As talking heads go this quite a forthright and eloquent perspective on the Clinton, RFK assassination flap. It is quite worth the 10 minutes watch. It captures HRC's capacity to push the margins of credulity and change rules to suit her competitive interest. Anyways enjoy .
Monday, May 26, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
BARACK OBAMA: Black man’s dilemma.
This is written by Oga Tunji Lardner a foremost journalist and a self confessed Latte Liberal . He is my brother and he rocks.
As a black man, more precisely as an African born black man, I am a bit conflicted about the exquisitely improbable presidential run of Senator Barack Obama. My ambivalence has it roots in a previous run for president by another charismatic black politician, the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
I remember how the news of Jesse running for the presidency of the US in 1984 impacted on our global political consciousness in Nigeria, literally a generation ago. As a young idealistic journalist working for a fledgling weekly magazine, and like the rest of my equally young and idealistic colleagues, the very idea of a black man as the president of the United States was a notion we readily accepted as a possibility After all this was “the United States” —with its self evident truths about the equality of man: the democratic ideal that we all so dearly wished for Nigeria, which was then in the grip of yet another predatory and distinctively vicious military dictator by name Ibrahim Babangida.
Looking back, I marvel at our naiveté and sense of moral certitude about the world ultimately being a good and just place. I suppose we were subconsciously projecting our hope and sense of justice and optimism on that great whiteboard called America. To look too closely at our selves, our country, indeed our continent would have been too painful and depressing. So we cast our eyes far, far over the rainbow to that mythical place where someone like us was running to be the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Even so, a little voice now and then whispered in our ears, the cold calculating facts of American electoral politics, there was no way any Jesse was going to beat the “Gipper,” an extremely popular incumbent Ronald Reagan. Nonetheless we persisted in our little game of self-deception, knowing fully well that given the tortured history of race in America, it was highly unlikely that a Blackman, indeed any black man would ever make to Pennsylvania Avenue in the foreseeable future.
“From the outhouse to the White House.” That prospect was heady and intoxicating for all of us. At a deep personal level we understood the semiotics of having a black man in the White House—no matter how naïve or improbable it seemed. We came back to earth soon enough as Jesse’s theatrical run for president turned out to be, well, the audacity of hype.
But today it is different. A remarkable black American with the improbable name of Barack Obama is running for the office of the President of the United States, and that little voice is telling me that he stands a very good chance of becoming America’s next president. A black man who in his own words boldly declares “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas… I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents.”
And I—even without the colorful heritage of miscegenation and the searing intellect, the laser focused drive, the bold self-assuredness, the charismatic personality, the moral courage, the balance, the poise, the words, or the audacious hope—totally identify with the brother; more or less.
I hesitate to fully identify with Barack Obama because I am still negotiating my way through the dark labyrinths of my own fears and self-doubt—the scars that I, along with, doubtless, millions of other Neo-Diasporan Africans, bear from the painful experience of unfulfilled ambitions at home in Africa, as well as in America. In the dark, arms outstretched I am tentatively feeling my way out by hand, even as I attempt to scrape away one sordid layer at a time, the baked accretion of the fears, uncertainties and doubts of being a black man in this world. With one hand, fingers splayed, I scratch at the indeterminate distrust that others project upon and that periodically shrouds me; with the other hand, claws drawn, I grate at the tectonic uncertainties that seem designed to keep me perpetually off balance; and with both hands, I rip away at the past setbacks that shadow me whenever I reach out to succeed.
Somewhat like Barack Obama, but quite literally, I inhabit multiple worlds as I commute between the US and Africa, and have to constantly weigh and balance my engagement in both. But unlike Obama, who clearly has found his way out of that maze, unified his universe, taken a firm hold on the three fates, woven his own design on the tapestry of his life, and lately stunned the world with the audaciousness of his hope; the worlds I inhabit, inhibit my aspirations in many ways. Or do they?
As I look back at my own continent’s fitful struggle for development and real independence I also wonder about my own culpability in my country and continent’s plight. No, this is not a quixotic desire to want to be like Obama. This cannot be, for after him, the fates broke the mold. Instead, this is a simple and all too human moment of reflective doubt, again, about my place in the world as a black man.
In urging Americans in his seminal speech on race in America, Obama states inter alia that “for the African-American community that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past... And it means taking full responsibility for our own lives…” He might as well have been speaking directly to us in Africa. He certainly resonated deeply with me.
That we have at this point in time another avatar rising from our collective blackness is quite profound. Obama is much more than the poster child that some in the mainstream US media so blithely describes, he has become the whiteboard or is it blackboard upon which the grand narrative of the black man is being written, and will continue to be so until another comes our way.
Nelson Mandela once remarked about how African men (and by extension Black men) are tentative about fully embracing their potential greatness, but not this brother.
As I marvel at the sheer chutzpa of the man, trying hard not to “hate the player, but to hate the game”—almost like loving the sinner and hating the sin—that niggling little voice is back, again. It is saying, and I render this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, and bearing in mind the properly contextualized, albeit widely misunderstood rhetoric of Reverend Wright, “Damn you Obama… Damn you! Damn you for blowing our collective alibis as black men… Damn you for kicking away our pathetic crutches, now we must stand tall, with no excuses, and grab and shape the destinies of our people!”
This time I am responding to the imperative rather than the fearfulness beneath the surface of this dubious little voice. It is a new day. And there is work to be done.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Here is part 2
The media is in the tank for the establishment candidate but do watch these allegations whatever the merit they should be open to the broader American public.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Just spent the morning with two great financiers and got this Roland (Monzur) Sodeinde and Olumide Ajayi with their permission I will do a post on their incredible efforts to fund projects in Nigeria one of these days. Olumide turned me on to a great statistic that the fastest growing Sovereign Wealth Fund ( they are the new power replacing hedge funds and private equity funds) is the Nigerian one growing at a reported 291% over the last five years the second reported Oman is nearly 40% lower. The average growth of this powerful investment vehicle is 24% across the board. If you combine the predicted 9% growth in GDP predicted by IMF in Nigeria this year along with a $60 billion external reserve and the this figures then the macro economic position of the country is remarkable. At the very least the detractors of the Obasanjo administration should acknowledge what has been done right and maybe they will have greater credibility in challenging what the administration did wrong.
Below is the link to the source , thanks again to Olumide Ajayi
Friday, May 02, 2008
" Were ni oma ba Gari binu, ti a so pe yanrin di jije" Haruna Ishola, Baba Ngani eto in his Album Oroki Social Club meaning :
"It is only a mad person who in their anger with Gari (Cassava cereal) decides to replace it with eating sand"
As usual Haruna Ishola's wisdom is so apt in general but also specific to the recent actions of Reverend Wright at the NPC. There is something egomaniacal about most Pastors that is rarely challenged by their congregations. I used to go to Church where one of the assumptions is that the Pastor is a man of God but i always thought that every human being was created in the Likeness of the almighty and that it is sinful to elevate anyone above you in your relation to the God. A very intelligent friend of mine always said in surprise at my critical dissection of sermons that once the Pastor says God revealed something to him he could never do anything but accept it in its entirety. I think this kind of subservient relationship which is quite peculiar in the Nigerian Pentecostal churches and reflected in some of their American relatives creates the Pastor as a Prima Donna. In a world where no one challenges your views and you have a platform to express them as you wish then it is almost inevitable that you do not know when to stop.
I remember in February whilst visiting Orlando, Florida hearing a skit on the Steve Harvey show which is quite appropriate to the Former Reverend of Trinity Church Chicago. In the skit the character talks about having 'Holds up', he used to copy a friend of his in class until a particular Test and then he had an 'holds up' moment that maybe he should just give it is best shot . When he did he graduated and the person who he always copied was repeating the same class. More interestingly he was coming home from work and he planned to enter his house naked and give his wife a powerful sexual discovery well he had an 'holds up' and when he walked into the room fully clothed his wife was in the middle of a church book club meeting. It was very funny but back to Reverend Wright where was his 'holds up'?
Is it not madness that a man that has fought for Black empowerment all his life was too blinded by his pain and disgust at being stereotyped by the media and reduced to a marginal bigot that he stepped to the plate to destroy the one man who could bring his aspiration into fruition. The problem for `Dr Wright is that victimhood has so become the metaphor for Black Life that when we wrap ourselves in its fond embrace it justifies any behaviour. It is as we Yoruba's say that what family members know as an illness is just sheer madness to outsiders. No country will ever vote into power anyone who is characterised as hating the very government he seeks. The funniest thing here is that Minister Farakhan who was directly denounced by Senator Obama had the wisdom not to make himself the news thereafter but Dr Wright was too seduced by the need to be right and in fact righteous that he has now created a lose-lose firestorm for Senator. It reminds me of the old Story of Ida and his master/ mentor who originally was given him as a slave but brought him up as his son. One day the King invited the master/mentor and as usual he had Ida with him. they were both feted as father and son as usual with everyone congratulating such a fine and well behaved young man . Ida started drinking heavily and he shortly started speaking loudly until he gave out the secret that he was originally a slave. His master was humiliated and exiled , ida once again became a slave. In my version Dr Wright like Ida does not have the wisdom to keep his mouth shut. Shame