Friday, January 16, 2015

"News of Fidel's Death Spreads Like Bushfire"


No, not that Fidel, alas. But Barack Obama's cousin, Fidel Castro Odinga, son of former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga, is dead at age 41. There are persistent rumors in Kenya that he was the victim of foul play whether by human agency or supernatural means. His father has endorsed this suspicion and sent tissue samples to Germany for analysis (we suppose that his entrails were entrusted to some competent local expert for purposes of divination). Hopefully, the malicious speculations of rival politicians will be proved wrong (according to his critics, Fidel Odinga died of a drug overdose after a lifetime of addiction).

It is likely Fidel Castro Odinga's death on January 4th gave rise to rumors of the demise of his namesake and ideological godson.

Back in 2008, the Review of Cuban-American Blogs was the first to reveal that Barack Obama had a cousin named Fidel Castro Odinga (Meet Fidel Odinga). It is fitting, therefore, that we should be the first in the Cuban blogosphere to report his death. To The Star of Africa (whose delicious English proves that the mother tongue is more alive in the hinterlands than in London or New York), we owe the news of Odinga's passing and the title of this post, which illustrates that even a cliché can sound new when invested with local color.

We urge you to read and ponder Khainga O'okwemba touching tribute to his boyhood idol, Ode to Fidel Castro Odinga," which begins:

The nude body in that coffin belongs to my brother,
Although he is clothed in a three-piece suit
That will never cover the naked truth
That he is a victim of murder.

What's in a name? Apparently, everything. Fidel Castro Odinga's notoriety in Kenya was not due only to his being the son of Raila Odinga or the grandson of Oginga Odinga, founder of Kenya's Communist Party. It was, rather, his adoptive bloodline that was used to prove his worth and authenticity, much as Jesus' descent from David through his adopted father Joseph is used to prove that He fulfills the Bible prophecy that the Messiah must spring from the loins of David. Fidel Castro Odinga's pedigree was also traced to and validated by an indirect ancestor: "When Fidel's name popped out in public, he immediately became famous and attracted admiration, because of the political spirit the revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro, that he was named after, evoked." One would think that the "political spirit" evoked by Fidel Castro would hardly be a recommendation, but let us not judge the Dark Continent too harshly when the Enlightened West is no better informed about the last white colonizer of Africa, successor to King Leopold and Cecil Rhodes.

Fidel Castro Odinga leaves a 2 year-old son as his only heir. We have been unable to discover if he's named after his late father. We'll know, one day, if "Fidel Castro Odinga, Jr." comes to prominence.

8 comments:

Vana said...

Manuel:

At least he was sent off with an ode, murdered? I doubt it. I remember when you introduced him to us at RCAB, later in Alexis Valdez show they came up with the jingle...La cosa esta de Odinga.

Now about the other Odinga, the last time rumors spread about his passing they brought him out for the world to see, this time all we have is Maradonas letter, which I find hard to believe.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

Fidel Castro has accomplished two of the three great goals of his devilish life and seems certain to attain the final one, soon: (1) he has overseen a dynastic transition in Cuba (whether he did this in a state of consciousness or not is irrelevant); (2) he has witnessed the Yankees' unconditional surrender, after waiting 56 years for an American president with a tad less backbone than Carter and a slightly smaller brain than Gerald Ford's; and, finally, he has all but secured his ambition to be the one and only Cuban dictator to die in his own bed (secula seculorum).

His death, at any time, would be anti-climatic; but not on that account less welcome. Even just to know that he no longer inhabits the same planet as we do, is, in itself, sufficient reason to wish him gone. And if his stay can be foreshortened by even one minute, let it be done by all means. If that extra minute means that even one Cuban will learn of Castro's death before himself expiring, let it be.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

One thousand years from now Cubans will still be saying ¡Odinga! while linguists and ethnologists will wonder — why? Perhaps some expert will suggest that "odinga" is a local contraction of mandingo which was originally used to denote great surprise at something which exceeded one's expectations.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Vana:

Instead of to Maradonna, Fidel Castro (or whoever channels his maleficent spirit) should have sent a letter of condolence to former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the death of his son and Fidel's namesake Fidel Castro Odinga. That would have had the additional advantage of explicating, in the most subtle manner, that the media had confused Fidels: "I only wish it had been this Fidel, who awaits the reward of many years and struggles, rather than your young and promising Fidel. who honored me by carrying my name."

It would also have been a friendly gesture on Fidel's part to a Kenyan relative of President Obama's, which could have been interpreted as an endorsement of Obama's unconditional surrender to Raúl.

Vana said...

Manuel:

Hahaha-Odinga does rhyme well with a certain word mostly in our vocabulary, right you are when you say Cubans will be saying Odinga! Throug milenia, wicked and funny.

Am sure the Cuban Odinga was not pleased when he heard of his tocayo...hahaha!.

Christian C. said...

He's back http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2015/01/fidel_castro_isnt_dead_after_all_el_comandante_releases_statement_praising.php

Christian C. said...

Surely Castro is more deserving of your usual line-by-line annotated public censure than I

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Christian:

I saw it at midnight five minutes after Fidel's apocryphal statement was posted. It didn't interest me. Not in the least. You, on the other, have a working brain.