Amaka Igwe – 1963 – 2014
It was John Donne, the English poet, satirist and lawyer who stared down at you and reprimanded you thus: Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadfull, for thou art not so.
Indeed, John Donne was right about one thing; you are not mighty otherwise you would pick an opponent very much prepared. If you had really known Amaka Igwe, known the beauty of her mind, the generosity of her heart, the strength of her convictions or the promise of tomorrow, you would have known this is a fatal error. But poor death, you have no reason to be proud, you’ve only stolen a prized possession. There is no pride in larceny.
Though some have called thee mighty… and I’m still wondering why they do. How could anyone call you mighty, poor death? Death and might do not even belong in the same sentence. Where’s the might in sneaking up a giant from behind? Do you whisper an invitation for a duel or lash out at an opponent who has not even girded his sword? No, you cannot be called mighty by any stretch of the imagination. To call you mighty will be to do violence to the concept of might.
I really can’t fathom why anyone will call you mighty, where’s the might in seeking to halt the pelting march of thunders by an eclipse? Does a river course up a mountain to prove the point of its necessity? How does truncating a dream become an art of great courage? Why should anyone want to deify the source of pain or write an ode to the enemy of bliss? No death, be not proud.
When some call thee dreadfull, they are speaking the truth, for indeed thou art dreadfull. You have to be dreadful to conceive bringing an end to such gaiety, such intelligence, such grace, such talent, such passion, such a woman, such as Amaka Igwe. How can you not see that doing this, is to do harm to the thousands who drank from her well of knowledge, to the many who saw in her what they could become, to all those people who saw in her life the blueprint from which success was built.
No death, how do you not know that by snatching this woman from God’s green earth, you were denying a man his wife, three children their mother, someone’s closest friend, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s mentor, a people’s pride! How do you not know you leave the world poorer without Amaka in it?
Please know, poor death, that we rage, that our blood foams in anguish because this is one pain too many. Please know that we shall not forgive this. We shall not also forget. But we will wait – wait for the morning of glory when death shall be no more: death, thou shalt die!
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