Jaap Verduijn is NOT a Babalawo…
… so can we finally cut the crap, please?!
Sometimes I have the feeling that the bullshit never ends. Today, in a Facebook Group that I left precisely for that reason, the administrator insisted on calling me a Babalawo. That’s a new one for me… during the past fifteen years I have been dozens of times accused of claiming to be a Babalawo (which I emphatically am not), but this time it’s somebody else who claims I am a Babalawo (amused but also irritated grin)!
I have tried to reason with this man in the hope that he would stop, explaining to him that the title Babalawo is a well-defined concept, to wit a person in the Yoruba/Orunmila system who went through initiation as an Ifa priest within a well-defined structure and lineage. It is at the same time a rank, and a title of honor, neither of which I deserve, or even aspire to. Geez… I’m not even in the Orunmila-system, so how could I be a Babalawo?
This is a great big bother for me, because it totally opposes what I have been doing for fifteen years online: making clear that I am not a Babalawo, I am not an initiated Ifa priest… I am a simple Ifa/Fa/Evwa/Afa/Ebba etcetera diviner. This shit will begin to lead its own life again, because when this spreads nobody will know or remember that it was not me, but that Group’s administrator that calls me a Babalawo… and as usual the angry shouts will start: “See: Jaap Verduijn is claiming to be a Babalawo! He is a liar and a cheat”. Well now, I’m far from a saint, but a cheat and a liar I am not, and for the hundredth time I state clearly and plainly: I am NOT a fuggin’ Babalawo! What about that is so difficult to grasp?
This thing has been going on for far too long: since early 1998, and now it is suddenly revived. I can do without the aggravation – I have work to do instead of countering this kind of bullshit, which in the past has come with lots of hatred and even death threats. Can we finally cut the crap? I am not a Babalawo, so don’t fuggin’ call me one! It really is that simple: if I ask a person not to call me a Babalawo because I am not, why not honor that simple request? It’s a bit like military rank: if a person is a sergeant, you don’t call him a captain.
Apart from the crap that has been coming my way for fifteen years and that has been revived by the actions of that Group administrator, there is also a very serious spiritual issue involved. Firstly: calling me a Babalawo is disrespectful towards the real Babalawos. Secondly, Ifa simply forbids me to call myself a Babalawo. Thirdly, Ifa forbids others to call me a Babalawo, simply because I am not a Babalawo. It’s very clear that not only me but first and foremost Ifa states that I am not to call myself, nor be called by others, a Babalawo. Ifa wants me to call myself, and be called by others, an Ifa diviner. I have made the person in question aware of this, stating “It’s up to you to decide to go against the word of Ifa or not…”
Well… the person decided to wipe his ass with Ifa’s words, making various statements about Ifa like: “Whatever its validity may be, it is not infallible” and “The views anyone ascribes to Ifa or to any representatives of Ifa are secondary to my rights to insist on my views based on my understanding of the Ifa system”. In other words: “Fuck whatever Ifa says, because it is always overruled by my rights to insist on my views”. Do you see the irony? This person insists on calling me a Babalawo, and subsequently throws to the wind what Ifa says through me… Now that’s what I call disrespect!
I have had too many drama’s in the past to be interested in starting it all over again. So let’s finally cut the crap (again… deep sigh…): Jaap Verduijn is not a Babalawo, does not claim to be a Babalawo, and does not want to be called a Babalawo. Is that finally clear? Well… for most of you. But there will always be some who don’t get it. And then, inevitably, it will all start over again.