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Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA

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May 6, 2023, 4:44:43 PM5/6/23
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I am one of the voices of God in Literature.

-Chidi Anthony Opara (CAO).


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Chidi Anthony Opara is a Poet, IIM Professional Fellow, MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador and Editorial Adviser at News Updates (https://updatesonnews.substack.com)

Toyin Falola

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May 6, 2023, 5:27:05 PM5/6/23
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Sir:

I am totally confused:

Did you mean to say

You are one of the voices of Literature in God?

 

But I also more confused:

 

The last time I saw God, we communicated in Latin. Do you speak Latin?

TF

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Adeshina Afolayan

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May 6, 2023, 5:36:58 PM5/6/23
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Literature then becomes scriptural, with its own priesthood and a possibly absolutist interpretation. Non-voices are then locked out of fundamentalist validation. Or structured violently into conformity. 

I am always wary of self-designation. 


Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA

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May 6, 2023, 8:24:55 PM5/6/23
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USA Africa Dialogue Series - Today's Quote
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Oga TF, Adeshina,

I am one of God's voices in Literature. I am a mouthpiece of God. There are others of course.

God speaks all languages, including the sign languages.

God is not just religion. When Isaac Newton, etc, discovered principles which have made living worthwhile, they were under the guidance of God, even though some of them may not have believed in the existence of God.
-CAO.

On Saturday, May 6, 2023, Toyin Falola <toyin.f...@gmail.com> wrote:

Sir:

I am totally confused:

Did you mean to say

You are one of the voices of Literature in God?

 

But I also more confused:

 

The last time I saw God, we communicated in Latin. Do you speak Latin?

TF

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA <chidi...@gmail.com>
Date: Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 3:44 PM
To: USA African Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Today's Quote

I am one of the voices of God in Literature.

 

-Chidi Anthony Opara (CAO).



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Chidi Anthony Opara is a Poet, IIM Professional Fellow, MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador and Editorial Adviser at News Updates (https://updatesonnews.substack.com)

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Harrow, Kenneth

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May 7, 2023, 4:53:30 AM5/7/23
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One of my favorite qtes:
Ana al haq. Al haq, meaning the truth, is also one of the 99 names of allah.
Here’s how it came to be used by hallaj, sufi poet:
ANA’L-ḤAQQ “I am the Truth,” the most famous of the Sufi šaṭḥīyāt (ecstatic utterances, or paradoxes). Uttered by Ḥosayn b. Manṣūr Ḥallāǰ (executed 309/922 in Baghdad), these words are traditionally said to have been spoken when he knocked at the door of his master, Jonayd, after returning from a pilgrimage in 282/896; asked, by Jonayd, “Who is there?”, he is supposed to have answered ana’l-ḥaqq. Jonayd thereupon cursed him. However, L. Massignon has shown that the words were not a sudden outcry, but rather form part of Ḥallāǰ’s doctrine that the uncreated Divine spirit can transform for a moment the created human spirit so that a change of subject takes place. Hence the Divine and the human person work together, and here is no question of “incarnation” or “Unity of Being.”

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Oluwatoyin Adepoju

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May 7, 2023, 4:53:30 AM5/7/23
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Between Dynamism and Dogmatism

I love this perspective.

I can appreciate Adeshina's wariness about the self designation in question but does seeing oneself as an expression of divine creativity necessarily imply seeing one's activities and person in absolutist, dogmatic terms?

Human/Divine Synergy Framed by Human Limitations and Uniqueness

The idea of the human being as an expression of divine creativity is an ancient and universal idea balanced by efforts to mediate between human limitations and the divine plenitude of which the human being is an expression.

Chidi suggests that human creativity in all fields is divinely inspired, whether or not the creative believes in God.

Paul does declare of God that "in him we live and move and have our being."

Jesus states the spirit blows where it wishes and none knows where it comes from and where it goes to.

Yoruba Igbo and Zulu thought declare positions akin to the Igbo,  "ike di na awaja na awaja" "power flows in many channels", enabling creativity uniquely to each person.

As the sun, moon and planets are empowered, so each form in existence is uniquely empowered to actualize itself in shaping cosmic dynamism as Achebe on Igbo thought, Drewal,  Abiodun and Pemberton and Babatunde Lawal on Yoruba thought and Mazisi Kunene on Zulu thought may be correlated. 

God is the end, agent and exemplar of the universe  and the source of the activity called freedom, a view attributed to Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas evocative of both the African ideas earlier presented and Aquinas view, if I recall correctly, that the human being shares  in the being of God, and that to detract from  being of the created is to detract from the ultimate creator who is being itself, the source or ground of all being, a situation implying that even the human intellect is enabled and suffused by divine presence and may be a vehicle for divine expression, whether or not one believes in God as Chidi observes or attributes their activity to God if one believes God exists.

Inspiration as a Universal Resource in All Contexts

I see all creativity as inspired.

By whom?

I dont know.

But the psychological processes egendering creativity are partly known.

I dont see Soyinka, Wariboko and Irele for example, as less inspired than the Biblical writers and I see their writing as better than that of some of the Bible.

The Biblical writers and Jesus are using the same literary techniques dramatizing heightened affective force that all verbal artists use.

Soyinka’s Signposts of Existence poem and the ritual scenes in Death and the King’s Horseman are worthy of standing side by side with the world's greatest scriptures, from the Psalms to the Hindu Upanishads and others.

Irele on philosophy of Ijala poetry in "Tradition and the Yoruba Writer" and his essay "What is Negritude?" are among the most sublime writings I’ve ever read as are some of Wariboko’s acknowledgments pages such as the one in Split God as well as his recent piece on his inspiration as a scholar posted on this group.

To this list I would add some passages of Immanuel Kant's such as the famous reflections on the starry heavens and the moral law and Akinwumi Ogundiran on orisha philosophy between time, space and eternity in the section of the The Yoruba: A New History on the Ife synthesis of Orisha theology, plus his explanation posted on this group of how he developed the idea, along with sections of Falola’s "Ritual Archives" essay such as the first paragraph and the meditation on Eshu.

Universal Principles of Literary Inspiration and Expression in All Contexts 

Great verbal arts is the same everywhere and every time, operating according to the same inspirational impulses and imaginative structures through which language is shaped to generate the greatest impact on the human mind.

Hence the Biblical writers, the writers of the Hindu Upanishads, Jesus, Buddha etc were all great visionaries and great verbal artists, a combination without which great, enduringly inspirational scripture is impossible.

I see sacred verbal composition as something that should be studied and practiced rather than treated as the mysterious preserve of an inspired elite.

Techniques of Gaining Inspiration

Techniques of gaining inspiration are well known and can be practiced by anyone as well as people developing theirs.

A Personal Experience 

One of my most important essays, a demonstration of how an interpretive approach developed from Ifa hermeneutics, it’s techniques and theories of interpretation, could be employed in understanding phenomena outside Ifa and it’s related contexts, in this case the art and letters of the Dutch French artist Vincent Van Gogh, a great example of great artist and great writer, was enabled significantly by an invocation I performed of the Yoruba deity Orisanla, ideas associated with Orisanla  being central to the essay.

The invocation proved most effective  in relation to my reading in the disciplines i brought together.

 The invocation broke open the sense that I was not yet ready to complete the essay in spite of all the reading and writing already done, a sense of puzzling incompleteness leading me to undertake the invocation after which the same day I was visited by a flood of ideas suggesting new interpretive connections, new ideational pathways for further developing the project through further study and writing thereby making it more robust yet the logical structure of the completed text is such that there is no clue to the fact that a spiritual invocation played any role in what is presented as a purely intellectual project.

The Example of Isaac Newton
I love the Newton example bcs he was one of the last and one of the most compelling examples of a previous age when rigorous science and spirituality came together as exemplified by his General Scholium conclusion to his greatest work Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

Great thanks
Toyin Adepoju 








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Chidi Anthony Opara is a Poet, IIM Professional Fellow, MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador and Editorial Adviser at News Updates (https://updatesonnews.substack.com)

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Oluwatoyin Adepoju

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May 7, 2023, 9:44:25 AM5/7/23
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Thanks Ken.

There is a wonderful extract in From Primitives to Zen, of Al-

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Oluwatoyin Adepoju

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May 7, 2023, 12:50:23 PM5/7/23
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Thanks Ken.

It seems that the tension between divine otherness and the human quest for intimacy with the divine is particularly sensitive in various stages of the histories of Islamic and Christian mysticism, on  account of strict  orthodoxies.

There is a superb extract, under ''Specialists of the Sacred'', from Massignon and Nicholson texts, in Mircea Eliade's From Primitives to Zen, , quoting Al Hallaj as he asks Allah to remove the ''I'' that stood between the Creator and himself,  leading to the mystic's declaration that ''I am he whom I love, two spirits in one body,  if you see me, you see Him, and if you see Him, you see us both'', the extract eventually describing how Al Hallaj was executed for that self description, understood as heresy, as he prayed for his executioners to the Creator who ''is revealed in every place and who is not in any place'',  who were doing what they did because they had not enjoyed the depth of  revelation granted to the mystic.

Falling silent after that,  the executioner dealt him a blow smashing his nose, blood staining his white robe, as fellow mystics in the crowd either cried out and rent their clothes or fainted, upon which ''the executioners did their work''.  

The theoretical frameworks for different kinds of mysticism, such as  mysticism of unity-the dewdrop slipping into the shining sea-Buddhism, and mysticism of perception- ''i saw the leaves dispersed throughout the universe, things, their qualities and interrelations, as one simple light''-Dante, exist in classical African spiritualities but I am yet to read accounts of mystics in these traditions and have encountered very few mystical theories in these systems, such as Mazisi Kunene's marvellous account of Zulu thought in his introduction to Anthem of the Decades.

 Accounts of what could become mysticism include Amadou Hampate Ba's Kaidara, a fictional text  representing classical  Fulani spirituality,  climaxing in a meeting with the divine personage of Kaidara.

That meeting, however,  does not indicate an expansion of awareness to include the cosmological reality Kaidara embodies, as in Ibn Arabi's   account, in  Futuhat Al Makkiyya, the Meccan Revelations,  of his meeting in Mecca with the Youth ''neither alive nor dead, encompassed and encompassing, who speaks only in symbols and who can be understood only in symbols'', on whose form is engraved a cosmological map which Arabi transcribes into the many volumed and ideationally massive text that is that book.

Germaine Dieterlen presents a magnificent account of a Fulani initiation system in ''Initiation Among the Peul Pastoral Fulani''  in her co-edited African Systems of Thought, an initiatory progression involving progressive entry into various dimensions constituting the cosmos and interaction with entities in these planes,  culminating in an invocation of the creator of the universe.

But the English translation of the larger French text does not indicate what the outcome of that invocation is supposed to be.

Would it involve sharing in the knowledge and being of the Creator, such sharing being core to mysticism?

I keep coming across what I understand as these frustrating fragments and wonder if the problem is due to inadequate exploratory work by scholars of these spiritualities or if the mystical or even contemplative strains do not exist in these spiritualities, contemplative in the sense of individual reflection on self or ideas, a culture I also not find in accounts of these spiritualities which are nevertheless rich in ideas that are not likely to have been developed except in deep contemplative states.

Eliade's anthology, first published in the 60s and Katz's large Comparative Mysticism: An Anthology of Original Sources, 2013,  both contain nothing on mystical theory, practice or experience  in classical African spiritualities.

In trying to build such textual references, however,  one could perhaps reference Christopher Okigbo's poet persona's union,  in Labyrinths,    with ''the water spirit that nurtures all creation'' , reached through invocation of Idoto, the goddess of his village stream, an invocation leading him to the sources of existence and eventually into the goddesses' underwater cavern, where the consummating meeting takes place.

thanks

toyin






On Sun, 7 May 2023 at 09:53, Harrow, Kenneth <har...@msu.edu> wrote:

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Cornelius Hamelberg

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May 7, 2023, 3:29:52 PM5/7/23
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Dear Chidi,


Some time ago I came across Meher Baba and read his “God Speaks”. It’s reported that  after he took a vow of silence he communicated by writing with chalk on a slate and then by spelling out what he had to say via an alphabet board, and later on he communicated through his own special sign language 


Needless to say, because life is precious you’ve got to be careful with whatever poetic statements you make, and of course, where you make your poetic claims. See what happened with Jesus for more or less saying, what Mansur al-Hallaj said:  ”anal haq” - “I am the truth” - in person. That got the Mullahs of his day to see red, so he was crucified


In the case of Jesus, he (Jesus) added some cream to the claim when he said to his disciples, I am the way and the truth and the life.” , and added “ No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 


Somewhere else in the Gospel according to John, he is reported to have said,


 “ I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

 We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—  what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.  But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

The Jewish Mullahs/ Pharisees of his day eventually made sure that he got nailed on the cross. 


Luckily for you, if you go around in the Owerri Motor Park proclaiming that you are God or the Voice of God or one of God’s poetic voices, the people who may listen to you or hear you will merely think that you are crazy and worst case scenario, they would probably have you locked up in a mental asylum - like Baako as a suffering servant in Ayi Kwei Armah's novel, Fragments ( His people can’t understand that he’s back home to Ghana after bagging a good degree from Harvard and yet doesn’t want to join the echelons of high society with all the paraphernalia that goes with the senior service status, big car,  some big booty, and big cigar, etc….


No one has to tell dear Chidi, that he shouldn’t make that kind of poetic statement that you are “ God” or “ the Voice of God”  up North in e.g. Zamfara, Sokoto or Kano because they will be likely to make halal kebabs out of you. I’m afraid that Ken Harrow of PEN International and Amnesty International would not be able to save your poetic ass.


A word to the wise should be sufficient ; 


“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”….


Alhaji Waziri Oshomah : Luaka Bop



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Harrow, Kenneth

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May 8, 2023, 8:08:53 AM5/8/23
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Dear toyin, you are to be commended for your work on these mysticisms. You know my first book on african literature, the edited collection Faces of Islam in African Literature, contained my chapter on sufi mysticism in various african authors’ works, like laye, tayeb salih, ch. amadou kane, etc.
The sufi beliefs in dhikr and ecstasy were real, and marked the orders that had come down from the north. My view was, and is, that african adherents generated forms of sufi islam, with mystifical practices that were visible in dance and song. Like other parts of the muslim world. And faced opposition in the fakirs and ulama that resisted mysticism, as in the saudi peninsula. That difference is probably a bit present today, although modernity has killed mystical beliefs and substituted phony cults.

The africans who adopted islam were not really converts, but adapters, like peoples everywhere on earth who took practices andbeliefs that were already there, and shaped them into their own. All religions did this. In that sense african islam is not a received religion or copy, but a creation like every other form of islam in the world.
And like all forms, is slowly giving way to modernity. You are an excavator of the past, its residues in the present, its traces, its memories. And yet the beliefs persist. I saw an article indicated how very widespead payments to sorcerers etc were made in ghana. No doubt ghana was no different from elsewhere on the continent.

Ken

From: usaafric...@googlegroups.com <usaafric...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Cornelius Hamelberg <cornelius...@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2023 2:04:38 PM
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Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Today's Quote
 

Cornelius Hamelberg

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May 8, 2023, 8:09:16 AM5/8/23
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Dear Chidi,


Just in case you smell  an oxymoron

lurking there, well, here’s 

a little foot note 

on “Jewish Mullahs”...


Here’s another voice

One of many

Voices.



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Harrow, Kenneth

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May 8, 2023, 8:09:16 AM5/8/23
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Cornelius is maybe the only one on the list here to know, and recognize, from our jewish liturgy a phrase we repeat usually on services saturday (shabbat), Ani adonai elochechem. I am the lord, your god. The congregation says those words, not unlike hallaj! It is quoting what god says, but comes out, in this indirect discourse, to be the same words spoken by the same people…
I always found that passage ironic.
Ken

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Cornelius Hamelberg

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May 8, 2023, 7:43:41 PM5/8/23
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Emeritus Professor Harrow, 


Yes, priceless. 


These Bible and other stories. Indulge me, a little. The danger/ dangers of quoting the Bible out of context. The dangers of impersonation. 


Could you kindly translate the rest of that piece of exalted Hebrew poetry into His Majesty's ( Charles III)  English?


As some of us know, “a Little learning is a dangerous thing.“ and if we’re not careful, some little tittle-tattle barbarian from one of the UK’s former colonies, which your former president has referred to as one of the “s-hole countries”, will have the impertinence to be “correcting” His Majesty's grammar, and the grammar of the eloquent rapper doing his Ebonics or what is disdainfully looked down upon as “street poetry” 


Better still, what about possibly translating the less glaring Vayikra /Leviticus 19:18 


 “ You shall neither take revenge from nor bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I AM THE LORD!” 


Someone could  translate that into Arabic / Hausa/ Fulani, and, moved by whatever spirit, let the Brave & Hon. Brother Chidi Anthony Opara the poet and Matthew Hassan Kukah the Bishop go and proclaim such a first-person message/ testimony of good tidings outside the main mosque in Sokoto, Kano or Zamfara and await to see what happens next, b'ezrat hashem / Inshallah, the results of such first-person testimony 


Religious War”? 


Palaver?  


E go get am. 


A just reward for all their troubles, as in Peter, Paul and Mary:  All My Trials


Opara & Kukah would suffer fools, gladly? 


They should only have themselves to blame. Unbeknownst, their scripture-soaked utterance albeit filled by the Holy Ghost would of course be viewed as a deliberate provocation  - especially the ecclesiastically learned Kukah who by all means and not lacking in modesty or the instinct of survival/self-preservation, we are to presume would normally not be in such a great hurry to meet his Lord, ought to know better. As Ahmad Deedat once joked during a debate with a Christian gentleman who asked him maliciously, with the intention to ridicule the nation of al-Islam, 


“Where was Allah when his Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husayn  was being slaughtered at Karbala.?” 


Sheikh Deeday had replied, “ Allah cried!” 


Hot in pursuit, smelling victory and going for the kill, the  pastor had then repeated in mock incredulity, “Allah cried?” “


 Yes “, asserted Sheikh Deedat,


 “Allah cried. He said,I did not save my only begotten son  on the cross and you have the effrontery to be asking  me about my servant Prophet Muhammad’s grandson?”


One saying goes,  "Justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done" - and the other saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied, i.e. justice should be swift  -  spontaneous, nay, immediate, or poetically speaking abrupt, as defined by the devil’s dictionary. I don’t know the exact provisions that are to be expected according to Sharia Law if the accursed miscreants should be summarily executed  - on the spot - or first arraigned/chained/dragged to the Sharia Court to face the music and the judgement, of course, a foregone conclusion:  Blasphemy of the highest degree earns the wrath of God: The Full Penalty.


 “Ignorance of the law is no excuse !”


Worst case scenario, both gentlemen could meet  the same fate as the late Deborah Samuel and soon enough would be entered into the Guinness Book of Records or into these annals of The Religion of Peace 


With a little bit of luck, our Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju could fare a little better, maybe still retain the head on his neck and shoulders after reciting some of his philosophical yada-yada and gobbledegook outside the Central Mosque in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the mosque known as The Fullah Town Mosque, but having got away with blasphemy he had better not launch into a Fulani Herdsmen diatribe there…


Collins Leon, an immigrant from St. Lucia once turned up at one of the mosques in Stockholm - the one known as “ The Gambian Mosque “ - at Apelbergsgatan. He arrived there wearing some kind of white Galilean toga and carrying a heavy wooden cross on his shoulder. He was unceremoniously thrown out of the mosque. Serves him right. He tearfully complained to me about the event, years later. I expressed no sympathy/ empathy, call it what you will. I believe that anyone who reads this will agree with me, that he should take himself and his cross elsewhere. Where to? Well, in the Gospels Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.“ Where  in the Gospels did Jesus say, 

“Take up your cross and follow me to the mosque”? 


BTW,  why is religion such a powerful force in so many people’s lives, even very sinful people? 


About your prime example,  al- Hallaj who ( correction) was executed - not crucified   - we should still point out the essential difference between his fate and that of Bayazid Bastami who is said to have committed the same offence. Politics aside, al-Hallaj was executed and Bayazid was spared. Al- Hallaj was thought to have been sober, not so Bayazid. We are all subject to correction and supposedly are to be held to account ( by the religious/ thought police. the custodians of the holy law and the holy peace) for what we say in the states of sobriety/ insobriety and whatever we do or say in the intervening the states in between the two extremes ( the extremely sober and the extremely intoxicated states of being )


I fasted during the first 17 days of Ramadan in 1981. Since I lived in a Pakistani community in Port Harcourt,  after inviting Farzanah, one of the Pakistani sisters to the cinema, and the judgement that I inadvertently brought upon my poor head - - and that was touching base with the Pakistanis ( their council of Elders angry  “Do you think that she is like the women in Sweden?” etc, etc.) I  sort of sympathy-fasted with them as a sign of repentance and even accompanied them on a few dawah missions to Imo State. The very last dawah expedition that we made to Imo ( like precursors of these guys) when we arrived at the very spot where we had missionized the last time, this time the villagers had sent a delegation/ reception committee to meet us with the message that they didn’t want to see us there any more. What had happened to the sweet love and understanding that we thought we had established between us and our friendly Igbo village neighbours? Well, no hypocrisy, they told us plainly that they would like to see our backs, that we should leave them alone since there was nothing that we were going to be doing for them apart from promising them paradise - after they die, whereas the Ahmadiyya people had promised to build them a hospital and a school.  Our “ amir” Mr  Rahman, the leader of our dawah mission, was livid. It was the first and only time I saw him lose his temper. Do you know how Ghulam Ahmad died? he screamed…


I told Mr Harry ( at the Ministry of Education) to give the flat that he had finally got for me in downtown Port Harcourt to please hand it over to my Ghanaian friend Reubn Attiley, a choreographer and dance teacher - because Reuben had a huge family ( about ten kids and at least one wife ) and the flat he (Mr Harry) had got for my family of only three people was even much bigger than our flat in Stockholm. 


So, I arrived in Ahoada on Thursday the 16th of July 1981, the 15th day of  Ramaḍān/ and stopped fasting two days later. On day 14 of Ramadan, my last day in Port Harcourt,  around midday I had opened the door to one of the hotel rooms and there - to my consternation came face-to-face with one of the pious Pakistani brethren, his mouth full of chicken. So, after some sorrow-filled reflection - as in crying more than the bereaved,  I stopped fasting three days later, after reading some more Sir Richard F. Burton cover-to-cover. But - please take this to heart: knowledge is king! It was only many years later that  I got to know that a traveller can break his fast etc,  back then, I had hastily arrived at my own conclusion: pious hypocrisy. I, the neophyte, was fasting - he, the holy Pakistani was not.  


On my first night in Ahoada, I read cover to cover - till dawn, “ Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah & Mecca “ Volume One  - by Sir Richard F. Burton  - On the same day that I decided to break my fast I was invited to a sumptuous dinner by my neighbour Mr Prasad & wife and son Bapu, Mr Prasad himself, a physicist, Telugu, Hindu from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. That rainy season after dinner at his place, this was before my Better half and my son arrived) as we listened to the choir of frogs croaking their chorus, Mr Prasad smiled and told me that they reminded him of the Brahmin Priests back home, chanting their holy mantras. A year later after another dinner,  it was Mr. Praad that told me that he had read in The Hindu and The Times of India about my Baba Muktananda Paramahansa’s mahasamadhi which made retroactive sense to me because  I then understood how / why Baba had actually visited me  - in his special way, the same week as his mahasamadhi!  Mr Prasad’s son Bapu and my son Nathan became good friends. They had interminable discussions. Mrs Prasad and my Better Half also became good friends. I liked Mr. Prasad and his many Indian friends, very much. Once on the way back to Ahoada from Port Harcourt, a policeman, another "Particulars Joe” had stopped our car in the hope of being bribed. Mr Prasad asked him, “ Are you hungry”  - the cop said yes, he was hungry, so Mr Prasad continued our drive home and invited him to dinner - to some delicious Indian curry yum yum. Mr Prasad used to walk up and down in our little courtyard for about a quarter of an hour immediately after dinner. I don’t know how the policeman got back to his police station… 


It was bad enough that more regular than clockwork, my other neighbour, Mr Ideozu , a big NPN or NPP fanatic who lived opposite us, would wake up the whole neighbourhood loud and clear with the sound of Bob Marley’s “ Lively Up Yourself” blasting from his mega-speakers from Aba, at exactly 7 a.m, every morning. For some strange reason, even after our nth game of drafts ( some of which I won / or he let me win)  he thought that I was Jamaican / from Jamaica. 


And that’s one difference between Sweden and Nigeria. Technically speaking, in Sweden, you can go and tell your neighbour to please turn the volume of the music DOWN, and it's a no-no rule: No loud music should be played or heard after  2100 hrs. In some neighbourhoods, the rule is extended to after 22 hours. A neighbour could complain to the noise police. In my neighbourhood, it’s usually as quiet as a church or a graveyard. Peace and quiet everywhere, before 2100 hours and after 21 hours. You arrive by air after 21 hours and on the way home, Stockholm is completely deserted, like The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: Not so  New York, Mumbai, Delhi, Alexandria, Marrakesh, Fez, Cairo.


Nigeria: Who has or is going to have the liver or the liber to tell his good neighbour Mr Ideozu to please TURN DOWN the volume? The doctrine that good fences - sound fences make good neighbours, does not apply in Nigeria. The Ministry of Sound says you are free to exercise perfect freedom with the volume control buttons at all times of the day and night. In Sweden, your neighbour kindly informs you as if it’s one of the ten commandments, that he/ she is going to have a party and so it’s going to be a little loud, but no harm meant. 


In my first week at Ahoada, I was woken up every morning by someone I thought of as a crazy guy - an invisible crazy guy /possessed by evil spirits,  and I imagined that he could have even been a ghost or an evil spirit,  an embodied evil spirit. I only heard his voice every morning as he went past my bedroom window exclaiming with the passion of conviction, “ I am  the bread of life! “,  I am the resurrection and the life.”  


I was determined to put an end to it when I could no longer stand it, the same lunatic disturbing my sweet sleep at Six O’clock in the morning, every morning. So, I lay in wait for him by the front door one morning and was going to confront him, pounce on him, bring him to order: Brother, you can’t be disturbing me like this EVERY MORNING,? HAVE A CONSCIENCE?


 But lo - who did I see  - the miscreant turned out to be no less than one of Christ’s soldiers, a bedraggled urchin in Christ’s ragtag army/ militia,  his Oliver Twist tweed kind of ragtag uniform, trousers patched at the knees and his tweed jacket at the elbows, and he explained to me patiently that he was “justified “, that according to the Great Commission, he was only preaching, proclaiming the word of God that it was not him, he was only quoting from the Bible and as I was to learn just a few weeks later he had only been quoting some of Jesus’ famous  I am Statements.


As my dear mother used to tell me, “ Despise not the day of little things”. The fact is the crazy guy doing what he said was his “ Morning Call” did not go to waste. I was baptised in the river in Umuahia about three weeks later. Full Immersion. They ( the Igbos)  nearly drowned me - far, far from that Lagos Lagoon 


Kuna Mambo


Maestro Dekula : Kuna Mambo j

Cornelius Hamelberg

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May 9, 2023, 6:10:42 AM5/9/23
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Re- Sheikh Deeday had replied, “ Allah cried!” 


Correction: Sheikh Deedat replied, “ Allah cried !


An unusual story: to Islam from Judaism

Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA

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May 15, 2023, 4:47:58 PM5/15/23
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The Nigeria Police is writing a poem entitled: 
"We Own The Society". Seun Kuti is the metaphor. 

The opening lines are: 
"What the heck 
If police threaten to kill you?"

-Chidi Anthony Opara (CAO)

Toyin Falola

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May 15, 2023, 4:51:15 PM5/15/23
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Chidi:

If Seun did what he did to the policeman in Lagos here in Austin, he would be shot dead on the spot. And the police will have a hero’s parade.

TF

 

From: usaafric...@googlegroups.com <usaafric...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA <chidi...@gmail.com>
Date: Monday, May 15, 2023 at 3:47 PM
To: USA African Dialogue Series <usaafric...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Today's Quote

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Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA

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May 15, 2023, 6:46:32 PM5/15/23
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Oga Falola,

Police operatives in Austin would most likely not behave in a way that would provoke a citizen to such action, but the Nigeria police operatives would always do that.

-CAO.


On Monday, May 15, 2023, Toyin Falola <toyin.f...@gmail.com> wrote:

Chidi:

If Seun did what he did to the policeman in Lagos here in Austin, he would be shot dead on the spot. And the police will have a hero’s parade.

TF

 

From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA <chidi...@gmail.com>
Date: Monday, May 15, 2023 at 3:47 PM
To: USA African Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Today's Quote

The Nigeria Police is writing a poem entitled: 

"We Own The Society". Seun Kuti is the metaphor. 

 

The opening lines are: 

"What the heck 

If police threaten to kill you?"

 

-Chidi Anthony Opara (CAO)



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Chidi Anthony Opara is a Poet, IIM Professional Fellow, MIT Chief Data Officer Ambassador and Editorial Adviser at News Updates (https://updatesonnews.substack.com)

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Toyin Falola

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May 15, 2023, 6:57:50 PM5/15/23
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Police cars have hit other vehicles hundreds of times! You don’t get out of your car and slap the police. You will be shot dead.

 

From: usaafric...@googlegroups.com <usaafric...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Chidi Anthony Opara, FIIM, CDOA <chidi...@gmail.com>


Date: Monday, May 15, 2023 at 5:46 PM
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