Posts tagged ‘Books’

Achebe’s “The king is naked”

I guess it all boils down to who you consider yourself to be. Or, as Micheal Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11) would say, on who your daddy is. I never considered myself as part of the people so the idea that the people considers me as one of its own never had much appeal. Which is why I don’t particularly jump up, as if somebody has shoved hot stuff under me, when the subject of “hizbu” is brought up. Even if the vulnerable among them break my heart as much as the next Ethiopian. Citizen of the world, is how I like seeing myself as. Or … another member of the human “go’T”. If you go bullying around, you won’t be my friend. Whatever name you go by, whichever country you vote in and whoever your daddy may be.

Individuals, I can stand. Individuals, I can even bear to be around. Maybe not for 24 hours but for a reasonablly long time. Hearing their woes, holding their hands, listening & understanding (judging, devising, psycho-analysing). Because individuals are just another me. They may look mighty and detasteful in groups, but alone, they are vulnerable & earthly — sometimes not even a match to the sister ;). (Yes, I’ve been told I can be a control-freak sometimes)

But groups…, groups make me feel sick. Because groups are usually stupid and illogical. Groups laugh at bad jokes, taunt the vulnerable and stand together no matter what. What’s worse: they take pride in it! Which is why get-togethers and meetings are the most agonizing moments of my life. Because I have to kiss them, ask after them and their family.

So yes.. this is another point Dostoevski, or atleast one of his characters from “The Brothers Karamazov”, and I don’t see eye to eye on.

This all doesn’t mean, ofcourse, that I won’t (theoretically, atleast) die for “the hizb” if need be and think “the hizb” knows best. I would & do all that, inspite of the silent hatred I harbor for them. And inspite of the silent hatred they would harbor for me when finding out this is what boils beneath the friendly abesheet exterior. And everybody harbors for everybody else when they aren’t standing together and referring to themselves as “egna”, like some member of the Moa Anbessa Yiddish clan ;)).

And, like all those in a love/hate relationship, or in a relationship (period!), nothing more I enjoy than talking and reading about the short-comings of these very “hizb” I would, theoretically, die for. And Chinua Achebe’s “A Man of the People”, is full of it.

Odili Samalu, the narrator, is a high school teacher and an ex-member of the P.O.P (People’s Organization Party), whose life completely changed after a reunion with his old teacher and Minister of Culture: Chief the Honorable M.A. Nanga. A man, Odili tells us, “who had used the people’s opposition (to white colonization) to enrich himself” and “is one of those who had started the country off down the slopes of inflation” yet is loved by the multitude so much they would “dance themsleves lame” every time he makes an appearance. For the next 150 pages, Odili (with his “sardonic sense of humor” and unruffled-by-illusion look, sometimes, at his own vanity too) shows us just how much the people deserve their government. The concluding paragraph says it all:

Overnight everyone began to shake their heads at the excesses of the last regime, at its graft, oppression and corrupt government: newspapers, the radio, the hitherto silent intellectuals and civil servants – everybody said what a terrible lot; and it became public opinion the next morning. (more…)

June 11, 2008 at 11:56 am 2 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

Life quote:

"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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