Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Image of the Title

Please call me Chief Lydia, or if you prefer, Lydia who Brings the Moon to Daly City.
In Nigeria, I would be able to buy these titles, officially adding them to my name for the price of
$200,000 to $250,000, ultimately with the hope of renewed respect and esteem. It is a craze among the wealthy and Chiefdom has become common.
Financial manager Reginald Ibe, a chief of the Igbo people in the south-east, echoes this disquiet. "Chieftaincy titles have practically been bastardised these days," he says. "Everybody
wants to acquire one chieftaincy title or any other title. The number of honorary PhDs we have in this country is symptomatic of a people who have failed in so many aspects of life."
Originally, Chiefdom was not a title, it was a position earned through direct action. To be a chief was like becoming a small god- a man had proved himself worthy, by his actions.
Scarcity makes things special. Diamonds are considered precious, not just because of their beauty, but because of their rarity…for the time and labor required to dig them from the earth. It is not like picking up a piece of gravel, it requires patience and skill.
Likewise, the position of Chief was important, signifying to the people the man’s character. But many have become lazy, wanting the respect and prestige without earning the right for it. Money, it seems, is all that is required. In Nigeria and even here, in the US, $250,000 is an obscene amount of money to acquire a title, but this shows the eagerness for respect, the desire to standout from the general populace.
This is buying an image.
The image of a respectable man, the image of an intelligent, compassionate person.
These titles, now commonplace among those with bank accounts, have defiled ancient tradition, making the title no more important than a rotting banana.
The title is an afterthought. The position is earned through action and Being. The title without foundation is merely a distorted ghost reflection of what once was. Ultimately everyone can see that, even if it is not spoken.

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