By Elhag Paul
May 17, 2013 (SSNA) — The hedonistic, unholy and belligerent three decades old sacred cow named Oyee has become haunted. Demons of divisions and greed have taken over its psyche and it has also infected the hearts of the two top shepherds. The cow’s behaviour has become erratic. It is confused and keeps wondering aimlessly. Things are no longer good. To save the animal and the Luak (cow shed), the shepherds have agreed to recruit the representatives of God on earth to exorcise the ghosts before the cow destroys itself.
The shepherds since the birth of this particular cow have not believed in modern methods of animal husbandry. The rules of good animal management were frowned at and despised. This cow was allowed to forage freely through people’s fields and whoever complained got the stick. As is the norm in life, living things get socialised to a certain way of doing things and once these habits take hold it is not easy to forsake them. Little did the shepherds know that the unruly behaviour of their beloved cow one day will create a huge problem among them in the luak. So long as the cow grazed on other people’s fields and produced milk, they were content on reaping the benefits without thinking about the destruction that this cow caused on people’s fields and lives.
I remember way back at home when my mother used to tell us (my siblings and I) stories in the evening around the fire place (colourful stories about the ‘fox’, the ‘hare’and the like). I always looked forward to evening time for these enjoyable funny stories. With hindsight now I know that my mother was doing a great job of educating us and preparing us for life as adults in the community. These fire place stories serve a number of purposes, they equip the mind with essential knowledge necessary for survival, they build loyalty in relationship, they strengthen love between children and parents and shape lives making people to think in a responsible way towards the well-being of the community. Those unfortunate ones in the community who did not benefit from such exercises lost important aspects of good upbringing. The reason why societies have delinquents may be traced to lack of appropriate socialisation.
Each culture has a way of imparting essential and desirable norms and values on its members from an early age. Some cultures are good and others are wanting. Those with wanting cultures often are the source of problems in some societies and it becomes necessary that the wider society must take responsibility to rescue such groups from themselves by re-educating them for the greater good lest the whole society self-destructs.
Which of-course means animal breeding too involves a similar process to enable the cowboys and cowgirls to adequately manage them properly in their farms for better profits. In the advanced countries, even pets are reared in such a way as to inculcate acceptable norms in them. For instance, the owners of dogs and cats in advanced countries communicate with their animals and the latter in turn respond to the former to keep the peace. Otherwise, without good rearing, dogs and cats would be causing havoc by biting people all the time. Rarely except in the wild, can one find an animal in the community behaving as it wants without control and here is where the cow named Oyee comes in. It is exactly, the prototype of the poorly bred and uncouth animal with inbuilt traits of self-destruction.
Soon after its birth three decades ago, the owners instead of imparting acceptable norms and values on it, they relentlessly conditioned it to be aggressive and thoughtless. It was taught not to respect rules. It was taught to be ruthless. “Inshalla abuk wadi talaga”translating into ‘shoot anything regardless including your own father’. It was only nurtured as a killing machine and indeed it has turned out to be exactly so. It is very easy to talk or inculcate killing into things. Pulling a trigger or slaughtering a human being like the sad case of Banyjioth Matoat Tap may be an act of few minutes, but the consequence lasts with the dehumanised brute for life. A life that gets taken over with nightmares and mental disturbance often silently nursed by this dead soul living. If bravery means foolery, self-destruction and dehumanisation (the return to the world of savagery), then perhaps the‘cowards’ have won the battle of the day as the future looks certain to be bright for them.
Now, Oyee afflicted by this terrible disease is even unable to manage or care for itself. The concept of ‘care’ is totally alien to it. Since it achieves pleasure by hurting and destroying its own, it gets confused when told to be considerate of the sanctity of life. As far as it is concerned, pleasure is achieved from usurping power, robbing, looting, and killing.
At this crucial juncture, only weeks away from its thirtieth birthday, the shepherds have called in the men of God for help. The cow is going crazy and the two top shepherds are at each other’s throats. The blames are mounting with each shepherd lamenting the state of the cow. Even at this late stage, neither of the shepherds can see that approaching the vets may be the solution. They are convinced the cow is haunted and the panacea is with the men of God.
Approaching the vets is not a preferable option for the shepherds because the panacea may involve modern prescription involving unpalatable medications, restrictions on the cow and possible re-arrangement of the ‘Luak’ with change of the shepherds themselves. As the cow is now mentally affected, it would not be difficult for the vet to see that the shepherds themselves are contributors to its predicament and if so they should not be allowed to perpetuate the conditions that have driven this supposed sacred cow to this unfortunate situation.
The shepherds aware of such a possible diagnosis from the vets decided the best course of action is to let things as they are. Neither of them wants to lose the cow. For life without milk is unthinkable. So they resort to profusely blaming each other for the way the cow was brought up. Both have become irrational in that they are incapable of seeing that they are actually responsible for the state of the cow and neither of them has any knowledge and skills of cow management. Yet, like 2 year olds self centred egotistical children oblivious of their environment, they just want to carry on inflicting more damage. Unbelievable but that is the reality in the Luak.
As the story about the cow’s health and the division between the shepherds spreads like wild fire in the Luak, and the inhabitants of the Luak get concerned, the shepherds have now approached the representatives of God on earth to intervene. As expected, the spiritual leaders being wise men and tactful knowing that both shepherds are hopeless and that the cow itself being old and ill, there is nothing to be salvaged here. They would have preferred to recommend‘starting from scratch’ which would entail the humane putting down of this terminally ill cow. Nevertheless, knowing the atrocious behaviour and the unpredictable temper of the shepherds and the importance of preserving life, they engage in philosophical talk praising both shepherds highly – calling them men of peace and referring to the cow as healthy and the Luak as calm, stable and prosperous. These praises are dished out with razzmatazz even when the shepherds are snarling at each other with frightening display of anger.
Wittily, the spiritual leaders steer clear of exorcising the cow. It is not important and it is unworthy given it’s old age and the nature of its possession by the demons. The economics of saving a possessed slow dying cow in spiritual terms is not worth the work involved. Therefore, it is silently and intriguingly with sweet praises left to perish alone as its days are numbered. The demon initially manifesting itself as mental disturbance in the cow and now that the men of God are out of the way, it has comfortably taken full possession of the cow and fiendishly attached itself to the shepherds. As enemy of peace in the Luak it is speeding up the whole process of atrophy. Although this seems dire, for those who fear God this is the beginning of the good news because it signifies the coming of the saviour (the Messiah).
Knowing the dire situation prevailing in this difficult last days, the representatives of God on earth are now profusely on daily basis praying for the ‘Luak’ to ensure that when the end comes to this possessed unsalvageable cow the demons go along with it leaving the ‘Luak’ cleansed for coming of the Messiah with people of peace singing hallelujah loudly.
The shepherds now possessed like the cow itself are bickering with each other with their supporters fragmenting themselves with accusations and counter accusations of betrayal. Determined not to lose the milk in the interim period prior to death of the cow, each has resorted to consulting the powers of the dark to outwit the other for total control of the cow’s management (The very evil powers that has possessed them).
In the far corner of the Luak, another interesting development takes place. Three mini shepherds equally possessed assigned the responsibility of rearing three of the 10 goats in the Luak are agitated and like the three witches of Macbeth (Shakespeare) are meeting bemoaning the murky weather conditions. They warn the ‘Luakians’ forecasting horrendous weather in the days to come. They prophesy that their goats may be trampled-on in the big fight of the beasts unless something is done. The bickering shepherds each knowing that they through their cow had plundered the luak just like General Macbeth had done with the demise of Duncan the day of reckoning is about to come.
Perturbed, and besieged by the thoughts of the impending catastrophe, the shepherds reluctantly and desperately are courting the three mini shepherds of the three goats as the only hope. Without support of these midgets once considered useless beings in the Luak, neither of these competing shepherds can survive in the interim period. Whichever one of the shepherds that wins the support of these midgets will emerge as the victor in the meantime to manage the cow and also milk it without any accountability.
Ironically, the fortunes of these oppressed and supposedly coward mini shepherds of the three goats suddenly have become extremely important in the survival of anyone of the possessed ‘brave’ shepherds. One wonders whether these midgets are aware of this accidentally pivotal position of powers? If they are, will they extract maximum benefits for themselves before the death of the cow? Since the cow has foraged freely in their pens with impunity depriving the goats of pasture, will they now trade their support for maximum benefit of the goats by strictly demanding for: 1) properly demarcated pens where they are the masters to ensure that the cow does not return to forage freely. 2) de-restriction of their abused brother. 3) equitable distribution of the milk in the Luak. If the shepherds refuse to these demands, will the midgets withhold their support to both and instead vie for management of the cow itself in the interim period? After all, the three goats exactly make a third of the Luak. Mathematically they stand equal chances in a contest. Such an act will expose the fallacy of numbers but will the midgets detect this?
In the meantime, with the murky weather building up, let us together with the representatives of God on earth pray for coming of the Messiah. Oh! God save the Luak. Amen[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
The Author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at [email protected]