FACING THE MUSIC EVERYDAY

Everything is an opportunity – and even an obligation – to practice the virtues, or attempt the resistance of the vices, and to reflect on the process, results and lessons of this self-struggle.

All the hustle and bustle of the everyday life, the cares, tears, wears, the moments and worries we share, the burdens we bear alone, the moments we fall and the moments we rise, the long phases in which we forget the heavenly contract and just engage in the hamster-run…

Everything has the one supreme purpose of polishing an inner person in us who often slumbers and who will surely consciously experience his or her own funeral one day, invisible to the mourners left behind, whether they believe it today or not.

The earthlife is so jam-packed with pressure, temptation and responsibility, leaving little or no time for the occupation with the growth of the spirit. Thus, this hustle and bustle, the pressure, temptations and responsibilities MUST be actually the very theatre of spiritual development – because life gives us on a daily basis no other.

Running from the world will not save you. You may need periods of detachment once in a while; but then you have to go back into the matrix again, and again, and again. Facing the world and dealing resolutely with the world will alone make you strong.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

PROGRESS

When you ride the western star until you hit its heavenly glass ceiling, are unable to break through it, and then console yourself with the thought that, at least, you have done better for yourself than those who once started off with you back home in the deep global south… the question is: has Progress really been made?

You rise in the West
But Africa stays the worst.

If you shine moderately in the glow of the eastern star, but your own land of the rising sun is still struggling with twilight…

If like a lost moon you reflect dazzlingly the northern lights and it blinds you to your own northern people’s plight and they desert-roam in darkness and have no light…

If you drown power-drunk in the global financial waters, but your own lagoons are not overflowing with milk and honey, and your people thirst out of lack…

Has Progress really been made?

West, east, north, global are not necessarily far away places. They are the System and the way of life that rule and school you also at home, and force you to make a choice.

It’s easy to rise as a stranger.
It’s hard to rise as yourself.

As a stranger you just have to pretend and act the part and they’ll let you through and put you in a place that’s safe for them.

But as yourself you have to persevere; and refuse to compromise if it won’t help your People; and be content to inch your way forward, little by little, you and your world.

It might be slow, it might be painful, but that is true Progress.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE FROZEN LAKE

There is a frozen lake. Once it was open and liquid in the land of summer and rain, but it was visited by the Ice-Queen, who breathed into it her imperial breath, to freeze it up. But there was fire deep in the heart of the lake and the fire fought back – and thus, only the surface of the lake froze over, not its heart. Underneath, it remains liquid, a lake, and the fish are still swimming. They just can no longer break the surface and make themselves seen. The owners of the lake walk on solid ice and think it is solid ground. They peer into the ice and sense that something is moving down there, but they cannot see it anymore. The lake is alive, though it looks rigid and frozen.

“Advanced” thinkers sniff derogatingly at the notion of occupying oneself with the subject of the fact and dynamics of the original indigenous African nations, swimming like restlass schoals beneath the surface of the tight lattice of the present day African Nation-states, formenting trouble, looking for a voice, sometimes exploiting and sometimes lamenting the lattice, and everybody wondering how things are going to go next. “Advanced” thinkers call them “tribes” or sometimes, indulgingly, “ethnic Groups”.

The inability to “shed” or “overcome” ones “tribal” or “native” identity and “rise” into the new modern African self-view, that has its beginning in the colonial re-engineering of the African psyche, is looked upon as a sign of smallness, backwardness and primitiveness, if not even wickedness. In truth, however, this notion is the modern day equivalent of our early School days when African languages were derogatingly classed as “vernacular”, while European tongues were the proper language.

Just like there was no need to demonize African languages or cultures in a bid to validate the Non-African ones, there is need today to take a critical look at the dynamics of Ethnic Nationality in Africa, in order to ascertain how best to interpret this field of reality towards the forging of a more realistic and stable peace in Africa. They have been long looked down upon as a nuisance to be suppressed and managed and, eventually, overwritten like an old piece of software on the way to socio-politically engineering an ostensibly new Africa – an Africa that was birthed through the injection of European spark during colonialism. However it is perhaps time to rethink and view them as the essential building blocks which homogeneously come together in a natural and unforced way to become the larger, inherently stable African Nation-states.

Because without arguing much about the merits or demerits of so-called African tribes in terms of size, it suffices to note that the very fact that they refuse to go extinct, continue to exist and exert themselves, and continue to determine the foundations of inner politicking in African countries by itself qualifies them as viable subjects to be examined in the light of the search for a proper restructuring within the African continent. There is nothing wrong with them. What we need is not to close our eyes and hope – or forcefully insist – that everyone obeys, but a conscious engineering of friendship amongst the cultures.

The Lake is frozen. One day it will surely thaw. When that happens, it is necessary that it does not dissolve into a chaotic mass of uncoordinated rivalry in waters turned opaque. We need a council of cultures in Africa, where the indigenous nations can deliberate frankly on their true desires, fears, natures and capacities. Right now we have many voices shouting, but there is no theater of conference and no common moderator.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

UNDERSTANDING AMONGST AFRICAN PEOPLES

Although Africans call themselves citizens of the 55 member states of the African Union (AU), the conflicts do not take place on that level. The conflicts, suspicions and animousities manifest on the level of the original African nations that existed before the advent of European and even Arabian-style colonialism. Those original Nations, still very much in existence, are today called Tribes and Ethnic Groups – and their indigenes, even in subsequent generations, and even when they can no longer speak the indigenous language, still often feel deeply beholden to them, or are made to feel so, or are made to understand that they are seen to be so.

And yet, although this is the level on which, national-identity-wise, insults and patriotism are most deeply felt, there is no medium, no active Organisation, no Instanz, no consciousness, no consensually constituted Authority, to mediate the debate, the cooperation, the healing and the upbuilding on that level.

Any mention of this is equated to a threat against the colonially created Nation-states, with the corresponding reactions of fear or uncertainty that this thought awakens, depending on the nature of the dependancy-or-exploitation-relationship each person has with a particular Nation-state. It seems as if Africams have become so weak or deeply afflicted by Inferiority Complex that they have no sense of self-confidence in managing or developing their affairs upon any other stage than that designed for and given to them by Non-Africans; even in matters regarding the interacting of their own core identities – core national identities and languages that formed and developed over centuries and eras.

The AU is not the equivalent of the EU. Whereas it is largely native indigenous European peoples who, under the appellage “nations”, are the member units of the EU, it is completely the oppposite in the AU. Here it is the colonially born countries that are the members. With the result, that the actual African peoples themselves, the indigenous nations, have no theatre of Consensus and thus no voice. This is what is direly missing on the African continent: A Union of African peoples. The sheer number of different african indigenous nationalities should not daunt us to the task. Conversely it only shows us the potential for misunderstanding and conflict which has been exploited for decades. It is simultaneously also the potential for harmony and would be worth every ounce of effort put into it. Anything to foster and further peace and understanding in Africa is of prime importance now.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE ORGANISATION OF THE TRUE AFRICAN NATIONS

The members of the African Union are countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, etc. But those are not the true African nations.

The true African nations are for example Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ashanti, Zulu, Xhosa, Oromo, Amhara, Hutu, Mande, Akan and all the many rest of them. We need to also form an Association of the true African Nations, where we can again relate and talk to ourselves the way we spoke to ourselves before an exploitative volition conquered our minds and taught us foreign languages in which we misunderstand each other.

If you want to form an Organisation of the true African Nations, inbox me. It is time for Africa to start uniting and solving its problems again, the African way.

All the nation-people conflicts in Africa take place on this level, hardly ever on a post-colonial-Nation Level. It is never Nigeria vs Niger, it is Hausa vs Fulani. It is never Rwanda vs Burundi, it is Hutu vs Tutsi. It is never South Africa vs Botswana, it is Zulu vs Xhosa. And so on. So it is therefore on that Level that Africans must also forge an alternative parallel theater of dialogue in which to engineer the internal dynamics of uniting. Because, in all naturalness, these are the identities to which the African ethnies feel most deeply beholden.

Without political harmony and concerted interaction on this foundational and original African level of Nation-being, the post-colonial nation-states will remain unstable powder kegs waiting to self-destruct or hoping to de-escalate only through the deliberate eroding and gradual extinction of ancient african languages and ethnies, leaving only rootless and memoryless post-colonial constructs behind, erroneously called ‘African’ countries.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE YOUNG SHALL GROW… INTO THE OLD.

My first experience with “partisan” politicking was when I was in junior secondary School. We had to separate out into different social groups and clubs, conduct elections, decide on and plan our first projects, and things like that. There were clubs like the “Junior Lieterary Society”, the “Dramatic and Cultural Soceity”, the “Red Cross Soceity”, the “UNICEF soceity”, and more. Some clubs were more popular than others, their members and leaders enjoying almost cult status and exuding an uncanny power of attraction on girls. Some people naturally wanted they and their friends to go enmasse into certain of these clubs and take over the structure and the leadership.

Spontaneously the political animal jumped out of little teenage boys; campaigns and clandestine signs, signals and meetings filled the corridors and classrooms for a few days; conspiracy theories and rumours abounded, and people cross-carpeted at will, sometimes multiple times in one day. Treachery, backstabbing, mockery, insinuation and slander were the rule of the day; it was gleeful fun; sweet-talking and arm-twisting; and efforts were made on all sides to influence people’s decisions to be loyal to one or betray another. The set was agog with negotiations and coalition-building and -undermining. Friends turned into spies; and one moment people were doing what they had condemned a moment before.

Promises of provisions, cornflakes, ice cream, invitations to certain parties, access to certain items of fashion like baffs, perfumes and designer shoes, assurances of cronje and copying, and even a share in one’s precious pocket money, could work wonders on the conscience and decision-making capacity of many a hitherto well-brought-up boy. Where cajoling and bribe proved ineffective, threats, intimidation and blackmail were applied. No-one wants to lose his friends or be left out of the group. Some people just followed out of insecurity, so as to belong. Some were more calculating and strategic in the way they aligned their support. Some others simply laughingly gave their vote to the highest bidder. Cash and carry junior politics.

Naturally not everyone displayed these maverick political instincts. Some aligned themselves based on noble ideology, some made a pledge and kept their word, and things like that; and some just had no clue or no interest. But in the end, it was the politicaally astute and the politically aggressive that won and got their way. Verily, with time even the “ideological” started to rethink their stance and to quietly join the popular clubs, especially when enticed with the offer of leadership positions. In all this of course I was not just an observer – I was caught in the web of dynamics.

Prior to this occassion I had looked with disdain at the corrupt older generation, and with hope and certainty at my generation, sure that when it was our time we would do things differently and change the country for the better. This event was one of those important early turning points and awakening moments in my young life. I saw that we are all the same. I learned that generational change is an opportunity and, eventually, a necessity; but it is not a guarantee of spiritual renewal or character transformation of a group. It is a promise of change, but not in itself a fulfilment of it. Volition alone is the trigger of change. Old or Young, you have to want to change, or you will repeat – at best in different forms – the essence of the sins of villains past.

Another thing I learned is that kids are not innocent. They know early and they show early who they are and who they want to be, or are prepared to allow themselves to be.

So, now the Mantra: “Generational Change” is in the air again. But a young wolf and an old wolf are the same – with the difference, that a young wolf is probably even hungrier. The old of today were once the youth of yesterday; and the factors that sidelined the “good” yesterday and put the “bad” in power, those same factors will be at work again today; are at work again today – they don’t go on leave. So when you’re choosing the next generation, apply the filter of knowledge and experience gained from events and processes past. Because the young shall grow… into the old. So choose wisely, and follow those that will lead us not into temptation and corruption again.

It is the job of the old to set the right example for the youth. But where the old have failed to do this, then the youth must must set forth at dawn and set these examples for themselves, and for the youth of tomorrow. No more “same old, same old”. Once upon a time, Musical Youth sang “The Youth of Today”. What happened along the way? No wonder in the same song they also sang “Don’t blame the youth…” – as if they already knew what was coming next. Well, may the next “Generation Change” usher in at last the attitudinal Change and the orientation change that we so badly Need.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

AN EARLY RECOGNITION ON RESISTANCE

When I was a little boy – 6 or 7 – I watched a film on the Holocaust, in the sitting room with my parents. One question nagged at me then: why did they follow so quietly and obediently to their own deaths? Why did they not resist?

That question has since then detached itself from that film and that story and has followed me everywhere in life to this day, in many forms and contexts. In truth it was not a question – it was a Resolution.

Always resist.

Never give up, unjustly, what belongs to you, and is valuable to you, without a fight. It’s either you win, or you lose with pride.

All that’s left is for you to decide what your valuable possessions are.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

MODES THEORY

The theory that some people are good and some people are bad; some people are dependable and some people are unreliable; some people are weak and some people are strong; etc, – is false.

The proper recognition is that you are dependable to some people and unreliable to others; some people experience your good side, some suffer your bad side. In some situations you are strong, and in some situations you are weak.

You are full of theories, but in reality you are just a bunch of modes, like your mother nature herself.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

DISHARMONY

There came a time in my life when I prayed to die. Not because I had no food to eat, but because I had no gratitude with which to eat the food. Not because I had no bed on which to rest, but because I had no rest to place upon the bed. Not because I had no one to talk to, but because I had no friendliness to offer. Not because I loved death, but because I hated life.

Then I met a journeyman inside my soul, full of humility, laughter and ordinariness. And of the boisterous acceptance of the reality of things.

I am still trying to fathom this journeyman, to understand who he is; to come to grips with the simple realities of everyday life, like everyone else also does, none of whom is less weary of the toil than I am.

To become a man, Nigerians say, is not the job of one day. It requires time. Think I not that only I long for Home – every other Wanderer does so as well. Every.

Mayhaps if we made the Earth a better place, the journey would not be so unbearable afterall. Or what sayest thou?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

PAIN LIKE A STREAM

Like a stream runs this ancient heart of mine. I write truest and best when I am in pain and all alone; this is when I write down tomorrow’s pieces. Not when I am happy and relaxed; lazy, immature me.

When I have comfort, I forget, I become complacent. When there is peace, I laugh, which is good, but I also fall asleep, which is dangerous and wrong.

Maybe two thousand years from now I will be mature enough to be happy and be inwardly mobile simultaneously –

Pending this day, however, pain will be the helper of the Poet and of the wanderer. Pain and love and longing. To Keep me awake, to drive me onwards…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.