Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obama Did What?

Why is it news that Big corporations have power, and have a strong level of control over government?
I would also like to know what Obama has done that is beyond what other politicians have not been able to accomplish..

Politics is a dirty business. I mean, seriously dirty. But it is just there are those few good ones, and those are ruined by the many who are dirty. It is hard to appreciate a field that I respect when everyday, there is something wrong with those who participate in that field.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Find the right catch phrase, and you are on the way to Capital Hill

Tonight I had an amusing conversation with my god-brother. For 15 years, he has so much insights. So if adult conversation fails, I am lucky to have a sharp minded that is willing to engage me-albeit reluctantly at times.
Like me, he seems to be tired of politics. And I can only hope for his sake that things will get better, because if I am tired of politics now, and he is also tired of them at his the time he is 30, things might be ugly. (knock on wood) but lets hope there is no third world war.

Anyways, the conversation trailed to what it takes to be a politician. For Obama it was "we need change"- change we can believe in. That was it! Americans were sold. Then there is the word " maverick" for McCain, although he never really fully defined what it meant to be a maverick. It was even less of a pretty word when Sarah Palin was using it twenty times. Maybe just a bit annoying with the whole Change we can believe in. - Did anyone stop to think that maybe change is a slow process that would take more than one Obama to fix the mess of decades and decades of idle leadership?

What is the next phrase? Off shore drilling?
So if you have aspirations to be a politicians, its quiet easy. Learn the weaknesses of the people, and feed them empty promises, with one brilliant phrase- and you will have the world at your feet. (unless you are in Africa, in which case, you need to have a whole army protecting you if you were to live for more than two months)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Independece is such a pretty word

In a recent article by the NY Times, they featured Senegal's celebration of their independence 50 years later. The 50-year celebration is to be observed by all of France's former colonies. The bizarre news of all this is that well, the real celebrations are not taking place in Africa, but in France. "Leaders from Senegal, Mali, Niger, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mauritania, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Madagascar have all been invited to Paris to parade their troops along the Champs-Elysées on Bastille Day, the national holiday of their ex-colonial ruler." (Times)
Well, that is to say that still, it is not really about these African countries. France will be on the spotlight.

In the next four or so years, several other African countries will be following suit in celebrating a whole 50 years of independence. Countries like Senegal, in building a huge statue bronze, wish to bring about pan-Africanism or the wished African Renaissance. However, since Africa is free in word and not in deed, I wonder why they are spending good-earned money on frivolities that will end up in dust. The last fifty years have given little to celebrate about. Africa has been the epicenter of wars, famine, pestilences, and some very very bad leadership. The African is no better off than he was under the colonial rulers. The land is not his own, the food he produces is not enough to give him income, and the leaders he trusts to look out for his interests steal whatever little is left and puts it in an off-shore account. This is not to mention international players including governments that are in pretense of caring only to depress that African even more. And don't forget the corporations who use him as means of cheap labor. - yet, he is INDEPENDENT. ( There must be some other meaning of independence other than being able to navigate freely etc).

Indeed, other than being alive, and having been well endowed with complex nature and beauty, the African has little to celebrate as far as independence goes. -maybe being a live is enough reason to celebrate?- It it not a total catastrophe off course. There are things to be admired (otherwise, it would be rather depressing). There are cities that have been modernized and they seem to be working with some sort of efficiency. This is to say that it is not all gloom, but for the 90% that is rather dark, there needs to be solutions. Sadly, while it would be entertainingly pissy to blame all of Africa's problems on international players and the African leaders, the people are also to blame. It might be time to realize that Africa is not a monarchy, nor a family business. Africans have to take a stand, for the AU has miserably failed them. If the African man is to have something to celebrate about, it will be up to him make that happen.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Death of a State: Congo and its continued downward Spiral

From Freedom to History: White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

No title is more appropriate to describe the atrocities that took place in the Congo. The documentary is disturbing, and the facts shocking. It has been an accepted fact that King Leopold and the Belgians milked the Congo, and left a trail of dead bodies as the reward for all the hardships that the Congolese went through. What was not understood was the extent of the atrocities.

King Leopold convinced European powers that they had nothing to worry about when he acquired Congo. They believed Leopold’s statements of benevolence and to the end, he saw his actions as a way of bringing civilization to Africa. However, history tells of a different story. King Leopold, after fifty attempts finally got the Congo and it became his personal fief at the cost of the hands of the Africans. He used a garrison of soldiers some of them African, to enforce laws that would fill his treasury with money. The film clearly shows how the people of the Congo were King Leopold’s personal slaves. They were forced to work in harvesting rubber, and if they failed to meet the required minimum harvest, they were killed, their wives were raped, and their right hands cut off. These particular methods seemed to work as King Leopold became richer, as the natives died senseless, and were hacked into pieces. For these crimes, Leopold was never put to trial; the Congolese people never received retribution, as Belgium became richer as they became poorer.

Death to Democracy: The Assassination of Lumumba

Congo received Independence, and the world rejoice. The reign of Belgium was over, and the Congolese could look forward to a hopeful future. What they and their upcoming leader, Patrice Lumumba, did not realize was that Belgium and the rest of the super powers were not done with the country yet. Africans might have done the actual killing of Lumumba, but we know different. Lumumba had died the moment he refused to adhere to the ideals of the West. Lumumba’s crime was being too African and wanting change for his fellow citizens. His crime was not choosing to align with the US and Belgium, and to that he signed his death warrant.

Patrice Lumumba was assassinated, buried, exhumed, hacked into pieces, and then burned to un-recognition. What is disturbing is that those who did the killing, not only go on record, but they show no remorse for killing a leader that had been chosen by the people of the Congo. The Western powers chose a different leader who was much more eager to become their puppet, and after the “disappearance” of Lumumba, Mobutu became the new leader. As history shows, Mobutu stole from his people, repressed the Congolese economy and then eventually left the country to live in “exile” Could have things been better with Lumumba in power? We will never know, as that opportunity was taken away from us.