Friday, December 06, 2013

#Quotes from Mongo Beti's The Poor Christ of Bomba

Surely it isn't blasphemy...oh, no! It even fills me with joy to think that perhaps it was providence, the Holy Ghost himself, who whispered this advice in the Father's ear, 'Tell them that Jesus Christ and the Reverend Father are all one.' Especially when our village children, looking at the picture of Christ surrounded by boys, were astonished at his likeness to our Father. Same beard, same soutane, same cord around the waist. And they cried out, 'But Jesus Christ is just like the Father!' And the Father assured them that Christ and himself were all one. And since then all the boys of my village call the Father 'Jesus Christ'. [3]

It seems the more money they have the less they think of God. [13]

All along the way we heard women singing or calling to each other, and men laughing and slapping their thighs. We saw clearly enough how they were. Often we saw a bicycle or a sewing machine standing in a corner. Cocoa has made them rich here... In short, they live careless lives, quite unlike the people in towns, or along the main roads. As the Father says, they don't strain themselves. And he adds that if they don't often remember God, it's because they're too happy. According to him only the miserable have or the oppressed can have faith in God. And why are they better Christians along the roads, unless it's because they are constantly exposed to the exactions of soldiers and chiefs, or the demands of forced labour? Here they know nothing of all these woes. If God would only send them a warning! [17]

'Ah, so there you are! You'l catch it one day, you'll see! You will burn in Hell! Then come and tell me if it's so funny.'
But the man replied: 'Sorry, Fada, no be certain I go burn in Hell. No certain at all...' [18]

Father, they say that a priest is no better than a Greek trader or any other colonialist. They say that all any of you are after is money. You are not sincere with them, you hide things from them and teach them nothing. [20]

They say that you must be hiding things from them. What about all the whites who live in concubinage with loose women in the town, do you ever rage against them? Far from it, you shake hands with them, go to their parties and ride in their cars back to Bomba. Nevertheless you preach that, after baptism, the blacks should cease to visit their own relatives who are not Christians. You are really a very dangerous man, for if everyone listened to you, the wives would all leave their husbands, the children would no longer obey their fathers, brothers would not know another and everything would be upside down. That's what they say, Father. [20]

When the daughter dies, the son-in-law dies. [24]

While we were walking the path, which here, as at Mombet, turns into a secret, the Father explained to us that men often have need of misfortunes like this afternoon's to bring home to them the instability and unreality of the things of this world. [27]

If I understand you, Father, evangelizing the blacks is like taking an old water jug and trying to turn it into an amphora? [33]

When a man begins to doubt his mission, is he not finished, or at least on the way to being so? [36]

Ah, if only they'll build that road, if they'll beat and persecute these people, then perhaps they'll all return to God... [38]

But it's when we pity someone that we feel closest to them, and just now I certainly love him more than my own father. [46]

It was impossible for devils to live in men; men do as they please and the devil has nothing to do with it. [75]

No one is interested any more, except the women. Only the women have religion in their blood; the men are completely indifferent. They claim that there's no difference between a Greek trader and a priest., even one like Father Drumont. [97]

'But you have always been on our side, Father,' cried the catechist.
'That doesn't stop my being a white man. And the Apostles of Our Lord also addressed themselves first to white men, but they couldn't change them or turn them from wickedness. Now the same whites have come here to inflict their cruelties on you. I refuse to draw profit from their malice; I cannot. And Christ refuses also. Look, it would be like the people of Saba. You know the reputation of that tribe, how they always travel in pairs? The first one walks far ahead, days ahead, sowing evil spells on every side; everyone falls sick as if there's an epidemic. Days later, the second Saba arrives; he takes pity on all the sick and sets about curing them. Naturally he knows how to but he demands piles of money for every cure he makes. And every coin he collects depends on his brother, who went ahead sowing misfortunes right and left. [113]

These good people worshipped God without our help. What matter if they worshipped after their own fashion - by eating one another, or by dancing in the moonlight, or by wearing bark charms around their necks? Why do we insist on imposing our customs upon them? [150-1]

He got up and began pacing about, arms behind his back. He continued: The native girl, the docile little black girl, what a perfect machine! Not need to grease it, even. No need even to go and see if it's growing rusty in the little garage where we've chucked it. A really unmatchable machine! She looks after herself all alone, do you hear, all alone! Above all, don't go and pull her out of the garage in the morning. What an asinine idea! No, she'll run out of her own accord and come and ask you: 'Give me some work to do." Who has been able to invent the equal of that? [204]
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2 comments:

  1. boss..... nice piece. i want to read your own pieces more. remember me? AITA.... we went to gather some data on cocoa farmers in western region, 2011. nice work, boss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man... but you didn't mention your name. I remember that project.

      Soon, man! I am working on it seriously.

      Delete

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