Archive for October, 2008

Woman Power

Posted on October 28, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Cries of sexism have been bandied about in this election season in the U.S. This may be the way to go for other African countries who want to chart a history that encourages women to participate in the political process and effect change. I know the election of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was heralded. Her election as well as efforts like the Rwandan mandate to involve more women should encourage women to bring their experiences to public life. After all, they are critical in African enterprise in fields like agriculture and commerce. Thabo Mbeki is another president who was lauded for a diverse cabinet. As a new generation of African leaders emerges, there must be a concerted effort to allow for significant participation by women.

Any thoughts?

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WC 2010

Posted on October 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Motherlanders,

The draw for the third round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is done. Here are the countries and their respective groups.

South Africa have a pretty good chance of qualifying, don’t they? Just kidding. The group of death is arguably Cameroon, Morocco, Gabon, Togo. In the final analysis, and this is strictly for the games played on paper, the finalists should be Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

The upset if you could call it that could be Morocco, Mali and Mozambia (I am having trouble deciding between Mozambique and Zambia).

Any thoughts?

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Silvio!!!!!

Posted on October 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I don’t know what that this has to do with the Motherland but Silvio is as boorish as they come. The guy could probably star in some mafia movie. I am sure Motherlanders can appreciate his irreverence and lack of political correctness.

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Powell’s Doctrine? Overwhelming Gravitas?

Posted on October 22, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Motherlanders,

I have been missing in action and I have to apologize to all my ardent fans (yes, all four of you). Where does one begin? 150 million? Wow. Colin Powell’s endorsement? Is Rush Limbaugh’s ‘he’s just a brother endorsing another brother’ comment legitimate? He wasn’t just another brother when he was serving two presidents now was he? Or was Powell’s eloquence about America’s challenges and general direction disarming enough to give one pause (Remember the point I made about muslims? He made it, he made it!!!!)? After all is said and done somehow I don’t believe it moves voters much at this point. What it may do is add to the general feeling in the air that somehow McCain is battling a tsunami.

While the main story line is that the Democrats are afraid that their people may not come out to vote thinking the race is over, I wonder whether the doom and gloom that is being predicted suppresses Republicans’ turnout because they feel they have already lost.

Speaking of Powell(and I know I am late on this), but the man was busting some serious moves in london recently for the Africa Rising and music festival . The video is grainy but worth a look. Listen out for my Nigerian sisthren in the background.

Any thoughts?

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CASH $$$$ BABY!!

Posted on October 15, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Motherlanders,

Even amid all this talk of economic turmoil, the reports suggest the junior senator from Illinois has broken all fundraising records.

I have a somewhat schizophrenic reaction to the mucho feria a presidential candidate and his party are required to raise to fund their campaign activities. While Barack Obama’s fundraising figures for September have not yet been released, there are whispers that he has shattered his fundraising record of $66 million. Some are even suggesting that he has raised $100 million. John McCain after opting to take public financing had access to $84 million for the presidential campaign which begun after his official nomination as his party’s nominee at the Republic convention in September.

Think about that for a second. Obama raised $66 million in August for his campaign. If he has indeed raised anything close to $100 million for September, that puts him on pace to raise $200 million for just the presidential campaign alone. All I can say is OBSCENE!!! If you add to those figures, his fundraising throughout the Democratic Party’s nomination fight, it’s next level VULGAR!!!

While I recognize that it is the cost of doing business in America, I wonder whether the system cannot be altered slightly. First, this campaign season has been long. While I think it has been good to see these campaigns running for a while and civic engagement is the fuel for a vibrant democratic society such as this, I have to wonder whether it justifies the cost.

From a moral dimension, is it right? I mean the candidates like to talk about how “I have met families across the country who can’t afford to pay their bills and their mortgages and food for their dogs and school fees” and the list goes on. Does it grate on their conscience at all that they use so much money? Some of this may be unfair. After all, Rome was not built in a day and these candidates cannot be expected to answer for every chink in American democracy’s armor.

I wonder about the cost in the context of emerging democracies in African countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda (all imperfect examples of democratic societies but nonetheless). Can a nation afford for its political destinies to be in the hands of the richest and those who have vast access to capital? Is the way to go with some of these countries, especially the small ones, public finance for elections like they do in Britain? Who gets to disburse the funds, an independent electoral commission or a government department in some ministry? Also, in the light of Republican complaints about phony contributions to the Obama campaign, in the event one does not opt for public financing, how do we ensure that there is a thorough audit of fundraising mechanisms of political parties? No public finance, but surely full public disclosure of donor lists must be in order, no?

How should media access be split on national tv stations in order to assure a good balance of serious candidates and a representation of smaller parties?

A whole lot of questions I know. Any thoughts?

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WHOA!!!… Tell ’em how you really feel

Posted on October 14, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Just saw this from Christopher Hitchens. I think journalists and columnists all over should take a cue from guys like this. Sometimes, it’s better to be as direct as possible. There is an urge to sometimes look for the next interview in covering American politics and I think it causes journalists to call rusty spades when they see shiny brand new ones.

As if I couldn’t use any more cliches, all I am saying is if it quacks like a duck, and does everything else like a duck, we must have the courage to call it a duck.

While I don’t agree with Hitchens’ views all the time, I think his style is as direct as can be. Now, can you imagine him writing in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or Kuffuor/Rawling’s Ghana or Kibaki’s Kenya? That slap you just heard was Kibaki’s wife handing it to any journalist worth his salt writing in such critical terms. The damp smell that has filled your nostrils is of the gallows that just became a journalist’s new home for suggesting that Mugabe is unfit to lead.

Now, my urging for journalists to be as direct as possible also applies to the other side. For instance, there was a brother man at a McCain rally who stood up and urged McCain to take it to Obambi (Isn’t Maureen Dowd a genius for coining this effeminate nickname?). Apparently, he has received death threats from his fellow brothers and sisters who have called him a sell out (probably the mildest thing he has received), among other names. While he may be misguided, I think that as much as McCain’s supporters have been condemned, the media should also aggressively point out the excesses of the other side. Otherwise, what next, a third world -like state where fear is cultivated as a weapon to silence us all?

Any thoughts?

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He’s what? An Arab?… Your point being?

Posted on October 13, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Did anyone see that moment where McCain grabbed themicfrom the woman in Minnesota who suggested she couldn’t trust Nobama (as conservatives have taken to calling the junior senator from Illinois) because he was an Arab? Was it riveting or what? As McCain said “no, no, no,” she asked pleadingly or rhetorically (in a say it ain’t so, John moment), “No?” It was straight out of the Borat sequel!!!!

As a comedic moment, it was priceless. She was incredulous. It was evidently the first time someone had ever suggested that Obama was actually not an Arab or a Muslim or E.T.’s cousin or some such variation that would allow her to believe that on top of his skin color being different, he may not breathe, eat or stink up his lavatoire like the rest of us!!!

The beauty is that like everything else in America, there is some study that may explain such attitudes.

It got me thinking of my own upbringing in Ghana though. I went to a Catholic school at one point which had some Muslim students. As part of my cultural studies classes, we had to learn about the different religions represented in the country and Islam was one of them. Ghana has public holidays reserved for celebrations like Eid al fitr and Eid al adha. There are also many countries across Africa where the brand of Islam practiced is not of the form Sean Hannity conveniently uses to paint every practicing Muslim a terrorist.

Could the U.S. benefit in some way from such cultural studies? I mean if we’re going to be getting oil from and waging wars in the Arab world, the least we could do is actually understand where Arabs and Muslims are coming from religiously, culturally, socially and any such -lly.

Before I offend my country first crowd (they have boosted my readership in such high numbers they cannot be counted), a number of whom in their prescience have already accused me of being an Arab even before I posted this, let me clarify.

I am not suggesting Ghana is devoid of some of these basic ignorances about ethnicity and religion.
Ignorance is real folks and it is safe to say it probably exists in every corner of the globe. Nevertheless, I think there are abundant tools that exist in the developed world that could educate vast populations about different cultures.

If people are educated, a day will come when being called an Arab is not a slur or a swear word or a suggestion that one is less than human or …(I could go on and on). Inshallah as my Muslim brethren would put it that day will be soon.

Any thoughts?

***Update. Just found this on a new site, http://www.thedailybeast.com.

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What if?

Posted on October 11, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Motherlanders and yardies,

Thanks for all your great comments and responses to my first post. It was very encouraging to see that I have a fan base of friends and family and that I received a whopping total of four views!!! Thank the ancestors I am not in this for the fame!!!

CNN’s Richard Quest of parading with methamphetamines in the streets of New York with a rope around my woo hoo fame just said “Anderson, this is a global economy” or was it “this is a global economy, Anderson,” before saying credit is crunching and the London bridge is falling down and whatnot.

Any which way, that comment just increased my anxiety levels way beyond the upper limits of the CNN debate dial-test that is on the bottom third of the tv screen during debates. (Btw, did anyone notice that in the last debate when Obama said he would hunt down and kill bin Laden, the men in the focus group got so excited there was not enough room to contain their excitement on the dial??)

Like I was saying, the anxiety is in my blood stream and it causes my heart to seize up from time to time. With all this talk of job losses, I don’t think the prospects are good for me this time next year when I graduate (Boy, talk about an understatement).

I cannot help but think that a year from now instead of working for BBC covering Jacob Zuma’s ascension to the South African presidency, I will be jobless and in billions of dollars of debt. Zimbabwean dollars that is. 

What if I don’t get a job? What if, touch wood, some of my motherlander friends lose their jobs? What if their 401ks have become 10ks (Actually, that has already happened so scratch that)? 

I guess my point is what or who does the motherlander turn to if the invisible hand grabs them by their, by their, oh what’s the word… coconuts? Does one go on welfare? Are food stamps available? Is going back to the motherland even an option? The burden of a motherlander I tell you.

Any thoughts?

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The ship be sinking

Posted on October 10, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

These are interesting times to be in the U.S. While the U.S. economy tanks and takes the rest of the world down with it, the campaign for the historic November 4 presidential elections in less than a month is winding down and heating up- it’s an inferno out here.

We could either have the first black president (outside of 24 or some other pop culture reference), the oldest man to become president and the first woman to hold one of the two most powerful positions in the world. Of course, given the economy, the most powerful person could be the next treasury secretary with all the billions of dollars at his/her disposal. Which reminds me, what happened to Carly Fiorina?? She has all but vanished as one of McCain’s surrogates. I digress though.

It is fascinating to watch all this unfold with the eye of someone preoccupied with the motherland (Africa). How do these two events affect Africa? As for the economy, I wonder whether Uncle Kwesi knows what a credit default swap or mortgage backed securities. Heck, I wonder whether moose hunting Joe Schmoe of Caper, Wy. knows what it is. A Tanzanian friend of mine put it this way, 

“Essentially Africa is like the villagers in Tanzania during the blackout, they know it exists and maybe their little shop doesn’t have power but their lives are not really drastically different. Sometimes it pays to be poor!!”

Any thoughts?

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Hello world!

Posted on October 6, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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