Its another cheery Monday, and therefore, a very fine time to throw punches at our cherished social norms. So, let’s start off with this insignificant news item from last Friday that still has many Nigerians mystified: the President paid a surprise visit to the Nigerian Police College in Ikeja, Lagos.
But, as the constant readers of this blog will tell you, we try not to take things at face value on this blog. Accordingly, we are intrigued that the President’s sudden visit to a long forgotten institution has to be—for want of a more appropriate term–-coded. There shouldn’t be anything to hide, really. But the nature of the visit, the suddenness of its occurrence, and the general distrust we have for our leaders suggest that the President’s visit has more to it that meets the eye. In fact, it must have involved a very very pressing matter.
Of course, the President must be worried sick about the consistent welfare of our beloved police force. We all are.. Worried sick, that is. But, however innocuous his visit was, the fact is that the simplest governmental gesture cannot be trusted. So, we cynically listen to Abati’s praise of the event and draw our own conclusions: maybe the President went for a private meeting, at best; or at worst, someone is angling to for a major police college contract.
This reasoning itself is a consequence of our government’s attitude towards information feedback and appraisal. To translate that into blog English: the government doesn’t give two fucks about letting the people know what it’s up to. Policies, activities, decisions: there’s always something, somewhere, left unaccounted and unsaid. Instead, we have plenty hidden agendas and public denials. Therefore it becomes hard to trust the government. Turn on the TV and listen to a public officer speak, and you just can’t be sure he is saying the honest truth.
But we have little time to waste on government talk today. It is generally agreed that our government is fucked-up. The real problem is this: a fucked-up government is merely a composition of fucked-up individuals who have emerged from a fucked-up society. The people whom we elect into government publicly feed us with the same kind of crap we like served to us, hot and steaming, in our own private lives.
We are quite comfortable with deception—either in the name of government policy or spiritual authority. We lie to others and other people lie to us. Hereabouts, we are all public saints. Oh yeah. Especially when it comes to morals. We are all fine religious folks: we abhor masturbation, reject foul language, condemn abortions, ban porn, criminalise homosexuality, censor Big Brother Africa shower scenes, strongly oppose nudity in the media, crucify pre-marital or extra-marital sex and lie through our teeth with a straight face.
We have all managed to consistently project the hypocrisy of being so good and nice and saintly and Christian, without vice or sin or blemish. We are so spiritual, the situation would be outright hilarious, if not for the social implications. Especially when the evidence around suggests we are not. And yet, we all know the truth: we love the nasties. So, here’s some unsolicited advice: instead of clinging stubbornly to a false spirituality, why not just embrace the reality of the sin?
That ability to say: “Yes, I did it” takes some magnificent balls, but it can go a long way to making your life more peaceful. Cut out the crap and let the world know what you are, a character quite separate from what you hope to be. Tell the world boldly that you’re not above natural human desires and instincts, including drinking inappropriate amounts at the local nightclub and spilling it out all over the toilet seat.
And this is the moral for today: honesty is refreshing for the mind. You have no one to fear when you are an honest sinner, you have everyone to fear when you are a dishonest saint. And when we are done removing our individual self-deceptions, then we can then take a broom to our shitty government and clean it out properly.
Hello again, folks! This is our first post in 2013—no thanks to our entry into a state of catatonic shock upon seeing the rancour generated in the last week over Forbes’s ranking of Nigeria as one of the saddest countries in the world. Apparently a lot of people take Forbes seriously, and even lots more take the emotional state of Nigerians seriously.
Struggling out of that impromptu brain freeze, we’ve wandered with fine female forms in little or no fabrics to wash away the sour taste of social inanities. And now, fully refreshed from those shenanigans, we are apologetically ready to meet our blogging obligations. So, again, here’s our first post of 2013. Word of warning: next week, we will resume our scheduled Monday contraptions; but meanwhile, today is as good as any for a little finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and remembering our dearly beloved armed forces.
To kick off today’s Sermon on the Screen, let’s start with the life and times of Pieter Willem Botha, the pessimistic one-time ruler of South Africa and all-time pain in the neck of the United Nations. But before we begin our biographical perambulations, let’s be clear on the fact that this Botha dude was an asshole, and on this blog, we don’t admire assholes.
And so when, sometime in 1985, Botha took a knife to the throat of the entire black race, in a sour speech you can read here, no one was particularly surprised by the wholesome sentiments he expressed. Like we said, the dude was a freaking asshole. Right up till he died, the guy just didn’t give a fuck about what people think.
However, anyone who speaks the truth, including an asshole like Botha, deserves to be listened to—occasionally. And as we begin a new year, starting off with resolutions and dissolution, a line from Botha’s tirade should strike a chord of truth. Speaking of blacks, Botha says: “And here is a creature that lacks foresight…. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year….”
However, because we are happy people in this part of the world, and because we don’t want our dear readers feeling depressed, let’s just ignore Botha’s annual limitations and the findings of the researchers at Legatum, and get on with our merry Armed Forces Remembrance Day. But, wait, just before we do that, here’s another homely gem from kindly Botha: “By now everyone of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex.”
So, now, let’s talk about the guns, and the significance of today’s date. January 15th is marked in Nigeria as a reminder, to would-be rebels, that on January 15, 1970, to finalise the fuckery that was called the Nigerian Civil War, the Federal forces of Nigeria whipped the Biafran troops right and proper—and are ready and prepared to do it again at any time. At any freaking time, whether it is called a civil war or a protest.
Today is another indication of the mental direction of modern Nigeria: a day is celebrated, not to mourn the people who died in the Civil War, but to celebrate the bullets that shot them. Give them guns and they will kill each other, was what Botha said. He might also have added “And they will also celebrate the killing and the guns.“ What is today? An anniversary created by a military regime and continued by a supposedly civilian governments. The irony of celebrating the Armed Forces, not for defending Nigerians against external aggression, but for killing Nigerians internally, unfortunately, is lost on Nigerians.
And here’s the lesson of today: maybe we just don’t care about the whole bowl of fish. After all, how does that satisfy our hunger? How does it fill our wallets? What has the remembrance or non-remembrance of the victims of the Civil War got to do with our continued ability to “make noise, dance, marry many wives and indulge in sex”? If you reply “Nothing”, you’re correct.
Keeping in line with this blog’s tradition of reminding you about things you’ll rather not discuss, today, we launch into a subject sensitive to almost all of our readers. This is an issue that has brought down civilizations, sparked wars, unseated leaders, ignited unprecedented passion and terminated numerous promising romances. Today, we will be discussing the–
You see, soon as a person regrettably leaves the twin fun houses of home and school, and gets employed in another person’s establishment, his (and even more often, her) life begins to revolve around the Salary. As a typical salary earner in a metropolis, your life is doomed to waking up at 5am and if you’re lucky, sleeping at 11pm.
Sleep, which you always mistreated as a teenager, is the first to take a walk out of the door. And if you want it back, you had better behave well. No more late nights parties on weekdays, no more reading novels till 4 in the morning, no more catching up on your daily dose of 24. No more sex till daybreak. All that time is now needed to sleep and generate the energy needed to produce the Salary. Suddenly, you begin to use the phrase “no time”–and you freaking mean it.
Whether you agree or not, the Salary becomes the the real Mammon, the master, the motivator, the challenger. Those species of humans referred to as “self employed” may take their pleasures in counting profit and losses, but for us earners, the “Certainty of the Salary” is to be worshiped above all other gods. Thou shalt not joke with the Salary, for every cent counts.
Children and teenagers don’t give the Salary much thought, its not strictly their life concern. I was also a typical child and a typical teenager. I didn’t understand the dynamics of the Salary and always thought my parents were unfair tyrants who wouldn’t spare some small change. Until I got out of school and got employed myself.
Job interviews and recruitment process could be less tedious if everybody just said the truth. I don’t know why people get all “great organisation”, “excellent team spirit’, “positive blah blah” during job interviews. All those lectures by motivational speakers on how to handle interviews is pure boolsheet. The interviewer knows what you want, and you also know it. Like sex between your parents, even if you ignore it, you still know that’s the only reason you’re here in the first place.
And once you land that salary spinner you’re after, you begin to tick on each passing day that draws you nearer to that golden 31st when you get the cheerful “Account Credited!” from the bank and not the usual “Debit Notification”. The worst month is a 5 week month. Never mind that its still the same 30 or 31days, it will always seem so long and so slow until you just want to shoot the calendar. But hopefully, just before your colleagues begin to smell your hunger, the ever welcome bank alert will pop in and you forget can forget your worries for a few more weeks.
Those self-employed folks may not look forward to the end of every month with orgasmic anticipation like the rest of us, but at least they have one particular consolation.
Today’s lesson begins with a flashback to pre-colonial Africa. For those of you who skipped secondary school history classes for bathroom sex, what is called Africa today was once a continent of several civilizations and empires. These empires and civilizations had fine standing armies, highly developed cultures, hypocritical religious creeds and even functional and corrupt bureaucracies–all without European intervention.
Well, those sneaky Europeans, having squandered their natural resources on inter-tribal warfare, decided to come and help themselves to some of the takeaway from the free-for-all party jam going on in Africa. First, they set up shop and started by trading for gold and other rich resources–when the profit and loss account didn’t satisfy them, they then moved to purchasing the people themselves. The Africans, nice folks that they were, obliged the Europeans. After a few centuries of, mostly, conflict free trade, it hit the Europeans that they were wasting valuable pounds and dollars buying human and natural resources when they could simply exchange their tenant status for that of a landlord and own everything: land, humans, and resources.
The Berlin Conference of 1884 gave birth to Europe’s follow-my-customs-or-eat-shit programme referred to in polite circles as “colonization”. But Africans weren’t taking any of that nonsense. It was one thing to trade, it was another to be governed. Across Africa, from Egypt to the Cape, the rallying cry was “Occupy!”. Well, not exactly. In fact, it was much more worse than any Occupy Protest.
As nice and commercially inclined as these pre-colonial Africans were, they were also fierce warriors and soldiers, defending their wives and property with the fury of a castrated celebrity porn-star. They honoured and even encouraged death on the battlefield (modern terrorists are mere copycats), and a woman who had lost sons or a husband to war was a proud one. Cowards were ostracized and anyone who was not prepared to die for his land was a bastard. But despite this solid patriotism, the Africans lost the wars for their land principally because of lesser firepower and the activity of the cowards and scoundrels among them.
While some Africans were busy physically fighting off and terrorizing the Europeans, others were preaching peace and acceptance of European customs and religions. These cowardly peacemakers were educated in European ways and history and given authority to govern their fellow Africans under the shadow of the established colonial government. Africans who kept fighting against the government and who tried to reclaim their land were killed off, exiled or locked up in jail.
In obedience to the laws of natural selection, the brave and stubborn ones died off with their brave and stubborn genes, while those who accepted European authority went on to become educated Christians or tolerated Muslims. And because whether cowardly or brave, people will always have sex, these cowards went on to reproduce their genes and today their descendants are spread across the country. Essentially, every post-colonial African today is a descendant of one of those cowards or scoundrels that refused to die rather than give up their authority. We are the sons (and daughters!) of cowards and scoundrels. Once in a while, though, remnant genes from the brave Africans show up.
Unfortunately, the now pervasive cowards-in-authority are always quick to wipe out such resurrections.
I like the Yoruba concept of God. It is possibly the best religious interpretation of God closest to my idea of what (or whom) God is. The Yorubas call God “Olodumare” — a name that suggests unending possibilities of the being’s essence.
According to those who do that kind of research, Olodumare is “the least mentioned and most worshipped force in the Yoruba religion”.
You would think Olodumare would get pissed at this non-worship. But the dude is too cool to care. Afterall, humans are puny creatures he made on one of his more boring moments. So Olodumare leaves all the ritual, worship, shrines, temples, and other religious humbug to the lesser dieties to scramble for. Olodumare doesn’t need followers, he doesn’t get angry, or jealous, or vengeful or worried or possess any other human emotional attribute which the Christian God and other major religious Gods are subjected to. Olodumare does not contemplate people’s reproductive (or misreproductive) habits.
Olodumare is divinity. He lets humanity handle its own affairs. He doesn’t cause floods or tsunamis–those are part of the natural order of things. And humanity is as subject to the vagaries of the Universe as a butterfly is subject to the vagaries of the forest. Except that humans have a brain–but the butterfly can also camouflage.
And that’s how God should be: awesome and remote. Not a petty, meddling, egoistic, praise seeking, interfering fellow.