Taking Trouble SeriouslyTaking Trouble Seriously

Travels of trouble by Kole OmotoshoA READER complained that, contrary to his nature, Trouble has begun to take himself serious. After all, he came back to the country Naija to ridicule the various absurdities of Nigerian existence. Is he tired of laughing at the absurdity of greed and the absurdity of prayers? Talking about the absurdity of prayers, Trouble could not laugh when the owner of a mansion and the gang of thieves coming to rob the mansion engaged the prayer services of the same pastor? Mansion owner paid up front while the gang of robbers promised to pay on delivery of the booty. At the end of the day, when push came to shove and a bird in hand was worth two in the bush, the pastor prayed a draw prayer, which being interpreted means that the mansion owner would lose nothing in the robbery attempt and the gang of robbers will not be caught since they really after all robbed nothing.

And the absurdity of greed is to be greedy on behalf of one’s children and grand-children line without end. Like this life and the next rich enough man who stored riches for the next three lives of his grand-children on so on including 75 cars of various types for those grand-children. The Madman of Ado-Ekiti (definitely not the one you are thinking of ) who is one of Trouble’s highly valued informant, tells the story of a rich-rich man who was being buried in a six feet deep sized pit. The Madman intervened and questioned those in charge of the burial process where they were going to put his bank account, his various houses and his pleasure cars? Not the actual bank accounts and the actual houses and the actual pleasure cars but the documentations purporting to represent what he owned. After all, if he is to ask at the pearly gates don’t do you who I am he must be able to point to the documentations of his possessions on earth and say that is me! By the time the next generation came along who tells the rich-rich man that the cars he had accumulated for his grand-children would be of any use beyond being scrap?

What about the absurdity of political ambition? Democracy is sweet, don’t get Trouble wrong. There must be change. Not loose change, not small change, not the change you ask the buyer of beer and booli and guguru to keep. Real change. But without remembering what the French had learnt centuries ago that the more things change, the more they remain the same, we clamoured for change. And we got change. And things remain the same. Absurd yes, but funny? How can it be funny when awon agbalagba nyaka si ara won? Did you see that on television? One senator giving the other the Naija equivalent of the middle finger to the other distinguished senators? But the absurdity gets more bizarre! If there are two groupings (Unity Forum and Like Minds) in APC, are there three parties now or still one party? Especially if the leader of APC gives instructions and the two groupings ignore such instructions of APC, what is happening? And especially when Like Minds is getting dedicated help and solicitation from PDP the party from which many went to be part of APC. Is it still absurd when the change we get is PDP changing into APC garb and business as usual, thank you!!!

What about Trouble overseas? In South Africa, Omar Al-Bashir was ordered not to leave South Africa by a South African court. Then the South African cabinet helped him to plot his escape from South Africa. Absurd? Funny? There was some story that South African soldiers in the Sudan were surrounded while Omar Al-Bashir made his get-away. Africa South of the Sahara blood is thicker than ICC humanitarian justice water! But what killed Trouble came out of the United States of America. A church with its doors open and its congregation studying the Bible receives a visitor. A young white man armed joins the congregation and for one hour studies the Bible with them. Then, he declares his intention, abuses them all and begins to shoot them with life ammunition. He kills nine of them. Absurd? Funny?

What disturbed Trouble was the speed with which the members of the congregation and the members of the families who lost those nine individuals forgave the young white man who killed their fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters and children? It was absurd and not funny. Forgive some one who does not repent what he has done? Forgive someone who intends to do the same thing again? Why are black people always so eager to forgive others, especially white people who cripple them? In the United States of America? In the Republic of South Africa? Nelson Mandela spent his one term as president of the Republic of South Africa forgiving the apartheid personalities of South Africa. Tea with the wife of the inventor of the system, hand shakes with the ministers of the system, sunset clauses for the foot soldiers of the administration. Everything and anything they wanted they got. The question that remains is Who will begin the process of kicking supremacists into good manners? It is necessary to insist that those who have been oppressed must not forget; they must not forgive. They must vow to avenge themselves against all those who have done them wrong. This is the only way to put the fear of the Lord into those who presume to the ultimate of God on earth above everybody else. Caught without their guns and bombs and paraphernalia of violence, they are cowards, cowering cold and cringing and begging for mercy.

Much has been written about the Charleston church massacre. The governor of South Carolina has moved towards taking the flag flown by these cowardly white supremacists from the government house. Other states touched by the flag have taken similar steps towards phasing it out of everyday life. Most importantly, retail outlets that have distributed the flag have put a stop to selling it from their outlets. But for Alaba, the most important statement made about the incident is from a professor in one of the universities in the States. Clumsily expressed, it makes its point. Here it is: “It is time that blacks not be expected nor expect of themselves to set the standard for goodness and upstanding character in a society that regularly treats them cruelly.”

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