What a festive season it was ! With events far and near, replicating, as well as recapturing the goings-on in the country and beyond. Good times and sad times, with explicit contrasts. Between the last day of the old year and the very
first week of the New Year, headlining incidents occurred, both shocking and pleasant to many, in varying circumstances.
Without question, the Christmas festivity was very tranquil, joyous and significant in many ways and places, but recorded some very low situations, infra dignitatem, wise. Such a vicious game that humanity played on the vulnerable, was behind the apathy and mindless reprisals, and was equally beginning to get on the nerves of everyone else. Indeed, they have taken everything to the next possible level, capable of generating a lot of destabilising effects.
It was the feast of the Epiphany, a couple of days ago. The January 6 date was chosen to reflect the Greek Orthodox Church’s stand on the divine birth. According to them, the journey of the Magi must have been undertaken over a period of time spanning days, before reaching the place of birth of the Saviour . These men, who were said to have begun the journey from somewhere in Persia, or modern day Iran/Iraq (Trump Card, nakwa echecki o) ,were religious disciples of a certain astrologer called Zoroaster, and were said to be well versed in the knowledge of the heavenly bodies.
The story which held that they hailed from different backgrounds, such as Asia, Arabia and environs, depicted men who held very strong beliefs about an August Birth, which was severally worked out to be in the land of Judah, according to some intricate detail, based on the moon’s orbit and movement. Casper, Melchior and Balthazar, they were called, felt that nothing could be taken away from the grandeur of the New Born King of the Jews, as He was in a better place. But the truth which they came to bear, had become a matter for economic manipulation and political subterfuge. As yet, the world denounced the light of life and preferred the dark, as their deeds were grotesquely evil.
Herod was in no mood for cajolery or being scornful. Otherwise, he would have, like Philip, asked if anything good could possibly be associated with Bethlehem, rather than Jerusalem. The challenge to his hegemony was what needed to be crushed and not location. For sure, he had secured the authority over Judea and beyond, only through his allegiance to the ruling authorities in Rome, and not strictly as of divine right. Having hailed from neighbouring Idumea (sounds like Odumeje) , he was barely qualified to accede to the throne of Israel, being descended from Esau or Edom (Edo, nakwa agbako o) . For when in 64 BC, Judas Machabeus and his sons led a successful military campaign to oust the foreign powers in Israel, the Jews had obtained independence and established a ruling class. And even when the Romans took over political power in Israel, they still accorded the kingly status to the Jewish ruling class whilst being peripherally in charge.
The Jews could not totally accept the family of Herod as ruling dynasty, as they were half Jews. Herod the Great had been appointed by Rome, as a result of his effective collaboration with the imperialist forces. But, in point of fact, the king of Israel was also the substantive religious head of the State and therefore had to possess full identity, including being full-blooded and having no physical impediments. And Herod the Great had fought and crushed every opposition to the Jewish throne and even gone on to build infrastructure, as well as a magnificent temple draped in white marble, on top of Mount Zion, just to please the said Jews or gain their acceptance. It led to cracks in the body politic or their mutual relationship, especially with the issue of taxation, whereby they were unduly overtaxed.
And so the idea of a Jewish King made frivolous but also serious sense. And when the three wise men came to inquire about the said birth, Herod confirmed that it was slated for Bethlehem or Ephratha, or so, and asked to be fully informed after they had found out about it. They must have been heavily Aso-rocked, as an example and inducement to make a repeat journey. Of course, by rights, they were meant to return to the palace, being embarking on a homeward journey. But even when they failed to turn up afterwards, Herod instigated a gruesome murder of the holy infants, to target the said Infant King.
The Journey of the Three Wise Men and the symbolic gifts they bore, therefore, was regarded as a sign of the physical manifestation of the Birth of God’s Son Yeshua or the physical appearance of God into the world. Or the Epiphany, as it was called, after the Greek term (epiphanes). In pagan times, there were a few hints of a physical appearance of a god, such as the purported Great Mistress of Life and others in Crete and Ephesus, and even beyond.
Life has never ascended or transcended beyond the base level, since Adam. In Nigeria, since the British placed the North in a precedent position, for purposes of continued economic exploitation and deception, the situation has remained chaotic, with the rest of the federation crying nwii and foul, over what they potentially saw as a republic of equal parts and rights, at the attainment of political independence. The British are surprised that their divide and rule tactics have been amazing until the present time and are scratching their heads over the lucky stance. The said North,too, has strung together, since then, a series of unending nightmares, such as quota system, the Northernisation policy, and countless others, including a clandestine economic activity,fraught with exploitation, seclusion, inclusion and destabilization, in varied stances and instances, respectively. The scenario, with their actions unchallenged, has become complicated, especially with the full collaboration of the political elite from virtually all corners of the country.
But Arinze insists that politics is an art of the possible. It remains to be seen whether this is proven true, more with the spirited and organised resistance to the ploys of the ruling class and party by the oppressed peoples of the country,than by any form of international intervention. For the lure of the hard currency is swaying or blowing the top of both the purported messiahs and the hard-core opportunists from far and near. Our new life has begun, whilst we answer CHIZOBA, at the waters of the 2nd Niger, or is it Lokoja Bridge?
Image Source: Charles Ndubueze Akuneme