By Odinaka Ugwuozor
I am from a tribe that survived the ignominious war that threatened her very existence- surviving on only £20. However much as I share in our collective grief, I still feel we need to retrace our steps, as a people to start addressing, through bloodless revolutions, the true essence of the things our forebears fought and died for. This is particularly pertinent as these issues have continued to morph into hydra headed anti-igbo monsters- a continued desertification of our cultural values and beliefs: Respect, language, attires, food, our spirit of independence and industry, etc.
Let me just take the one that hurts deeply; the issue of a growing disregard for our beloved language. While growing up, “nna o, kedu kwanu k’ime?” would draw a split second reply like, “adim nma”.
However, it is quite tragic that we are the ones, out of what I believe is some sort of cultural complexity, will now respond like this, “I’m fine; cool, aiit”. Parents and teachers almost make it a taboo for you to speak igbo, so that, as one of my friends who speaks fluent igbo and english sadly told me, “I don’t want him (her son) to embarrass me in front of other kids”.
This without doubt constitutes an attempt to ‘Queensify’ our igbo culture. Prof.Wole Soyinka, who is an oracle of English language speaks fluent Yoruba. So, when I see people like me, who are still battling with common ‘is’ and ‘was’ forming ‘phoneh’, o n’agbagha obi (It breaks the heart).
Even Jesus Christ didn’t learn Roman language or Greek before Aramaic. Isikwa noo asi, ije kirie ‘the Passion of Christ’ nke Mel Gibson; gee nti k’imara ihe onye putara ka Jesus suga, nke atapiri atapi. (If you doubt this; watch Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” and you’d notice the translations from the original Aramaic)
We are becoming ‘wicked’ as a people; denying our kids the gift of their true identities. I’ve been called names, considered naive and old school, for refusing to relocate to ‘better’ countries. However, I see many people who are stuck at cultural cross roads, trapped in webs of delusion, as people try to ‘fit in’ their squared personalities into circled environments. K’anyi kwusi ighorinu onwe anyi, na ndi b’anyi si na, “n’agbanyeghi aro ole oroma nora n’etiti udara, onweghi ike igho nya bu udara.”
When you hear names nowadays, you wonder whether they are names of people or noodles. Names like, chummy, Zinny, Zizi, buzzy, Mimi, Bukky, etc. A girl told me, “my name is too igbotic; Odiro tush. Taaa! Nwa ada, tapuchie gi onu dia! Chaaaaai! Aru!!! In Chiwetalu Agus voice, “Mbe anyuo oru o!”
I could go on and on, mana achoghi m ikwu ogologo okwu n’uka mgbede
In summary my people, umunne na umunna m, umu #Igbo, ndi agburu ndi Jew, ndi Chineke: Obin’igwe, kere ofuma wee tee ude di nso, while we point fingers at the ‘enemies’ beyond our borders, lets take time to travel inside ourselves, to try eliminating the battalions within. Let us remember that, a people who dont hold on to their roots will always fall, its just a matter of a fairly strong wind coming along.
May the souls of our departed forebears rest in peace, Amen (pouring some Schnapp)