Monday, March 29, 2010

Aborted Celebration: Why The Tin Man lost a Friend


The Tin Man had been on a break. A hiatus, it is called - at least if your name is Tiger Woods and your not-black-wife has demanded that you quit your career as the best paid sportsperson in the world! At least he is coming back next month. But the point is, I am back. However, I return with less than exciting news. I lost a friend this past week. No, he did not die, but he may as well have. You see, he made a decision never to speak to me again. In his words, I am as good as dead. Well, I am The Tin Man, and if I have any feelings in me, they must be hidden within my shortest eyelash. But even so, I am not averse to noticing when a situation goes unnecessarily out of hand. I fear that in my venture to speak my mind, I may have come across as derogatory.

It started with a drink up to celebrate my friend’s first major assignment. Jim, he’s called. He had just counseled his first patient and was excited to share with some friends including myself. When he arrived at the restaurant, I immediately called for three bottles for him. He likes them warm. While the waiter was fetching them, he began to explain how he had successfully convinced a young woman not to terminate a pregnancy. We all nodded in approval. He proceeded to expound on how the pregnancy had been a result of a rape ordeal and that the culprit was a close family member. The game changed. I withdrew my approving nods and immediately asked the waiter to take back the other two unopened bottles. Meanwhile, I must have started cursing profusely, lamenting that in no way was advising a woman to keep a baby conceived in a rape a good thing. I declared that Jim and all those in his profession who believed as he did were idiots. That is when his eyes became red.

You see, Jim is a priest. He suffers from the same disorder that I have diagnosed all those other chest thumping men of the cloak. They have been preaching their superior appreciation for life to the rest of us. They have been claiming that abortion, on the basis that it is a sin, must under no circumstances be allowed. And I mean under NO circumstances. They have been claiming that every conception is the plan of God even when as a result of rape. I have a habit not to take anything on the face value so I have asked myself why any God of any Religion would allow, let alone PLAN, that a certain woman shall be raped. But that aside, why would the same God desire that that woman carry the pain of the ordeal for a further nine months and then experience the same excruciation at the time of birth only to live with the likeness of his attacker – the likeness of God – till her death. I regret that I am unable to comprehend such a scenario on account of my realism.

But that aside, Jim could not reconcile the position of the church in society in the light that they taught their congregation to be backward, ignorant and barbaric. You see, Jim teaches his faithful not to use any contraceptives whatsoever. I guess in his wisdom, and that of his peers, God will protect them from HIV/AIDS among the many STIs affecting married people. He further disallows a useful family planning strategy called coitus interruptus. In a nutshell, it is withdrawal before ejaculation to avoid conception. That to Jim is pouring the seed on the ground and is sinful. I am convinced that he is living in utopian lunacy. Africa of all places needs to learn to plan their families if we are ever to get out of the poverty cycle. In The Tin Man’s mind, this amounts to an endorsement of abortion, by elimination, for family planning’s sake. But Jim is only getting angrier when he purports that his church has brought more money to Africa than any other. I laugh it off and inquire why he still takes the offering if money is coming to not from Africa.

But the acrimony becomes even more dilated when I present one further argument in support of an abomination. I declare that abortionists are no less supporters of life. I declare that they support life – that of the woman. I declare that in fact, any woman must be given the choice of whether or not to carry to term a pregnancy, without a need to justify it. When Jim gets on his feet to wave in anger, I dare him to explain why there haven’t been any women of the cloak who have come out to fight abortion. Women who are law makers and preachers have especially been silent. I do not blame them. They have been defending the rights of the woman to health and well being. They are conflicted. As women, they best understand the predicament that they face as the primary responsibility during pregnancy. They are conflicted because from their view point, they can tell how nonsensical  it is to claim that they hate life when indeed they are the bosom on which life blossoms.  Literally.

As Jim begins to degenerate into insults, I declare that Members of the Kenya Parliament are even greater idiots. This is when he poured my drink on me. He was incensed! You see, his father is a member of that August house which I had mentioned in slight. I was still explaining that they are useless and only interested in taking salaries. I was still going over the rumor that they wanted to be awarded severance pay should there be an early election. I declared that they are pigs and gluttons trying to take their children to foreign schools with moneys stolen from poor children. I was not getting personal; I was only speaking my mind. But you see, Jim was in a foreign school. He took it personally. I did not hear his words over his ranting.

He was storming out of the restaurant amidst the glare of the other diners. I suspect that he is serious about never speaking to me again. My only hope is that maybe he will stumble over some sense and fall into reality. That way, maybe he will see it my way. That way, maybe he will allow me the space not to subscribe to his religion. That way he will allow that poor girl, a victim of an inhuman act, to terminate the living reminder of a nightmare that I am sure she would love to forget. If he does not, so be it. You lose some, you win some.

The Tin Man.
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