Posts Tagged 'death'

Point and Kill

By

Noel Ihebuzor

 

Point and kill

did not start here

but it is now everywhere here

in various forms

shapes and tastes

 

 

Ibari Ogwa tastes so different

from Abagana,

Abagana from Upper Iweka,

Upper Iweka from Ariara,

Ariara from Ibari Ogwa

 

 

Catfish hate catfish lovers

and other persons with sensitive palates

no need for them to worry

or be wary of

the new point and kill

 

the new point and kill experts

descend on bush meat

and grass cutters

after duty is done

when the cutting down

and slaughter for the day are done.

 

Young men with loud voices, drunk

on half defined dreams & ideas,

armed with belief and hope in excess

bubbling and foaming

like fresh palm wine

come to out to demonstrate,

 

They come out

to boldly ask why,

and how and when

fuelled by patchy tales,

about a past of suffering but of honor

of killings and rejection

and self affirmation,

 

 

 

Gladly the young men and women come,

spirits high, head high

The point and kill team deploy

pronounce the assembly illegal

order dispersal or “odawise”

 

 

The youths object, odighi eshi, and soon,

the point and kill commences

AK47s chatter and shatter

nzogbu-nzogbu chant dies

 

 

screams fill the air

live dreamers become dead heroes

on this painful lonely road

as confusion swells, an unending rain

of bullets

shatters body, bones and brain

 

Red flows freely

on the unequal field

on the pot hole filled streets

their stuffed gutters with no escape

the cream of a people,

scream and wither

 

Oyenusi and Anini

well robed, bound and roped

knew what was coming

still their frames shook and danced

exuded blood when the point

and kill team went to work

 

 

On this cruel road,

a steady stream of red

flows where bullets

flew and slew

soaking the land

 

 

For a few who walked this road,

their sun will never rise

in front or behind them again,

neither the half nor the full sun

neither will they see the mothers and aunties

as these wail

 

so many miles away,

in one lost rug suffocating room

some lost man

sticks some medal

on the chest of some other lost soul, for

pointing at and killing young men

but not their hazy dreams

which stream defiantly across

the midday mourning sky in quarters

 

 

Meanwhile in so many joints,

so many and same skies away

important minds dispute on which

point and kill tastes better –

Ibari Ogwa, Ariara, Upper Iweka

or Abagana?

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A song to the carnage on our roads

By

Noel Ihebuzor

Dead vehicles
death trucks, worn,

worn out carriages
running like out of breath

breathless, brakeless bulls
Dead dying traps recycled,
running, trapped on death traps
pitted, pitiless,
groves worn
bald tyres on tired bald roads
crater laden, pot bellied pot holes
weeping uneven surfaces
where contraptions,
whipped, harried and hurried
by death wishing twitching
death defying
handlers bundle
the living to early departures
leaving wails,
twisted wheels, weeping metal
and tangled weals
of sorrow behind

The First Casualty in Any War is ….

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

Aeschylus said that truth is the first casualty in any war. I disagree. Truths do not tell themselves. Truths are told by human beings. Lies, the antonym of truth, are also told by human beings. To tell a lie, a human being makes a first choice. That choice involves stilling the voice of conscience. It involves a deliberate choice to conceal the truth. It involves a deliberate choice to be dishonest. A deliberate choice to be dishonest implies the death of the human conscience. In any war, and at any of its phases, when men decide to tell lies and to raise the stature of lying, they are signaling that something – the human conscience – has already fallen casualty within them. The death of conscience then accelerates other deaths.

The first casualty in any war, indeed in any conflict, is therefore not the truth but the human conscience. The death of conscience then accelerates other deaths. Once the conscience dies, other deaths follow in quick succession and with depressing geometric progression. Conscience, ndo!

I look at Nigeria and marvel at the death of conscience in a number of persons who seek political offices. For such, democracy and elections are nothing else but conflict and war.  I marvel at the same death in their agents and their supporters. I marvel at the volume of lies that are churned out and hurled in the direction of the public, all meant to deceive and to confuse…and I am filled with a strong sense of dread. God save us

Readings and Reflections -26th Sunday ordinary time – on Sin and Death

By

Noel A Ihebuzor

The readings today deal with sin and its consequences, the first reading in particular. Sin leads to death. Iniquity leads to death, some slow on-set, some instant and some others gradual, and yet some others death by increment and accretion, often times invisible to the eye. And by death here, I mean death in its several forms – physical, emotional, spiritual, economic social and communal death. There is also the death of the conscience, a death that then unleashes other forms of deaths and which spawns unimaginable deviance. Sin and vice in whatever form lead to destruction, decay and death. In communities, they lead to a decline in social capital, the destruction of bonds, the extinction of trust, the erosion of values and the suffocation of good sense, decency, equity and balance. Bad becomes good, good is mocked at and derided, social pressure draws more converts to evil, evil is praised and sin and its proceeds are celebrated.  Man, “homo superbus” reaches for the dial on the control box and dims the voice of God, snuffs out the light of truth and puts shades on the candle of love. The voices of victims of violence and violations are choked, the innocent are injured by the mighty and impunity is unleashed and struts around a demoralized world.  Look around you for proofs of these very broad statements that I have made. The wages of sin is death. Whilst sin is a violation of God’s statutes, its immediate consequences are always social and are felt in the here and now in this material earth. For every sin, there is a spiritual loss followed by a socio-economic debit. When you sin you offend God and hurt man.

Righteousness redeems a nation and a people. It leads to life. Righteousness is simple. It simply consists in knowing God and in living His living and life giving words. The sinner who renounces his/her life of sin, of cruelty, of stealing, of lying, of defaming, of distorting, of purveying partial truths, and packaging opinions to the unwary as if these were truths and returns to God is readmitted to God’s favors and God’s love and to Life. But this return, repentance and reconciliation must go beyond theatrics and verbal display. Words accompanied by action, action driven by the spirit of God and His laws. Love God, Love your neighbor. If you love God, you will not break His commandments. If you love your neighbor, you would not cheat him/her, you would not tell lies against him/her. If you love God, you would not commit idolatry. Demoting God from the top of your value system is a form of idolatry. Putting money and power at the pinnacle of your value system is a form of idolatry as these become your new gods. These new gods lead you to all forms of aberrant and emptying behaviors – they lead you to things like election rigging, graft, rent seeking behavior, cronyism, grabbing public assets, false declarations, looting, importing sub-standard items, free-riding behavior, contract inflation, unprofessional project monitoring/evaluation, biased audits, skewed and dishonest Op-Eds etc. Let me give a very trivial example concerning love of neighbor – If you love neighbor, you will not drive in such a manner as to push him or her off the road, but most of us who come to public podiums to sound off on the ills of society do this on end! When last were you polite to the other road user? If you loved your neighbor, you would demonstrate courteous road behavior. In the work place, you would be polite and fair to all your staff, you would deal with an even hand with all. The second reading contains a listing of attributes that conduce to a life free from sin – humility, kindness, compassion, mercy, saying no to selfishness, resisting vainglory behavior and recognizing the needs and the rights of others.

Christ reminds us in very strong words of the need for a return to God in word, in truth and in action. His strong words underlie the importance of true repentance. The truly repentant reap the rewards of paradise. Let this assurance challenge and drive us to turn away from the evils and iniquities of this world.  Let it challenge us to reject the false and cheap values of the devil and to embrace the eternal and life giving values and laws of God, the summary of which are – the discipline and mastery of self based on and driven by a love of God and neighbor.  May we set about achieving this critical, live saving and spiritually elevating behavior change from this Sunday – and may God’s spirit guide, strengthen and animate us in this venture, Amen!

For Madiba – A clumsy tribute for one of our greats!

Noel A. Ihebuzor

madiba 2
some flames never die
some loves never end
some gifts never fade
some glows defy the coldest winters
some touches last seven lives and more,
like yours to a grateful world
that rejoices, weeps and
remembers, O Madiba, Great Nelson.
 
the flame you lit and then lent us
brightens dark souls,
illumines hearts filled with doubts and fears
burns and shines brightest today,
its tongue soared and sang sharpest
warmed our grateful hearts best in its last season,
Jee nke oma dimkpa asa!
This dying opens the doors
of a new life for you
and new hopes for a troubled world

Review of Kemi Ogunniyi’s “My Wife’s Husband”

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

Flash fiction as a genre is enjoying an amazing lease of life and burst of energy in Nigeria’s literary space. Kemi Ogunniyi’s “My wife’s husband” is one more manifestation of the blossoming creativity in this genre. A tale that probes relationships and loyalty, it packs a punch which is starkly at variance with its brevity.

The first striking thing about this work of art is its title, a title that sets the mind wondering whether one is engaging a work that deals with polyandry or one that suffers from some deliberate aberration in its title. When the reader emerges from the jolt caused by this provocative title, he/she then encounters a tightly told story of love where the lives of the living are tied up closely with the dead. The story of woman still in love with a dead man and the struggles of the man who loves her in the present to relate to her crisis and support her in the process is heart wrenching.

The story is compact and packed with “virtual” detail which the mind of the reader unpacks as he/she reads along. By exercising very controlled parsimony and brevity, Kemi provides space for her reader to fill out the unsaid and the unspoken – the death of a husband, the remarriage of the widow, the unhealthy love of the dead, the hallucination that comes with such obsessive attachment to the past, the long suffering of the present husband and the tragedy of dreams and lives shattered by sudden death. Kemi’s skill in this micro fiction lies partly in the space she allows us for these legitimate inferences. But beyond this, Kemi serves us a micro fiction at its very best –  a story with single focus but with multiple subterranean subthemes and streams all ambling along and supporting that single focus. The story’s denouement is startling, plausible and touching. The denouement I have referred to is not one of closure since it leaves the reader still asking more questions and wondering why! All of this is achieved in a prose passage of 309 words using a first person narrative voice where the narrator, despite his pains, manages to remain composed and dignified, thereby revealing his own capacity for empathy and love.

This micro fiction is a must read! May our land continue to witness the flourishing of creative skills of the type we have seen displayed by Kemi and ladies of her generation.

Noel Ihebuzor

And the Man died

Interesting reading – And the Man died Excerpted from Sahara Reprters.

Could the background to Soyinka’s article be found here


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