Saturday, 29 September 2007

This Weekend's Profile: Meet WRITER URSULA TROCHE

CONVERSATION with Ursula; Cheerful Poet/Writer of Consciousness

When Ursula Troche was only six years old growing in Löhne, a small German town she used to be upset by the way fellow school mates mistreated a young Turkish girl. They teased, bullied, called her names and did horrific things to her, but at that time Ursula did not understand what racial discrimination was. “I just felt emotional about it…” That crucial experience was the beginning Journey of Discovery and Human Awareness for this London based exuberant writer, photographer and singer who starts her PhD degree this season.


As I photograph her at north London’s beautiful Clissold Park, she is constantly referring to her Trinity philosophy. She always sees people in connection with each other. In her recent self published poems (“Embraceable”) she has a picture taken in Slovakia where the railway station designs reminds her of African painting. Being of Polish, Puerto Rican and German origins, she always sees things in that cultural tripod mix. As she talks and recites her new poem on Nelson Mandela's visit to unveil his statue in London, I realise that the world needs more individuals like this. Ursula is one of the most cheerful, carefree, optimistic ladies I have ever known, who no matter what, rarely moans about the weather, or goes into a self-pitiful trips and insists that “she prefers dealing with the good rather than the pain in us…”
Here follows our chat.
FM- I am going to start with a very taboo question. Many Germans I have met abroad are ashamed of the country’s horrible Nazi past, subtly embarrassed to reveal their origins….
Ursula- Perhaps I should write about a poem about that. I used to have a friend from Ghana who used to say many Africans are constantly trying to get rid of their accents here in Europe. It is not just Africans and Germans. In the days the Irish used to be called dogs here in England their accent was teased. Everyone has hang-ups. This is one of humanity’s major problems.
FM-Your writing is very honest and straightforward. No gimmicks…
Ursula – Writing honestly and straight to the point is almost a kind of survival technique. The system we live in is often so suffocating that the only real and lasting liberation one – or at least I – can find is by discussing all the subjects that the system neglects or distorts. I want to make space for and give opportunity for liberation.
FM-“Embraceable” has no ISBN number. Are you rebelling? It is such beautiful work
Ursula – I wish ‘Embraceable’ had an ISBN number. When I put it together, I found it too much hassle to get one. I should really do it, get it reprinted or, ideally, find a publisher for it.
FM-Most poets and authors start writing early. You seem to have begun late; after living in London for seven years.
Ursula- I had only really started in 1998 because in the previous year, I had finished my degree in Politics and African Studies. It was a conservative experience actually and while writing my essays I had to resist that. Then when the degree was over, I sort of continued my resistance with poetry. A motto then and now for me was ‘I write what I like’ (Steve Biko).

FM-There are 23 poems with certain re-occurring themes.
Dance, People, Race and Culture, Being female, Freedom and Responsibility.
Are these your major concepts?
You don't dwell on the usual predictable topics of young active women : personal love, feminist politics, etc. Are you above that?

Ursula- Yes, the themes in my booklet are definitely my typical themes because these are the themes that move me, upset me, inspire me: these are the themes I live with. If these are not the usual topics one would expect of a woman like me it’s because I don’t want to repeat what’s already been said or written about. Further I am looking for more depth and engagement when discussing what happens in society. So I have this urge to speak out in the way I do because sometimes it feels like nobody else does. I’ve been involved in debates around identity and all the things you’ve mentioned because it just sort of happens to me that way because these are my experiences.
My main concerns in life are to do my contribution to re-establish an equilibrium (i.e. equality) in society that has been missing for so many centuries. And many of us are suffering from the absence of this equilibrium. Here I want to show in particular how everybody can and should get active, how I as a white person and a foreigner relate to and engage with issues to do with race relations and why understanding, dialogue and some kind of Afro-centricity is necessary for untainted life.
FM-Are you a writer by choice or by accident?
Ursula- I am definitely a writer by choice. I may have started off ‘accidentally’ but I feel that, as I approach deeper levels of liberation and more urgent longings for a revolution, I will continue. Also I think that doing this sort of thing is the way I can contribute to the overall struggle for liberation, for humanity and harmony. This is my contribution and ever since I have enjoyed the discussions and friends I have made as a result of practising my approach.
FM-You have created and raised crucial historical issues in the “Overstayer-Without a Viza” poem.
“I sometimes think that of all the African peoples
To reach Europe
It must have been the Yorubas who arrived first
Because the words Yoruba and Europe sound so alike …”
You claim the word Europe comes from the Nigerian tribe word “Yoruba…” Where did you get this argument?

Ursula- Europe =Yoruba: whether it comes from my head or creativity? When I write I seem to be really inspired, so thoughts definitely come from a place beyond me but I pick them up and put them to paper. I am fully aware that these are unusual and unexpected issues, especially coming from somebody like me, but this is just why I find it so important: 1. to get people together, 2. to get them thinking along different lines, 3. to dismantle the hegemony of distorted thinking that is the cause of divisions and inequality.
FM-You say in your blurb that you do research on what you write. Which of the poems was researched in this collection?
Ursula-The poems weren’t researched as such. But my research is on the same topics. Beyond engaging with and initiating innovative debates, I also deal with the issues academically because I don’t want to miss opportunities to dismantle that hegemony of distorted thinking, as I had put it.
But before any research, all the issues I discuss just ‘come out of me’, simply because they are so important.

FM-You also sing, paint and do photography. Which is more important?
Ursula – I haven’t painted for long although I like it a lot and will come back to it when I have more time. Singing is something I’d like to do more. I do sing my poetry, so I have a partial outlet there. Photography is probably what I mostly do these days apart from poetry, because I like to catch the beauty of nature, the rhythms and harmonies of natural life.
FM-How many copies did you publish and how can readers get hold of this book?
Ursula– For a start I have only had 500 copies printed. I should start putting them into shops, because at the moment I am just distributing them myself. So I could be contacted. But let’s talk about it, I could leave some at Centre prise Bookshop in good old Dalston (East London) for example. Further poetry-collections are also planned.
Contact Ursula for readings or speaking engagements :
ursulatroche@yahoo.co.uk.
And if you are more curious about Ursula's writing please read here.

Read another recent Profile.

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Friday, 28 September 2007

Afro Jazz Jam in London Every Sunday



This flyer has been sent by Wala Danga the Limpopo promoter and DJ who for more than two decades ran the live music scene at the legendary Africa Centre in London till 2002. The Centre, which was opened by former Zambian President Keneth Kaunda in 1963, remains todate the biggest music venue historically in Europe. Here many of today's hottest acts, including Baaba Maal and Salif Kaita first performed. South Africa remains the epitome of African jazz music with such well known names such as pianist-composer, Abdullah Ibrahim. If you have been missing African Jazz, want to jam or just chill out, there it is for free every Sunday.
The Leonards Club is at 42 Northampton Road, EC1

More details email Wala: wala.danga@blueyonder.co.uk

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Thursday, 27 September 2007

Time for Bloggers to Help fight Internet Hoaxers...

There is this sad story of a chap who died recently.
In his last years he was a walking dustbin. He was picking stuff from litter, sleeping rough and mumbling to himself. A sorry sight. Prior to this deterioration I had met him a couple of times and he always showed me cuttings from international lottery brochures. They included photographs of ordinary men and women who previously poor were now wealthy so and so’s …spending holidays in huge private ships in the Caribbean, St. Lopez and Rio, like our celebrity stars and idols.
I will call him Mangi, which means Chief, in my native language, Kichagga.
Mangi thought he was a king in waiting, in other words he dreamt, walked, danced, jived and lived The Dream. It began in the mid-1990’s when he received through his letter box (in the days that spam tumbled through the door, nowadays called junk mail) Lottery letters from Hong Kong and Australia. All he had to pay was a mere Ten pounds to win 30 thousand million Dollars, tax free. Who wouldn’t want that kind of money? Even monks and the extremely religious would love it and hand it to charity. US$ 30,000,000 Tax free?
And how did I first meet Mangi?

The gorgeous, attractive wife of Mangi was sleeping with a friend of mine, who does not live in London anymore (in case you were wondering), and by the time Mangi was Sectioned and a spent case, they would openly attend functions as any other normal couple. She had given up hope with Mangi because ( he was past listening) and was spending all the money on the Australian and Hong Kong lottery; they were not even sleeping together, and she desperately wanted children and she was young and she was desperate and his ear was only glued to the lottery, the lottery, The Lottery…
In between these chimes and bells my pal introduced me to Mangi.
I was the instant friend.
“They think I am going crazy…” He confided.
“The world is so unfair, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is Freddy; they don’t believe in trying, in dreaming in winning.”( I was wondering who were They, but didn’t dare ask. Jittery folks are extra sensitive)
“Have you won anything, yet?”
He spread the sheets on the table. Lottery brochures. Many photographs of previous and current winners. Loads.
“Which one is yours?”
He sighed; tightened his lips “My time will come…”
“When?”
“Don’t doubt me Freddy. We will soon be eating with Bill Clinton (those were the pre-Bush years, before September Eleven), rocking to Mick Jagger and the Spice Girls.”
(We? Was I suddenly a Mangi too?)
As he bling bling blinged and blung blung blunged, his wife and the man who was shagging her behind his sorry ass made faces; it is still pitiful, painful panorama, recalling a decade later.
Of course Mangi the Chief never won anything and as times rolled by he wallowed further, diving deeper into the misfortune of paying, sinking into this dreadful international lottery scam.
Today these hoax lottery cons have penetrated the digital technology and as you all know it is getting more and more ferocious. It has meandered through well written spam emails telling stories about deposed world wide leaders. It sucks into topical tragedies and uses these sad events, to beg and exploit our conscience.
“Don’t share this secret with anyone, I only need your bank account to hide this money…”
Utter yak.
We all know these emails. Extending further than during the days of the late Mangi, back in 1997. Yahoo Mail winners, Spanish lottery, Amsterdam what not, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria…the desk of Ahmed Bello, the sister of former Ivory Coast Minister…Halleluyah!
The hoax letters are so ridiculous in their promises (that) it is an insult to our intelligence. The point is while those living in rich countries do not believe in this hype, it is the vulnerable poor from underdeveloped societies who are starting to believe in this ONGOING shit. I receive desperate emails (all the time). The other day a young Tanzanian student accused his uncle and parents of not helping him with a small loan to secure his sudden win.
“I have told them to just lend me 50,000 Tanzanian shillings; that I will repay them soon. What is 50 thousand shillings in front of 30 million Dollars?”
The poor boy believed he could liberate himself paying the inflation rigged East African Shilingi to win the American Dream. When Anne Lennox was singing about sweet dreams in the 1980’s she meant a Fighter's dream not this gangster led sour dreams.
I think it is time bloggers went on the case of this emotional blackmailing. This internet racket is exploiting the feelings of the poor and the vulnerable. Let us all help stop it.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Indifference to Ongoing Women World Cup In Beijing…

Another appropriate word is nonchalant.
As though it is not happening.
I always overhear women saying “I hate football”, “It is a men’s game!” or “I can’t stand those bands of blokes singing ugly songs, drinking beer, shouting and fighting.”
Fair enough. Football (soccer, in the USA), can be rough and recently some dreadful skirmishes were recorded at London’s King’s Cross station where 150 violent fans from the Arsenal –Tottenham match (the previous weekend) left a 38 year old man hospitalised. Daniel King, sports columnist with Mail on Sunday wrote “sorry to mention it but violence is back” in football. Such stories of course will continue to put women who dislike Pele’s beautiful game, off it.
This is, nevertheless, for me, the exception rather than the rule.

I have been to many football matches in various parts of the world (including Latin America and Europe) where soccer attendance consisted of many happy chanting families and children. It can be a special outing where you can really express yourself verbally. It is also a national cultural event whereby identity is the motive.
On Wednesday (tomorrow) the ongoing women’s world cup in Beijing China enters it’s semi-finals. I have been watching some of the matches and they have been excellent, magical. The standard of playing has been amazing, especially if you observe top class players from Norway, Germany, USA, Brazil and England. The model of playing contrary to those who think this is girlie football ( and I was one of them too) is as good as any man’s game. You cannot deny that Brazil’s mesmerising players Marta and Formiga and England’s Kelly Smith and captain Faye White are great entertainers and fantastic dribblers. The only thing that I found appalling was goalkeeping. So many goals conceded proved it to be the weakest link. Think of the Eleven goals netted against the Argentinean side by Germany during the early matches. Or Ghana being trounced by Australia, New Zealand by Brazil. Many goals, some of them pathetic at the keeper’s kitchen.
But that can be rectified as years go on. Otherwise, I thought the level of the game ( and I was watching one match with a lady who likes football, who agreed too) is really blossoming and the technique of goal control, team work, short and long passes, finishing touches, the goals; absolutely thrilling. Superb.
But what beats me, and this is the intention of this blog entry, is this. Why aren’t women bothered by the World Cup contest? Many times I have been puzzled by the lukewarm response, the surprise when I mentioned it.
“Did you see Marta last night?”
Who is Marta?
They don’t know Brazil’s top goal scorer (female FIFA's world best player)who has been dubbed Pele In A Skirt, or England’s Kelly Smith, the female Zinedine Zidane.
“You heard how Germany trounced Argentina eleven goals?”
What, where, which, when?
“You don’t know there is a Women’s World Cup going on in China?”
Shrug. Sigh. Pout. I don’t like football.
And then there is the media. Female columnists are not even mentioning the games. They are not commenting on the wonderful expertise and skills and beauty of their fellow female sports-ladies; they are not reacting. And the mainstream media itself is merely giving very little tiny brief reports of the matches. I am shocked by the lack of pictures, the absence of headlines. BBC television shows highlights of some of these matches in the dead of the night, usually midnight. Which is understandable because of the time zone difference ….(It was the same with the African Winners Cup in 2006)…However, if someone likes something they can video tape and watch it the next day.
Beats me.
And Then.
Why call football (soccer) a man’s game? Why football in particular? Why are all other sports (not excluding violent boxing), athletics, tennis and so on equally shared? What is the problem here? Yes. Many governments and countries have not put much in female soccer but that shouldn’t be the excuse if there are female football geniuses and stars and the games are entertaining and as good as any other championship ones. Kelly Smith herself said in an interview that when she was younger she used to be discouraged from playing by both females and males. Perhaps that is part of the answer.
And.
When we hear equal rights and emancipation what does it mean exactly?

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Sunday, 23 September 2007

This Weekend's Profile...


Michael Nicholas Camera Man from Denmark
And...Why we cant live without Photographers



I just said Michael Nicholas is from Denmark, but he has only been there for a couple of years. I knew Michael when we were part of a fabulous teenage gang called the Gringos growing on the highlands of East Africa. Most kids stuck together because they came from similar ethnic roots or communities but we were different. We were sporty and adventurous. We came from sparse, varied backgrounds and none of us was similar to the other. Even the Spanish word “Gringos” which is used in Latin America for “foreigners” was not adopted consciously. We took it probably to assert our own special (teenage) world that we had created.


Michael was one of the very few mixed race kids at Ilboru Secondary School as such was subtly teased. All sorts of names were used to poke fun at mixed race youngsters: Coloureds. Machotara. Mulatos. Tshombe. Mzungu. Kaburu. Neither fish nor flesh. Half-castes. I find it appalling that today many people still apply this medieval, dinosaur word: Half-caste. The brilliant Guyanese poet John Agard asks in his poem “Halfcaste” whether when light and shadow mix in the sky it is a half caste weather.
Good question. It is the abhorring caste system in India which contributed to this terrible vocabulary that stems from the inhuman class system that is till prevalent there.


....In Gringos, Michael found safe haven, identity, heaven. In Gringos there was no discrimination. We loved fashion. Bell-bottoms. Fun and Girls. Motown. Soul music. The 1970’s. We danced to James Brown music; we were stylish and watched movies during weekends. We did well academically too.


Michael Nicholas was cool, always with something nice to say to folks; a female at his side, witty, intelligent.
I quote one of his poems to a lucky girl:
"It looks so smooth,
When you shake your hips,
With that move,
Makes me want, to prove,
That you are,
My lady..."

Fast forward 37 years later.
Working in ships, having travelled a lot, a father; in his spare time, the camera a formidable companion. Check out few samples from a large collection of unseen footage.




.

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Friday, 21 September 2007

MY YEAR'S FAVOURITE FILM : BABEL...

Written by Guillermo Arriaga
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Both guys did Amor Es Perros (2000) and 21 Grams (2003).
Producers : John Kilik and Steve Golin. Year 2006.
“Babel” means bedlam which is “confusion” or “total madness” in Spanish.
For me it is the best portrayal of contrasts in a film; from extreme poverty to extreme richness plus has a Hollywood mega star, Brad Pritt.
Let me start by saying I am shocked by the bad reviews Babel received. I am not going to cite them for that will highlight their content. My intention is not to review other reviewers but celebrate something that I think is underrated and quite beautiful.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Unpleasant Experiences…


Maybe I should title this The Theme of Ruthlessness; but, that is too one sided. Experiences are there to remind us.
Unpleasant incidents are teachers. Judges. Saints. Jugglers.
They come and go. They shall always B there.
So I pleaded. He said NO!
I ridiculed him. He didn’t FLINCH!



I turned to my friend the camera and snapped hoping to remember the occasion. Posterity.
He said calmly : “ I will take yours, too.”
That got me thinking of a rock, a cliff, a wall which you puSH and end up hurting your own SHoulders.
Slippery eel.

I could only wallow in self pity and philosophy: “What comes around goes around…”
Ever spat to the sea?
Spit to the ocean and your tiny, tiny speck is nothing to the gargantuan distance of waters, it is consumed. Sucked by a larger family of liquids.
“I am just doing my job,” He muttered, going away, leaving, carrying my anger, venom, frustration…
He smacked me with a packing ticket, 80 pounds (160 Dollars) in total, REDUCTION OF 50% IF PAID WITHIN 14 DAYS…

It was like this.
Sunny Tuesday afternoon, September 18th, 2007. I am in Clissold Park jogging and exercising, the sun is shining; it is still very green; early Autumn.
I parked, paid £2 for an hour.
Finished and sweaty, I was about to drive off when I saw this crow pouncing on a pigeon. A rare scene. No sooner was I about to snap, than the crow had a change of mind ( or so, assuming )…I was left with a pigeon and some purple flowers.
Then I turned to see the man in uniform sticking a ticket fine on my vehicle.
“Hey!”
I am running now. Desperation. I was just by the corner. Please.
“Even if it is ONE minute, you still get it, mate…”
He was busy scribbling.
We are living in the era of clicking buttons. Starts from simple things- like text messages, ending relationships via emails; downloading the good and the bad, to buttons that are switched to shock, awe and bomb. Done. Nuclear age. Done. Terrorism.

Around us curious onlookers watched, a bloke shook his head in sympathetic, bewildered, exasperation as the parking attendant scooped out his camera and started snapping the car and me. I read a sentence on the Penalty Charge sheet that screamed on the machine’s windshield:
“Photography may be used for evidence purposes…”
(In case a driver refuses to pay. But I wasn’t refusing. I was merely requesting consideration; circumstantial conditions…)
He won.
I got the fine. Ruthlessness won.
They get quotas, it is not just about right or wrong, a passing Lady reminded.
“You may publish me in your Book…put me in your Website. " The Man declared strolling away.
Wrong Words, Tough Guy.
B L O G.

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Sunday, 16 September 2007

A Saturday Afternoon with Mariam...

This Weekend's Profile

Mariam has that "rare something" that photographers love. She does not have to pose or prepare for the shot.


Mariam's body, eyes, vibes, countenance, rhythm, manner and moods...all sink, swim and dance with the camera. She doesn't have to do anything. It is all there given to her by nature's creation. Light and shadows are her mates.



Mariam does not have to dress too much (it is like those folks who do not have to speak too much to prove they are right) She has that "hard to find" magic you see in the clouds; in a glass of milk, in dew, in trees, in your happiest hour; in someone's infectious jokes that make you laugh.
Something.
Do you remember the song?


And....

Mariam hails from Uganda, in East Africa surrounded by Lake Victoria. It is no wonder this place is called the pearl of Africa. A pearl is a unique gem.




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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

The Fly


came in to feed on our leftovers
what you call dirty, rubbish, junk, garbage
is someone else's FOOD
your joy could be somebody else's
pain, pain, PAIN....

and so !
the fly well fed and satiated
wants to leave our beautiful kitchen
our home is suddenly his prison
as he yells and buzzes and flies
around the white bulb...


your sanctuary could be
someone else's agony, agony , AGONY
and somebody else's depression may
be your wasted time, wasted time, wasted time

and so...
we chased her out!
while the dark cold outside waited;
we limbered in the headache she was creating
get out, get out, we shouted...

the three of us scuffling with brooms
towels, newspapers to kick the menace out! Out! OUT !

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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A Cameroon Busker in London...


According to the dictionary, a busker is a person who entertains for money in public places. I once heard an elderly Englishman declaring boldly prior to an event that wasn’t well organised. “Let us just busk it…” meaning we shall improvise or take it by ear (as it comes, so to speak).

If you live in London, busking might visually mean playing music in underground train stations (tubes) and nowadays buskers are treated decently with well positioned spots. Many years ago I was on tour in the UK and for few days had to busk because of a few cancelled gigs. One thing you should know.
Busking can be lucrative and I would make a minimum of fifty pounds in a couple of hours. I was playing my Berimbau in one of the tube stations when two police men knocked on my heaven’s door.
“You Nigerian! Get your bow and arrow away from here. Can’t you see the sign?”
Those were the Thatcher days. It was illegal to do street music. Busking was in demand and it was liked, nevertheless. That’s why commuters always throw money at you.
Music has always been a healing force; and for someone coming from work it is always good to be soothed and cheered by a catchy tune. Today buskers are screened before making this arranged noise.
Last week I was ambling out of the Liverpool tube station and picked up a peculiar African guitar sound. It is rare to hear African music unless you are in markets or certain neighbourhoods where Africans are partying. It was distinct and there I was snapping photos of none other than Mr. High Blood Consultant from Cameroon. He was perched on a stool strumming and selling his CD with a surprising title: “Tribute to Princess Diana.”

I have always been a sucker for music from Cameroon. The bug caught me in the days of Manu Dibangu’s international “Soul Makossa” bash back in the 1970’s followed by San Fan Thomas album hit of the 1980’s…which was so good you still hear it on African dancing floors. Cameroonians have this distinct sound and their hits are everlasting. Recently a song that has become the darling of African jiggle is “Wago.” Someone told me the composer is Cameroonian. Wrong or right, I wouldn’t be dumbfounded.
Anyway, back to the Liverpool street entertainer.
Mr. High Blood Consultant’s lullabies were mainly in English and all about the subject of love. First? Loss.
“We hope you rest in perfect peace” (Tribute to Diana); “Oh mother you seem so far away.” (Oh Mother).
Newfound love. “I was lonely until you came along” and “I wish you stay forever.”(Angela). Then, Frankness. “I am not rich yet you love me. I cannot understand why you love me.” (Track Three).
One up beat track was in Bamileke (Cameroon dialect).
I was astonished at the absence of French lyrics; suggesting perhaps this artist is trying to find acceptance in the elusive, Anglo-American rock and roll market. Some of us are always trying to do that. But the successful stars don’t. I am talking of Youssou Nd’our and Selif Keita, for instance, who always sing in their mother tongues.
Legend has it that some musicians were discovered while busking.
I am not sure about this particular busker’s chances, but what I liked was his frankness. Tell me. What more do you want from a singer- songwriter if not a genuine heart? Isn’t that what made great music in the past?
His email? meguen2ko@yahoo.co.uk.

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Sunday, 9 September 2007

Why Blogging Is Important to Us All...

WE want to shine "light on places and people other media always ignore.."
What a quote.
It comes from a non profit organisation called Global Voices and you know what? I met it's co-editor last Friday afternoon.

The lunch was fantastic. The talk was great. The ocassion... beautiful. So many adjectives.... because it was about blogging and writing.
After a one hour chat, it was camera time. Yes the visitor to London was none other than GV co-Editor, Solana Larsen, third left. To share the moment was Paula Góes, Brazilian blogger / GV Portuguese translator (second left) and Saidi Yakubu, BBC-Swahili London broadcaster and blogger from Tanzania, first right. Recognise the guy with red pants and a grin?
Global Voices is based in the legendary Harvard Law School at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, USA.

Saidi, shares food and talk with Paula and Solana. All three run some active blogs and are keen to make Global Voices' crucial, monumental work succeed.


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The I Don't Give A Damn Attitude




My friend, do you care?
The other day I heard the BBC weather chap joking about the climate under going some identity crisis. I laughed but then realised I was laughing at my own reflection in the mirror…

How much you care about anything is not measured by how well you work or how many times you go to say your prayers in a church or a mosque.
This is my personal opinion, anyway.
Care is about very tiny, tiny things. Saying thanks, saying hello, letting someone pass (whether on foot or while driving)… the less your ego is on the way, the more you care.
Still talking of caring; let us pause at hygiene. Is it enough to have a bath twice a day, shave or do your hair, go to the manicurist, dangle the best perfume for all others to smell...? Tell us, please.
How well you dispose that un-finished food, how you care about waste, the community, the environment. Being a good guy or a beautiful lady is not merely about purchasing the greatest looking car, latest model tri-phone, i-phone, milli-phone, E-products, music gadgets, groovy songs…
Where did you dispose the used batteries from your house, your camera, your dildo, cigarette butts and packs, beer cans, condoms, your baby's nappies, plastic bags…
How much do you care?


Yes.
I agree.
You do love animals and will fight against their injustice; yet each time your pet shits on the pavements, you don’t clean it up. And alas! When human kids come rattling down this path, their hands, feet and bikes will (gladly) tramp and smear on the rubbish you left. Look at the very first picture on top and imagine a smear of that dog's stool and the flies on your shoes or hands...
Do we all care for one thing but are blind to another? Many years ago I heard the magnificent London poet, Adisa, saying, Balance, was his most favourite word. I agreed with Adisa. I still agree with him. You cannot only love yourself and be blind to everything else. If you don’t care about our streets and our earth then you don’t really give a damn about our life, with a capital L.
Big habits come from small habits, I read that in some toilet grafitti somewhere.






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Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Olodum from Bahia, Brazil.


You know what?

One of the most famous percussion bands in the world, if not the most known, is Olodum from Bahia, Brasil. At the time this photo was taken in 1992, in Liverpool, England; Olodum would perform with over thirty percussionists. It was after American musician Paul Simon released the album “Rhythm of the Saints” which had a mesmerising tune played by Olodum, “Obvious Child.” Before that Olodum was mostly known in Brasil but this record introduced them to the rest of the world. Today, they are an institution.

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Saturday, 1 September 2007

This Weekend's Profile...

A small incident called Feeding and Dying. Life is funny, life can be tough; but this word, life, also means, struggle.
Honesty. Struggling is honest.
The struggle.
When Charles Darwin said survival of the fittest, he coined not just a phrase of the century but a life-old, statement. Even God would nod in agreement : “One of my children did say something honest.”
And so…

I am passing by. I hear kids screaming and yelling. What the heck. Youngsters always scream at the most minute things. It was... getting hysterical.
“Boris caught a mouse!”
This cat is always placid. I have seen him around. Lazy chap. Always mister nice guy.
Breaking News. There he was! Prancing, biting, checking the straggling creature. Yes, straggling…
“He is only teasing her.”
“How do you know it is a she?”
Kids question the most minute things. “The mouse is dead.”
“No he is not.”
“It…”
It?”
“Oh yeh. We don’t know whether it is a he or a she.”
That’s right kids.
The mouse was playing dead.
Playing dead is a skill of survival. In war soldiers do it. It is documented throughout history. Mice are intelligent, that is why they are used in experiments.
“Oh, yes! The mouse is running away!”
You could tell whose side (David or Goliath?) the youngsters were on.
Now Boris the cat was coolly observing, paws ready, ears terse and tense, at the small, grey-black creature, trying to bolt, under the green grass, making a last dash.
The kids jumped and hollered.
Whiskers slightly flicking, as if un-disturbed, the feline animal trailed along, tail wagging, undeterred, ever ready…we were witnessing the master hunter in action.
And this is the theme of this piece. Calling it heroism is wrong, because heroes are fighters ; they wage war for a good cause, to save someone, help the drowning, the suffering and losers and victims. And life?
Life is always about winning. Against odds. A streak that causes strife. Road rage. Divorce and skirmishes. Lying down or standing up. Suicide or Victory. Either, or.
Cat is looking at his meal, mouse( he or she) is sniffing death; live or die. Of course Boris had his meal, the kids were so surprised. That is the calamity, the conclusion; inference and nexus.
“He ate her !”
“Not her… He ate it!”
Depending on where you are in the world, hunting (it)….is....
about somebody else’s food and the other’s funeral. There will always be wars and conquests. I don’t think I should call Boris the cat, a hero. What is it they say, sometimes? Anti-hero? Even that is too easy. You decide....



















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