Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Everyday Nigeria

Nigerian Helon Habila now teaches at George Mason University in Virginia. He commented that when [he] looks at American newspapers, magazines or Web sites, the photos he sees give at best only a partial view of the Nigeria he knows. Most photographers come to the country either to show poverty or political violence, he said, with “predetermination about what they want to find."

When we study government and politics in a country, we similarly restrict the image of the country. There is a lot of everyday life and non-political action.

I always appreciate a chance to "see" more. Mr. Habila helped choose photos for an Instgram feed, "Everyday Africa." They definitely offer views that can help us gain a broader perspective on Nigeria.

The New York Times blog "Lens" recently featured some of the photos from "Everyday Nigeria." They are worth a look and perhaps discussion.

Everyday Nigeria — Not Idealized, Not Debased
“They showed people just being people, without the intention, without the politics, without the biases — whether it’s positive bias or negative bias.

“It’s just people as they are, and I think that’s the way people should be seen, wherever they come from. Not idealized, not debased, but just people.”

-Helon Habila

Photo by Jane Hahn. A computer lesson remains on the blackboard of the Ali Al Yaskari primary school in Maduguri. The school, which already lacked desks and supplies, was attacked by Boko Haram in late March.

Photo by Andrew Eseibo. There are parks in Lagos, even if they are under bridges.

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