Here We Go Again

The Obama/Wright controversy has reared its ugly head again, concealing and distracting from other pressing issues that affect people much more globally. You know, hikes in gas prices, increased profits for oil companies, and the doomed housing crisis – but who cares about any of that right? Most people want to talk about the racist bigot Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And so do I. I realize it’s a distraction that’s taking away from the larger issues we should be concentrating on during this competition, but it’s also one interesting and peculiar happening that has shaken many people. There are people who are shocked and outraged at the comments made by Rev Wright. Then there are people who are appalled and outraged at these people’s shock and outrage. Then we have people throwing each under the bus left and right, resulting in a lot of anger, hurt, humiliation, and disappointment. Most people’s reactions to these events are a result of their backgrounds and views of America.

Those shocked and outraged by Rev Wright have a hard time believing that the American dream they know can be the nightmare Rev Wright describes it to be. While those who see, live, and experience the nightmare, are shocked that so many can be oblivious to the nightmare that is America for many of its people. It’s as if these two groups of people exist on two different continents with different cultures, backgrounds, and languages as opposed to being neighbors in one country, with one language, and history. There is a lot of uneasiness and resentment surrounding Rev Wright, and considering his latest statements at the National Press Club, it’s no wonder Obama is distancing himself from his incendiary ex-pastor.

From the beginning Obama has prided himself on running a clean debate that was uniting and not divisive. He has sought out commonalities for all people in order to inspire and create a movement for change. He has managed to give a “bitter” (you know I had to do it) people some hope that there are better times ahead with him in the Oval office. It was his intention to create a campaign that strayed as far away from race as possible, so as to avoid being considered “the Black candidate” as opposed to a phenomenal candidate who just happens to be Black. And even when he was FORCED to address the issue of race, he came out with minor wounds. His speech transcended, and managed to unite in a time when it was expected he would fall on his face, lose sight of his campaign strategy and become divisive. He stood by the man who was being vilified by the media, a man who officiated his wedding, baptized his children, and mentored him into and on his path to Christianity. But now things have changed. Continue reading

Clintons, We Get It You’re Racist – Can You Sit Down Somewhere?

So I’ve been neglecting my blog – not on purpose, but neglecting nonetheless. Although I haven’t been posting, I’ve somewhat been following news/blogs about the U.S. presidential elections, specifically, the Democratic party contest for the presidential nominee between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.

One of the biggest reasons why this is such a fascinating contest is because it’s between two historically marginalized groups of people in America. Specifically, it’s a struggle between an African-American man, and a white woman, neither of which group has ever held the presidential position. Both individuals are privileged (being male, and being white), although at some point, Senator Clinton has used her status as a white woman/victim to leverage some votes for her campaign.

This isn’t to say that Obama hasn’t done it. I just haven’t seen him use the fact that he is Black to his advantage. Not publicly anyway, but I may be blind to it and you’re more than welcome to point it out. In fact, Obama has tried his darnest to stay away from the issue of race (until Rev Wright), to portray himself as a highly qualified individual for the presidency, as opposed to receiving handouts often perceived to be “provided” to minorities. He tried anyway, and no matter how much he attempted to portray himself as a qualified person, he was still seen as just another minority benefiting from affirmative action (as if that in itself is a bad thing).

The fight between these two has been escalating and it’s really intense and ugly. Should senator Clinton concede to senator Obama since he is pretty much ahead of her in virtually EVERYTHING? Is that fair especially since there are still more states waiting to vote, even though there is little chance of her bypassing him anyway? Should Senator Obama just drop out since Clinton is more electable in the general election and more experienced and more likely to handle the GOP machine? And why won’t Bill Clinton just shut up? Continue reading

Rusesabagina Live Broadcast at the Hague

Tomorrow Saturday April 26th, there will be a conference on Peace and Development in the Great Lakes Region of Africa at the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands.

The conference will discuss sustainable solutions for lasting peace and prosperity within the region. Speakers include:

  • Mr. Paul Rusesabagina, Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagian Foundation (HRRF): Rusesabagina will discuss his vision for peace in the Great Lakes Region through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Rwanda
  • Senator & Ambassador Robert Krueger: Krueger, former U.S. Ambassador to Burundi, will talk about his views towards Great Lakes Region of Africa and how to achieve lasting peace based on his experiences in the region
  • Member of Dutch Parliament Kathleen Ferrier: Presentation on the contribution and effort that should be made by the Dutch government and EU in general
  • Member of Dutch Parliament Chantal Gillard: Presentation on the need of an integrated regional resolution for stability in the whole Great Lakes Region

For the live broadcast, check at 12:00PM to 5:00PM Central European Summer Time here:

http://seero.com/broadcaster/hrrf

For more information, check the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation website.

On FGM, MGM and Moolaade – A Review…Kind of

I recently watched an interesting film by Ousmane Sembene called Moolaade or Sanctuary. The story revolves around a woman (Colle) who went through the ordeal of female circumcision (or “purification” or female genital mutilation – fgm), but refused to circumcise her daughter. She now finds herself amidst scandal and controversy when a new group of young girls facing circumcision flee to her home for protection (sanctuary).

Colle provides the children with protection but at the risk of alienation, public humiliation, flogging, and a slew of other negative side effects including her daughter being rejected by her fiance for being a Bilakoro, or one who is uncircumcised / unpurified. However, even through all the suffering, there is a happy ending as the women of the village muster enough courage to stand up and resist the oppressive, misogynistic tradition. I enjoyed the film, and really thought it spoke to some of the sexism within various African societies and various cultures of resistance within, as well as the dangers and pain associated with female circumcision.

While watching, I was struck by the way the language and cultures seemed to be entrenched with sexism, and I wonder if that was the filmmaker or writers’ choice in attempts to portray the circumcision as a result of the oppressive Islamic society in which these women exist. In other words, to show that this type of behavior/act can only be a result of a sexist misogynistic society. And I say this not with the assumption that every society that practices female circumcision is sexist and misogynistic, but rather that it probably exists in some cases as simply an archaic tradition that was once viewed as necessary, but not solely because of patriarchy and female oppression. Is it possible for this tradition to exist in a society where it’s simply an adopted tradition like many things but not because of oppression? Crazy I know…still possible right?

Also, one issue I’ve had with the anti-FGM “movement” it its characterization of those who practice it. You know that whole, “Oh those barbaric backwards Africans are at it again” type representations…regardless of dis/agreement with the act (although I don’t know anyone who supports it). Can you oppose the act without pathologizing the practicing peoples and cultures?

To put it into perspective for narrow-minded westerners, some African women have used the idea of designer vaginas to show how both seemingly unnecessary and barbaric acts are viewed through completely difference lenses. On one hand, one is viewed as liberating, and a woman’s choice, while the other is viewed as an oppressive tool against women’s sexuality (and guess which one is African and which one is western). And no, I’m not discussing how and what makes which to whom (is it liberating or oppressive). Not right now.

While watching, I also thought about how little attention is paid to male circumcision and wondered if it shouldn’t be viewed the same way. I know many people claim a plethora of benefits for male circumcision, but is it possible that it’s also unnecessary? I’ve seen/heard mixed research results about the benefits or lack thereof for either, so I’m still undecided. But I do notice that it’s been rationalized and generally accepted but not as stigmatized as female circumcision.

Overall, I thought the film fell victim to the pathological view of Africans where problems or issues are magnified and projected as endemic. However, I think the story was well put together and really showed the dangers, oppression and dis empowerment of women in certain societies. And I love that women can and do stand up to people and traditions that are oppressive and outdated.

And yes, absolutely, FGM should definitely stop!

What Westerners REALLY Think About Africans

I know this is parody, but this is the kind of stuff that might come from someone’s mouth who is ignorant and racist towards Africa and Africans. Maybe not even one who is ignorant, but one who is ready to exploit.

Enjoy!

We Wish To Inform You That We Intend to Ruin Your Life

The title of this thread came out of recent discussions and reflections from the newly released Keith Harmon Snow report about bogus asylum seekers and the lives they ruin. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to. It’s also a reference to the cultural pop fiction book where fiction is packaged as non-fiction, and sold for readers’ enjoyment or perhaps readers’ guilt. And I say “pop fiction” not to take away from the “survivors'” pain or to be insensitive, but because of the linear thinking that’s been packaged and sold to millions all over the world. You know, that extreme Hutus planned and executed a genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus?

It’s almost impossible for anyone to imagine what it must be like to have gone through and survived the Rwandan tragedy. But imagine that a person who somehow managed to survive, whose only care is his/her family and their wellbeing, is wrongly accused of having taken part in the tragedy after years and years spent trying to rebuild his or her life. The person is completely humiliated, he or she becomes a social outcast, and then comes the incarceration. This must be devastating. Did I mention that this person is innocent and has been wrongly accused?

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Shameless Bogus Asylum Seekers and Saboteurs Revealed

A new investigative report has just been released with some very shocking, and vile information that exposes how low the Rwandan government will stoop to silence opposition or perceived threat. This report by independent investigative journalist Keith Harmon Snow is titled, “The Asylum of Extreme Exclusion: How Rwanda Manufactures and Exports Genocide.” Keith Snow exposes very dark and threatening facts and realities for Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers, and how the Rwandan government benefits from perpetuating the false notions of genocide; a real cause for concern. Here is a small excerpt:

Now, an investigation has unvovered a scandal where fake Rwandan asylum seekers infiltrate the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.) and work undercover to hunt down critics and survivors of the Rwandan dictatorship and bring them back to Rwanda. This scandal revolves around networks of informers and agents and it encapsulates all the machinations of the growing industry around “genocide in Rwanda”.

Prejudged by Western human rights organizations, journalists, and mass media, the Rwanda government’s critics and survivors forced to flee for their lives are falsely accused and publicly branded as genocide perpetrators. Shunned as humanity’s lowest criminals, arrested and imprisoned without trial for months or years, legitimate refugees are framed, extradited and neutralized by a government whose top officials have international arrest warrants against them.

Journalists, human rights defenders, businessmen, and ordinary citizens both inside and outside Rwanda are persecuted and neutralized if they deviate from the falsified “victim” and “survivor” ideology used as a political weapon by the military dictatorship of Paul Kagame and his vast network of propagandists, state agents, and foreign backers.

Innocent Rwandan asylum seekers live under perpetual fear of being hunted down, branded as genocide perpetrators, ostracized, and persecuted by the Kagame regime.

Continue reading