A clean bath in a filthy river?
It is when man permanently dwells in a filthy state that man thinks that he can take a bath in a dirty river and come out clean and chart a course that can change his life, and change the tragedy which he has brought on humanity, which he has brought into the world and on himself.
A filthy pond is not a fitting place for a man to take a proper bath. A bath in a filthy pond is not a bath. It is groveling in filth, in the dirt, in odium. Who says that out of dirty water can come a clean body? It is those who do not know the way of the spirit that utter such nonsense, that think that after the wash on the surface the inside would be clean. The inside and the outside of things are different worlds, worlds apart. This is what we should know.
A man who sheds the blood of another and comes out shining after the blood has been washed off his skin, is he clean? Has the pollution, the filth been washed away by water? No. It has not been washed off. The killer may prosper. He may even rise to the top of his career and be a leader of men. But somewhere inside him is the filth of another man’s blood crying to heaven for justice. So, though he may appear clean to us all, heaven knows that the depth of grime and filth is his body, in his spirit and his sacrifices will be rejected ultimately. Or the man who takes another man’s wife and makes her his own, dispossessing the other man, is he guiltless? The nation which killed thousands, millions to build its civilization, will that nation be guiltless? Will there be no penance? It is time that will answer the question, yes, time will answer the question.
Brother, this is not the story of white pap coming out of a black pot or the dirty bathtub giving space for a clean bath! That way the pap carries the cleanness of the black pot and the tub is not the water. It is black but dirt is far away. To be black is not the same as being dirty. Indeed, the pot could be white in colour and carry the pungent smell of eons of filthy rubbish. So, I speak of the filthy substance inside the river where we dwell permanently like pigs in a sty, reveling in the filth and claiming all is well. How wickedly and foolishly we grieve the spirit of The Divine! And we think that we can move the land to the next level. How foolish we are to deceive ourselves and believe in the foolishness of our wisdom!
So, the land is covered with filth; it is the river of dirt. A stagnant river; more like a pond. A deep pond that carries dead bones and decadent trees and degenerate creatures and rotten flesh kept fresh in smell by the power of the filthy water; the grime! Ancient and modern filth now modernized and glorified with the toga of cleanliness. The surface becomes the real thing.
The depth is hidden and no one travels in that direction. Great delusion, this is. The tragedy is that some do believe that dirty water can give us a clean bath. From the beauty of the stenchless filth, we delude ourselves into thinking that that which is not seen does not exist and cannot harm the body. How sad those who know see the vanity in that travel.
How may we purify the river? That is the big question, the question with an elephant head and the legs of a mosquito. Perhaps those to purify the river have not been born may never be born or will be born after we have all entered the bottom of the Earth’s River. Is this a consoling thought? It is not. It is perhaps punishment for dark deeds done by those who preceded us that we suffer. But a bigger question is whether they know, whether we know that the water is dirty. They like dirt because it is the only way they know.
The way of filth, of dirt, of hunger and death in the midst of plenty. If they do not know that the water is filthy how would they ever think of purifying the water? We are shamefully swimming in a cesspool of odium and excrement and like the chichi dodo of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born, we feed on maggots but hate excrement! How foolish can we be sometimes! Even the blind woman with the scale is tipping off her altar in anger and wonder and desperation and rejection. We have no teeth; only infant gums chew on nothing in the void of the world. Yet, they think that they can create an empire and make us all slaves to a foreign religion, a religion of blood and conquest and force and war. Their head will burst open before dawn and their rotten blood shall flow into the entrails of their descendants.
Why and when was the river, our river our land polluted with eternal filth? Can a filthy river be purified by men who are filthy and who revel in filth? How dirty are the men who ravage the land with guns and cudgels and take the lives of innocent people! Blood flows into the earth where the farms are and this blood is no cleanser. It is foolishness to think that fresh fruits would sprout of the earth that has been soaked with the blood of innocent people whose only offense was to make tilling the soil their way of life. It is foolishness to think that out of foolishness we can have eternal wisdom that could lift us out of the filth of corruption and debauchery and deception and cunning. Except we change our ways our tower shall collapse on our heads and there will be no infant gums to gnash in our twilight years. Beware of your filth O! Mr. Rotten Fish-head!