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Who I am for Africa and Africans?

State Reports on the State of Africans around the world.

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South Africa: Public Hearings On Possible Review Of Section 25 Re: State Expropriate Land In The Public Interest Set To Begin Tomorrow

Started by SendMeYourNews Jun 26. 0 Replies

A delegation of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee will tomorrow hold public hearings into the possible review of section 25 of the Constitution.The decision to hold public hearings follows a…Continue

Migration Inside Africa Plays A Growing Role In Development, UN Report - 19.5 million Africans migrated within Africa, 17 million left, 5.5 million others came 2017

Started by TheBlackList-Publisher Jun 1. 0 Replies

African migration could boost growth and positively transform the structure of the continent’s economy according to UNCTAD’s 2018 Economic Development in Africa Report: Migration for Structural…Continue

An overview of Africa’s free trade area dream

Started by TheBlackList-Publisher Mar 23. 0 Replies

African leaders, except for Nigeria and few other countries, have signed an agreement to set up a massive free trade area to improve regional integration and boost economic growth across the…Continue

Pan-Africanism: The Real Afro-Futurism

Started by TheBlackList News. Last reply by Dr. Kinaya C. Sokoya Mar 12. 2 Replies

Black Panthers and Africa:“I…Continue

'Panthers' fiction, and the harsh Black Panther reality -- Amsterdam News

Started by KWASI Akyeampong Feb 17. 0 Replies

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2018_____________________________________________________________________________________________'Panthers' fiction, and the harsh Black Panther reality…Continue

Pambazuka News

Fidel Castro in Africa: The Political and Historical Understanding of a Man and an Era

Sub-Title: 
Call for book chapters

Soon after the overthrow of the Fulgencio Batista’s government in 1959, a group of young Marxist and communist revolutionaries – including Fidel Alejandro Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and Raúl Modesto Castro – set their sight, not on Latin America and the Caribbean, but on the African continent. Their goal, as many scholars have contended, was the decolonisation of Africa and the dismantling of the apartheid system. They did so, not as puppets of the Soviet Union or other marauding forces, but out of a profound conviction in the freedom and equality of all men and nations. Leading this pack of young revolutionaries was Fidel Castro, and the starting point was Algeria in 1961.

From 1961 until he vacated office in 2011, Fidel Castro was a constant presence in Africa’s drive for development. In addition to his many military assistance, he was noted for his humanitarian efforts in enclaves with unspeakable human suffering. Fidel Castro was admired for his courage, his simplicity, his stubbornness, his sense of self, his humanity and his willingness to put his people and country first. He was a revolutionary of the original intent.  However, he wasn’t without his share of moral failings, political mistakes, and ideological miscalculations. There were plenty of those. Nonetheless, he was right and righteous in many other ways.

Fidel Castro was a foreign leader like no other. Almost six decades after he demonstrated his interest and commitment to the twin projects of decolonisation and development of Africa—and almost two years after his death—the legacies of his engagements still reverberate across the continent. His contributions as Cuban leader helped immensely to change the course of modern African history, especially Southern Africa. He built a relationship of true and genuine partnership with African countries the like of which did not occur before him. Castro was not entirely comfortable with the Soviets, and several US administrations wanted him dead.

In field after field, Fidel Castro set a new tone of relationship in international cooperation with African nations and their leaders. After all these years, his fidelity to Africa and its people remained unquestionable and uncontested. It is for this reason that this volume is dedicated to the close examination of the historical and political understanding of Fidel Castro during and after Africa’s liberation struggle. Who was this man, this anti-imperialist? Why was he committed to a continent that was thousands of miles from his neighbourhood?

There is a large body of work on Castro in Africa; nonetheless, we believe there are issues that are yet to be examined or properly examined insofar as his foray into Africa is concerned.  Hence, we seek scholars, ex-combatants, diplomats, and career professionals to examine and re-examine Fidel Castro’s role and place in Africa’s colonial and post-colonial history. We also encourage contributors to interrogate his personality, friendships and alliances, tendencies, worldview, and ideologies. Suggested topics include:

  • The impact of the 1966 Tri-continental Conference (in Havana) on Africa
  • Fidel Castro And the Ogaden War
  • Castro’s reaction to the US foreign policy in Africa
  • Cuba and Algeria: how it all began
  • The influence of Cuban intellectuals on Fidel Castro
  • The human and economic cost of the liberation struggle on Cuba
  • Communism and revolutions in Africa
  • Castro and the Soviet Union in Africa: the anatomy of a relationship
  • Revisiting Zaire (1964-1965) and Angola (1975-1976)
  • A tale of two historical figures: Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro
  • Castro’s humanitarian assistance to Africa
  • Bilateral and multilateral agreements with African states
  • The misconceptions about Castro and his involvement in Africa
  • The influence of Eduardo Chibás and Ernesto “Che” Guevara on Fidel Castro
  • The spoils of war: what did Cuba and Castro gain from Africa?
  • Castro’s involvement in the war between South Africa and Namibia
  • Fidel Castro and the conflict in Angola
  • Successes and challenges: Cuban medical personnel in Africa
  • Castro, Jerry Rawlings, and Thomas Sankara

Note: Please check with the editors to see if (a) any of the listed topics are still available; or (b) you are interested in a topic that is not listed but which may fit into the overall theme of this project.

Formatting/citation/due dates:

  1. Please submit a 300-350-word abstract plus a 150-250-word biography along with your official contact information by 30 August 2018.
  2. You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of abstract by 30 September 2018.
  3. The completed chapter: 7500-8500 words (including notes and references) is due on 10 February 2019.
  4. Information regarding formatting/citation will be transmitted at a later date.
  5. Please send your abstract, brief biography, contact info, and inquiry about topics to: Sabidde@gmail.com and please Cc the co-editor: nevanjicm@gmail.com

 

*Sabella Abidde and Charity Manyeruke

 

About the editors: 

Doctor Abidde is an associate professor of political science and member of the graduate faculty at Alabama State University. He is the editor of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean: The Case for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation (Lexington Books, 2018); and the coeditor of Africans and the Exiled Life: Migration, Culture and Globalization (Lexington Books, 2017). He is a member of the Association of Global South Studies (AGSS); African Studies and Research Forum (ASRF); and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA).

Professor Charity Manyeruke is a noted scholar in the field of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe. She is also the Dean for the Faculty of Social Studies. She has published extensively on African politics and its relations with the global community. Professor Manyeruke is the editor of The Impact of Dollarisation on Zimbabwe (Harare: University of Zimbabwe Publications, 2017); and the sole author of Agricultural Subsidies: Hope for the Zimbabwean? (Newcastle upon Tyne: UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016). 

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IssueOrder: 
15
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Africanews

China in Africa: Imperialist or Partners in Search of Humanitarian Development

Sub-Title: 
Call for book chapters

The on-going relationship between China and Africa is a complicated one – complicated by history, geopolitics, globalisation and global economic forces and by the Cold War and post-Cold War politics. China is not the first or the only country that has had a complex relationship with Africa. Hosted by Otto Van Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany, 14 European countries assembled in Berlin, in 1884-85, to set the stage for the ensuing conquest and plunder of Africa. Several decades earlier, Africans had been enslaved and thoroughly exploited by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which lasted from the 16th to the 19th century.

Slavery and international slave trade formally ended nearly two centuries ago, and much of the continent gained independence in the 1960s and 1970s, but the residual effects of these acts of cruelty and perversions continue to impact the continent.  While slavery may have ended, and the continent considered independent, many scholars – particularly those with ancestral origin in the continent – contend that Africa is not totally free. They point to the unseen chains of slavery and the psychological fetters of colonialism. What obtains, therefore, is the new imperialism by Europe, the US, and others – especially China.

The initial contact between China and Africa dates to several centuries. However, the current Sino-Africa relations began in the 1950s under the leadership of Mao Zedong, when Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, visited Africa and signed bilateral agreements with several African states. Today, China’s has bilateral and multilateral agreements with nearly all African countries. China’s feat and level of influence, in just three decades, has become a source of concern not just for the Europeans, but also for the US, which sees herself as the world’s preeminent power and policeman.

China’s power and influence, according to many scholars, have been built by knowing how to play better politics and having a better understanding of the psyche of African leaders and her elites. And indeed, there are African leaders, and a growing list of diplomats, observers, and scholars who believe firmly in the long-term commitment and righteousness of the Chinese government and firms. But China, many scholars have also argued, have not come to Africa with bags full of free goodies and free of conditionalities and preferences. What we have now, according to these scholars, is a relationship that is profoundly unequal and troubling – with China gaining the most from barter trade-transactions which basically involve natural resources in exchange for low-interest loans and cheap infrastructures.

While there is a growing list of literature on Sino-Africa relations, we seek contributions that (1) examine the on-going relationship; (2) report on what is going on in Africa’s political, economic, cultural and social space vis-à-vis the Chinese; (3) tell readers where Sino-Africa relationship is headed; and (4) what is the immediate and long-term implication of the said relation. The central question to be answered is this: Is this a mutually benefitting relationship or is China the new imperialist? How do we know whether the former or the latter is the correct perspective?  Some of the topics we are interested in include:

  • Africa and China: Contact and connections in ancient times
  • Mao Zedong and the beginning of a modern relationship
  • Zhou Enlai’s diplomatic excursion to Africa, 1963-1964
  • The Dethronement of the Indian and the Lebanese communities by the Chinese
  • Defense and security pacts
  • China and Taiwan and the quest for diplomatic recognition
  • China’s infrastructures: seaports and airports
  • China’s infrastructures: roads, bridges, and public buildings
  • Loans and direct investments
  • Politics and governance: China’s hands-off approach to African politics
  • An overview of select bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • China and Africa’s decolonisation struggle
  • African markets as China’s dumping ground
  • How Africans view Chinese workers and managers
  • China’s cultural imperialism in Africa
  • China and human rights in Africa
  • The geographic footprints of Chinese presence in Africa
  • Comparative analysis of Western and Chinese investments/development projects in Africa, 1998-2018
  • The match of the red dragon: The geographic footprints of Chinese presence in Africa                                                                        

Note: Please check with the editors to see if (a) any of the listed topics are still available; or (b) you are interested in a topic that is not listed but which may fit into the overall theme of this project.

Formatting/citation/due dates:

  1. Please submit a 300-350-word abstract plus a 150-250-word biography along with your official contact information by 30 August 2018.
  2. You will be notified of acceptance or rejection of abstract by 30 September 2018.
  3. The completed chapter: 7500-8500 words (including notes and references) is due on 15 February 2019.
  4. Information regarding formatting/citation will be transmitted to contributors later.
  5. Please send your abstract, brief biography, contact information, and inquiry about topics to: Sabidde@gmail.com and please copy the co-editor at: toks_ayoola@hotmail.com

 

* Sabella O. Abidde and Tokunbo A. Ayoola

 

About the editors: 

Doctor Abidde is an associate professor of political science and member of the graduate faculty at Alabama State University. He is the editor of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean: The Case for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation (Lexington Books, 2018); and the co-editor of Africans and the Exiled Life: Migration, Culture and Globalization (Lexington Books, 2017). He is a member of the Association of Global South Studies (AGSS); African Studies and Research Forum (ASRF); and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA).

Doctor Tokunbo A. Ayoola is the Chair of the Department of History and International Relations, Elizade University, Nigeria – where he teaches History, Politics, and International Studies. His recent publications include: “Claude Ake and the Political Economy of Human Rights in Africa,” in Adebayo Oyebade and Gashawbeza Bekele (eds.); The Long Struggle. Discourses on Human and Civil Rights in Africa and the African Diaspora (Austin, Texas: Pan-African University Press, 2017); and “Post-colonial West African Railroads: State Management, Infrastructural Decay, and Privatisation,” in Toyin Falola and Jamaine Abidogun, Issues in African Political Economies (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2017).

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14
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Classic 105

South Africa’s working class summit of 21-22 July 2018

Sub-Title: 
Call for papers

This group was invited to facilitate the participation of the broadest front of organisations of the working class. A list of the 93 civil society formations and 61 unions, which have been invited was circulated and endorsed. More organisations will be included in the list. 

While South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has initiated, and been the main driving force behind the WCS, the meeting was seen as the inauguration of a leadership collective, drawn from movements of the working class and poor, progressive non-governmental organisations and unions, which will take responsibility for shaping and convening a broader WCS. 

An overarching objective of the WCS is to overcome the fragmentation of struggles, which has characterised the movements of working class and poor in the democratic era. The WCS will aim to co-ordinate these struggles at local, regional and national levels. 

Central to this objective is to unite workplace and community struggles – rural and urban, unemployed and employed, informal and formal, women and men, young and old, environmental groups with the unemployed, homeless with the rural poor, etc. 

The WCS will bring together progressive forces, who are pro-poor and pro-working class. The gathering must be based on the principles of anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-patriarchy and anti-xenophobia.

It was agreed that papers will be presented at the assembly but should not be prescriptive. They should provide a brief analysis on their respective themes from the vantage point of the interests of the working class and, importantly, be framed in a way to raise questions to generate debate and discussions but more importantly make proposals on how the struggles of the working class and the poor could be best coordinated. 

Papers should also reflect on struggles in particular sectors and propose demands and campaigns that can constitute the basis for co-ordinated struggles. 

The papers will mainly be written by activists and movements directly involved, and playing prominent roles, in particular areas of struggle and will be distributed to delegates prior to the assembly.

Our activism and struggle can be better co-ordinated through the use of modern technology, especially if, as it is imperative, we want to involve youth. We should counter the hegemony of the ruling elite through, for example, producing our own national newspaper. 

The ruling elite coalescing around Ramaphosa – in business, the state and sections of civil society – is putting its energies behind producing a new compact for the new dawn. The working class and poor must produce its own vision for a new, egalitarian society.

The WCS is not a destination, but should be seen as an on-going process of revitalising and revolutionising the struggles of the working class and poor across the country. Delegates to the assembly should include movements involved in various protests on the ground.

Following the national gathering, local assemblies should be organised across the country. These should be organised by local movements to discuss, contribute to and amend documents produced at the WCS. In this sense, the WCS could be seen as a movement to be defined and built from the bottom and must be located where struggles are taking place.

The venue allows for ten mini-assemblies to be convened. These will probably meet for most of the first day, followed by reports and discussion on the second day. Discussion should focus on analyses from working-class perspectives, arming movements with arguments and facts, support for existing struggles and proposals for developing co-ordinated campaigns and developing a set of key demands.

Key themes

The meeting agreed on the following main themes for the WCS:

Economic crisis and threats to workers; corruption in the private and public sector, including 

  • Profit shifting and mis-pricing;
  • Continuation of state capture, despite claims of a new dawn;
  • State of the economy, deindustrialisation, the underlying causes of unemployment, state of work, poverty and inequality. Casualisation of labour, outsourcing and labour-broking;
  • Attack on trade union rights and the state of the organised working class;
  • Building unity of organised workers and more broadly of the working class and poor.

Free decolonised, quality public education, including:

  • The crisis of the entire education system, from early learning in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors;
  • Across the board, the system is characterised by a two-tier system: for the elite minority and the majority, with the system for the latter being poorly resourced and inadequate as educational institutions;
  • Student struggles, especially #FeesMustFall, is at an impasse, the reasons for which require explanation/analyses.

Free national health service, including:

  • Like education, health is characterised by a two-tier system, to the disadvantage of the majority poor population. The elite have access to the best health services, while the poor experience chronic dysfunctionality. This system must be inverted;
  • Analyse the causes and manifestations of the broken public health care system;
  • Health problems facing workers and communities that are caused by the mining industry (pollution of the environment – water, soil).

Decent and affordable housing and service delivery, including:

  • Campaign against evictions in urban and rural areas;
  • Struggles against gentrification and the commodification of basic services;
  • Campaign against the persistence of apartheid spatial planning and the concomitant problems of transport and the location of working class residential areas on abandoned mines. Consider the occupation of urban areas (with the organisation of poor people’s assemblies?) to advance struggles of the urban poor;
  • Defence of activists threatened by state, as is the case of Abahlali Basemjondolo, 16 of whose comrades have been killed already.

The land question, including:

  • Land expropriation without compensation. Reversing the legacy of colonialism and apartheid. Restoring people’s dignity. Who should own the land: the state or the people?
  • What is class character of the state today?
  • Taking account of the interests of poor communities who already have access to land;
  • The land question is inextricably tied to the struggle against hunger, for food sovereignty and the protection of the environment.

Struggle for an egalitarian society, including:

  • Need to struggle against patriarchy and violence against women;
  • Child abuse must stop;
  • Sexual harassment, including in progressive organisations, must be overcome;
  • Combatting racism, which continues to rear its head. This should be linked to campaigns for migrant justice;
  • Support for LGTBIQ rights;
  • The rights of the imprisoned population, who are overwhelmingly black and poor, must be considered, an important part of which is to critique the prison-industrial complex.

The climate and environment, including:

  • Just transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • Four main areas: water, energy, food and land;
  • Water coalition struggle against shifting the burden of the water crisis onto the poor, who suffer disproportionately from the crisis and are forced to pay for it. Link to struggle of mining affected communities (pollution and contamination of soil, air, water).

Mining affected communities, including:

  • Impact of mining depends on the stage of mining, and effects are experienced by various communities (workers, residents);
  • Consider the impact of abandoned mines (approx. 6000 nationally);
  • Support orderly transition to small-scale informal mining (so called Zama Zamas);
  • Demand global equal pay for mine workers.

Informal economy, including: 

  • The crisis of the formal economy has resulted in an exponential growth of the informal sector;
  • Largely made up of women, who are involved in survivalist economic activities;
  • Need to account for the many struggles waged by small-scale traders, especially in the face of urban authorities who constantly aim to “clean up” the cities;
  • Eviction of workers from workplaces (such as the threat faced by waste-pickers in Johannesburg) should be addressed;
  • Xenophobia is rife in this sector, as foreign nationals are often perceived as the problem, rather than the system.

Two other possible themes came up in the discussion:

International solidarity 2019 elections:

The WCS preparatory Organising Committee will consider how best these could be integrated into the existing themes or made separate themes in the context of the reality that the venue will accommodate only ten themes. For example, the struggles against xenophobia and for migrant justice are necessarily international in character. 

Similarly, campaigns for climate and environmental justice, decent work, the rights of workers in the informal economy, among others, require linking with struggles elsewhere on the continent and globally. Our politics must therefore be Pan-African and Global.

A WCS Organising Committee was elected whose tasks will be:

To finalise the invitation list based on the criteria agreed; all other organisations that various constituencies should be submitted not later than Monday 2 July 2018

To finalise the programme and speakers for the Summit to decide on the size of delegations of all invited organisations

To finalise the dates of the WCS To fundraise and ensure that the gap is the budget is addressed

To anticipate discussion and debate on the 2019 elections. This has tended to be a divisive issue and the WCS should attempt to propose a framework for how to take the debate on this forward, which can transcend the long-held cherished views by various parts of the left. 

We call on all those interested in participating in the WCS to contact us.
Tel: +27 (11) 331 0124 Fax: +27 (11) 331 0176 Email: info@saftu.org.za 

Twitter: @SAFTU_Media Facebook: SAFTU
Physical Address, 34 Eloff Street, Johannesburg 2001
Zwelinzima Vavi, SAFTU General Secretary: 079 182 4170
Moleko Phakedi, SAFTU Deputy General Secretary: 082 492 5111
Patrick Craven, SAFTU Acting Spokesperson: 061 636 6057

 

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IssueOrder: 
13
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Centre for Environmental Rights

“Don’t climb” my property: when marital vows fail in the West

I found something interesting regarding cheating in the Bible—which my mother had me study from cover to cover—that curiously matches my Yoruba cultural beliefs. In Yorubaland, in Nigeria, there are Babalawos or shamans, who perform rituals to place a hex on a woman that has been married once, so that no other man can have intercourse with her. The purpose is to prevent cheating, but it appears men who fail to de-activate the “magun” on their wives, after a divorce may be putting the next man in jeopardy of being inadvertently humiliated—literally to death. Once physically meshed during intercourse, a couple ensnared by magun cannot be separated, and they die in that humiliating position. This ignominious fate is meant for cheaters.

Magun, translated into English as “don’t climb,” (which is a crude euphemism, for “don’t sleep with my wife”) is an imprecation that causes an interloper, to get permanently entangled in the meshes, with a married woman, upon whom magun has been cast. Incidentally, magun-like malisons can be placed on inanimate objects too. For instance, on land and other forms of property.

If only I had placed magun on things I loved, such as my books. My ex had claimed that I was having an affair with my books. I recall that night she was dressed in her silk transparent dark negligee, as she stood in front of me in the living room.

“Are you running away from me?” She queried, although she already knew the answer, to why I was not lying next to her in bed at 2 a.m. I slept for only about two hours that night, but she slept for ten.

Finally, I decided to have the storage facility, where I had kept my books for over five years, dump my treasured tomes. I had been paying a high price to store all my books following my divorce: textbooks from my Accounting major in Alabama, books from my professional licenses and biographies that I bought—I kept them all. My MBA in Information Systems books, I also kept. I remember it had cost me a fortune to ship the huge box of expensive books from Alabama to Maryland. My friend Jodie from China, brought me the second box. Dearest zippy Jodie had keened, “Just picture little me, hurling your 250-pound box around with me at the airport.” I have had amazing friends from all over the world, who have done amazing things for me. But I have done things for people, which they have found amazing, too.

When I started working full time, I bought books regularly to stock my shelf. I had planned to build a library for my future kids. Just like my dad had done for us. My older brother loved James Joyce, Bertrand Russell, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, James Baldwin and Norman Mailer. No wonder he has grown, to become a prolific writer and award-winning professor of philosophy.

But I loved the history books instead, and biographies of world leaders, from Napoleon to Mao Tse-tung, and the American presidents. My adventures into literature were mainly in Shakespeare and Victorian authors. But Dickens was my favourite, despite his verbosity. Every elongated, extraneous sentence was doused with elucidating humour that anchored readers to the characters he conjured up, in such a way that inspired one to relish his witty superfluity. I do not recall playing with toy guns as a kid. Perhaps, it is a reason that I have a strong aversion to guns. But I do know that the military must wield it, and so must law enforcement in safeguarding the peace of the community. And perhaps the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, helped Black men in the South to protect their families against white supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, as former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice was once quick to say.

I am grateful that my father planned for me to fuel my independent thinking as a child, through my access to great books. He did not just throw shallow voluminous things on the shelf, but the arcane texts with their deckle edges, were there ready to be touched and explored. Now that I write, I hope to one day read those books my brother loved, but which I never read. I remember thinking Freud and His Friends (I am sure it wasn’t Freud and His Followers), was the most difficult book that I had ever read off that shelf. I had a habit of making sure I finished every book I started. But I never finished that one. Perhaps, one day I will.

Sometimes, my brother had me discuss the books I had read, with him. I liked Infante’s Inferno by the Cuban author, Guillermo Cabrera Infante. It was an enjoyable big dirty book for a 12-year-old to pore over.

I cultivated that habit of discussing books with my ex as well. I bought her books for gifts, with accompanying flowers, often trying to match the book cover with the colour of the petals. I remember the day she left; she took one book I had bought her: The Prince by the Florentine Statesman, Niccolo Machiavelli. The book was the basis of being Machiavellian and opportunistic, espousing the philosophy of “the end justifying the means.” Jettison ethics and morals to achieve your goal, and be as devious as a slithering snake, it shamelessly posits. As I picture her podgy fingers sliding the slender book into her Louis Vuitton handbag, I wonder why she picked that one from the shelf?

My favourite American author (apart from the spy writer, Robert Ludlum and the heroine-worshiping, Sidney Sheldon), was F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recall after she read his short story, Head and Shoulders, she kept chuckling, “What if this turned out to be you and me?” It was a cackle. The Head and Shoulders story of role reversal, in which a lightweight gained ostensible intellectual accomplishment and fame as a writer, at the expense of a prodigy who sacrificed his intellectual efflorescence for love, did turn out to be us. But not for long.

She had been an obstreperous, hard-partying and impecunious school teacher, when I met her. She walked out as a Harvard Law School graduate and Wall Street lawyer. I had been an upwardly mobile banker with an MBA and not a penny in debt. But she left me indigent and regretful; as I heard her declare, in an overweening shrill voice that I should get accustomed to living in a homeless shelter. She said this in what felt to me then like the court of injustice, where she held on to a pubescent looking, non-black boy with long hair in a romantic fashion, as if he was her paramour. I did not sign the divorce papers until many months later, as my pastor still insisted that a miraculous reconciliation was on the way, and divorce was not God’s will. Accordingly, we prayed ceaselessly for God’s will, aggressively reminding the omniscient Deity of what his will was.

The pastor had recommended a three-day “dry fast”—neither food nor water, for the entire three days. This was in addition to the over 60 days of other types of fasts. There was a fruit fast, in which I ate only fruits, after going all day without food or water, from midnight to 7 p.m. If you really wish to be thin—then don’t eat, or wolf down far less. I was emaciated, after the motley of strange fasts. My pastor’s wife, who had come to tell her about the sanctity of marriage and to remind her of the Jesus, she too, once adored, cried, “I can’t believe she left you for a Chinese boy? And he is not even yet a man.” Had he not been a boy I might have wondered if this was my Dred Scott, and a modern-day oppressor’s disdain for what is cherished by a Black man. Appearing scared and smug at the same time, the boy looked like he wanted to preen himself for stealing a prize he considered valuable—an older Harvard Law School gradruate. It did not matter that he was destroying a home. He lacked the ability to think so deeply about it, since like my pastor’s wife said, “he wasn’t even yet a man.”

Really? Well, he shattered that cliché, “once you go Black, you can’t go back.” But we were a black couple. I guess if you are Black or supposed to be Black, perhaps the rule does not apply to you, and you are supposed to venture out, giving others a taste of chocolate. Ah yes, when a Black man is with a non-Black inamorata that is when the rule applies. That is when we can discover, whether it fits a universal rule—an axiom—or whether it is just drivel. However, as a couple we had broken all the rules in the book. We appeared to be a promising Black team who invested in each other for a future home that appeared bright to most observers.

Now I am glad that chapter of my life is over. I did not dwell on what he did for her that I did not do: whether he ironed her clothes like I did or washed her dishes and cleaned her bathroom like I had done for years. He certainly had not invested financially and emotionally in her education like I had. This was no time to be comparing “manhood” size. I had to move on. “She downgraded. Now get you a white woman. Pound it bro,” said my college alumnus as he fist bumps with me in salutation. Even my pro-Black militant, African-American female friend, Lady S, felt the same way.

“Next time, you show up in that courtroom with a blonde. God don’t like ugly. As a matter of fact, show you ain’t no sellout like some people are and that you’re still down with the motherland, by having a blonde on each arm.” Thus, Lady S beseeches me to use my court date to show my affinity with Africa, by invoking images of polygamy.

“Where am I going to get two blonde women from?”

“I don’t know. Get one of your classmates. You know you brothers are in season…everyone wants a piece of you. Or get you a hooker or somethin’. Just get two blondes!”

And so, with the help of good friends and family, I moved on. But as I ponder my next move for a new story, I just wonder: “Having taught her so much, did I infect her with my love of China?” Nevertheless, I will build new tomes.

I kept my science and Mathematics textbooks, plus all my philosophy and literature scripts from my Ivy League university. They were all in that storage space in New York, my old city, which I loved because it never sleeps –almost like me. Well, I do sleep for about three hours every day—a deep sleep and then I am refreshed. I recall one of my extra cute friends, Wen, from China, once told me:  “You must make up your mind, who you wish to emulate—whether it’s Einstein, who slept for at least nine hours a day. He was a peaceful man and a genius, who gave us insightful theories on relativity; or do you wish to be like Napoleon, who slept no more than four hours a day, drank sour wine, was grumpy and unleashed great wars and hardship on the world?”

I quipped that I did not drink wine.

“Mind you they were both popular with women,” I further observed.

Ni zai shuohuang!” Wen protested.

Wen, my study partner, who always asked me to walk her home, when we were done studying at night, often showed off her long and attractive legs in her tight miniskirts. She had been told by my roommate, David, that I hardly slept, but drank strong coffee. David was a happy-go-lucky chap, from Harbin, a very cold city, located at the China-Russia border. One day, David tried my coffee. It was not a good idea: he developed a severe headache and was unable to sleep for two days. And then he fell ill. After he recovered, David queried me.

“You drink at least ten cups of that strong coffee a day. I drank just half a cup and it made me sick. Why aren’t you falling sick?” David was funny.

Traits that appeared to make me a rock-star among my Chinese friends—discipline and limited sleep—apparently made me despised by my ex, who craved personal attention.

And so, I continued with my habits, when I returned to school for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at Columbia University. I believe continuous structured learning keeps adult minds sharp, as they are empowered to generate new ideas to benefit society including our yet to develop motherland—Africa. At Columbia, I met students, who were just like me. Students who liked to stay up all night solving problems and learning new things. They drank as much coffee as I did. In fact, Columbia reeked of coffee. I felt at home there. But it was not good for my marriage.

All the books we had bought and kept for our future kids were gone—just like that. The complete collection of Harry Potter series, too. We had been among the throng of teeming masses, huddled together in the chill of New England’s winter, waiting to buy each of J.K. Rowling’s books, about the adventures of the sorcerer. She used to joke that she would dump her property law textbook in her child’s lap before she was four. She was quite funny. I tend to be drawn to folks with a good sense of humour. But there was nothing funny about the day she walked out, leaving the divorce papers behind for me to sign.

I had paid over US $5,000 to save the books, by retaining the holdings in a warehouse in Manhattan for several years. I even tried to arrange for someone to help ship the tomes to Nigeria, so that a school could use them. Perhaps an indigent student in a remote village might be inspired by some of them. But my pocket size hadn’t matched the size of my heart. I tried to donate them to a church. But coordinating between Washington, DC and New York City, was not working. I suppose books are not the sort of donations churches jump at. So, they are gone. A divorce destroys many things.

Divorce was rarely heard of among the traditional Yorubas. There was too much at stake for the family, and thus, they had magun as a safeguard—at least the man was able to protect his “investment in his wife.” Some syncretic Yoruba men remain traditional—even those masquerading as Christians—and use magun to prevent trespassing. But I wonder, if a woman can also cast a similar spell on her husband? I would have dismissed this oddity, except that there are extant YouTube videos exposing the humiliated faces and compromised positions of cheating couples, interlocked (stuck together) by magun circulating on Facebook. Their ordeal reminds me of the verses in the book of wisdom:

“Can a man walk on hot coals

without his feet being scorched?

So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;

no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

Marriage was once considered a life bond, and even divorce could not release a previously married couple for remarriage to a new partner, unless one spouse died (without foul play). I wonder, if marrying couples still say those words, “Till death do us part?” Because it is meaningless—unless, there is magun involved.

 

* Olurotimi Osha is Doctor of Law candidate at the George Washington University Law School, in Washington, DC, 

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thenigerianvoice.com

The six concepts of justice

The first of these models is the crime control model. This particular model asserts that protecting society and caring for the victims of crime is the first priority of the criminal justice system, which contrasts how they see the criminal justice system working now (Siegel, 2006, p. 476). The crime control model criticises modern law enforcement and criminal justice systems, stating that they place more emphasis on creating comfortable environments than on increasing police man power, legal ramifications for crime, and creating more efficient victim care programmes.

Furthermore, Siegel (2006) notes that crime control model advocates believe that the legal system often interferes with the law enforcement side of criminal justice, thus decreasing its efficiency (p. 476). As a solution, supporters of this model propose placing more power in the hands of the police, allowing for harsher and/or stricter punishments for offenders, reducing the power of the legal system over criminal justice, and building more prisons to house each and every criminal instead of using the lack of prisons as an excuse for a lesser punishment.

Crime control also seeks to deter crime from occurring through the threat of tougher punishments like the death penalty. Several states took on crime control model policies and altered juvenile crime laws that make it easier for juvenile offenders to be tried as adults (Siegel, 2006, p. 477). Furthermore, sex offender watches and registration, stricter requirements for a successful insanity plea, and increased societal watch, are all examples of crime control methods to deter first time and repeat offenders.

In contrast, the justice model criticises crime control for their notions of deterrence. It claims that it is unjust to apprehend individuals based on assumptions of the future, or on the assumption that their punishment will deter other like-minded individuals from committing crime (Siegel, 2006, p. 478). Furthermore, the justice model criticises rehabilitation of offenders claiming that it too only serves the purposes of injustice and unfairness since only a select number of offenders are eligible and receptive to rehabilitation efforts. Because only a select few can receive rehabilitation, then the same offenses are being treated differently by the criminal justice system, thus breeding injustice within the system (Siegel, 2006, p. 478). This idea of justice and injustice also relates to the justice model’s idea of non-discrimination, meaning that such things as racial profiling, commonly used today, is unacceptable and in essence a crime itself.

In response to the aforementioned complaints, the justice model seeks to set consistent consequences for crime, meaning that all vehicle theft would receive the same sentence, instead of one person getting two years and another getting six months and rehabilitation. Sentences would be the same across the board in order to create total equality in the justice system. Additionally, advocates claim that parole should be abolished, as it is based on discretion, and as such is innately unfair (Siegel, 2006, p. 478). States adopting justice model policies often opt for parole limitations, sentencing guidelines by which the criminal justice and legal systems must follow, and prison sentences as punishment rather than a method of rehabilitation.

Another prominent point of view in the world of criminal justice is the due process model. This particular model is one of the strongest contrasting views to the crime control model, it asserts the priority of protecting the civil rights of the criminals; believes in rehabilitation, individualised justice, use of discretion; and emphasises procedural fairness. These ideals in turn call for stricter regulations on police and other law enforcement agencies, including scrutiny on police procedures, strictly following sentencing procedure, and developing and adhering to a set of prisoner’s rights in order to ensure fair treatment (Siegel, 2006, p. 478). In essence, due process model supporters work for the good of civil rights and equality, and are most often concerned with keeping the law enforcement system in check, or within strict guidelines. Specific areas of interest are sex offender registries, use of technology to check up on citizens, wiretapping, search and seizure, identification systems, fingerprinting, etc; because they believe each and every one of these somehow violates personal rights and civil liberties while doing very little to combat or deter crime (Siegel, 2006, p. 478).

The rehabilitation model is a fairly easy one to grasp, with a name that describes its beliefs fairly accurately. Rehabilitation model advocates argue that criminals are the product of a society that has failed them. As such, punishment will do nothing to help them, and after release they will only fall into a life of crime again. In order to break this vicious cycle, this particular viewpoint argues for programmes that empower people, counsel them, and teach them to be law-abiding, self-sufficient citizens (Siegel, 2006, p. 479). Of course, these rehabilitation programmes also treat medical and psychological problems that may also be at the root of criminal behaviour, which they believe will further reduce a community’s crime rate.

The non-intervention model takes a rather hands-off stance to crime and interaction between criminal and the law enforcement system. Instead of the criminal justice system seeking to put people into correctional institutions, they seek to pull people from them and place them in community based facilities and treatments. Furthermore, they seek to legalise lesser offenses, such as possession of small amounts of marijuana (Siegel, 2006, p. 479). Why would a perspective of criminal justice want to do this? Supporters of the non-intervention model assert that the labels forced on offenders also force a stigma on them that limits their post-prison success. Who will hire an ex-convict or a juvenile delinquent? These labels are said to hinder not only the community, but also weigh on the self-esteem of the labelled individual. According to Siegel (2006), a counter to this problem is having “Police, courts, and correctional agencies” concentrate “their efforts on diverting law violators out of the formal justice systems, thereby helping them to avoid the stigma of formal labels” (p. 479).

A sixth concept is also present, called the restorative justice model, and as an extra, it will be discussed here. This model is based on the belief that the criminal justice system is in place in order to maintain peace and order throughout the country. Thus, instead of placing emphasis on punishment for a crime, they place emphasis on the peace-making process (Siegel, 2006, p. 480). The restorative justice model holds that violent acts of punishment by the state are similar to the violent acts which they are supposed to be advocating against, and as such should not be encouraged. Instead, more humane and encouraging punishments should be used, such as probation, rehabilitation, treatment, etc (Siegel, 2006, p. 480). Essentially, the restorative justice model seeks to repair a damaged society without creating more damage by peacefully resolving conflict, treating crime instead of violently punishing it, and by bringing the community together instead of splitting it apart.

 

* Adam Smith is an American academic expert and can be contacted at a href="mailto:scholarship@jitterymonks.com">scholarship@jitterymonks.com>

 

Reference

Siegel, L., J. (2006). Criminology, 10th Edition. University Of Massachusetts, Lowell. Thomson.

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NYMetro
Comment by Nefertari Ahmose on April 28, 2008 at 12:40pm
In reply to the discussion titled Pan Africans, enemy of the people to which I made a reply, but it would seem got lost in this web of things. First of all who are the people? Are they the masses on the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora in the West? or, are they individuals that maintain the interests of neo-colonialism over their own people? Now, before I go putting designation on others, I would first wait for others to define who they are. So that I can see if they are one with me and my interests. I will not define Morgan Tsvangirai, Clarence Thomas or Bruce Golding it is for them to state who they are and I hope they are in line with what constitute the good care, protection and provision of the masses of African people found suffering and struggling in every part of this world. To say pan Africans are enemies of the people is a very strong statement indeed. We are our natural selves as to whom we identify with is another concern. If the word Wafrakan taken from the Kiafrakan language with Kiswahili and Amharic roots is used to designate and define all Africans, then it behoves all Africans to work not only in their own interests, but in the interests of others as well. It is what we identify with that tell us who we are. We need to unite as one African people with distinction. Time for the fractions of who we are become united with the whole and together we can move ahead successfully. I am, Nefertari A. Ahmose, Founder, Office of Black Sovereign, Queendom of Wafrakan.

NYMetro
Comment by Nefertari Ahmose on April 28, 2008 at 12:14pm
As a pan African people lack of money and lack or representation among others have plagued us as a people. I come forward with Black Sovereign the Black Alternative as an office for leadership representation for our people. To mobilize us and give us financial access. I have created Merkhutu and with Merkhutu which is the currency used by the Queendom of Wafrakan and its affiliated organizations and institutions. The Queendom offers through the Royal Wafrakan Insurance benefits in healthcare, housing, education to people who pay into the system using Merkhutu as the medium of exchange. Through the Royal Wafrakan University education in Kiafran and Wafrakan studies are available in workshops and tele-classes. Merkhutu is controlled by the Royal Bank of Wafrakan. Websites for information will soon be available. People interested in services offered by the Queendom may send an e-mail to nefertari_ahmose@yahoo.com. Thank you. I am, Nefertari A Ahmose, Founder, Queendom of Wafrakan.

Europe
Comment by jocelyn braddell on April 27, 2008 at 9:07am
At 8:56am on April 27th, 2008, jocelyn braddell said…
Dear Friends, This is a little story that shows that friendship is not alone valued for its confidence building but that small measures of aid can give people the impetus for extraordinary outcome.
Early in the history of my magazine The Handstand I received material from a sad and shy young Palestinian in a refugee camp (Deheishe) near Bethlehem. He felt the loss of happy innocent childhood for Palestinian children and he and some other young teenagers started a youthclub for very young children to dance and sing there, make jokes together, feel friendship develop. after 2-3 years they got a computer and started a website and learnt to use the machine hoping to get in touch with the outside world for help and aid for their project. The boy even achieved a visit to supporters in England, although the revelation of other life-styles impressed him he was amazed by the English inability to
communicate with him, or to talk atall, silence on car journeys, during meals etc. seemed incredible to him! This young boy grew up to late teens experiencing every measure of Israeli occupation of his country and he thought to study. He wrote to many many governments to appeal for a student study in medicine - only the Ukraine Government replied to him. He travelled to Ukraine late last year and entered the Campus to learn a new language and to begin that inexorably difficult study of medicine. What money would support him? His father has not been allowed to work by Israel govt. edict for many many Palestinian men and thus his parents can only send him a very small sum. He is lonely, he must try to communicate in Ukraine language and try to eat enough to keep going. I recently received this letter from him which is so affectionate and typical of his strong will that I am sure you, dear friends will take the measure of it for your own community.
dearest Jocelyn,
thank you very much for sending that great book to me, i have got it, it reached me to my campus, and i showed it to my medical teacher and she said its really really great. and she told me that it will help me a lot, and the next years. i am really grateful for you to send that book to me.
and about the palestinian doctor, please dont leave him or he would forget about me, so, please remind him often, and please make sure that he has sent me the message .
dear jocelyn plz dont make your self tired with me, please take care of yourself, ad dont be sad or unhappy for me, because you should know that i would never stop or give up.
please agine , take care of your self and have all my worm greeting.
PS. plz dont get angry from me because i took some time to set on the internet, but it was because of studies.
 
 
 

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