And this letter came from a reader: “I refer to your article in The Sun newspaper of 28-12-17 and the confusion you filled the newspaper page with. You posited, among others, that Europeans transformed Judaism into Christianity. Was Apostle Paul a European? And, if Paul preached Judaism, why did he suffer much persecution in the hands of the Jews? If you have ever read the Holy Scriptures, sir, please go back and re-read all the epistles of Apostle Paul, especially the book of Romans, and you’ll find the root of Christianity.”
– P.U.C. Ibekwe, Awka, 08135851205
First of all, we have to thank the reader for the independence of mind to disagree with article. Perhaps, we should apologise for bringing in such an ecclesiastical controversy in this season. Perhaps, again, we take consolation in the Christian saying that Christ is the reason for the season. If taken properly, the meaning, we suspect, is that truth, which is symbolised or metaphorised as Christ, is the reason for the season. Christ came to bring the “news,” the “good news,” that is, the good new truths. In other words, the innocent Christ-season quip makes the pursuit of truth the reason for the season, for time itself.
That said, we hold it to be manifestly true that, contrary to the supposition of the gentleman, Apostle Paul was an European. And the facts of it are literally self-evident. When Paul, for instance, says I appeal to Caesar (Acts 25), the following is what it means and implies. It means that he, Paul, is a citizen of the Roman/European Empire. And it implies, ironically, that Saint Paul was a prominent citizen of the empire at that. To have had access of appellate justice before Caesar makes Paul an ancient Leopold Senghor, if you don’t mind. Senghor, we may recall, was a Senegalese colonial, rising to be president. But what is important here is that, despite being a colonial like Paul, he was so well connected that he held a seat in the French Assembly. He could appeal to De Gaulle, as it were.
Now the complications set in. But Paul was a Palestine, a Jew? Yes, he was. But there is a difference between what one is, what one chooses to be or is conscripted into being, and what one was born into. And thus comes the concept of citizenship. Since Alexander of Macedonia, sometimes called the Great, the concept of citizenship, has been made open to conquered people. The Romans, Paul’s imperial overlords, perfected it in the rite of paracere subjectis. Yes, Paul was an ethnic Jew but a Roman, that is, European, citizen. And the records also reveal that, like Senghor, Paul was a European sophisticate. Despite being politically a colonial, Paul, like Senghor, was culturally a metropolitan.
For instance, Paul wrote in his justly famous epistolary (letter) style. That literary genus had no Jewish antecedents. Epistolary style was the invention of the Greeks. And it was carried on into the Greco-Roman world. Thus one could say that Paul wrote like Plato, who was a great epistolary stylist. Paul did not write like Moses. Paul wrote in a European mould, not in a Jewish style.
And our friend asked why Paul was persecuted by the Jews? Why not, would have been the proper question. Paul was a fellow ethnic Jew, who crossed over in their eyes to the ways of the conqueror, of Caesar. They persecuted him for being European, for thinking out Jewish worldviews under European categories.
Of course, the reader’s general disagreement is upon our hint that the New Testament was a European innovation. If the above pointers are not enough, it may be meet to suggest that much of the New Testament was written in Greek, Koine Greek. And Greek, a language of intellectualism in the Greco-Roman world, is a purely European language. In this sense, the New Testament is like Things Fall Apart, by Onyeze Chinua Achebe. [Please it is important to note that no putdowns are intended. We respect people’s religions and their rights to it. However, we insist on speaking freely on manifest facts].
The question may now be, is Things Fall Apart an Igbo/Nigerian-ideas novel? The answer is yes. Is Things Fall Apart a European/English/British novel? The answer again is yes. In fact, published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is technically a British novel. By 1958, there was no country called Nigeria. And a non-existent country couldn’t be producing works. Even more importantly, immediately you use a foreign media like Koine Greek in the New Testament or English in Things Fall Apart, you are making concessions to foreign worldviews, even if involuntarily. At best, your work is a joint colonial/imperialist production.
So, was Paul European? The answer is yes. Is the New Testament a European invention/innovation however involuntary? The answer again is yes. At best it is like Things Fall Apart, a joint European/metropolitan-colonial/provincial invention.
The hijab, law and our economic doldrums (3)
For the Hausa, the Islam that came to them is a strand totalitarian. The proselytisers, the Fulani, came as superiors, missioners and higher beings. They saw the natives as coarse entities, certainly lower beings. In fact, a key member of the ruling cabal hinted so. In the words of Shehu Malami:
“You hold the traditional title Sarkin Sudan Wurno. What does it stand for? The story of my traditional title dates back to the time of Usman dan Fodio. My tribe, the Fulani, when they first came to this part of Africa, were fair-skinned like the white, and we settled among the blacks. Gradually, there were inter-tribal marriages and our complexion started changing. Sarki means king and Sudan means black country. So, my title, Sarkin Sudan, means king of the land of the black country. It has become normal for public officials to embezzle money.”
– Malami Punch December 3, 2017
Now, how and why Malami jumped the queue from looking like arabs, balarabe, to looking like whites, caucasians, bature, is some mystery. I just hope the Fulani are not regretting turning black. Boy, things happen.
Anyway, the point is as follows: without cognitive independence, no nations can grow an economy. You grow your economy by contributing to, not by copying, civilisations or, actually, axial knowledge. [The two, civilisations and axial knowledge, productions are one]. One may only contribute if one has independence of mind, not if one is a cognitive slave, unable to innovate, unable to invent.
That is why the greatest economic prophet the Yoruba [and indeed all Nigeria] have produced is not Awolowo or Fowler or Osinbajo, etc. These men are proselytisers at best. They are management economists, maintenance economists, at their greatest. They are not development economists. Development economists, by logic, cannot be economists. To develop a system, you must be outside that system. Development economists are by this logic supra-economists or existentialists. Thus, economics is and has to be a fractional output, not whole systems output of theirs. Development is and has to be primed from the outside, not inside. Only scholars can imaginatively step outside and look back. So, development is first and above all a scholarship enterprise, not a leadership hunt/search.
In this sense, the game-changer economic agents that the Yoruba have produced are Moses Orimolade Tunolase and Samuel Oshoffa. They are fundamentally rewriting the laws, contributing to the new development of men, the new man. They are doing it imperceptibly just as Buddha and the other prophets did. And it is meet to remark that the economic miracle of Japan has its origins in Confucianism/Buddhism as we remarked in our book, Economists as Assassins. It was the ingredient of Buddhism that gave the Japanese the idea and fruition of the capitalist developmental state. And only the Confucian/Buddhist belt countries have successfully used this idea. You can’t be a capitalist development state without Buddha, without having absorbed and digested Buddha. Every religion, every axial knowledge authors and authorises its own economic development models. So, the ancient existential truth is economically valid as policy: You can’t copy Buddha. You must be your own Buddha. This is the real liberation theology.
The only missing part of this Celestial/Cherubim innovation is that it is more liturgical than theological. But that is no real problem. The gap can be filled up. A Soyinka, for instance, can be hired/retained and/or drafted to provision the small-end/big-end difference in theology that will make Celestial/Cherubim a national religion of the Yoruba and a separate religion from all others. If the Yoruba were a nation or a semi-autonomous region and had that, then their economic takeoff would have been mechanised. The Yoruba would have been pressing on the acceleration pedals by now. Other ingredients are required but they are minor and can be supplied or bought or easily requisitioned.
The real tragedy is that the Yoruba [and their other Nigerian counterparts] economists don’t even know this. They are still trapped in all the old and defunct scriptures that they were taught in Harvard and Oxford. They rush home, Tokunbohs, they apply the rules and nothing works and Nigeria dies. Why? Their fathers have not invented Buddha or his equivalents. And that explains the nonsensical dim over hijabism. With brains incapable of development, incapable of invention, innovation, what else can they do? It is to weep louder than the bereaved, to be more Catholic than the Pope. And as we write, the Vietnamese have concocted a new national religion, Cao Dai. In the next few years, they may get to be atop the economic food chain and/or tree. And trust, Nigerian economists will be all over themselves talking of the Vietnamese model. Ignorantly, they would see the forests and not the trees, the economic growth but not its origins in Cao Dai, et al.
And this takeaway: Arabs are monogamous with ideas and polygamous with wives in the flesh. The Europeans are polygamous with ideas and monogamous with wives, with the female flesh. And that is all the difference that there is. Finis.