KENYA EASTER RANT


Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Today, Easter, the Kenyan police issued a terror alert. It seems that al-Shabaab is threatening an attack on some public places. It is nice for the Kenyan police to tell the mass. Usually,  they protect only the rich and affluents.

Being Kenyan is not a happy moment.  According to statistic they are most unhappy and adding salt to the wounds they have extra judicial killers roaming the streets, politicians accused of crime against humanity and now, again, al-Shabaab.

I don’t understand why the Kenyan government is increasing its tourism propaganda. Yes, it is nice seeing animals roaming freely in their natural habitats but animals have a better chance of surviving a drought than tourists looking at a grenade in a crowded bar of Nairobi.

The price of fuel and foods has gone up the roof.  The president stuttered a nice Easter speech, his lips move faster than his words, by assuring that all Kenyans, even the ‘most vulnerable in society”, will be protected from high cost of living and hunger.

Of course, he blames others for these problems.  The manipulative members of parliament and their staff, which are the source of almost all grand scale corruptions hence in part responsible of the high cost of living, are arguing and calling each other kettle black.
The president is an innocent man. His innocence won him a rigged election.

It is official; the prime minister will run for presidential elections. He announced it in California, not the California estate  in Nairobi but the one in the USA.  He said it at a private venue for sickle-cell anemia in Malibu, not the drink but the city,  and instantly his candidacy received an international dimension.  Sickle-cell anemia damages certain human organs as well as the brain.

The Easter beach party in Mombasa, due to terror alert, stopped at 6 pm.  The country with its citizen and tourist was held hostage by a Kenyan intelligence still trying to figure out who are the drug dealers in their government after The US ambassador to Kenya gave them all the information.

Then an educated man wrote in a newspaper that the market will slow down for Easter.
Hello, how much business can one do when everything is close, under a looming treat of terrorist attack and everyone is asked to vacate the beaches after 6 pm?
People like to write about the obvious so the gullible mass can call them guru.  

The Nairobi metropolitan minister is looking for 10 billions Kenyan shillings to refurbish the sewage system.  The slums have no sewage and he wants a ban on slum tourism .
Praise to the tourism ministry, they have done a good job highlighting the plight of the poor in the slum areas. Perhaps, the poor will witness the slow death of the flying toilets.

Talking about infrastructure the water management should do something too. A baby’s bladder exhort more pressure than the water coming from the city pipes. Most household have to use water pumps to lift the precious liquid.
Water pump use electricity which is, like water, so precious in Kenya that you can wait days for it.

Tourists with dialysis portable machine are advised to visit Kenya with their own generator, a flash light and jerrycan.

Happy Easter.

Patrick-Bernard

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BIRTHER


Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Donald Trump

The birthers are quite annoying and, let’s face it, racist.  If Obama was white, no one would say anything.  They would have accepted whatever said, presented, signed, sealed and delivered about his place of origin.

Obama is an American, born in an American hospital, in Hawaii an overseas state of the US and from an American born mother and a useless Kenyan father.

Having a useless Kenyan father is to Obama’s advantage since he cannot be accused of running the country with an African leadership baggage and politicians cannot compare his policies with the almost failed state of Kenya.

When Obama visited the land of his father, the Kenyan government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, arrogantly dismissed Obama as a junior Senator from Illinois.

When Obama was elected president the Kenyan media speculated the benefits which Kenya may or not receive and suddenly all the Luos, Obama father’s tribe, shared family lineage with him and dreamt of the moneys coming their way.

The Kenyan government saw their country as a prime destination for black Americans wanting to visit the ancestral birth place of the first African-American president.

It did not work and Obama never gave preferential status to Kenya.

Obama is from a dysfunctional family but then who is not. He has beaten all odds by being elected the leader of the most powerful nation in earth and that’s an achievement.

All birthers suffer from cognitive dissonance.  It is against their understanding to have a president whose mother is white American and the father an African.

Obama thinks white, acts white and the poor lad, to add to the confusion, has been tagged with a Muslim name.

Now, it would be another story if someone would look into his religious belief but then the American constitution does not say that you must be  protestant to be an American president.

Personally, I believe that he has a great understanding of the Muslim and Christian faith and as long as he governs the country in a secular way that’s fine with me.

Obama is probably the only president which has been negatively caricatured and commented solely on his race. 

Obama is not the only president with at least a parent born outside the USA.  Thomas Jefferson, James Buchanan, Chester Arthur, Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover had a parent born outside the USA.

Both of Andrew Jackson’s parents were born in Ireland and he married Rachel Donelson Robards before she divorced her first husband.  Let’s call it accidental bigamy.

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are birthers looking for fame.

Then, thinking about it, isn’t Palin the one comfortable shooting brown deer in gleaming white snow. I am sure she would like to aim at Obama on a white background.

If America wants to sample a Donald Trump presidency then look no further, cross the Atlantic and see what Silvio Berlusconi has done to Italy. These two guys are quite similar even with their hair obsession.

It is madness to vote for a birther.  Simple, their underlying sentiments show their inability to represent all Americans.

Patrick-Bernard

AYAPANECO RANT


thank you note for every language

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

While reading the article I could not stop laughing.
The last two existing people able to speak the Ayapaneco language are not talking to each other.

Manuel Segviovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquezto, 69, living in a small town of Mexico are brooding. That’s a nightmare for anthropologist and I hope that Manuel and and Isidro speak Spanish as finding an interpreter fitting their needs must be problematic.

Then, thinking about it, the fewer languages the better. The world should have five to ten major languages in every continent and that should do it.

Birth and dying are part of the evolution process and so are languages. We are not talking about extinction of species but way of expressing one self.

For me a valid language should be translated into another at all level. Meaning; that it should have minimum borrowing from another one to find an identity.

It is useless to spend huge amount of money to print school books in a language discontinued for studies at university level.

Weird, but some countries insist on saving the vernacular then switch language for a higher form of education.

I love the sound of French patois but what can you do with it when you want to learn nuclear medicine, quantum velocity or even international criminal law.

The world speaks over 6,000 languages. Papua New Guinea holds the record with over 800 indigenous languages and Nigeria has over 500. It is a pure social nightmare and they would fare better with only two or three unifying languages.

Of course, being bilingual is fun with languages which are commonly used and not only English, French or Spanish but also Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese or Gujarati.

Gujarati is spoken by 46 millions people and is among the 30 most spoken language in the world and East Africa has almost 450,000 people of Indian descent speaking it.

East Africa chose to invent Kiswahili not fluently spoken by 15 million people.

Learning Gujarati ,at the onset, would have been better as to join a majority of 46 million.  Sorry, a few will tell you the need to acquire an identity.

Speaking Kiswahili does not give an identity since it is a mixture of Arabic, German, Portuguese, English and French and double words. I think that it is the language with the most double syllable words in the world:

Me –  mimi
You – wewe
How are you – sasa
Road – barabara
Garbage – katakata
Chicken – kuku
Child – toto
This, that, what’s that or whatever – nini.

In Kiswahili the time structure has six hours difference.  Meaning you add six to whatever shows your watch.
Wouldn’t it be nice to only use the time shown on a clock?

I feel bad for these two guys in Mexico but then life is life and if they don’t want to speak to each other that’s ok with me.
It is their business and I will not interfere with it.
Anyway, I couldn’t interfere, I don’t speak their language.
No one does.

Patrick-Bernard

MY RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE


A Franciscan Friar, Rembrandt, 17th century oi...

A Franciscan friar, Rembrandt

As a child I went to religious schools.  Schools named after Saints such as Saint Francois Xavier and Saint Sulpice in Paris.  

Some of my courses were taught by friars, the one wearing brown robe and sandals in all seasons or seen on the labels of box of camembert or bottle of fine liquors.

I remember one friar, who taught religion, because he always rubbed the palm of his hand on the corner of his desk, the palm of the hand with a missing finger. He had a goatee and permanent red cheeks.

His class was not easy for me, being the only Black kid in the class; I always thought that looking at me reminded him of his purpose to join a religious order. Maybe, I was his version of the savage whose soul had to be saved.

I kept away from him after one of his kind slapped me in church for talking to my school mate.

I never said that France is color blind, especially in the late fifties when seeing a Black person walking down the streets was considered exotic or an oddity to the mass.

Actually, almost all my teachers had a round at slapping my blackness and I never retaliated. During exam times I had at least one to two slapping bout a week.

I knew I was different but I was reminded of my blackness around 10 years of age when a class mate called me nigger (nègre in French) during recreation.
I cried and told the director and his reaction was to go away laughing.

Two teachers never slapped me.  I remember the name of only one, Monsieur Piat, and the other was a physical education teacher. Their specialty was psychological torture with a racial tone.

These were fine Catholic schools with a crucified Jesus as main decoration in all classes. I hated school.

We were, class by class, obligated to go to church, the confessional and swallow the ostie on a weekly basis.

We all were good certified Catholics and could prove it with a baptismal certificate and confirmation and first communion pictures.

During the holidays we were given cards to be signed and date stamped by the priest wherever we attended mass.

Once the indoctrination process completed I felt liberated and never went back to church.

Then with ages, I thought that I was wrong and that I should know the meaning of life and have an adventure like Siddhartha, Narcissus and Goldmund, Santiago in the Alchemist, and the Little Prince.

Believers told me they felt illuminated, uplifted and full of hope after a church service and I wanted to have such experience.

So, again, but free willing I went back to church and felt absolutely nothing.  I changed faith, thinking that my soul was trapped in the wrong religion and again felt nothing.

I went back to Catholicism, the Christian religion which spent years brainwashing me by telling me that we are God’s children.

I, again, did all the rituals by standing up, sitting down and bruising my knees on the pews and listening to sermons about allegoric and unseen forces affecting my tangible and imperfect world.

Again, I felt nothing and the sermons interfered with my human logic, unsettled my intellect and raged me with its bias.

At no time did I see the path leading to the nirvana state that others experienced.

I do not know if religion is a good panacea.  Africa is among one of the most religious continents of the universe but then it is also the one with the most wars and conflicts.

Africans are spiritual and yet they make potions from albino’s body parts or kill twins which are a sign of bad omen and have large praying rally for the people coming back from The Hague after being heard for crime which they may have committed against humanity.

I gave up on the idea of being religious and spiritual and to date I have never experienced any Holy Ghost type of activity in my soul.

I seriously tried but there is nothing within me, not even a tinge or a twitch, announcing a trance, shaking me or making me speak in tongue like the one I see on TV.

I am not an atheist; it takes too much strength to prove that something supreme does not exist so I straddle in the agnostic world.

That’s easy for me; I respect what other people think as long as they don’t take me for crazy or an idiot because I do not share their ideas of the beyond.

It does not mean that religion is bad.  I think some religious buildings are great work of architectural arts. Religion provides a CV for prisoners requesting parole. The church bells are good to adjust time. Commercial religion has worldwide tax-free benefit. Religion is an alibi for corrupt African big men.

But then, my paradox is that I like religious music.  I like gospels, I like Black American gospels with a lone singer stomping, moving, and jumping in front of a large choir and the haunting Gregorian chants.

Gospel music is beautiful.  I don’t agree with the meaning of most songs but I rely on the expression of the singers. I like their happiness, joyful exuberances and energy.  I like the way they improvise.

It does not mean that I make it a purpose to listen to it but when it comes to my ears, I pause and take time to enjoy. I can enjoy for hours.

Gregorian chants are solemn, mysterious and sublime to listen. The voices make me close my eyes while listening. Gregorian chants offer a pure calming, transcending and soul enhancing bliss.

Warning: To listen in small doses. Gregorian chant may be hazardous to your health. When feeling low it can drive you to abysmal depression leading to dementia. In the event it occur switch to Gospel music.

That’s my true Black experience shaped by Christianity.

Patrick-Bernard

IMAGINE


In front of the Veteran Administration Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, I see a white van unloading a man in a wheelchair.

He has two helpers, a nurse and a man carrying an oxygen tank.  The front of his wheelchair is full of electronic gadgets and sensors. The back, between the wheels, has a monitor with tubes neatly tied to one side. His wheelchair is his portable mean to live on the go. 

He is a young, good-looking, clean-cut Black man in his late twenties or early thirties and his skinny frail body does not show muscle mass under his clothes.

He does not wear shoes, why should he?

He is a quadriplegic moving his wheelchair with the help of a joystick under his chin. He has a tracheotomy tube, for him to breathe, cut in the center of his neck.

He smiles at his helpers but he does not utter a word.

The only noticeable working part of his body is his face. A face hung on a head with a bobbing weak neck holding a strong chin steering the wheelchair. His lips stretch a large glowing smile for being outside.

His face and his brain are the only things giving him an existence. Maybe he was smiling with his thoughts, memories of before and now.

Everyone, I mean everyone who goes to the VA was at one time fit and healthy. They got disabled for a flag, a territory, political ideas, and lots of because.

His lips were smiling and I am glad he never saw me looking at him. If our eyes had met,   I am sure I would have smiled back but I would fear for him to construe my smile as a sign of anything to ruin his day. His being shatters  me and makes me insecure.

He does not need my thoughts, his are bigger than mine. I feel but he senses feelings and I cannot allow him to make mistakes.

I cannot comprehend people liking songs for which they never take time to listen and understand the words.  They are pseudo intellectual tourists thinking that seeing the Tour Eiffel or the Empire State Building is to know France or the USA. Sheeps liking because others like.

After, the man disappeared in the entrance of the hospital a song came to mind. Imagine by John Lennon. The lyrics are a statement to our human kind. We listen to the song but have lost the know how to materialize what we should and can imagine.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for…

Patrick-Bernard

DON’T TOUCH THE KING


3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...

Image via Wikipedia

America is commemorating the death of Dr. Martin Luther King and there is not much to add about him. Everything has been said and debated about this icon of modern American Black history.

Martin Luther King is the hero of all the descendants of Black slaves and the Blacks subjugated by segregationist policies and laws in the USA.

In the days where laws were called Jim Crow and a strange fruit was a dead Black hanging from a tree. America still has a lot to do in terms of race relations but the fact is that Dr. King is the most celebrated founder of the civil right movement.

Pan-Africans advocate the unification of Africans and people of African heritage.

I read an opinion piece in a Kenyan newspaper and the author, a staunch pan-African, stated that it was time for the West to compensate Africa for slavery.

I was offended, since history shows that Africa had a role to play with slavery and compensation, if any, should go to the descendants of the people who Africa enslaved.

I wrote to the newspaper and now assume that my point of view was too inflammatory and un-African and tossed in the dust bin.

Anyway, I found a great quote from “King Ghezo of Dahomey who said in 1840s: the slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth.”

I wonder what would be the world opinion if Jews were asked to compensate Germany for what Hitler has done.

A synonym of pan-African is the African Union.  It started as the Organization of African Unity or the dictators club as some called it.

The so-called OAU did nothing for the Black people during the segregation time fought by Martin Luther King in the USA, nothing either during South Africa and former Rhodesia apartheid era.

During apartheid era the African nations were knocking on South Africa’s door for favors and loans.

The irony is that since Africans took over not much is going on.  Nelson Mandela is South Africa father figure while Jacob Zuma, the president only interest is to acquire more wives and gag the press.

I astonished a friend of mine when I said that Zuma wanted to shag his whole country. Funny, I think it was the ambition of King Ghezo too.  Africa likes to shag its people.

I have nothing to say about Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The man is absolutely self un-explanatory.
Sorry, I have something to say:
“Mugabe’s nickname is Mad Bob and he is upset because his wife is rumored to have extramarital affairs.”

I get kind of disturb when Africa’s sycophants ride on the fame or associate themselves with people like Dr. King. I understand than an America embassy in Africa is having an exhibit comparing Dr. King’s accomplishments with other African heroes.

Testing, testing.  Which African heroes?
Dr. King never liberated a country and stole the land. No, he liberated the Black people and got killed for it.

Dr. King belongs to Blacks, the one who are now in the new world, the one with the post slavery syndromes.

Africa should offer all Blacks an excuse for the mess they created. Nobody wants their money as they borrow from the West where Blacks live. An apology will do.

Patrick-Bernard

MULTIPURPOSE RANT


Dennis Rodman

Image via Wikipedia

The Detroit Pistons are retiring Denis Rodman No.10, where he spent 7 seasons out of his 14.

I am a not a sport fan but I do remember Denis Rodman. He was more than a basketball player.

Actually, I did watch a few of his games on TV. Not for the game  of basketball, besides putting a ball in a hoop I don’t even know the rule of the game, but because he was playing. Funny hair styles, tattoos and antics were his persona and somehow I liked his underdog attitude.

However, I know that Dennis Rodman played basketball for 14 seasons.
The average person does not play, they work and the time spent working is calculated in years.
Then they don’t retire your overalls, your tools, or your punch cards. Once you are gone they throw it away or pass it on to someone else.

Actors have roles or parts which they act for a play, movie or series. Series are counted in seasons not years.
Friends, the series, did not last ten years but ten seasons.  The actors had characters or roles to play. They didn’t work but played.
The Actors’ union is called guild. Because calling it union is not glamorous and has less star appeal.
Then you cannot play with a union, you have to work with them. Also, you cannot play in an assembly line.  You still have to work.

Soldiers have a different status. They go on tours to places with exotic names. I knew someone who did two tours in Vietnam. He did not retire.  He got an honorable discharge together with a full disability benefit.
Contracts in the army do not expire, they discharge you. My friend did not receive a pension but a disability benefit. I did not know that it was a benefit to be disabled.
His nickname was June bug and he was born in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. He was a gunner on rescue choppers and he did not play the part. That was his work.
No awards, no Oscars but actors can get one by playing the role of a June Bug in Vietnam then look for another real-life role to play while the real June Bug waits his turn to see a doctor at the Veteran Administration.  

Big executive, the one in Wall Street ripping off people, don’t get bonus they receive compensation awards when they get added responsibilities. The government helps them when they run into trouble.

The policemen or firemen that will come to their house and risk their lives in time of trouble get medals or colorful stickers for their lapels.
They normally don’t receive compensation but salary raise arduously fought by their unions. They don’t play and spend seasons doing their duties. No, they work hard for many years then retire.

I never heard a  police officer having his weapon retired after playing 20 seasons in the police force. No, they take the weapon away.
Policemen are usually removed when they violate under stress brought on by self-righteous idiots, hoodlums or criminals, their terms of employment serving the public.

The government does not bail them out. The police are not a big firm with a glamorous name in a financial district.

Then for the governments and the politicians I still wait for the headlines from the COMMON PEOPLE newspapers that would put a smile on my face:

“This Government has violated our terms and conditions and has been removed.”

Patrick-Bernard