Dear Ali Baba,
This is what you do not know.
You do not know that you are like those self righteous people who litter our Pentecostal churches – Those self righteous people whose measure of their Sainthood is based on how petty their sins are in the face of others. You think because your mind within tells you “Ali, you lied today, you didn’t strap a bomb to yourself and saunter into a church or hide beneath the curtains to sleep with another man”-then you must be a righteous man. You forget so easily those days in Sunday school when you had to sing
Sin is Sin
I lie or I kill
Sin is sin
You forget so easily too when your teacher taught you about how Jesus came to die for the saint and sinner likewise because you have chosen to purge yourself of these memories like one with a belly full of putrid tales. You have felt people’s personalities with the back of your hand, like one checking for malaria, with that opinionated belief that anyone who is contrary to anything you stand for, contrary to the notions a chauvinistic society has decorated you in is wrong. You forget that how you see a thing is chiefly dependent on how you’ve been taught to see things, that while the religious Mother of one taught her daughter that bobbing her head to Fela’s songs was a sin, another taught hers to just enjoy the rhythm.
You want people to wear their notions in that way that doesn’t compromise yours, and when they do not, you start to prattle on social media.
Ali. You do not know that you are like those Evangelists from those churches with names that carry all they represent who bother Lagosians and Nigerians in general on their way to work every morning with voice address systems. You do not know that you are like them, that the only difference present is that yours is a broader version of their narrow mindedness, is that you do not add those songs of “Jesus is coming soon! You have sixty wives and you shall die or you wear trousers, they don’t belong to women” to your faceless sermons because you are intelligent. But you do not know that astuteness is how we were willing to believe the earth wasn’t flat even when there were few indications, that intelligence is how we’re willing to understand opposites and that even when we do not understand opposites, intelligence permits us the insight that it’s not a crime or something to be treated with a brutal antagonism.
Let’s talk about waltz Ali. In novel years, it was considered a lewd dance because the partners had too much body contact, but today, children are encouraged to waltz, it’s a thing of evolution.
And tomorrow, irrespective of your blatant and opinionated conventions, same sex relationships would sadly become the order of the day. And I know this is what you do not want.
Of course, there are some aspects of this uncanny relationship I do not quite agree with, but I do not believe it’s a crime. I do not believe two adults (who by my Pastor have made the decision to go to hell) conscious of their choice to love should spend fourteen years in prison or brash bullets on Instagram for this decision.
Ali, you do not know that you haven’t thought this through, I too am quite like you. I am quick to condemn the things I do not understand, I react when people tell me they cannot spend one hour reading a novel. It’s unthinkable to me and this is same for you in the beam of retrograde sexuality. But, I have grown to understand that people have different reasons to read and the fact that someone chooses not to read, irrespective of how abominable it is in my eyes only, it is not something to be thrown in jail for or brazenly insulted.
In the end, I am a Christian. And I look forward to the last day too. Of course, in my visions of this day, the gay people are parted to the left and well I and you go right ahead to the beautiful gate made of gold and precious stones. I understand that from heaven above, we would hear their shouts in hell, I understand this and I believe it.
But how about we just wait and find out? Really?
Caleb Tochukwu Okereke is a Lagos born Nigerian writer and literary blogger in the 90’s. His poetry and short fiction have been published on the Kalahari review, African Writer, Quality Poets, Teenage Eye Magazine, New Black Magazine amongst countless others and in the Texas based journal-The Hamilton Stone review. He has also written satirical pieces for The Vanguard newspaper and TNW for which he is an editor. A skin deep literary fiction writer currently in the process of publishing his debut novel, he is a lover of eastern Nigeria and the gentle rustle of leaves. Caleb is also a well known spoken word artiste and part of the eccentric Sky People franchise.