July 04, 2017
I enjoyed this piece about one of Igbo people’s traditional marital practices. We note that the story is not fictional or apocryphal but real: attributable to a definite time and place known to us.
I have taken the liberty of reproducing it (with full attribution, of course) on the IGBO CUSTOMS forum at my website (see link below). It complements my related article there on the ancient Igbo practice of keeping concubines (for both wives and husbands) —as a safety valve to ensure that nobody’s libido is left dangerously without relief!
As for “polygamy,” I have suggested in two of my books that Africans or Muslims should not be embarrassed by the practice of marrying many wives, if that is what their societies prescribe (and as long as no one is offended by it). Until recent years, I admit, I too had bought wholesale into the Western hypocrisy of praising whatever Westerners do and condemning all non-Western practices. Unfortunately, in giving us practical education that fitted us for participation in modern economies, Christian missionaries also taught us to despise and condemn the ways of our forbears. For instance, Western beliefs & cosmologies are called “religion” and ours are called “superstition”; their deities are “gods” while ours are “fetishes” and “idols”!
Consider the etymology of “polygamy.” It comes from only two Greek words: POLY = “many” and GAMOS = “spouse.” (See below for the etymological definition from a scholarly source.)
By that stark and simple definition, most adults in the Americas and Europe TODAY are clearly polygamists: they have had a succession of spouses.
What the West did to hoodwink us was redefine polygamy as “marrying more than one wife at the same time.” By adding the phrase “at the same time,” they excluded and excused their sequential polygamy and condemned our simultaneous polygamy. Clever!!! But I liken that to the difference between serial/sequential murder and mass/simultaneous murder!
Anyone who has read George Orwell’s satire, “Animal Farm,” will immediately recognize the clever ploy of perverting a principle by adding qualifiers. When the pigs decided to claim preeminence in the new Animal Republic, they altered the main Principle of Animalism: whereas it had declared, “All Animals are Equal,” the pigs added a new clause: “—but some are more equal than others.”
That’s the way of the West: Whatever they do is kosher; what we do is barbaric! American leaders have carried that to absurd heights by openly claiming “Exceptionalism,” by which they mean that the USA is so special that general rules do not apply to it. I now routinely see through such ruses.
https://www.wyzant.com › Resources › Lessons › English › Etymology
Etymology of polygamy. The word polygamy comes from Late Greek polys gamos, which literally translates into “often married.”