Reprisal attacks : a theological reflection of Genesis 34 on reactions to evil and human wickedness in Nigeria
Please cite as follows:
Ajah, M. 2014. Reprisal attacks: a theological reflection of Genesis 34 on reactions to evil and human wickedness in Nigeria. Scriptura, 113(1): 1-13, doi:10.7833/113-0-100.
The original publication is available at http://scriptura.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/100
Reprisal attacks have become a global phenomenon. In Nigeria, the post-election crisis of 2011 and the increased suicide bombings in 2012, which have wasted hundreds of lives and property, are some examples. Nigeria’s Muslims and Christians mostly co-exist peacefully but periodic flare-ups of sectarian violence and consequent outbursts of retaliation have killed hundreds since independence in 1960. This article presents the results of research on some of the reactions to evil and human wickedness in Nigeria’s multi-cultural and multi-religious environment, with particular reference to reprisal attacks. Using the tool of biblical theology, the article aims to proffer possible remedies to reprisal attacks by examining their nature, sources, legitimacy, and effects in the face of political, religious and tribal crises in Nigeria – in the light of the theological ethical considerations of Genesis 34. The tribal hermeneutics of the patriarchal narratives of the Dinah episode, presented Shechem as a city inhabited by the tribe of Hamor. Seen as a weak tribe, Dinah was aggressively assaulted by the tribe of Hamor. Consequently the tribes of Simeon and Levi wreaked vengeance upon the Hamorites in Schechem, in solidarity with their sister tribe Dinah. Unfortunately this bravery of the tribes of Simeon and Levi could only earn them curses and more troubles as an allusion of a final retaliation was meted on them by the Canaanites in the final words of Jacob in Gen 49. The article argues that reprisal attacks cannot forestall or address the socio-ethical problems of evil and human wickedness. The collective roles of the media, religious and governmental bodies, through an objective dissemination of information, and mutual dialogues, including policies that would minimize or check arms proliferation can be possible remedies to evil and human wickedness in society.