Sunday 19 March 2006

A rest but no arrests

The dead bury the dead
When Jesus said let the dead bury their dead, one can be forgiven for not fully understanding the import of that statement.
There is however a whole mine of wisdom in that saying of which I might just be able to mine a gem or two. I can safely say we are moving one from the cult of the dead and are just fascinated by the Egyptology and the pyramids.
The great discovery announced a few weeks ago is not a king’s burial chamber but the preparation room for embalmment.
Sometime ago, I offered advice to a couple one of whom had to fulfil a set number of years or residency as part of resolving an immigration issue. Having lost his father, there was the compelling reason to go and bury his father as one would in Africa.
However, fulfilling that would mean losing the relationship and a possible loss of the right to return. So, some inspiration came to me in the guise of having the man parcel some sand to be poured over the grave in Africa on burial.
This would fulfil the ceremony of pouring sand on the coffin at burial and this the ability to continue sojourning here till the days are fulfilled for gaining the entitlement to the right of abode.
In context, one should not sacrifice one’s future well-being in satisfying the traditions of burying the dead.
Duties done
So, we see that Slobodan Milosevic was laid to rest in his village on Saturday without his son or widow attending. As it transpired, the suspension of the arrest order in Yugoslavia allowing them to attend Milosevic’s funeral had ropes attached.
The son did visit the Netherlands to collect the body but did not travel with his father’s body to Belgrade, the widow however, stayed in Moscow.
I could very well say that husband and wife has probably said their goodbyes long before the death occurred, the son however, performed his duties to the best of his ability.
What one cannot argue with is that a leader who has happened upon some misfortune as Milosevic did is not without friends and they have done him proud in terms of his interment.
Friends who excel kin
Even so, I remember, Lady Oyinkan Abayomi (reference in German) died in 1987, a spinster but a mentor and foster mother to many who are of repute in Nigeria.
She has more luminaries attend her funeral than many her age who would have had great grand-children and generations of relations.
Basically, kinship does not guarantee a worthy burial. By happenstance, I met a funereal stones salesman who said a lot less people are taking the cremation option because they miss the opportunity to visit a location where their loved one is buried.
My religion your grievance
Then again, China and the Koreas are always given to extreme histrionics when Junichiro Koizumi the Prime Minister of Japan visits the Yakusuni Shrine where the Japanese war dead are buried and worshipped as gods.
It so happens that some of the war dead includes those who warred against China and Korea, occupying those countries with a iron fist and committing despicable war atrocities.
However, this shrine was founded in 1869 and hence there are more war dead honoured there than those that give China and the Koreas such umbrage.
This worshipping of the dead as spirits is part of the principle of Shintoism which is a major religion in Japan.
The Japanese cannot for the sake of the few then condemn the shrine to extinction or excommunication from the Shinto faith.
Though, I am not sure there is a rite to expunge the spirits of men later adjudged to be wrong in their earthly life from a Shinto shrine.
It is almost the equivalent of saying because evil kings were mentioned in the Bible no one should read the Bible again – now, that would set fire to the Catherine wheels.
Basically, the Japanese have buried their dead and draw strength from their service in Shintoism whilst the Chinese and the Koreans are still haunted by the memories of the evil dead who have advanced to greater things of divine worship.
It is a crazy world out there; I want no part of it.

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