Reading The Thing Around Your Neck highlights the issues and conflicts in Nigeria. Specifically the conflict between the Muslims and Christians, the natives and the South and North. The short story, “A Private Experience,” highlights the deeply rooted issues between Christians and Muslims but the change in perspective once Chika and the Muslim woman attempted to gain refugee together. Boko Haram is one of the most well known, violent Muslim extremist group based in northern Nigeria with attempts to remove Western education. Religious tension between the two groups is a century old issue, being the leading cause for the 1967 Civil War and a height of religious violence in 1980 in Kano.
In May, a month after the terrorist group kidnapped 276 school girls, BBC published an article analyzing the question many Western countries have been asking, “Why Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram.” The issue goes further than the basics of this one issue; the government is not established enough to deal with such issues. Something important to note, is that both of these religious groups have been instigators in the fighting, while only one, the extremist Muslims, have been declared a terrorist group.
The short time shared by Chika and the Muslim woman are intimate, with hints of fear and pain. Both of them loose a loved one, and are burdened by the pain of their location, while fear what could happen. They are both innately aware of the horrible violence that has been brought upon the clash of these two groups. Yet, it should be noted, that most of this violence is instigated by extremists, or at least the one’s trying to dominate power. Boko Haram claims one of its goal is to gain political intention, but even when there was a Muslim president in power, the violence still reigned on.
For now, the best thing anyone can do is to get themselves educated. Adiche’s short story, such as “A Private Experience” gives insight into the complications of this conflict with emotional embodiment. Before understanding the issue, one must educate themselves on the ingrained societal and religious differences that cause this tension in the first place.