Foreign affairs, foreign affairs. What foreign affairs?

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By Baba Galleh Jallow

Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow

Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow

If there was one term that thoroughly confused Gyant DaMidget, it was foreign affairs. He never could understand what people meant by foreign affairs. What did they mean foreign affairs? What has these so-called foreign affairs to do with anything anyway? He so disliked the term that when he had to talk to someone about it, he had to first thoroughly massage his face with peanut butter and clap his large dark glasses to his eyes to make sure people understood he did not care a hoot about any foreign affairs. He always made sure that while all other parts of his face glittered with the light of peanut butter oil, his large lips remained as dry as desert. This was meant to send a strong message to people that he was serious, that he did not care about any so-called foreign affairs, democracy, English language, or whatever they called it.

Gyant DaMidget’s foreign affairs dilemma was compounded by the fact that the man he hired to study the issue and give him a clear explanation was himself very easily confused, foreign affairs or no foreign affairs. A stocky fellow of medium proportion, Dr. Daaf DaJoker sported a small punch and a dark baldy that smoothly ran into his permanently sweaty face. He wore large plain glasses and his lips were always trembling, even when he was not talking. When he talked, his lips moved faster than his words and his sentences often stumbled out together in a puttering string of incoherencies, making him often repeat himself to be understood. Daaf was easily confused by the most mundane of issues, but he made sure he was never confused about how DaMidget must be glorified. It was thanks to the glowing tributes he paid to DaMidget, particularly magnified by his running sentences that earned him his position as Foreign Affairs adviser to Gyant DaMidget.

The twenty-four or so hours just before meeting DaMidget for a session on foreign affairs and democracy were always excruciatingly painful for poor Daaf DaJoker. He painfully dreaded the prospect of meeting with DaMidget because you never know what mood the tyrant would be in. Daaf DaJoker always arrived at DaMidget’s home or office quaking in his boots, his heart thumping wildly, a bundle of fright and confusion. Sometimes he was lucky to find DaMidget in a good mood. At such times Daaf could melt into his special stooge persona, anticipate DaMidget’s thoughts and desires, and explain in particularly sugared tones how DaMidget really need not worry about foreign affairs or so-called democracy. Both were empty so-called ideas thrown about by the west with malicious intent to re-colonize Africans. Gyant DaMidget would loudly beam and say that was exactly his thoughts. Like a well fed rat, a happy Daaf DaJoker would scurry out in great humility, cooing and humming sweet nothings as a sign of respect for the boss.

Sometimes, however, poor Dr. Daaf DaJoker was not so lucky: He stepped into the presence of a fuming Gyant DaMidget, whose nostrils spewed hot spurts of steam anger. He always knew when he saw the large dark glasses and noticed the glittering face that Gyant DaMidget had been offended by some talk possibly of foreign affairs or democracy. At such times, Daaf DaJoker’s lips trembled much faster than usual and his speech would be a long jumble of incoherencies, which further annoyed Gyant DaMidget and prompted him to give poor Daaf DaJoker another good dressing down.

‘What do you mean democracy and foreign affairs are western ideas?’ DaMidget would fume in low, heavy tones. ‘You want to tell me that they own us, that they own the world? We followed them for a million and five hundred years and what did we get from them? Two schools and two hospitals in a million years is all they did and now they want to tell me about foreign affairs and so-called democracy in their nonsense English language. If their affairs are foreign they should take them; our affairs are not foreign and only over my dead body will they tell me foreign affairs or democracy!’ Daaf DaJoker would be nodding his head almost off his shoulders, accompanied by a jumbled string of yes sir, yes sir excellency sir, yes sir, yes, yes. Gyant DaMidget would scold him for failing to do his job and dismiss him with a dire warning to come up with a good explanation next time. Daaf DaJoker got so petrified and so utterly confused during these times that he feared he would collapse if he tried to stand on his feet.

When the order came to leave, Daaf DaJoker unbelievably found himself sailing quietly out of DaMidget’s presence, as if riding on a cloud of wind. He did not feel his feet. When he slumped into his car, he told the driver go and started his recovery process. The healing process concluded as soon as he stepped into his office. Daaf DaJoker immediately became his other self, the fast, smart boss of bosses who was always the center of everyone’s attention. There he was hailed sir by young and old alike and often tapped on the shoulder by the ladies and called Boss Boy. This sexy little title always facilitated and enhanced DaJoker’s natural volubility. Beaming gleefully behind his giant glasses, Daaf would roll out well rounded streams of sugar-coated, authority-flavored directives that ensured things were done according to the wishes of the big boss. At least for now, Dr. Daaf DaJoker could avoid thinking much about foreign affairs, democracy or God forbid, Gyant DaMidget.

Not so our gallant Gyant DaMidget himself. The confusing bogeys of foreign affairs and democracy would just not let him rest. He wanted them to go away, yet they would not go away. Just what did they mean foreign affairs? What did they mean democracy? These questions so troubled Gyant DaMidget that he often claimed sick leave just to ponder over the issue. He would lock himself up in his private underground chambers and, pacing furiously back and forth, would repeatedly and loudly demand to know just what do they mean by this foreign affairs, this damn democracy! Foreign affairs, foreign affairs! What foreign affairs? What democracy? What English language? All this talk about foreign affairs made him sick to the stomach. Why could people not mind their own business and stop talking about so-called foreign affairs and democracy and English? Everybody had their own affairs and foreign affairs merely depend on who you are. Why don’t everybody just back off and let everyone be what they are rather than talking about so-called foreign affairs and democracy? ‘Ha?’ he would huff. ‘No one would tell me, Gyant DaMidget, what are foreign or not foreign affairs in my own country. If they don’t like it they can go to hell. They can go to hell with their stupid English language that I will never speak! No one will speak English in my country!’

When he returned from an overseas trip, Gyant DaMidget would ensure that just before arrival and landing, he thoroughly massaged his face with peanut butter and wore his large dark glasses in anticipation of questions from journalists on this so-called foreign affairs and democracy. Even if they did not ask any question on the subject, Gyant DaMidget always seized the opportunity to let the west know that he does not give a damn about any so-called foreign affairs or so-called democracy or so-called human rights. ‘I told them that we African leaders must come together and stop following the west with their stupid English language,’ he would angrily fume. ‘We followed them for a million years and what did they do for us, ha? Some African leaders are afraid but I told them I fear only the All Mighty Always. Perhaps if you point a gun to my head I can say what you like but other than that, I don’t care what anybody says about me. No one will come into this country and tell me about foreign affairs or stupid democracy and so-called English language. There are no foreign affairs here; only local affairs and we are not going to let them take it from us. They can come take their stupid English language and we can teach them about African democracy – minority carries the vote.’

Of course, Gyant DaMidget would never admit that he simply could not wrap his thick head around the idea of foreign affairs and democracy. Something about the terms thoroughly messed with his mind and thought processes and always seemed to escape his grasp. If affairs were local how could they also be foreign? If Africa got its own democracy already why should the west come here and talk to him about democracy. If his country’s affairs were foreign to others, they were not foreign to him and that’s all that mattered. Everything else was just a ploy to come and recolonize Africa. But only over his dead body will he let that happen. People should just stop talking to him about all this so-called foreign affairs and democracy. ‘They came here and colonized us for a million years and all they gave us is their stupid English language. We don’t need their stupid English language and if they don’t like it they can go to hell. I don’t speak any stupid English language and from now on, no one must speak that stupid English language in this country. No one must ever think of so-called foreign affairs or so-called democracy in this country! Foreign affairs, foreign affairs. What foreign affairs?’


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