Thinking of Gays & Remembering All The Twins We Killed By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

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By Rudolph Okonkwo

In my father’s autobiography, Onyenkuzi, he told a story of how his stepmother, my grandfather’s first wife, died during childbirth. It was a gruesome tale. She was pregnant at the time of her death. Tradition demanded that a pregnant woman must not be buried with the unborn child in her womb. So, the woman’s womb was opened. Two fetuses were brought out. All three, mother and the twins, were buried in separate graves.

This incident happened sometime in the 1930s. Some 50 years before that, those twins, if they had been born, would have been dead, anyway. They would have been dumped in the evil forest to die. And their mother would have gone through elaborate cleansing rituals because she was a conduit for evil.

The reason is that where I come from, twins were considered evil. It was an abomination for a woman to have twins. In the understanding of my forefathers, a child should occupy the womb all by itself. It was a bad omen if two children shared a womb at once. Some considered it a form of inbreeding by the fetuses. It was only animals that were expected to have multiple births.

Also children born with teeth, babies born feet first and boys with one testicle were also considered evil. They were usually killed and their bodies thrown into the forest.

The tradition was ongoing when in 1876, a Scottish woman named Mary Slessor arrived in Nigeria. She was the daughter of a shoe maker. She signed up for missionary work with the United Presbyterian Church at the age of 26. She arrived in Calabar and learned how to speak Efik. 

At just 5 feet tall, Mary Slessor walked deep into the hinterlands of South East Nigeria, spreading the message of Jesus Christ. She walked barefoot into places no European had ever stepped into. Her courage and genuine interest in the people endeared her to locals along the way. She challenged witch doctors, chiefs, warriors and everyone in-between. 

Her tough childhood in Scotland, under an abusive alcoholic father who made her begin work in mills at a young age, prepared her for what she encountered in Nigeria. She saved children and slaves trapped in the traditional world of the lower Niger dwellers. By the time she died in 1915, she had become everybody’s Ma.

Some Igbo people have protested that it was not all of the people in Igboland that killed their twins. They said that the practice was concentrated in Ibibio where Mary Slessor was based. They said that the Europeans simply painted the whole of Eastern Nigeria with the same brush. They blamed its inclusion in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart for finally sealing it as the sin of all Igbo. While it may not be widespread across Igboland, some make this case just to disassociate themselves from a despicable practice of the past. The truth is that no part of Africa was free of one or two forms of appalling practice during the pre-colonial era.

Obviously, my forefathers knew nothing about anatomy and physiology. Even though they had the decency to give an unborn child who died in its mother’s womb its own grave, they were ignorant of what happened during human reproduction. Their ignorance was costly. 

Ignorance is always costly. It is especially so when we close our minds to any examination of the coherence of our logic. It also happens when we subdue any iota of curiosity in us. The most deadly incubator of ignorance is intellectual dishonesty.

Our forefathers were not killing twins because of a complete lack of compassion. It was rather because of their total immersion in ignorance.

To the credit of my forefathers, when the message of Mary Slessor got to them, they did not claim moral relativism. They embraced the message and stopped the practice of killing twins and other multiple birth children.

How we know is as important as what we know. In fact, the former determines the later. A society is measured not by how it treats the majority, the powerful, or the mainstream but by how it treats the minority, the weak and those who are different. There are things that we all do today believing that they are right. But hundred years from now, they will be shown to be wrong.

Whatever influences culture and religion bring, there has to be a noble goal in what we think, say, or do. The Rotary Club has a four-way test that asks: 1.Is it the TRUTH? 2.Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3.Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4.Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
  
In his book, The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker wrote that, “If only one person in the world held down a terrified, struggling, screaming little girl, cut off her genitals with a septic blade, and sewed her back up, leaving only a tiny hole for urine and menstrual flow, the only question would be how severely that person should be punished, and whether the death penalty would be sufficiently severe sanction. But when millions of people do this, instead of the enormity being magnified millions-fold, suddenly it becomes ‘culture’ and thereby magically becomes less, rather than more, horrible, and is even defended by some Western ‘moral thinkers,’ including feminists.”

I strongly agree with Sam Harris that the noblest goal for us all is to constantly “find a path leading away from the lowest depths of misery and toward the heights of happiness for the greatest number of people.”

Whether it is in the matter of human rights, religious rights or gay rights, let us pursue this noble goal because it is the right thing to do. Another reason to do it – as a payback for all the twins we killed.

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AFRICANS AND IGNORANCE Part 2

Why does what someone does in the privacy of their own bedroom have to be legislated? Your politicians are busy stealing you blind and occupying you with anti-gay laws. Why have they not made and enforced laws banning corruption and making the punishment for anyone found guilty as hefty as they have made for homosexuals? But you are all here busy with homophobic laws while they steal you blind. Smh.

Africans and Ignorance! Part 1

The comments here show why Africa will remain in the dark for along long time. Intolerance backed by supreme ignorance pervades the continent. They will not even open their minds to an opposing point of view. It's always my way or the highway. If Slessor hadn't come to save us from ourselves the morons will still be killing their own young today. Every time I'm in Nigeria I am reminded of this ignorance first hand by the inane conversations I have with Nigerians. Always thinking their way is superior yet wallowing in darkness. I do not believe that being gay is natural, but if someone wants to be gay or says they were born that way let them be! If it doesn't not affect your life let them be! I am not saying that gays should be allowed to be married as that makes absolutely no sense, but why are we bordering with ant-gay laws?

For the fact that the whites

For the fact that the whites brought western education and enlightened us on some issues,do we now throw caution to the wind and swallow whatever they serve us hook, line and sinker? Over the years we have imbibed what makes sense to us in foreign culture and hold dearly to others, (one of which is marriage), that make sense to us as a people. Don't forget that a people's culture define them. Even in a family, codes of conduct are spelt out which may not be breached just coz some things are acceptable in a neighbour's house. So do we throw away the sanity in our culture just coz America and Europe say so? Even animals do not practice same gender intercourse. God created us all, created sex as well. Except for madness, sex gender intercourse is unnatural.

BRILLIANT!

Dear Rudolf,

You are indeed a very prolific writer. I must commend your ability to remind us all of the few barbaric acts that these "so-called" African traditions that most people are quick to highlight its importance condoned and maybe still does in some parts.

In the 10th paragraph where you captured "ignorance being costly..." quite a number of those ignoramus have not hesitated to show themselves in some of the depressingly pathetic comments they have added.

Well done bro and thanks for sharing yet again this wealth of knowledge to those of us that choose to understand knowledge.

@BOSUN: MAN KNOW THYSELF

Sequel to my last post. Ofo is gavel. Ofo/gavel is used in courthouses and in parliaments by senate presidents in the West and the rest of the world. In Igbo culture, the sun symbolizes God. In Christianity, worship service is hold on the day of the sun, Sunday.

Igbo manufactured finished goods, textiles, furnitures, chemicals, agricultural products, bombs knives, hoes, weapons, plates, spoons, all sorts of wooden products, rockets, missiles, matches, machetes, guns and gun powder, art works, paintings, metal works, needles, mirrors, glasses, musical instruments, etc. Recently, the West have begun to use Ogwu Igbo(Igbo medicines/herbs) which they called supplements.

Technology, Engineering, Medicine, etc is Igbo/African.

@BOSUN

I clearly stated why I called Rudolph Okonkwo stupid. If you take time to study Igbo culture, instead of wasting it on extolling Western cultures and trashing African ones, you would discover that Igbo had superior Technology, Engineering, and practiced all sorts of Medicine until the British came and stopped them because they wanted Africans to buy British made goods instead. Igbo performed all kinds of surgeries before the Europeans did, in fact, the Europeans learned how to perform surgery from the Africans. Christianity is nothing but African culture repackaged. Saints and Apostles are ancestors of the church, cross and bible are same as statues, Rev. Fathers are High Priests, early morning prayer/ worship service same as that of High Priest. Ofo is called the staff of Moses, OJI is sacrament, Obi and Altars both face East, Christian rituals and ceremonies were lifted from African cultures you loathe so much. MAN KNOW THYSELF.

Mr. Kenechi, first of all I

Mr. Kenechi, first of all I believe we should all as Africans learn to persuade by superior argument and not by fiat, legislature or in your case name calling. There is no need to call Rudolph stupid sir.

May I also suggest that as you so overwhelming reject western culture and Christian culture that you take Rudolph's advice and also reject western/Christian medicine, technology and engineering?

I am shocked you've used a computer rather than a talking drum to communicate your piece. A bit like Boko Haram - western education is forbidden - who use mobile phones, TV and bombs?

Why don't you reject the west altogether sir?

The country's leadership including the Religious leadership simply reinforces their failure of the people of this country. The weak are constantly oppressed - Homosexuals, bank depositors of were robbed and the thieves let of virtually scot free, the youth and students of this country, old age pensioners etc. May the Lord forgive us.

Selective Menu

My dear Rudolph, you'd need to widen your write up to include slavery, racism, etc. Whilst you are at it, remember to compare the number of your brothers and sisters (slaves) that were exterminated by the west - your paymasters - to the number of twins killed by your forebears! Avoid a half baked, tunnel approach to issues! An earlier blogger left you with a question for you and your pay masters: Why are you against polygamy? Does it not involve consenting adults and their rights? Here goes your tunnel vision again!!!

WHY ARE AFRICANS SO STUPID? STOP HATING YOUR CULTURE.

People think by denouncing Igbo culture due to a few imperfections it had, they are being civilized. They forget that it was the culture that made them the achievers they are.The first thing the British did when they entered Igboland was an attempt to destroy Igbo culture.They know that people without a culture are easier to be enslaved. Igbo people have neglected civilized Igbo culture and have adopted uncivilized European culture and they wonder why Igboland is rift with all sorts of crimes. Many of them don't even know what Igbo culture is. Americans worked hard to separate themselves from the English by creating a different culture in the way of writing and speaking English language. They understand that culture makes the people. But, Africans are busy denouncing and destroying theirs.

Whether you like it or not, Igbo culture is in your subconscious mind and you must reincarnate with it. It cannot be destroyed or run away from. It will be revived.

We as a people have to accept

We as a people have to accept that culture grows and evolves the white mans culture transplanted our culture because it was better. Christianity transplanted our religions because it had more mass appeal love and hope. The Christian doctrine is in the process of evolving from Catholicism to evangelical. I here people complaining about foreign culture but why don't we complain about foreign cars, medicines, jets, trains and sky scrapers white men don not complain about our innovation they take what they believe will move them forward assimilate it and move on. We need to do the same is criminalizing sex between consenting adults more important to our growth as a people than protecting children from pedophiles. These are the questions we need to ask ourselves.

Thank you Rudolf for speaking

Thank you Rudolf for speaking out and taking a stand on the injustice of the so-called cultural hangups.

RUDOLPH OKONKWO, I THINK YOU ARE STUPID.

I totally disagree with killings in general especial killings of children. To say that our forefathers were ignorant for killing twins is a very stupid statement indeed. Our forefathers were following Igbo culture, Omenani Ndi Igbo, which they derived from natural law, spiritual law, and metaphysical law. These laws are the foundation of most religious laws. Ignorance is abodoning civilized African cultures for barbaric European cultures that do not work. The English/Christian culture Mary Slessor was preaching was full of imperfections: slavery and colonization to name a few.

Thanks for Your Excellent Piece II

...Interestingly, the only thing that extremist Muslims and Christians currently agree upon in Nigeria is anti-gay hatred. But, it's not that far removed from the character of Nigerians as a whole. We hate Igbos, we hate Yorubas, we hate Hausas, we hate the Efik, we hate south-south, north-west, South-east, south-west, east, and north. Name it, who don't we hate in that country? The happiest nation on earth? More like suffering and smiling, and I if I may add, intolerance and ignorance.

God help Nigeria and Africa and I look forward to the name-calling.

Thanks for Your Excellent Piece

Mr. Okonkwo,

Thanks for your well-written article. Africa, the land of indigenous and religious superstitions and intolerance never ceases to amaze me. I do say Africa, because this same persecution of gay people is going on in a lot of African countries, with some even trying to impose the death penalty or life-imprisonment. Those folks who claim religion as their basis for supporting hatred against fellow human beings have not learned anything from the annals of history. Just like Adolf Hitler hated Jews and gays, he hated blacks and browns. God is ashamed of hate. Love thy neighbor as yourself apparently only applies as long as my neighbor is not gay.

Continued...

Horrible Thinking

My Okonkwo, you get this one totally wrong. I used think you were smarter than this. How can you compare 'twins' to 'gays'? Twins are born that way naturally and not of their own choice, while gays chose that lifestyle. You are comparing oranges to apples. I find it hard to believe that you are not gay yourself, cause that's the only way this foolish argument makes sense.

KEEP YOUR GAY THINKING TO YOURSELF

NOBODY HAS THE RIGHTS TO LECTURE US ON ALLOWING GAY DOCTRINE TO DEVELOP IN AFRICA. GOD WILL NEVER LET IT HAPPEN IN MILLION YEARS TO COME. IF YOU ARE GAY IN AFRICA AND YOU ARE NOT WELCOME, PACK YOUR LOAD AND EMIGRATE TO USA OR EUROPE. TELL THE VISA OFFICER THAT YOU WERE PERSECUTED FOR BEING GAY, AND AS SUCH YOU NEED AN ASYLUM. THOSE OF YOU CAMPAIGNING FOR GAY TOLERANCE, YOU HAVE A DEFECT OF REASON, SUFFERING FROM THE DISEASE OF THE MIND, AND DON'T KNOW THE NATURE AND QUALITY OF YOUR STUPID ARGUMENTS.

Rudlof is not correct

Mr. Rudolf, the bible the white man brought preaching to us in those day you called uncivilized era is what the white man is now against. What a confusion. Now that we are vast in it they are now trying to take it away. This is not even a matter of culture it is ungodly and un natural and shameful Mr., Rudddddolf.

right to kill unborn

you give us credit for using laws to roll back barbarism. the west is busy legalising barbarism in the name of human rights. we stopped killing twins yet the had gone back to abort "kill" children in the womb and call that the right of the woman. tommorow Adolf will teach me the right of man to marry his dog and you call it civilization

Lectures from the West?

Some of us are now against taking "lectures from the west" because of Gays and Lesbians issues. But we are the same people that embrace the West style of worship, give our kids their names, mandate our kids to speak the westerners language instead of our languages. Now that the issue of equality is being discussed, we are calling it "lectures from the west' Excuse me

Rudolph Chickens Out!

When the gay community - SR Chapter - of which Chido and Rudolph founded and promote, with members from the US and Nigeria, agreed to 'fight on', roles were given. Chido and Rudolph agreed to write and write and whrite. Chido wrote a pro-gay, incurring the bitter wrath of the readers, while Rudolph who knows that 'Onyenkuzi' his late father would rather commit suicide than have his son involved in/or championing the course of gayism, applies caution in his crap above. Well, Rudolph, deep down inside of you all, inspite of sophism, you know that fair can never be foul.

blowing grammar i be

Na grammar you people de blow - relaticism and Unitarianism and all that s**t. I use commonsense. Before we take anything West, they must equally take our too. We are equal partners on this mother earth and we know better by the virtue of having occupied this earth more than anyone.
Everyday is for the thief one day for the owner. This gay thing has now made us to push back. Never again will Africa stand and take lectures from the west. The time we reassert ourselves has come

Ambiguous and Near Useless

I am not sure it is ideal to leave it to one's readers to figure out the intended goal(s) in a write up. Perhaps, literary works are exceptions. This article is almost an exercise in futility because it can be interpreted to any end. You seem to be against moral relativism, and you alluded to utilitarianism (when you agree with the anti-theist Sam Harris. So I take it to be, at least partly, that your the moral theory to which you subscribe is the utility theory. The problem is utility theory will find it near-impossible to deliver any goodies to minorities. If being gay makes some people happy in Africa, it makes more people unhappy in Africa. So, according to the dictates of utilitarianism that exhort us to uphold the happiness of the greater number, homosexuals would not have a place in Nigeria and Africa at large. You see, that is what I make of your writing. If this is not your intended end, write something more straight-forward.

Leave us alone

Colonialism has dealt terribly with our culture. What is left is convoluted while we try to preserve it in order to restore our dignity. It has not been easy as damage is done. Where do you go in Africa without seeing poverty and confused custom. That is because of these destruction. Before the coming of the white man Africa was in order and rich. They condemned our polygamy which worked quite well for us and now want a man to marry man. Which one is worse I ask?
If the west want us to get westernized further than the terrible ones they have done so far, they should back it up with responsibility of removing all barriers of our movements. No visa. We all become common citizens under same social security (because this terrible thing has a lot of bad social out-wash of which Africa and Africans are not equipped to contain). They can not destroy our culture, destroy us while erecting a fence to shut us out. Otherwise enough of this interference. Leave us alone.

Ignorance as Culture

When an evil and ridiculous practice is allowed to persist for as long as the human memory can accommodate, it becomes a culture. That's why practices such as human sacrifices, worshipping of the dead, worshipping of parasitic traditional rulers, etc. are perceived as being cultural.

Rudolph tries to be careful in his support for gays!

It is amazing how most, if not all, of those who go to America gets 'Americanised'. May be it is in a bid to feel among in a pretty attractive society. May be it is because of laziness of thought, and dependance on the "masters" to think for us and tell us what is right or wrong. Rudolph and his likes seems to have fallen for such in an effort to remain 'American'.

Wunderbar!

The level of intolerance among us is such that we even refuse to listen to any opposing argument,I just read this from happenings at our senate "Urging the Senate to continue to accommodate all legislators irrespective of their views,they said Nigeria could only make progress when they tolerate and respect one another and the rule of law" and I said what? the same people making laws to deny some of our compatriots their rights,moral authority is challenged here,I am a conservative christian,so conservative that I do not read epistles,those letters written by that Pharisee called Paul and his likes,I read only gospels and acts of apostles and I never for one saw Jesus Christ of Nazareth cast someone away apart from the priests and scribes whom he called hypocrites.

rubbish what are saying. you

rubbish what are saying. you wasted my time

Thank you Rudolf for this

Thank you Rudolf for this wonderful piece. I have tried to make your exact point without being as eloquent. AS I noted in my piece, it takes very little courage to deny the rights of a small minority. Great leaders never seek cheap popularity. I believe that Mr President just did.

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