The other day we were all gathered to meet Gentleman and Lady Yannibo Ijapa for an interview on our friend’s latest thing to do. Ijapa recently moved in with his swimming cousin Ijopo. They had changed their name the day they came to live in the sea, Ijapa explained to us. But how are they different from us if not that they have developed healing webs on their limbs? We are told that we, the new economic refugees, will soon need to grow some if we are to survive here. Anyway, we were still in awe of the gadgets we were given to make us breathe in water and on land. Some Nigerians were already wondering how many bribes would be required for us to keep the breathers, as they were called. Why can’t we make such instruments that allow us to breathe in water and on land? We don’t need anything to breathe on earth. We do. Sorry, said the weak-minded who said that, apologizing.
Ijapa introduced his swimming cousin and began his speech. All his life he had always wanted to have all knowledge, and I mean all human knowledge, for me. This is where everything will be stored, he indicated a container.
He started by collecting all the content of all the dictionaries. Each of them. Then he continued to collect the entire encyclopedia on earth starting with the Britanical stored in Edinburgh. Then he came on google, everything on google. He put them in the container. Whoever owns the container has knowledge of the world. And who will have knowledge of the world if not Turtle alone? And when he dies? He dies with the knowledge of the world. Human beings can begin to collect knowledge of the world again !!! Because no one will know where the container would be. It was one of the reasons he came to live at sea with his swimming cousin. The sea is endless. Somewhere, Ijapa intends to find ‘soMewHere’ to hide the container. Ijapa forgot to collect wise words with the wisdom of the world.
A few decades after this interview, we accidentally met Ijapa, on land, no longer living in the sea. What happened to the container? Where is it? Hey, my brothers and sisters, selfishness is not good. The day I left to hide the container, I didn’t tell my cousin that I was leaving. It was the day they handed us our swimming gear. I left alone, taking Yannibo with me. We were going to the end of the seas and to the beginning of the oceans. Along the way, in the seas, we slept. We slept and the container slipped out of our grip and swam on its own. We searched, searched and dredged and never found the container.
This is the reason why we praise all knowledge collectors, be it dictionaries, proverbs or wise sayings, not only for bringing them together but, above all, for bringing them together to share them. It’s so glorious to share. It was through google that I got to know Etgar Keret, an Israeli writer, born in 1967, who wrote Director’s Cut, which is an amazing read, which I would have missed if Brother Turtle had succeeded with his container idea. This news on the director’s cut comes from a collection of short stories called Tel Aviv Noir edited by Etgar Keret and Assaf Gavron.
The NOIR series started in 2004. The first one I read was Haiti Noir. There is a BLACK LAGOS! It is edited by Chris Abani, not abami !!! (strange creature). The stories take place in specific places in the city or country.
Lagos Noir was released in 2018. “Life is tough; life is cheap; it is man against man; there is police corruption, kickbacks and bribes; there is violence; and money is the key. “… There is something for everyone in Lagos… this is not a place to be poor…”
Mainly because of my Arabization, I have always been afraid of being ambiguous towards the Israelis. Yet no subject on earth deserves ambiguity other than the Arab-Israeli subject. Only negotiation and reconciliation can resolve the conflict. Both sides are right.
One day, Lev, Etgar’s son came home from school. He was 8 years old. He begged his father to stop expressing his opinion publicly. Her father asked why not. Because all those who wanted peace in the Israeli-Palestinian file had been shot: Rabin, Sadat, Lennon. Lev wanted peace, but he also wanted parents.
I have regularly read a writer who might be Jewish but who does not live in Israel. Daniel Silva tells the incredible adventures of Gabriel Allon, master spy who is also an art critic, restorer of old paintings and sometimes art forger. Gabriel Allon is unforgettable as a spy, as a patriot and he will soon become again the father of twins – a girl and a boy – and also the head of the Israeli secret service.
Reading Daniel Silva was like reading Ian Fleming with his James Bond hitting a third world citizen to the cheers of a third world reader until the particular reader concluded that the hero, James Bond, did is not on our side! Which poses the eternal question: for whom does the writer write? How writers answer this question depends on their experience as readers themselves before they become writers. Either way, the question became important when writers began to write in languages other than their mother tongue. Invariably, the original language of a book determines the target audience of a book.
The fact that some species of animals adapt and live in other environments should tell us that some versions of humans should be able to live in water, in particular. When, for example, did the aquatic turtle go out to sea? What prompted him to take refuge in the sea? What had to be done to be allowed to go to sea? How is it that the male never leaves the sea but the female will lay her eggs on the sandy beaches at the time of nesting. Have you ever seen the newly hatched egg heading for the sea? They emerge from the wet sand, look left and right, then left again before rushing to the welcoming arms of the sea.