Kenya Wildlife Service officers and residents of Kithoka in Imenti North view the body of an elephant said to have been electrocuted on January 19 2016. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP
- One Nairobi newspaper put it one day this week, a person who had just been “electrocuted” was able to walk all the way home before he died.
- To be electrocuted is to be killed by electricity.
- To die twice is a phenomenal achievement that is unknown on the biological planet that we call Earth.
From time to time, East Africa’s English-language newspapers — including this one — describe one phenomenon that puts in the shade every one of the “miracles” that the Euro-Christian New Testament attributes to the son of God. As one Nairobi newspaper put it one day this week, a person who had just been “electrocuted” was able to walk all the way home before he died.
Now isn’t that a miracle? For, as far as my knowledge goes, to be electrocuted is to be killed by electricity. Any spark of electricity — whether atmospheric or from any of your domestic appliances — can consign to the grave hundreds of human beings and their livestock. In other words, to be electrocuted is to die on the spot.
And — as George Santayana might quip — when you die, you will be so dead you will not even know that you are dead. You will be so dead that you can no longer die any more. In the American philosopher’s words, a person thus killed — indeed, no matter how he or she dies — is now too dead to be able to walk home.
It may remind you of the character of Mark Twain — another extraordinarily intelligent American commentator — who quips to the extent that a victim of electrocution who then goes on to die will have “died again”. But to die thus — namely, twice — is a phenomenal achievement that is unknown on the biological planet that we call Earth.
Even the extraordinarily fertile-minded Euro-American priest would be hard put to show it even concerning his own saviour. The New Testament tells us that Jesus Christ died only once.
RESSURECTED AND ASCENDED
To be sure, it says that he soon resurrected and ascended, and that he will come again. But, although I have read a great deal on Christianity’s history, I am totally unaware of any scriptural statement that Jesus has ever died again.
Now the English verb to electrocute is one European derivation from electra, the name of an Afro-Pelasgic goddess, whom the relevant people had often identified with a phenomenon of light common in all deserts — especially in the Sahara — the phenomenon which some of the Israelites fleeing Egypt identified as the better half of the supreme god Yahweh.
The name electra (meaning amber) referred, in other words, to that apparently miraculous stretch of light upon an endless expanse of sand, say, that the Israelites fleeing Egypt (in what the so-called Exodus) thought they saw as a manifestation of the deity, the one whom they would give the name shekhinah — but a phenomenon of physical light common even on our roads.
When, in a much more scientific climate, the latterday Western European scientist rediscovered that extraordinarily dangerous but — for human beings — extraordinarily useful atmospheric phenomenon, they called it electricity, a word they derived from electra, the name of one of Nilotic Africa’s goddesses whom the Hellenes, conquering Nilotic Greece from the direction of the Caucasus, would, in turn, borrow through the Nilo-African natives of Greece known to historians as Pelasgians.