Saturday, October 06, 2007

When life collides with the blog

It has been quite sometime since I posted anything about the world around me. Sometime since last insights especially revealing my peculiar angle on things. In that time and space many things that I would like to open up to you has happened. First the Nigerian junior soccer team are World Champions in the under 17 World Cup without any loss throughout the competition. No Long thing as we say in Lagos. They were a team coached by a Nigerian coach whose stoic response was as un-Nigerian like as could be found in this world. In the same period the Female senior soccer team imploded in the World Cup in China despite being the perennial African champions. Like their male senior contemporaries in spite of individual talent and promise their organisational skills and ability to cooperate delivers so little. Is there something that is available to young Nigerians that gets lost in transition into adulthood? Consider this, the country has won the under 17 World Cup the third time. Yet there are those who question their achievement saying that they abused the age limit. Is it possible that they still have the belief in possibilities at their age while the older people are more likely to be cynical? Don't we reduce ourselves and our world to the charred remains of reality we associate with being Nigerians? Can we get onto that soon?

It is the Month of Ramadan and even though I do not practise Islam there is a lot in it that I hold onto from my childhood. The fasting and Zakat (giving to the poor) especially. It never ceases to amaze me how truly giving Muslims are. In the Nigeria where I grew up it was always stunning to watch what happens to the poor and needy when Muslims and Muslims came out of worshipping in mosques and churches. It is always the kindness and concern of Muslims that makes most mosques a place where beggars choose to sit. Of course that was a sign of how dirty Muslims were to the kids in my Catholic school. Anyways there is a passage in the Koran about the Prophet Musa or Moses and the Al Khidr in Sura Al- Kahf it is quite a story that reveals the power of emergent nature of Gods wisdom. A must read on leadership and one that will be explored before the end of Ramadan.

In the same space and time there was the story of the Jena 6 who were charged initially for second-degree murder for a schoolyard beat down of their white schoolmate. Their school had been the site of racial conflict between white and black pupils and there had been similar situations where black kids had been beaten by groups of whites. There was no permanent damage to the victim even though six against one especially unprovoked is quite much. It matters however because of the prosecutors aggressive charges. Bear this in mind Americans make up 5% of the world population but around 25% of people imprisoned of which nearly 40% are black. There is also abundant evidence that blacks do not commit more crimes than whites however they are more likely to face the police, more likely to be charged, more likely to attract serious charges and more likely to face hard time. Sure an angle on Race or Racism again but hopefully with a new twist. for example is it not time to move beyond marching as a strategy for highlighting inequities. How about voting for Barack? America will never be the same again.

I also travelled to three countries in the same period. Spain, Nigeria and South Africa there will be more on the latter two much later. As for Spain my brief visit to Madrid left a bitter taste in the mouth. It is quite a beautiful city with incredible sights as well as safety. Saw people lying on the grass in parks as late as 11pm. The city however seemed to be full of humourless people whose response to black people suggest a greater self loathing than many Europeans exhibit. Look out for my take on the final pelantheologist and genetic confirmation that all human beings that have ever lived, are living and will live are all Africans.

Then there were the concerts. I saw Prince twice that itself is a full posting. The two times I realised that there could never be a fuller exposition of human excellence at any art, craft or science than this man at his best. I needed to see it again so that I could confirm it was not a fluke. Anyone who can rock a British crowd on their feet, 20,000 strong from beginning till the end with their passion on the display is a sheer miracle worker. It seemed this happened in the full 21 days he rocked the O2 centre in London. I suppose this might seem a lower ranking in the order of spectacle but it was nevertheless a real pleasure to watch Olu Onabule the self styled Mayor of Soultown at the Stables in Milton Keynes. He was pure class and a true soul singer in the class of a Bobby Womack. He also deserves a posting of his own. Nigerians like him are increasingly rare, comfortable in his skin and expressing his power as well as skill with such respect and finesse not the brash in your face demeanour of the Lagos big boys. I like how he uses humour in self deprecating ways the big black mans survival strategy in the UK. He does it quite well though. He brought up memories of the 80s when we Nigerians were celebrated not vilified. The warm nights at Gulliver’s in Park Lane and parties across London no ill fame achieved we just brought the funk and a lot of money.

There was Mr Sarkozy’s speech in Senegal as a ‘friend of Africa’. Many online say with friends like him who needs enemies. Is he truly that bad? My views as usual will be given later. It looks like we are headed for another Clinton White House and somehow it does not feel right. How can two families rule a so-called democratic and open country for 20 years with the prospect of another 8 years? If this happened in Africa there would be calls for sanctions and isolation. More troubling is the character that quite a few US Internet users show in their commentary on contemporary issues online. It is scary to read their language for each other especially on the issue of Race. There is something extremely ugly in the US psyche that is exposed by the Internet and I sincerely hope it is not contagious. There is also the corporate decision to keep Senator Obama out even in a place like South Carolina, which has a healthy diversity that should play well for him. Is it possible that his African ancestry is so disconcerting to Black Americans? That would be such a shame but there are too many commentators from Black America who are decidedly against his candidacy.

Finally the Nigerian Government and its Attorney General is this man for real? The man is certainly going to be a massive burden on the government. I hope the President has people around him who know a little recent Nigerian history. He should review the Presidency of Alhaji Shehu Shagari an honest, humble and unassuming person like him whose preferred style is not too dissimilar. I hope by the time there is posting on this matter might have moved in a better direction. We will see. On an aside I had a little excursion to Funmi Iyanda’s blog to challenge her promotion of Ma Ramutswe books by Mr McCall Smith and she wondered whether I had read any of the books. I have actually done but a few years ago when I decided that I could not support the denigration or negative stereotype of Nigerians. I know in the archives of this very page I have written a piece on power of stereotypes so there will be no revisit. As usual Life has been kind, God has been forgiving and Love unrelenting.


Sherri said...

can't wait to read ur post on prince!
as for Obama, as much as i like his ideals and fresh insights and would love to see an "african" in the whitehouse. however, as a female i find myself giddy with excitement along with majority of my cohorts(never mind them insidious republicans!)with the prospect of having a female in the whitehouse more monumental. being a clinton doesn't hurt either..

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

I am at a loss for words because u have said so much and highlighted so many topics that i feel incapable of putting words to my thoughts...

great post however.
Is Prince Nigerian?

Onibudo said...

Sorry i cannot disagree more . it is quite important to have a Female President but more important to have one who will set standards that will make having a female President something to look forward too. Hillary is a Panderer. She has no original thought or ideas that have not be processed through focus groups and collated from polling. God help us if she is President.

Onibudo said...

I me Prince he of Purple Kingdom from Minneapolis, Minnesota (hope spelt it right)

Sherri said...

u seem to be buying into the fallacy that the powers of the presidency is far reaching and non partisan.
ambitious she is,but she seems to care genuinely for the little people.
as for panderring, that the nature of the beast. lol