Wednesday, January 26, 2005
“What’s wrong with you Papa Rumsfeld? You done lost your mind, boy? We c’aint be havin’ nothing like this going on with neither our money nor our government!”
Now if you read Ethan’s article there and check out the comments you will see that I opened my Big Mouth again before engaging my brain. I’m talking about the little exchange between Robbie Honerkamp and me re: Tim Spicer’s scheduled lecture at the Royal African Society tomorrow night in London, England. The name in the article that made me see RED right away is that of Viktor Bout (a.k.a. Viktor B., the Merchant of Death). You can read plenty about these two gangsters by checking links in a Google search using their respective names and aliases. I’m not going to waste any time on these lowlifes here in this article because I want to talk about something else, that is the Royal African Society website. However; if you are interested in certain plans for improving security and safety in Africa you might want to head on down to the lecture at the RAS tomorrow.
“That’s funny. I can’t seem to find any information on the January 27, 2005 lecture by Tim Spicer on the RAS website. It was there just a few days ago, where did it go? Ahh, here it is right here…CANCELLED. Cancelled, what?”
So, now that I have “run that up the flagpole” on my blog as promised I would like to say a few things about the Royal African Society and their fine website. First of all, what is the Royal African Society? I thought this organization went out with Speke and Burton after their tragic search for the source of the Nile and the lost Dr. David Livingston.
“That’s the Royal Geographical Society who sponsored Speke and Burton's expeditions, you dummy!”
“Oh! I’m sorry. I stand corrected.”
Anyway, Robbie’s defense (U.S. spelling for Robbie in Atlanta) of the Royal African Society prompted me to look a little deeper into the RAS and their very fine website. One of the first things that I did is find out something about their history and their mission. Then I checked out their special feature titled “Voices of Africa”___ a collection of about 16 essays to date from some of Africa’s best experts and professionals. More essays to come I believe. Here is an essay from Charles "Mase" Onyango-Obbo, Associate Editor of the Daily Nation in Nairobi, Kenya. Charles talks about press freedom and freedom of speech in his native country of Uganda under President Yoweri Museveni’s rule. Some people know that Uganda and Kenya have become dear to my heart, like Sudan, and that I have a keen interest in what’s going on there and how things work, how they really work. This article is helpful.
There are a number of other very good resources at the Royal African Society website also, like this web page recent RAS meetings from 2003 to the present. While scrolling down this list of reports I came across a January 13, 2005 meeting report titled “History of the Hanged: Reparations, Reconciliation and the Mau Mau War”. Wow! I remember seeing documentary reports on this when I was a real little guy back in the States. Here is an excerpt from an interview with David M. Anderson, author of the book “Histories of the Hanged…” as posted on the RAS website:
David Anderson, Lecturer in African Studies, University of Oxford.
“This book tells for the first time the story of the dirty war the British fought in Kenya, in the run-up to the country's independence in 1964. In 1952, after years of tension and bitterness, the grievances of the Gikuyu people of central Kenya exploded into open rebellion. Only 32 European settlers died in the subsequent fighting, but more than 1,800 African civilians, over 3,000 African police and soldiers, and 12,000 Mau Mau rebels were killed. Between 1953 and 1956 Britain sent over a thousand Kenyans to the gallows, often on trumped up or non-existent charges. Meanwhile 70,000 people were imprisoned in camps without trial for between two and six years. Men and women were kept together in conditions of institutionalised violence overseen by British officials. David Anderson provides a full and convincing account of a war in which all sides behaved badly, and therefore few of the combatants can be either fully excused, or blamed…”
The interview conducted by the Royal African Society’s chairperson, Charlotte Njeru (who’s that?), is a must read for my readers interested in a better understanding of what the heck really went on under the colonization of East Africa and the decades of torment for African people and societies during the post-colonial period in the latter half of the 20th Century. Many Britains should feel pretty bad and ashamed about this kind of thing going on as well, hmmmh?
I shall of course be expecting some comments from my friends and readers from Kenya and the U.K. regarding this tragic period in your country’s respective histories. That is, unless the subject is too painful to think or write about, which I certainly can understand.
P.S. My apologies for playing around with “the Queen’s English” grammar, I’m just having fun with my British readers and the rest of the Commonwealth crowd. “Queen Liz” and I have been on very good terms ever since that “incident” with my Boyz over in Greater Britain back in ’82. She would understand my good intentions on this blog. Cheers.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Dr. King would have been 76 years old this month, born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia U.S.A. (“Georgia! Have mercy! You had to be alive then - during the U.S. Civil Rights Struggle of the 1960’s - to understand! God bless the strong and good people of Georgia who lived during this important and powerful time in modern American History”).
Anyway, like I was saying, the great civil rights leader Dr. King would have been 76 years old this week if he hadn’t died from an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. I was there growing up in America at that time, just a young teenager back then, and I remember____ the pain of his death and the feeling of loss is still there inside of me, and it still hurts and shocks me even to this day when I remember. As I write these words let it be known that I speak for millions and millions who were also there on that day, in America, and we share that loss together___ Black and White, Red and Brown and Yellow___ color don’t matter to us when you talk about the mourning and longing for Dr. King in the hearts and minds of my people in America.
Now today on January 21st I am making a second attempt of getting this little article of mine about Dr. King written and posted (published) to my blog. I tried to publish it on the 19th but the software application at Blogger was messing up, so I had to save it as a draft and wait. And while I was waiting I began to do some thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. and about what I had written and I came to the decision that it wasn’t good enough, not for Dr. King. So this is a better effort for my readers, especially those of you too young to remember him, to share with you information and some of my personal views on the legacy of this great American.
“How I’m doing Martin? I’ve been thinking about you all night and I want to get it right for you Sir. I want to get it right for all those good people up there with you too. Yessir!”
Now the “Rockin’ 60’s” was a great and exciting time to be alive I’m gonna tell ya, and yet The Sixties was a terrible time too especially if you were a young person, because everything was so darn confusing (at least in America) like the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War and the protests and violence on the streets and on college campuses and on television (live video w/ body counts from the war zones with breakfast every morning before school), and then there were the assassinations of three of our most beloved public figures like President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy. If you include Malcom X in there you got 4 and you could just keep on going back then…people were dead and dying everywhere, especially those poor helpless people over in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia. It was often a terrible and traumatic period and there were many dark days for a whole bunch of folks back then.
But while we suffered what we felt were unbearable losses many of us have learned over the decades which followed what these great leaders were trying to show us, trying to teach us, dragging us kicking and scratchin’ and resisting into a new era for our nation and for the whole world. MLK, JFK, RFK: they were not perfect men, but they were exemplary in the way that they tried to live their lives and they helped lead us toward the Light in times of Great Darkness and Despair. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a leader was head-and-shoulders above his peers of the day, and it took many people around the world years to understand that fact.
If I were asked today what his legacy means to me I would have to say:
“Dr. King showed my generation great courage and great compassion for humankind, more than anyone I can remember or name. He stood up to be counted and to lend his voice and finally his very life to the cause of true freedom, peace among men and women, and justice. He did this in a way that everyone could see and understand, standing up tall against great odds and adversity___ against 100’s of years of ignorance, fear, greed, and hatred imported from abroad into a beautiful, bountiful and pristine land until that fateful invasion of the year 1492.
Dr. King helped many of us to understand what we have to do in these United States of America and throughout our hemisphere and the world to bring the promise of freedom and prosperity to not just a few, not just many people, not just Americans, but to all mankind.
Although he spoke in his famous 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech of being privelaged to have "...gone to the Mountaintop...” and shared with us his dream of the future, he reminded us with his life and times and ultimately with his death that the road will be long and hard ahead, and that all of us must make our best efforts to continue the progress and good works of that fateful time in history and the struggles for freedom by many good people who came long before us. That the struggles and challenges to make a better world for all mankind never has an end, but continues with each generation, until our last days on Earth have finally come (hopefully not too soon).”
This is what the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. means to me personally, a simple man who was there in America during his lifetime. Now let me share with you some interesting information I have found online about Dr. King this past week:
· The Seattle Times - Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
· Stanford University – The Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project
· Kings Legacy – Interview with Clayborne Carson of Stanford University
· Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project – Washington D.C.
· NY Times (1/17/05) – How the British Inspired Dr. King’s Dream
Clayborne Carson of Stanford University and Ralph E. Luker of George Mason University are two of America's leading historians on the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King. Here is a link to an interesting article on Dr. King from Ralph E. Luker published on the History News Network site titled "Asking Dr. King" . You should also visit the group blog authored by Ralph Luker and other outstanding U.S. historians titled Cliopatria . Luker and Clayborne worked jointly on the Stanford University Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
Note also that the Stanford University Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project website has info on Dr. King’s position(s) regarding the Vietnam War. There is a link to a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” that Dr. King delivered at the famous Riverside Church on Manhattan-NYC’s Upper Westside on April 4, 1967 - one year to the day before his brutal assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. You may view or download the document by clicking on the link provided on the Stanford MLK Papers Project site. I want to leave you with two excerpts from Dr. King's speech "Beyond Vietnam" delivered at New York City's Riverside Church on that brisk April morning in 1967:
“I came to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”
…“Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humilitiy that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement, and pray that our own inner being may be sensitivie to its guidance. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us…”
Words from the heart and soul of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He loved and worked hard for the sake of all living things on our great Mother Earth. In fond remembrance.
Here is a link to the eWeek Special Report on Weblogs with lots of articles from 2004 and earlier on blogs, bloggers, and what makes the technology and the Blogosphere tick. eWeek and its companion websites is one of my most coveted information resources on Information Technology, so you can usually trust what they have to say.
Note the latest articles on efforts to curb Comment Spam on blogs (article#1, article#2). I haven't had a problem with it yet (Thank Goodness!) but have noticed it on other blogs and I've read a few articles stating that it is becoming a serious problem. If you are a blog author you should read these articles and others to keep up-to-date on how to keep your blog running like a champ and how to protect yourself in the Blogosphere from SPAMMERS and other cyberscum.
Also note the fierce competition building up between the blog software companies i.e. Blogger (Google) vs. Movable Type & Typepad (Six Apart) vs. Wordpress vs. Microsoft vs. etc. etc. etc. Interesting how they are slugging it out for our attention and future business, isn't it? I hope the folks over at Blogger get their updates and infratstructure acts together soon or I might consider "jumping Google's mothership", but not over to Microsoft, nah no way.
Last but not least here is a nice little article on the Power of the Bloggers. It's not just politics and news op-ed (opinion editiorial) commentary anymore, now it's gettin' personal__and powerful.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I should get offline now 'cause we are having one of those typical North Sea winter days complete with mini-hurricaines interspersed with stints of sunshine. The Heavens are throwing everything at us but the kitchen sink... Bam! "What was that?" (The kitchen sink).
Allright, have everybody run data backups immediately and then shutdown the network!
NOTE: If you are a Blogger user and having problems with posting to your blog also, you can check on the status of the Blogger software and hardware at the Blogger Status site.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The PBS Frontline World crew has put together an excellent combination of electronic journalism formats for this program including multimedia web content with streaming video of the aired TV programs. You may also note that PBS Frontline World’s Jessica Smith contacted the blog authors directly to let them know about the airing of the show and the website. Any questions (readers) re: bloggers showing up on the radar screens of international media companies?
SUDAN The Quick and The Terrible features award-winning journalist Amy Costello at her best: on the ground and in your face. There is a lot of in-depth information on the website as well as brief summaries of Who’s Who in Darfur – The Geopolitics of Tragedy. There is also an online comments and forum feature for visitors to the website. Excellent work PBS and I must thank Ingrid and the Sudan: The Passion of the Present team for this tip via their blog.
And while we are on the subject of great special reports on the Crisis in Darfur I must mention the excellent work by one of my favorite journalists Hilary Andersson of the BBC World News team. The BBC Panorama Programme team did an excellent video report back in November 2004 titled “The New Killing Fields” with riveting interviews with both survivors of the genocide and perpetrators of the conflict including the murderous Janjaweed Militia leader Musa Hilal who now lives openly in Khartoum. A program transcript is available via the Panorama website as well as links to program highlights.
UPDATE January 13th:Ingrid Jones of Sudan Watch has also written a very good article about the BBC Panorama feature "The New Killing Fields" last year. Her article dated November 15, 2004 was posted the next day following the P.M. airing of the programme in the U.K. and Ingrid provides lots of extra details and an excellent review of Hilary Andersson's work in the Sudan. Thanks again Ingrid.Hilary has done some of the best reporting on issues and news out of Africa available anywhere, and she’s one of the bravest and best journalists in the business today. “Eat your heart out, Christiane Ammanpour. You cain’t touch this young reporter even in your heyday!”
UPDATE January 13th during a call from CNN European HQ in London: "Yes Mamm, Mrs. Amanpour! Oh no Mamm, I didn't really mean what I said (er) wrote about you on my blog. Yes Mamm, you still the Best in the Business! Everybody knows that. Yes Mamm, I'm gonna put a link to your CNN bio on my blog right away so everybody knows EXACTLY who you are and I'm gonna learn how to spell your name correctly too. Yes Mamm, that's Amanpour with 1 N not 2 N's......er, 1 M not N's, M like in Monkey. Yes Mamm..."
Hilary has been on the ground over in Darfur, Khartoum, and in Chad practically since the story really broke back in Spring 2004 and she has been doggedly going after the truth and facts behind the genocide and the conflict between warring parties. The President of Sudan Omar al-Beshir and his Foreign Minister Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail just LOVE Hilary to death___ so she has to watch her step while working in Sudan. I’m crazy about her myself and can’t get enough of her good reporting.
I particularly liked the way Hilary Andersson ended the excellent feature on Darfur and I have provided an excerpt from the November 2004 BBC Panorama programme transcript below:
ANDERSSON: "But for Darfur's African people, Sudan is already in anarchy. As we were leaving, women began descending on the African union observers. The Janjaweed had raped another group of women that morning. They wanted someone to do something about it."
WOMAN: "They humiliate us all the time. Our blood is boiling and our hearts are broken."
ANDERSSON: "How do you feel about the African Union, do you think they're helping the people of this town?"
WOMAN: "We just went there and we were told there was no way they could do anything."
ANDERSSON: "The African Union told the women to come back the next day. For all the horrors, this is the best the world can do. The protestors lined up to watch us as we flew away. "
"Genocide, the ultimate crime against humanity may be occurring in Darfur but despite the lessons of history, we all allow it to continue. This is the world we live in. The people of Darfur, like Miriam, can only count their dead and pray."
-----End of programme transcript-----
(Bold typeface highlighting added by blog author)
Monday, January 10, 2005
Did you see Omar al-Beshir and Dr. John Garang making peace and shaking hands on international TV news yesterday (Sunday, January 9th)? Wasn’t that somethin, isn’t that nice of them? After all this time (since 1983) and more than 2 million people dead these guys finally decide to stop fighting one another and work out a deal for the sake of the Sudanese people.
Now I know I may sound a little skeptical about how this is all gonna work out over the next months and years but honestly I am delighted that the two sides could get this far, at least on paper. I’m sort of sitting back like Colin Powell was doing yesterday and watching this new agreement real close, watching everybody’s “body language”. The time is overdue that the rest of us around the world who really care and have something to offer the people of Sudan work together with them to implement this new peace agreement in meaningful and sustainable ways. It’s time to get busy and help the people of Sudan rebuild their war-torn country and their war-torn lives, especially for the children of the country. That’s what time it is, it’s time to make it work in the Sudan and that goes for Darfur as well. You hear me Khartoum!? I sure hope so?
There is plenty of coverage on this story in the traditional media of course and in the Internet so there is no more that I need to add at the moment. We are gonna “drill down” on some other issues regarding the recent history of Sudan here on Jewels in the Jungle in the next weeks and months, and we are not going to be drilling for oil. In the meantime here are a few links to some good online articles on the new North/South Peace Accords for Sudan:
- Washington Post article: Sudanese Sign Peace Agreement
- Sudan Tribune article(s): Dr. John Garang’s Speech (real nice)
- BBC News: Sudan in Depth (see photo essay “refugee’s comment”)
I’m sure that we all have a lot of folks to thank for helping to bring this new agreement into being. I believe special thanks should go to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and to the Government and the people of Kenya for hosting talks and negotiations between the two sides. Ugandan and Kenyan authorities have provided land and assistance for numerous refugee camps for the 100,000’s of Sudanese who fled the fighting in the South over the past two decades. I hear there are more than 4 million IDP's (Internally Displaced Persons) from the south of Sudan who live in and around Khartoum who are anxious to be able to return to their homelands... and I am certain that many of them did not end up in Khartoum by choice but by force or worse.
Northern Kenya is the main base of operations for much of the humanitarian relief airlifted and trucked to the people of southern Sudan including the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions. Without this assistance the number of people dead from war and starvation in the south of Sudan would be closer to 6 million or more. Of course we should not forget the $2 billion dollars in aid and relief supplies that the people of the United States of America have contributed alone over the past many years. Thank you very much...you are welcome.
I haven't seen any numbers on aid contributions from other countries to the people of southern Sudan (yet). I wonder what the oil-rich Arab and Muslim countries and The Arab League and their humanitarian foundations have given to help relieve the suffering of peoples in the south of Sudan over the past two decades?
I’ll tell you what, after watching how the regime in Khartoum and their various “partners” operate over these past few years, we (the people of my country) will know what to give the people of southern Sudan the next time there's trouble, I’ll tell you that.
Pray for Peace.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Check out his piece on the 115 year old Malaysian woman who survived the tsunami disaster in one of Malaysia's coastal communities. She says the Japanese Occupation during WWII was tougher, and she oughta know 'cause she was there! Great article along with many other postings from Jeff.
I've been (quietly) adding some other outstanding blogs and sites to my blogroll over the past weeks and months, but we'll get to them later. Jeff is hot right now, and in the thick of it.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
I should also mention that about an hour or so ago I sent off an email to Indonesia in search of a good friend of mine down there named Donald P. Donald is one of “My Boyz” that you hear me refer to in my postings and emails and the young man (the Kid) is really like a son to me in several ways. That is not to say that I don’t have bright young women who are very close and special to me as well, ‘cause I do. Anyway, I haven’t heard from Donald since this disaster struck in Indonesia and I’m startin’ to get a little worried. Hopefully he will answer my email as soon as he can. If he follows that last little bit of advice I gave him before he left Germany to find work in Asia with his newly polished MBA degree, then Donald is in the midst of the disaster relief efforts workin’ his ass off to help his people in any way that he can.
And if by some tragic series of events he found himself front-and-center at the beach with a cold beer in his hand on December 26th enjoying his Christmas Holidays in Indonesia at the time the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis hit (very possible even though I think he is a Bhuddist), well then Dear God please bless his soul along with the 100,000’s coming your way. Make sure you put him in the American Section with the “Brothers” ‘cause that’s what Donald P. thinks he is___ an Indonesian Black Guy. Amen.
So here are some of the interesting links to Tsunami Disaster News and Relief efforts and even some educational stuff on quakes and tsunamis I wanted to share with you:
1. Rebbeca MacKinnon (former CNN Bureau Chief for Beijing and Tokyo) has a real nice article on her great blog Rconversation titled Tsunami news: blogs and wikis. Pay particular attention to her links to the Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog and to the Glenn Reynolds December 26th article at MSNBC news. As a matter of fact, try to read everything that Rebecca writes about blogging and media ‘cause it’s important what she has to say, being a professional journalist and a Fellow at Harvard Law's Berkman Center and all (I’m not kidding, here).
2. One of the web’s favorite wikis, Wikipedia, and its new little sister site Wikinews have some good encyclopedia resources on the scientific aspects of the quakes and tsunamis as well as news and disaster relief information. The Wikipedia is a very popular Open Information Project whereas the Wikinews site is rather new. Read the background history on these sites and try to use and follow them regularly if you can.
3. The BBC News of course has extensive coverage of the disaster and published an interesting artilce on the effects bloggers are having on information and relief efforts. Watchout for that Morquendi blog link though, for it looks a bit spooky. You may also notice those artilces under the Technology Section on blogs and bloggers, but we can get into that later for there is even better info available on “The Movement”. Here is a teaser for you though:
Technorati reports that 23,000 new blogs a day are being created; that is one new blog every 3 seconds! People got something to say in this world, I’m tellin ya.
4. If you haven’t been able to find those satellite images you’ve been seeing on television news programs, then go over to DigitalGlobe and check out their Quickbird image gallery on the tsunami disaster.
Well that’s enough for today. I’m hungry and I’m tired of looking into my PC monitor. Bye for now.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
The Children of the Sun
Photo by Ibbo, Mozambique 2001
"...and we shall hearby declare this new year 2005 as The Year of Hope!".
The Russians have an old wise saying that goes something like this, "Hope is the last thing to die". The new year 2005 should be a year of hope for many of us, making sure that the necessary hard work on all fronts gets done so that we can start turning things around in this world and making this a better place for everybody to live.
The kids above in the photo are just lovely, aren't they? Full of joy and dreams and hope for the future. Fortunately for them they have been born into a country which has brought an end to a terrible and long-running civil war, the country of Mozambique in southern Africa. From photos and video I have seen it seems to be a very beautiful country, and I want to thank Ibbo for this great shot of the kids. I gave the kids the handle "The Children of the Sun" for this posting.
The leaders and the people of Mozambique are on "the comeback trail" according to much that I have read last year in the various media, and that is wonderful. I also heard that Mozambique has made a financial assistance pledge to the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami victims for US$ 100,000.00. Now that is really something considering how badly the government of Mozambique needs money itself to help its own citizens with reconstruction and rebuilding. It goes to show you that some very smart people in Mozambique have got it right, in their heads and in their hearts.
Over the next few days I intend to post about some very interesting things going on in the Blogoshpere and the traditional media re: the tragic series of events following the Indian Ocean quake of December 26th. I think that you will enjoy it and gain a different perspective to boot.
In 2005 the Internet Rules the News! Power to the People is back in vogue and moving fast.