Yet the mere existence of
Saharareporters seems to offer a significant glimmer of hope to the
people of Nigeria. That these brave volunteer journalists haven't been
simply hustled off to the nearest dungeon would appear to be a sign that
there remains a reservoir of goodness and decency inside the country
that is merely covered with the veneer of institutional abuse. Clearly,
the exposes that they are publishing on a daily basis are uncomfortable
to certain people, and those individuals cannot look forward to what
each new day must bring on the front page of the increasingly popular
Yet the struggle is merely beginning. Perhaps the sting of these young
gadflies has yet to fully penetrate the tough old hides of their prey.
It may be that it is only a question of time before some excuse is found
to turn the letter, if not the spirit, of the law into silencing these
independent voices. The fact that it has not yet occurred on a systemic
basis can either mean that the fight is being won one expose at a time,
or that the forces of reaction have not yet bestirred themselves. One
can only hope that it is the former and not the latter case which is
taking shape in Nigeria today.
Of course, if Saharareporters were just a single straw in the wind, they
might be facing a much different environment. A whole new wind is
blowing worldwide, however, and a new community of support and
encouragement is watching the birth and growth of countless similar
endeavors worldwide. When people ask what they can do to help fight
injustice and corruption in the world, the answer is simple: let
everyone know that you are reading the reports from the Sahara Reporters
in Nigeria, as well as their compatriots laboring away everywhere else.
It's an easy thing to do and heralds the hope of great changes for the
better in a troubled world.