May 2006


this heat and humidity is hellish.

…there is no ventilation in my apt building and I keep trying to meditate – pretending I’m in a breezy, cool oasis with mint green leaves, sugar cane, pineapple, watermelon, water, cool breeze with the smell of salt water in the air, the taste in my mouth…BUT NO.

I am in a neverending episode of Smog in The City. Today’s episode is entitled “Why”?

Why did there have to be a strike by the city’s Transit Commission on the hottest, most humid day of the year?

Why are people wearing jackets?

Why are people wearing booty shorts?

Why are union leaders acting like corporate executives?

Why did the workers take so long to decide on job action?

Why is my apartment not central air conditioned?

Why don’t I live with my parents whose home is central air conditioned?

Why does the heat suck so much energy out of our bodies?

Why does it take days like this to understand that life must necessarily be slower in equitorial/hottest regions in the world? (i.e. why does homeostatis have to be such an inefficient physiological function?)

Why can’t I decide whether to keep my windows open to let the scarce breeze, passing by every 10 minutes, come inside, or to keep my windows closed to leave out the heat, smog and humidity?

Why can’t I accept the idea of sleeping for the night in a cold bath where ‘tossing and turning’ would be the equivalent of draining some water and refilling with more cold water?

Signed,

Carrie.

Eritreans at a Martyrs’ Day ceremony in Wake Duba remember their soldiers who died in the 30-year battle for independence from Ethiopia. (AP Photo /Jean-Marc Bouju)

At this time I am too busy to write the type of reflective and historically rich post to celebrate today the way I would like: May 24th, 2006 – Eritrea’s 15th Anniversary of Independence. However, I will post the email I sent to (as I called them) ‘the highly selected few’ – now they are not so highly selected, are they?:

To the highly selected few:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate with you Eritrea’s 15th Anniversary – independent after 30 years of armed struggle on May 24th 1991. In celebration pls let me share a favourite quote by one of the most influential educators of the 20th century – in fact, Eritrean educators used his philosophy of educating the poor in “Bet timhirti sewra”, our “Zero” or Revolution school in the liberated zones during the struggle:

β€œThe absence of hope is not the normal way to be human, it is a distortion[…] For this reason, as human beings, one of our struggles should be to diminish the objective reasons for that hopelessness that immobilizes us.” (Paulo Freire, ‘Pedagogy of Freedom’, p. 69-70)

I have republished my blog with the time zone settings in Asmara, Eritrea for today. It is 6:55am there so people are just waking up as I am about to sleep. We can all join them today, at this brilliant hour and waking moment on May 24th 2006, in remembrance and hope! πŸ™‚

the most beautiful thing about blogging is the fact that you get to be part of an ongoing conversation with the world. as the global voices slogan puts it: The world is talking. Are you listening?

However, one of the most cathartic aspects of this whole ‘global conversation’ is that you get to leave the particular for just one split second. You get to forget about the mundane. You can theorize about humanity, you can generalize about issues – and we’re all right.

In the real world, those experiences confronting us on a daily basis, and beyond the grasp of the fecundity of cyberspace – we need to make decisions.

These decisions sometimes involve some sticky things such as relationships. Who stays, who goes? When should this decision come about? In many ways I’m very good at making these decisions because I’ve been blessed with some influences in my life that help me with the good judgment necessary upon meeting people. Some people I can tell will be so close, others acquaintances and others will be lucky to receive a call back. I’m not trying to sound like a diva here but the point is that the dice falls where the dice falls.

Lately however, I’ve had to make this decision but I’ve been disappointed with my delay in making it. I mean I have been saying to myself for awhile – ‘mo, mo, they all gotz to go’ – but I decided not to decide for one reason or another. To protect the integrity of some people I’ll not say the reasons but there are a few things that I’ve noticed about myself in friendship:

1. I give 150% effort in every friendship/rel’nship. I love people to the fullest. I like to give my mind and heart passionately and I like to receive trust and respect in return.

2. I’m complicated but try very hard to seem simple. Therefore people believe they understand me much more than they do or ever will. The problem is that everyone thinks that they are more complicated than the next person. I tend not to think this. I think human beings are unpredictable and would never say that I understand someone more than they understand themselves. Because of my conscious effort to be accessible to more than certain ‘types’ of people, I tend to water down some of my more potent thoughts and beliefs. As a result someone will think what I’m expressing is the extent of my thoughts. Through this I notice much more about them then they will of me.

3. I like to be as close to the truth as possible. In this sense my contradictions will be pretty apparent. I.e. I’m sharing my most inner thoughts with the world. This would seem like the most obvious contradiction but because I believe there is a greater Truth I think there is no reason to hide anything. God knows and that is all that really matters at the end of the day.

4. My criticism is born out of ‘good’ intentions but it can alienate some people.

5. There are some criticisms I believe and think about but could never ever tell some people because I believe they could not handle it. I sometimes think alienation would be the best case scenario.

6. I believe I’m an egoist, completely. And it disgusts me. I can see how selfish people are and it is so gross to me, how shamelessly self-interested we all are.

7. I think friends are truly the family you choose for yourself. I love my friends and really would not be the person I am without them. I miss some of my friends who are away right now. I totally have used them as a reflection over the years and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so.

8. I think other friends are the tests you choose for yourself. They are the path you tell yourself not to walk but the mischevious child inside of you tells you to go ahead anyway. They are the candy-caused cavity. The cavity you could have stopped. The cavity you knew you had complete control over. The mistake that you kept repeating. The regret. (btw: people who say no regrets are liars! In a perfectable world people would use their “I have a regret” card to take the chance to redo something.)

9. All people are beautiful and ugly. I am a person. Therefore I am beautiful and ugly.

10. There is love, love, love, love.

…this site is under construction…
Solomon Mugera and his guests live in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, will take up this question on BBC Africa’s “Have Your Say” radio program on Wednesday May 17th at 1600 GMT.
Having been interested in this question for a long time. Should Africa look to Latin America or Asian Tigers, etc? I felt the need to put my few cents in (more than 2 cents and less than 5!) – and it was posted on the BBC site. Here’s the edited post they published (edited for good reason) and my slightly longer version below.
Have a great weekend!
Should Africa look to Latin America?
Latin American countries have about one and a half centuries more experience in independent statehood and they have gone through many phases – such as liberalization in the early 20th century, import substitution industrialization, the development and institutionalization of regional economic communities – and although there have been many setbacks, the people have the national and collective Latin American experience and history to look back and learn from their own mistakes.
For Africa it would be ideal to learn from the experiences of Latin America but realistically newly independent nations in Africa have scarcely learned from the experiences of some of the first independent states in Africa, so how can we expect the continent as a whole to learn from the experiences of another continent and apply them? I think one of the major differences is the level of civic engagement in the political arena in Latin America and particularly when it comes to mass mobilization. These are the people who are electing presidents like Morales and Chavez.
In many African countries people are still not demanding things from government and many don’t have the luxury of daily security such as employment, health, education, etc. in order to occupy their time doing so. Social and Economic rights and Civil and Political rights are being pursued simultaneously in African countries and more rapid globalization in the last 25 years, HIV/AIDS and Malaria have all exacerbated this pursuit much earlier and deeper on our ‘critical path’ to development than it did with Latin America. So yes, we ‘should’ learn, but will we? I don’t think we can.

This post was inspired by Nneka’s post, which was inspired by Pilgrimage to Self.

This is a good question, What is my dream job and what motivates me to work and wake up in the morning these days?

Dream Job
In the morning, heading off to my dream job as an internationally trained lawyer, now one of 95 International Criminal Court Judges at The Hague (following the “One from One Region” policy), I would be starting off by going to the gym, or running outdoors, doing 2 hours of exercise from 5am-7am. From 7am-8:30am I would flip through 7-10 different newspapers/RSS feeds/online journals in order to inform myself of what is going on in the world today. I would drink green tea with some honey and have a platter of fruit, prepared for me by my loving husband – because it is his turn that week.

I would have my oldest daughter/son drive the younger children to school and I would make sure to tell them to drive safely because I just read on the news that it will be a busy day on the street – people are out celebrating: It is World Independence & Freedom from Terrorist and Corrupt Government’s Day (WIFTCGD) and I was one of the people who forwarded this idea to the Council at the Hague, which in turn, submitted the proposal to the Powers That Be (PTB = African Union). The world is celebrating with Africans today.

As I have built centres of learning all over the African continent, in 5 regions: North East, North West, Central, South East, South West (and one for Madagascar), with scholars and workers of all sorts coming to develop their skills in the compulsory course, “Participatory Learning & Decision Making: Enacting Human Rights”, I will be flying daily to teach a course in “Regional peace-building: lessons from the failed state-building model of the West”. These centres of learning may be built by me but they are replicated by other leaders all over the continent – bearing different names in different sub-regions. There is continental unity in terms of economic and political cooperation.

So, my dream job would require that I dress suitably. As I like to be versatile, I will wear cotton Indian sari’s when it is particularly hot outside and sometimes I will wear the brand name of prominent African designers, such as Horn of Africa Queen Fashions – “Clothes for the Everyday.” (You see, economic transactions across continent have facilitated greater regional access to textiles of all different colours and styles – makes for an interesting wardrobe.)

Today I will wear a deep chocolate brown dress with gold accents – gold hoop earings, gold pendant bearing the profile of Nefertiti, gold ring, etc. I wear my Egyptian Musk perfume and have unbelievably flawless skin with my smile as the greatest accessory of all. The price of gold has gone down recently as supplies have increased following the excavation and findings of gold reserves off the coast of the Red Sea. But I wear the gold anyway because status through style means nothing to me; rather I feel a sense of solidarity and pride with the Red Sea people’s on their recent findings.

My central office workspace is not actually “The Hague” but it is in various AU offices scattered across the continent. The AU has many property and other investments, held in safe Nigerian banks, therefore they are able to fund and pass my recent project proposal – yearly administrative costs and “peace-keeping” missions are no longer about securing EU and other funding from abroad. When the American dollar crashed and the Chinese became the next Hegemon, the Africans slowly became quite wealthy as the Chinese outsourced much of their labour to the Continent. The Chinese created a stronger and flourishing middle class as the Africans began to own more and more of their own industries – the effect of responsible Chinese investment in Africa. They give the loan and we make and sell the product.

Yes, I helped with the General Agreement on Chinese and African Relations (GACAR) and I also was Principal Researcher on the WHTG/NA? Project (What Happened to Globalization/North America?) Project.

I travel back and forth to Brazil, Cuba, “Failed States” (Former U.S. & Britain) and the remaining “middle powers”: India, Canada (yes, we’re still here) and Australia. I work simultaneously with the “New Elites” in many countries. These elites have had at least 10 years of subsistence farming experience in regional co-ops and 2 of them must have been spent managing. Others able to join the “New Elites” group are workers, trade unionists, community activists, bloggers and independent media personalities. The Old Elites are being retrained in the aformentioned centres of learning in the multidisciplinary topics of “Participatory Learning and Decision-Making: Enacting Human Rights” – their competency in this compulsory course will indicate and determine their required further studies in order to complete the program. There are two academic/vocational streams: “Re-Considering Crime & Corruption” and “Lessons for Liars”.

My Dream Job is filled with hope and passion and love for citizens of this world, free from hegemonic orders and destructive consequences for not following them. My Dream Job is filled with competent and productive people who disagree daily but feel the authority of the majority is good enough for them to re-think their position. If they still disagree, they appeal their case to my office which will file it in sequence with the other Appeals for Better and New Ideas.

My day ends with my thoughtful husband taking the kids to soccer practice, in the great big soccer field near our home where hundreds of kids from many different backgrounds come to play and watch soccer. My husband pours me some hot tea from the Ter-mos (Made in Zimbabwe). It is a cold night but the warmth of the soft yellow lights from the field and the smiles and laughter from the children and their families keep me comfortable.

This has been a busy day. I am jet-lagged and tired but my husband would like to, you know, when we get home…. πŸ™‚ I tell him I am tired and he understands completely, massaging my shoulders from a day couped up at the office, straining my neck…

…maintaining global justice is difficult indeed.

My dream job is also my dream life: a bit utopic but nonetheless possible.

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