|Blogs > rm_Kissmystuff > In Praise of She..Ochun|
§ Picture if you will...centuries past...a ship at sea. It's tall masts pointing to the sky as it rests on the deep water. Suddenly, the piercing sound of human screams...clanking chains and the splashing of dozens of dark bodies hitting the water.
The screams quickly die.. since the chains drag the Africans down..efficiently snuffing the life flames. These slaves were too old or too weak to bring any profit at the auction. This scene was repeated many times, with variations on the circumstances facing the captains of the slave ships.
The African's journey..most often began with the raiding of their village..the killing, capture and bondage of men..women and children...sometimes by people of the same color as they. There was sometimes corrupt leaders or enemy tribes that perpetrated these raids..greedy for the goods offered in exchange for the warm bodies.
Look now at the lands that these people of Africa call home..the diamonds...gold...forests...rich earth...teaming wild life. Africa..once called the breadbasket of the world. The Greeks helped themselves..then it fed the Roman Empire...then the Arabs replaced the Romans. Everyone coveted the riches of the African continent.
The taking continued with the colonial days of the 18th and 19th centuries. The European countries..with their hands in the pie..the Africans were displaced, often driven from their homes..as more Europeans came and settled. The natural resources..the riches..the cultural artifacts..stolen...siphoned off into European coffers and museums. And the African peoples.. many unknowing of their ancester's past accomplishments and greatness..are often held in contempt by others..who are also ignorant of the African past.
Come forward now in time..to the present..the genocide in Uwanda..where nearly a million people were butchered in the space of a few short months..while the rest of the world stood by and did nothing. The United Nations..the supposed beacon of hope..after it was over, declared..never again.
But now..as genocide is occuring again.. in the Sudan..the United Nations merely mouths threats of sanctions against the Sudanese government..which is behind the killing and displacement of 10's of thousands of the indigenous African population. Thousands of refugees are dying in the refugee camps..every month from illness..hunger and lack of clean water.
Beyond the armed conflicts and wars that plague the African continent...theres the children and others that are dying of malaria. While an inexpensive drug would save the lives of many..the drug companies of the West..push a more expensive..less effective drug.
The AIDS epidemic continues to create orphans..sometimes wiping out whole familes. Again the nations of the West..do next to nothing to help. Yes..money was allocated by the U.S. government to provide funding for medicines.. education and prevention..but has not been given at the level promised. And now..funding has been tied to the religious beliefs of the people who are holding the purse strings. African clinics..that receive this funding..must teach only abstainence...they cannot give information about condoms. Wouldn't you think that a nation sincerely concerned about saving lives would want people to have every bit of information that would help in any way?
How many of us..when hearing news stories about the problems in Africa have thought...that's over there..what a shame...but it has nothing to do with me...and then gone back to sipping coke or doing our nails. Maybe some of us have wondered why don't those people do something to help themselves..get rid of the corrupt leaders..etc. How does a person do that..when their daily life is running from the guns and slaughter..searching for water and food to keep themselves and their children alive. How do you do that..when you're a woman..in a place where you're denied even the most basic rights..like ownership of your own body?
I think to myself..there must be something I can do..talk to other people..churches..other organizations..these are things that have made a difference in the past. Perhaps an organized effort to call or write our congressional representatives..and demand action. This is what the Jewish communties in this country have done in regards to Israel. Why can't we get together enough to do it for the Africans?
In the meantime..I continue to listen to the reports..continue to think...there must be something I can do..then I go to the frig..get another spring water..and finish my nails. When I just can't listen any more..I turn off the radio and go watch a movie..or read a book.
God..what a coward I am!
3/22/2006 4:22 pm
I dont think you are a coward, your words are powerful. They count, they make people think, and the seed has been planted. I have often felt a sort of unease with my life, and how lucky I am, and have wondered do i merit it, sometimes not.|
I know there are things i should do, but the daily distractions of the consumer world i exist in regularly lead to me forgetting the horrors that continue in many parts. In some ways I have become numb, which worries me.
This continued ' ' of many millions of our fellow beings has to be stopped. How I can do that, I am not always sure. For me, I try to de-consume and then lobby local groups and organisations to highlight and keep this true human horror at the forefront of our thoughts. I dont always succeed, I regularly fall down and creep back into my conditioned self-indulence and indifference.
Great posting, thank you for this reminder.
3/22/2006 4:44 pm
I would not berate myself If I were you.|
But you are correct in thinking that if you don't act, nobody will.
"Our" government does not want to save lives. Far from it. When has it ever acted to save lives?
"Our" congressional representatives are not accountable to "us." And at any rate, excpet for possibly Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney, they are all owned and operated by the enemy.
The churches? As you point out, there are strings attached. However, they have no interest in saving lives; their chief interest is the upcoming (fradulent) "End Times Armageddon" and "Rapture," in which all but the magick 144K "saints" will depart to burn forever in the bottomless pit. That it's starting ahead of "schedule" for the people in Africa does not bother them.
How about the drug companies? Don't they know what they are doing? Actually, they do; the more expensive drug is pushed for a reason. It kills people faster.
Local leaders in the African areas? Don't hold your breath. In fact, these are mainly responsible for the problems.
Local people in the African areas? Ditto. As you say they are too demoralized, lack knowledge, resources, etc.
Reading a book won't help much either, but at least you won't go wrong if you read Africa Betrayed by George Ayittey.
So the question is, what can you do?
Ask yourself this: what can you do about Tiananmen Square?
Answer: Not much.
Notice that "our" congressional leaders "did do something" about Tiananmen Square. What did they do? They continued allowing the US economy to be demolished in favor of the Chinese economy, because they and the crooks who keep them in power are able to benefit financially. That's the reason, for instance, that Billy Clinton did not go to prison.... the special prosecutor was allegedly an unregistered agent for "Red" China. He had to keep his mouth shut and do what he was told.
So, what can you do? About all you can do is network locally, with your family, friends, neighbors et al, then take it from there. Then YOU do whatever needs doing, don't delegate the task to political whores and spiritual hacks, or alleged "brothers" who will gladly help you collect money and resources, then rip it off.
Actually, networking locally would be doing a great deal, because that's where everything starts. But few Americans are willing to take even this small step.
How about African Americans, specifically? Well... look what happened to Marcus Garvey.
One thing you shouldn't do, however, is beat yourself up because you are unable to stop the chaos and mayhem. You can't. The one constructive thing you can do I mentioned above.
When do you start?
Perhaps you could lobby the American Jews, who actually did much for equal rights and still get very riled when 4-5 "neo-nazis" decide to "march" in some two-horse American town. They have the organizational smarts and they have the resources to do something about this.... if they want to.
3/22/2006 7:50 pm
Ok, I'm going to wade into this one dispite my better judgment. Kiss, you are not a coward. A coward is someone that see's others in danger and runs the other way. True the atrocities are mind boggling, but really what can you do? The true problem is one of ingrained culture. Thousands of years of people learning to react in a certain way. Here in America we think in terms of democracy and as far as we can take it freedom. We have trouble grasping any other way of thinking. We think, if they are starving we just bring them food. Then it rots at the ports and any that makes it into the interior is stolen and horded by warlords to gain themselves more power. We say ok, them remove the warlords. Then others simply take their place, causing more bloodshed in trying to fill the void. How do you stop racial and tribal hatred? We have been lucky in this country to have had a handful of individuals stand up for what it right. And even yet it continues in our own (in our opinion) enlightened system. |
My mother is full blooded Irish. I sit and watch the news while an eight year old girl is pelted with rocks by full grown adults simply because she is Protestant and wanting to go to a Catholic school. Do I want to shake the TV? yes. Do I want to go and protect that one little girl, letting the rocks hit me instead of her? Yes. Am I ashamed that the country who shares my blood and is supposedly a modern civilization would ever do such a thing over such a seemingly insignificant difference? Yes. Can I do anything about it....NO. All I can do is sit and watch. I can't protect the little girl, she is too far away. I can't change the minds of those that hurt her, they are already gone into hatred. I can do nothing. Am I a coward?
We can not change a thousand years of human culture. All we can ever hope to do is affect the lives of those around us for the better. So a coward....no. Just a human being.
3/23/2006 12:46 pm
Kiss, you have produced a complete summary of Africa's exploitation|
and problems. Obviously you should not think bad of yourself. You
are not personally responsible. The suffering of Africa is a
global responsibility. It is a solvable problem but it would
take enormous pressure on the so-called world leaders to address
this. So far all the promises are mostly empty. This problem is
so interwined with all other social and political problems that
we must demand institutional changes on a planetary scale
in order to have any significant effect.
3/23/2006 2:59 pm
KMS, and our Pres.(NOW) says the war was to remove Hussein because of the "atricities" that he committed, Pious religious double talk, exposed. It is about oil, or what they value, in another country, and if there was oil extraction systems similar to the middle east in Uganda or Sudan none of this would be going on.|
U.S. condom donations to africa were cut 2/3 when "43" took office!! what a sign of compassion for the plight of those threatened with aids in Africa!
KMS, keep alerting/informing us of things you have issue with, one voice becomes a few, and a few become many, we all hope this is HEARD!!
3/24/2006 4:39 am
i am sure you know that there were thriving cities producing wonderful products all over africa, and particularly on the east coast, trading with china, until europeans came along with gunpowder, and comparably poorer quality other products, and shot the lot to pieces. basil davidson is a good author to read on this.|
i currently have access to a report (ok, i'm one of the editors) that explains exactly how Africa is still being robbed, and why we still don't have the financial resources to get it together. unfortunately the report is embargoed until World Health Day on 7 April ... i'm itching to refer people to it!
3/24/2006 5:32 pm
First of all thanks to each of you for taking the time to read this post and then for caring enough to respond and try to give comfort. There are times when I just need to stop and take stock of where I'm at and why.
It might help you to know something about me here. Most of my life I've worked for non-profit organizations. For a time I worked for ACTION-VISTA..which is the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corp. I've worked with diverse groups of people...from different walks of life...some..poor..rich and in between. Some of those people have been famous..not so famous..some infamous. There have been some organizations I've helped to build from the ground up..so to speak. I have helped to take ideas and bring them into reality. This is a challenge I enjoy and I'm good at it. I've been away from that kind of work for a number of years. But feel that it's calling me back.
Some of those memories are good..some not so good. This kind of work sometimes has the effect of chewing you up and spitting you out. You don't always land on your feet. It's best..that you don't expect too much for yourself. People sometimes have a way of taking..and forgetting where they took it from. This is something I suspect that Free may be very familiar with.
Please don't misunderstand me..I'm not feeling sorry for myself. But..the work can be very drainning..emotionally..mentally..even spiritually. I was tired and ill when I finally went away from it. In fact I nearly died. I suppose part of what is crying out in this post..is fear. At one point was I was very angry with some of what I had experienced. Holding that anger..did me further harm. I've let go of the anger..but the fear remains. I still love people..still have faith in people..but let's just say..it's been tempered with a deeper wisdom.
The very first time I ever had my horoscope done..the woman told me that I don't belong to any one place or any one family..but to the universe. Others have told me pretty much the same thing. At first it felt glamorous..exciting..until I really learned the reality of what it can mean. It can be a very lonely place to be.
I still do reach out and help in small ways. But I just need to keep a larger part of myself..for myself and my loved ones.