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Merry Missive At Xmas


Kole-OmotoshoAS the second year of Trouble’s travels comes to an end we wonder together are these travels worth the mileage, the wreckage on flesh and bones and the marriage of pain and laughter? Most great writers wonder why we are here on this particular earth and others wonder not at the end but rather at the end. The greatest number of sane writers wonder what we have done with being here. Then the most troublesome ones ask why we have done what we have done with being here! Why are Nigerians like this or like that, why are Yorubas so celebrative and abusive of capitalist accumulation with their various ceremonies?

Why are Hausa so full of thanks to Allah and would not question the Great one of 99 names? As for the Igbos, yo Biafra? Worth bothering about when the guy with the idea ran away after giving people wooden guns to confront Kalashnikovs? Please spare me jare! If Nigeria was putting juicy meat into your mouth would you remember Biafra except as a failure best avoided? If Nigeria cannot put juicy meats in your mouth can Biafra?

The heart of the matter is that the travels of Trouble are worth it whichever way you look at it. At best they should combine pain with laughter and carry go because that’s life. Everyday to take another step towards further understanding, everyday to laugh at yesterday’s steps and wonder why the feet looks forward rather than backwards. Everyday to pick up a new book or a new story or a new poem like the one I saw the other: just because I am asking after you, just because I am seeking the way to your space, just because I am knocking at the door of your heart, 198 nations gather in Paris and tell the world that the snow on Kilimanjaro is melting, that the seas around the islands are melting and that the sun is hotter and fiercer and doing damage to your health, all just because I love you!!!

The book I found is called Clothing Poverty: The Hidden Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes by Andrew Brooks. Of all things to write about, to go and write about second-hand clothes. Not the family one of egbon hand me down oh, the elder bikin don’t finish am before you are asked to make it new! The one the highlife musician called bosikona, come round the corner to try it on, deede yin lose ma!!! It fits you perfectly as if you were cement mix and pour into the dress! To know that the second-hand clothing trade is a multi-billion business organization involving investors in Britain, involving Oxfam and international criminal organization and to imagine that the trade in second-hand clothes is one that is worn in the global North and exported to the global South. Sometimes they are not even washed and repacked but exported as the last user and disposer used it and left some used ticket in the pockets to be disposed with the new seller of the rubbish of the richer world.

To think of it as the paradigm of our unequal world where the promoters get more out of it than those who grow the cotton (watering it with a lot of water since the beginning of the River Nile) putting pesticides and other agricultural medications (to the detriment of the land and those who applied the medicine) and to end up poorer but still going on doing the same thing world without end! But even more surprising the combination of pain and laughter of it when the new fashion then begins in the global South with new cloths for new fashions being done and sewn and packed and sent to New York and London and Milan and Tokyo and the global North responds with rags back to the global South. The Marxist slogan still befits the global South: unable to consume what it produces, and not loving what it consumes since it does not look like it!

And the story? It is a police story to end all policing stories, wallahi!!! A police thief (as different from independent thieves who like independent scholars operate on their own without the protection of any institution) went and stole the yams of a farmer who had just harvested them. The son of the farmer went and reported to his father that the father of so and so has stolen your yam. The father went and told the police and the police were angry and vexed and wanted to go and get the thief immediately but they had no vehicle and the last time they had vehicle anyway they had no fuel; thanks to the subsidy and so on and so forth. So, the owner of the stolen yam must provide some finance to help the police to mobilize to prepare to bring in the thief for proper questioning in terms of the alleged stealing of fresh yams.

So, the owner of the yam gives the hard working police five thousand naira towards their job of finding and arresting and prosecuting the thief of the yams. When the yams are released the owner will sell them and recoup what he had spent prosecuting the thief. Of course he did not know that one of the policemen had an event that weekend and so he needed yams for the pounded yam that would celebrate the wedding of his daughter. So, the police took the money and gave it to their colleague who had the event. They then arranged for the bail of the yam thief and put their hands on their knees and drank their beer of the weekend. Two days became two weeks and two months, nothing happen. Yam owner no see thief, he no see yam. So, he went back to the police. The police asked if the bags of yam were ever opened. Were there yams inside the bags? Let’s check. They check. They find cassava inside. You accused him of stealing yam but these are cassava tubes? Wrong accusation. You are under arrest!

Beware what you ask for. Jacob Zuma says the ANC will rule until Jesus comes back. Well, the latest news from Nigeria about Jesus’s plans is that he is coming back sooner than you think. A church in Nigeria is preparing living saints (only in Nigeria) for the coming of Jesus. Have a new year of love, passion, compassion and inspiration. Love the pain and the laughter.

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