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A Debate Part 1 Compiled by Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju Compcros Comparative Cognitive Processes and Systems "Exploring Every Corner of the Cosmos in Search of Knowledge"
1. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: email@example.com Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 11:39 PM subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade
What about the osu cast system in Igboland? To what degree were the osu not slaves? I know little about this but a pic I saw of an osu and a dibia on the Igbocybershrine blog a powerful and unforgettable pic, suggested something that reminded me of slavery. Toyin
Dr. Next topic please!!! Dr. It does demonstrate elements of slavery. 2013 at 12:47 PM I am informed on the Osu caste system. Shouting insults is meaningless.2.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade Wed. 2013 at 11:39 PM Mr. Adepoju. Franklyne Emmanuel Ogbunwezeh 3.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade Tue. why don't you go do some research before coming here to empanel hearsay. Mar 20. One wonders the mental hinterland which could empower such a misintepretation of an issue that dwarfs one's competence. The Osu caste System is not slavery. If you know little about the Osu caste system in Igboland. I can provide evidence if required. Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. Anyone who wants to challenge what I have written should present their case. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . Toyin .com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . Mar 19.
but it often required such an expensive ceremony in that halcyon past. an Osu may decide to "free himself" of his obligation. the best and most fertile public land. they are given the best portion of the land because they are the human links to the gods. kill. they grow their hair long as an act of self-mortification. I'll urge you to read Sylvia Leith-Ross' "Notes on the Osu System amomg the Ibo of Owerri Province" (Journal of the International African Institute. and assist the high priests in the ritual process. Mar 20. The only barrier is in choosing that life. Usually in Communities that instituted the Osu system. the Osu had a constant supply through these sacrifices. that no Osu could afford to conduct the ceremony. in pledging themselves and being ritually dedicated to the altar and service of the gods and the shrines of the land down generations. of which they were the only ones permitted to partake of the animals offered to the gods. In any case. The Osu is not a slave. or cause an "Osu of the gods" to cry. You have no idea what the Osu is. s/he hands the self to the gods for protection through servuice and eternal obligation. But the status of the "Osu" is sometimes entered voluntarily. aspire to the titles of the land. Would you consider a monk in a Catholic monastry a slave? I should actually advise you to be a bit more circumspect on things you know very little about. particularly when the individual feels himself or herself no longer able to depend on the protection of the ordinary community. In a society where meat was rather a luxury. they take the oaths of perpetual allegiance." Over the years. they become "publicly protected citizens. Christianity and other alien ideas desacralized the intent of the institution and made it antinomic. or even participate in the commerce of daily enterprise. draw blood. They become guardians of the altars and the sacred groves of the deities to which the pledge themselves." No man could therefore. 2013 at 2:34 PM Toyin Adepoju. they are in charge of all the votary animals. The actual meaning of the Igbo word "Osu" is "Sacred to the gods" or "beloved of the gods" or "dedicated to the gods.4. ." 1937) for starters. Rex Marinus to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. S/he is actually traditionally a sacred being made into a living companion to the gods. they are also thus. on pain of retribution. often called "Ohia Agbara" are farmed by the Osu.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Wed. they live in ritual isolation. In the years of yore.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . You do not know anything about Igbo cultural and religious practices and it is actually degrading to jump too fervently into a dance whose steps you have not mastered. the Osu can no longer be expected to live a secular life. or being dedicated to that life as a pledge from their families to the gods. They are fully provisioned through the offerings brought to the altars by the communities.
and start again. The essay you recommend actually debunks your position. You have what the romantics would sometimes call "enthusiasm. your unequivocal valorisation of the Osu phenomenon. You choose to isolate one account. but you also are terribly careless and presumptuous as a scholar. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. if not false.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . I wont stoop to the tendency to invoke credentials of knowledge where what is needed are authentication of claims.There have been terrible terminological errors in describing the Osu as a "cult slave" . of the origin and social characterization of Osu and ignored all the other accounts in the same essay and the careful contextualization of the subject provided by the author. My immediate summation is that your unequivocal valorisation of the Osu phenomenon is . Obi Nwakanma. It is not slavery. foregrounding that valorisation in the stark manner of equating the characteristics of the Osu phenomenon with those of Catholic monasticism. It is the Igbo equivalent of the monastic life. and makes clear that your equating the institution with Catholic monasticism is a distortion of the nature and history of that monasticism in the name of uncritical parallels which can be easily shown to be problematic. Mar 21. for the second time in my encounters with you in discussing this subject. It is at best a form of revision of evident reality which anyone can easily puncture even by reading the essay you recommend.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Thu. and in fact self-regarding by the ways in which you assume authority over issues that are far beyond your immediate apprehension. and one of doubtful certainty from the way it is described in the essay. The essay you suggested does not support your unequivocal valorisation of Osu. Obi Nwakanma 5. 2013 at 3:07 PM Thanks. If you want to study the Osu cult system." Adepoju. and now. and this time with clear intent.an English/christian term that avoids a simple fact: the Osu was on many instances a voluntary act of escaping from the secular self into a more isolate world. take a chill pill. for providing an opportunity for a comparative study in the sociology of religion by presenting. Brother. That is not scholarship.
along with accounts by Osu themselves. I would have liked to go into detail on this right now. as the norm? Have you researched the phenomenon in its origins. I will return to this later to show how your correlation of Osu and Catholic monasticism is facile. Meanwhile.development and particular configurations in various Igbo communities? Can you refer us to any texts that support your opinion on this subject? Just refer us to any texts. I attach the essay you recommended along with others on Osu. to see the groups formed to contributing to eradicating this terrible tradition as well as a Google and JSTOR search. false. anyone who is keen can do both a Facebook search for 'Osu. Your uncritical effort to equate Catholic monasticism and the Osu phenomenon suggest that you are engaged in a romanticisation of Osu that suggests a need to better understand the character and role of Catholic monasticism as one of the formative institutions of the Western cultural tradition as well as to better understand Igbo cultural history. experiences not replicated by the broad stream of discourse on the subject? What is your rationale for crediting this personal experience. The literature is very rich. [ For essays see Scribd account : http://www. Can you please tell us how you came by a conception of Osu that has little relationship with Igbo culture and history as represented by the extensive literature on the Osu phenomenon.scribd. and in a fundamental sense. since deconstructing your strategy here will provide rich reflections in the sociology of religion but I need to rush to something else right now.counter to Igbo history and culture and cannot be sustained. then we can compare your sources with others to see how representative your views are. both scholarly and general.conditions present in Catholic monasticism but seemingly suppressed or absent in the social framing of the Osu institution. Thanks Toyin . if you have such.com/danteifa]. I will also show how your framing foregrounds questions about the conditions for developing a spiritual tradition that energizes a culture. in the way your frame it. such as the various groups on Facebook directed at putting and end to the horrors resented by the Osu phenomenon? What are your sources? Are your sources based on personal encounters with Osu.
2013 at 11:53 PM I think it is not fair to attack Adepoju's views as a deliberate attempt to ridicule the Osu system.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade Thu. Such views are the result of decades of misinformation and misrepresentation of what the Osu system is to outsiders (including yours truly) and even uneducated igbos. The current state of knowledge shows that experts such as the Nwakammas and Ogbunwezes still have much to do change the outsiders perception of the system. please show me if i am wrong in this impression of achebe's depiction of them ken . and he presents their turning to christianity as a way of escaping their wretched lot.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . which apparently are not very accurate. 7. Mar 21. Mar 22.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . For a long time i have been a victim of the misrepresentation that compares the Osu system to the Indian pariah system of the untouchables. Kenneth harrow to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. i confess to knowing absolutely nothing about osus except from achebe's novels.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade Fri. this may be the result of new realities of modern societal expectations and mentality that are incompatible with traditional roles. Olayinka Agbetuyi to: "usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. 2013 at 12:08 AM this picture of the osus dedicated to god and positively presented as a specially favored group is as far from achebe's depiction of them in tfa and no longer at ease as possible. but i think his depiction is quite transparent. The colonial mentality during the period of the eradication of slavery must be in large part responsible for this.. i know many will tell me i am misreading achebe.6. As for what current Osus say and how they see themselves..
being people who are subjected to or are witnesses to or are agents in the perpetuation of the Osu phenomenon know is all smoke.8. Thanks Toyin . anybody who reads the very text he recommended and which I attached to my last post as well as the other texts. Mar 22. but will focus on the implications of his strategy. can see that he is engaged in a fictive exercise. 2013 at 9:53 AM Instead of jumping to decide who is or is not an expert. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. embarrassment or other forms of moral escapism.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . The Osu phenomenon is too deep rooted in Igbo social identity to be a Christian distortion. and about which non-Ndigbo who care to educate themselves will know better. Nwakanma has chosen to isolate a marginal perspective that has little resonance in collective Igbo cultural memory and Igbo social life anywhere in the world as the reality of Osu. They know his position is indefensible but wont want to be drawn into an argument where they will either be seen to betray their ethnic brother in his misguided effort to present one of the most heinous aspects of past and present Igbo life in a whitewashed romantic sense at variance with Igbo culture and history in all its human complexity or to enter into something that they themselves are too embarrassed to discuss in the first place.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Fri. but which they are keeping quiet about out of ethnic loyalty. Nwakanma is engaged in a process of self delusion which informed people and other Ndigbo see through straightway. read the relevant texts. a strategy that other Ndigbo on this group. My focus in my examination of Nwakanma's effort at fiction will not be to prove him wrong. Anybody who is waiting for Igbos on this group to speak up in support of Nwankama or in opposition to him might have a long time to wait.
2013 at 9:53 AM Also. in which a group are rendered second class citizens and related to in a dehumanizing manner in sensitive situations by others in their own group. Mar 22.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . Mar 22. keeps it alive. and lately. The Osu system survives because a groundswell of opinion among Ndigbo has not emerged to destroy it. Olayinka. not by pretending it is not evil. The Osu system will be destroyed only when its horrible reality is confronted and challenged by the majority of Ndigbo. of repression of dissent. 2013 at 9:53 AM Apologies.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Fri. I was not polite to you in the way I summed up your response. particularly one which concerns a situation one is directly involved in. it might not be fair to describe Ndigbo on this group who choose to keep silent on this harrowing subject in Igbo life as engaging in moral escapism. of quiet support. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. self deluding fictions by an Obi Nwakanma that . as the Osu are by the so called free born Igbo. has not and is not causing huge pain and distortion in people's lives or by keeping quiet about it.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Fri. of fear. A system of silence.9. I was agitated by the fact that you chose to ignore the scope of research on the subject and chose to fixate on a view of a person whose very text he claims supports his view actually debunks it.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. It might not be sufficiently sensitive to so sum up people's responses even though I am convinced that it is a duty to speak up on sensitive issues. Perhaps you have not had a chance to read the essay recommended by Nwakanma as well as anything else on the subject. Thanks Toyin 10.
but those who are not informed beyond Ndigbo need to help to escalate the pressure to destroy this evil system of intra-Igbo apartheid.com subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . knows that claim by Nwankanma is not true. 2013 at 11:35 AM How does one respond to a blatant falsehood.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Fri. He goes further to claim his view on Osu is supported by Sylvia Leith-Ross' "Notes on the Osu System amomg the Ibo of Owerri Province" (Journal of the International African Institute. agent or plain witness.[ attached] while the article actually debunks his claim. I am almost at a loss for words in being further confronted by Nwakanma's efforts at bolstering this fiction. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups. plus the voices of contemporary Osu unequivocally declare the system in all its heinousness predates Christianity and is rabidly perpetuated by many Igbos in a spirit that has nothing to do with Christian belief but everything to do with ancient Igbo history and culture. thanks toyin 11. being a particularly privileged group who withdrew from the community to act as their intermediaries with divinities. I am disturbed because the scholarship on Osu. Mar 22. propagated as unassailable truth by a self declared expert? How does one respond to a falsehood which the so called expert claims to back up with proof that shows clearly that what he is stating is false? How does one respond to what looks like desperation in the effort to implant a falsehood by presenting evidence that actually shows one is not being truthful? I am almost shaking with trying to grapple with the implications of Obi Nwankanma's argument that the Osu caste of Igboland are equivalent to Catholic monks. . He states that Christianity and misinformation have distorted the reality of Osu. both academic and beyond academia." 1937.must not be allowed to check the honest appraisal of this evil. Such fictions will not work among Ndigbo who live the reality of Osu. I am shaking because anyone who has read the research on Osu. anyone who is Igbo and has encountered the Osu phenomenon as victim.
a deep seated emotional wound that must be palliated by loudly proclaiming a fiction. a claim that foregrounds most powerfully the absolute untruth in the unqualified valorisation of the Osu system by Nwankanma. we are faced here with a profound irony represented by an individual's efforts to distort history. I will continue by examining the implications of Nwankanma's claim that Osu are equivalent to Catholic monks. stating that the origin of the system is unknown. a claim presented by an Osu informant. though it is impossible and he knows it. It suggests the horror of the Osu phenomenon. the claim Nwankanma latches on as the past and present reality of Osu. that someone can try so hard to escape its realities by engaging in transparent fictions. Thanks Toyin . even in the face of the evident fictiveness of one's declaration? Clearly. In the light of the fact that the very essay Nwankanma refers to shows that the Osu phenomenon is ancient and pre-Christian in its denigration of Osu and choosing to ignore the complete account given by Leith-Ross I describe Nwakanma as a making a deliberate effort at distorting reality. Why? Why try to propagate a falsehood which is obviously untrue? An effort at avoiding ethnic embarrassment? Why try to perpetuate an obvious falsehood by referring to a text that clearly debunks your efforts at falsification? Desperation? Carelessness? Hubris? Is it something personal. gives a number of accounts of origin and of how people become Osu and presents among various claims of its origin.The article describes Osu as a despised group among Ndigbo dedicated as servants to divinities and.
Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade Fri. Mar 22. None is found. 2013 at 8:25 AM ("A Scion Of A Sacred Order" By Chidi Anthony Opara) On the priestly podium He stands firm. He proclaims aloud. Eyes Dart for signs of curse. Chidi Anthony Opara to: USA Africa Dialogue Series subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . Voices proclaim aloud. Nostrils Nose for whiff of Satan. His face With pride aglow. The veil falls. “I am an Osu!” “I am a scion of a sacred order!” “I am sanctified for sacred service!” His voice firm. His priestly ancestry Pokes At the veil of ignorance. “You are indeed A scion of a sacred order!” “You are indeed Sanctified for sacred service!” .12.
2013 at 12:59 PM Chidi.Henry Louis Gates is Wrong about African Involvement in the Slave Trade date: Fri. and an example of deliberate falsehood. OLUWATOYIN ADEPOJU to: firstname.lastname@example.org subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series . It is one thing. that dedication to deity has been a vilified and not a valoristic dedication. but it is another thing. to affirm its positive potential: “I am an Osu!” “I am a scion of a sacred order!” “I am sanctified for sacred service!” His voice firm. His face With pride aglow. It is another thing to pretend that the denigrative dimension of Osu culture is not a fundamental part of Igbo history past and present.13.. as your poem suggests. and a positive act. Where do we go from here? It is one thing to engage in creative rethinking of the character and history of the Osu phenomenon.. I salute you. Mar 22. . You have spoken much that evokes what I suggest. signs of curse" and "whiff of Satan" in terms of which Osu has been cast in Igbo culture since time out of collective Igbo memory. not to acknowledge that in Igbo culture. for as long as the majority remember. in spite of a culture of ".
not bondage. your approach can be seen as an imaginative effort to heal a harrowing breach in the Igbo body politic through a imaginative projection of what you hope will happen.You demonstrate creativity in your imaginative contextualization of the current effort on this group to grapple with this sad phenomenon. of their isolation as consecrated dedication not a pariah status as is the case now. and then a deliberate choice to remove the stigma associated with being Osu by representing their dedication to deity as honorable service. “You are indeed A scion of a sacred order!” “You are indeed Sanctified for sacred service!” since no one is able to justify Nwakanma's claim about Osu dedication to divinity as valoristic rather than vilified. and it is not true that Voices proclaim aloud. To stop preventing their children from marrying Osu. To stop blocking Osu from opportunities and leadership roles because they are Osu. as uplifting dedication. Along with that. Even though it is not true that no whiff of dissent is found. since none have even tried in the first place. not ignoble servitude. Thanks Toyin . as honorable rather than scorned. people should be encouraged to stop discriminating against Osu. I would suggest that what is in order is an honest description of the reality of Osu as it is and has been practiced by Ndigbo for as long as Ndigbo can collectively remember.