Tragedies are not restricted to boundaries. Nigerian celebrities have a right to sympathize with people across the world.
Genevieve's online bashing is similar to what happened to Tiwa Savage when she supported the 'Black Lives Matter' movement last weekend after two African American men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile where gunned down by the police.
When the heat got too much for Tiwa Savage she had to write a statement concerning the issue. In her statement the Mavin queen said she has been vocal about Nigerian issues especially the Chibok girls Bring Back Our Girls movement and she has the right to speak about anything happening in the world because she is a global citizen.
"I didn't just hashtag I joined several walks in protest, used my voice as an artist and wrote "olorun mi" as a tribute to lives lost on the Dana crash and will continue to do many more as it is my duty as a Nigerian, a citizen of this world and a child of the Most High" she wrote.
It gets very predictable when a celebrity in Nigeria tweets or posts a photo about an unfortunate incident that happened in some faraway place that is not Nigeria. The flood of criticism will come thick and fast with accusations made about the person's patriotism or lack of it.
Do Nigerian celebrities have a right to comment or express their opinion on world tragedies while Nigeria gets bombarded with Boko Haram, herdsmen and militants? Should they forget about the troubles at home and carry placards abroad? From the surface it easy to throw stones at the rich and famous for tweeting some trendy hashtag than writing a statement about the killings in Benue. A deeper look however tells a different strory.
Within minutes of the Nice tragedy, the Western press started covering it and the hashtag #prayfornice was quickly formed. The reaction to sad events in the western world is dictated to a large extent by the press which delivers the core of the issue to the populace. The press in the western world identifies the victims and tells their story from an human interest angle. It will be pretty difficult for someone today in Angola not to feel some sort of sympathy for the 84 people who died in Nice.
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The media over there knows how to create a narrative of sadness, tragedy, love and sympathy for terror events. In our side of the world the media falls flat in creating this. No single media outlet in Nigeria failed to accurately report the details of the Benue massacre. It was first reported that 80 people were killed in the Benue killings by herdsmen. Days after it was later revealed that the number of dead people were 22. The discrepancy in the number of lives lost would make people lose interest in the sad story.
Let's face it we do not value human lives in Nigeria. 22 people were killed in Benue but where is the national outcry? Where are the protests? Most Nigerians are disconnected to Nigeria- this is a fact. The citizens of this country have an individualistic mindset. If 60 people die in Zamfara today, a man in Akwa Ibom will say "God will protect me and my family."
The people bashing Genevieve and Tiwa Savage most likely did not do anything when they heard about the killings in Benue. Most of them did nothing tangible when Boko Haram was ravaging the North but they believe that celebrities should be in the front line. This is an erroneous belief.
We are not sympathetic to the loss of human lives in Nigeria and the members of the fourth estate have failed over and over again to adequately cover tragic events in Nigeria.
Most importantly there is no crime if Genevieve Nnaji speaks on the killings in Nice, France. Her response to her critics highlights the fact that human compassion shouldn't be regional. "The idea is not to limit love and compassion but to limit anger and hate. What you let out in the Universe is what spreads. Everyone has a platform to effect change so pay good attention to what you do with yours. WE ARE THE WORLD therefore #changeisinourhands . The sooner we accept it the better" wrote the award winning actress.
Pain is universal as well as sympathy also.