My eyes fail me and my knees have turned into jelly. I can see the kids shouting yet I hear very little of what they’re saying. All my friends are gone and the world has changed so much in the last 50 years. I have to wake up several times to make an attempt to empty my bladder. It’s painful and tedious every time. Who would have thought this day would come? I used to feel proud at the urinal, peeing with one hand on my hip. I still place my hand on my hip but for a reason different from what it was decades ago. I’m always in pain. a blurry picture is what remains of the beauty I used to see. The earth spins slower than before. It’s almost grinding to a halt. The sun has turned more red over the years. it almost resembles a huge drop of blood.
I hate hanging out with my age mates. All they do is complain. Of things they didn’t do and a past they didn’t make right. Opportunities never taken and lovers that they were too proud to hold on to. I have seen better days. I thought my dream story would last a lifetime only to surprise myself in the end. I loved her more than everything else, yet I had to let her go. I couldn’t keep up with her complaining and dissatisfaction. She was never happy with where I was in life. It was natural for her to want all the good things in life, just to match up with the girls of her time. But she just couldn’t wait. Now I’m standing here in the middle of vast wealth that I don’t need. Riches that found me at the wrong time. I have travelled the world to all the places the curious child in me wanted to go. I have met good beautiful women of every color and tongue. I have dined with the greats and the most ordinary of folk. I have done everything I wanted to do and still I can’t get her out of my mind. The one I almost had.
The pictures in my living room tell of a gripping tale. Of a life that very few will ever get the chance of living. Of a past that I live in the present and the scary prospect of an uncertain eternity. I could give anything to have it all back. To relive it. I would give anything to have some of those cold, hungry nights I spent on empty pockets. I have everything now. I thought a mansion would make me happy. It made me lonely. I’d rather walk than sit at the back and be driven by my old friend who now calls me ‘master’. I’d rather skip my breakfast than suffer the prospect of abundance while the world outside falls in ashes. My left hand can’t keep still and this headache never leaves me.
I was there when they took over what was our home, now a mere province of the Union of Nations. When they took our children to depopulate the earth and redistribute resources. I keep hoping Nimi and Sally will one day walk through that gate. A parent can feel it when one of their own is not alive anymore. I am a sad man and I have not a way of holding back my tears. I never made any efforts to pray or read the bible when I was young and now it’s all gone. I can’t believe it’s now a crime to gather to pray. They say it interferes negatively with others’ beliefs and therefore a criminal offence. It’s a pity the child of today will never experience the warmth of the sun. Days are darker and times are hard. I want to die.
It’s funny how long the queues are at the wellness program center. I hear they can give you a life prolonging injection that will keep you young and add you 60 years. Why would anyone want more life? Look at them trying to smile through their suffering. Paupers that will never know the beauty of earning bread after an honest day’s work in the fields. They work for the order of the day and none have ever seen their master. They have never seen the money they earn. They are paid in credits and benefits. They work for a voice on the computer. This is all that is left, a race of hopeless creatures with no nationality and creed. No pride and zeal. Do they realize they lost their dignity even before they were born? Zombies, that’s what they have become.
I remember how it started. We took to the streets to demand freedom and liberty for all on earth. Our forefathers had warned us, that if we opened that door we would never be able to close it. We were too clouded to heed their warnings. We broke the law down and built it to suit our shortcomings. Instead of striving to better ourselves we brought the low to our level. In what was called the free world, it became a crime to marry more than one partner yet it was okay to marry the same sex and even adopt children. We made it okay for man to do as he willed. To be allowed marry their children and to be free to lay with the beasts of the field. We declared that love was just but an illusion. Our women became material and the men of our time became weak with greed. They could never keep their promises. We made the world ONE, all the while believing it was the right thing to do. Most of our leaders gave up their power to one man and they told us it was a new and bright dawn for all the universe . For those leaders, who did not agree with us, we vilified them and called them dictators. We made it our ambition to ‘free’ those under their rule. And we brought down governments and many a good man just to satisfy our selfish and most vile of desires. Domination. Control.
All we have left are shreds of memory of good days gone by. We were too occupied to stand back and see what we were doing to ourselves. And when the sun finally set, it set for good.
Freedom comes at a price.
If wishes were horses, we’d be thinking ponies all day. But the government would’ve found a way to tax every person with a pony so in essence, we’d still not be able to ride. Freedom is the big word of today’s world but I can’t help wondering, is there any such thing as freedom? Can one ever be free? Are you truly free?
Sally is the ‘proud’ mother of one brat. As you can see, I have used proud, mother and brat in one sentence. Let me tell you why. Sally is a kind hearted person. She does good by everyone and is always careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. She has a soft heart too. I don’t know if I’m right but I strongly think that good people always get a raw deal. First her family banished her when they found out she was pregnant. Then her boyfriend; the father of the child disappeared when he learnt he was going to be a father. She was left with her only friend, her child who now has turned into a terrorist.
After her series of misfortunes, Sally vowed to love her child with all her soul. She swore never to beat the child however bad the mistake. She advocates for dialogue, not ‘violence’. She believes discipline on a child has to be instilled in a ‘discussion’. Now the boy child is four years and can control his mother however he wants. His threat? He will jump from the cupboards and kill himself if his mother does not yield to his demands. That is among the numerous other threats equally creative. It’s Sally’s worst nightmare that her child should take his own life. So she gives in to his every little demand. Now the boy lives on chocolate, soda and fries. He can hardly fit in his cot. Little does Sally know her ‘only boy’ will one day beat her up and eventually get killed by a mob at 17 for sodomizing a young boy. For now, she doesn’t know what to do. She is being held hostage by a 3 foot man.
It’s the third time David has woken up in the middle of the night sweating. The nightmares won’t go away. The voice of his boss is still echoing in his head telling him he has been fired. Getting fired is his worst nightmare. With his life riddled with debt and the fact that he is currently taking care of his ailing parents, David can’t afford to lose his job. He can’t enjoy a moment even at work because he has to be in ‘the right books’ with the management. He overlooks the fact that he is always receiving invitation letters from the best companies in his field. He also happens to be the only employee in the organization who has won the most awards of distinction for his work. His boss and the management treats him like trash. Any normal person would move to a better opportunity but not David. He’s being held hostage. Not by his company nor by his boss but by his fears.
Every time Leila gazes into Kamara’s eyes, she starts crying. When she does, Kamara leans forward and kisses her, holding her tight in the embrace of love. He knows she is crying because she’s in love. Her tears move him; an assurance that their love is real. He loves her deeply and would like to spend every moment of her life with her. This is the one type of woman that Kamara knows he’ll never find anywhere else. He’s right on that note but wrong on the reason why she is crying.
You see Leila is a hostage. She knows deep down that Kamara is not the one for her. She knows she may never be completely happy with him. He is not the one her heart yearns after. So she is crying because she wants to leave him. Only that it’s not as easy as one would expect. Kamara is a good man. Kind hearted and very romantic in every sense of the word. He does everything right. In the one year that they’ve been in love, they’ve hardly fought. He is level headed, caring, considerate and committed. Leila has never had any reason to doubt Kamara. He is always near. She on the other hand has had her share of life’s drama. Just when she thought she’d found true love (Kamara), she started feeling unsettled. This is not a life she can get used to. She unfortunately, thrives in chaos. It is something she has not accepted but that’s the underlying issue. She needs someone different. A rogue. Someone she can fall out with and make up every now and then. For now, she is held hostage by her conscience. She doesn’t want to hurt a good man.
Today I’m seated in court listening to the proceedings against my friend who has been charged with staging his own kidnapping and extortion. He is guilty. The police traced his cellphone only to find him transmitting from a lodging in the downtown district of the city. I can’t help asking myself why anyone would want to become or even play hostage. I’ve hated the times I’ve been held hostage by someone, something or a situation. in my view, freedom comes only when you decide it is time. What’s more, you don’t have to live on your knees if you can afford to live on your feet. Make it your ambition to free yourself today. No one and nothing should hold you hostage, not especially when you can do something about it.
Early this week I got a message from a friend I haven’t spoken to in years. They were commending me on my writing. Thank you. Here’s to the good old times.
Introduction by Michael Ngigi – Author, A Day in a Dog’s Life™
Have you been pondering over the events that are unfolding in current world politics lately? There seems to be a lot of disconnects and many unanswered questions especially in the situation of our African continent. I for one can’t help thinking that everything happening today especially in Libya is part of a bigger plan that doesn’t involve the benefit of the Libyan majority. I still believe the Libyan situation could have been solved in a better and more civil way. Today I introduce to you Tony Cartalucci the author of Land Destroyer Report, an alternative news blog based in Bangkok, Thailand covering geopolitics. In today’s article, he gives us insight that the mainstream media will never give us. I suggest that you take time to read this report, lest your country be ‘next’ on the ‘list’. Meet Tony Cartalucci.
Libya: War for World Government by Tony Cartalucci
“It is a test that the international community has to pass. Failure would shake further the faith of the people’s region in the emerging international order and the primacy of international law.”
–Brookings Institute‘s “Libya’s Test of the New International Order,” February 2011.
While a parade of politicians and pundits cite the “international community,” the UN, and the “Arab street” as giving them the justification to not only wage illegal war on Libya, but to threaten illegal war against Syria as well, it should be remembered that it was neither the UN nor the “international community” that laid the ground work for this campaign.
What started out, supposedly, as spontaneous, simultaneous uprisings across the Middle East, has transformed clearly into an aggressive Western-backed blitzkrieg of destabilization and regime change. This was a plan that was years in the making, talked about in 2007 by then, presidential hopeful, CFR member, and International Crisis Group trustee Wesley Clark.
We now know that the protesters from Tunisia to Egypt had been trained by US created and funded CANVAS of Serbia. We have learned that the US State Department openly admits to providing funding to tech firms to assist protesters across the Middle East and Northern Africa to circumvent cyber-security inside target nations. Perhaps most alarming of all, we now know that the US State Department is also funding corporations like BBC to undermine the governments of China and Iran, revealing the full-scope of their ambitions.
The “international community” that feckless stooges like Joe Lieberman talk about, or his French equal in impotency, Nicolas Sarkozy‘s “new post-UNSC 1973 model of world governance” are concepts not born of these “elected representatives,” but rather the product of the corporate think-tanks that hand them their talking points. It is the corporate-financier oligarchy that constitutes the “international community” and who aspires to rule through “world governance.” Their goal is to eliminate national sovereignty and assert their agenda and the laws & regulations to achieve it homogeneously across all national borders.
To see who Lieberman and Sarkozy are channeling, we look to the Brookings Institute report “Libya’s Test of the New International Order” back in February 2011. In it, it talks about the primacy of international law over national sovereignty and considered it being at stake in Libya. Allowing Libya to defy the “international community,” they worried, could ultimately threaten its “resolve and credibility.”
Another telling Brookings Institute report, “Bifurcating the Middle East,” mentions rallying “the Arab street” to confront defiant states like Libya, Syria, and Iran, all of which are mentioned by name. Nowhere was oil mentioned, nor the tremendous profits defense contractors would surely reap, and while these are primary motivators to garner support for the regional campaign within the corporate combine, they are by no means the primary motivators for the campaign itself. The final goal is world government, the elimination of borders, and a monopolistic corporate-financier cartel that can systematically eliminate all challenges to its hegemony – in other words, the dream of all oligarchs since the beginning of time.
In Syria, resistance to the Western-backed opposition is a similar direct challenge to the corporate-financier oligarchs. Nations like Syria, Iran, Libya, Burma, Belarus, and many others are demonized and systematically isolated and undermined not because they are a threat to the world, but because their independence and refusal to acquiesce is an obstacle before a corporate-financier ruled world government.
We are given childish explanations that prey on the most ignorant and feeble of minds as to why we are fighting in Libya, and why we are threatening war with Syria and Iran. Nowhere in Lieberman or Sarkozy’s ranting statements is talk of who these rebels are; that they’ve been fighting on and off against Qaddafi for nearly three decades with US help, that their opposition is based in London and the United States, and that they have overt ties to Al-Qaeda, with rebel leaders themselves openly admitting their affiliations to the terrorist group. We are now told that recently returning to Libya to lead the rebels is Khalifa Hifter, who has spent the last 20 years in “suburban Virginia,” and has spent his time in America lending support to anti-Qaddafi groups.
After fighting a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of nearly 6,000 US lives, supposedly to stop the ubiquitous “Al Qaeda,” an organization the US itself created in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight the Soviets, we have come full circle, with CIA/Al-Qaeda assets fighting side-by-side in Libya, complete with US air support.
Do regular folks forget that Syria was mentioned as part of George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and that Obama is merely carrying on a continuous agenda that has transcended administrations up to this very day? Considering the agenda revealed by Wesley Clark in 2007, we see how seamlessly “Obama’s war” against Libya fits in. If we are to believe Obama and Bush are ideological opposites, what other explanation can be given as to why this agenda, scorned by the political left under Bush, has now found a new home in Obama’s administration?
Quite clearly politics in America is but a mere illusion. So to is the “War on Terror,” as the US helps Al-Qaeda sweep westward towards Tripoli. It is all empty rhetoric carrying the agenda of global government forward. Despite losing nearly 6,000 of their brothers in arms, the US military carries on, following orders despite the absolute, overt absurdity of their mission. They are literally providing air support now for the men that helped send their buddies back in pine boxes from Iraq. They do this while the media that lied them into a decade of war now celebrates their enemy, these rebels of Benghazi, as heroes of democracy. Again – we come full circle as the Mujaheddin fighting the Soviets were once “heroes” of the West as well.
None of this makes any sense from the political left or right perspective. None of this makes sense from a West verses “Muslim extremist” perspective. The only perspective from which it makes sense, is if a cartel of corporations has been lying to us all along, saying anything and everything to get us to jump through the appropriate hoops. With their plans becoming bolder, perhaps even desperate, they have begun to mix up their narratives to the extent that they are bombing “Al Qaeda” in Pakistan and giving “Al Qeada” air support in Libya. They areadmittedly strafing civilians from the air in Pakistan, but imposing no fly zones on Qaddafi overunverified claims of doing the same.
Indeed, this is not a war of America, the UN, NATO, or the European Union. The feckless politicians that pose as our leadership are merely taking orders from the powers that be – the corporate-financier oligarchs. If we are to frustrate these oligarchs, we would be wise to waste little time on their front men and instead get straight to the issue. Boycott these corporations and systematically replace them on a local level. While they wage war to eliminate the nation state, from its borders down to our own individual rights and liberties, we must wage a campaign to undermine and eliminate them, from their crass consumerist networks that infest our towns, to the parasitic monstrosity that is the international banking system which infests this planet.
While they must wage their battle through murder, lies, and deceit, we must wage our battle through constructive pragmatic solutions, ingenuity, hard work, community, and self-sufficiency. This is not a war for Libya – this is a war for world government, that if won by the globalists, means our defeat as well.
You can follow Tony on Twitter @LandDestroyer
When I was in class one, my teacher noticed I had a passion for arts and so she made it her mission to help me develop my talent. She would always provide me with extra crayons and additional drawing paper. All this, because I painted her a picture of what I thought was her family. Perfect and balanced. I remember her reaction when I presented her the painting. She cried helplessly, hugged me and soaked me in her tears. I was too young to understand what her tears meant so I cried with her too. I was later to learn that she had lost her family in a car crash. From that moment, we became best friends. She even offered to teach me how to count as I had difficulty in math. She liked me. During the morning breaks, she and I would go and sit on the grass at the far end of the field and I would catch grasshoppers for her. I wanted her to smile but she wouldn’t. She was a sad creature.
One day after learning of the fate of her family, I painted another picture of her family. This time, I painted her departed husband and two kids were on the top of my composition with smiles on their faces. At the bottom of the painting I had drawn my teacher smiling and looking up at her family. I used yellow for most of the painting. This also happened to be the first thing she noticed when I presented it to her. I explained that the yellow stood for God, and that he was always watching over her. I also told that her family was safe in his hands. There were tears in her eyes when she told me that she didn’t believe in God. For a young child brought up in a christian family, her statement threw me into personal melee and finally a quest for the existence of God. It was the saddest thing to know that my teacher died a few years later in 1997. It was even more sad to learn that she died having not believed in the existence of a higher power.
When I was twelve, I read the bible from beginning to the end. I wanted to find out why people believed in christianity. It was a tough time as my uncle and his wife had just lost their three month old baby. Naturally, some people wanted answers, others wanted understanding. For me, there was one big question. Where was God when the poor child was sick? Why would he give us a ‘gift’ only to take it away before its time? It just didn’t make sense. I was looking for answers in the bible in the hope that I would get an enlightenment or at least an understanding. I could not bring myself to believe how God formed the universe from nothing. There was a tempest in my heart between logic and faith. In a strange way, I could now understand why my teacher did not believe in God. It was scary to harbor such thoughts in my young mind. But sometimes, the answers come when one is in the eye of a storm because after my long search, I finally got home. I believe strongly that God exists. Trash everything else. That we evolved from apes is complete rubbish. How else can the evolutionists explain why the apes are still there? As one blogger put it, it’s like saying a chair will one day evolve into a table.
You see the terms faith and logic are relative; depending on how you understand them. Personally I believe that faith is observed and experienced by signs. Affection is not affection unless it is expressed in signs. How else do you know that someone loves or hates you? Is love something you can touch? Is hate an object you can take hold of and bury in the sand? Why then do you doubt the existence of God just because you cannot see him?
Likewise, science also derives its basis on signs. Smoke is the signal of a fire. The mood, cognition and voluntary movement in a human being are explained by the presence of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) that the brain is able to produce. So can we safely agree that science and religion are based on signs? Well scientists would definitely not agree to this co-relation. Fair enough. I wonder what they have to say about this thing called gravity. How is it formed? Where does it come from? Clearly, all a scientist can do is try explain the signs of God’s work. It then becomes useless to explain the inside of an egg without first trying to find out where the hen came from. Get it? At the end of the day there is no evidence needed to bring forth faith. Just signs.
‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. ‘ Hebrews 11:1-3
In my article Dreams, I gave the example of Jesus‘ Walk On Water. I have come to call this wonderful event WOW- Walked On Water. Of course scientists will always try to refute this fact but I on the other hand, have experienced more WOW moments than I can count. My prayers have always been answered. I have seen the signs of God’s goodness that I can’t ignore. I have done bad things in the past but I now enjoy the mercies and grace of a forgiven man. You see the same author of my faith is the same One who created science. So when science fails to explain an occurrence, I cannot assume that it doesn’t exist.
Sometimes all we need to do is close our eyes and experience the connection. You know that feeling in your heart that tells you, that you are not here by chance?
These are just random thoughts of a man looking to find his way. The journey is long and it’s just beginning. Maybe next time I will tell you what else I have discovered. I dedicate this to my mother who has been the best teacher when it comes to explaining the intangible.
I have no words to explain how beautifully Flo Mwangi has put everything into perspective. I literally feed from her words. She has mastered the art of making sense out of the melee that has become the tipping point of many a relationship. I believe that if she’s not careful, she could end up as an undisputed best seller or with me. I present to you my Final Jack.
By Flo Mwangi
Every time I speak to her over the phone or pay her a visit, I am left reeling in laughter and with plenty of food for thought. This is why I cannot wait to see her over my vacation, plus she made me promise to anyway seeing as how she is in her grace years as she likes to call them; kind of like extra time where that whistle can go off any minute. And this she says with a hint of laughter. I tell her she’ll be around for quite a while. She is a tough nut.
My grandma; I don’t even know where to begin with the phenomenal that is this woman. I am overcome with emotion whenever I think of her; this woman who raised me and to whom I remain forever indebted, who shaped my ideals, who I feel a deep and profound love and adoration for. I am in awe of her sheer strength, her unshakeable Faith, her compassionate nature, her wit and wisdom and her charm. She has lived to see four generations; now that’s a fit and all generations through we appreciate and hold her in high regard. She has touched each of our lives in a special way. We all have a tale to tell as far as this wonderful woman is concerned.
For me it’s the first few years of my life which I spent with her. When my mum was off completing her undergrad studies, my grandma nurtured me. I applaud my mother; having me young did not stop her from pursuing her dreams, and achieving them, she made no excuses, expected no sympathy nor loved me any less. She took it all in stride and pressed on. I am truly proud of her. Those are some wonderful memories -me and my grandma- I still fondly remember this lovely little basket she kept in the living room, especially for me, filled with juicy oranges freshly picked from the garden by her, which I was treated to after a long day at school, and we all know school can be pure torture for a kid. I remember her dressing me up for church every Sunday and me sitting up next to her at the front pew. She has always played an active role in church; I admire her Faith evident in all she does and passionately stands for. She is an astute believer in God’s overall role in every aspect of our lives from creation, to our daily existence.
Her Faith inspires and rouses all around her and has remained unmoved by the changing tides of time and circumstance. And it has been tested no doubt. She was not bitter at the passing of Grandpa -if anything we all drew strength from her- and as he lay in hospital, those last painful days, no one needed to tell her he was gone. She knew the exact moment he had breathed his last. How many of us can boast of such a connection with their spouse? The love those two shared I’ll be forever in awe of. They were inseparable and in an age where expressions of love or treating each other as equals was not too common, I have to commend those two.
Submission as I have observed through her is not losing oneself rather it is appreciating each other’s role in a relationship and having mutual respect for each other. It’s not about yelling matches but learning to listen -difficult as it maybe- while the other is talking and then stating your case as you would to a friend and finding a middle ground, compromise. And of all else a lifetime partner should first be a friend, because for such a commitment there’s a lot more at play beyond all the temporary fiery passions. It’s not about who ‘wears the pants’ in a relationship it’s about recognizing each other’s strengths and building on them and collectively applying them to build something of value. It’s not about finding fault and playing on each other’s weaknesses but rather compromise; there’s what initially attracts you to your partner, the mistake we make over time is averting our eyes from these wonderful things and focusing instead on each other’s shortcomings and before we know it we no longer feel the same, we become revolted by the sight of each other, we begin to fall out of love. You need to revert your focus back to what drew you to that person in the first place, it’s all still there you just became blinded to it over time. In doing this you will begin to cherish each other more and rekindle the flame once again. We easily loose those that we love because we never take time to make it work.
She was always meek with grandpa; she let him hold the fort while she was run the show behind the scene. He adored her; his respect for her was evident. She was forever at his side, never behind him. He valued her insight. They’d claw at each other sometimes but the love was never lost and in no time they’d be laughing over a joke either of them cracked. They were a vision of happiness those two. Never did they keep in silence or let the sun go down on an argument. And when he was taken ill, she was by his side till the very end.
She is appalled at the sham we have turned the marriage institution into. Women no longer appreciate their role in marriage –we feel so liberated now we want to steer the family ship in complete disregard of the men. Men on the other hand appear to have lost sight of what their role is exactly. A marriage is a partnership, a union, not a power struggle, going about it as such beats the whole point of getting into one in the first place.
Dear enlightened woman -not all men are evil and they do like to be in charge and that’s unlikely to change. Let him reign, play up his ego once in a while. So what if you are more educated? Or make more money than he does? It doesn’t make him any less of a man and there really is no point in rubbing it in, making him feel inferior in the process, that is cold and uncalled for.
Dear man – excessive control over your woman is not how you assert authority, neither is aggression. Take care of your own, always, evading responsibility is a sign of weakness and just plain unacceptable. Applaud your woman’s achievements, complement her, support and protect her and please work in some romance while you’re at it, we dig that. Companionship is human nature. It is possible for two people to share a happy and fulfilling life together so long as they keep their pride and ego in check, and learn not to blow up trivialities. If there’s a problem, nip it in the bud; keeping it in only yields more problems that are even harder to resolve.
They upheld the value of hard work, respect for self and others, discipline, were virtues that were engrained into us from the minute one could walk. I remember we’d all get up early, my cousins and I, and join them as they set out to pick flowers, we just loved running in the endless beautiful fields; picking and laughing and playing our way through. Whatever the tasks we did them together making them less daunting. We might have been up to our necks with chores -that’s inevitable when you’re living on a farm- but we were all content because we understood what needed to be done and everyone’s role in all of it and the whooping one got if they failed to do what was assigned to them. I had quite an early start on all matters work. At the end of the day when we were all done we ran around in the grass (my grandma’s yard has the softest, forget carpeted) and played in the moonlight till she called us back to the house when it got late. One thing I admired about them is how they treated their workers; feeding them -on a daily- paying them well and on time. It was a valuable relationship they had, one of mutual respect and beneficial to all.
She is a fiery one my grandma, despite her diminutive nature. She needs no amplifier when she needs to be heard. She speaks her mind. She, just like many who watched as the country fought for and attain independence knows the true price of freedom. We should not take democracy for granted; we just need to look at other oppressed states and the turmoil they’re in to appreciate its worth. Allowing ourselves be influenced by our selfish so-called leaders who most times don’t see beyond their noses is truly a sad affair. Stay informed; knowledge is power. Love thy neighbor and seek divine guidance in all you do. On a lighter note she doesn’t get the logic of my prancing around in 7-inch heels which in her view are uncomfortable and worse still might leave me with a damaged ankle. I of course promptly remind her of the sky-high platforms that they rocked in their hey days 🙂
She still went and got me the loveliest boots though, and what do you know, they were high heeled -how sweet. She misses the point in walking around in clothes that are barely there, we might as well walk around naked “oh how times have changed” she mourns. “Didn’t they rock them shorter in the 60’s and 70’s?” I argue, “Well back in those days people were definitely not as blatant or half as wild as the lot of you is today, running around like all the blood done rushed to your heads” she quips. She’s not overly cynical, she appreciates that times have changed, yes, what she can’t stand is how our values have become eroded over time. And I don’t blame her, a shameful lot we have become indeed; self-centered, egotistic. It’s all about self-interest, the age we’re living in; success at whatever cost, self-gain in relationships. Whatever happened to extending a hand to one in need? Most of us have lost sense of direction we live as though we are of no purpose and are more of a burden than of value to those around us. Spirituality has become fourth nature to us; no wonder we’re lost. “God save us all” she pleads.
She is loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To live to see 83 and make light of the challenges that come with old age is a reflection of a self-assurance one can only hope for, an amiable strength.
She is blessed. In my eyes she is a legacy and I am proud to bear her name.
By Jimmy Mwangi
I have to start by commending all the writers who contribute to this blog. Finding a way with words is one of the most fascinating elements of a human brain. With Words, you get along. You’re peas in a pod. Like peanut butter and jelly. Big Up guys!! Amazingly talented. Well having read a very beautifully articulated piece titled ‘Pick Up the Phone !‘, a few thoughts have been lingering in my mind. Well, lets see how well it goes….
The CNN reporter in the background announces … another increase in poor nations aid. The World Bank said yesterday that it would almost triple lending this year, to help prevent ‘HUMAN CRISIS’ in developing countries and maybe turmoil in financial markets… I’m sure we hear this everyday. its sad that its even become background noise and we fail to realize that what they are actually describing is US! …. Machiavelli said ‘the reason why there is no change is because the people who stand to loose from change have all the power and the people who stand to gain from the change have none of the power.. what he actually described was the global structure of rich and poor in today’s society!
Would you call yourself rich?
If your answer to that was not a yes, then you are in trouble! For over 40 years as a country, we’ve been asking ourselves what causes poverty? As much as there are various challenges linked to the increased difficulty in the prosperity of Africans, I believe one major issue has contributed to the now created system of economic and personal slavery. Something that has colonized our minds and continues to plummet this country. We are actually the biggest problem! All along, we’ve been asking the wrong question. what we should be asking ourselves is what causes Wealth? Hold that thought though, don’t be too quick to think that by wealth I mean money.
Let me introduce you to a very simple idea. One that has changed my thinking in the way I work, in the way I do stuff and in the way I operate in society. How do we explain when some things don’t work the way we assumed? or better still, how do we explain when some people seem to achieve all the things that seem to defy all the assumptions? For example, why is Apple so innovative? Year after year they seem to be more innovative than any of the other companies within their category and yet, they are just a computer company. They are just like anyone else. They have access to the same talent, same consultancies, same media? Why is it that they seem to have something different?
Why is it that the Wright brothers achieved the discovery of controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, while there were certainly other teams that were better qualified, better funded and in better positions to achieve this? There is something else at play here. As it turns out, there is a pattern, all the greatest leaders and organizations of the world, think and act in the same exact way and its the complete opposite to anyone else. This whole idea comes from one of my most favorite speakers and orators Simon Sinek through a simple concept he calls ‘The Golden Circle.’ Its probably the worlds simplest idea.
3 things. The Why, The How, The What! This simple idea explains why some individuals or organizations continuously inspire while others aren’t. Let me explain the terms really quickly. Every single person on the planet understands what they do. Some know how they do it. Whether through certain proprietary processes etc. Unfortunately very few of us understand WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. By why I do not mean to make profit(money). Thats always a result. What I mean is: what’s your cause? What’s the reason you wake up in the morning? What’s your belief? Why should anyone care? As a result the way we think has always been from the clearest thing (The What) to the fuzziest thing (The Why) whereas inspired individuals or organizations regardless of their size always start with THE WHY! let me give you an example.
If Apple were like everyone else, here’s an example of how a communication message from them would sound:
We make great computers (The What)
They are beautifully designed, easy to use and user friendly (The How)
Wanna buy one? (The Why)
Completely uninspiring don’t u agree? and thats how most of us think. “Hi my name Mary and I work long hours with minimum supervision. I am self driven and I am a go getter. Please hire me”. The culture that has formed the roots of entrepreneurial journeys in this country does not inculcate such beliefs and therefore continuously end up not contributing to growth of our economies. Politicians with their 10 point plans continue to fill our screens with nonsense that is taking us absolutely nowhere. Some of the relationships we find ourselves in have no basis or reason for existence whatsoever. We say what we do, we say how its different and expect some sort of influence or vote. It’s simply uninspiring and unsustainable.
So here’s how Apple actually communicates;
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently (The Why)
The way we do this is by making our products easy to use, beautifully designed and user friendly (The How)
We just happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one? (The What)
Totally different huh? Inspiring? All we did was reverse the order of information. What is simply proves to us is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. We create influence buy building a ‘cause’ not by selling a reason. Individuals who are driven by a cause shall manage to build influence and success in whatever they do. Companies that sell their cause, will succeed in building influences.
I am a firm believer of Building Passion in whatever we do and this is where its starts. Starting with ‘Why’ may just as well be the first step in personal prosperity as Africans. It might just as well be the first quantum leap to breaking out into wealth which in my translation starts in the mind.
Whatever personal aspirations we have, whatever entrepreneurial aspirations we have, lets build purpose into it, maybe its time we started killing our ‘Mental Poverty’…. Lets build Wealth!
Have a Wealthy day!
Flo Mwangi is a gifted writer who is known for her golden words. Maybe it is in the way she presents real-life-familiar situations that leaves readers wanting more, or it could be the way she speaks to me. I have to admit, she is one beautiful soul that I will forever be thankful to ever have met. Intelligent, reliable and well grounded. I also have to admit that I had to talk to her nicely just so she could let me publish this article. Take in her words and maybe then will you find out the reason why I am a hopeless fan. I am clearly biased.
By Flo Mwangi
I was musing about how interactions with people over the course of our lives has influenced and shaped us. Right from a tender age, from your teachers and playmates back in grade school, your first crush. I remember mine, my first crush, I thought I really loved him then again what did I know about love at that age? For all I knew love could’ve been the wonder of a beautiful butterfly fluttering about, or that wonderful feeling I got when mum came home from work with some goodies, or when we did those lovely family picnics, or when my best-friend carried extra snacks just for me, oh the excitement!! But it was so much fun just being together I mean we did not overburden each other with unrealistic expectations we accepted everyone as they were, one big happy family we all were, every day seemed like a holiday, there was so much harmony. And all these were manifestations of love in its simplest and purest form, we of course complicate it along the way as we grow up and life happens.
One thing I miss about being young is how despite of whatever catastrophes’/disasters might’ve been going on about us, we remained completely oblivious and so grounded in the moment it’s like we existed in a protective bubble and everything just bounced off of us. Nothing mattered more to us than the moment, we were not burdened by the worries and cares of tomorrow. We had so much energy, it’s like life just flowed through us and then growing up just saps it out of us *sigh* Where’s the time machine??
Ok maybe all was not rosy but our greatest fears, which at the time seemed life threatening, were school bullies and the meanies who in their torment sure sharpened our survival skills; we knew just when to sprint and what not to say around who and that just about covered everything. The meanies, now that’s a frustrated lot in life; you spend your life bringing nothing but agony and grief to others and think Karma will just pass you on by? Think about it though, if it weren’t for all those encounters we wouldn’t be who we are. All those people showed us how to live like we do. Whether it’s my ex best friends who I really don’t know how we grew apart, or past loves. I sure have had experiences of what love is and isn’t.
To those I loved but never showed it enough and they were taken from me too soon or we just drifted apart, and they took away a piece of my heart. I might not be able take that back, much as I wish I could, but from that I sure learnt to appreciate and cherish loved ones better for as long as I still have them around. Then there are those that have been there from the start whose loyalties haven’t changed even in the tides of time. Timeless friendships and unions; the beauty of such people is I never need to explain myself to them because they understand me and love me, faults and all, and they only want what’s best for me. They’re ever challenging/inspiring me to be better. And not even my worst profanities can keep them away.
But I’d have to say the lessons I hold dear were from those that scarred me. Right from*Stacy who couldn’t stop running her mouth about me in grade school, for a long while I thought the problem was with me while clearly baby girl had bigger issues. All that bad mouthing was just a projection of her own shortcomings and nothing to do with me. And the likes of *Stacy don’t change much even in adulthood. But knowing that people will always have an opinion about me and how I should run mine, and that I cannot for the life of me please everyone, helps me deal with all that -if you ain’t got nothing constructive to say you could keep going till you’re out of breathe and drop dead for all I care. To *Mark whose broken soul I was so bent on loving till it mended until l I realized no amount of loving would fix his broken self. Positive change can only be brought about by one’s own acceptance that indeed they do have a problem and genuinely seeking out solutions to that problem. Love is just not enough if the one you love has no willingness to change for the better, no matter how much of it you give, and making up excuses for them trying to cover up for their flaws does not help the situation either. Hoping that you can love someone enough to change them is deluding oneself. Before long you find yourself in an emotional rollercoaster that completely drains you emotionally and physically and that is no way to live. Walk away from that.
And if you’re lucky all that wrong might be righted by an encounter with someone who forever changes your perception of love. Right from our first date I knew there was something special with this one. I went into it with an open mind and having no expectations whatsoever except to enjoy myself. I did not have the ‘Mr. Right” checker list we girls secretly carry around. We have all the wrong things on there anyway; all centered on image. Now see that’s where we go wrong. I’ve done that; stayed with someone cause we looked so good together, picture perfect and behind closed doors we could not have been more incompatible. Or because he was well off and seemed like he had a lot going for him and boy did he have a lot going; women, children, physical and emotional abuse. You get the drift.
Back to my date; expectations aside, guard down, I have never had more fun. There were no facades no fronts. He made me laugh. I felt comfortable in my skin and so did he. It was like we had been doing this for years. How do you explain being with someone for the first time and yet feeling like you’ve known them all your life? There was chemistry too; not the ardent urge for physical gratification but a palpable excitement brought about the anticipation of what could be. By the end of that evening I knew that that was the onset of something wonderful and I wasn’t wrong. He has proven to be the best thing that has happened to me in a long while. Loving him is effortless. Even after all this time, every time we get together feels like the first time. I could talk to him for days. He gets me. He sees right through me. Now would you fault me for wanting to have that for a lifetime? Didn’t think so. With him am constantly reminded that there are still some good people in the world, and that we all have a right to happiness in spite of past disappointments and failures. We might never forget the pain caused by those that did us wrong in our past but neither can we keep punishing those that we meet for others’ mistakes. We should never give up on love.
I know we all sit and wonder where all these people -that’ve touched our lives one way or other- are. We’ll never see those days again, and things will never be that way again but that’s just how it goes.
People change, but memories are forever.
I dedicate this week to my brothers and sisters of the great nation of Somalia. I know that one day peace will return and so will the children of this nation to their homeland. The Somali are a resilient people who have a rich heritage and form one of the oldest societies and civilizations in Africa. I especially pray for the thousands of Somali who cross the Gulf of Aden every year in search for a better life. Many end up loosing their lives at sea while the rest trudge on in search for a new beginning. There are no promises. And for those who choose to remain, I salute you. Lastly, for those we have chosen to label as pirates. Let us sit and ask ourselves where it all started. Only then, can we find a solution.
Every year during the first week of Zul-Hijjah, the eleventh month of the Islamic calendar, a woman in black robes is seen kneeling in prayer on the beach along the ancient harbour of Hobyo in Northern Somalia. She covers herself fully that only her eyes can be seen. Those who have had the privilege of facing her claim hers are the coldest and darkest eyes they have ever seen. Some say she is an evil Jin. There is an urban legend that she can steal one’s soul if you dare look into her eyes. No one knows where she comes from or where she goes after praying. She has followed this ritual for the past 10 years. A few metres from where she prays, are shrines marked by piles of sandstone…
Her name is Ayaan Haweeyo, a top member of the National Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia (NVCG). In the free world, Ayaan and her organization are called ‘pirates’. She comes to remember, pray , meditate and renew a promise. A promise that she will not rest until she takes back what once belonged to her land. The shrines represent her family whom she lost when she was 10. She has been fighting since then. Her heart is cold and conscience is a state that she can hardly recall. Only death can free her from the tempest that churns her lifeless heart. Concealed in her robes is her rifle. She is a warrior. She is known as ‘The Judge’. She dispenses justice in the high seas on behalf of the Somali people and her family. A justice she believes, is long overdue.
In 1991, after the defeat of Siad Barre by Farrah Aidid during the Somali revolution, Ayaan’s family moved further north to Hobyo from Benadir to escape the ensuing unrest. Her father was a fisherman while her mother stayed home and took care of them. In the years that followed, the increase in civil unrest made it hard for local fishermen as the open waters grew unsafe for fishing. Life was hard and in the famine that followed, Ayaan’s father and other local fishermen had to sneak out to sea every night in order to provide food for their families.
One morning in 1994 during the second month of Safar, Ayaan’s younger brother woke up with a high fever. In the days that followed, the young child started bleeding from the mouth and became bedridden. Ayaan’s parents took him to a nearby clinic for treatment unfortunately, the local UN doctors could not save the young child’s life. Eventually,young Mohamed died at the age of five. No cause. No explanation.
A few months later, her second youngest sister Hawa developed a strange skin disease that discolored her skin and caused painful boils. The young child was in so much pain that even covering her in the lightest sheets made her scream as her skin had become overly sensitive. They tried taking her to every doctor they could find but to no avail. She eventually went into shock and died on the first day of fasting in the month of Ramadhan at only seven years of age.
The remaining family was devastated. As they tried to piece up what had happened, Ayaan’s father decided that they would move south to Kismayo to ward off the ‘bad luck’. On the eve of the day that they were supposed to relocate, Ayaan’s father did not return home from fishing. Early the next day, Ayaan and her mother were visited by a relative who broke the news that her father had been killed by an American patrol boat in the high seas, suspected of being a pirate. It was too much too bear. The young Ayaan and her mother mourned bitterly in the days that followed not knowing what to do or where to go. As if the suffering was not enough, death came knocking yet another time and Ayaan’s mother died of a mixture of abdominal haemorage and heartbreak in the month that followed. Ayaan was alone. She had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. She decided to join the rebels as a soldier against the the american led Unified Task Force. By this time, it was widely believed that the Americans were using peace keeping as a way of controlling Somalia’s vast portions of unexplored oil fields.
As the war in the rest of the country raged on, reports started flowing in of strange diseases similar to the ones which had taken their two children. There were rumors that they had been caused by the toxic waste dumped of the Somali coast by european ships. Months before, some humanitarian aid workers had warned people of eating fish from the Indian ocean citing that it contained high levels of radiation. The main cause of the strange diseases. People were dying everywhere and fishermen were disappearing at sea.
At some point such health cases became so common that the Somali population along the coast started believing that the rumors were true. In addition, the fishing waters that rightfully belonged to the Somali were taken over by western and asian trawlers who had taken advantage of Somalia’s unrest to fish illegally.
Ayaan’s story is shared by thousands of Somalis around the world. Some of whom are members of various armed outfits that patrol the waters off the Somali coast and as far as Yemen. As the sun sets on the Somali waters, about a thousand Somalis in deferent gangs patrol the waters of the Indian ocean fearlessly to attack and take hostage ships passing through these parts of the ocean. They later demand for ransom often running into millions of dollars for the release of the ships and their crew. For some of these militia, it is for the love of their country. Others are motivated by the huge sums of money that come in ransom. For others like Ayaan, it is the pain of unnecessary loss that drives them. All in all, we bundle all of these groups up and call them Pirate. My Somali brothers pronounce the same same word differently. It sounds something like “Ba-i-rate”. Bairate
Here are some of my Research Notes and some of their sources
• Following the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, there have emerged allegations that after the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in late 1991, Somalia’s long, remote shoreline was used as a dump site for the disposal of toxic waste. The huge waves which battered northern Somalia after the tsunami are believed to have stirred up tonnes of nuclear and toxic waste that was illegally dumped in Somali waters by several European firms. The European Green Party followed up these revelations by presenting before the press and the European Parliament in Strasbourg copies of contracts signed by two European companies—the Italian Swiss firm, Achair Partners, and an Italian waste broker, Progresso—and representatives of the warlords then in power, to accept 10 million tonnes of toxic waste in exchange for $80 million (then about £60 million). According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment mission, there are far higher than normal cases of respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and bleeding, abdominal haemorrhages and unusual skin infections among many inhabitants of the areas around the northeastern towns of Hobbio and Benadir on the Indian Ocean coast—diseases consistent with radiation sickness. UNEP continues that the current situation along the Somali coastline poses a very serious environmental hazard not only in Somalia but also in the eastern Africa sub-region. – Wikipedia (Piracy in Somalia)
• “It is a response to greedy Western nations, who invade and exploit Somalia’s water resources illegally. It is not a piracy, it is self defence.” – Muammar Al-Gaddaffi
• “Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there”, and “European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.” -Nick Nuttall, United Nations Environmental Programme,
It’s been a while since I blogged. The death threats and insults from my readers were too much to bear so I am back on the job. I will behave. I will update. I will work harder. If I am not careful, I might just end up being the biggest blogger on the planet! Precisely what I wanted to talk to you about today. If I am not careful, this might end up being the shortest post I have ever written. Not because it’s a Monday and I am in a lazy mood but because my message is simple, clear and requires action. I am speaking to you. My conscience.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is ‘the move’. The successful people simply make a move. The unsuccessful people never make a move. They think about it and sometimes talk about it but at the end of the day, do nothing about it. Let me explain what I mean by taking you on a ‘what if’ journey.
What if you were born a genius but without hands, feet, ears and eyes? Would you understand the world as you know it now? Would beauty still appeal to you like it does now?What if you woke up and you couldn’t remember your name, your family or even your closest friend? Where would you begin? What if you woke up one morning and realized you’d been in prison for twenty years on death row? How would you explain your shock and how you got there? What if you didn’t have a job? Would you be still be waiting for evening to rush to your local bar for a beer? What if your great-great-grandparents were alive? What would they warn you about? What about the children of your future, what will you advise them about life?
Sometimes I take stock of my life and I can’t help thinking that there are only two columns on my balance sheet. Opportunities and opportunities-never-taken. The latter haunts me because it is a constant reminder that my life would be a lot better than it is right now, had I made a move. What if I had picked up that call I ignored yesterday? Would it have changed my life? My mentor Mr. Manu always says, “The universe is ever trying to reach out to you to make you successful. If only, you would answer her call.” That gets me thinking and suddenly, I am thankful that I chose a career that wasn’t considered a profession 8 years ago. It was a ‘bad choice’ but it puts food on my table and I have been able to help others through it. What if I had chosen a career just because my parents wanted me to? I think I would be a drunk by now.
Why do things happen the way they do? Do you think your long lost friend called you last night by mistake? Why has that business idea been troubling you for the last two years? Why did you get a promotion? Out of hundreds of pedestrians, why did the beggar choose to ask you for a coin? We see the signs, yet we ignore. Everyday we all get a ‘call’. However, it takes a very open and conscious mind to notice a ‘call’. There is a receptor that is inbuilt that receives a signal so that by answering ‘the call’ we can discover our true destiny. When you see an opportunity, you should know that this call is for you. Life is giving you a chance. God is speaking to you. If you will only answer.
I finish by urging you to carefully observe the most successful people in the world today. Most of them have a very simple and straight-forward story. They simply answered the call.So go on, make a move! If you’re not careful, you might just get very successful.
I am writing this under heavy inspiration from one Beato, who recently answered the ‘call’ and started a financial consulting company. Her venture is a few days old but watch carefully as it unfolds into success.