In Baho! by Ronald Rugero the character Nyamuragi was a mute young man who did not trust the people around him. Unfortunately he was mistaken for a rapist and was sentenced to death, being a mute Nyamuragi could not defend himself. Communication seems to be a big thing in this novel as the people in Kanya value the words that are spoken from each other. However, despite this there are big problems in communication between the men and women in Kanya.
The biggest thing that would shock the reader is that Nyamuragi actually had someone that could save him but that person chose not to until later. “And all of those fine people, still did not know the precise reason for their gathering (Baho! 72).” This was said by Jonathan, the lost uncle of Nyamuragi as he was watching his nephew be beaten. However, Jonathan chose to do nothing as his nephew suffered, that it something that the reader would find hard to understand. The weird thing is that he riled the people he knew that Nyamuragi was victim of the people of Kanya to purify themselves and their land. A great example is an elderly woman that follows the people but she remains a bystander. She knows that the people of Kanya have had enough but she is not willing to help Nyamuragi. Jonathan did help his nephew, but was it a good time?
Could Jonathan have done this sooner, he only found out and was also present during the time Nyamuragi was being punished. “We only discover our kin in difficult circumstances (Baho! 88).” Jonathan did have time to save Nyamuragi but he was afraid of being punished himself. In the end I found the ending very abrupt it reminded me of the knight in shining armor that comes out of nowhere and saves the day. Was there purpose to the ending that Rugero wrote or was it a way to have the reader evaluate how communication during horrible times will affect the perception of the people living it? Also, is there a right time to help the people who are close to you or do you have to wait?
“It concerns likenesses as well, and its effects extend even to men’s destinies (Baho! 32).” Could it be imagined that the silence of people helps them, or that they are trapped in a never ending struggle to speak up for themselves? Do you think that these problems exist? In the novel Baho! written by Ronald Rugero those very ideas are being questioned with his character Nyamuragi. Nyamuragi is a mute man who has seen things that have made him lose trust in people. When Nyamuragi is having problems finding a place to use the restroom he is mistaken for a rapist and is brutally apprehended. Nyamuragi has understood that he can’t communicate with the people around him because of being mute and he is facing an internal struggle. While in our world silence can be golden it is also a cry for help of someone who has been hurt. In the world of Nyamuragi language is what will keep you alive.
“One must expand vocally, occupying the entirety of the space reserved for both to speak (Baho! 37).” It is known that the people in Kanya have respect for each other’s communication and in Nyamuragi’s case he can’t have a fair trial. In his desperation he mumbles words and the people misunderstand his mumbling. Once again silence in Kanya is not seen as strength but a way to hide one’s guilt and Nyamuragi is seen as a rapist. Nyamuragi is seen as guilty for his silence and his attempt to speak is seen as a way to distract the people from wanting to kill him. In reading Baho! The reader sees that Nyamuragi can speak to himself internally and he is aware that they will kill him. Again his desperation is shown as he continues to speak but no one can hear him. That little voice that we all hear in our head about what is right and wrong is circling Nyamuragi’s head. Unfortunately he can’t speak up for what he did. The people of Kanya are done with the violence around them and Nyamuragi is a staple for purification. The fatigue and anguish of the people caused by war have made the people distance themselves from trying to understand each other.
When Nyamuragi is a child he is already judged in school, despite all that he learns to read and write which could help him. Perhaps Nyamuragi will be allowed to write something in his defense. The struggle of communicating will be the downfall of humanity.
“Do you have the time?” The young girls tell the older men. They are called baby chicks and they will give you anything you want, and that is anything. “Do you have the time?” The two main characters Lucien and Requiem in the novel Tram 83 enjoy the forbidden fruit of said Tram 83. The area in which all the degenerates and the poor, rich go to feed their desires. The author Fiston Mwanza Mujila shows the dark side of people’s desires in Tram 83 there are no rules, the people there make up their own authority and the officials go there to also indulge in the forbidden nightlife that only stays there. “The night came on with her swimsuits and undershirts she forgot to wring out (page 35).” Yes, the night is also sexualized when it comes to the old bar, even the characters first encounter a lady of the night and throughout the night even at dinner there is a young woman begging for their time.
It seems to be an easy access to anything sexual, the men and women alike go there and then go back home as if nothing happened. Lucien and Requiem are always asked if they would like a sexual favor but it seems that the only one not interested in that is Lucien. While Lucien is a writer you would think that he was a little bit more adventurous to write a story about such an experience. Requiem is the one who exploits these fantasies as he blackmails the tourists that pass by Tram 83. One person is Malingeau and he is exploited by Requiem in order to have something to blackmail him with. It seems like sexual exploitation is a daily thing and it becomes the thing that destroys Tram 83. Ironically the sexual freedom that is promised in Tram 83 is the very thing that threatens its existence. The dissident General is blackmailed by Requiem and wants to destroy Tram 83. Is it possible that even the greatest power can have a downfall?
“Like he was ripping out her heart, like he was cleanly extracting it.. (signs 90).” A thing that some Americans and our president will never understand the border of language that separates us from those that we miss and love. Yuri Herrera writes about the borders of language that Americans and Immigrants face. In his novel Signs we explore the life of a young girl Makina and how she is forced to cross the border. As many people have thought it seems like an easy task when in reality it isn’t countless people lose their lives trying to make it to the United States. In their words they either catch you, bring you back or they find you dried up somewhere and return you in a casket. Makina is also forced to face the new language as she crosses the border against her will.
A lot of people assume that it is easy to learn a new language and that if you have lived in America you should speak nothing but English. You see people get offended because one word is uttered in Spanish or any other language. “More than midpoint between homegrown and Anglo their tongue is a nebulous territory between what is dying out and what is yet born(signs 65).” In this section Makina is talking about how the Americans around her are switching back and forth to English and Spanish which shows a border of language between them because they are doing it on purpose.
In the chapter that truly shows the border of language is one titled “The place where people’s hearts are eaten which is a great title because it shows the separation of families and the harsh reality that many come to the north and never come back. They either get deported or they find someone else and forget about their family. As Makina finds her brother he seems like a stranger and he says the truth about those who cross the border he says “I guess that’s what happens to everybody… we forget what we came for (signs 90).” Many do come here and remember but many also come here and forget, and yet they are the ones who judge those like them because of the language and they can’t see who they used to be.
What is love and intimacy? A loss of love or a gaining of love in which the person feels something for a family member or even a lover. What is the cycle that has ended or brought about into the new world in “Utopia?” The author Ahmed Khaled demonstrated the loss of this feeling with the people living in Utopia this wonderful place, in which all the people have no fear of death or suffering and the nameless narrator is not any different. He throws away the intimacy he had with his parents and even with his lovers. It is also seen that they had no love for one another seeing that sexual relations is seen as a constant thing in order to get rid of their boredom. The sad thing is that they see the others as they call them as dirty animals. Describing them with animalistic features and actions. As well as dirty people who are the ones who are truly suffering.
A young man on the other side named Gaber has more of a sense of love and intimacy than the people in Utopia as he says he is looking “For something beyond sex.” He describes the way he wishes to sleep next to a person he loves and caresses her cheek as he looks at her beautiful face. The narrator has said that “the people in utopia have stopped using the words mama and papa.” The narrator does not see the love despite having everything he wants and he is overly dramatic about his boredom and he looks down on his mother and father. Gaber only has a younger sister Safiya and he will do anything to take care of her and he says that he would stay alive so she does not need to suffer, once again he is showing that love that the narrator does not understand.
So does love and intimacy really not matter? Maybe it can or will it take some suffering for humanity to understand what it really means.