My objective for this written task is to make an emphasis on the ignorant attitude of the District Commisioner and all the invading forces, towards the culture and traditions of the natives in Nigeria. The purpose of the book “Pacification of the Tribes in the Lower Niger” is to prove the rightness of the British exploitation of the area. I chose to write a preface for the book that the District Commisioner have decided to write at the end of the novel because I think his views are representing the superficial and biased ideas which British people possess about African people.
In Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart which we have read in the class, we were introduced to the British forces in the region towards the end of the novel which was purposedly done by the author to highlight the importance of the unique culture that the Ibo people have. By the arrival of the British forces the harmony within the society was demolished and things have started to fall apart for the native people.
However the District Commisioner percieves the exploitation as a holy war to bring civilisation and advocate the rightness of this attempt by claiming that the traditions of the people lead to a chaos in his book. In accordance with his purpose in writing the book he uses a mocking and evaluative language which aims to make reader convince in the native people’s need to be dominated by them as he claims them to not have enough awareness of the importance of being civilised. Also his choice of the adjectives such as “barbaric” and “wild” reflect his prejudiced opinions on the native people.
By the tone,register and other devices which are used in the text I aimed to make an emphasis on the hypocritical approach of the British forces moving from the views of the District Commisioner who are trying to prepare a ground for their self-seeking exploitational plans for the area, claiming their purpose to bring civilisation to the continent.,
During my years as a District Commisioner in Nigeria, I have learned many things. If someone had said me that I would learn something from those primitive tribes continuing a miserable life there, however after all that years I spent there, I realized that I have learned so much from them…
The most important thing of all is, I once again believed in the righteousness of our country’s attempts to bring that country which is filled with barbaric natives civilisation. The tribes, which had invaded the entire continent have turned this miraculously beautiful country into an abyss by their brutal way of living. Before we had arrived, they were living in such conditions that, one would not be able to identify a distinct quality of them which made them different from animals. They had so many foolish traditions and supernatural beliefs that no one in the tribe was able to think independently and give some decisions for himself or herself. They were so tightly holding onto these traditions that it cost some of our men’s lives to convince them in the foolishness of their traditions.
As I have mentioned before, all the members of a clan were living under the domination of these delusive and meaningless traditions and organized their lives in the way that these cruel rules suggested which brought nothing but wilderness and chaos in the society. Before we had arrived and made them remember it, they were not aware of the fact that they were humans. To be honest, it was really a hard task to make them understand that we were there to save them from their delusive and foolish traditions and show them a way to a better future we will provide for them by making them civilised. We opened schools to educate the numerous children of each family, we built churchs teach them how to pray to the God, we also tried to teach them how to manipulate their vast natural resources however they hadn’t enough capacity to suceed in this task so we had to help them. Despite our supernatural efforts to help them and save them from their miserable way of life, they preferred to kill our men, rather than being grateful for us.
As I have claimed previously, I have witnessed some very interesting events during my job as a District Comissoner. I would like to share the story of a clansmen to make you visualise the weakness which lays behind the aggresive nature of the natives and how harmful can it become. This man who have ended up hanging himself was named Okonkwo whom we have learned to be one of the most prominent men in the primitive clan of Umofia. In contrast with his son, who was slightly more intelligent than him to believe in the bright future we were preparing for them, so he joined us like the most of the clan. However, this men and some other prominent people in the clan Umofia who were dumber than the rest rejected our authority on their tribe with a fear of losing their power and respect among the society.
In this barbaric society as one’s power was totally dependent on his or her physical strength weak ones were always outcasted and these people found salvation in our religion which teaches us that every human being is born equal with others and must be treated equally. The more people understood the humanitarion principles of our religion and culture the more people supported us which caused these wild men who eventually lost their power on the tribe became wilder and more furious and they even dared to kill one of our innocent man. However I am happy to claim that Okonkwo, the wildest and dumbest among all the natives, prepared his own end by hanging himself which assorts to the miserable weakness that lied beneath his barbaric actions. Unfortunately, I was the one who had to deal with the undignified task of taking down the body of this wild native.
I once again understood how barbaric those natives were while I observed the rough body of him and the diffuculty of our task which was to domesticate them. And I think those natives who were living a brutal and an ignorant life should be grateful for us as we have brought light into the center of darkness by teaching them our civilised way of living.
In my book I have included some unimportant details similar to the story of poor clansman to make you visualize the brutal life of the natives and how hardly the “Pacification of the Primitive Tribes in Lower Niger” was accomplished by our brave men.