Friday, November 30, 2007

AIDS - The Bridge Builder Between Blacks In Washington DC and Africa

Will the Next President Fight AIDS?

If Washington, D.C., were a country, its estimated HIV prevalence of 1 in 20 adults would rank it 23rd in the world--higher than half of the nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Yesterday I saw a poster from the Atlanta Convention And Visitors Bureau that stated "If Metro Atlanta were its own country - it would be the 6th largest economy in the World based on GDP". Clearly this is a well orchestrated result that is a payoff from years and years of effort.

I can't help but make the very same inference about HIV infection and AIDS. It is not the "President that must FIGHT AIDS". HIV is transmitted through the exchange of body fluid between one person that is infected to another that previously was not. AIDS is an INTERPERSONAL disease. When I hear Gay Activist Keith Boykin and others make the case that it is the "Homophobic Black Church" that is the cause of the unchecked spread of AIDS within the Black American community it is clear to me that he and others are using this claim as a means of receiving forbearance from responsibility for their risky behaviors than they are in actually doing the things that are necessary to prevent the spread of this infection.

Sadly this virus has shown us that the African-American who previously thought that they were safe from all that threatens the rest of the world are in fact little different from their African cousins when it comes to HIV infection. This 23rd ranking got this way as a step by step MIS-directed effort. Similarly it will be addressed more permanently but on a more DIRECTED effort where people's consciousness dictate their behavior that exposes them to risk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ian Smith Of The Country Known Now As Zimbabwe Dies

Wikipedia page on Ian Smith

This post has a dual purpose.

First is to send off a racist leader of the former country known as Rhodesia. He was quoted as saying "the Black Africa would never rule this country for 1,000 years (to come". Ironically he and his white minority government was removed from office in 1979 and replaced by a government that was of the majority population. Clearly Ian Smith was wrong in his ignorant pronouncement.

At the same time I would be remiss if I failed to make note of the oppressive government of today. Though the name of the nation has changed to Zimbabwe - the average person is catching hell just the same. Robert Mugabe came to office with so much hope. For the first few years he did a good job in managing the nation's affairs. Recently, however, he has shown that he's learned well from the former White oppressors and has carried the tradition forward.

Movie: The Debaters

Movie Trailer

All Movie Web Site: The Great Debaters

The word is that this movie, "The Great Debaters" will not receive a massive amount of marketing dollars from the film studios. Once again the blogesphere will be called upon to do the work that we should be doing anyway for getting the word out about a quality movie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Big Communications Deal Will Bring More Internet To The African Continent

African nations agree to $1 billion Indian satellite project

Indian government will finance $1 billion project to at develop Africa's information and communication technology infrastructure

A critical mass of countries are signing on to a plan for India to invest $1 billion in the Pan-African e-Network satellite project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union aimed at developing the region's information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

I am happy to see that more people in Africa will have access to the Internet.

At the same time the Indian government pulled off a coup in that they are positioned to see them the networking and switching equipment that will bring this all about.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Wikipedia Page: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Special thanks to Simon and Garfunkel for writing the song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". I had always thought that Aretha Franklin had wrote the song. I heard the S & G version for the first time last night. Sorry to say fellas - "Re Re" done took your work and ran with it. Her version drives me to close my eyes and raise my hands to the sky as if I was in church listening to a spiritual.

I even listened to Bobby Womack's version of the song. He is more soulful than S&G but he still can't touch Aretha Franklin's version.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prostate Health & Black Men

I tried to put off the day of reckoning as long as possible was the day. My first prostate examination.

I had an option of getting it done during my physical two years ago. Interestingly enough my normal doctor was on vacation and a substitute doctor......who just happened to be my neighbor across the street.....did my exam that day. He told me that it was optional since I am still relatively young. Thought about all of the talks that we have while standing outside retrieving our mail or newspapers. I couldn't bear to think upon our future discussions that this man had violated me in such a way - so I passed.

Today there would be no deferment. I have to say that there are three things that a Black man does not want to hear from another man (or make that a "straight Black man") while he is naked except for the loose fitting smock that he has on:

1) "OK bend over across the table and spread your legs"

2) "I need you to relax your butt for me"

3) And upon completion of the exam "Well your prostate felt smooth just as I expected it to be for someone your age"

I am glad that everything checked out properly and I am glad that this is only done every two years.

With all of the preventable ailments that are present among Black males who are older than 35 but younger than 70 - this is certainly one issue that can be managed toward a less than fatal ending if we all get our periodic exam.

Now if someone could just come up with a pill with a camera that I swallow and then dispose of instead of having a doctor with a glove and some lubricating jelly that probes me....I would call this a serious medical advancement.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Africa To Receive $55 Billion In Internet Investments By 2012

Africa to receive investment to boost internet

KIGALI - Africa will receive investment worth 55 billion dollars to boost its goal of securing universal Internet access by 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said yesterday.

The commitments were made at the two-day “Connect Africa” summit that ended in Rwandan capital on Tuesday, with a pledge to speed up technology in the continent, the ITU said in a statement.

The ITU and African Development Bank (AfDB) jointly vowed to cooperate in connecting all African capitals and major cities with a broadband infrastructure and strengthen connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012.

“By 2015, broadband and ICT (information and communication technology) services will be extended to all African villages,” the statement said.

This is great news for the people who live on the continent of Africa. Telecommunications, like a water distribution system and the electrical grid are the foundations of an advanced and productive society. Just as a new highway leads to development of restaurants and shopping plazas on the side of the road, so too will this information highway produce similar benefits for millions of people.

In my own line of research on the impact that the mobile phone has had in Africa and in various "developing countries" around the world such enhanced communications has radically changed people's lives for the better. In fact many African nations are further ahead of the United States when it comes to mobile payments. Since many of these countries use prepaid calling cards for their cellphones the mobile operators there have set up a system by which a son that has moved to the big city is able to transfer credits to his mother's cellphone back in the village. He account receives these increased credits. She is then able to go into a store and transfer the stored value on her phone account to the store as a means of purchasing food. This is a "Western Union" type money transfer service via the cellphone.

In the coming years the development of a robust and ubiquitous telecom infrastructure in Africa will mean that more people will participate as "knowledge workers" in these various economies. Africa's challenge is to being to ship finished goods outside of their region rather than raw materials. The implementation of this network will lead it further down this path. This is a good news story for Africa and her people.

Monday, November 05, 2007

There Is No Difference In The Level Of Savagery Between The Iraqi Insurgent and the White Racist Lynch Mob

A recent report on CNN that heralded the return of the noose as a symbol of racial intimidation as well as exposing the part that it played in the lynching of people - Black and White in the past detailed the sense of "justice" and revenge that was present in the lynch mob of ignorant, unjust men who violated the principles of law and order of this nation at every turn.

Today as we review pictures broadcast via satellite from Iraq showing a mob of men cheering at the sight of a burned corpse strung up on a bridge in this war zone Americans of all stripes should know that there was a time in America that such a sight was also a big community bonding event in this country.

There is little difference in the evil deeds that men do.

Traditional African Culture Conflict With Noah's Shipwrecked Theories

Traditional African Culture Conflict With Noah's Shipwrecked Theories

This post is an attempt to address many issues with one swipe. As I debate with an individual who is an ideologue as well as a self proclaimed “Afro-Centrist” my recent viewing of the documentary “The Secret Pain” provides an excellent opportunity to shoot down the framework of his theories as a simple transposition of its application over to Africans places him in great conflict with his notions of being spiritually connected to his African Ancestry.

The documentary “The Secret Pain” that is now being shown on my favorite “progressive television” network, Link TV shows the journey of an African woman who now lives in Denmark. She travels back to Sierra Leon to address a situation that has troubled her all of her life – female circumcision. She says that the experience has damaged her both physically but also mentally.
The practice of “female circumcision” is rooted in TRADITIONAL AFRICAN CULTURE. We all know that when the Europeans colonized many of these places they put a stop to many traditional African cultural practices that they called “savagery”. So often we hear “African-Centrists……..who live comfortably in America” discus how they are in tune with traditional African culture and how the changes that were imposed on Africa has disconnected the African from his SPIRTUALITY. Their claim is that the violence and hard times that have settled upon the Africa of today, or at least several major parts of the continent is a direct result of the cultural cleansing that has taken place.

In this post I hope to place two major conflicting THEORIES into my friend’s face and thus force him to decide if he is a “LIBERAL” reformer as he claims to be or “CONSERVATIVE” curator of traditional African culture as he ALSO claims to be. If you get a chance to see “The Secret Pain” you will see that one can’t sit on the fence and claim to be both.

In watching “The Secret Pain” it is shown that the practice of female circumcision is a part of their cultural tradition. Young girls are taken to the kanta – the traditional compound where the act is performed on the females and where they go to heal. The “digba” – the female elders who perform this ceremony prepare for it by going into the bush to find the appropriate herbs that will be used to blunt the pain. One of the digba’s that was filmed was seen “asking permission” from the spirits of the plants for her to cut them. Over the years I have had conversations with many Black Americans who are self proclaimed “conscious” people. They frequently talk about how Western culture has disrespected the SPIRT of the Earth and the vegetation there in. This digba woman and her practice seems to fit right into their notions of spirituality.

One thing that did surprise me was the level of integration that the practice of circumcision had within the society. The females, hovering around the age of 16 were sent to stay at the “kanta” until their bodies healed from the traumatic operation that was performed upon them. During this time they are taught by the elder women on how to be good housewives. How to tend to the house, the children and the husband. They were seen singing and dancing. Where it not for the brutal (from my cultural perspective) operation that had been performed upon them I would give such a package of traditional cultural practices a thumbs up.

Here in lies the conflict that is presented to my friend. In being an “African cultural purist” on the one hand but an attacker of “conservatism” on the other he places himself in a mutually exclusive, ABSTRACT position that has no place in time or on this Earth beyond his mind that is full of theory. For if he indeed seeks to return us Africans who are spread out into the Diaspora back to our original cultural roots so that we might be made whole again then on this occasion he is indeed acting the part of the hated CONSERVATIVE as he enforces certain practices that don’t lend themselves to theoretical analysis and pontification.
All females who are circumcised take a vow not to talk about their experience to anyone. In fact only females that have been circumcised are allowed into the “kanta”. Any person who works to stop the practice of this tradition will come under serious attack and shunning by the other members of the society. I saw this as a form of cultural gravitational pull. Women who were originally reluctant to send their daughters to the ceremony were told that others would not purchase their food in the market nor could they purchase food from others. Once this was imposed upon them the hardship and cultural isolation that this produced were enough to get them to change their mind.

Though most of the traditional practices around female circumcision were executed by the women, behind all of this stood the village men who ultimately enforced all of these traditions. They were the “muscle” if you will. When the camera crew that accompanied the woman from Denmark got permission to enter the kanta but failed to get permission from the males, the men were riled up on the outside of the compound, waiting for them to exit. (Tradition says that they were not allowed to come into the kanta because they were men). The woman and her crew ended up paying the men money and talking to them. Ultimately they were calmed down.

At the same time modern culture had indeed impacted the traditional ceremony that is roughly akin to other “Womanhood/Manhood Ceremonies” in other cultures sans the female circumcision. The interviewer asked one of the digba’s “The girls today only spend 2 weeks in the kanta, it used to be longer. Why was it shortened?” To which the digba’s replied “We’ve gotten like the White man we’re always in a hurry”. Another digba replied “We used to be able to cultivate the Earth. Now we need money to buy rice. The digbas and families must be fed during the months. We all have to contribute during the initiation seaon. That’s why it takes only one or two weeks these days. Otherwise we’d be broke. ” Secondly was asked “The girls used to be much older before they were circumcised, why are they so young today”, to which was replied “Times have gotten hard. I have both younger and older daughters. I can’t afford to pay for initiations all of the time – so they come in the kanta at the same time. “ Another question “So where does the circumcision originate?” A quick reply “ We’ve told you that you mustn’t ask about that.” To which the interviewer replied “Relax. I am a circumcised woman myself.”

This above exchange must be analyzed. Whereas the average Afro-Centrist would say “see society’s modern pressures and monetization has corrupted the African traditional purity” they miss the mark with this analysis. The fact is that the modern pressures have only altered the time interval of the initiation process and the ages of the girls as they undergo the operation. This TRADIITON is still in conflict with the progressive Afro-Centric’s view that such a practice that is IMPOSED upon an otherwise free individual is suppressive. Thus we have a person seeking to “reach back” and “progress” at the same time. Which one is it – oh great Mandinka warrior?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Upon Reciving "Reparation" What Will Be Asked Of The Black Man Regarding His Valuation Of The White Man?

Within the debate over Reparations for Western enslavement of Africans most of the discussion is focused around how the Black man must be made whole. We must be taken consciously back to the state at which we were before coming into contact with the Europeans that had their way with our physical bodies, our material resources and of course our mental and spiritual consciousness. Additionally the consideration of the modern stature that the African WOULD HAVE attained had he not been molested throughout the centuries by White oppression and exploitation is put forth upon the total invoice for what is owed to us as a people.

This post is not to debate the the matter of what is to be transfered from the White man back to the Black in the name of "Reparations". I instead would like to broach the subject of what the BLACK MAN will project forth regarding his views on THE WHITE MAN once we achieve our "Repaired State".

It comes as no surprise to anyone that today an offense by a White person against a Black is promoted as being SUPERIOR to the very same physical assault done by a fellow Black person. Though I have tried I cannot identify the multiplier by which one White man's killing of a Black man is equal to "X" number of Black people's killing of another Black man before the Black Community is made to give a response that is similar to that which is seen when the White man commits the same act. If any of you know this number - 10, 50, 200 to 1 please forward it to me. The answer will be greatly appreciated.

In today's news paper is the report of a rally held in West Virginia in protest of the recent detention, sexual assault and brutalization of a young Black girl by a gang of White thugs in the area.

Protesters: Add hate charge
Rape and torture case has divided some advocates, who differ on how to achieve punishment for 6 suspects.

In 2006 there were 75 homicides in West Virginia and 389 rapes
(West Virginia Crime Rates 1960 - 2006). What specifically about THIS incident has garnered a mass protest?

Quotes from the rally:

* "Hate crimes are out of control in America,"; "Nooses are being hung and our women are being raped by white mobs. Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party

* "Protect the Black Woman." a message shown on the t-shirt of the victim - Megan Williams

* "As a father of a daughter and a child of African ancestry, the idea that I can sit by idly, [in] the face of one of the most violent and obscene acts committed against a black woman in my life, was too appalling," he said. "I had to come."


The question must be asked - Why is it that the assault upon Megan Williams by 6 White folks draw a protest while the assault by 4 Black males upon a Black mother and her son where she was forced to perform oral sex on him for the the amusement of the thugs NOT grounds for a protest as well?

Dunbar Villiage: Mother Raped and then forced to perform sex act upon her son


Beyond this quick divergence in order to set up the central question of this post is "Will REPARATION bring about the point which a crime done against a Black person is seen as an EQUAL ASSAULT, regardless of who the perpetrator is?" While I have no direct evidence regarding how our ancestors looked upon White folks from the standpoint of the valuation of their assaults upon them as compared to one from one of their own - it stands to reason that as a self-sufficient entity they were forced to deal with all offenders lest chaos and disorder come about.

As we journey to our "repaired state" as a people - will this state include the notion that "All Men Are Equal" and thus "all offensive that these men commit are equal and justice and outrage will be equally dispensed as proof of our REPAIRED STATE?