Monday, March 30, 2009

Ann Coulter: An Intelligent DID

I have made it a point not attack people's personalities, but tried my best to disengage personalities-character from the things they say. For example, I like Palin, she is a nice person, but as a VP she would have turned what good is left into some Holy War. Forget Islamic Jihad...this woman could have presented the Crusades part two. I like that she is a Christian...and am all for salvation of all, but I am not going to stand there and watch forced conversions. The list goes on and On, like McCain, and well, sometimes Obama has crazy crazy moments....then there Rush Limbaugh. But recently, after reading her recent book, Ann Coulter has come to my attention.
In her own words she says, "I'm a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second"
is it just me, does everyone find fault or rather a contradiction in that statement?

Is it that she cannot make up her mind of becoming either a christian,or a bigoted conservative, who happens to be mean-spirited?
Maybe I read my Bible wrong, but doesn't that Holy book call us to be loving, and be all that is good. Being a bigot is definitely not on the "do-good" list in the Bible, and neither is mean-spirited.

I don't know, maybe calling her a DID is not so about Bi-polar?

Palestinians Deaths vs Israeli Deaths

Since September 28, 2000 to February 15, 2006, these are the accounted death toll. Keep in mind, this is the ACCOUNTED for....there are still some iffy numbers out there

[Total Number of Palestinian deaths] : 4209

* Children: 892
* Women : 273
* Men : 3044

[Palestinians killed by Jewish settlers] 72

[Palestinians killed as a result of Israeli shelling] : 83

[Deaths as a result of medical prevention at Israeli checkpoints] : 117

* Of them stillbirths (born dead at checkpoints) : 31

[Number of Palestinians extrajudicially assassinated] : 561

* Of them bystanders killed during extrajudicial operations: 253

[Total Number Israeli deaths]: 1556

* Children : 113
* Women : 305
* Men : 603
* Settlers : 213
* Soldiers : 322

I know that we are not to play God....but can someone convince me that God really wishes to have these people dying...and the rest of the world looking away because they are "chosen"?

A situation so Dire

For a while now, I have been reading and rereading a book about the AIDS situation in Sub-saharan Africa. I keep hoping that there is a light bulb moment, where I am supposed to find an answer to all my questions.
Have you ever gone through a period where you felt that you could strip off your identity, and just be someone else? I admit, this doesn't happen to me very often, but when it does, i feel like the earth has been shook and it could swallow you?
I am proud of who I am...maybe not the best person, but my mum comes from good stock, and I would hope that I've at least got her goodness in me. Being African has thought me to be tough, and being a person of faith has thought me the essence of goodness in all men.
Today...those two identities were in conflict...and the two things that are the essence of who I am were, for lack of a better word, at loggerheads with each other.
I was telling a friend just the other day that if i had my way, AIDS orphans would have the best that the world has to offer, and at times I wonder why they don't. But reality comes and I have seen the other side of poverty,(and it isn't pretty). Then the hardest thing, being able to pray and truly mean that "not my will but yours be done".
Is there really no answer to AIDS? As I type, a child is losing a parent to AIDS. Somehow, I refuse to believe that the God I know to be merciful is really going to let that child suffer. Jesus was the one who told His disciples to "Let the children come to me" so why are they suffering.
I am not losing my faith, if anything, its stronger, but I wonder, what happened to a continent that I love so much.
Its no wonder people think God Abandoned Africa...I wondered at that myself a while back. Maybe the curse of Ham was truly upon us. But then I discovered that it wasnt God, but man's actions that were turning my home into a bloody wasteland.
Prayer works...I heard this phrase being shouted as I walked from the subway. Yes, prayer works...but does that mean we cant work to help those who are in need of our help?
so am pissed...livid maybe, just because I can't really find why. Have you ever felt helpless in a helpless situation? I've been working on this research paper for a year now, and every time I have hope that there is that solution that might work, it ends up in a dead end tunnel.
Should I be mad at evangelical Christians who are making AIDS patients feel like low scams of the earth, instead of showing them love, and compassion(which is the gospel)
Should I be mad at the government because of the corruption and failed infrastructures?
or maybe the international community, for the foreign Aid which makes them feel good, but ends up doing less, because of the many stipulations that come with the overflow of millions?
Condoms wont work alone, and Abstinence(no matter how much the preaching)wont work alone, and neither will be prayer alone.
Zero grazing, yea, it has a chance of working, but like the rest of the men in the world, African man are not going to stop being polygamous and neither are they going to stop concurrent relationships.
Prayer wont stop a man from pulling down his pants, when the opportunity is there...
Praying and preaching about sin wont help a woman who has three children to feed and has no money or food....
or help an orphan who has to be tough to protect they siblings
or teach that child the important skills of life....
or help them cope with a dying parent that they have to bathe, clothe...
Christians(including myself) start using your hands, help those in need. Dont preach at them, dont judge them(ITS NOT YOUR PLACE!!!!) and just love them(isnt that what Christ did?)
International Community....Stop giving money to governments that you very well know are corrupt (How stupid can you be?)
Help grassroot movements, those small community establishments that are helping children, and patients, to have at least one more day of breathing......
So simple solutions for such a complicated situation....but maybe not so simple

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A good date

What constitutes a good date?
connection, chemistry, conversation, respect & laughter? Surprises?
Media, especially books and television have defined over and over again what it means to have a good date. Off course, there are discrepancies there, but honestly, I think that most of our ideas of what a good date would be, comes from a media perspective.
Therefore, it is no wonder that those who watch Lipstick Jungle will dream of a night in Paris, or even a whirlwind romance that takes place in two time zones. Those who watch Friends, or just any chick flick movie would want to have the drama and sweetness involved in getting the perfect date. Dine in Paris, shop in Rome, and spend the night at the Ritz. Did I miss something? Or maybe even include a trip to the Bahamas, or just as simple as a dinner on the rooftop with flowers and some slow music playing...make that a live band.
Frankly, all this looks good on TV and sounds even better when you read it. While I could wonderfully omit the drama that goes with getting to the first,second and third date, I would really like to be flown to Paris for a shopping spree....although I would be satisfied with a trip to the Manhattan Mall.
All in all...the idea of a good date is very much in tatters because we have mixed the media with our personal preferences. In the process, we end being disappointed by dates we go to. Coffee sounds nice, but I am sure there are girls who would prefer dinner at the Arpege, especially if he is paying....well in that case, I would want to end up in Dubai at the Pierchic-less expensive and the scenery is breathtaking.
okay scratch all that. A good date. Well true to my friend's insights, a good date would constitute a level of comfortableness, understanding, good conversation, off laughter and respect. Surprises might be hindering if not carefully planned.
okay so here is what, in my personal opinion, would constitute a good date.
picnic at the park, somewhere quiet and peaceful, by a stream. food either I cooked, or he picked up somewhere(at this early stage, I do not trust a man to cook for me-unless he is a chef)Spend the day talking, playing football might be nice. Napping under the shade of a tree. Conversation that is pleasant, and intellectual.
that sounds simplistic, but there are things that we want to do, whether it is walking across the Brooklyn bridge, a day at the park, a walk around town...or the beach...simple simple things, but listening to someone's wish, simple as it might be, and fulfilling that wish would be a good date. An amazing date even.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hutus....tustis and Progress

Politics seem to have engulfed me and covered me. i am seating listening to PBS...and listening to the oncoming victorious(or seems so) rise of Rwanda.
Maybe many Burundians and Rwandese have watched Hotel Rwanda and understood that it was worse than this. Two countries...two civil wars..same struggle? Hutus and Tutsis have been fighting, and in both countries each ethnic group has struggled for that seat of presidency since independence, if not before.
I have lived the hate between the Hutus and Tutsis, and almost paid the price with my life. I was among the celebratory gangs when the first Hutu President was elected...and I was among those who ran away from the bullets when the Tutsis decided enough was enough.
Forgive me for making this struggle so simple...but believe me, I know that it is more complicated than this.
The international community is praising Kagame, a man who led uprisings and an army that killed thousands. They are praising his vision for economic growth (which is what the community wants to see) What Rwanda needs is ABOVE ALL economic says some of the experts. What about the fact that this economic growth is benefiting only one side....? or the fact that Justice is a one-way street. Hutus face criminal charges, and Tustis walk with the bank account. So seriously, how is this going to bring unity? Hutus and Tutsis alike were both offenders and victims of this war....and allow me to be naive and say that Justice is possible...But why not? offender himself, is supposedly bringing an new china in Africa. All really good reasons. However, I am afraid that we have another Fidel Castro in the making. He suppresses the identity of the people. If you are a Hutu, you are a Hutu...and unfortunately your ethnicity has committed some acts against human rights. If you are Tutsi, you are a Tutsi, and you are part of an ethnic group that took part in injustice. Eventually, the hatred that will(and is) harboring in the people of Rwanda is going to explode...and the international community ( like always) will wonder "What happened?"
Politics are hard, but let us not praise murderers and call them heroes. Unfortunately my own country is far from ending the civil unrest...but at the same time, I dont want a country that I have loved as my own to end up in the same Mass funeral.
Lets not forget that Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe and idi Amin were all hailed as great liberators.....
So, while the world is thirsty for good news from Africa...lets not be hasty about good news that might turn into a bigger problem.

I trade you a thousand Arabs for One Jew

If you have been following the Gaza conflict , you will know what I mean. Every state has a sovereign right to defend their rights, but what if in the process of protecting yourself you deny human rights to those that are innocents. All I know is political science and history, at least in this specific area. How is it that people forget history and let it condemn them again and again? the Nazis also wanted to protect their land, and thus the holocaust. Then it began again in Palestine with the Zionists....and here we go again.
I am not justifying any actions of the Arabs but the fact that the international community closes ears to the cries of the innocents because Israel is an ally...that is pathetic... and pisses me off.
Oh, and Christian sympathizers of Israel....please justify that to me, beyond the "promised Land theory".

Am a little bit testy this morning after reading the paper...( Now the IC is pissed at the condition in they call out Israel for not killing humanely!!1...really am SHOCKED!@)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Do you have what it takes?

lets blame it on my father. He is the activist in my family and his blood runs thick through my veins. So this is tired and when am not tired, I am indignant.
So here we are, comfortably living. Lord knows what will happen if I don't get my Ipod. o wait, If I don't go out this Friday, and have some guy or gal crushing me, am definitely a loser...wait, it gets better, if I don't get that new CD, am gonna way am gonna live without that new hot pair of shoes (and this comes from a gal who loves shoes).....
This is what we have become. Living from acquiring one material after the other....We have forgotten that we have thousands of brothers and sisters everywhere in the world. There is a child somewhere who is losing their parents to AIDS another one losing their lives due to hunger...Another girl is working so hard to make ends meet for her four brothers and sisters...
Amazing that we find it so hard to even wake up at eight to go to classes.
I am so fed up. I am fed up of seating down and doing nothing. I am fed of hearing and saying "oo" and then going back to my almost meaningless existence.
Are we really that cold hearted? Are we seriously without heart?
I know in America you have it good. And God blessed you so much...but what are you doing with your riches?
Am in this too. Just because am African doesn't mean that I haven't been caught up in this race of greed for a materialistic world. We might not have money, or whatever else, but we do have a voice...complacency will catch up with us.
I these peoples testimonies, and tell me you don't feel like reaching down for whatever its worth and help them....

"I don't see myself having a future. My traditional healer couldn't help me. The doctor in the hospital couldn't help me either. I have two children from two husbands. Both men are dead from Aids. My family is poor, so what can I do? I'm just passing time until I die. The only thing that worries me is my children. What will happen to them? Who will take care of them?"

Swaziland: Dorris Nzima, 40

"I lost everything. My husband died. My parents deserted me. My son lives with relatives. I don't even have money to pay for food. I sleep in this ugly shack on the ground without a mattress. It's cold and wet. I feel ill and weak. I'm hungry. Isn't a family supposed to support you during times of hardship? My family threw me away like a broken toy. But I am a human being, am I not?"

Namibia: Maria Nashilongo, 32

"Next year I should have graduated from university. I was one of the best students of my year. Sociology was my subject. I liked it. And I really liked that young man who took me out on the weekends. He was sweet. He promised me a family, a future. But then he got ill. Now I am ill too. I'm always so tired. The doctors are confident that I am going to live, but I'm not so sure."

Democratic Republic of Congo: Nicole Katubo, 29

"I am going to die. But until then, I want to live my life. I want to take care of my daughter. I am the only one she has left. My husband ran away with someone after I told him about my HIV status. But I don't look backwards. The future is important. I have three wishes: a family, free antiretroviral drugs for women in Africa and that more people would speak openly about Aids."

Botswana: Malebogo Mongwaketse, 25

"My husband infected me with the virus. I am sure of it. Nobody else has ever touched me. After I tested positive, he left. He's not very far away from here. I know that. I also know that he has many girlfriends. All men do. That's what they are good at. Nothing else. When a man decides to disappear, you can't force him to come back. Ever. I don't like men anymore."

Lesotho: Likae Letsae, 21.

Each day they fight against an invisible virus and the painful stigma often associated with it. They endure their suffering for the sake of their children, families and communities. Many experience sorrow; others find solidarity. But they all share a beauty and a bravery that I have yet to see duplicated elsewhere


In his state of the union in 2003, Bush announced PEPFAR a five year-$15 mil plan to combat HIV/AIDS. I probably do not have to go into details of why this is huge, and important step for not only the US, but the international community. The US under Bush took a lead on the fight against HIV/AIDS...( Probably why Bono came to the US for his speech instead of England...or ???)
in 2008, PEPFAR was Reauthorized till 2013...once again, a huge achievement.
Retrospectively, this is not only a major accomplishment for the US but all the international Organizations esp. UN.
While we give rap to Bush's many blunders when it came to foreign policy, we need to honor him for this great accomplishment. Africans especially owe him that honor given that 12 out of the 15 focus countries are in Africa.
Just in 2008,
* Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission services for women during more than 16 million pregnancies
* Antiretroviral prophylaxis for women in more than 1.3 million pregnancies
* Prevention of an estimated 240,000 infant infections through fiscal year 2008.
* Globally, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2.1 million men, women and children.
* Of this, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2 million people through bilateral programs in PEPFAR's 15 focus countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
* When President Bush announced PEPFAR, it was estimated that only 50,000 people were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those for whom PEPFAR supported treatment as of March 2008, more than 2 million are in this region.
* Supported care for nearly 9.7 million people, including care for nearly 4 million orphans and vulnerable children
* Supported over 57 million counseling and testing sessions to date for men, women and children through fiscal year 2008.

** This is just the icing on the iceberg(?). PEPFAR has been able to also bring forth cooperation of individuals and organizations, all coming together to fight the inhumanity that is HIV/AIDS.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pursue of Justice in Iraq

Both Barack Obama and John McCain had no intentions of backing down from the interventionist foreign policy when it comes to terrorism. However, they were taking different stances on this war. There are two key differences between Obama and McCain on this issue. First, Obama realized going to war in Iraq was a mistake and needs to be reckoned with, while McCain was and is still in favor of the war. Second, Obama realizes that America’s national interests, as well as Iraqi interests will be best met with the phase out, and withdrawal; while John McCain is willing to remain for an unspecified amount of time.
Barack Obama favors a well planned phase out in a period 16 months. This phase out will require the participation both the American and Iraqi governments in order for it to be successful. He is not planning for a complete, irresponsible withdrawal. His plan is for a residual force to remain in Iraq for the purpose of protecting American diplomats and citizens, but at the same time keeping an eye on Al-Qaeda activities. This force would also offer their services, if needed in helping to train Iraqi military, “as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism”He wants the responsibility for the Iraqis not on the US government but on the Iraq government. He says that “Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country” and using their “oil revenues on their own reconstruction”.
In 2001, McCain’s “War is Hell. Now Let’s Get on With It”, was featured in The Wall Street Journal. He states, “We did not cause this war. Our enemies did, and they are to blame for the deprivations and difficulties it occasions. They are to blame for the loss of innocent life. They are to blame for the geopolitical problems confronting our friends and us. We can help repair the damage of war. But to do so, we must destroy the people who started it.” It is obvious that this has not changed over the years. His campaign in Iraq is for success for both the American military and the Iraq government. He sees it as a moral obligation to make sure that Iraq is able to sustain itself and for the government to be able to govern its people effectively. Withdrawing from the country without accomplishing this would be a grave mistake. Therefore, deploying more troops, and increasing the budget would be making sure that Iraq does not become a pawn to sectarian violence, terrorism and neighboring countries. He sees it as a necessity and a matter of justice to keep the American troops situated in Iraq because other wise it might be failure if American troops were to pull out and then leave Iraq in chaos. Until “Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country”, McCain sees not road home for the American troops.
Eight years of the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War, about 12 years of economic sanctions, Saddam’s regime and the present war has not been kind to either Iraq or its people. Justice for these people is overdue. Since “the justice that equalizes and abstracts is an unjust justice” , we cannot pursue perfect justice because we might be condemning the Iraqis to injustice. I agree with Obama’s plan as it would serve most justice for the Iraqis; but it would not fully serve justice to the Iraqis. If he secures the socio-economic rights of the people, it would not change the underlying hatred and misunderstanding between the ethnic groups. Reconstruction of the state will require the participation of all these groups, and if they are not made to feel secure in their own communities, all the work that has been done would be sabotaged.
Ultimately, justice would require that freedom and equality exist, but to achieve this there needs to be plural order. To achieve this plural order, there will be a lot required from both the Iraqis and the Americans. We have heard and read that “justice without grace is injustice” and that for justice to occur there needs to be the act of embracing others. As it has been discussed in class, there needs to be embracing of some sort. Volf calls this the “grace of embrace” (24). It is the justice that the Iraqis need. This will mean some serious dialogue and a willingness understanding each other. It will take place on two levels; one between the Americans and Iraqis, and two, between the different ethnic groups. Volf’s idea would involve a deeper understanding where the Americans will have to see themselves through the eyes of the Iraqis and vice-versa. To pursue justice better, Americans will have to understand exactly why Iraqis are critical of the American culture and culture. The Iraqis might find out why the US feels the need to be in their country, and secure their land. This would be a risk. Each culture might find that they are lacking. Even more painful, they might find that, their beliefs that they have been parading for the world to see are not what they intended them to be.
Then there is the element of love, which would shape justice. However, Steve Garber’s lecture pointed out that in order to come to this, we need to know, and then care, before we can love and act. This is scary. If the Kurds, Shias and Sunnis were all to come to an understanding of each other, it would destroy their presuppositions of each other. Listening to each other will demand some kind of order or change, where they will actually have to learn to live with each other’s differences. They will have to learn the process of rendering grace upon each other. Even for those of us who have a grasp on this Biblical concept, it is scary for us to pursue this.
Neither ethnic group nor government can afford to seek revenge, because that will create a whole different set of problems. To seek reparations would require that there is an understanding, and to come to this, it will take more than just listening. We can only embrace those we have forgiven and reconciled with. We have to come to a redemptive part of this narrative where both the Iraqis and Americans embrace each other and forgive each other for the past and present misgivings. The Iraqis need to look at their past and learn from it so that they can step into a future where all three groups are respected, and given an equal voice and a sense that they are important for the rebuilding of Iraq. Neither culture nor government will be betraying their conscience if they reached out and agreed that their past had condemned to the situation that they are presently in. It would be naïve to ask for a justice where each side can seat down and wipe the slate and start a fresh, but maybe acknowledging that states, groups and classes need each other in order to enjoy economic growth, would be a good place to start.