The cloud over Dzubu Colony

Kedo Peseyie 

The Dzubu colony is always full of happenings. Not the planned activities because its residents are laidback and unprogressive, but the kind that happens quite unexpectedly, and the kind that takes one by surprise.  It is often in the news; the morning news, the evening news, the grapevine, and most often for all the wrong reasons.  For instance there was the man who beat up a cab driver half dead for overtaking him without blowing his horn.  When a passerby tried to stop the beating, the man arrogantly replied with a self introduction: “Don’t you know who I am? I am the founder of this colony!” Then there was the other man who demanded a new vehicle from the man who dented his old vehicle. Then there was the woman who campaigned to pass a law demanding that all men who wore dark glasses be shot because they roll their eyes behind those shades to look at girls but pretend to be blind near their wives. And just when you think you’ve heard it all, you hear of the rich man who built a wall so thick and so extremely tall around his palatial summer house that he forgot to leave an opening for any entrance or exit.  No one has heard of him ever since for he is not educated enough to make a call or send an email.  

Most of the residents are average people who just created some unnecessary noise sometimes. But there is a man in the Dzubu colony who stands above the others. He has an air of authority about him. People fear him.  Whether it is because of his rhetoric, or his connections with the authorities, or whether it is because of the gun in his hand, I don’t really know.  But people fear him, and that’s all I know.  

There is a strange phenomenon in the Dzubu colony that had appeared when they first saw the face of this man with a gun in his hand. The day he set foot in the colony a strange cloud also appeared over it. This cloud darkens their days and lengthens their nights. They don’t look up to the sky very often, but even when they do, the see only the cloud. This has been so for many years that now they hardly look up. The more religious among them now believe that human being’s essential relationship is not upward, but downward and inward. That’s how they’ve come to believe that the individual person is an autonomous being with no reference point. He sees the other person or party as an autonomous body against another. He feels free to relate to machines and animals and material things in a manner that lifts them up to the same level as he is. He feels free to do what he likes. But the extremely religious among them look at the cloud, and as it blocks their view of the supernatural above it, they resort to next best option they have—superstition. Some others call it the cloud of fear, or of prejudice. But whatever name they might call it, it was really the cloud of confusion and unreasonableness  Confusion that leads to unreasonable behavior. And this cloud of confusion and unreasonableness finds expression in their unreasonable behaviors on the streets, in the office, the classroom, in alcoholism, in the storing up of wealth, even in their car parking, and sometimes in their irrational speeches.  And so they were often in the news, and all for the wrong reasons.  You might call it the breeding ground of unreasonable thinking.  

It was a rather gloomy afternoon. The cloud was unusually dark that day. A stranger made his way toward the Dzubu colony. He was a man in his sixties carrying a walking stick with a sword concealed under it. There was a shoulder bag hanging on his left and a red Naga shawl flung over it. He walked slowly but purposefully along the bamboo grooves that led to the colony.  As he came closer he could see a figure standing guard with a gun in his hand.  

“Mr. Reason, I have been expecting you”, said the man with the gun and fired some shots in the air indiscriminately.  

“I can see you’ve made your mark here”, said Mr. Reason, unaffected by the threat of the gun. “There has been a lot of talk about this colony. People talk of the cloud that has divorced the supernatural from the natural; the cloud that has caused the divorce of grace and tradition, the divorce of reason and faith, the divorce of faith and practice, the divorce of the past and the future”.

“Ah! You have it wrong, Mr. Reason”, said the man with the gun, “nothing is divorced here. In fact, they are all too jumbled up that you cannot tell the difference or the connection between anything anymore. Confusion is not divorce, it’s more malignant.  In a divorce you can bring the two together again. But in confusion you don’t know whether to bring them together or to take them apart.  When you throw a bomb, they think its thunder from the cloud.  Isn’t it a beauty?” he said as he took out a bomb from his pocket and waved it at Mr. Reason.   

Mr. Reason’s walking stick was constantly in his hands, and the concealed sword within as he spoke again, “The evil man knows as much truth as the righteous man, but not enough wisdom and resolve to live by it. The average man knows much less and so lives by the confusion of the evil man. You are an evil man. But your confusion will not prevail. It is as feeble as the gun you hold in your hand”.   

They walked and crossed the bamboo grooves and entered the colony. People watched them in fear as the sight of Mr. Reason was as alarming as the man with the gun and pretended not to take notice of them. It was evening and there were no children on the streets. They were walking side by side, each cautiously aware that there could be a duel between them anytime. As they walked they came upon a signboard that announced “The Wastes of all Human Efforts”. Below the sign men and women dressed in shabby clothes gathered lazily, all looking at different directions. They looked like they were thinking hard, but their eyes were blank and clueless.

The man with the gun said, “This is where we keep all the discarded ideas of the past. Here you find patriotism, sacrifice, courage, peace dialogues, truth, loyalty, love, frugality, wealth, reasonableness, faith. These men and women try to revive them but every morning they find themselves in this stinking mess of confusion and the fear of this gun. I have set their paths away from each other.”  With that he again waved his gun at Mr. Reason.  

Mr. Reason waved his walking stick at the man and replied in a loud voice as if he wanted everyone to hear, “Only Christianity has the perception to speak clearly to this human condition of confusion. Only the Christian mind can conceive the unified answer which these men and women have despaired for.  Only it can provide the unity of thought.  The Logos is the foundation of all human reasoning. The Logos is where all the paths meet. ‘On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand’, says the Proverbs. Wherever humans inhabit, confusion will always find a place. But it shall never prevail over them again. Men and women, arise, the Logos calls!”

The man with the gun knew that was a threat he could to ignore.  His very existence and profession were being challenged. He felt the floor of his schemes giving way. The time for the duel of death had come.    

The man raised his gun and Mr. Reason drew his sword.  

“Not here, oh man of the gun”, he said. 

The two slowly walked out of the colony, sword drawn and gun in hand. The last sound the residents heard was one gunshot, and then after a few minutes the faint sound of someone wiping and sheathing his sword. All the men and women sitting at the “The Wastes of all Human Efforts” came nearer to see what had happened. Then they all saw the cloud slowly disappearing above the Dzubu colony. They heard the laughter of children on the streets, the church bell ringing and they felt the wind brushing against their faces. One man turned to the other and said, “I don’t remember the last time I felt so free, grateful, intelligent, and progressive as I do now.  Come, we all have a lot of thinking to do”. Together they walked toward the ringing bell and the children followed laughing all the way.