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The Object of Persecution is Persecution

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | September 22, 2009 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | September 22, 2009 |

Remember the District 9 discussion thread in which there was some minor argument over the portrayal of Nigerians? Some said that the film should not have used the Nigerian gangs so generically since it implied that all Nigerians were sociopathic cannibals living off the carcasses of the weak, whereas the message was intended to be that humans in general (rather than Nigerian gangs specifically) were taint warts. Other commenters argued that from their interactions with Nigerian gangs, they felt that if anything the film showed Nigerian gangs in a more positive than realistic light.

Well, the Nigerian Minister of Information has banned District 9 and has asked Sony for an apology, citing in particular the naming of the film gang’s chieftain “Obasanjo,” after the previous president of Nigeria. Just to clarify, that would be the same General Obasanjo who once got pissed off enough at a musician that he had the army beat the man, beat and rape his family, and kill his political activist mother by hurling her out the window of a commune. Even the Jonas brothers don’t deserve that kind of musical criticism.

It’s still a couple of years until the Minister of Information works overtime helping oversee the most corrupt presidential elections you can get without actually only putting one name on the ballot, so I guess he doesn’t have much better to do. I vote (get it? see what I did there?) for Sony to not just not apologize, but to deliver free copies of District 9 to any theater in Nigeria with the balls to show the film.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.