was not unusual in my community in bygone
days.  So when I talk of cattle-herding Fulani people, I do
so with the benefit both of personal experience and
scholarly immersion into their life, history and
The Fulani nomads who destroy
communities throughout West Africa, not just in Nigeria,
don't have any sense of rootedness in any modern
nation-state. They are, for the most part, untouched by the
faintest sprinkle of modernity, and owe no allegiance to any
overarching primordial, regional, or religious identity.
That's why they are called transhumant
But there are also bucolic Fulani
herders who plant roots in communities, live peacefully with
their hosts, and even speak the languages of the communities
they choose to live in. In my hometown, the Fulani are so
integral to the community that the king of the Fulani, who
is appointed by our emir (who isn't Fulani), is part of
the 7 kingmakers that elect a new emir. These rooted,
bucolic Fulani herders are often exempt from the episodic
communal upheavals that so often erupt between sedentary
communities and itinerant
I recall that there was a particularly
sanguinary class between Fulani herders and farmers in the
early 1990s that caused so many deaths in western Borgu.
Farmers chose to retaliate the killings of their kind and
organized a well-planned counter attack that caused scores
of itinerant cattle herders—and their cattle—to be
killed. What was intriguing about the counter attack was
that the farmers spared all settled Fulani herders. They
told them apart from the transhumant herders because the
local Fulani spoke the local language. Ability to speak the
local language indicated that they weren't the
"citizens without frontiers" who unleashed terror
on farming communities.
 A similar incident happened in the
Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State in 2000. In the retaliatory
attacks against Fulani nomads who killed farmers,
Yoruba-speaking Fulani cattle herders were spared. Like in
Borgu and elsewhere, bucolic Fulani herders are intricately
woven into the fabric of the communities in which they
I am saying all this to call attention
to the reality that farmer/herder clashes aren't
north-south, Muslim-Christian or ethnic conflicts. The
Fulani who have lived in the south for ages don't see
themselves as northerners living in the south—and they are
NOT. In any case, they've lived there prior to the
advent of colonialism that invented the Nigerian
nation-state. Notions of southern Nigeria and northern
Nigeria are colonial categories that have little or no
meaning to both the bucolic Fulani nomads who live
peacefully with their hosts and the blood-thirsty, marauding
citizens without frontiers who inflict violence on farming
communities all over West Africa, not just in southern or
Middle Beltan Nigeria.
So which of the two categories of Fulani
herders do the Nigerian media mean when they criminalize
"Fulani herdsmen?" And which one does Apostle Suleiman
want his church members to murder in cold
But it gets even trickier. Sometime in
2003 in Gombe, itinerant Fulani herders called
the Udawa killed scores of farmers most of whom
were ethnic and linguistic Fulanis. Former Governor Abubakar
Hashidu had to request federal military assistance to
contain the menace of the Udawa. Similarly, hundreds
of Hausa and Fulani farmers in Nigeria's northwest get
killed by transhumant Fulani herders every year. But such
stories don't make it to the national news because it
isn't "newsy" to read about Fulani herders killing
Fulani farmers.
The media have a responsibility to let
the world know that it is transhumant herders with no sense
of geographic rootedness that are drenching communities in
blood, not all "Fulani herdsmen," many of whom are
peaceful, organic members of the communities in which they
Related Article:"Fulani
Herdsmen" as Nigeria's New Devil Term
Farooq A. Kperogi,
ProfessorJournalism & Emerging
School of Communication &
MediaSocial Science
Building Room 5092 MD
2207402 Bartow Avenue
State University
Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
Personal website: www.farooqkperogi.comTwitter: @farooqkperogAuthor of Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms
of Nigerian English in a Global World

"The nice thing about pessimism is that
you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly
surprised." G. F. Will


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