Saturday, 14 November 2009

Diversity is strength: It's also eating your mother's heart

You all know by now that I'm an impassioned believer in diversity and cultural equivalence. After all, how could I not be? Barry Andrews, our esteemed Minsiter for Something or Other, assures us that ‘diversity is strength’. And if he thinks that, it's good enough for me.

But sometimes, in the wee small hours, a flicker of doubt crosses my mind, only to be briskly dismissed, as quickly as it came. Yet the doubts resurfaced this morning, as I sat down to a meager breakfast of muesli and tofu. You see, I read this story from Ghana, which, as every schoolboy knows, is a poster child for African success.

The story, from Modern Ghana.com concerns Olivia, a reformed witch. She seemingly was ‘given the witchcraft spirit by her paternal grandmother at the age of five’. According to Olivia the other witches ordered her to bring her mother down to the camp to be slaughtered for one of their numerous feasts "since I had been feasting on other witches' meat and had never brought any meat to the camp for a feast."

Well, that sounds fair enough to me.

Over to Olivia again. "Because of their threat to kill me, which I knew they could do, I had no option but to spiritually take my mother to the camp the following day to be slaughtered. They gave my mother's heart to me to eat and our queen witch feasted on my mother's head as our culture demands"

I can understand that, and it doesn’t for one minute impair my belief in cultural equivalence. I'm sure those Norwegians and Swiss get up to pretty awful things too, but of course we never hear about that.

Overall, an enthralling story. And one which gives whole new meanings to ‘have a heart’ and ‘having mother for dinner’

17 comments:

n mandela said...

I used to be a firm believer in cultural equivalence, but like you, I also have doubts sometimes. This story doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

or 'eat your heart out'

W Baker said...

Savant,

I think you're missing a valuable cultural lesson here. A lesson that could bring you closer to your African brothers and forefathers (remember, we all came 'out of Africa'!)

This story emphasizes the verbal and spiritual gifts of our darker friends in Africa. You live in a society that places value on family, houses, property, transportation, and structured workplaces. People like Olivia value communal living, telling stories and singing songs as they transport water back from centralized water boreholes. Olivia is a prime example of the African mind which is in touch with the supernatural, the other, the metaphysical.

You are private and atomized in the West. People like Olivia many times live under the stars in the bush and close to their relatives - sometimes even sharing a bed. They pass on their ancient wisdom in song and verse!

You might even want to get someone like Olivia for your back garden. She wouldn't take up much more room than a large gnome collection. You could invite the neighbors over for her nightly stories and song. Maybe get her to teach some tribal dances and spiritual mantras? Oh, and get her to demonstrate African cooking and her own village medicine.

The sky's the limit to how much a person like this could broaden your horizons and enrich your life.

Viking said...

in the words of Mr.Slave,

Jeez Christ.

SAVANT said...

And I'd have no trouble finding an Olivia here Wes. They're all around me.

Munin said...

W Baker wrote "of the African mind which is in touch with the supernatural, the other, the metaphysical".

Sadly it would seem, that the African mind all too often stays "in touch with the supernatural" ...

"...what results is a curious hybrid, whose fundamental beliefs may be impervious to the education he has received.

I had a striking example of this phenomenon recently, when I had a Congolese patient who had taken refuge in this country [U.K.] from the terrible war in Central Africa that has so far claimed up to 3 million lives. He was an intelligent man and had that easy charm that I remember well from the days when I traversed—not without difficulty or discomfort—the Zaire of Marshal Mobutu Sese Seko. He had two degrees in agronomy and had trained in Toulouse in the interpretation of satellite pictures for agronomic purposes. He recognized the power of modern science, therefore, and had worked for the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, and was used to dealing with Western aid donors and investors, as well as academics.

The examination over, we chatted about the Congo: he was delighted to meet someone who knew his country, by no means easily found in England. I asked him about Mobutu, whom he had known personally.

“He was very powerful,” he said. “He collected the best witch doctors from every part of Zaire. Of course, he could make himself invisible; that was how he knew everything about us. And he could turn himself into a leopard when he wanted.”

This was said with perfect seriousness. For him the magical powers of Mobutu were more impressive and important than the photographic power of satellites. Magic trumped science. In this he was not at all abnormal, it being as difficult or impossible for a sub-Saharan African to deny the power of magic as for an inhabitant of the Arabian peninsula to deny the power of Allah. My Congolese patient was perfectly relaxed: usually, Africans feel constrained to disguise from Europeans their most visceral beliefs, for which they know the Europeans usually feel contempt, as primitive and superstitious. And so, in dealing with outsiders, Africans feel obliged to play an elaborate charade, denying their deepest beliefs in an attempt to obtain the outsider’s minimal respect. In deceiving others about their innermost beliefs, often very easily, and in keeping their inner selves hidden from them, they are equalizing the disparity of power. The weak are not powerless: they have the power, for instance, to gull the outsider."

http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_2_oh_to_be.html

Anonymous said...

@ W Baker said..

Olivia can also be a baby sitter or a caregiver.

Then she could always prepare dinner for the family.

Or should I say "prepare the family for dinner".

Anonymous said...

munin - I had a similar experience. I know a Zimbabwean doctor through tennis. One day, while the worse for drink, he beagn talking about the value of muti (native medicine). Since then I've often wondered whether he was i n fact a genuine medical doctor or had in fact conned the ever-gullible Irish into believing it.

Exegesis said...

Maybe Africans just taste good - did all you oh-so-judgmental people think of that!?!?!

I know some wiccans; I'll have to ask for their sage advice regarding this matter.

W Baker said...

Well, I've heard that the NHS has a tremendous amount of foreign doctors and nurses. I haven't had the privilege of visiting one of these institutions whilst in the UK. Also, I'm ignorant of the Irish situation. I haven't been there in years, and my few piss ups there only landed me in some very comfortable and congenial B & B's.

I reckon as London, Birmingham, and other large UK cities metastasize, the hinterlands will see more and more foreign, suspect medical professionals. And so the population will be under a double whammy: displaced by the influx of immigrants and medically treated by third/fourth world practitioners.

It's happening in the hinterlands of the States. The medical doctors in my family now rub shoulders with the half of 1% of Indians, Pakistanis, and Filipinos who can make it to the Promised Land.....

Anonymous said...

I'd say 50% of medical staff in the UK are African or asian. And they di NOT come here for our good. They came because this is where the best opportunity lay for them personally.

j_ bob said...

Note: Ghana is Africa's most 'advanced' country!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:40,

Did I understand you to say that half of your medical staff is Asian or BLACK? Well, Asians I could feel comfortable about, but I'm aghast that so many of your doctors are black, if I understand your post correctly.

Israelieejit said...

There - I've crossed Africa off my "Places to Visit" list. Don't fancy ending up in someone's pot of stew!

Anonymous said...

My take on the r\acial split of medical staff in ireland is that very few are black - and these would almost all be nurses. The others are mainly Asian, Arab Filipino.

There have been several formal complaints about the behaviour of African doctors in irish hospitals. Errors and inappropriate behaviour.

Zngr said...

@ Savant and others, don't know where else to post an update for the readers of this blog but some good news the general public in Finland is getting a little fed up with this "Diversity".

The foreigner law is being tweaked back to a more sensible direction regarding work permits, family reunification is being restricted or reconsidered, social/humanitarian immigrants who claim to be underage apparently must go through an age test - or they will be treated as adults - and there has been a severe (subjectively) public backlash about the direction our current minister of immigration, that bitch Astrid Thors, with the support of the parliament took things down. Fucking about time.

Some serious papers have written articles you can't read as anything but critical and today one major publication in it's editorial stated that the immigration mechanics must change "simply because of current public atmosphere" along with a long list of other valid reasons, and the main multi-cultural word carrier Helsingin Sanomat made a bad mistake:

They published, in the middle of a terrible recession, a long article about the "horrible blight" of huge Somali families who have to live in apartments "too small". For example a Somali breedingmachine who has three children and more coming (the youngest being 5 mnths) complained that she has to live in a 72m2 flat and demands a larger one - both in the most expensive area of Finland. In the same article multi-cultural planners voiced their concerns about housing the 10-15 person (!?!?!) Somali families which are arriving during the next year and proclaimed several thousand are already waiting outside of our borders for free 100m2 to 200m2 housing apartments - all paid for by the taxpayer. The majority of the Finns make do with one or two room apartments in the capital area, and only very rich families have the money to provide for three or four children. Hmm.

This launched in a wave of anger. The hundreds of angry people are not your regular bloggers and evil "nazis" but seem to be normal Finns who have finally had enough of foreigners receiving huge benefits - while hundreds of thousands of Finns are left without work and when, for years, low paid Finns can't even afford to live in the areas most Somalis now reside in.

You can sort of sense a rage beneath the public current of discourse.

Oh, and our prime minister, a worthless flagpole and a useless windbag, opened up a few days ago and said we can't afford to let things out of hand like Sweden and Norway have done.

Oh yeah and the new asylum shoppers can't be housed anywhere right now. There is no space. It ran out. There is nowhere to go anymore. No more room.

The municipal administrations all over the country are refusing to take them in because of public resistance and the economic and social problems that have emerged, and when our minister of immigration suggested they must be forced (yeah she really thinks small municipal towns should be forced to house young somali, kurd and iraqi men) to take social immigrants, she was told to shut the fuck up by just about... everyone.

Are things turning around or is this just preparation for the next election? Who knows, but the public discourse which went a 90 degree turn between -05 and -07 has now turned another 90 degrees during the past few months.

Is there still hope? Fuck if I know, but one thing is obvious: you can now be critical of immigration policies in Finland and no longer simply be waved off as a xenophobic racist. Too many people, from politicians and officials to MSM writers have finally started talking.

SAVANT said...

zngr, this is truly wonderful news. I always had faith in the Finns, who took on the Soviet Union and made them back off.

The stupid bastards you referred to are so out of touch that they're actually making our cause for us.