This Is (Banned) In Nigeria

In the months since American rapper, actor, and general polymath Childish Gambino released his chart-topping track This is America – a withering critique of gun violence and racism in the US that went viral as a music video– dozens of local variants have sprung up around the world.


They range from comic parodies (“Eh, This is Canada, snow got us slippin’ up” and “This is Korea, kimchi got us slippin’ up”) to deadly serious remixes about Iraq, which takes aim at the US invasion’s devastating consequences, or This is South Africa, which addresses violence against women in the country.

The more hard-edged adaptations have doubtless rankled local authorities, but earlier this month Nigeria’s state broadcaster became the first – to our knowledge – to ban one of them, ruling that Nigerian rapper Falz’s bold critique of corruption, violence, and abuse of authority in Africa’s most populous country was “vulgar” and risked inflaming social and religious tensions. “This is Nigeria, everybody be criminal,” runs the refrain. Here’s a line-by-line, shot-by-shot breakdown of the video, from Quartz’s Africa team.

Why the ban matters: Early next year, President Muhammadu Buhari will seek re-election, despite concerns about his health, his mediocre stewardship of the economy, and his failure to stem rising sectarian and tribal violence. As the ruling All Progressives Congress struggles with defections to the opposition, Falz’s song addresses precisely the systemic issues that the authorities would rather avoid ahead of the vote.

Why it doesn’t: As of this writing, the video had garnered 13.5 million views on YouTube. How many of those views are domestic as opposed to foreign is impossible to say. But in a country that now boasts more than 100 million internet connections it’s hard to hide the picture of Nigeria that Falz paints.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreement about burden sharing has gained increasing salience in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 200 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least eight Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

More Show less

More Brexit shenanigans: Britons this week saw Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in upcoming elections. As a special bonus, they got to see Corbyn return the favo(u)r with a formal endorsement of Johnson. Most viewers in the UK will have understood immediately that these are the latest example of "deep fakes," digitally manipulated video images. The more important Brexit story this week is a pledge by Nigel Farage that his Brexit Party will not run candidates in areas held by the Conservatives in upcoming national elections. That's a boost for Johnson, because it frees his party from having to compete for support from pro-Brexit voters in those constituencies.

More Show less

80: More than 80 percent of the electronic voting systems currently used in the US are made by just three companies, according to a new report which warns that they are regulated less effectively than "colored pencils."

More Show less