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A Goddess, a Bomb, and a Fugitive

S o Hurricane Irene is there to welcome me back to school. It’s a wet and rowdy welcome. Several people die. Things get destroyed. And some insurance guy stamps a value on the losses, saying it runs up to billions of dollars. And I’m struck by the realization that things get lost, not their value. Like a ghost, value survives loss. And I’m thinking to myself that this is kinda odd. It seems like there is no other way of measuring value but by imagining loss since it is only on the basis of loss that we can think of the value of things.  And doesn’t that make the insurance guy a necromancer of sorts? Doesn’t he make money from being able to see death in life?

Anyway, Irene is all psycho-bitched-out. But she eventually splits, at her usual 72 mph. It’s right about then that a bomb hits the UN building in Abuja. And the crane brought in by the Abuja fire fighters to remove bodies and dig out people trapped in the rubble did not work. Julius Berger, a private construction firm had to help out, bringing in their own cranes. How does a country without a functioning crane in the key emergency unit of its capital city stave off bomb attacks? Country without a crane. A perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of Nigeria! But you know what was really messed up? Photos of dead bodies being tagged on to Facebook walls, shared, liked, disliked, poked and forgotten like Lady’ Gaga’s meat dress. The shame of a death to which only Facebook can bear witness.

Meanwhile, Ghaddafi is being haunted down like game. I picture him in a dark and smelly alley in Tripoli. He looks greasy and dirty. Hunger is no more some distant stranger to him. Begging for food incognito, housewives are making him sweep the streets he used to own for a mere piece of bread.

What a funny year it has been!

 

Photo Credit:

1. The Winterlings

2. Stock Podium

 

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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