Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mexican Swine Flu Virus Week.

It is spreading. It is like no other. It is caused by swines. Swines! Of all creatures, swines are turning out to be what they really are, swines! How did we get here? Where did we go wrong? What are we to do? No one has an answer, yes including the renowned WHO, which supposedly is our last line of defence. In Mexico people are now wearing masks. Yes, masks! Schools have been closed. Over 100 people infected. I shudder to think what will happen if the virus spreads to, say London, Lagos, Rio De Janeiro. Cities with multitudes of human habitations. Cities that can be brought to their knees, by a virus. In Mexico the government has asked people to keep reporting for work. Its a nightmare. One more week with industries shut, and Mexico will spin nicely into economic catastrophe.

So what is the link between the Avian virus, Swine Virus, September 11, London Underground bombings, Mumbai terror attacks etc. Fragility! That is the answer. The world is now more fragile than ever before. One small explosion, or virus in one small corner of the world can cause untold suffering in the whole wide world. The four corners of the earth are loosely strewn together by an old decaying cord called development. It can be broken by a swine. It can be broken by one Afghan man with a bazooka. Do you not find it funny that after all our investment in medicines, high tech medicine, nuclear power, war planes faster than sound and so forth, we are helpless against a mere swine. Where are we going wrong? How did we get here? What shall we do? Do you have the answer? Tell me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The dirty.com

The dirty is a reality gossip blog and I aint trying to make this the same. I like to speak my mind, throw tantrums, and raise dust. But not in vain. This lonely voice is for the voiceless, for the speechless, for the down trodden. I do not own a carbon car, perhaps never will. I have not been to the glass slipper project. I am not showy, never have, never will be. I am just an African, trying to correct, or just crying out over so many wrongs, against people, against the land, against the sea.

I sympathise with the victims of the Myrtle Beach Fires, I sympathise with victims of piracy off the Gulf of Aden, I sympathise with political victims in Madagscar. I respect the freedom of choice as expressed in South Africa today, I hate terrorists. I am who I am, and no one can change me, even by threats!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

World Earth Day 2009

When I was young, we would plant a tree each, on this wretched earth, on a day we called national tree planting day. Nowadays, we only have leaders, who care about the type of cars they drive, how many storeys their mansions have, how many wives they have, how many people they should kill to safeguard their power, how many diamond mines they should allot to their cronies....

In Africa environment is taking the back seat, the earth is crying, the rivers are choking, the seas are black, the animals are dying, children are smarting from industrial smoke, old people are coughing blood...

Today is world earth day! What have you done about it?

The power of language

When the colonialists set foot on this gene-rich but technology-deficient continent ages ago, they started taking away more than just our resources. They took away our languages, and with it our culture. I always get irritated when you read or hear international news media saying "...Portuguese speaking Mozambique or Angola, French speaking Cameroun or English speaking Uganda..." The connotations behind these labels reach far beyond merely labelling one sovereign country with a language of an erstwhile forceful colonial master. It represents, me thinks, a perpetual, permanent and irreversible mark which we are being made to carry for centuries to come.

Africa has so far managed to unlock political free will, independence which to some extent now encompasses economic sovereignty and other freedoms to the exclusion of our freedom to our languages. I remember when I was in Primary School in the 1980s, our teachers suddenly passed a rule that all indeginous languages had been banned from the school grounds, and we were expected to start speaking in English. Those found wanting were sent for punishment which often included hard labour. When I look back now, I get the feeling that we have been battered so much that we are no longer proud even of our own selves.

In the United Kingdom alone, I know of many African families whose kids cannot speak any word of their mother toungues to the total preference of English. In Africa, you still get respect and high societal positions by being merely eloquent in English, or French, or Portuguese. The more you "break" your own language the better.

Language encompasses more than just a means to pass messages from one person to another. Language is a heritage. Language is culture. You are who you are because of where you came from, and where you came from is characterised by language. We must begin to be proud of our languages, our cultures, our heritage. I have heard of the argument that you cannot express certain scientific methods or processes in some languages, but that argument falls flat if you look at the Chinese, the Japanese, the Asians, and the Arabs. Language, like culture is dynamic, it evolves and adapts to circumstances.

Be proud of who you are!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dragging Mandela out of his cocoon...

Yesterday was the last day for campaigning in South Africa. The South Africans go to arguably their most important poll since the new constitutional dispensation in 1994 on Wednesday.

I was not amused at all when Jacob Zuma dragged poor old Mandela from wherever he was resting to a rally in Johannesburg. I respect the old man so much that I felt a lump on my throat seeing through what was happening. Zuma does not need Mandela to help him on anything. The old man must be left out of the shenanigans of these blood thirsty leaders of todays ANC.

Zuma sings about getting his "Machine Gun" each time he is confronted by any of his misdemenours. The new ANC Youth Leader, a school drop out called Malema, was successful in constructing one English sentence when he unashamedly announced that "We are prepared to kill for Zuma" Now for any one mortal soul, to drag Mandela from wherever he was with his private life to be paraded with these blood thirsty hounds, is surely taking our elder African statemen for a ride.

The ANC should not have allowed this to happen, regardless of how desperate it is for Wednesdays vote.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vote Rigging and India.

My greatest fear came to be. The USA went on to shoot the poor Somali Pirates to rescue their beloved Captain. The French killed them too. All this happened over Easter, a time we should all have been "celebrating" the Death of Christ! Death begets Death! The Pirates have vowed to "kill" any captured US or French seamen. I told you so. It will get worse, not better.

So I will take you all to India this week. The World`s Oldest Democracy is going to the polls. And guess how many elligible voters are there? Yep, a cool 700 million. SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION VOTERS! God! Just imagine what African incumbent leaders who like to rig their way through would have done. They would have declared 100% victory, all 700 million voters claimed to have voted for them.

Mobutu was once asked about a 100% vote he had just amassed in poor Congo, and he replied that some people wanted to vote for him 110%, some 120% and so on, if the electoral laws had permitted them. The man was chased out of Congo like a dog barely 18 months later.

There is a cruel joke I heard from a Zimbabwean friend. The joke goes like this: One day Robert Mugabe, his wife and 3 kids decided to play a game of voting. To be fair he called in his Registrar General, who was then the Chief Elections Officer, to administer the election and count the votes. After casting the votes in a simple hat, and the RG went into the next room to count, he came back a few minutes later and announced that Mugabe had won a landslide with a total of 7 votes. There were 5 voters in the room!

We should look, listen and learn from India.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not Hung Over!

I am not hung over.
I am back from Easter.
It was a good holiday.
Yes I had fun, thank you for asking.
How was yours?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Debunking the Somali Pirates

The Somali pirates have been in overdrive this week. 6 ships in less than 5 days, that is an average of 1.2 ships being taken per day. Yesterday, they nearly met their match, a courageous crew of 20 Americans carrying a cargo of vegetable oil and corn laced with soya destined for Mombasa fought back and regained control of the ship. The pirates however managed to escape with the captain, who we are told is still being held captive as the bargaining chip. By the time I went to bed, news was that an American War ship was heading towards the spot. What an action packed flurry of activity on the high seas, someone please make a movie of all this.

But the news reports are as usual playing games with us. Why isnt somebody telling us why this is happening. Why are these Somali seamen hijacking ships day in day out? Are they insane? The reason is simple, its pay back time! The Somalis claim that these powerful nations have been trawling their shores for a long time that there is no more fish in their part of the sea. And Somalis used to earn their living from fishing. Also, the fact that these big boys ships use their territorial waters has resulted in so much pollution that you can now hardly catch anything off the coast of Somalia. To top it all, the meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia has ensured Somalia has been in a state of destabilization for the last 20 years.

This is not a case of lawlessness, this is as political as it gets. The Somalis are only making a political point, in a manner that is available to them. I am a bit afraid though, now that big bully America has had her children scathed, she may decide to launch an all out offensive against these poor pirates. This could well mean long drawn battles deep into Somalia. Such a move would not only be catastrophic and bizzare, but suicidal as well. Remember big boy America does not have a macho record in Africa, and non other than Somalia dehorned them. Sad developments, but with interesting connotations! Let the games continue.

Monday, April 6, 2009

South Africa is sweet-oh!

It was the only African country at the G20 in London last week. It is Africas biggest economy. If you havent been to Cape Town, then you havent been anywhere! Welcome to South Africa, beautiful, rich, powerful...and disgusting. After 8 years in which the SA media went overboard in exposing Jay Zee`s (Short for Jacob Zuma) seemeingly insatiable appetite for corruption, the man has walked free today. There is nothing surprising here, after youth leader Malema threatened to "kill" for Zuma last year, something had to give. Chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe said phone-tap evidence suggested political interference in the investigation. What else could the man have said, the ANC was blowing so hot Zuma had to be dropped like a hot potato.

The media in SA has already predicted that in about 4 weeks time, Zuma will take the reigns of Africas most powerful nation. Having grown up in a poor rural KwaZulu Natal, it remains to be seen whether the "Shower Boy" will finally transform South Africa into an African country. I actually had a friend who argued that South Africa is not part of Africa, and he was right. You just need to see how the most powerful nation on the continent can afford to have so many poor shack dwellers in such a sea of plenty. Or is it because SA, has not yet been liberated?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why do we have double standards?

For the past two days the world media has been abuzz with how Michelle Obama has set the fashion trends at the G20. True to the expectation, she made it a point to show us more than two outfits a day. The whole world was caught in a frenzy and heaped praises on her taste. Designers were even falling over each other to dress her. But that will not happen in Africa. On BBC World News today, angry messages were being hurled at Cameroons first lady because she dresses well. People were apparently disgusted that she is doing an overkill, and some even hated the way she does her hair. 2 first ladies doing exactly the same thing, but getting 2 different reactions.


Isnt there a credit crises in the US and shouldn`t Michelle Obama have been sympathetic to all those Americans who have lost their jobs too? Little food, for a little thought.

Enjoy your week end!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The significance of Rajoelinas withdrawal from SADC.

The Indian Ocean island country of Madagascar decided to withdraw from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina announced on Wednesday. Rajoelina said that the business community leaders asked the High Transitional Authority(which is his new arrangement of leadership-I refuse to call it a government) to help them. He also said the business community had told him that they were not ready to compete with their counterparts in the SADC.

Hard questions must be asked. How come SADC is so easy to pull out from? How come Rajoelina feels confident enough to just walk out without fearing for any repurcussions for his country? True, you may think it is all to do with preserving his ill gotten power against an organization that has said it will not recognize him. But, to me it points to the inherent weaknesses of SADC.

SADC has always been a coalition of the so called liberation freedom fighters in Southern Africa. Its purpoted economic cooperation pales into insignificance when you compare it to COMESA. With time, SADC is losing its relevance to newer and younger political parties who feel, and rightly so, that they can do away with this group of old men. Rajoelinas withdrawal is so far the first, but I am willing to bet my last dollar, that it will not be the last. SADC must shape up to the realities of the new political dispensation of younger, less corrupt leadership, who have nothing to do with the so called wars of independence.

If SADC had stepped in politically when the people of Madagascar were crying out for help, it should have been able to quell this disaster. But because SADC is what it is, a useless gathering of liberation movements who are all about looking out for each other, they failed to make themselves useful when the Madagascan crises was unfolding. This knee jerk reaction of rushing to suspend Madagascar after the fact, only buttresses my long held suspicion that this group is not compatible to the politics of today.