Wednesday, January 8, 2014

OdenIgbo 1

OdenIgbo is an Igbo language newsletter. Many highly educated Igbo people claim that they cannot read or write in their own mother tongue even when they can understand the spoken words. Many of our children cannot even understand the language at all but desire to learn. Other languages in Africa have their own newspapers and it is a shame that we do not have one in Igbo.

OdenIgbo seeks to simplify the writing and reading of the language by abandoning the colonial tonal notations which make the texts cumbersome. European languages do not clutter their own texts with all those dots and slashes to indicate how certain vowels should be voiced and readers use the contexts to understand the difference between read and read (past tense), for example. Why should Igbo language be overburdened with big orthography or small orthography that simply dissuade many from attempting to learn to read the language?

OdenIgbo breaks new ground in orthography by stripping the text of all those dots and slashes because we do not have those notations in our spoken language. Just read the words the way they are written and you will hear the words in your mind and the meaning flows naturally.

Those who do not know how to read can have others read the texts of OdenIgbo aloud for them to follow and gradually learn to read for themselves. Those who read stories on radio should feel free to read from the texts of OdenIgbo to reach a wider audience.

We plan to print OdenIgbo and distribute to all schools where Igbo language is taught especially if the students do not have easy access to the internet.

Eventually, we will have OdenIgbo radio and OdenIgbo television for Igbo-centric programing as a public service to the world heritage.

Meanwhile, if you can support OdenIgbo by serving as a reporter wherever you are or by joining the editorial board, or by donating funds to help us hire reporters and editors and print copies, we will like to hear from you.

If you will like to place an advertisement, please contact us for rates.

OdenIgbo bu akwukwo ozi n'asusu Igbo. Otutu umu Igbo gulu akwukwo rie ine na-asi na ha amaghi ka-esi agu ma obu ka-esi ede asusu ire nne ha ma na ha ga-awota ya ma ha nu ya. Otutu umu aka anyi anaghidi anu Igbo ma ncha ma na ufodu cholu imuta ya.

OdenIgbo cholu ime ka odi ofele ide ma igu ya bu asusu site na-ihapu ntupo ukwu na ntupo nta ndi Bekee jili choo imebili anyi omalicha asusu anyi. Asusu nke ndi ocha enwechaghi ntupo ahu nke aga-eji malu ka aga-esi kwuo akpala okwu ufodu n'olu ha ma na madu ncha ma ihe di iche gbasalu 'read' (igu ihe) na 'read' (ihe agulu-agu). Gini mezili asusu Igbo ga-eji bulu ibu anu nke otografi ukwu na otografi nta nke na-eme ka ndi ufodu cholu igu asusu anyi were daa mba?

OdenIgbo bu otografi ogbalu ofulu nke enweghi ntupo obula maka na anyi suwa asusu anyi, anyi anaghi etinye ntupo obula n'olu okwu anyi. Solunu ka anyi siri dee ya bu okwu guwa ya, I ga-anu ya bu uda okwu ahu nile n'uche gi, welu wota ihe anyi delu ka ona-aso ka miri.

Ndi amaghi ka-esi agu akwukwo nwelu ike gwa ndi ma ka-esi agu ka ha guputalu ha akwukwo OdenIgbo ka ha jilu nwayo welu mutawa ka esi-agu ya. Ndi na-aguputa akuko na redio ma obu na televishonu nwelu ike guputakwa ozi di n'OdenIgbo ka uwa nile solu nu.

Anyi na-atukwa alo ibiputa akwukwo OdenIgbo welu nye uno akwukwo nile ebe ana-akuzi asusu Igbo ma ya bulu na umu akwukwo ha enwechaghi ofele ije n'intaneti jee guo OdenIgbo.

 Oge di n'ihu, anyi ga enwe redio OdenIgbo na televishonu OdenIgbo ka ozi anyi na-ezi anwulu oku welu na-elu enu igwe nile.

Ugbua, ya bulu na I nwelu ike nye aka na-edelu OdenIgbo akuko maka ihe melu ebe I no, ma ya bulu na I nwelu ike bia solu na ndi ga na-eleba anya maka ihe edelu-ede n'OdenIgbo, mee ka anyi malu. Ya bukwalunu na I nwelu ike itu ego si ka akwukwo OdenIgbo gawa n'ihu, mee ka anyi malu.

Gi nwelu ihe I na-ele ele I cholu ikpoputa n'ahia ma obu emume I cholu ibiputa n'OdenIgbo, mee ka anyi malu ka anyi gwa gi ego ole I ga-akwu ka anyi kusaa maka ngwa ahia gi ma obu maka emume gi.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Free Merry Jay: A True Science Fiction

By Biko Agozino

Once upon a time there were two brothers, A and B. Brother B never killed anyone, never hurt a fly (no kidding) and has to his credit, written testimonies by medical experts who swear that he is a proven healer of the sick. Brother A kills an estimated six million people worldwide every year. Imagine that you are an alien from outer space who came to visit the earth with love and peace. Earth officials detain you on entry and strip-search you to make sure that you are not trying to smuggle in the dangerous brother inside your donkey. 

When you ask them what the fuss was all about, they tell you that they are rationally searching for a very dangerous brother to lock up for public safety. Then you ask the earth officials: which brother have you rationally chosen to lock up for public safety, brother A or brother B? The earth officials tell the Martian not to play smart because the law is universal and applies everywhere. By the way, who do you people lock up on Mars, the leaders of the world ask the Martian.

The Martian might surprise us Earthlings by saying, ‘You think that I am stupid or what? Of course, since there are no prisons on Mars, we prefer to lock up no one', she may say. How disgusting, say Earthlings. People must be afraid to walk the streets on Mars if that is how you run your society. We had better deport this alien before she corrupts the minds of our legislators. Some men rush at the alien and she said, ‘Hang on, hang on, which brother do you earthlings lock up for your public safety?’

The people of the earth look at each other and shrug their shoulders. ‘Brother B, of course’, they chorused. The alien was shocked beyond words to learn that people around the world allow brother A, who was a proven genocidal maniac, to walk the streets free and even with welfare subsidies from public funds but with only tiny-prints written warning on his forehead saying that he was a mass killer. Amazingly, brother B, who never killed even a fly and who is reputed to be a healer, was the one locked up and banned from the streets in order to protect the public.

Can you guess who is the brother A and who is the brother B that we are talking about in this true story? When I tell my students that this is a true story, they do not believe me and ask if aliens really exist. I answer that I was actually classified as an alien myself and that this was stamped on my passport as proof that aliens exist. But no, the true part of the story does not refer to the proverbial Martian, and yes, it refers to the fact that leaders of the world are waging war against completely safe Brother B while promoting a genocidal maniac like brother A without any shame. I am not making this up. Guess! You give up?

Brother A is known in his gang as the Notorious Big Toba, aka Tobacco and brother B is known among musicians and creative people as Merry Jay, aka Marijuana. Let us join Russell Simmons, NAACP, voters in Washington and Colorado states, a city in Maine, 18 states with M&M laws for medical needs and countries like Uruguay, The Netherlands and Portugal and picket the leaders of the world with placards saying: Free Merry Jay! Free Merry Jay! No More War Against the People! We can use education to get people to say no to stuff and leave responsible adults to choose what to consume in their homes without being a threat to others.

This will allow the government to raise revenue by taxing the trade, allow citizens to create fair employment and decent wealth, allow doctors to prescribe a safer drug for those who need it, deny the drug gangs their lucrative monopoly over which they fight and kill thousands, and this will save money for law enforcement which will gain more public support by going after the real bad guys.

Sadly, a former pro-democracy activist, now a governor in Nigeria, was quoted recently as saying that he would seize the land of peasant farmers if law enforcement agents find marijuana growing on it - a law that was made by brutal military dictators that he had campaigned against in the past. If the farmers grew tobacco, they might even get subsidies for the 'cash crop' in a state where the deputy governor just died of cancer. Free Merry Jay!

Similarly, the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2002 denied a legal license to a lawyer (under apartheid laws that are still on the books) who was convicted of possessing dagga even after he pleaded that his religion as a Rastaman required him to use it for religious sacrament. Apparently, Mr. Prince would be allowed to practice law even if his office was located in the tobacco-smoky bars where dangerous but legal alcohol is fueling the violence in South Africa. Free Merry Jay and end the war on Africans in the guise of the war on drugs! Free Merry Jay!