“Ba kar ki loué nvou be bele nding.” (proverbe ewondo)
“On n’appelle pas le chien avec le fouet.” (proverbe ewondo)
“One does not call a dog with a whip.” (Ewondo proverb)
Meaning: A mean person cannot claim to want to gather and reconcile people.
(Proverb collected by Dr. Emmanuel BECHE on behalf of the Francophone University of International Development)
Without doubt, the dense forest of the Ewondo countryside conceals a vast reservoir of wisdom. Tales and proverbs from this region of Cameroon are vivid examples. The proverb in view is particularly brilliant: “One does not call the dog with the whip.”
The image of the dog used here is very revealing because this animal occupies a prominent place among domesticated animals. One might even say that it is a monarch among them. The proof is that the dog has a name, and not just any. Some dogs bear human titles, reflecting their importance in the eyes of their masters. Dogs accompany humans in many of their activities. They play several useful roles. They keep the house, participate in the hunt, ensure to some extent the security of property and persons, help shepherds, to name a few. Some well-trained dogs faithfully serve in the police force, customs, military, and even health centers. It is therefore not surprising that the dog has captured the heart of many people, young and old.
But the dog can also be nasty, even cruel. But however mean a dog is, unless he is enraged or engaged in a fierce fight with another dog when someone else tries to intervene, he rarely attacks his master. What explains such loyalty? I guess the attention and the many acts of kindness it receives count for something. Herein lies the essence of this saying: goodness quenches wickedness’ momentum.
At the time I am writing this piece, my thoughts fly to the Central African Republic and many other countries around the world who are going through situations that could not be more difficult because some individuals have become a pack of vicious dogs ready to devour the innocent. Besides prayer and the foreign intervention, what can we do to stop evil and prevent the risk of further aggravations; what can be done to break the bonds of wickedness? There is no magic formula. However, if each one stopped pointing an accusing finger at others, recognizing one’s own failures (in good conscience), and letting God burn the roots of wickedness by the gentle fire of his love, peace would return.
We would see that Psalm 85:9-13, “Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before Him and prepares the way for his steps.” God is rich in mercy (cf. Exodus 34:6-7; Isaiah 54:10; Lamentations 3:22; Micah 7:18). Those who fear Him and who want to truly honor Him must also be kind. This is also his will for His creatures, and especially believers (Micah 6:8; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). God helped Joseph to be kind to his brothers who had sold him, and gave David the moral strength to be merciful towards King Saul (and his family) even when he had tried several times to kill him. The Lord Jesus is « the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).” Let us draw from Him the strength necessary to live out the goodness that breaks the chains of wickedness, because we must never forget, « One does not call the dog with the whip.”
Copyright © by Moussa Bongoyok , 2014.