CONVERSATIONS WE WOULD RATHER NOT HAVE
If you thought that Brownites could not gather for up to five hours to discuss when it is not Senate, Congress or Hall Assembly Meeting, you must have thought wrong. The Liquid Network held their 15th network meeting on Saturday, 25th June 2022 at the Famewo Common Room, Alexander Brown Hall, but this time, with a new twist to it, as they tagged it “Conversations We Would Rather Not Have”. The event, which had more than 40 Brownites in attendance to discuss three topics: Jungle Justice, Abortion, and The Right to Bear Arms, started at 11 am and ended at around 4 pm with protests from its attendees, who were forced to cut their conversation short.
The Liquid Network is an organization with the tagline, “great people, great coffee, great conversations”. This tagline largely summarizes all they do. Regardless, we reached out to the Team Lead of The Liquid Network, Mr Obinna Amaji, to tell us a little about the organization and the event that was held on Saturday. Here is what he had to say:
“The Liquid Network’s motto, “Great People, Great Coffee, Great Conversations“, highlights the three things that mean everything to TLN. If we could put what we do at the Liquid Network into a sentence, it would be this: We organize events where people come together to share their ideas, opinions, and beliefs over coffee, as the first step to learning and positive societal change and a catalyst for critical thinking. More details about the organization can be found on our website.
The three-topic conversation that was held on Saturday was a truly beautiful moment. Within that threesome, we were able to talk and laugh, debate and converse, and think and hold up our thoughts to the light of reason. To describe those few hours simply, great coffee, really great conversations, terrific people.”
The event began with a conversation on “Jungle Justice“. Brownites expressed their different views, with certain sides claiming it was sometimes, a necessary phenomenon. Some others, however, were of the opinion that it was wrong as nobody would hold the mob accountable. It was an interesting conversation led by Miss Ogochukwu Jibuaku, a member of the Liquid Network.
The second conversation was one that was even more contentious – Abortion. Mr Ifeanyi Achife, who led the discussion, started by dividing the audience, asking them to sit according to their opinions: “Pro-life”, “Pro-choice”, and those who could not seem to choose a side had a category of their own, the “on the fencers”. This conversation was fraught with sentimental opinions and logical arguments as members of the audience in each category tried to explain their stance on the matter.
Notable from the pro-lifers was that according to science, life began at conception, and so abortion was killing even if we refused to call it murder. Some of the pro-choicers gave a counter-argument that regardless of whether abortion is called killing or murder, they still believed that women had the right to terminate unwanted foetuses. Some of the reasons the pro-choicers gave included the fact that women should be justified in killing unwanted fetuses as they should not be compelled to support another life with their bodies. They also added that the same reasons for which pregnancies from rapes and incest are made exceptions, also apply to unwanted pregnancies in general. The pro-lifers were of the opinion that efforts should be directed toward effective contraception, and not abortion on demand. The conversation was the longest of the three and had the most contributions.
The final conversation was on the right to bear arms and was moderated by Mr Mark Obeya. Diverse views were given on the topic ranging from how arms are needed to protect oneself because the “bad” people have them anyway, to how it was hard to regulate things, especially in a country like Nigeria. This conversation marked the end of the meeting.
The ABH Press reached out to attendees to hear their takes on the event:
“The meeting met all my expectations. It was really refreshing to have intellectual conversations with individuals that I respect and hear their thought processes and opinions. I have so much respect for the Liquid Network.” – Angela, MBBS 2K21
“I thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, I felt it took too long because we were discussing three rather controversial topics. I also felt that the last topic was not discussed exhaustively because of time constraints, so perhaps one topic each meeting will do. I look forward to the next meeting and great coffee.” – Olorunyomi, MBBS 2K19
“I think it was a good event. In this age of a lot of social media discourse, real-life discussions like that are essential. The discussions we had are no new discussions. They are discussions we have been having among faceless entities in the online space. I think having a discussion in a space that is conducive, not toxic is essential. The event also proved that real-life conversations are quite different from online ones and are better as you can attach the human element to the other side of the argument. It was also really nice; the environment, the coffee and everything. I would say that what The Liquid Network is doing is essential for the times we are in. We need to talk about these things, and we also need to talk about them in environments that are not so toxic.” – Lanre, BDS 2K17
The Liquid Network has gained more recognition in recent months as they discuss current happenings that Brownites can relate to, from “The Antivaxxer Phenomenon” to “Cancelled: How far is too far?” and most recently, “Of fists and words: is violence ever justified?” The organization also recently started sending out invitation cards to certain Brownites to request their presence at the network meeting, which has also helped increase their coverage.
In the end, “conversations we would rather not have” became “conversations we would not mind having” and while the event is over, many Brownites are now left guessing what the topic for the next network meeting would be.