Things Fall Apart is about the tragic fall of Okonkwo, and the Igbo culture. Okonkwo is a respected and influential leader within the Igbo community of Umuofia in eastern Nigeria. He first earns personal fame and distinction, and brings honor to his village, when he defeats Amalinze the Cat in a wrestling contest. Okonkwo determines to gain titles for himself and become a powerful and wealthy man in spite of his father’s weaknesses. Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was a lazy and wasteful man. He often borrowed money and then squandered it on palm-wine and merrymaking with friends. Consequently, his wife and children often went hungry. Within the community, Unoka was considered a failure and a laughingstock. He was referred to as agbala, one who resembles the weakness of a woman and has no property. Unoka died a shameful death and left numerous debts. Okonkwo despises and resents his father’s gentle and idle ways. He resolves to overcome the shame that he feels as a result of his father’s weaknesses by being what he considers to be “manly”; therefore, he dominates his wives and children by being insensitive and controlling. Because Okonkwo is a leader of his community, he is asked to care for a young boy named Ikemefuna, who is given to the village as a peace offering by neighboring Mbaino to avoid war with Umuofia. Ikemefuna befriends Okonkwo’s son, Nwoye, and Okonkwo becomes inwardly fond of the boy.Over the years, Okonkwo becomes an extremely volatile man; he is apt to explode at the slightest provocation. He violates the Week of Peace when he beats his youngest wife, Ojiugo, because she went to braid her hair at a friend’s house and forgot to prepare the afternoon meal and feed her children. Later, he severely beats and shoots a gun at his second wife, Ekwefi, because she took leaves from his banana plant to wrap food for the Feast of the New Yam.
When noted Nigerian author Chinwe Achebe, wrote this ground breaking book, it was embraced by Afrikan people near and far, because the subject matter was close to our collective hearts. The loss of culture and direction, and the tragedy that befalls us when we lose our way and purpose in matters that are dear to us. While this story was about one man’s failings to live up to the ideals and standards he set for himself, notably a high and harsh one, it does show the consequences of not being able to live up to the ideals one sets for themself, in personal relationships and how things can easily fall apart both when you hold on too tight AND too loosely.
Ever since Lauren Babbit became infamously famous for severing her husbands penis. Celebrated near and far, by females and some shemales ( females in males clothings), countless women have been in the news following suite, by acting out similar scenarios and proudly proclaiming their RIGHT to retaliate in such a way, for basically the idea ( whether true or not) of their men, cheating on them. Rest assured that men have been at this genital mutilation thing much longer than women. At least according to some documented reports.
I am not here to debate which is worse, or why” rational” people supposedly in “love”, either mutilate another because their “love” was betrayed, or mutilate another out of this false assumption of what this “love” thing is. However, the novel Things Fall Apart, for me encapsulates the very idea that our cultural practices have been and continues to crumble under external pressures, that has tainted and poison our internal sensibilities and cultural norms.
First of all, this abstract idea of love….is something i call a dirty four letter word….because of how the word, its meaning and application has been misoverstood, misapplied and misused by western society. As well as the majority of societies overly influenced by the western society’s uncivilized and satanic behaviour. In ancient times and in many cultures around the planet today. Cultures that actually practice this love thing, outside the purveys of western uncivilized behaviours, love is less about what you proclaim and more about what you do and how you behave. The minute you end up hurting someone you had previously proclaimed your love for….then your love was not love, in its truest sense, or you never had a handle on this state and your subsequent actions serve to prove this.
Too many of us use the excuses of love,or being in love to explain away outlandish or violent behaviour against the people we claim we love. Those who actually do or enable similar mind set call it passion, jealousy or some other nonsense, instead of what it really is. Emotional immaturity, lack of discipline , social savagery and mental instability. Poems, songs, novels and shows are created glorifying such behaviours, thus encouraging and further indoctrinating new recruits who lack the social grace, personal training or maturity to deal with a relationship that may be shaky, on the rocks or on the verge of crumbling. Many of these types of relationships, long before they get to that point, were sufferings because BOTH participants had failed to enter into that relationship with knowledge of self, self worth and a clear overstanding of what they seek in a compliment. We use terms like partner, husband, wife or girl friend/boyfriend, which are all limited and and incomplete designations that fuel an incomplete overstanding of how we must enter into, accept or act when in a relationship. For instance, the original term for a “husband” is one who takes care of a farm animal, thus the modern appellation. ..”animal husbandry”. No adult over teen age years should call each other “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”, because it evokes a certain emotional and temporary approach to what each is engaged in. And while i have stated that a relationship should be treated as a business, with the requisite approach in effort and sacrifice, most people view “partnership” like a detached phenomena, devoid of the deep desire and passion that growing a business requires.
Since most knee-grows practice the drug called Christianity, and since most knee-grow Muslims are former Christians, who read both books of fables without any deep discernment or practical application, i sometimes refer back to that which they have been conditioned to embrace, but which they sheepishly misuse or miss entirely. Just as a reference point they can relate to. When speaking to one of these lost souls, i have in the past referenced the passage from 1 Corinthians, as an example of a teaching point that is always agreed upon, but immediately dismissed for something more phantasmagorical. Things such, “Jesus is the way” or “god forgives if you repent”. Shit that don’t mean anything and don’t make any sense, if you also state that man is gifted with will, to elevate him above the crawling, flying or swimming creatures. 1st Corinthians, instructs the drug addicts in the Way of Love, by stating….
1 “… If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, or rude.
5 It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love….”
What this means is that of all the basic emotions…love lasts. But it is a love that is not full of itself, is not irritable or resentful, does not insist on its own way and does not rejoice in wrong doing. What would we call wrong doing then? Well mutilating your supposed partners genitalia is rejoicing in wrong doing, but so is searching their phone or personal items, stalking them because you believe they are not faithful, screwing around on them…first or after they did it…neither is righteous. Certainly not shooting up a car, such as what one of the women from the gospel group Mary Mary did, when she THOUGHT her husband driving a retooled classic car, was him trolling for women. Many of us today who lack self worth, or self love, seek validation in others and strive to create and arrest a false image of what they feel is the ideal mate that would make them feel validated. So if that other person does something radical like go through personal growth, it upsets the weak persons world and leaves them disoriented and confused. Confusion leads to frustration, anger, self pity and often violence. Self pity and even self violence is when that anger is turned on the self and the weak person, accepts abuse, verbal, emotional and physical. When they subject themselves to humiliating acts in order to WIN back a “love” they probably never had. Or when they try to prove their “love” by killing themselves, the object of their alleged “love” or somebody else, associated with that somebody. This is not live. This is emotional immaturity and an inability to find balance in ones life. Many such cases come to mind immediately. The knee-grow female who killed her two children and stuffed them in a freezer. The knee-gress in England who, when her yurugu husband wanted to leave her, killed her children, then phoned him to throw the act in his face. The one knee-grow who was being abused by his children’s mother through the white supremacy court system, decide to kill her, two of his three children and himself, just barely missed killing the woman’s live in “boyfriend” and her daughter from another relationship. There was also the 3 year old who froze to death after wondering from his grandmothers home, but as it turned out, she was dropping the child off at somebody else other than the father, whom she didn’t have good relationship with…..while she went out to party. All of the above and numerous others are some examples of committing violence on someone that was supposed to be loved. Yet the media twists it away from these people having damaged spirit, that are enabled by the system, friends and even strangers who would justify and explain away that kind of evil. To be in a relationship is not to lose your identity in that relationship, because if it sours, it gets nasty real fast. And in the case of infanticide or child abuse, these are people with undiagnosed or ignored, mental or emotional health issues. Ignored because a social worker, a friend or a family member, often knows, but plays it off. Of course social workers often go to the other extreme of discriminating based on cultural biases…but that’s a story for a different post.
Kahlil Gibran in his classic, the prophet, stated that…”Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love”. Stevie wonder sang…”love is in need of itself”.
How do you love? Possessively? Do you seek to control your compliment? Do you enter into this relationship under the principles of Ma’at and overstand reciprocity? Do you know what you are about, what you want or where you are going in that relationship? Or truly what you want out of it?
When things fall apart, rest assured it was built on lose sand or a shaky foundation. And the crumbling was but an inevitable conclusion to poor construction, poor skill set and poor architectural planning.
A great man once said…nothing, wealth, fame, happiness or contentment can be found outside of self. It is found inside. Thus when one has balance nothing outside can control you.