The Da Vinci Code is banned in Samoa.
Because being the religious church-going God-fearing Sunday feasting country that we are, it would disrespectful to offend and cause distress to the angelic masses.
Freedom of Religion is not a light matter in our beloved country.
In some cases, expressing that freedom will land your balls on the sacrificial chopping board (metaphorically speaking / sometimes literally).
Last year, I went home and told my devout Catholic relative (Lucia) about the Da Vinci Code book.
She is my mother’s brother’s wife’s mother from Safotu.
Safotu is the village with the three churches, that every Tom, Dick and Sione sings about “Metotisi, Lamosa ma le Katoliko…Lou vai sa fee, lou vai taele, e pei o le kiona lona malulu tele.
Anyhow, back to my little conversation with Aunty Lucia,
“Lucia, this man’s book suggests that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child.”
Lucia looks at me, her face pale with shock and turned to her grandchild,
“Filisi! Get me my handbag, you pogaua!”
Filisi runs to the shelf with Bona Mere, Mother of Christ porcelain and grabs the Elvis Presley handbag, hands it to Lucia, and she holds my hands with so much urgency,
“Fotu, let us pray, Hail Mary, Full of Grace…x10.”
Oh yes, the answer to all our problems is through prayer.
And I agree.
"I am certain that somewhere in our brains or train of thought, a generator sputters into life every time we pray" Philosopher Jackson. J. 2006 "Psychotic Blog Meanderings"
I must confess.
I do not pray as much as my momma thinks I do.
I pray in times of need, desperation, sadness, achievement, but only the extreme stuff.
I remember when we were young’er’ and we all had to sing the generic ‘Malie Pule le tama e’ before we chow on our taro and brainy fish (my fancy name for faiai elegi).
I also remember praying that when I should open my eyes the herring would have transformed into KFC drum sticks.
Needless to say,
It didn’t happen.
And I began to question things.
So one day, at Sunday school, I summoned the confidence to ask one pressing question.
“Axcuse me geegar? (Transliterated: Excuse me teacher)
“If Jesas changed waters into wines, how cum we still eat faiai elegi all ta tyme?”
Spare the rod, spoil the child.
That’s the sister principle to ‘prayer’ in our Treasured Isles of the South Pacific.
Beating a child to the pulp is love, or so my Uncle said.
Discipline is beating your child till she cries, and then grabbing her by the face and asking "Why you cry? Huh? Answer me! Why the hell are you crying? Kuu laia! Stop it, okay? Stop crying you ungrateful alelo”
“Do you know why I fasi you?”
“Becoz we love you!”
Love is strange I realise, Love is expressed in peculiar ways.
What happened to 'Love is kind, Love is patient, Love conquers all?"
They must have skipped that page of the Bible.
“O le kama a le kagaka e fafaga I upu, ae o le kama a magu e fafaga I fuga o laau”
Feed the human with words (and a 2 by 4), while birds/animals are fed with leaves and fruits”
Give me fruit anyday, I say.
Prayer is Power.
And that power translates to large expensive churches, hefty donations (alofa=love), chubby servants of God and pathetically broke church goers.
Prayer is Power in our priddiful country.
I am a hypocrite,
That much I know.
I smile to the priest and bid him ‘Good Day’
When deep down I really want to say ‘Stop sucking the village dry and go on a diet you bloated "#@^#$("(censored by the National Council of Churches).
I surely know how to digress far and yonder, that is a fact.
I started with Da Vinci and ended with a falling out with the bloated priest.
Oh well, same difference.
But if it is any consolation, I will be buying the first copy of Da Vinci movie and sending it to Samoa, and perhaps set up the Priory of Samoa, after all, isn’t that what Freedom of Religion is all about?