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Archive for February, 2007

Random Quote

I was walking past a few men huddled in a corner when i heard one of them say:

…Try to find the good even in the bad

My ears caught it and it never left me from that day on. On the way home, it was all I thought about – how could you find good in the bad. If it is already bad, how could something possess some goodness?

But then upon closer scrutiny one realizes that there might be a good in the bad – as the terms “good” and “bad” only signify goodness and badness of something based upon the perception of the person who deems it good or bad. Another person might perceive differently, of course, and see some good in the bad and some bad in the good or negate both. Does this make sense? It’s like the word “beautiful” – what might be beautiful to one might be ugly to another and vice versa! it is only relative in what context it is said in and the sentiments – how passionate the person feels about the object of his perception.

Have you come across certain words that you’ve heard quite randomly, yet made you think though they did not concern you at all?

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As the children went to assembly, I retained D, a young black child, behind to help him with his Maths as he was struggling a bit with it. On the course of the 15-minute session, as we went through multiplication by chunking, we discussed a whole range of topics from his favourite football team, to his favourite film, to what he did on the weekend, to cartoons, etc. And then an unusual subject cropped up:

“I’ll get you a DVD, Mr Said, what film do you want? He said.
“Isn’t it a little expensive, D? I replied thinking how he could get hold of one.
“No, I’ll get you a pirate one,” came back a casual answer
“You watch Pirate DVD’s? You know it’s illegal right D?

He laughs.
Pause.
Laughs again.

“I once stole a DVD from the China-man,” he says with a smile
“You stole a DVD? How?”
“I was looking at it and the Police came after him, so I put it in my bag”
“And you went home and watched it?”
“Yeah”
“What did your mom say? Would she allow you to watch it if she knew you stole it from the China-man?”
“She knows I stole it. She helped me steal it”
“What? I say surprised, “your mom helped you steal a DVD?”
“Yeah, we ran and the bus was there and we pretended to be running for the bus and we went home”
“So you think it’s alright to steal, D?”

He shrugs his shoulders, turns towards me, and smiles
“I don’t know”

He is right. How could he, at 9 years old, contradict his mother decision and discern that the actions she approves of are wrong? And could I tell him that stealing is wrong?

A mother is the child’s first teacher, his first insitution where he learns almost everything there is to learn about life. He soon will start to imitate her actions and this lays a rigid foundation for everything he undertakes later on in life. Would he take it from me then, when, at home, his parents consent to such behaviour? Most black parents are very strict with their children and teach them enough discipline to distinguish whats right from wrong from an early age, but the few that condone such beahviour tarnish the reputation for many good black parents.

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I attended the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Black Members Council (BMC) conference today and learnt of some staggering issues regarding the Media. For all those Black and Ethnic Minority Journalism hopefuls, be warned, a bumpy ride awaits you my friends, so be ready!

There is no one Black person that manages or has a senior position in any of the national newspapers and Television in the UK – even the BBC, which seems to be the best portrayal of Ethnic Minority in the Media. Most of these companies are owned by middle-ages white men with very rigid ideas as to what they want to see on their TV and whom they want to be represented by.

Today, you are more likely to see black people on National Television (as news reporters, presenters, etc) than ten years ago, but have you thought why? Traditionally, black people were in the backroom. For example, if you go to a hotel, you will always find a beautiful white woman sitting at the reception to welcome the visitors, and where are the black people – always in the kitchen. So why has this changed now? Why are black people all of a sudden appearing on National Television screens as the faces of major news channels despite the fact that they hold no managerial positions? The answer is simple – Because they are there simply for decoration purposes.

Black people, after coming across hundreds of hurdles, rigorous job interviews, and endless hours of fetching tea and biscuits for their senior white editors, might faintly have a chance of being employed by a National newspaper (if they are lucky). And once employed by a newspaper or a Television, retention rates are very, very low and there is absolutely no chance for progression. Management is always the specialty of a White, Middle-class, Oxbridge-educated male. You won’t find black people in roles where decision making is required or to represent a National Newspaper! They don’t mind having black people as long as they are not too many and are doing subordinate roles.

The prime reason the Media employ black and Ethnic Minority journalists is solely to ‘show’ the powers that be that they are recruiting on fair grounds and are fully aware of the Discrimination Laws, and, of course, to re-assure the Ethnic Minority that there is a voice for them in the Media. However, whether the black people in the media represent the voice of the Ethnic Minority groups they were born into or not is still a bone for contention.

Which left me wondering, is it that Black people are not “British enough” to represent or manage a British newspaper, for I have nothing else to think of that could be deemed rational in the light of these findings. But whatever the reasons are for such domination of the Media by the white-middle-class-males, it is not something that will be easily ended soon I believe!

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As Somalia plunges further into an abyss of darkness with the spate of daily mortar attacks and shelling, one can only question what the “government”, that was established with the support of Ethiopian and US forces, has done to stabilize, reconcile the differences of the people and exhume the country from the grave.

With more and more rockets pounding the capital, the cause of this deadly violence is pretty clear – at least to us, if not to the world that chooses to close its eyes over this obvious transgression. It is not because of remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts why Mogadishu is in such a debacle, it is the Ethiopia soldiers who keep carrying out their indiscriminate attacks on largely civilian populated areas of the capital and the lackeys who carry the banner for them.

So where are the vassals that we have for a government and what have they done so far? A Government should have the power to make and enforce laws and administrate over an area, can they honestly say that they have an authority anywhere in Somalia? With little power (due to the presence of Ethiopian artillery) and no support at all, the Transitional Federal government is now simply a transitional government and many people are just waiting to see the back of it, for they doubt that it will last long.

The UN and US can instil their lackeys as government figures and support them endlessly with their money and weapons, but will they be accepted by the Somalis?

With the peacekeeping forces on their way, as authorized by the UN, the Somalia that the world envisages is significantly dissimilar to the one Somalis have in mind – based on the appearance of the situation, a bumpy road lies ahead as far as the eye can see!

As for the UN, the famous Abwaan Yamyam, May Allah rest his soul in peace, once said:

Waxa faqriga keena UNka
Waxay jecelyihiin colka
Waxay necebyihiin khayrka
Waxay abaabulaan shirarka
Waxay dabraan heshiiska
Waxayna rabaan khilaafka
Wax dan ah kama laha xishoodka
Afkoodu ka weyn duleelka
Dhurwaa liqi kara dameerka!

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Intelligence

We often hear ourselves say, “oh, he is really intelligent” when they get better marks than the rest of their classmates. But are they really intelligent or simply revised more? What is intelligence anyways? We often hear people mention it everyday, yet very few have a precise meaning as to what it is?

If intelligence is knowledge and the ability with which to learn this knowledge and comprehend it, then every human being has the capacity of becoming an intelligent individual

If intelligence is the ability to comprehend and learn from one’s experience, then since every human being, at one point in their lifetime or another, face unfavourable experiences or something negative, and learns from his experience then by all means we can say that every human being is intelligent. They have learned from their experience

If intelligence is simply a matter of great thinking skill, then this too can be acquired with a little practice

If intelligence is the ability to cram books into ones head and produce them with great accuracy from the memory, then this too can be done without much hassle and a few sleepless nights

If intelligence is the ability to cope with different situations in life’s and adapt to them with vigilance and astuteness, then again this is to do with life’s experiences and one can learn from them. The more he experiences, the more he learns

So why do we say that some people are intelligent whilst others aren’t?

To hell with the intellectuals, everyone is intelligent – we just need to utilise our brain more efficiently that’s all! The more you take what life throws at you, the more you learn from the experiences, the more intelligent you becomes. Simple!

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On Smells

I was reading a selection of Montaigne’s work extracted from The Complete Essays and stumbled upon the subject of Smell

The best characteristics we can hope for is to smell of nothing. The sweetness of the purest breath consists in nothing more excellent than to be without any offensive smell, as the breath of healthy children. That is why Plautus said

Mulier tum bene olet, ubi nihil olet.
A woman smells nice, when she of nothing smells.

And when people give off nice odours which are not their own we may rightly suspect them, and conclude that they use them to smother some natural stench. That is what gives rise to those adages of the encient poets which claim that a man who smells nice in fact stinks:

Rides nos, Coracine, nil olentes,
Malo quam bene olere, nil oleres.

You laugh at us Coracinus, because we emit no smell: I would rather smell of nothing than smell sweetly.

And again:

Posthume, non bene olet, qui bene semper olet.
A man who always smells nice, Posthumus, actually stinks.

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Ephemeral Pleasures

Though soothing a sight the sunsets may be
And the ocean’s silence – a solace for the sore sight
Slumberous, still, and wading birds waddle with delight
As calm waves kiss the sandy shores and leave their trail
But soon that turns to turmoil, come the tempest overnight

Though magnificent the moon may be
Dazzling In the distant enchanted land
A visual feast, so hypnotic and grand
As the Nightingale its mesmeric melody sings
But all soon wanes once the sun takes command

Though delighted once a person may be
Possessed by the gaiety that fills his air
Without much dread and less for care
But when it comes the time to grieve
Soon all his efforts turn into despair

Though now willowy, at the peak of your prime
And many marvel at your graceful manoeuvre
And pompous gait and gloat, too busy to discover
That covertly it creeps and calamity will befall
Alas! The infamy of age and all will be over

Though steadily fleeting with time,
Your profound beauty remains
As pure as white, as heaven ordains
Like a Lilly that gently floats
Atop the placid pond it reigns

Though in its full blossom and ripeness
Your sight is but a pleasure the eye
Even to the larks that twitter in the sky
But like an ocean of bluebells in May
Soon that fades come the month of July

So bask yourself in its rays while it lasts
And live and laugh at your life’s height
For even one kissed by the summer’s light
Though becomes merry for a time prescribed
Surely awaits seasons of mist and wintery a night

Go ahead, my dear, and rejoice while you can
And fragrant wreaths and garlands make
For even the flowers that opened at daybreak
Too become dreary and dull at the dawn of dusk
As darkness from their petals all glory does shake

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