Of bandits, bedbugs and mosquitoes (II) | Dailytrust

Of bandits, bedbugs and mosquitoes (II)

Kachalla Turji (with mic) is one of the most notorious bandits
Kachalla Turji (with mic) is one of the most notorious bandits

What the video did not show however was how they went about changing the year of manufacture from the old to the ‘new’. Nothing else remained for them to do other than that of printing year 2021 on the ‘new’ tyre, right there in front of our eyes. Sad.  

 I was deeply sad and saddened by the scene that I witnessed in the clip. I could not but asked: Why are some of my compatriots so dedicated and committed to error and fraud? Why do they constantly spend and invest their energy and time in criminality? Who taught the boy how to engage in that kind of fraud and crime by ‘turning’ an old car tyre into a ‘new one’ or was the scene a throwback to one of those moments of ‘madness’ sometimes referred to as ‘creativity’ that we, as humans, are sometimes capable of? But is there a nexus between creativity and criminality? Could indeed be there be one? Is it true that, in line with Adolf Hitler, earthly success of man is usually a function of his originality plus his  brutality? 

Yet more questions: where are the social values and the religious virtues of honesty, truthfulness and piety taught to us while we were young many years ago? Exactly what are we teaching our youths today? At what point in our national and communal life did we miss it – that bend, that point and that direction where honesty and integrity would have remained, and forever too, irreducible elements in and of our national identity? Or is it the case that we never actually had them? If the vulcanizer was the one who taught the crime to his apprentice, where are the apprentices’ parents? What messages are parents of today passing across to their wards and children? Are the parents even there anymore to discharge these sacred parental responsibilities? Are our children not out there now like paper boats at the mercy of the tides and turbulence of these times? 

While I was pondering this fact, news came to town of the destruction, by the security agents, of yet another camp of bandits in the northwest. Then, it dawned on me that no better adjectives could actually be more suitable to describe the kind of atrocities perpetrated by the vulcanizer and his apprentices whose story I told above other than banditry. Or how else might they be described other than as bandits: those who band together in the hidden to engage in acts that have led to the death of hundreds if not thousands of people in the open? Or how else might they be described but as outlaws, gangsters and agents of Beelzebub, those who unconscionably deprive the majority of their rights and access to the good life, imperil their existence and subject families to grief and pain? If as bedbugs we may not describe them, might we then refer to them as mosquitoes?

 Mosquitoes? Yes. Bedbugs? No. In truth, there is a subtle difference in the ‘’method” and the ‘profession’ of the bedbug and that of mosquitoes. Whereas bedbugs are silent destroyers, mosquitoes, on the other hand, are ‘benevolent’ outlaws- they ‘pre-inform you, or rather put you on ‘notice’ of the pendency of their ‘invasion’. This exactly was what happened a couple of weeks ago when some bandits sent messages of dread and terror to their would-be victims. The bandits, like mosquitoes, had the temerity to inform those compatriots of ours that they were coming and that no security apparatchik could protect them.

 But again, unlike mosquitoes, bedbugs are the ‘closest’ friends’ a man could have. They do not dwell in unknown chinks or crevices. No. On the contrary, their ‘homes’ are the dirty, the filthy and the defiled spaces where human beings reside. In other words, bed bugs’ choicest dwelling is man’s dwelling, his homestead– particularly that of the carefree and the careless. Thus while mosquitoes display their bravura by announcing their arrival before they attack, bedbugs, on the other hand, usually carry out and carry on the business of ‘life’ and ‘living’ in silence; they suck and drain their victims’ blood in quietude. You only get to know the bedbug had come a-visiting after the act; after the deed is done. 

But my reference to bedbugs and mosquitoes here is clear- they are employed as metaphors; metaphors for two types of elements in our world that imperil and impede access to the good life by the majority. I refer to human beings like you and me; I refer to the familiar-strangers, the enemies within; enemies we take as friends; friends whose friendship are so strong that you desire no enemy thereafter. I refer to politicians – those you voted for. Or rather, those who are now paying you in order to elect them into offices in our land. While returning back to the village, they blast the siren to announce their arrival. Their arrival reminds you of where you were years ago; it reminds them of the fact that your state and status have changed only a trifle since then. The bed bugs and mosquitoes are of varying features and textures. You know them better than I do.


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