SAMPLE CHAPTERS

ANGELINA AND ADUT and their multicultural trifels


Chapter 28






WHEN JESSICA ASKED Jimmy a week later why he lied twice to Chol within one minute, he had this to say: “I lied for the taxi because, being a proud Jiëëng, Chol would not allow me to pay for the taxi. If I’d bluffed about my paying the taxi driver, he would’ve stood in my way and paid. Not all of them do that; but many among them, especially Chol’s type, do that. To open my way to the driver, I had to lie, sweet, isn’t it? For the fight, I didn’t want you to say a thing.”
Jessica stared. That isn’t intelligible in any sense.
“Jimmy honey, lies aren’t good however beneficial they are,” Jessica warned.
“Tell me that now and you’ll tell me the opposite of what you’ve just said in less than twenty-four hours. I assure you and give you my words. We’re in the west: multi-cultural, socially and linguistically diverse but cohesive, and above all, equalizing. The sweetest thing is that denial becomes discretion,” Jimmy self-righteously said.
Jessica surprisingly remained silent. She just stared at Jimmy, seemingly helpless for the first time. He became pleased with himself. That fast-talking beauty, with a big heart, was silenced. It was a victory. Three weeks passed before Jessica fired back in what he thought was his victory. She was always avid, argumentative and sassy, but what had got into her then, had him thinking. Was it research or indifference? Jessica had visited him. They were in his room, her arms wound around him, her head resting on his chest and her hair playing with his lips. He was calmed, meaningfully and desirously subdued. She talked with a soothing calm that Jimmy thought she was reciting something.
“When you decide to address a certain topic, then emerge yourself in everything that comes with it. Be right or be wrong! But once you resort to lies to avoid problems then the only thing a sound-minded person would take from your deeds is your inability to tackle things head-on,” she’d said, reminding him of the almost forgotten chance.
“Look, we all have our ways of doing things. They’re as perfect as any perfect can be…I mean…as long as they don’t harm anyone,” Jimmy said.
“Do you remember what you told me about your grandfather?” Jessica asked.
“There’re many things I’ve told you about my grandfather,” he said.
Jimmy tried to get up, but she pressed him down.
“That you shouldn’t let questionable solution methods be personal customs.”
He smugly smiled. “That was his time. Do you really think that that can apply now?”
“You’re partly right, but when dealing with people you know and understand, then you’re wrong,” she said with confidence.

WHEN Jessica left that day, Jimmy rolled in bed happily. However, his ideas got mixed up as he thought about Jessica’s words. He’d tried to open up to others, the likes of Chol, but he simply couldn’t do it. Why should he be blamed for his nature?
He thought about his father’s family.
His grandfather, Edward, lived in a seniors’ home in Regina, Saskatchewan. Uncle Kitchener, a tall, athletic fellow with a boyish face, worked as a doctor in Miami. In something that tested the family’s racial and religious tolerance, Uncle Kitchener wanted to get married to an Iranian woman, who wanted him converted to Islam. Unless my son, Kitchener, and the one talking to me right now are different, I’d say you’re not only crazy, but also sick. Oliver had echoed his father’s objection in a persistent protest. Getting married is one thing, but getting converted is another, they’d argued. So

Kitchener left the Iranian only to marry a Christian Lebanese. Fearing his family’s objection, he decided to inform them only after the marriage was already sealed. Oliver still objected to the marriage; however, his protest was insignificant. Old Edward only smiled and said: ‘Gomyson’. Kitchener’s boyish face was lit, happy.
Though Jimmy didn’t know Uncle Kitchener and Aunt Dianna very well, he liked how they talked. Dianna regularly visited the family; Kitchener visited only during Christmas and on special occasions. His grandmother, Mary, died before Jimmy was born and all he knew about her was in pictures and the stories his grandfather, Edward, told him. She was the most comical and beautiful human being I’ve ever known; Old Edward would nostalgically tell Jimmy every time the family paid him a visit. When you are fundamentally hungry, you’d think your mouth and stomach would always expand. Edward would passionately tell his grandson stories of his marriage and all the things Mary loved saying. Jimmy didn’t understand some of the grandpa’s words though. But Old Edward was never easy with his grandchildren. Like his children, he avoided talking about race and race-related issues. This put him on bad terms with Angelina, the nosy one.
“How do you see them?” Angelina once said pointing at an old African woman passing by Edward’s residence. Jimmy had looked on appalled. But Old Edward, cunning as always, looked at his granddaughter, groomed her hair, smiled, and said: “It’s such a beautiful thing that you’re still young, but you have to learn to know when you can’t get any answers. The person you ask might have the answers, bad or good, but he might just refuse to give them. You might infer anything kids, but you’ll grow up to know the reason why,” he’d explained with an enigmatic smile.
Those were the kinds of talks Jimmy fancied.

“That’s why I always tell her to sometimes lie to get along with people,” Jimmy said delightfully.
Old Edward laughed derisively as Jimmy’s smile dwindled to a surprise.
“That’s to go to the extreme, son. You don’t strategize to lie before you lie. That’s bad and indeed very dangerous. Lying to avoid problems is only an impulse that comes without you knowing it, saving you at time of needs,” the old man had explained with compassion.
Jimmy managed to smile. Angelina on the other hand was put off by the fact that grandpa avoided her topics.
“Such methods of addressing issues are questionable and you shouldn’t use them often,” he’d added as Jimmy sat on the floor in front of him, staring and unbelieving.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~ THE PIPERS AND THE FIRST PHASE 











CHAPTER 70


 
   

JENG DIDN’T KNOW where he was. He was getting stumped though. On the first day of his kidnap, he was hurled into a dark room, a really Cimmerian room. Then a call from his mum salved his pestered spirit.
“Obey everything they say and you’ll be fine. I’ll pay them and get you back, honey,” his mom assured him.
“They treat me well, mom. I don’t understand.”
“They wouldn’t get any money if they hurt you.”
The captors treated Jeng with a colorful regality. It’d been three days since he was kidnapped. The captors took him to a hotel somewhere in Westland immediately Aatieŋ’oh called.
There was always a brazen lady at the door. Any time he picked up the phone in his room, another lady answered it. He couldn’t call the police. Then on the third morning, the brazen lady at the door walked in with the room service lady. The room service lady put down Jeng’s breakfast and left the room. The contumelious guard walked intrepidly straight to the window and curiously stared outside. Jeng boldly got up, disdainfully stared at the lady then sat down, got up again and paced to the window.
“Is this the best way to make money? Do you guys think you can get away with this?”
“We got away with so many things, Jeng.”
Jeng jaunted back to the dining table and started to take his breakfast.
“Not this one this time. My father is a powerful man in the government. He’s the president’s…”
“Most trusted man. You just don’t know shit son!”
“I go to one of the best universities in the world.”
“Columbia University!” she said.
“So you did your research! Yeah Mama!” Jeng mocked. She slowly walked back, sat on a brown couch by the window and placed both legs on the couch.
“Let me ask you a question,” she said.
“I’m not going anywhere …I’m here,” Jeng said with a huge load of muffin in his mouth.
She cleared her throat as if she was about to deliver a lengthy speech. Then there was a churlish knock on the door.
“Before I ask you a question, let me introduce you to my friend: the beautiful and the charming…”
The door brusquely opened.
Jeng dropped the fork in consternation.
“Paris?”
“What’s this…some girls’ game?”
“Hello Love!” Paris said with a smile.
“Like I was saying, I have a question for you,” the lady guard continued.
Jeng gawked intensely at Paris then at the girl but couldn’t think of what to say.  The girl continued.
“Who do you blame about Africa’s problems: the West or the corrupt African leaders?”
“Paris, please tell me what all this means.”
“You’ll know in a matter of minutes,” the lady answered.
“And who’re you?”
“She’s Judy. Remember the funny white dude, Chris?”
“I remember, but tell me this is just a joke.”
“Everything in life is a joke, love,” Judy said.
“The only thing that’s no joke is death,” Paris said.
“Everything from birth to all forms of unconsciousness is a joke. Everything in your life is a joke. The only true thing that brings you back to you is death. Death is the ultimate truth and truth-engenderer in human existence. It equalizes everyone into involuntary egalitarianism,” Judy continued.
Paris sat on the chair next to the dining table as Judy sat on the bed.
“What’s with this philosophy nonsense?” Jeng sneered.
“Who do you blame: the West or the corrupt African leaders?”
“I don’t care! Guys, I’m freaking out here! Do you expect me to answer you in this harrowing and torturous state? I was kidnapped by guys who never appeared again and I’m being guarded by women and treated like royalty. Please tell me something before I go insane.”
“We have Mathare Hospital in the neighboring Kenya, just like UK’s then Hanwell Asylum.”
“Do you girls think I’m joking?”
Jeng jumped to his feet, angrily grabbed the breakfast table and violently turned it upside down, fuming at Judy.
“I’m fed up with all this nonsense. You either kill me or let me out of here!”
The girls remained seated as if nothing happened. They neither cringed nor did they respond.
Jeng felt silly so he slowly sat down.
They’re hardened criminals!
“You’re used to this, ugh? Yeah Mama!” Jeng said.
“That probably helped. The Mama will be here soon,” Judy said.
The girls then laughed hysterically until a knock on the door surprised them.
“There’s The Mama,” Paris said.
The door slowly opened.
Jeng girlishly rushed to Aatieŋ’oh.
“Thanks mum. Please give these people their money and get me out of here. They treated me well but they’re torturing me mentally.”
Jeng said shivering.
“Sit down!” Aatieŋ’oh said and sat on the bed.
“Please do it quickly before I go insane.”
“Be strong son. You’ll hear more telling tales than your seemingly excruciating condition,” Aatieŋ’oh said.
“What?” Jeng shouted.

CHAPTER 71

LITTLE KNEW HE had to keep quiet. Everything he saw made no sense at all. The same man, John or Okob – whatever his real name was – drove him to the airport. The single-engine plane he was traveling on made loud noises and Little almost developed a headache. After hours of head-splitting rumbling, they arrived at the town of Yei.
Yei is a small town with many mud-walled and grass-thatched huts. It was a rainy season and the airstrip was flooded and muddy. Without a doubt, it was some god-forsaken hell. However, the lush greenness impressed Little. It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Its frondescence was heavenly. The roads weren’t tarmacked, but they were lined beautifully by trees.
Two military men approached Little as he alighted from the plane.
“Mr. Michael, welcome to New Sudan.”
New Sudan?
“Your next plane leaving in 2 hour. We can take you to beny’s place to relaxing,” one young man said in a broken, accented English.
They all entered a tiger-looking military jeep colored in black and yellow. As they entered the town, Little could see a few iron-roofed buildings. The surrounding was simple but breath-taking.
Little was starting to relax in spite of rude uncertainties ahead of him. The atmosphere was relaxing and soothing. There wasn’t the bustling and noise of Day-Town. He loved it, cherishing every minute of his existence. It was simply serene.
I now know what serenity means. This is Africa. This is where I was taken.
Little felt important for the first time in his life.
I was being served by my brothers in my motherland.
He fought back tears.

After a few minutes’ drive, they arrived at a huge, grass-fenced compound. There were two mango trees in the middle of the compound, and three along the circumference. Four iron-sheet-roofed and brick-walled buildings graced the compound. A group of men was playing cards and dominos on the ground, under the middle mango trees. There was a group of women laughing and cooking next to one dirty building.
The car was parked next to the spot where the men were seated.
“That is Commander Michael Garang,” one of the men, who brought Little, introduced the commander.
The commander was a short, pot-bellied fellow with a humorous import.
“Welcome to New Sudan,” the commander said.
“Thank you, sir!” Little responded.
“You are home. Feel free. I will get ready and we will be in the airport in about an hour.”
Despite his accent, the commander’s English was superb.
Little didn’t ask where they were going. A feeling of significance was overwhelming him. Even if he was going to die, he knew he was home, he was free.
After that brief introduction, Little was led to a tin-roofed hut. The accommodation had a double bed, a chair, and a table. It wasn’t fancy but it surprised him more than he’d thought. He was then shown a grass-fenced structure, about two meters in diameter, in the name of a shower.
After the shower, he was served an incredibly humbling lunch.
“What’s New Sudan?”
Little asked a lady, who brought him food. The lady shook her head, smiled and left. Little conjectured that she either wasn’t allowed to talk about it or she didn’t speak English.



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SELF-ESTEEM AND DISCRIMINATION

As someone who grew up in war conditions and lived as a refugee for a long time, I'm sometimes considered by many people in the 'west' to be prone to (or have) low self-esteem, be poor or illiterate. Living as refugees or displaced persons, who depended on the good will of others put people in a situation where they don't think much about themselves. But that's not everyone though.

As I stood by our front desk at my place work talking about Race and Identity in relation to my book, Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?, the issue of why many African peoples in North America become so over-sensitive when racial issues come up! For many rational people, this owes its origin to slavery and racial segregation.

But one of my coworkers, a person of European descent, was surprised to realize that her 'black' friend, a very intelligent woman, easily becomes irritated by simple things she [friend] considers racist. The friend considers any mention of a watermelon racist; and complains a lot about 'white privilege.' This means that discrimination is considered something 'whites' don't face because of 'white privilege.' In any discussion between 'blacks' and 'whites', 'white privilege' issue comes up!