Chapter Five: Dating.
Aliya and her dad were football fans, Chelsea club although; Aliya was not as devoted to it as her Father (he once refused to eat when his club lost to Manchester United).
Here, Aliya tried to start a conversation on having a boyfriend at 16 with her father. At first, he was not paying attention as he tried to on TV, but it didn’t on and Aliya compared its state of unyielding to that of most of the ‘No testing TVs’. She knew she had to find plausible reasons for wanting to start a romantic relationship at her age. He had taught her the ‘Five why’ test: asking yourself ‘why’ five times to see reason. She could not find enough in her head. Mr.Bello asked her what they would do together. She provided: talking, and with some hesitation, she added, HAK (Hugs and Kisses) and KOTL (Kiss on The Lips) but he was not satisfied. He told her her path could be derailed as it was infatuation she felt at her age, and it could lead to distraction in her academics which was dangerous to her future. She felt unsure then if she had been infatuated with Bobo as she had thrown away the teddy bear after he had dumped her only for her to pick it later. She also remembered a time when he had been with Morayo and how jealous she had felt. Zak, the handsome and popular footballer once sent her a love note.
Again, he spoke of the cause of derailment which was gratification. He listed different desires for gratifications: cars, big houses, alcohol, boyfriend/girlfriend, designers etcetera; but he said that premature gratification, even if one had the money could lead to derailment. To wait and deny oneself till the right time when one was financially and more so emotionally capable was the best.
To get Mr.Bello’s attention, one just had to tell a story and Aliya told the story of some people caught having 53X (Sex) at night in the basketball court by the school’s security. They had been indefinitely suspended from the school. Aliya learnt from her father that the girl might have been one of the guy’s conquests and that he might never respect a girl who had let herself be sexed on a court, playing easy.
Mr.Bello got exasperated at her use of social media languages he could not understand. KPC (Keep Parents Clueless) included. He liked Fela’s music but his favorite was that of a Malian, Ali Farke Touré whose words he didn’t understand. Aliya could not make sense of this, but he told her not to mix up song and music, as the music was a universal language to the soul and not just the ears.
Chapter Six: Stereotype.
Aliya was said to be a day person. The easiest way of falling into trouble with Mr. Bello was for him to know one hadn’t said the morning prayers when the sun was up. Aliya’s parents hardly ever fought, but she knew, when her mother grew irascible while the man-with-a -missing-tooth carried on, feigning alright.
Rebecca, Aliya’s classmate had said all Muslims would go to hell (Aliya had been the only Muslim in the room) because they didn’t believe in Jesus and liked to kill. It had been during a Chibok girls’ conversation. Aliya would have hit the girl had she not be restrained, earning her the comparison to the case of the Danish cartoonist who had created a provocative video about Islam being a violent religion by her father. This video had led to retaliation, involving the loss of some lives. Her retaliation, just like the former would have reinforced the belief. Mr.Bello told his daughter her classmate had been stereotypical, as a killer was a killer and no true religion approved of the killing. Besides, if God wanted just one religion, he would have made it so. He compared this to the beautiful garden with different colors and flowers. Aliya still was not convinced, citing the terrorists; Boko Haram, ISIS, but he told her it was their selfish political agenda under the guise of Islam and fighting a Jihad. In fact, they bombed Mosques as well. Aliya was finally told by her father to be careful of falling into the trap of generalizing people (Muhammad Ali spoke against hating on the basis of color) as people’s thoughts were reflective of their exposure, and it was good to help others see another way of looking at the world.
Mr.Bello then told a story to buttress his point. It was of a white chief slaver and a black man. The latter, who had once been enslaved and tortured alongside his people by the former who was then in a bad physical condition as a result of a shipwreck that had claimed all other lives but theirs. To our surprise, the black man nursed his white captor who later inquired of him the reason he had not been killed. The black man had said it was not his duty to punish his sins but it was his duty to help another human who needed help. The chief slaver chose to find a cause in anti-slavery upon his return to his country.