Text messaging – it’s getting holy.
According to BBC News, last week’s deadly violence in Nigeria was instigated by defamatory text messages. The texts stated that Christians shouldn’t buy food from Muslims because it could possibly be poisoned. Muslims were also told via text that the governor had ordered their water supply to be cut off.
The death toll numbers haven’t been set in stone – however, Muslim leaders say 364 Muslims were killed and Christian leaders say 65 perished in the fighting.
The AFP news agency released one message, which stated “War, war, war. Stand up… and defend yourselves. Kill before they kill you. Slaughter before they slaughter you. Dump them in a pit before they dump you.” They also said that 145 of these incendiary messages were circulating the embattled city of Jos in Plateau State.
Religious leaders in the city have called for people to ignore the messages – as if they’ve heeded those pleas for civility in the past. However, it has been speculated that the violence is a struggle for political dominance and not just religion.
From the looks of these bogus messages, someone hates someone else for some likely inane reason – such as choice of religion. This scenario isn’t unlike the common denominator for much of the violence in this world; that’s axiomatic. Once again, this writer wonders if something that should be considered the ultimate oxymoron – religious violence – will ever cease. Perhaps I’m just too idealistic. However, with the new information about this fighting being instigated by text messages, I almost completely lose hope for the people of that particular area.
I just hope people much more important than me haven’t.