“Does the white man understand our custom about land?”
“How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
(Achebe, 1958: 152)

Then they came to the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead.
“Perhaps your men can help us bring him down and bury him,” said Obierika. “We have sent for strangers from another village to do it for us, but they may be a long time coming.”
The District Commissioner changed instantaneously. The resolute administrator in him gave way to the student of primitive customs.
“Why can’t you take him down yourselves?” he asked.
“It is against our custom,” said one of the men. “It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offense against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it. That is why we ask your people to bring him down, because you are strangers.”
“Will you bury him like any other man?” asked the Commissioner.
“We cannot bury him. Only strangers can. We shall pay your men to do it. When he has been buried we will then do our duty by him. We shall make sacrifices to cleanse the desecrated land.”
Obierika, who had been gazing steadily at his friend’s dangling body, turned suddenly to the District Commissioner and said ferociously: ‘That man was on of the greatest men in Umuofia. You drove him to kill himself; and now he will be buried like a dog…” He could not say any more. His voice trembled and choked his words.
“Shut up!” shouted one of the messengers, quite unnecessarily.
“Take down the body,” the Commissioner ordered his chief messenger, “and bring it and all these people to the court.”
“Yes, sah,” the messenger said, saluting.
The Commissioner went away, taking three or four of the soldiers with him. In the many years in which he had toiled to bring civilization to different parts of Africa he had learned a number of things. One of them was that a District Commissioner must never attend to such undignified details as cutting a hanged man from the tree. Such attention would give the natives a poor opinion of him. In the book which he planned to write he would stress that point. As he walked back to the court he thought about that book. Every day brought him some new material. The story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could almost write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph, at any rate. There was so much else to include, and one must be firm in cutting out details. He had already chosen the title of the book, after much thought […]
(Achebe, 1958: 179)