Monday, 23 November 2015


 I received an SMS from a long time friend in Brazil.
“Boss! Get out of Europe, those fanatics will kill you. It is no longer safe. Come to Brazil...”
I laughed. For two reasons. In Portuguese (the language of Brazil), the word boss is “patrão”; I had thought it is only us in London who use boss. 
 Several decades ago, when the struggle for identity and race was at its zenith (i.e. black against white supremacy and Apartheid) we blacks called each other brothers and sisters. Nowadays, boss, sir and “big man” are preferred...
Big man is  Gym jargon.  A term of respect and tease; while lifting weights to create big muscles. Big man, sir, and boss, are common.  Some of the white fellas might use “big man” but they have their own phraseology, like “dude”  ...
...As we all know, dude originated in the USA. Speaking of Americans, the word “guys”, can mean a group of males and females. Or just females.  USA.
“Hey guys, wanna some beer?”

 So I chuckled.
The other reason I showed my aging teeth, was the fact that violence is universal. During early 1990s when I was living in Rio de Janeiro, I remember police statistics saying that a murder was committed every 90 minutes in the city.  Making comparisons the media explained that life “was more violent in Rio than in Beirut.”
 Twenty-five years ago, Lebanon was today’s Syria. But Rio was more than that!
I eventually left in angst.
But to be told that Europe is unsafe than Rio? My friend is probably, right. The killers that stormed Paris last week are from a cult aiming to “murder everyone...” including people in wheelchairs at the Bataclan theatre during the music concert. That happened in Nairobi in September 2013 as well. Children and pregnant women were among victims during those 80 hours of the Westgate shopping mall massacre.
So you wonder...
Where is it safe these days?
Killings in crime-ridden countries are different. Armed men only slaughter those they rob. They do not go anywhere and anytime. It is about cash. Material gain. Not some promise of 72 virgins in heaven...
So what is this about?
Dynamics of language are shifting. From terrorism, we are getting terms like Jihad, Jihadist and Jihadis. Words of reverence.  However, they have become uncomfortable remarks. The phrase “Allah wa Akbar” which is one of the most revered, is as highly regarded as Jah Rastafari (for Rastas), Praise be to Jesus (Christians) Hare Krishna (Hindus), etc. However, these days Allah Wa Akbar is synonymous with bells of death. Whenever these extremists start shooting or detonating bombs, they yell “God is Great....”
Language is changing. We no longer call each other brothers and sisters because we live in an era of business and narcissism. Want to look good? You exercise and lift weights and so “how are you Mr Big Man” just a saying. Boss is meant to offer space, and time. Whether you are a huge or small guy:
“Boss, may I sit here?”
“Hello big man! How are things?”
“Boss, do you mind turning the music down.”
Language changes accordingly.  Extremely bad language pops in fast when chaps are angered and flustered. “Big man and boss” terminology, gets thrown out of the window!
The other day I saw two drivers arguing over a parking space. One had already indicated that he was going to park, while the other, ignored signalling, just butted in. Followed a nasty verbal exchange.
“You piece of S....t. Think you are Saddam Hussein?”
Saddam turned off car engine. Stormed out.  Fast. Arms stretched like Jesus on the cross.
“You want some, you idiot? I will smash your face in!”
Language of war. 

Era of business, money, the internet, media and appearances. Stories of young people wanting to kill themselves because their mates abused them online are ordinary. Videos exchanged to discredit someone, using horrible words on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Hiding in that sacred expression, “Anonymous.”
 Anonymous is such a mountain. King size expression. The King of Abuse. How many times do you read terrible comments by Anonymous in blogs? It is almost soothing for cowards to hide in this tag.
Anonymous has become similar to sunglasses, where you shield yourself from sun, dust and other human eyes.  Anonymous is the name of the hacking group, (in weird no- nonsense dark mask) who issued a short video early this week, threatening (and promising) to challenge and revenge the terrorists that slaughtered 129 people in Paris on Friday 13th November. Anonymous: “We will hunt you down...”

The message was in French. Talking of French, we have heard the word “Je suis...Charlie” (free speech) and now “Je suis Paris.” (solidarity).
I am so and so...
Yes you are the boss.
Lingo means language. Lingo, lingo, lingo.

Published in Citizen Tanzania


No comments:

Post a Comment