January 2005


The ©ommodification of human beings is almost complete, my professor said.

Hmm…the c©ommodification is almost complete so it is precisely at this point where resistance is futile. People are dead or dying, inbetween worlds, and c©ommodification is thriving. Is it the end of history? The dialectical history that Hegel wrote about in 1806, with setbacks and “warts” alike (as Fukuyama described it): has it reached its peak?

If c©ommodified is what we are then I submit here in my blog, admitting to the accessibility of some at the expense of many others. (Read ‘Moral Question of Web Publishing’ – 1st entry) Perhaps this is not “at the expense of others”, maybe this not pure competition, not all zero-sum in economic terms. But this is a naive way to think of this project, the c©mmodification of people.

I just finished an article about African states and mass education. The author says this is a ‘Rocky Romance’. The contradictions are many; varying interests are difficult to overcome. But some interests, such as c©mmodification, use other interests as a means to its own end. It is a meta-interest.

T h a n k Y o u,

Helen C©mmodified

© Copyright 2005.

All Rights Reserved.

What is really frustrating to me is that we are all a product of our times whether or not we admit to it.

Our thoughts and habits seem like instincts that have been provoked by our times;

mostly socially-constructed. It is true that many great thinkers have managed to move past their lifetime but even they knew that they were a product of their particular environments and had they been born a few years later or earlier, their thoughts and analyses would have been totally different.

Anyway, that is just what I find really irritating, that we are eternally naive despite our most sincere attempts to be omniscient.

(Space is also another factor, and sometimes it is a determinant.)

But I don’t have time to finish this thought right now, gotta go to school.

Will be back l8r.

Helen

It is clear that, similar to other African countries, there has not been a chance during Eritrea’s tumultuous history to cultivate a culture of democracy, in education as well as politics. This suggests that a culture of democracy, peculiar to national identity, must be organically grown rather than temporarily borrowed.

Philosophically, legally and politically, trust between people and nations is constructed as “recognition”. The ability to recognize the other amid differences and negative history is, in turn, deeply rooted in education and substantive democratic culture.

My research is based on how education directly affects politics and conflict-resolution in East Africa (mainly Eritrea/Ethiopia). I intend to explore pertinent

issues such as the role of the nation-state in education: how the universities might be involved in processes such as the creation and reformulation of laws and policies, including military policy. Other issues that arise within the relationship between education and politics are academic freedom in teaching and research, the re-prioritization of creative education required for the acceptance of diversity in political thought, and the legitimization of international human rights codes. Respect for human rights depends upon the education-centred and broader institutional reforms that support it.

Methodologically, the first task would be philosophical at root since it is important to conceptually understand what is required to cultivate educational reform that is transparent and accountable in a country that has not fully consolidated its democracy. The second task has a practical orientation; that is, what local and foreign policies are currently in place that further this conceptual scheme and what local and foreign policies hinder it?

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©Helen Tewolde (M.A. Research Proposal)

I am so tired, been up all night reading…

But of course I had time, like a true virtual consumer, to shop the web. I got some gorgeous things:

1) A website with old Eritrean/Ethiopian/Sudanese Songs (from 60s and 70s): http://www.medlem.jubii.dk/eritrea/music.php?

(a) A website for Winta, an up and coming Eritrean artist in Norway doin’ her R&B thing (good music videos, check it out): http://www.wintaonline.com

2) A dope “Burnt Face” website. (Ethiopia means “Burnt Face”) The site is sub-titled, “F.A.R.M” = “Futuristic African Rap Music”. The creativity is boundless really. Their tracks are amazing. I am just wondering where I can buy the album. It doesn’t say on their site:

http://www.burntface.com

3) The AERmed Mindz website: http://www.aermedmindz.com

These guys are talented, witty Eritrean guys who fuse their Tigrigna/Arabic/American influences into their music. They are hilarious too. For example one song on their new album is called: “Gimme de Hawee” (Gimme the Heat) and it has a skit with an older Eritrean man calling his wife to make sure she will have dinner waiting for him when he gets home. The man is blessing God that he has such a good wife who cooks for him.

Then…the song. The beat is Sean Paul’s “Gimme de Light” and the guys from Aermed Mindz (Legacy and Shida) start talking like old men:

“Geziye t’keyiru, t’keyiru” (Times have changed, times have changed)

“Injera Hamburger koynu” (Injera – Ethiopian/Eritrean staple food – has become Hamburgers)

Then the music.

“Gimme de Hawee and pass the Derho…Tsebhi be’aley k’serho” (This is the funniest part: “Gimme the heat and pass the chicken, I will make the Tsebhi – Traditional sauce – myself”)

Basically they are saying how feminism has ruined Eritrean women. We no longer cook in the kitchen and we send our husbands (well…the ones that are married) to McDonalds and Burger King etc. It is so satirical and funny! They are speaking for our generation, the youth, the Eritrean diaspora who has studied here. We women are afraid of the kitchen is what they mean.

I have had this discussion ad nauseum with people in my family. Does cooking make a wife a wife? My mom has said since I was young that nobody will marry me 😦 unless I make good Eritrean food. I think that is why I am gonna marry a Brazilian.

Anyway…I love that song so much I am gonna listen to it again…peace!

P.S. As you can tell I have been looking at African sites. I miss the real Eritrea – the smell of the air, the women cloaked in white, the simultaneous sound of the Mosque and Orthodox church in Asmara – can’t wait to go back next year.

P.P.S. Just found out that I was banned from zombyboy’s website at http://www.resurrectionsong.com. If you want to go check out what I said to deserve the anti-democratic gesture, go do so. He is a conservative racist who I should have never wasted neurons on but what else can one do with the gift that is passion?


Res- we need your 2nd album. http://www.resmusic.com Posted by Hello


McMaster Womyn’s Issues Network (2003-2004) Posted by Hello

The second problem of the world is the internet.

I am trying to edit an essay I wrote a week or so ago because it is due tomorrow.
I started at 5pm. I came back from school because I thought I would be less distracted at home. I have been home now for 9 hours and I have not edited a thing.

I have spoken to Sophie for 2.5 hours on the telephone long distance about:

interracial relationships. love. marriage. careers. salary levels. career moves. pretentiousness. love. marriage. the hypocrisy of men. the indecisiveness of women. love. marriage. new year’s eve. ethiopian mothers and eritrean mothers, differences between. love. marriage. world peace. the possibility of more than one soul-mate. love. marriage. death.

You see? But it doesn’t stop there.

I MSN’d my younger sister Senait who is doing her 3rd year of university as an exchange student abroad for about 2 hours, we talked about many things but mostly I had the NERVE to lecture her about getting her work done on time. How HARD WORK, PERSISTANCE, MOTIVATION are the only things one needs in life. How she should START NOW. Can you believe the hypocrisy? Other things we talked about:

a cute guy I saw. the possibility of the cute guy marrying my sister. my vision of seeing her dressed up in white coming down my parents’ stairs (with the cute guy). school. her lecturing me about getting back to work. me getting back to work. me getting back on msn.

AND NOW I BLOG TO YOU. SO the second problem of the world is the INTERNET…URG!!!!

I cannot stop reading about other people’s lives. I loved this girl’s blog: Claudia LeBlonde. She talks about throwing a chicken leg at her brother. It was so funny I laughed out loud and tears strolled down my cheeks; and then I looked at the time. The tears took on another meaning.

The essay I am editing is entitled

Lawless Spaces: The Epistemic, Political and Racialized Maintenance of Refugee Camps and “Refugeeness”

I like the essay, I like it a lot. But I cannot finish editing because of the stupid ass internet. It keeps begging for me to come back like a long lost lover like, “HELEN…come BAAAAAAAAACK TO MEEEEEEEEE” and then I go back, with my backpack and bottled water, ready to confront the virtual terrain. I HATE this. I am doing it now. and now. and now. and now. and now. and now. and now. and now…………urgh.

So I have a new space that is lawless. The internet is a lawless space. There are no time limits. Sites do not kick you off after you’ve overstayed your welcome. Yahoo! doesn’t tell you that you’ve trespassed. Google opens its great big virtual doors and doesn’t worry about theft. The internet is the lawless space extraordinaire- never mind the serious stuff like the proliferation of hate speech and child porn, the simple stuff, like forgetting to move your car which is parked in a no-park zone because you have been on the internet for too long, is also lawless.

Whew. Ok, back to work.

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