Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Congolese Bloggers of Note

I am still in the midst of our Stategic Plan as outlined in my March 17th posting Wir machen eine Pause but I could not resist making a brief mention about two young people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C., formerly Zaire). Actually, there are many more people I have discovered lately who are doing excellent work in the Blogosphere but I want to start with these two first.

The blog titled The Salon of News and Thought is designed and authored by Ali (aka The Malau) who in addition to holding down a full-time job back in Ohio U.S.A. is providing news and commentary on issues that affect Africa and the world. I've watched him work online in the wee hours of the morning (there is a 7 hour time differential between Germany and Ohio) to get articles out to his blog. It is worth your time to pay a visit to "Le Salon" to see what's up. His latest piece on the new Draft Consitution of the D.R.C. is a must read for anyone interested in learning about the political processes at work in one of Africa's most important and also most neglected nations: the Congo (excluding Congo-Brazzaville).

The second blog of note is titled The Exiled Afrikan designed and authored by Carine who like her protogeé Ali hails from the D.R.C. Carine lives and studies on the other side of the Atlantique in London, England and she is yet another hard-working young woman in the Blogosphere covering a variety of topics of interest inside and outside of Africa. Unlike Ali of course she has that "woman's touch" as she approaches and discusses certain topics and it is interesting to juxtaposition the writings of the two. Both authors help to enrich my knowledge of Africa and how Africans view the world that we all live in. Here is Carine's piece on the new Draft Constitution of the D.R.C. Carine also writes about technology subjects and is often busy with the software coding and scripting of her Wordpress powered blog. She considers herself a "low-ranking Nerd" but in reality she is much sharper about technology than she admits (online) which delights me to no end. I am and have always been interested in and supportive of women working in the field of science and technology, but that's another story for another day.

One of the biggest thrills for me is to be able to read and communicate online with Carine and Ali and gain insights into the thoughts and ideas of people from "Francophone Afrique" in a way that I cannot get by reading second-hand and third-hand reports from various other sources. There are people from Francophone African countries around me here in Germany but they are not writing and speaking out about global issues like these two unfortuantely.

My French language skills are rather weak and both Ali and Carine are writing in excellent English so that is a real "bonbon" for us "Je ne sais what?" Franglais speakers.UPDATE March 30th: I have removed from the original version of this posting my vicious backhanded attack against the French. However, I reserve the right in all future postings to fire away at the French at will. I just do not like these.....

Now as I was saying there are more young writers (and some not so young anymore) that I would love to point out today but we have decided to post little bits of info at a time to this blog for awhile. Tonto and I are very nervous this week 'cause we are expecting our new baby and we have to get ready with everything for the arrival. Should be here anyday now, coming all the way from Texas and we are just sitting on pins-and-needles over here.

Update March 30th: She is here, our new baby is here!! Took a quick look at her yesterday over in the nursery (the Lab). Beautiful, great lines and a smart hardware design and construction. Fast engine, very fast. Can't wait to give her a final tuning and then take her out for a Spin on the Net. Thanks Michael (Dell).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

...a word from your local missionary

You didn't think I was gonna let you go that easy right before Easter, did you?? Nah, never.

What would have happened back in the 16th Century if the explorers, merchants, and missionaries were able to blog information back home from Africa, the Americas, and Asia? It would have been even more disastrous than what history has already shown us, that's what.

Even more interesting, what would have happened if the indigenous peoples of these lands could have comunicated with one another (over the Net) that some invaders had just showed up with boats and guns and swords and some cheap glass beads?? We might have had a whole 'nother deal going down on Earth today, oder? Or maybe we would just have a mirror image of the same bad deal, or worse.

Meet Sahel Steve of the blog Voice in the Desert and Keith Smith of Under the Acacias. And as an extra-special added attraction just for the Easter Holiday check out Keith's photography of the Fulani people of Burkina Faso and his other photo sets at Flickr. Two modern day missionaries doing good things for the people of Africa from what I can see and read on their blogs.

Prayers (from Ingrid) and pictures of Africa (from Keith) for Easter 2005. What more could one ask from the Old Eagle at Jewels in the Jungle? Happy Easter, folks. Thanks for stopping by.

An Easter Message for 2005 plus...

For all of my readers and blogger buddies who are fortunate enough to be able to celebrate the Easter Holiday with family and friends, I hope that you have a fine weekend and plenty of time to thank God for all of the blessings bestowed upon you and others. That goes for all of you who are not around family during these high holy days of the Christian faith as well.

Nowhere in the Christian Bible (or in any religion's Book of Faith) does it say that following the path of rightousness will be an easy sojourn. As a matter of fact I think it says just the opposite. Nonetheless I hope that many of us pray in earnest for guidance, and peace on Earth, and the courage to overcome our many fears so that we may do better to help others in need, no matter their faith or race or nationality or whatever.

Here is a nice little message from the New York Newsday God Squad team, the Rabbi Marc Gellman and Msgr. Thomas Hartman. I also found a nice little explanation of how the Date of Easter has been calculated over the centuries from the U.S. Naval Observatory.

I know that I should just leave it at that, but I cannot resist bringing you up-to-date on the latest "Crusade" by the infidels out in California in the YAHOO! camp. Just when we bloggers thought that we had everything under control concerning our online communication tech toolbox YAHOO! decides to do this and this and this. I hear they are rounding out the assault on Google and MSN (Microsoft) by bumping up the free YAHOO! Mail storage capacity to 1GB next month to boot.

And you thought there was no such thing as a free lunch anymore. Now if we could just get them to drop the (unwanted) advertising stuff we might just be on a roll here.

Update: Ooops! Had to go back and correct the spelling on the word "infidel". Hope that I have it right now. Hat tip to the brave bloggers in Iraq featured in this USA Today article "Iraqis enjoy new freedom of expression on Web journals".

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Red Lake Reservation Massacre

Many of my readers from around the world have no doubt seen or heard about the terrible massacre of young high school students, a teacher, a security officer, and two senior citizens by a deranged teenager on the Native American reservation at Red Lake, Minnesota. It is yet another tragic reminder to the people of the United States of America that we have some serious, serious problems with gun violence in our own country and that the time is long overdue to pass and enforce laws that severely restrict access to and use of firearms by ordinary citizens. Our Constitution does not guarantee ordinary citizens the right to bear arms and blow each other’s heads off because somebody has had a bad day. That is not what the authors of the 2nd Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution meant, or is it?

I’m certain for many of us (Americans) this rampage of murder and violence is sad, painful, and disgraceful. It is especially tragic and sad for the people of the Chippewa nation who live in and around the beautiful Red Lake area in the State of Minnesota. We as a nation are many times far too eager to point out and criticize the violence in other societies around the world without first reviewing how violent our own cities, small towns, and sovereign lands of our own native peoples have become over the past decades. As the President and his administration are focusing on the War on Terror abroad they had better make damn sure they don’t take their eyes off the ball regarding violent crime and law and order at home.

In order to supplement the MSM (mainstream media) sources for news on this story, I thought it would be nice to share with you other sources I read from today. The first is from an online news and information portal owned and operated by Native Americans themselves named
Indian Country Today. Here is the link to an article written by the staff journalist David Melmer. As you read down through the article you will note that the community of Red Lake is no stranger to turmoil and violence. I would bookmark the site Indian Country Today for future reference and to learn more about how Native Americans view life today on the continent.

I found a good article with photos about Red Lake at the
Grand Forks Herald online. The Herald’s staff writer Stephen Lee leads into his story with words that aptly describe the natural beauty and wonders of “Indian Country” in America’s Far North Woods:

An eagle soared high overhead as sage smoke drifted northwest over a circle of hundreds of people gathered at noon…” and he continues further down in the article with “…many of them craned their necks and shaded their eyes against the noonday sun to the watch the bird, sacred to Indians.”

And for you budding online citizen journalists (bloggers) and pro journalists alike out there who think that you can just march onto the sovereign territory of Native Americans and do what you like with your cameras and tape recorders I would have you pay very close attention to this article by Joshua Freed of the Associated Press titled “
Journalists covering Red Lake shooting find different rules”. Here are brief excerpts from his story featured in the Duluth News Tribune:

Police in this Indian reservation town have set strict limits on the journalists trying to cover the nation’s deadliest school shooting since 1999…” and it goes on to say “Reporters and photographers were coralled in the parking lot of the reservation jail on Tuesday…”.

Well, so much for freedom of the press and the 1st Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is Indian Country (paleface) and the Tribe calls the shots on this land. Sometimes we (Americans) forget that, don’t we now? That should slowdown the hungry media herd in the United States for awhile so that these people can come to terms with this tragedy in their own traditional ways.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wir machen eine Pause

My Goodness! What’s going on over at Blogger’s Tech Farm? This application hasn’t been running right for days. Get it together guys (and girls). Darn.
Tonto and I have decided that we have reached an important “breakpoint” with our blog Jewels in the Jungle. This means that if we don’t get some other very important work done that has been piling up for months things are going to start breaking down all over the place around us here.

Therefore, we have come up with a 5-point Strategic Plan for our blog:

1. Reduce the number of postings for a while and speak up (write) only when we have something very important to say or share. This of course will not work.

2. Clean up our room and change our pajamas (just kidding). Reduce the work backlog and complete all major technology-related tasks and security issues that we have been putting off until tomorrow. The Net is getting dangerous! The time to lockdown the fort and upgrade our network defenses is Now. This will take a while and cost a lot but it will be worth it. I suggest you review your own IT security as well, particularly the part that connects to the Internet.

3. Think about where we would like to go with this blogging experiment in the near future and review our original plan (what plan?) to see how we got so far off track. Find the problem(s), fix them, and get back into the groove as soon as possible. This means we will be studying other people’s blogs and reading what the real experts in the field have to say and then we will be back “Loaded for Bear”.

4. Get help with our writing skills and character development, ‘cause we need it. This could be “Mission Impossible” but let’s see what happens. Maybe we should hire somebody to author our postings? (Hire 'em cheap, of course).

5. Get (free) psychological counseling for starting a blog in the first place.

So, that’s our New Strategic Plan. We will be paying close attention to our favorite blog authors in the meantime and making trouble in their Comments Section as usual. Of course we will continue to be available (off-blog) for our fellow blogging buddies and some readers. Always at your service as long as it don’t cost us anything.

We thank our readers and fellow blog authors for being so supportive of our humble efforts over the past 10 months and promise to be back up-to-speed ASAP. In the meantime, give ‘em heck out there and keep the bad guys on the run!

TONTO: “Man, we got passed over again at the Annual Bloggies Awards for 2005. Not even an Honorable Mention. Nothing!”

BRE: “What? How could that happen? What about all of those fake nominations we sent in? Do you think we were ignored and passed over just because we’re black??”

TONTO: “What you mean We, black man?”

Ciao for now folks.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Is it CeBIT Time Again??

Yep. It's CeBIT 2005 in Deutschland which means that about a half million idiots like me are focused on the latest and greatest technology gadgets from about 6,300 exhibitors all claiming to be the "world's leading technology company" in their respective fields...all chomping at the bit to get your money. Well, a handful of the companies make it worth the trip and we don't have to worry about finding a hotel down in Hannover (the correct German spelling, 2 n's not 1 n).

So, this gives me a much needed break from posting to my blog and an opportunity to see what's up with other "abnormal" people working with technology. You can read all about the show in this eWeek article, and note the little treat in the sidebar titled "Webloggers' Influence Cause Need for Regulation" by Chris Nolan ( a blog author by the way). I'm tellin' you the "Federales" are on to us all over the planet and they're gonna start crackin' down hard. Direct orders from the big dogs in the global publishing and electronic media business and nervous despots and dictators in various countries around the world.

Tonto and I will be back in the Blogosphere sometime next week (we hope) with some new ideas and tech tools and gadgets to share with you... like TV studio-grade video streaming tools for your blog and stuff like that. Really dangerous stuff to put into the hands of the "slobbering mob crying for blood" as some nervous journalists and media critics like to refer to us. In the meantime, keep firing away fellow blog authors 'cause I think we got the bad guys on the run. Ciao for now.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

International Women's Day 2005

Today is the worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day, an event that all too often goes totally unnoticed by men out there (Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you buddy! You with that dumb expression written across your face).

Now anyway as I was sayin’, today is International Women’s Day and this celebration has been around for quite some time, since 1911 to be exact. There were a whole bunch of events and protests and marches organized by women in different parts of the world dating back to the 1800’s that layed the groundwork for this celebration of women’s rights and contributions to HUMANKIND, not just MANKIND, but contributions for all human beings.

Two of my favorite bloggers, Ingrid and Mshairi, have got the day covered in their postings and if you call yourself a modern, well-informed, member of the male human species then trot on over to their blogs and checkout what they have written for today. I’ve added a couple of links from sites I use to monitor news and information on women’s rights and issues for my readers as well. If you take the time to read some of this over the next several days and weeks you may come to realize that International Women’s Day is not some joke. The terrible plight of women and girls around the world has never been a laughing matter and it is especially serious and dire for them in these days and times we are living.

Following are two of my favorite “quotes of the day” borrowed from Mshairi's 1st posting. She is one of the many hard-working and outstanding women writers out there in the Blogosphere.

“African women in general need to know that it's O.K. for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.”
Dr. Wangari Maathai – 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

“If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it.”
Sojourner Truth (1797-1893) – former American slave, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist

Here is a link to the famous “Aint I a Woman” speech Sojourner Truth delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio U.S.A. Here is a link to her narratives and history from the University of Minnesota’s Voices from the Gaps – women writers of color project.

Ingrid’s Intl. Women’s Day posting “2 Wheels of a Chariot
Mshairi’s Intl. Women’s Day postings: Nr.1 and Nr.2
United Nations Development Fund for Women UNIFEM-CSW site
UNIFEM’s Noeleen Heyzer commemorating Intl. Women’s Day 2005
U.N. official homepage for International Women’s Day 2005
UNESCO’s project 20 Films to Celebrate Intl. Women’s Day 2005

Have a nice day, Ladies.

I just could not resist sharing a fine piece of writing by the outstanding blog author Molotov of Booker Rising that highlights the contributions to women's rights made by the Somali-born Member of Parliament for The Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We here in Europe may well remember the brutal assasination of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam last year and the subsequent death threats by Islamic extremists to this young, vibrant, and outspoken Parliamentarian which forced her into hiding for over 2 months. Ms. Molotov, a self-proclaimed libertarian feminist hailing from the great midwestern capitol Chicago, Illinois has provided her readers with a link to an excellent article by journalist Kay Hymowitz "The Sisters They Ignore" published March 08, 2005 in The Australian. Be sure to visit Booker Rising's March 8th postings to read and enjoy Molotov's analysis and commentary on a wide variety of issues. Another good example of an outstanding woman author working hard for us all out there in the Blogosphere.

P.S. ...and she likes to use the contraction "ain't" sometimes just like I and Sojourner do. Love it! I've been putting the doggone apostrophe in the wrong place though. Mrs. Smith (my 3rd grade teacher) would whack my knuckles for making that kind of mistake, then whack me again for using the word "ain't" in the first place because she knows that I know better than to use that word.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

African Film & Television Festival - FESPACO 2005

African Film & Television Festival - FESPACO 2005
Graphic design by Nur Eldine


I did a little piece on the Pan African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) the other day that was tagged onto the end of a posting about the OSCARS 2005. As I was cruising the Africa sector of the Blogosphere today (a sector which includes a heap of excellent, non-African, I don’t give a d--- what color you are, blog authors by the way) I noticed that the FESPACO festival in Burkina Faso is getting a lot of coverage. I have already written that Owukori at the Black Looks blog did a real nice review on the festival and I noticed that Ethan Zuckerman picked up on it a few days back as well on his blog.

To be honest I have never heard of the FESPACO festival until this month, but when it comes to cinema and film festivals I just don’t take enough time to enjoy them as much as I would like. Actually if it were not for my (adopted) 13-year old nephew Adama asking me to see the latest (action) films with him here in Germany (auf Deutsch, naturlich), the last film I would have seen on my own would probably be titled “The Inferno - Cavemen Discover Fire!” starring Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

Anyway the FESPACO festival is a really hot and a very important bi-annual event for the filmmaking industry in Africa and for African filmmakers living and working outside of the continet. Therefore I am including some additional links to online resources about FESPACO 2005 for my readers. There must be a better way to get the films in front of international audiences without having to rely on the cinema industry and studio moguls in the U.S.A. and Europe. By the time these Bozos wake up and get on board the filmmaking train in Africa we’ll all be dead and gone.

FESPACO official website
FESPACO Paul Robeson Award website
BBC World Service
FESPACO 2005 special feature
Google News on FESPACO 2005 film festival
CSM article “Wanted at Africa’s biggest film festival” by Mike Crawley


"...and the winner of this year's Stallion of Yennenga grand prize is (a hush falls over the audience): DRUM by South African film director Zola Maseko!". A big congratulations to all of the contenders for this year's prizes, and especially to the South Africans who made such a strong showing this year and walked off with the goods. Hey, US$20,000.00 bucks grand prize money is a start, O.K.? Excellent, the first non-Francophone country award winner since 1989.

Now how do the international audiences around the world who would love to see many of the films in this great festival get their hands on the product? Is Danny Glover going to take care of the film distribution? I am delighted that he chose to attend and support the FESPACO film festival, but where were all of his rich and famous friends from Hollywood and New York?

You know in today's world success in business belongs to the fast and the fearless, or was that the fleet and the furious? Nonetheless, the answer to Africa's film distribution woes might be found in this article hidden deep in the Technology section of Reuters news titled "African films go digital to buck the system".

Black River Eagle: "Tonto, give me the telephone number to the CEO of Blockbuster. Nah wait a minute, get me the CEO of Walmart instead and pronto. I can smell a few greenbacks gonna get made here. And get our lawyer on the phone too to stop those guys in ...."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Malaysian blogger Jeff Ooi taken in for questioning. Who's next?

Global Voices Online

Uh Oh! More trouble in the Blogosphere Down Under Sector and I don't mean in Australia. Jeff Ooi,
Malaysian blogger extraordinaire, has been taken in for "questioning" by government authorities yesterday re: postings and reader comments appearing on his blog out of KL.

Check out the story posted by Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center - Harvard Law School
on February 28th to his own blog and to the Global Voices Online blog. This makes for some very interesting reading for blog authors and their lawyers. What, you don't have a lawyer and you are posting to the Blogosphere? You might want one after reading this.

Update March 3rd:
Here is a link to Dan Gillmor's take on the Jeff Ooi story, titled "Thought Police in Malaysia - and America". Now the heavyweights of the Blogosphere are weighing in. Coooool.

Who's next? Bahrain is next, that's who (err, where I mean). Hey, we're on a roll this week with arresting bloggers around the world. Read this story about the three moderators of Bahrainonline presently in deep joghurt over in the Sun & Fun capitol of the Gulf States. News story courtesy of Rebecca MacKinnon at Rconversation blog, of course.