DEAD HOPE

a writing by Adeosun Olamide Ayo

I was born. In a community, in a society where
everything and everyone is stratified I was born.
Like all I didn't stand the chance of making a
choice, of selecting where I would be born, where
I would grow, who I will live with. I grew up to
know that I can't be what I want to be, that the best I can be is to be as my parent, as my brothers,
as an outcast. As a kid I knew I can't marry the one
whom I love, I can't have the house that I seek, I
can't play the sport I knew nor chant the song I
love and knew just like every other child. My parent were Anglicans, we attended the
Anglican Church not very far from the stream and
our path to the cathedral is different from them
others, The cathedral was so big and there were
restrictions to where we can sit and step and even
we are not allowed to pay tithe or give offerings or participate at all in church activities. It has not
always been this way, when the priest was a white
man, he preached love and desired to paint us
equal before them as we are before God, He did
not fail only until after his death. Though everything was beautiful from a non
victim's eye, from the stream to the hills, to the
trees, to the breeze, to the birds, to the blue skies,
gloomy moon, and early sun rise and to the
people, we had the same skin but different blood
and heart. I had stopped seeing the beauty the day I became acquainted with life, the day I knew
who I was, the day I started remembering events,
the days I had to go far miles to get water and the
stream was close. Until then I never knew why
they won't let us play together or even touch each
other, I never knew why they won't help us and why they won't let us help them, till tomorrow
nothing would change their belief they say. As a
kid I became familiar with the word untouchables,
I became habituated to the wicked world we live
in, in a world where a group of people determine
our life , determines if we live or die, we are also Africans, also Igbo's like they are, we also have
head, hands, eyes and we both have the same
physical features, we were told we were born to
be sacrificed to the gods, we are owned by their
deities and we can't eat, sleep, touch or have any
physical contact with them. I never knew I would be so close to being the change, I never knew I
had a future and my name would come to cause
pain in some vines. It angered me any time the
black priest preaches equality before God and yet
he won't let us participate in church activities, that
was the only church that I knew and the church never opposed human sacrifice openly, the church
would say they respect traditions and cultures and
they cannot afford a conflict with the natives so
even the organizers of the sacrifice were workers
in the church. In the light of hope I grew in gloomy
darkness, I grew in thought that one day we would realize what is right and in hours what we
realize would come into reality, never did I be of
the opinion that I am on the periphery of
destroying any possibility of transfiguration. Didn't select my parent, never selected where I
would be born, I m just a victim, choices were
made without my idiosyncratic deliberation, Selfish
choices, I m sure I would never have wished to be
born here as an Osu, an outcast, but I was born
here, into a lovely family in a spiteful society, where we see children gather together, playing, holding
hands in the village square, listening to stories
from men and women of olds yet the best I could
do is to watch which is considered an offence one
whose punishment is banishment. I'm not allowed
to talk, to speak to their children, we are considered the abominable. Our fate they say came
through inheritance and no matter how hard I
studied, how gifted I'm, how artistic, no matter
how much I could sing, it means nothing as I am
already ascribed and marked to a limit. Just birth
certificate determines my future. I am taught to belief that I can only see them I can't marry them, I
can only smell the aroma of their food I can't taste
or eat it, I can only see their radiant skin, I can't feel
it as it is fixed for life little did I know I would come
and break new grounds, grounds that put my all
of us in tears. My mother said it started when angry gods I mean their gods started demanding human
beings for sacrifice in place of the usual animals
used for the atonement of evil they committed,
then we became the sacrifice. I used to ask her
why this belief has not ended even with the help of
recent scientific inventions, civilization and globalization but she would reply we are not part
of their world. We were humiliated, isolated and our rights were
infringed upon all in the name of the obnoxious,
outrageous, and devastating traditions, though I
already chose my path but my path won't let the
obnoxious practice go away, Christianity, modern
education, civilization, human right and culture have done theirs yet the practice remains. I am the
slave, the stranger, the outcast, the untouchable,
and so I behaved like one, till now as I sit waiting
to be killed, expecting death, I still never know if it
was a muse from God or the devil but I knew it
almost worked. At seventeen I broke the grounds, I raped seven of their daughters, we were inferior
and they were superior, I thought the way of an
inferior, I knew the consequences of my action yet
what I would gain made it worth it, my contact
with the Nwandiala immediately converted them to
Osu, seven of their daughter became inferior at my contact but would I ever go unpunished, would
my conscience ever stop to hurt me? All the
happiness I felt while doing it became a pain in
and to my heart, I couldn't bear it as the girls were
banished forever, the thought that they didn't
offend me filled me yet I consoled myself with the fact that we were all suffering different course we
know not about. My ordeal started when the daughter of the oracle
priest met me, she allured me into her will, I
couldn't reject or refuse her exquisite smile, and
she was bewitching as her father was. Though she
knew I was an Osu she talked to me, she broke all
laws when she touched my hands I didn't and couldn't belief when she told me she followed me
as I unmasked myself the day I raped the seven
girls, I was petrified and the thought of killing her
did cross my mind but for the intimacy I already
began to share, she approaching me earlier
already gave me a cold sweat, but I didn't belief she wanted to be my friend after my evil deeds and
soon did our friendship grew into love. An
Idolization no one must be aware of, one intimacy
would soon expose, it outspread between my clan
and it became a rumor within her clan, I an OSU she
a Nwandiala the daughter of the oracle priest in a bond never to be separated by anyone, not even
by ourselves. The words on the street like fire in a
dry forest soon got to her father, and her last
discussion with me was about her father
browbeat, she was scared that day but in my little
words I whisper into her ears 'All will be fine' She told me she wanted to go away , to run away, far
off from this world of her father, yet I told her 'All
will be well' that was the best I could say, that was
the last time I would see her, that was the last time
I would talk because the rest would be screams.
Her father wouldn't bear the world saying his grandchildren are Osu, He got swallowed by pride,
his self-esteem won't let him see his daughter
happiness but rather he took pride in humiliating
his daughter, he demeaned my heart by
chastening her, he let dignity make him do the
undignified, he let the prince sleep with her without her consent, the prince defiled love, he
polluted our heart and killed her, She died I
wouldn't say but she died, she died because of her
father's wickedness, because of the prince
vileness, because of the Nwandiala people ,
because of the Igbo's refusal to end this obnoxious act, she was killed by all of them, all of
you, who heard of this practice and yet you did
nothing, They wouldn't even let me honor her ,
they even won't let me see her, and in there
pretense they attempted to make me feel guilty
which they succeeded at, I knew I had fallen and I knew they must fall , All of them who had a pact to
her death. Let the gods fault me. Let them not have mercy upon me. No they would, that is why they are gods and I am
man, As an abandoned child, a forsaken one,
deserted by the world I have survived until now, I
can't keep my head above water, I refuse to be
abased but rather to follow my mind, my mind
keeps me wondering I raped seven of their girls and that is just because mine was humiliated I
decided to want to take the wrong path, to make
and keep the equation unbalanced. I took to
sword; I sent them to hell, the wicked demon that
bore my heart and the prince all to face eternal
damnation. Here I am with my vision for a casteless society
fallen. Tomorrow I would be executed; tomorrow
I would meet my heart as I am already convicted,
convicted for a violation needed. Hello. Thanks for reading. Hope you got the message? For which reason should we keep quite not
correcting ourselves? We must share our suffering and be distinguished
from the world. Yes you are unique, yes you are
exceptional, and even you are matchless but
respect the fellows. We all are the same, even the
man born in the street, in the forest got bloods in
veins, got feelings and he would die just as you would die. It is not over, there is still a division,
they still disregard us but we are one, we have to
be one. But I am sorry we are not one, it is going to take
more than just reading this to while off time, and it
requires your strength, your time, your money.
You would help right, you would help friend, you
would tell them in the village to treat them equally,
you would show love to them, you would be their brother. You know what you would do but do not
ignore this thinking it has washed away without
you touching, washing and stirring it.

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