28 C
City of Banjul
Monday, November 23, 2020

Of men and fib

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I have been keenly scavenging through The Standard’s old publications and reading good write-ups. If we still have good writers in this country then it means they, after decades of writing for a readership that doesn’t care how much you earn, have realised that writing only gets you poor here.

During my uncharacteristic Monday morning flipping of the pages in the record file, I started reading almost an unending conversation between Sabally and Sheriff; letters and replies between the duo literary giants were prominently featured. As I read on, the letters increasingly looked so trifling that they instantly reminded me of childhood crushes shortly after one learns how to read and write. You know, when you scribble love letter either wooing or otherwise to a girl (or vice versa) and expect a reply later. Mobile phones didn’t reach our part of the world then. But, amazingly, I stumbled on one article that Sabally used to challenge Sheriff’s knowledge of names (that is totally my opinion). Being Sheriff, he crisscrossed the entire world bringing references of how banal names are and, when he presumably got too excited, declared that he would change his name to something more traditional to his tribe or race when his namesake dies. Well Sheriff, in case you didn’t know, your revered namesake is peacefully sleeping six feet under the same earth you wildly drive your BMW X 5 on. Time to keep your promise and I do have a fitting suggestion: Suntukung.

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Sometime ago, I was listening to one religious scholar who I assumed is one of those bachelors degree holders from Saudi Arabia’s Jaami’a; those who would return because they didn’t get the required grades to go for masters but would claim to match the knowledge of a prophet. So I listened. Deep into the conversation, in his futile quest to change people’s perception about ‘maraboutism’, narrated a deliciously cooked story about the great Abdul-Qadir Jilani—the founder of the Qadiriyya brotherhood. The scholar said he heard a disciple of the Sheikh who narrated that Abdul Qadir once followed the Angel of Death right into the heavens before the angel could deliver the soul of Abdul Qadir’s favourite disciple, having taken it without informing the Grand Sheikh. Adding more jumbo, he said when the Sheikh caught up with the angel, he slapped the angel and forcefully grabbed the soul from him. Distraught and embarrassed, the angel reported the Grand Sheikh to Big Man next door who swiftly intervened, telling the Sheikh: Abdul Qadir, ela kuwoo siyaata. The Grand Sheikh then, with the permission of Big Man, flew down to earth with the soul of his beloved disciple. He sat over the lifeless body and, bingo, the poor man got his life back. Even I, as gullible as a rat, know that the scholar himself is the author of the story. But it was classic!

A couple of weeks ago, I forced myself to read an article about a Kenyan lawyer – Dola Indidis – who was said to have been energetically preparing himself to sue Israel for killing Jesus. I actually drew inspiration from his insurmountable legal battle against a very powerful nation for a crime, if it was ever committed, must definitely have happened at a time when even the great grandfather of Cadmus wasn’t born. Go, Ndidis, I am behind you! There is no nobler cause than fighting for a prophet.

Now that we have elected only a few competent people into the Protein House of Assembly, the rest were chosen because either they are our tribesmen (and women) or we felt sorry for them. I tell you, if you lost the election, know that it’s not only because of your visible incompetence, it is also because your leaders campaigned for themselves so they could be the next Him. The fight over inheritance has unpleasantly begun even knowing that the current Him is alive and well.

The race, between a hardcore socialist and his opposite in everything; knowledge, height, maturity, gets heat up rather interestingly. A month or so ago, the socialist said he would be in Protein House for now and then go for the bigger job later. That seemed like a declaration of war on others who then started spilling faeces on the man’s image. To them, after a pyrrhic battle against Fangbili, it is too soon for anyone to set his sights on that seat. To some extent I agreed but I believe it should be across the board without exceptions; not demonise one and canonize the other especially when they both said the same thing.
In one of his vote-for-me-next speeches, Fatandingo, spoke with God a while ago at Sidrat al-Muntaha, who assured him a spot on the throne. After that short spiritual conversation with Big Man which never took place, he stood on a makeshift podium to match the height of the crowd as if he his standing on the 100-year Eiffel Tower. Dressed in his usually oversized khaftan, picked the microphone and stammered words in the air like a leaked gas tank: I will be the next Him! Boom! Fists punched the air and swear words catapulted all the way to Equatorial Guinea where Fangbili has been hiding. Just quick flashback to November last year, Fangbili would crush such crowd in the name of ‘prophylactic sweeping’ and drink bungayab in his Kanilai villa.

We love you Fatandingo, they sang, as they shuffled towards town like a gang of reanimated corpses from The Walking Dead. It’s therapy, for me, to watch the cavalcade of tumbling halfwits whose primary method of self-expression is to sing songs about a man who barely reaches their waists. The crowd was frightening and, at the same time, uncomfortably having all the markings of ‘tribal dictatorship’. And, after the marbles were dropped, it looks pretty much like we are set for one-tribe husbandry of the country.
Politics breeds bickering, senseless attacks, threats and relentless whining, carping and griping about the bullying numbers of other parties. Give us all a break! If your party is numerically disadvantaged, then grow big! Period.

Sadly for me, after waking up that morning enveloped in a warm sense of wellbeing with a beatific smile plastered across my chop, I had to read the new revelation in the newspapers. I dreaded the idea of having another messenger from Big Man but, I later recalled, that Fatty said politics started between God and Iblis; call him Lucifer if you may. Then, it dawned on me, that since Big Man categorically said we are now on our own until D-Day without any prophet, this other one might be Lucifer’s prophet; that it was finally his turn to bring down wahih because Big Man apparently runs out of good souls to send as prophets. But it still scares me, though, knowing that someone might have peeped into the future of this country and seen himself as the next Him.

If the Big Man in the sky spares my life in the next marble-dropping, I will be here with grey hairs and probably have henna on my beards. But, I can assure you, I will convulse in hysterical laughter when it all goes wrong, once again because by trying to quench his unquenchable thirst for the throne, Fatandingo will likely open a can of worms. Arrivederci!

By Talib Gibran

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