With Rohey Samba
Long before the Internet age blossomed into flowerhood in the 2000s, and long before online news came within easy reach of everyone with a tablet, mobile phone, IPod and so forth, there was the era of newspapers, tabloids and glitz magazines of the early to late ’90s. My uncle Adama Kelepha Samba, who is a great newspaper reader, occasionally brought home the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, The Mirror, and all the latest newspapers from England, in particular.
How we gorged over the exposès, the cover stories and all the interesting bits of clash blossoms that make most British newspapers. I particularly loved the The Daily Mail; that notwithstanding, I pored over The Mirror, where I took a lot of cuttings to make beautiful artworks. My favourite clippings of all were those of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Wasn’t she just beautiful!
I first learnt about Lady Diana, when I watched Diana: Her True Story, while I was on holidays in the mid-90s in Brikama, where my mother resided with my step-dad, God bless his kind soul. From then on, I became a staunch Diana supporter. And needless to say, I abhorred Camilla and could not understand Prince Charles, at all.
Men around here, I mean us Muslims and most Africans to say the least, justify their philandering and downright cheating on their wives with audacity that only religiosity and, uhm hum, downright brazenness can inveigle. But the impertinence of the Prince of Wales and future king of England, Prince Charles, in those times, was over and beyond human conception. How could he choose Camilla over Diana? I failed to comprehend.
Now, this is my skewed view, as admittedly I am and I remain a Diana supporter for life. Not because she was a she, or maybe perhaps because she was indeed, and as a she myself, I am inclined to be biased:
What Prince Charles did, in choosing Camilla over Diana, while still married to Diana at that time, in a strictly monogamous society, and admitting to it in a live interview on television was abhorrent. I mean, it could not be justified under any context. Verifiably, no sane woman can accept her husband’s infidelity under any given circumstance. That he openly talked about it with abandon is unbefitting of any civilised society, least of all, the United Kingdom – ‘the beacon of civilisation’… my own words.
How could he?
Hitherto, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Diana. It was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Nonetheless, this was definitely it for her! She had had enough. She became reckless; felt humiliated and took no precaution at all to save her marriage. She saw the fight for Charles’ love to be a worthless endeavour, her unsupportive in-laws, and particularly her mother-in-law, the Queen of England, to be duplicitous. She became careless, vengeful and vindictive, as most women in her situation would be if their husbands openly chastised them in public. The rejection was too painful.
Diana was a beautiful woman. She knew her ‘punchronomics’ as all beautiful women do. She may have been naïve from the onset, right before their marriage, when Charles gave the ‘traumatising’ remark to the question “Are you in love?” Charles response was, “Whatever in love means…” to her gushing reply, “Of course, we are in love.” Her arbitrary rejoinder in later life that, “I was brought up with the sense that when you get engaged to someone, you loved them,” among others, calls out to her virtuousness. But that is why millions of people loved her and gravitated towards her in the first place. Diana was pure innocence from the very beginning.
Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, she knew her marriage was over before it even started. Her quips later on that, ‘We are three of us in this marriage,’ to her openly confronting Camilla on the occasion of her sister’s birthday party, which she attended with Charles, demonstrated that she was not your average woman who cowered under pressure and obliterated any views that she was going to leave without fighting back.
The ship of her marriage had already foundered as a result of the other woman, whom Charles was unwilling to let go of, but the large amplitude of her rolling rage, was going to induce a structural failure of loss integrity to the ship’s structure that would lead to a total loss of the ship altogether. Thus her emotional pain gelled up in pleasure when the opportunity to get her revenge on the Prince of Wales and the royal family presented itself in the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995.
Well orchestrated, two years after Prince Charles’ TV documentary in which he admitted to infidelity with the very well married, Camilla Parker Bowles, the Panorama Interview by Diana rocked the British monarchy and finally got her mother-in-law, the Queen of England, to address a letter to both of them, a month later, to finally seek a divorce. A divorce was inevitable of course, but Diana made sure she threw the last punch before the fight was finally disengaged.
Was it the biggest mistake in history? I don’t know. Was it the best decision made by Diana? I cannot know, I was not in her shoes to tell. The take home for me, from all of these is that, the ‘other woman’ has ruined and will continue to destroy many marriages till the end of time, and we women will allow it, as long as it is our sons, our brothers and our male friends who flagrantly commit to the despicable acts of pursuing mistresses at the detriment of their spousal obligations.
The infidelity in this country, whether sanctioned by religion or the madakabass of our Christian brothers is ludicrous and it is us mothers and sisters who allow it most often, unless the tables are turned. About 99.9% of women cannot accept a co-wife save they are one themselves, yet the much hated mother-in-law and siblings-in-law are the very ones who encourage it, mock the other wife and/or play pretend and or mind games to be in both wives favour.
Many women are bitter, angry and vengeful as a result of polygamy, polyamory and so forth perpetuated by their husbands and endorsed by their in laws. We put the onus on women to be fair to their fellow women and not negotiate on fairness, empathy and respect for their fellow women in these aspects. If you don’t want a co-wife, why wish it or impose it on your fellow woman and hope that she understands and forgives you.
No woman has ever been as disdainful of empathy, as indifferent to her fellow-feeling, and as untroubled by their own idiocy, than the one who hopes that her son’s or her brother’s wife forgives her for her derision, mockery and cooperation in marrying another wife for her own husband.
Infidelity and polygamy in our society already have very pernicious effects, with many first wives packing and leaving the marriage altogether, not because they do not love their husbands anymore, not because they are uninformed about their religion that their man can marry up to four wives, nor because they do not wish for their kids to live as one family unit with mum and dad etc. but because of unsupportive in-laws, who think that they can get away with their mockery, derision and insulting attitudes towards the first wives. This is a fundamental assault to the family unit, whose consequences are dire.
The bravest of women stay through the stormy weather of a rough marriage; and for those women who have left because they could not withstand the other woman, I say, yes, your marriage may have ended in a humiliating way, but do not let this sadly common event, called infidelity, determine the course of your life as it did Lady Diana. Be strong, and move on…with integrity and self-respect. “Indeed the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous.’ Qur’an Chapter 49, Verse 13.
Let righteousness in the sight of your Lord be your guide, not the impression you give to people. You will only ever be able to satisfy ALL people when you are 6 feet deep beneath the earth. Lift your head to the skies and look towards the horizon as you set sail in the ship of your life. Do not condone anyone’s disrespect, mockery or belittling attitude just because you are somebody’s wife. Your kids will grow up and leave you to start their own lives with their own families. Never stay because of the kids. Be your own somebody and steer your ship onwards to the course of the rest of your life. If one man disrespects you, another man will certainly value and honour you…