Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caught in a Gay Pride Parade

What started as a nice day, turned berserk when I decided to go shopping after going to church. I should have known to go out then.
Nowadays, everybody wants to have a parade....
Anyways, this past sunday was the gay pride parade...Joy oh joy...yes. But being that I have alienated myself from news in the last MJ-hysteria days, I did not know. So here I go, calmly navigating through 34th St, I reach 5th ave, and I end up being caught in the most amazing parade ever. Gay pride parade! I mean, its all good, I gues. They are allowed to celebrate especially since they have 'come out of the closet'. Interesting though because there are a lot male bodies that are really really not supposed to be in mini skirts of boom boom shorts...or for that matter in bikinis., this goes for the females too actually. Now if this was not an inconvenience to my day , I might have just crossed the street and went on to my shopping (which I happen to not like very much)
Now its one thing to have a thanksgiving parade, or a Mets parade, because really they are showing off something, fruits of their labor, or whatever new products are in...but having a gay parade is a whole different thing. By the way, this goes in the same category as having a PR or Irish parade, or any kind of cultural parade.
Celebrate culture, celebrate your identity, but not doing so in a manner of "we are here, look at us, celebrate us"

soon restaurants will have to carry not only free-trade coffee, but homophobic-free coffee, or wine that is gay appropriate. This will actually be an occasion because these days, everyone wants to be recognized, and wants the whole world to know, in the words of Movado, "I am so special"
Well at the moment, I am waiting for the Atheist parade...lol

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson-

Original postings from this blog were of media, thanks to Dr. Rudd. So I am going to honor or speak of MJ as he is a media icon, and some friends point out...humanitarian.
Okay, so I was really upset yesterday. I come home from a whole long day and reports are flying high that he is dead. And I was thinking...okay, he is dead. But i did not know that I was going to be called a witch or compared to an uncaring human being because I really thought it was funny how people were going into hysterics about his death. But I guess being a witch couldn't be the worst thing in the world.Yes, he died. So will everyone. Each one will have their day to die.
However, I understand the magnitude that is MJ, but treating him like a god of sorts was a little disturbing. He was a great musician...a greater star because the songs he wrote could touch the coldest of hearts. You only have to listen to songs like "heal the world", "Earth Song" Human Nature or my favorite "you are not alone"-to understand where I am coming from.
But all in all, MJ was flesh and blood. I mean, he deserves to be mourned, but mourn him without judging others that are not doing so.
Stupidity like wishing u died instead of him is foolishness beyond compare. He had his life to live, he made choices that brought him to this point. He made his bed, and laid in it, so why wish that u were the one who was dead?
Well I can pretty much say that Paul McArtney is not so upset, even though he might be sad that the one man who cheated him out of money is dead.

But it is not fair for me to judge him, and cast stones at the great MJ. so I will leave the rantings to that.
He was a great man. He even received a humanitarian award-albeit still on trial-but nevertheless, well respected. He gave millions to different charities, and the world will appreciate him for that.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kite Runner/Thousand Splendid Suns

Two books...same author...both splendid.
I had made a promise that when i had my head all about, I would write more on these two books. Well the Kite runner is now a movie too...(but I cant bring myself to finish the movie, not matter how hard i try. it is very rare for books to move me to tears...but these two could move the toughest to tears. The movie...makes it even hard to watch it because you cry, you laugh, and become angry, joyful all at the same time...
To think of a culture so distinctly different from the one here(US), you have to wonder if there is knob missing somewhere.
Both books explore a theme of adultery, and how such an offense is dealt with, in both cases-execution. Their moral codes are( or maybe used to be) of the highest order, yet, in the eyes of the american society, oppressive to women. For the women looking from the outside in, we see women who have no freedom, those who are living with double standards, and education is a privilege.(something that is slowly changing...thankfully)
To slowly move into a tangent here...but double standards are found everywhere, por ejemplo...women, so delicate(or expect to be treated so...but want the same rights as men)....or the whores are women, but men are just men when they sleep around...double standards...they are everywhere.
okay, back to the books.
So the thought is then, what is society's influence on individual choices? I mean this to imply to the fact that these women have no way out of that cultural boundary they have been put in...or do they? Can they possibly escape? or would women do what Mariam(A thousand splendid suns) did by sacrificing her own life so that her co-wife(for lack of a better word) would have a better life?
Here is another question, are we all then victims of our own cultures or benefactors? I was almost at loggerheads with my brother over this issue a couple of weeks ago. I admit...being raised in an african society has given me some prejudices that are hard to get over. So it is not surprise that I find it surprising that men can cook as well as women, if not better. Shocking! lol
I love these books, and I've read them more than I should, and I will probably read them again. There is a lot of history, and for a history lover, i cant get enough of that.
Hosseini is probably one of the most talented authors i've come across.
So definately, if you ever have the chance, grab the books and they are worth every penny

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

Feeding the hungry, like taking care of of the OVC falls to "them". and sometimes u have to wonder who is Them?
I am a christian, so for this issue, I am going to tackle it from a faith standpoint.
You see I strongly believe that God gave us a sacred responsibility to the hungry. We are called to steward the earth and this does not give us the license to abuse the creation, which we are participants of. Yes...that includes and very much so,- the human race.
Faith does not dictate whether u should be feeding the hungry or seating at home and watching TV- or caring not for what happens to those who are around you.
Yunus the founder of the Grameen bank stated once, "If I could be useful to another human being, even for a day, that would be a great thing...it would be greater than all the big thoughts I could have at the University." If you are familiar with him, he is a Hindu. Then there is Choi of South Korea who has put the idea of "loving your enemies" into practice by provide means for those in North Korea to receive food. Maybe some of you are familiar with the Union for Reform Judaism, and the work that they do.
All this to say, feeding the hungry is not a christian thind, or a judaism thing or even a political thing. it is an "US" thing, without looking at color, age, or religious affiliaiton.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

That touch of Mink

I seriously love this speech...and all from a movie.
LOL I love it because it is so simple and so true

The wealth of a nation
is in the wellbeing of its people,
both spiritually and materialistically.
It's not a question of lowering our standards
but of helping others to raise theirs.
If all people everywhere could be content
and their living standards even
and compatible with ours,
there would be no envy in the world
and, therefore, less provocation of war.
When you encourage and help people
to develop their own natural resources
you do more than put bread in their mouths
you put dignity in their hearts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paling running for presidency already

It sounds appaling but well, with her recent activities, she is definately ticketing in her presidency....
and to think the presidency is merely warming up...
this is going to be very interesting

Strength of Africa

"The strength of Africa lies in its people" - my mother
At first I brushed it off...especially looking around. Failed infrastructures.. Poverty, diseases, death by the masses, civil wars...crooks (governments especially)...yea, i could really see the strengh..(NOT)...but I was 15 then..and I thought I knew everything...(part of me still has that all-knowing thought once in a while)...
So am finishing the pep on HIV/AIDS, and am seeing my mother's wisdom. Should have listened to her...with all her degrees...dat should be worth something.

I find that the top ten states with the highest AIDS prevalence rates are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only Angola is of exception to the fact that states in this region have prevalence of 10% and above. 10% of the world lives here but 60% of the world's population with HIV is in this region. Of the top ten countries with the highest prevalence, nine of them are found in the Southern region. With the population of southern Africa, this means that half of them are infected with Aids.
With this population dying, about 15 million children are orphaned. UNAIDS reports that, by 2006 about 40% were living with AIDS, 4 million of those were new infections and there were about 3 million deaths due to AIDS worldwide. More than two-thirds of this population with HIV and about 80% of the deaths were in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Obviously, this has become more than a social issue and has transformed into an economic and a political issue with this amount of people dying per year. In his article, HIV Epidemic Reconstructing Africa's Population, Lester Brown "[2000] Began with 24 million African infected with the virus. In the Absence of a medical miracle, nearly all will die before 2010. Each day, 6,000 African dies from AIDS. Each day, an additional 11,000 are infected." If there is no continual and serious battle against this disease, the African population will decrease gradually with some countries more affected than others.

after being robbed of their land and resources, the Africans discovered that they can only rely on each other...not even the international community could save them...because they do not understand them...
So they figured that they can only rely on themselves. No theories, no expensive equipments...no programs could teach them to care. To take care of their own.
The stigma has got to go, because it has become an invisible tool to the dying population. After all, AIDS is neither a curse from God nor a punishment...and no one really deserves to be afflicted by the disease.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Ticking Bomb

Forget the 1979 revolution, the recent events in Iran are brewing for a situation similar to Kenya, if not worse. Well, I am probably doing an awful job at comparison since there was no outside force compelling the Kenyan election results.
But the 1979 revolution took place because the likes of Ayatollah Khomeini thought that Shah Reza was a tool for the west, and was not working for the best interests of Iranians. What came out of that is the present ruling government that embodies Islamic principles and have done their best to eliminate any sort of "western Influence" from the Iranian people/culture. So far so good...the people seem compliant, and things are going well.
by the way, one of the most interesting things that I found out is that a lot of people or leaders throw stones at the Ahmadinejad and think that he is the all in all when it comes to leading...but there is a lack of understanding that in reality he is only second in command. He is merely an elected official who in the end has to bow to the Supreme Leader who at the moment is Ali Khamenei.
But here is the thing, as the pressure of the US/Iran relationship keeps being squeezed into non-existence, so is the unrest in the country. The present elections are not helping very much because While Ahmadinejad is loved in the country, there is an outcry of unfair elections. The power of the Guardian Council is being felt, and there is potential of this getting out of hand.

How will things turn out?
As a personal opinion, much depends on the opposition party. Whether the protests and violence stops will depend on former centrist president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founding father of the Islamic republic, and Moussavi. At the moment they feel the election was stolen from them and that the majority of public support is on their side. it is my guess that they are probably planning more public protests. in 30 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran there has never been such division of the ruling elite, and is seems that this time, the public might be used to bring about "favorable" results.
The Supreme leader, will more than likely do nothing because his position is not at stake, and until that time that he feels he be be outlasted, then and then will he act...but at the moment, even though the opposition leaders have appealed to him, they might just go to the streets without his moving a muscle....(and who knows, he might as well be part of the election steal)

how about the rest of the world?
If indeed Ahmadinejad keeps his presidency, then there is probably not much change to be expected in Iran...especially regarding its relationship to the west. Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert seems to think that things might not change for the worst, but without him, things might not change for the better either. He states that while Ahmadinejad " presses the worst buttons in the context of domestic U.S. politics with his denial of the Holocaust and belligerence towards Israel." he might be the ticking bomb needed for the UN/US to carry out tougher sanctions on the country. I think that it would be in the best interest for the countries abroad to have him as president. Domestically in Iran he has profoundly mismanaged the economy with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and high unemployment.... which would definately frustrate the Iranians.
but all in all, lets not forget: Despite the attention paid to the office of the Iranian presidency, every policy, including the much debated nuclear policy is set by the country's religious leaders led by the one and only Supreme Leader, and at the moment they appear to be determined to amass enriched uranium whether or not a hard-liner or a moderate is president.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Taking Care of the OVC- Everyone's responsibility.

Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) are slowly become an emerging population. Approximately 2.5 million children are orphaned or have HIV/AIDS. Not surprisingly is that 90% of these live in Africa.....did I mention that this yearly?
Presently, there are 15 million children under the age of 18 who are classified as OVC due to some dire situations. There is an expectancy of approximately 40 million OVCs by 2010....well that is what like a year away...The obvious reasons are that they lost both parents, but this goes further. These children are child soldiers, slaves, those who have HIV/AIDS or are sole caretakers of their parents who have contracted this disease. Statistics show that for every child that is affected by war and natural disasters, there are 7 children who are orphaned....
It is amazing how society seems to ignore these children. Maybe the more is the pathetic excuse of why they are not being taken care of- indifference. Everyone wants to claim that its not their responsibility, especially since most of society has put the responsibility on the parents. But we are affected by the conditions of these children and their futures or potential futures affect our overall being. This is probably why the UN has put much emphasis on taking care of these children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the main human rights instrument that is relevant to the OVC crisis. According to them, they have outlined the best way to tackle this situation....
• The best interest of the child: In each decision affecting the child, the best interest of the child must be a primary consideration. This principle is of direct relevance to OVC where decisions are being made regarding their caretakers, property and future. The principle also extends to other matters that concern children, including development policies and the allocation of public resources.
• Non-discrimination: All children should be given the chance to enjoy the rights recognised by the CRC and the ACRWC. States must identify the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children within their borders and respect, protect and promote the rights of these children.
• The right to survival, well-being and development: This principle emphasizes the need to ensure the full development of the child at the spiritual, moral, psychological and social levels.
• Respect for the views of the child: Children have the right to participate in all matters affecting them and their views must be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

Obviously, this is not the case in many places. Without an education, they have little or no chance of ever escaping destitution. The sense of hopelessness, as well as the existence of economic pressures to provide sex in exchange for food or poor health care increases the chance of the children not only contractng diseases like HIV/AIDS, but also having little or no hope for a future.

If we keep throwing the responsibility of the children to someone else-more or less tossing back and forth, then who is to take care of them? How are we going to have a bright future, when the future is not being taken care of? Whether we like it or not, these children are the future, and if we do not start seriously taking care of them, we are going to be spectators of society falling apart.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Humility of accepting Responsibility (Part 2)

Here is the second part.

Now I have friends who call me optimistic, and some call me pessimistic, and yet, there are those who think me to be very much a cynic. Well, I am all those things and yet none of them.
Should I explain that? well, I am optimistic that things can change, I am pessimistic about the way that things are being done in the present; I am very much a cynic when it comes to African leaders wanting what is best for their people. ( for instance...Gadaffi and his recent interest in Italy) People are hopeful that this visit... might bring some kind of good news to what is if not the laughing stock of Africa, but the world.

Anyways, how about a better solution, and living with a dream, and not being a dreamer?
It is good that people want to do so much in Africa; But get read for a heartache. Which I come to refer to as the heartache of Africa. The pain is felt everywhere, and the economy bares the brutal brunt of market places that fail to measure on the world stage.
So here is the message for all the do gooders, or as we like to call ourselves; humanitarians. Africa is complicated land. It is the land of the extremes. I mean you are either hot or cold, mean or nice, happy or miserable, rich or poor....I mean, it is a end of the stick kind of deal. Therefore, if you are going to step out of your posh cars, and surburbia lifestyle, and then expect to change the world, then you are mistaken.
Change in Africa...and like many other places will take time...and a lot of effort.
Alot of heartbreak, and a lot of tears, for those of us whose tearducts are so nearly available.
But here is the other part that we forget, there is a lot of bargage that is carried by African people. In reality, psychologically speaking, the white man's burden did not lie. Imperialism gave way to a lot of problems that are being felt by the present generation. You just have to listen to the African people who vote for a leader based on how much resistance they gave to the white man's rule, or speeches made by presidents who refuse to follow "the ways of the white man"...
Harsh reality, but true. If change is going to take place, there is also a lot of healing of hearts that needs to take place...but lets not kid ourselves, this could take years.
so humility in accepting our responsibility has to go both ways. Africans have a responsibility to Africans, and ironically so does the world...(because, and I will say this once now, the world is taking from Africa, and maybe its time to give back in full measure- and not the hit and run kind of giving)

Why Remember the Holocaust?

Who ever thought that White supremacist died with the 21st century was wrong...even more so, those who believed that Obama brought a new age of equality in America, was obviously wrong too.
On June 10, James W. von Brunn at 88 years old proved to be one of the most pathitic white supremecist that I know. The man went to the holocaust museum and started shooting...and alas a guard lost his life.

telling this to a young Jewish friend, he posed a question; "why do we have the Holocaust museum?"
in his opinion, this is too painful and too horrible of an event for people to want to have a building dedicated to its remembrance.Off course being that he is 15, i just let that comment go, but I had to wonder, really...why have the Holocaust Museum, or the Black History museum? after all, they pretty much point to periods in history that were really horrible, and should probably be left alone.
But then truly those who ignore past mistakes are bound to repeat the same mistakes. So the simple answer I can give, lets remember those people, lets remember that period, so that hopefully, hopefully, we can learn from those mistakes.
Now, wouldn't that be nice.