Obukaenudizi: Homelessness is Not my Name


A missing passenger aircraft sprinkles anxiety and pain across the world.

What about missing innocence?


It may be hard to unplug everything about innocence right away. Somehow, we can start.

Obukaenudizi’s teacher would advise, briefly explain a word. It helps a reader without the knack for details to quickly capture the essence. Another instructor would encourage operationalizing a word. Students can literally see their teachers impatience for words likely to convey double meaning used often in a short context without showing the difference. One of the teachers would tease “how does it blink – red or blue?” For these young students, he is a chatterbox. Laugh it loud they say. No one is disturbed by the teacher’s rubric unless grades are affected. Really?
Some of the young ones may not realize their teachers are stating ground-norm. In innocence many jeered but somehow listened.

Obukaenudizi remembers. He takes a look at another instance. Before, airplanes become common, those who live in villages far away from cities hardly hear the noise of airplanes. Children who live far from navigational routes of airplanes are happy once in a while to hear noise of an airplane. In their innocence they would wave at airplanes in the clouds. They ask airplanes to send their greetings to their brothers and sisters. These children would request for things and goodies. Their thoughts are not like the old Polynesian ‘cargo cult’ stories, but a frank appeal. They are happy doing so. Often, differently from kids in the cities, such expectation is taken as fulfilled even though without visible result. It is childhood innocence.

But one may laugh at these children as ignorant “bush people”. They are not exactly. Read the history of airplanes and airports in various countries. Remember, the rise in air transportation was after the Second World War. Also, examine the history of modern cities and their aviation infrastructures before anyone is crowned a child prodigy untouched by exuberance. But, then, child prodigies had their innocence. The feeling is different.

“We know there are vile words in every language”retorts Obukaenudizi. But there are some vile words never found in our lexicon. Some kind of laziness, wickedness, inanities, debauchery and acts inimical to decency. It is not because our language is limited. After all, without loan words, our communities had lived and prospered. They may not have been in ‘splendid isolation’ but they thrived. In their limited ways there was innocence. Not just idyllic but a recent human experience. It is now diminishing and disappearing. A condition that was not a paradise of the sacred and profane, yet real and relished.

“Homelessness is not my name.” “There is no word like homelessness in our community.” Homelessness is imported condition. It is now spreading. Homelessness is a painful condition, a lack of care by all, irresponsibility, failure and absence of systems disposed to mitigate a bad condition – the lack of decent, peaceful place where one can rest ones head as others do by choice in a home.

In the days of innocence, nobody is homeless. People know their children and everybody. People are trained. People live in houses. They know who they are and where they belong. People are not simply electoral or census figures. They are real people with aspirations and values not people wandering about without homes stealing, killing and kidnapping.

People are not happy to belong to imaginary spaces that means nothing to them. When there is no home, living takes imaginary status and living spaces are no longer homes but vapors. If you remove this stigma from your village lexicon, the homeless, street people and wanderers will be walking towards innocence unmatched by the present. It is a recognition that there was a past and the future can be glorious.

Violence in shades and colours are birthmark of the world. The degree nonetheless makes the difference. If you had lived for three decades in a place without any incidence of murder, kidnapping, shooting or violent robbery, you could sense a difference in today’s violence. Did you grow up in such community where for 20 years there was no suicide or rape? No marauding bands and desecration of the wilds. When, students would ask in class the meaning of violence and the teacher sees no journal to direct them except the Middle East. It means you once lived in innocence. While your community is not paradisiac, it once lived in innocence.

Moral levels of societies have always varied. Some seems seeped in depravity. Others shun open spills of salacious cum immoral behaviors. Orality in these locations also mellowed the nakedness of evil. This has now changed and replaced with easy ways that tend to hype evil and devalue everything serious. The change came in a hurry for ego, lucre, and sensuous pleasures. Societal immunities enabled by system watchdogs are now disabled leading to dystopia. Arbitrariness may not have been ruled out in some cases, but a free for all sleaze on sale proffers no better offer. The innocence of those days paid off.

Is this not weeping for a return. It is not. It is weeping for a shattered state without a modicum of innocence. It is an answer to foolishness and cooing- “all things” have always been the same. The ruse and singsong – “all things have always been the same” is a lie. Don’t join in a lie. There was a kind of innocence even ‘sanity’. If we aptly apply our heads, we would always remember there was a time. A time before innocence got missing. Keep yourself away from a ruse.

verendi 30 aout, 2019