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Category: RANdom THoughts by Nath( RANTH)

LiterarySaturday (LS): The Seizures

cricket-clip-art-cricket-clip-art-8I saw things, many things. Only me saw them. When I was a child. I thought they would go away all by themselves. With time. I was wrong. They kept coming back. Let me start with a magic. I will then tell you of my seizures. Only about my seizures. There was a game we played on any flat surface, with four stones or any other objects so small. So, it happened one stone fell and rolled under the bed. What I did surprised me: I wished the stone back to the flat surface, and it happened! I was still unsure if I performed a magic when mother’s money dropped on the floor. “Oh! My money just fell”, she said. Confident I could get back her money, I applied my magic formular, and it worked! “How did you do it?”, she wanted to know.”I only wished the money back into your palms, and it worked!”, I told her. Later I could understand my magic power. I could see things people around me did not see, there were times I visualised within me a particular moment, and just like that I saw it before me in the fullness of time.

I used to have seizures; my breathing has been bad since I was a child. Before every terrible moment when I got thrown here and there as is wont for a fistful rage, I saw it coming, only that I could not help myself. I saw animals and insects. There was a time I saw a pig; that was the last time I saw one before a seizure. Almost all the times I used to see a cricket, then one cricket became two, two three, and four, and five, then a crowd. Before I could say jack, I was foaming from the mouth. It was that bad. The crickets terrified me with their noise.

There were times I passed out, only to be revived when I heard mother’s cry; those were times when the agony of a mother brought me back. I am not sure I knew what agony was then, only that I did see mother dressed in rags, ashes on head, crying out her eyes to have me come back to her. On one side were beautiful children, smiling, almost jubilant, that they saw me, on the other side was mother in her condition. It often happened that the jubilant children became angry whenever I was not allowed to join them. “See, your mother is crying. Go back to her, you are not a wicked child. Or are you?“. Then against my will, and against the wishes of the spirit children, a force much powerful than my body brought me back to life.

One time like that, it was Yeye who brought me back. I had by then mastered the pattern. I was bent on joining the children no matter what. I saw mother crying. I cared less. I had seen before this seizure this would happen, so that I fortified myself against being impressed. Another plus for my decision, the force which always begged me to return was not present. While mother sorrowed to convince me on her own to come back, I was far gone into the world of the spirit children; our joy was beyond jubilant, I could not describe it. We went past gates. More gates opened to us. We strode on in pride; my own pride knew no bound because I was carried in a chair. Our path was lined with beautiful trees, some gave us shades and others fruits, there were flowers and butterflies of varying colours; their fragile wings were a wonder to behold. I bet no one would have wished not to carry on. I did not care anymore. It was not until I woke in mother’s arm I realised I did not make it this time around too. Of course I did not tell mother what happened. I was still in shock that I did not wake up where I had visualized before the seizure.

It was when she told me of Yeye’s exploit on reviving me it became clear who hindered my success. Mother’s eyes were pale and red from crying, she looked tired and worn out. I hate to see her this miserable. “I will leave you to rest a little now that you are out of danger, let me go prepare what Yeye instructed so you can eat. Close your eyes, no fears, ok? I will not be gone for long”. I wondered what she wanted to cook, I did not ask. I smiled at her love. It was a faint smile. She smiled back, and I saw love.

That was in the village. That night when I slept, I saw what shall happen when we return to Lagos, I saw mother was going to take me somewhere. For deliverance, I concluded. And she did. What I did not see was the detail of what shall happen on our  way to the Celestial Church of Christ. Allow me tell in brief what happened on the way. I am sure that is why I could not see it while I slept that night. Everything worked together for good, at least for mother; reason being that if I had seen this I would have wished away this Celestial Church visit. And I am sure mother would have been disuaded if I wished it!

Well, to cut it short, the journey was beyond rough, the molue that took us was overfilled, the passengers were most unfriendly, the conductor was a horrible being, he seized the slippers of a passenger who paid him half the fare and cursed him as he pushed him off the bus. He then threw the slippers out the window down the bridge, when the passenger was well out of sight. Almost immediately he picked a fight with another passenger. “You better pay in your own interest.” “And what will you do if I don’t?” The passenger was about to call the conductor bastard in another sentence when his own word stuck in his mouth. The conductor had responded to the first question; the response was short and weighty. “Kill you, of course”.

The whole exchange had been in Yoruba. The countenance of the conductor betrayed no joke. There was a brief silence in the bus, then like one fighting to stay alive, the passenger was unstoppable, he shouted at the top of his voice, he bragged and bragged that the conductor could do him nothing! “Thirteen of you are not enough to do me anything. Who are you, bastard!?” He finally used the b-word. His rage was unendable, but looking beyond his wild outburst, I saw a shigidi who insisted on being thrown into his own death; I knew he feared for his life. All through, the conductor answered nothing and he did not threaten to throw him out. It was at the last busstop we realised the conductor indeed meant to kill him. I only saw the cutlass the driver removed from underneath his seat, he charged at the man, the conductor held him because he struggled to escape. Mother walked faster while she dragged me along with instruction not to look back. We only heard shout of oroooo! and yeeeee! and many indistinct voices shouting haaaaa! o ma fe pa looto ni ke! Mother took a bend and the Celestial Church of Christ was in sight. It was just like I had seen it on that night.

“Madam, don’t worry. The word of the lord will safe your child. I have been assured he shall see them no more! For behold, these Egyptians you shall see no more!”. I was wondering what he meant, mother kept saying amen, the prophet’s voice grew louder and bolder, as if encouraged by mother’s amen. He looked me in the eyes and repeated what he had said. Right there I concluded he was a charlatan. I almost wished mother and me out of his presence. “I have prepared water. Here is sponge. This soap is special. Bathe him with it there”. He pointed to a bathroom. “Come back for more prayers. It is well with you both.” His voice was louder than I could bear. I began to cry. I was almost wishing for another seizure. Mother did as instructed. Thereafter we set out for home. It was a long day.

I was sure I will be seeing crickets again. I told mother what came to my mind, “I will be seeing crickets again, very soon.” “What?” “Wait and see. That prophet. Throw away the soap. I don’t like it.” I hoped she made no sense of what I said. Before long I was asleep on her laps. cricket-clip-art-cricket-clip-art-8

Of A Peaceful World and Pacifist Idealism by Nathaniel Jonah

Mr. Nathaniel Jonah is a Freelance Journalist resident in Germany. He guestblogs for www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com on various world issues. His writings can be found under the column RANdom THoughts by Nath (RANTH) on this blog.

Mr. Nathaniel Jonah is a Freelance Journalist resident in Germany. He guestblogs for http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com on various world issues. His writings can be found under the column RANdom THoughts by Nath (RANTH) on this blog.

When in November 2008, Barack Obama emerged as the first African American President, not a few political pundits and global commentators were of the view that his presidency would herald a paradigm shift from the militaristic aggression of his predecessor. Aside from the epoch making event that culminated into the ascendancy of a black man into the oval office, a feat which was hitherto considered unattainable given the long decades of civil rights agitation among Americans of African descent and their white sympathizers, Obama’s squeaky clean credentials as a new kid on the block drew global goodwill and empathy. His catch phrase of “YES WE CAN” was seen all over the world as a new dawn in the history of American politics specifically and a new chapter of the America foreign policy in general.

Given the present global political upheavals, the global wave of enthusiasm and relief that welcomed Obama’s presidency is gradually fading away into disappointment and despair. This is especially against the backdrop of declining global peace and stability which clearly stand in contrast to Obama’s enthusiastic pursuit of a peaceful world devoid of armed conflict.  From Eastern Europe where the internal conflict between the pro-Russian separatist and their protagonists in Kiev is threatening to snowball into a renewed cold war. This is clearly highlighted by the waves of renewed economic sanctions from the West against a seemingly recalcitrant Vladimir Putin who seems determined in his quest to strengthen the Russian sphere of interest.

The Arab spring which was popularized by the Western media in early 2011, when the successful uprising in Tunisia against former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali emboldened similar anti-government protests in most Arab countries was touted as symptomatic of Obama’s diplomatic approach to the Arab world  as opposed to the militaristic and aggressive tendencies of former President George Bush Jnr.

Kow towing the traditional Democrats’ political ideology and foreign policy initiative which tends to relegate the flagrant display of America’s military prowess as the last resort and the glorification of diplomacy and dialogue as a means of resolving global disputes, Obama did not mince words as to his intention of changing the hitherto held global public opinion of America as the world police officer. And sticking to his widely publicized campaign promises, he immediately wound down the war in Iraq and set an effective time frame for ending the decade long war in Afghanistan. As if to lend credence to his pacific credentials and his ability to lay the groundwork for a peaceful world devoid of wars and nuclear warfare, the  Norwegian Noble committee awarded him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” In so doing, the Nobel committee in its hallowed wisdom inadvertently aligned itself   with President Obama’s vision of and work towards a world devoid of nuclear wars and global conflict.

At the core of President Obama’s alternative methodology in resolving conflicts all over the world, and ensuring the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of nation states, is the tenacious and sacrosanct belief that multilateral diplomatic advocacy should be pushed to the front burner while highlighting the traditional roles of the United Nations and other diplomatic channels as an effective tool of conflict resolution. In this regard, he sounded the death knell to what global commentators describe as the “war mongering ideologue of the Bush’s administration”.

The conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on President Obama was not without its backlash. This is especially against the backdrop of what was considered as his political inexperience. One of the participants of an opinion poll conducted by debate.org succinctly posits that “I don’t understand how the Nobel Committee could justify awarding him with the Peace Prize. All he had to his name was serving as an Illinois senator and then one term in the U.S. Senate. Now five years later, I’m pretty sure there’s no chance of him getting another one.” Others simply viewed the Nobel peace prize as tantamount to putting the cart before the horse, especially as recipients of the highly prestigious prize should have earned it. Those who belong to this school of thought are of the view that “The question of whether Mr. Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize can be answered as a simple matter of time frame. The Peace Prize was awarded less than one month after he because President. You might argue that he did something as a State Senator or U.S. Senator that deserves the Peace Prize, but there’s nothing in his record that compares to other winners of the Peace Prize. It would have been better to reevaluate Mr. Obama’s eligibility for the prize after he leaves the office of the President.”

Half way through his celebrated second term in office, President Obama is yet to achieve his much talked about dream of a nuclear free world and world peace devoid of armed struggle. On the contrary, the world continues to tether on the brink of global instability. This is especially more obvious in the light of the escalating conflict between the Ukrainian government and the Russian backed separatists. The broader implication of this conflict is the tendency to draw the world back to the cold world era with the United States and its allies hurling series of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s’ Russia for arming the rebels.  Although in his interaction with the white house media Obama repeatedly ruled out the possibility of a military confrontation with Russia over the Ukrainian debacle, the trend in of events in the troubled Eastern Europe and the growing division between the west and the east, is evidently indicative of the cold war blues.

The hope and optimism which heralded the wind of change in the Arab world has continued to fizzle out as the Arab spring has turned out to be a nightmare. While the Arab spring was initially indicative of Obama’s major shift in “manner of approach” of relating with the Muslim world, i.e. seeing them as potential partners in global stability rather than as axis of evil, the catastrophic end result of the Arab spring has left many pundits bewildered. From Tunisia to Egypt, Syria and Libya, the situation is the same. The   elimination of oppressive dictators through what was seen as the people’s will has not yielded any dividends of democracy for the people, rather, these regions continued to slide down the path of anarchy and political instability.

In the final analysis, with two years to the end of what many though would be a radical change to the American foreign policy under the Barack Obama’s presidency, peace has continued to elude the world which inadvertently elicits the question as to whether the world is not yet ready for Obama’s dreams of a peaceful world or his pacific idealism is not suitable for the present world order.

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