9 Out Of 10 Americans Would Perish Without Power For Over A Year?

Empower Playgrounds Ghana

Rural African students study with the help of a kerosene lantern and some become doctors and engineers.

In yesterday’s (April 2, 2016) United Voice News Magazine, I read that ISIS attacks in Brussels, Paris, and California may be just the beginning of an unprecedented plot to bring America to its knees by targeting our nation’s scandalously vulnerable electric grid, warn officials at the Pentagon and FBI.

The report further reveals that: On a conventional battlefield, ISIS can’t beat America with brute military force because America is too strong for them. The interesting part of the article is: Everything will be fine, when the power goes out for few hours, but should the power go out for over a year, 9 out of 10 Americans would likely perish.

It really sounds funny to read such news, knowing that there are thousands of villagers in Africa, who have never enjoyed light before since they were born, yet they are the healthiest and happiest people on earth. From school, they learn, read and write with the help of only kerosene lanterns.  I’m back to what I have repeated over hundred times. Are Africans tougher and stronger than Europeans and Americans?

When it comes to issues pertaining Africa, only a few people interested, but learning something from Africa, in regard to survival and discipline in schools, will be beneficial to Europeans and Americans if they put pride behind them. Frankly speaking, without any ammunition, guns or war tanks, Africa will defeat Europe and America if they stand toe to toe in a physical fight, because Africans are physically strong.

Africans don’t need power to live or survive. They  already have a long life span without electricity, before the vaccine against malaria was discovered and before they were hit by medical crime at the hands of Europe and America.

Africa needs support, healing, and development, not underdevelopment and depopulation because that rejected continent, will one day be a safe haven for Europeans and Americans.

SO LONG A LETTER

BAH 2

Written by award-winning African novelist Mariama Ba and translated from the original French, So Long a Letter has been recognized as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The brief narrative, written as an extended letter, is a sequence of reminiscences—some wistful, some bitter—recounted by recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher Ramatoulaye Fall. Addressed to a lifelong friend, Aissatou, it is a record of Ramatoulaye’s emotional struggle for survival after her husband betrayed their marriage by taking a second wife.

This semi-autobiographical account is a perceptive testimony to the plight of educated and articulate Muslim women. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. Ramatoulaye hopes for a world where the best of old customs and new freedom can be combined.

Considered a classic of contemporary African women’s literature, So Long a Letter is a must-read for anyone interested in African literature and the passage from colonialism to modernism in a Muslim country.

Winner of the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

The Author

BAH 4

Mariama Bâ (April 17, 1929–August 17, 1981) was a Senegalese author and feminist, who wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she was raised a Muslim, but at an early age came to criticise what she perceived as inequalities between the sexes resulting from African traditions. Raised by her traditional grandparents, she had to struggle even to gain an education, because they did not believe that girls should be taught. Bâ later married a Senegalese member of Parliament, Obèye Diop, but divorced him and was left to care for their nine children.

Her frustration with the fate of African women—as well as her ultimate acceptance of it—is expressed in her first novel, So Long a Letter. In it she depicts the sorrow and resignation of a woman who must share the mourning for her late husband with his second, younger wife. Abiola Irele called it “the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction.” This short book was awarded the first Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980.

Bâ died a year later after a protracted illness, before her second novel, Scarlet Song, which describes the hardships a woman faces when her husband abandons her for a younger woman he knew at youth, was published.

The historian Nzegwu has contended that Bâ’s life was rich in events. Bâ was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1929, into an educated and well-to-do Senegalese family where she grew up. Her father was a career civil servant who became one of the first ministers of state. He was the Minister of Health in 1956 while her grand father was an interpreter in the French occupation regime.

After her mother’s death, Bâ was largely raised in the traditional manner by her maternal grandparents. She received her early education in French, while at the same time attending Koranic school.

Bâ was a prominent law student at school. During the colonial revolution period and later, girls faced numerous obstacles when they wanted to have a higher education. Bâ’s grandparents did not plan to educate her beyond primary school. However, her father’s insistence on giving her an opportunity to continue her studies eventually persuaded them.

In a teacher training college based in Rufisque (a suburb in Dakar), she won the first prize in the entrance examination and entered the École Normale. In this institution, she was prepared for later career as a school teacher. The school’s principal began to prepare her for the 1943 entrance examination to a teaching career after he noticed Bâ’s intellect and capacity. She taught from 1947 to 1959, before transferring to the Regional Inspectorate of teaching as an educational inspector.

Bâ was a novelist, teacher and feminist, active from 1979 to 1981 in Senegal, West Africa. Bâ’s source of determination and commitment to the feminist cause stemmed from her background, her parents’ life and her schooling. Indeed, her contribution is of absolute importance in modern African studies since she was among the first to illustrate the disadvantaged position of women in African society. Bâ’s work focused on the grandmother, the mother, the sister, the daughter, the cousin and the friend, how they all deserve the title “mother of Africa”, and how important they are for the society.

Mariama Bâ felt the failure of African liberation struggles and movements. Her earliest works were essays she wrote while at the École Normale. Some of her works have now been published. Her first work constitutes essentially a useful method of rejection of the “so-called French assimilationist policy”.

Bâ advocated urgent consideration and reinvigoration of African life.

This consideration and reinvigoration is essentially founded on the social construct of the relationship between man and woman. Indeed, there is an unequal and unbalanced power in the male/female relationship. According to her, these facts can help us become aware of Africa’s needs for societal change, a change more political than merely making speeches.

As a divorcee and “a modern Muslim woman” as she characterized herself, Bâ was active in women’s associations. She also ardently promoted education. She defended women’s rights, delivered speeches, and wrote articles in local newspapers. Thus, her contribution is significant because she explained and described the disadvantaged position of women in general and especially married women.

Bâ also had vision and determined commitment. She felt African people should reduce the deleterious impact of their culture. Women are plunged both psychologically and financially in a sensual indulgence and complete lack of regard for the consequences of men’s actions on families. They are completely blind. These facts led Bâ to believe in her mission to expose and critique the rationalisations employed to justify established power structures.

She thought that distortions of cultural thought and institutions are made to demonstrate masquerades as “tradition” and “culture”. Men and Women have been seduced into accepting the continuation of these “customs”. People should be “persuaded of the inevitable and necessary complementarity of man and woman”.

Bâ wrote many books openly sharing her thoughts and feelings, including: So Long a Letter (1981), Scarlet Songs (1986), and La fonction politique des littératures Africaines écrites (The Political Function of African Written Literatures) (1981).

http://www.amazon.com/Mariama-Ba/e/B000AP5I02

20 Young Writers Of Color Share Their Favorite Poems

Colour 2

Article originally published in  The Huffington Post by Priscilla Frank Arts Writer.

“The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind.”

In December, The New York Times invited noted writers, actors and public figures to share their favorite poems, reaching out to people like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Elena Ferrante Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham and Junot Díaz, among others.

After reading the published list, Tabia Alexine, a Los Angeles-based curator and creative, was disappointed. “It was a compelling group, but not as diverse and intersectionally colorful as I’d hoped,” she explained to The Huffington Post. Soon after, Alexine embarked on a project of her own, reaching out to young writers of color she admired to bring the original list the multiplicity both readers and writers deserve.

Alexine collected the perspectives of 20 new voices, each explaining the power of a single poem. “The responses reflect a spectrum of experience among the writers,” she explained. “But I did notice that several poems discussed discovery, social justice, and resistance through existence and survival.”

Looking forward, Alexine hopes future articles in outlets like The New York Times will represent a wider range of backgrounds and perspectives. And that the cultural landscape at large will follow suit. “I hope to see poetry and art by talented persons of color more widely distributed via TV, film, in commercials, at events, galleries, and conferences,” she continued. “I love seeing books like The Breakbeat Poets sold at major retailer, Barnes & Noble. I also believe performance poets and writers deserve increased honorariums for their work. I want to be a catalyst, pushing all of those things forward.”

Right in time for Black History Month, Alexine’s diversified anthology speaks to the importance of poetry to voices too often marginalized or silenced. “It can be such a powerful platform for truth-telling, disruption, affirmation, and empathy,” she said. “The vulnerability and realness I’ve witnessed within the poetry world is unlike any other medium in my mind. These 20 individuals are unapologetically taking up space and making noise as writers, activists, performers, educators, literary editors, students, and so much more.”

Learn about their favorite poems, and the stories behind them: 

http://goo.gl/jZQGlp

Was Genetic Engineering A Factor In The Zika Outbreak?

ZIKA 3

Originally published in VETERANS TODAY By Richard Edmondson on February 1, 2016

Sometimes I think humans are the stupidest species on the planet. We are the only species that, solely for the sake of profit, endeavor to develop technologies that not only are completely unnecessary for our survival but have a potential risk factor of bringing about our own destruction. This has been going on for much of the last century, and we have amply demonstrated over the same time we will believe any lie told to us provided it comes from a “credible” source.

And one of those “credible” sources is “science.”

I normally am not a science writer, but for the past few days stories about genetically modified mosquitoes have been buzzing around the Internet with regard to Zika, the latest virus that seems to be threatening certain populations in lesser developed areas of the world. Depending upon which source you believe, such mosquitoes are either, a) the solution to the Zika outbreak, or, b) the cause of it.

Let’s examine theory “a” first. The idea that GM mosquitoes (GMM) might rescue the people of Brazil and other countries seems to stem from  a January 19 press release put out by Oxitech, a British company that describes itself as “a pioneer in controlling insects that spread disease and damage crops.”

The gist of the press release is that the company will be opening a “mosquito production facility” in the city of Piracicaba, Brazil, the function of which will be to produce “self-limiting mosquitoes whose offspring do not survive.” The male mosquitoes have been genetically altered in such a way that they are incapable, theoretically at any rate, of producing viable offspring. Thus, the GMM’s will be released into the wild, where they will mate with female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the main vector of the Zika virus, and henceforth they will dramatically reduce the mosquito population.

That’s the theory, at any rate. Fox News, NPR, CBS, The Guardian, Time, CNN and others all went with the story, all plugging the use of GMM’s and suggesting it might be useful in the fight against the Zika virus.

“There is no biological mechanism by which the Oxitec bug’s modified pieces of DNA can transfer into human DNA, or into other mammals and insects,” Ford Vox asserts confidently in an opinion piece at CNN.

Continue reading: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/02/01/was-genetic-engineering-a-factor-in-the-zika-outbreak/

Where Is Clarence Williams III, After The Moud Sqaud?: The Influence of Television Films In Africa

Clarence 4

The Mod Squad, featuring Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton, played a significant role in the entertainment scene in Ghana. 

It is often said that Africa is a continent plagued by war, conflict, poverty and diseases, but the discipline, endurance and the survival on that harsh continent, which have never been the pride of the foreign media, could have been very good education for the advanced world, including Europe and America, to stand stress, frustration and other life turmoils. 

Africans are tough, immune to suffering and can adapt to every situation than Africans in the Diaspora and Europeans. Apart from the influence of the Bible, the role of churches and gospel music, television has played a significant role in entertainment history in Africa. The national coverage of television films from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation helped transformed Ghana.

Ghana was one of the happiest African countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa and still remains a peaceful and God fearing country. That doesn’t mean there is no crime. I remember in the early seventies, foreign television film inspired the first kidnapping story in the crime history of Ghana. Three young men made names for themselves and became fugitives when they kidnapped a car dealer’s son for ransom.

The entertainment scene in Ghana during the 6O’s and 70’s was amazing. Apart from Bonanza, featuring the Family Cartwright, Department ‘S’ featuring Peter Wyngarde and Joel Fabiani, Roger Moore as ‘The Saint,’ David Janssen as Richard Kimble in the fugitive etc; ‘The Mod Squad’ a group of two handsome men,  Clarence Williams III and Michael Cole and a pretty lady called Peggy Lipton, made some groundbreaking advancements in Ghana’s entertainment.

I missed those wonderful golden years; thanks to the birth of technology, making it possible to view those wonderful old television series today. Some of the great film stars may have gone or still living, but the role they played in Ghana’s entertainment and Africa generally shall never be forgotten.

Clarence 3

Clarence Williams III today

One of my dreams is to see Europe and America media, lifting the image of Africa to educate Europeans and Americans on how Africans cope with all the hardships. Why many criticize about Africa’s weak educational system, yet teenage pregnancy, smoking and alcoholism are problems Britain and America are facing today? Why so much suicide in Europe and America than Africa? Because the life of Africans is much influenced by the gospel. Above all the entertainment scene from the sixties in Africa was a key to provide young children the experience, teaching, skills and the critical thinking to survive on that harsh continent.

Under The Same Sky: From Starvation North Korea To Salvation In America

Kim 4

A searing story of starvation and survival in North Korea, followed by a dramatic escape, rescue by activists and Christian missionaries, and success in the United States thanks to newfound faith and courage

Inside the hidden and mysterious world of North Korea, Joseph Kim lived a young boy’s normal life until he was five. Then disaster struck: the first wave of the Great Famine, a long, terrible ordeal that killed millions, including his father, and sent others, like his mother and only sister, on desperate escape routes into China. Alone on the streets, Joseph learned to beg and steal. He had nothing but a street-hardened survival instinct. Finally, in desperation, he too crossed a frozen river to escape to China.

There a kindly Christian woman took him in, kept him hidden from the authorities, and gave him hope. Soon, through an underground network of activists, he was spirited to the American consulate, and became one of just a handful of North Koreans to be brought to the U.S. as refugees. Joseph knew no English and had never been a good student. Yet the kindness of his foster family changed his life.

He turned a new leaf, became a dedicated student, mastered English, and made it to college, where he is now thriving thanks to his faith and inner strength. Under the Same Sky is an unforgettable story of suffering and redemption.

The Author

Kim 3

Joseph Kim

Few can imagine what it is like to be homeless and starving as a child. Few can imagine life in the hermit kingdom of North Korea. However, refugee Joseph Kim knows both very well and he gives us a window into those worlds in his new memoir Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America.

Kim became homeless during the great famine of the 1990s, which killed more than a million people including his father. After three years on the streets, he escaped to China where a network of activists connected him with the U.S. consulate. At 17 years old, Kim arrived in America as a refugee with no family and barely an education.

NPR’s Arun Rath spoke with Kim about his harrowing experience as a homeless kid on the streets of North Korea, and how he finally made it to America.

On his life before the famine

I was only 4 or 5 years old when the famine began so I can’t really remember much from before but what I can remember is that I was actually being able to play with my friends, everything was peaceful. I didn’t have to worry about when the next meal was gonna come or whether we are gonna have food or not.

On losing his family at 12 years old

So my mom actually ended up making a very difficult decision to sell my older sister to Chinese men. She came back to me in North Korea and she explained to me but I didn’t really understand at the time. But now I think about it and she did it so she could at least save her youngest child, which was me. After that my mom tried to go to China again to look for my sister and earn some money but she got caught so she was put in a prison facility.

On being homeless in North Korea

In order to survive as a homeless, probably one of the first things that you have to do is to give up your human dignity because if you try to keep yourself a human being and try to preserve your rights and right to be treated, you’re not going to be able to ask for food. I mean it’s really humiliating. You also have to cross the line where you have to stop worrying about or thinking about the morality. I was taught in school don’t steal it but if I don’t steal it, I can’t survive.

On escaping to China

I crossed where the river was frozen so I was able to run across the border. There was no security guard. [The] distance was not that long, maybe like 100 yards, but I feel like that was the fastest I ran in my life.

On being a refugee in America

Friends treat me as just a normal Korean-American student — although they know my stories, I think my friends allow me to be part of their group without labeling me as a North Korean defector. I feel definitely welcomed and accepted.

Mirror Of Souls By Award Winning Author Angella Ricot

This book is a breakthrough in modern day poetry. It is an eclectic book that reflects contemporary society with its problems and its vision. In this book, the author uses her talent as a gifted poet to paint a rather realistic picture of the human condition, where she also vividly describes the struggle for survival. Within the passages of her poems, the author debates upon the issue of fate versus faith.
Angella
She also contemplates the nature of truth versus happiness. She offers spiritual hope, and some thoughts on meditation. Throughout the book, the theme is a quest for truth, a quest for freedom: freedom from our daily anguish, freedom from miseries, and from madness. Most importantly, the author also offers insight on the role of the poet today and/or how the poet is viewed within society.
The Author
Angella 2
Born in Haiti, award-winning author Angella Ricot immigrated to the United States over twenty years ago. A graduate of the University of South Florida, she was trained in both psychology and the medical sciences. She has appeared in the Miami Times and in the New York Caribbean newspapers.
Her first book, Mirror of Souls, was released in 2004, with subsequent works pending publication. AngellaRicot currently lives in the heart of the cosmopolitan city of New York. While her rigorous training laid the foundation for her career, her roots in the Caribbean mixed with the zest of urban city life provide the tapestry for her inspirations.