Dr Shashi Tharoor MP – Britain Does Owe Reparations

Comment

Coming soon!

Read the viewers comments underneath the video (within YouTube).

Practical Community led Activism

Now that the UK general election is over and done with, people this side of the world can get back to work, and begin focussing on the difficult issues facing Britain.
Among the terms that have been used by some commentators lately (often referred to together with the notion that the UK needs a federal system), is ‘Community led Activism’. This is probably very similar to the much talked about concept of a Big Society.

But what would Community led Activism actually look like? You hear it talked about, but few take time to really spell out how it would relate to everyday life.

I was curious, so after some thinking, probing about online, and studying various articles on the subject, I’m inclined to think any form of Community led Activism is incomplete without the following ingredients:-

(i) Change management strategies

(ii) Local ownership of change

(iii) Introduction of practice guidelines / best practices; and

(iv) Regular evaluation.

Community-led-ActivismBefore we open up churches as centres that are eligible to administer healthcare, before we begin community projects that serve communities while giving jobs to local people, and before our cities’ libraries also become art galleries, music venues-cum-coffee shops that operate for profit to raise money for communities, (as well as having free services for the most disadvantaged in society), before we increase local food production, before we have cooperatives in charge of local generation of green energy, before we bring back manufacturing from China, before we begin opening up parts of the greenbelt and brownfield land for building of affordable residential accommodation…

internetbefore we invest in information technology education to empower young people to be equipped with the necessary skills for the digital economy,..before all that and more, there has to be a general function that powers Community led Activism. Think of it as a macro level approach, underneath which everything else sits.

The best way to explain this is to look at a number of areas in which the above four ingredients may be useful.

Lets take Education for example. If you want to have devolution of powers from London to communities so that they get authority to decide on Education Policy as they see fit, there must be change management strategies employed in each of the communities concerned. This may come in the form of a new culture instilled at the devolved locality which establishes an effective management system to oversee, administer and evaluate the new policies, and move away from what hadn’t worked. Since the people who are already working in the environment are stakeholders, it is crucial that they are not maligned or resistant to the new proposals.  In fact Educational Authorities (or whoever is eventually given the responsibility to run the scheme) would need to embrace any new changes (and from experiences of the past this is not always easy, as Michael Gove’s stint as Education Secretary proved. See another link here).

Thus, change would need to be brought forward from the bottom-up (as opposed to top-bottom). Just as well, because Local ownership of change is also an essential ingredient. This is important since there will be localities which are happy with their current systems – which deliver desired or at least satisfactory outcomes, and so need not be interfered with too much. For such communities, Local ownership of change is empowering as they don’t have to do what they do not want; as will be for localities which have special needs by virtue of having different circumstances, and so which need slightly different solutions to the schemes/ solutions which others in the same country are adopting.

Similarly, for communities whose Education sector is lacking in some ways (be it in performance levels, funding or otherwise), if change is ‘owned’ at local level, then people are empowered to be able to find solutions that are tailored to the needs of their community. Since it is in the best interest of the community for certain results to be achieved, that change will be embraced quicker and more willingly if it is ‘owned’ at local level, and driven not by consultants hired by HQ, but by the stakeholders at local level.

But what about Introduction of practice guidelines / best practices? Well, lets take Job Creation & Employment legislation for example. Practice guidelines lay down the rules, to ensure there is uniformity across a region/ country. Employment legislation protects employers and employees across a jurisdiction (be it a state country or region) from abuse or unwarranted harassment. If a community seeks change in the labour market, for example to improve conditions for workers, then practice guidelines will be needed once that change is achieved (or even before) to ensure that the desired change is sustained, and is not short-term. Practice guidelines ensure consistency. They help everyone know what their particular roles are, and when such must be undertaken. And in relation to Employment legislation, guidelines at community level will enable employers and employees to know what their responsibilities are towards each other in the general scheme of things, without necessitating a change in the law at national / state level. This means if there is a problem in an industry that is concentrated in the North west of England (or say in a specific industry such as the hotel insustry), guidelines can be rolled out affecting the north-west (or that specific industry), without tinkering with the law at national level, thereby not interfering with the practice elsewhere.

Finally, there is the matter of Evaluation. This is important, because it means improvements or new policies can be reviewed, and if they are not doing as well, a better solution or alternative found. It allows the community to ask: Are we really doing as good as our research stipulated? And if not, why? It enables you to change course when new policies at community level are not having the desired effect.

You can apply the above ingredients to Residential property development, Healthcare, Tax policy, Welfare, Immigration, Pensions, Sustainability and Conservation… the list is endless, and I believe it is possible to make some good progress; even in a country which some people think is suffering a hangover of the politics of fear.

Should we pay reparations – The Big Questions

I saw this video this morning. I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t seen it before, but again, I don’t own a television, so its easy to miss things.

This is how I see it

Hidden & Falsified History

The Kızlar Ağası, head of the black eunuchs of the Ottoman Imperial Harem. The title literally means
The Kızlar Ağası, head of the black eunuchs of the Ottoman Imperial Harem. The title literally means “Chief of the Girls”

African History has not been taught. At least not in the way that it deserved to be taught. Definitely not in the way European or American history has been taught. This is a pathetic fallacy that must be rectified. I’ve written and cited quite a lot of information about this in the past, including on the following links, and so I will not repeat these here:-

Context

It is not only unfair, but disingenuous to say that everyone suffered from history, so lets all just forget about the past and move on. As Esther Stanford Xosei points out in the video, the transatlantic Slave Trade was unparalleled in scale, ferocity and effects. You can’t brush that fact under the carpet, and tell everyone to move on, because history simply won’t allow you. Pushing anything that contravenes this clear historical fact is tantamount to rewriting history: a lie.

Further, I think it’s very difficult if not impossible for white people – who have not experienced the stigma and pain black people live with, to identify with it or completely understand the numerous ways in which that pain afflicts its victims.

Just because you don’t feel something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. And in my view, there’s a lot of apathy in the western world regarding the plight of black people. Most white people in positions of authority simply don’t care enough. Which is not surprising to be honest.

Multiple Effects

I can’t elaborate any better about the different psychological conditions talked about in the video. What I can say is that whether the medical professions in the western world accept their existence or not, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Often, the same medical professions are controlled and run by predominantly white-folk, who as I pointed above have never experienced these things first hand, so I wouldn’t be surprised if organisations such as National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or Royal College of Psychiatrists don’t recognise them.

More importantly, I can say hand on heart that at least 9 out of 10 of all my black friends have some kind of ‘mental’ issues relating to their position in society, and how they feel about being black, African or of Afro-caribbean descent living in a western country.

Predictably, these ‘mental issues’ don’t feature in the white or Indian Africans I know – many of whom I studied with at College and University.

Both educated well-paid black Africans (those who work as Solicitors, Doctors, Engineers, Lecturers, Consultants and Accountant Managers), and the not so educated – who work in low paid, low skilled work have this ‘complex’ , if you can allow me to call it that. It sometimes manifests itself as apathy i.e. ‘ there’s nothing we can do about it‘, and at other times it’s rebellious i.e. ‘after the way we have been treated, why the hell would I pay for such and such‘, and yet at other times it comes out in the form of religious resignation ‘God will punish them for their wrongs

I doubt it is cultural, because my friends come from varying different backgrounds, with no single identifiable culture. For example a few of my Kenyan friends have cultures very different to those of my Zambian and Tanzanian friends. Even in Malawi, our cultures across the country vary greatly, so I very much doubt it’s down to culture.

The closest description I can think of, of this complex is a powerlessness when it comes to racial identity and racial issues (past and present), which has caused many black people stress, depression (complete with tablets) and anger, and which can negatively interfere with their lives. A description that I must admit is incomplete, and doesn’t quite capture the whole complex…

Implicit bias

I like to study people, especially if they don’t know they are being studied, I enjoy it. Their behaviours, the assumptions, the stereotypes, it’s very easy for me to pick on certain words they use, certain familiar habits – and identify what they actually mean. Or what I think they mean.Take a look at the following cartoon to see what I am talking about:-

cartoonAnd this alone may not be harmless, until you find out who owns the industries. Who the employer is, who administers justice, who is in charge of policing…who educates the children, and suddenly these biases become relevant, because it is possible (consciously or otherwise) to favour white kids over black kids; in stop and search (which disproportionately affects black people than it does white people). Or to incarcerate more black people for the same crimes than white people; to be prejudicial to black people in the criminal justice system; to be prejudicial in the job market; to be prejudicial when giving loans; Or to target black people with falsified or politically motivated attacks with the goal of incriminating them – to make them look bad, and emphasise the ‘black criminal’ stereotypes.

It is happening across the world, not only in the UK and the US, and sadly much of it goes unreported.

Indeed schools in the UK have been accused numerous times over the years of providing an insufficient if not inferior education to black children. Top Universities have been accused of not attracting enough ethnic minorities. The effect of all this is that real economic power, whether in Manchester, Brixton, Lilongwe or Kampala, predominantly rests with white middleclass middle-aged men. What Grayson Perry in the New Statesman calls Default Man.

And then we wonder why hundreds of thousands of Africans flee their countries wanting to come to Europe (dying in their thousands along the way), or Australia, or the United States.

Polar opposite Experiences

The differences and life outcomes also couldn’t be starker, not only in identity and confidence levels, but also in economic terms. Opposite ends of a behavioural spectrum – if such a thing could be said to exist, is evident when you contrast behaviour in a board meeting full of predominantly white male directors (among which I was the only black person), with a luncheon with members of a predominantly black church (where there were no white people).

Just sitting there and watching people within such groups interact teaches you a lot about race, wealth, power, inequality, confidence and many other qualities/ behaviours.

It shows you how different people are. It lays bare for example the financial constraints in black families; that when a minority is in a place where they are not expected – it becomes news. Instead of people focussing why they are at the conference, many questions are asked about this new guy, this brown-skinned guy: who is he, why is he here. Questions which are not asked to the other participants, most of whom are white.

I learn that the kinds of multi-million pound deals which white company directors sitting around a table in a plush conference centre discuss, would be totally alien to a group of black businessmen (or indeed to any group of black people). The large majority of them have never been exposed to that kind of money, and the video above – to an extent – raises the issues as to why this is so.

Many times I’ve found myself in predominantly white gatherings, including a few years ago in Shanghai, as the only black person at a business event; spending several nights in a $300 a night hotel in a different city, again as the only black person; I got exactly the same sentiments and reactions.

And it’s bizarre when strangers come to you asking you to take pictures with them…in 2010

To me the whole thing makes perfect sense:- the reason more black people are not found in such business environments is because they do not have the money or are under-represented at board level in many professional fields. The generational obstacles stacked up against them are high enough to ensure too few of them independently amass any serious amount of  wealth, and almost no one amasses power.

And here, i must mention something else. When a black business person is driven, confident, arrogant, pushy and a go-getter, they are often feared and labelled as ‘aggressive’ or difficult to work with; whereas white business folk who exhibit exactly the same qualities and characteristics are called ‘shrewd’ and ‘alpha males’.

Redress

While I understand why people and countries seek reparations, for me it’s not about reparations per se, but how to change for the better the current unfair system of Capitalism (which clearly favours a tiny few over the majority of people in the world); in the system we currently are under, Africa, and people of African origin are at the very bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.

I’d like to see a world of responsible capitalism  (which i’ll define exactly as I understand it on this blog at some point).

In the video above, it’s interesting that someone cited Israel, and I’m glad to see that Esther tackled that point perfectly. Israel  (if we can put its internal and regional politics aside) in my view is a good demonstration of how you can create a liquid democracy from nothing, and ensure of its relative success. The Israeli post-holocaust experience is different from the African post-genocide/post-slavery experience on a number of points such as:

  • Israelis in the diaspora have been given preferential treatment that has enabled them to succeed. Most don’t need Visas to visit or live in Western countries, and their established networks make it very easy for their people to get loans, and start businesses or to find jobs. Thus, they can access markets and capital relatively easily. In contrast Africans or Afro-Caribbeans have at no point enjoyed such privileges, and find it harder than most others to find jobs, start businesses or get loans.
  • Jews were never given an inferior education for any considerable length of time during the time they were persecuted across Europe. They were prohibited from studying, over certain periods, and prevented from entering certain professions in many countries, but they weren’t purposely fed a poisonous and destructive educational experience that continues to affect their communities even today. In contrast, Africans have been given an inferior education (or no education at all), for centuries! Which affects the jobs they get in today’s economies, and their economic circumstances from one generation to the next – as this article on Forbes demonstrates. I’m not saying that its impossible to break this cycle. No. What I’m saying is that it’s a lot more difficult for a black person to break through this vicious cycle of poverty, discrimination, oppression and debt because they have a lot more obstacles stacked against them, and face a lot more prejudice/discrimination (institutional or otherwise) from so many places.
  • Apart from Nazism, there were few ideologies in history designed to oppress, repress and steal from Jews. That can’t be said of African and Afro-caribbean people, who have suffered one ideology after another all designed to incapacitate and dispossess them. You can’t brush all that under the carpet and claim it doesn’t have a cross-generational effect; without publicly acknowledging the scale, impact and long-term effects such oppression has had, without putting effective measures to address the anomaly, very little will change.
  • Israel was never in debt in the same way as African and Afro-caribbean countries have been in debt. Israeli citizens own a lot of their own industry, whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of large / lucrative industry is owned by foreign corporations, who siphon the profits out of the country, with the consequence that African countries fail to raise sufficient funds from tax collection to be able to invest in their economies. So there’s under-investment in almost every important sector of public spending from infrastructure maintenance and development, to education, healthcare and national security. This in turn affects crime (which will be on the increase), lack of infrastructure deters foreign investment (which affects the number of jobs), and lack of resources in healthcare means most hospitals have no medicines or sufficient staff and therefore fail to function.
  • Israel has a powerful and well-funded lobby, which in many respects is a good thing. It means you are not perpetually broke and your interests are safeguarded on the global scene. Africans and Afro-Caribbeans have no such luxuries.

So ask yourself, how can black people move on when there are such grossly unfair inequalities that continue until this day? Not only in the UK, but across the world…?

I will never believe the lazy and totally untruthful claims that poverty in Africa is due to corruption and inefficiency of Africans alone.

NEVER.

I know enough not to be taken in by such rubbish.

The Other: What people say about Migrants

P1060325Once every now and again something happens that prompts me to troll through the comments people leave in response to articles on news websites. This exercise is purely a curiosity driven exploration of the range of views out there. And except for the clearly idiotic  (which there are many), I think most comments reveal a lot about the people who write them.

So maybe comments could be a way of gauging what a part of the readership of a publications thinks about certain issues. Maybe it can be used to gauge popular sentiment, but I doubt it is necessarily representative of a population or locality in the way that a referendum does. It couldn’t possibly be, for many reason including because not all readers in a locality read the same publication (or even read a newspaper). And for those who read a particular publication, not all of them leave comments. Even those who leave comments do not always show their true colours.

Still, comments being opinions are subjective and often filled with emotion even though as subjectivity goes some opinions are rather scary.

Also it’s interesting to see that the notion of freedom of expression in some countries is quite difficult to pinpoint, if not altogether warped, while in other countries, it’s the quickest ticket to persecution, jail or worse. To some people, expressing hate and what could come across as vile, equates to freedom of expression. To others its heresy. No surprises then that in this nirvana of duplicitous opinions found on newswebsites, certain subjects (in particular those praising certain dictators) are out-of-bounds and you can very quickly get in trouble, whereas praising other dictators (for example Stalin for some bizarre reason) is unlikely to get you in any trouble, leaving one wondering whether the measure used in deciding what is acceptable isn’t questionable in itself.

Criticising certain religious figures is likely to go unchallenged, while criticising others could elicit violence. Which is why lots of people leave comments from behind an alias unconnected with their physical person.

It appears that the criteria for determining what is acceptable freedom of speech and what isn’t, isn’t straightforward. Especially if you consider that in some countries what passes as freedom of speech would be deemed to be unlawful, slanderous, even criminal elsewhere.

So in the end, what you are not allowed to say in public is not uniform universally (and indeed cannot be).  It’s down to issues like where you live, the civil liberties you are afforded, the cultural bias of your community, what the dominant religion is, the threshold of what the presiding authorities deems to be acceptable, how well resourced the authorities are, how stringently the law is enforced, how brave / foolish you are, and so on.

Political correctness has a nationality, and a religion.

Anyhow, in this realm, it’s not uncommon to find the bizarre, hilarious, fascinating, truthful, misleading, ignorant, mockery, satirical and the poetic lying cosily next to each other.

Since 50 million people worldwide currently are refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced within their own countries, then in light of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, and frequent drownings of migrants in the mediterranean sea, I thought it appropriate to list some randomly picked comments that were written in response to articles that had something to do with migrants / refugees, from across the world.

Enjoy 🙂

From Swinging guns and fleeing foreigners: What is the state doing?  (Mail & Guardian)

Zuma giggles while SA burns. If you have no house , no job, no money, no propects of getting a job you may as well join a movement – any one will do. Unemployment is getting worse- a clothing factory in Durban has retrenched 300 workers and moved its operation to Swaziland -cost of labour is much cheaper and without all the unions red tape. Meanwhile our President is buying new jets to the value of 2 or 3 billion….hhe he hheee…..let them eat cake

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Stewart •   Is apartheid to blame for this? Egalitarians probably believe so, but the reasons behind all of this are too politically incorrect to air. This more or less standard operating procedure for countries nearing collapse and about to achieve failed state status. Its almost inevitable.

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uma’s announcement during SONA that no foreigners could own land in SA was met by probably the loudest applause of the night. It’s exactly that kind of anti-foreigner sentiment that gives some citizens confirmation that foreigners are the enemy that should be acted against.

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nocent black people? You mean those same people who moved from central west Africa and occupied Sub Saharan Africa? You mean those very same people who engaged in the Mfecane, cleansing the nearby peoples. Or perhaps the same people who displaced the Khoi whose paints are a start reminder in those isolated caves in the Drakensberg?

Stop telling lies about a history that only happened in the fertile tracts of your mind. Human history is a bloody one and there are no gentle peaceful tribes.

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While nothing good came of apartheid… The picture postcard of post-apartheid South African prosperity is nothing more than just a fairy tale.

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From  Incendiary SMS targets foreign nationals in Jo’burg  (Mail & Guardian)

Sibusiso •  The biggest walking fire is Zuma and his deafening silence….#ZUMAmustGO

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 Heraklit • South Africa open for business?
Gateway to Africa?
Looks more like Dante’s first stop over on his way into purgatory right now…

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Lets build my statues of Jan van Riebeeck, Rhodes, Ghandi etc….. -that should divert their attention for a while!

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From Rights violation charge laid against Zulu king  (Mail & Guardian)

BritinSA •  “The King is not to blame”. “The Kings words have been lost in translation”.

If you threw a match onto flammable material, then you DID start the fire.

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Brian • It is about time our governnment realize the cost of corruption they have created. Most foreign people in this country are not documented correctly if not at all. It is easy for them to do as they please. Some of the areas like Hilbrow and Kempton Park have been turned into little Lagos and drugs dealings is 2nd nature to them. Police are doing nothing about it. It is wrong for South Africans to take out their frustrations to our foreign brothers and sisters that are in the country legally and are contributing positively to the growth of this country. Not all foreigners in this country are criminals and sell drugs. Let those who are not documented correctly and committing all sorts of crime be broad to book and if possible deported back to their countries and that should be done within the law. As for the king and his utterances, it was wrong of him as a leader to say what he said.

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King Butter •  The Zulu’s should unite and fight this Monarchical Insubordination. Our damn King, in Our damn Province speaking to HIS people; and he gets insulted (BY FOREIGNERS??) for speaking the obvious truth, that ILLEGAL migrants should be repatriated.

Rod Baker to King Butter •  Exactly.He is YOUR king, the Zulus king, He is not my king, not the Xhosas’ king, not the Vendas’ king, Sesothos’ king etc. He is king of no one else but the Zulus.

So you go ahead and defend him – and while you are about it, also pay in full for his upkeep and leave us out of it. Our taxes should go to other things.

As for what he said, people in his position have to be extremely circumspect in what they say – and should know better than to say foreigners need to pack their bags and go. There are too many people out there who are willing to help the foreigners on their way, and help themselves to the latter’s good while they are about it.
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e should also be investigated by the nature conservation people for wearing furs and feathers of possible endangered fauna.

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From Katie Hopkins calling migrants vermin recalls the darkest events of history (Guardian)

SamStoneI was just about to write “the thing about Katie Hopkins is, absolutely no one likes her, so whatever she says, everyone automatically disagrees with her because she’s so ludicrous”

BUT….Then I just read the most up-voted comments about the same migrants article on the Daily Mail website, which said, starting with the most liked…

“She’s absolutely right!”

“Kate gets it right again.”

“I agree with her. She speaks a lot of sense and has the guts to say what others are thinking.”

And now I despair for humanity.

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Coolhandluke77 :    It is not unheard of for radical environmentalists to compare the whole of teaming humanity to locusts, cockroaches or other vermin. And many have less than progressive views on immigration.

Where is the outrage..? Where are the petitions..?

And speaking of hypocrisy, these immigrants are dying trying to get into Fortress Europe. That is the EU. But all the posturing by pro EU politicians has been against Farage, who is not even in power.

So apart from the fact that some should be choking on their own hypocrisy, I do agree with the article.

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 After we in the west have created the conditions under which tens of thousands of people feel so desperate that they will risk their lives to escape, we then turn round and say we can´t help them because we don´t have the capacity? We had the capacity to bomb their countries for weeks on end and create havoc where there had been stability. We really are a disgusting lot, dragged along on the coat tails of the Yanks year after year, doing the dirty work of international corporations that exist because they thrive on war and disorder. Speak for the ordinary people like yourselves, because that´s what these people are, just ordinary men, women and children taking the flak for the greed of the few.

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mizdarlin :  This is hate speech pure and simple..and should be dealt with as such..if she is as insane as she sounds, and having her taken away for psychological analysis for a few months might be the only way to find out-then do so at once and make her spew disappear…

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From Europe Considers Response as Hundreds of Migrants Die in Mediterranean Sinkings (New York Times)

Nancy , Great Neck:  That the countries of Europe are not monitoring the Mediterranean for attempted passages and such terrifying tragedies is beyond shameful. There is evidently a sense that monitoring passage attempts encourages them, but taking this as a justification for neglect of a humanitarian obligation is profoundly immoral.

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Rita,  California: Of course European countries need to work towards a common resolution of the refugee crisis. Borders are porous and the initial influx into one country will eventually disperse into others. The ultimate resolution requires stabilizing the region so that refugees can return home.

Massacre is the right word to describe the actions of those who take refugees’ money and then load the boats past capacity limits.

PS Erecting a wall or starting a naval blockade are not feasible solutions.

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John, Los Angeles:  A tragedy. But not Europe’s fault. At some point, political boundaries have to have meaning. If people want to risk their lives to illegally enter a country they are ultimately responsible for their own fate. Perhaps European countries should simply blockade north Africa and turn back all ships.

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Underclaw, The Floridas: Remember when President Obama launched an air attack in Libya that led to “regime change” in Tripoli (and the public execution of Qadaffy)? And remember how the United States then up and left Libya in chaos and anarchy? And remember how we were lectured about how Obama’s policy of “leading from behind” in places Libya was a “brilliant” foreign policy doctrine? Well, now look.

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From German Asylum: Attacks on Refugee Hostels a Growing Problem (Spiegel Online)

antfreire 04/11/2015  Since when is legal, or ethic that people that don’t have a satisfactory way of live where they live have to be accepted in countries where they decide to move? Does Germany have any commitment or moral duty to accept people from Sudan, or Siria, or Irak, etc. just because they are not doing well there? Will the people that promote this type of “serve yourself” inmigration bring a couple of this inmigrans to their house to live with them?

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Inglenda2 04/11/2015 When governments choose to ignore the wishes of their own people, it is almost impossible, for normal citizens, to take action against those responsible. The result is, that there will always be parts of the population, who express their justified, but falsely directed, frustration by violence against the weakest of the weak. In this case it is the refugees who are made to suffer. In psychological circles, such conduct is known as projection and is more common, for example in mobbing, than most of the general public are aware of.

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ernestokunn 04/14/2015  As Slavoj Zizek states, TOLERANCE IS NOT ENOGH. There are limits, certainly. It becomes an explosive problem if two ethnic or religious groups live together in close vicinity who have irreconcilable ways of life and, as such, perceive criticism of their religion or way of life as being an attack on their very identity. We all should stop with hypocrisy. Mainly our politicians.

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alfuryu 04/12/2015 It saddens me that again the Spiegel again only scratches the surface of what those outside Germany understand. After the war you did not pursue those animals that perpetrated crimes in fact you harboured them and protected them you even have specific laws that still protect them and the officials that support and still carryout what those outside of German would call racism. Your public bodies do not have open complaint procedures when such crimes are committed so inside the population we see the hatred or is arrogance of the Germanic race to think they are better than all. Come on Germany the world gave you a chance supported you after the war turned a blind eye to you not paying up what you were due in the 1950s or pursuing the guilty only the auschlanders are handed over funny old thing. The reality is there is a still a group of nutcases within Germany that need to be purged and it needs to be a bigger crime to be racist than it is to accuse someone of having the behaviour of a NAZI i.e. a bully, thug, a person who considers all others unequal. I see it

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From  Xenophobic attacks: Nigeria counts losses   (Vanguard – Nigeria)

Oldbendel • 5 High profile international football games cannot change the mentality of these big heads South Africans,send them to school where they can be tought some lesson on issues relating to globalization,cultural diversity etc,or else they remain barbarians forever.

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Micho • Nigeria is the most accommodating country in Africa. I can say that we are America in Africa. Go to all these African country, blacks are seen and addressed as foreigners, I could remember when I was in Gambia, they used to Address Nigerians as fucking foreigners while white and people from Mauritania and worshiped like gods. Nigeria just need good leaders we shall be very great. The wrath of God is on any country that maltreat foreigners, that is one of those warnings that God gave the people of Israel when they left Egypt.South Africa will be punished for what they are doing, but I pray to God to forgive them because of the faithful ones among them.

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Okoko • When the igbos shops were looted in Nigeria due to envy by other tribes, no one shouted. When igbos were deported in their own country, it was normal for yorobber folks. Xenophobia is everywhere, even in Nigeria.

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Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians are some no-nonsense taking people, i wonder why they played calm thus far. Hopefully they won’t follow trend and start blowing up South African investments and killing South Africans in their country. The situation is getting really out of control.

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Emma Kuyty •  Absence of love,hatred,wickedness,jealousy etc are synonymous among African Negro and Negra,it is only almighty JAH JEHOVAH that will help Africans.

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Ekwe111 •  Mandatory S.O.S. deductions were levied on Nigeria Govt. employee salaries and elsewhere in the 80’s, principally for the liberation of SA and Zimbabwe; countries that bitterly resent and spite our citizens today.

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From Paytriotism – Becoming British is a Costly Business  ( Economist)

Cutters. Apr 20th, 12:18

Becoming a UK national and gaining access to all the rights and privileges that go with it are far to cheap.

It is bad enough that the dregs of the continent are able to arrive unrestricted, putting massive pressure on local services and adding insignificant amounts to GDP (0.04% per head reported), without British citizenship being cheaply sold.

The cost could rise by 5x as much and demand would scarcely falter.

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guest-olwnaon Apr 19th, 15:56

When our govt receives fees for whatver – residency, health, visa renewal, citizenship, tuition fees, all amounting to billions, it keeps its mouth shut and go to the media to stoke animosity and hate against immigrants. What happened to all the money collected from applicants at the visa processing centres? Yet border staff were made redundant! what happened to the billions that our universities receive from genuine students? if one non EU student pays al least 12,000 pounds as tuition fees per year for a 12 month course, if universities admit 1000 non -EU students that gives a total of 12,000,000 per university. But we know that only the 1999 universities (new breed universities) charge the least amount. Other red bricks, Russell, 1964 universities charge a lot higher ranging from 17-26k. Unfortunately, when immigration figures are collated, 92,000 non EU students are added. What arrant nonsense! I see why vice chancellors and Principal live larger-than-life lives while PhD holds struggle to get regular teaching hours. Yet we are asked to blame immigrants. NO!

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 CA-Oxonian, Apr 16th, 18:39

The excessive fees imposed by the UK government throughout the residency and citizenship application process are just one more sad indication of how insular the UK really is. While the USA is stifling its tech industry with absurd visa restrictions the UK is stifling its entire economy. Apparently Little Britain is quite happy remaining a moribund, inward-looking, and rather stagnant sort of country. Too bad. Aside from the atrocious weather and inept approach to providing services, it’s not entirely a bad place to reside.

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From Rising tide of UK anti-immigrant sentiment (Al Jazeera)

Sayyed Musawi
one thinks that the arrogant Brits ought to remember they plundered the world for centuries stealing, including the Kohinoor diamond they stole from the Indians, the cheap labor they have benefitted from Immigrants, and the contributions made. Just imagine if all Immigrants were to leave britain today with their wealth and Britain were to be honest and give up the money they stole from Nations, the wealth stored up stolen, and the contributions made to it then I am sure britain will just be another empty, depressing European country.
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Arthur Coxon  TODAY THERE IS NO COHESION IN BRITISH SOCIETY WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT IMMIGRANTS, AND RELIGIONS IN THE COUNTRY. ONE FEELS AS IF YOU ARE LIVING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. IT’S A TOTAL NIGHTMARE !!!
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SeaNote  If immigrants don’t assimilate, get rid of them.
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Bohdan Chochoł
Oh yeah, the infamous ‘We’ (this & we that) approach to life. While there is a major generation gap now  between under and over 30-year-olds (the young being less prone to nationalist-ic ‘introversion’), the fact Poles became so numerous and at such break-neck speed cannot bode well for British civil society (for genuine civil society in Poland has yet to get into the air, even while the British institution is probably plummeting). The grounds for pessimism  are clearly enough expresed by the “editor-in-chief” (ah yes: hierarchy-mania) of “Our  Pages=Vantage Points=Side-s” (each meaning suggested by the /plural/ term “Strony”; cf.: [–link removed–]). Should it be for purely materialistic reasons that Poles have a right to live in Britain – en masse?
I abhore the so-called road the country went down from Thatcherism onwards; if it’s a road, it’s one that leads to living hell. I understand how difficult it is to get anywhere now in Poland if you’re young and without the kind of status symbols so conveniently listed by Pan Redaktor Naczelny Andrzejko. I equally appreciate how hundreds of thousands, if not millions Poles do not exactly live in Britain but exist as poorly-paid labourers, while others have truly found a place in the world where they wish to remain, because in Britain they’ve found something they could not find in a country like Poland. And yet, between those two more or less extremes is a lot of people who could almost certainly do more for their own country by living in it. Pressurizing the centralised bureaucratic autocracy there into responsible administration, for a start – rather than terrorising local surgeries for their -odding “prrreeskrrreeptsyon”, or ranting how well they know English at OAPs who can’t even begin to understand their Slavspeak, etc. And what about all those crumby shops on the High Street, money laundering or what?
No bad feelings intended, it’s just a subject that defies any softly-softly treatment .
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Mohammed Rahman Islam is a religion of peace.

I invite you and all the readers to study the life of prophet muhammad pbuh and decide on your own. 
He was totally against terrorism. The first three wars of badr , uhud , ahzab were defensive wars to protect the home city of medina. 
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Bader Rammal
No Muslim country invited you to invade and colonize their countries. You colonized….You pay the price….Don’t complain and whine about the results and outcome of your past reckless irresponsible behaviors.

From Britain’s criminally stupid attitudes to race and immigration are beyond parody – Frankie Boyle (Guardian)

GiulioSica  Brilliant writing and analysis, as ever. Thanks Frankie. It really is shameful the way the racists are unashamedly crawling out of the woodwork trying to rewrite history and ignore the present world problems.
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foralltime...”We have streets named after slave owners.”… Spot-on with that one, Frankie…

Penny Lane is a street famous worldwide thanks to The Beatles 1967 hit, but the Liverpool street owes its name to an outspoken Liverpool slave ship owner and staunch anti-abolitionist. James Penny was a Liverpool merchant who made his money from the transportation of slaves.

*** ~ *** ~ ***

atillazenun  Yet another article trying to guilt people and countries for their achievements. Where would the colonies be without the infrastructure that was created for them? Ever thought of that?
If you are so pro-immigration, please list your home address so that a family of four can be sent to live in your spare bedroom.
No?
But you are OK with tax payer money being used to support mass immigration “somewhere not too close to you?”. Get real.

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Fence2  Is the next generation responsible for past generations actions?
No, because if it were then there would be guilty atoms and molecules out there, which is ludicrous.

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moneymonkey  What a lazy article, roll out the tired old nonsense.

Everything we have, we stole from the immigrants in the first place…. UKIP are racist…

wacism, wacism, wacism….

etc etc.

orlandaowl responding to moneymonkey

…… monkey your effing self. Ironically, your beloved Fuhrer is married to a German!

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herbmonkey  Absolute rubbish. Why am I made to feel bad about events that ocurred before I was born. £11.4bn in foreign aid last year came from all our pockets. Yes we had our colonial past and faults but can we be really be held responsible for local corruption where african govenments drive around in Mercedes while their people starve. This piece once again paints the entire nation with a shitty sheen that is only representative of what pisses off the writer. I and my friends speak different languages, do show remorse for the terrible past crimes of our nation and do not display this “casual racism” that apparently the entire natioon should hang our heads in shame about.

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SimonBol Frankie: this is great stuff. You are saying in this single piece what sociologists and historians cannot say in a whole book.

Growing African economies that will work for African people

African market
Women at an African market

Tanzania just announced that it will dump English as its official language in schools, opting for Kiswahili instead. This morning, I read this article that somehow appears to suggest that this is a bad idea.

I must say I disagree, and below I’ll try to explain why.

When the colonial powers came to Africa, one of the first things they did was to impose their own languages as the language of learning in their territories. France imposed French in the various west African territories it colonised, Portugal imposed Portuguese, Holland imposed Dutch and Britain imposed English and so on. This had the effect of dividing communities which were otherwise related. The overall effect was to stop any hope of large countries the size of the Democratic Republic of Congo from ever emerging out of Africa. It was divide and rule of the purest form. Fragmentation – a cruel tactic designed to tie the future of those then colonies forever to the colonial powers.

So the english taught was not necessarily to be a conduit of knowledge transfer that would empower the colonies as some people would have you believe. Instead, it was a move to make sure that schools produced compliant subjects which could easily be manipulated, and do the bidding of the colonial masters in Europe.

And that is reason enough in my view for Tanzania to change the official language to Kiswahili, because the motive of colonised Tanzania having to communicate in foreign languages was entirely driven by foreign interests.

Secondly, groups of people often associate and define themselves as an ethnicity on various terms, but one of the most common denominators, other than ancestry is language. You identify as Chewa because your parents are Chewa and they spoke Chichewa, they lived in the land of the Chewa, their village was in the Chewa belt. Therefore you are Chewa.

This is the norm, not the exception.

So as Tanzanians, the question which the above article answers is that Kiswahili is a unifying force in Tanzania. It holds together the people, even though they are made up of 130 different ethnicities.

So why then should they conduct their lives based on an imported language when they have a language of their own?

Who’s interests does having English as an official language of education ultimately serve?

Why teach in English when students could learn in their own African language? Are people not proud of being African?

If the US, Britain or Spain is unlikely to begin teaching their students in Nyanja or Kiswahili which are African languages, why is it somewhat acceptable or expected for Africans to teach their students in foreign languages?!?

In any case, shouldn’t Tanzania develop an economy that first and foremost works for Tanzanians (if you can allow me to temporarily step out of my usual Pan-African shoes), people who are citizens of a sovereign country?

In the above article, the author quotes Ahmed Salim, a senior Associate at Teneo Intelligence, a political risk consultancy that works with U.S investors, who makes what I consider to be a hopelessly narrow-minded point:

However, in terms of overall impact, the main challenge will be felt long-term when companies set up shop in Tanzania and are left with hiring staff that are either bilingual Tanzanians or from neighboring Kenya or Uganda. This will somewhat hinder Tanzania’s competitive advantage in the future.”

Now, I’m not saying they should stop teaching English altogether, or that English isn’t an important international language. That’s not what I’m saying. Instead the argument for English is tied to this over-emphasis on foreign investment (money coming from the outside of Africa) to help and rescue Africans, to give them jobs and create an economy – as if Africans themselves couldn’t use their own resources to create economies that work for the benefit of African countries.

Tanzania has many natural resources including natural gas (See the following links Tanzania’s Natural Gas Reserves Almost Triple on New Finds ; Statoil makes another natural gas find offshore Tanzania ;  BG Group touts Pweza as its largest Tanzania gas find ). The country’s economy is growing at a rate of 7% which is quite high and above the international average. If those resources are utilised properly by the government of Tanzania for the benefit of the country’s citizens (as opposed to liberally auctioned-off to the highest corporate bidder) they could be a source of some serious economic development that would create jobs for young Tanzanians, investment into security, and used for infrastructure development, investment in Education, Healthcare and women’s issues.

That investment, derived from wholly Tanzanian owned resources, could be a serious game changer if utilised wisely.

But if some corporation is allowed to own a majority stake, or lions share of Tanzania’s Natural Gas resources, I can tell you now what difference it will make to the Tanzanian economy in the long run:

NONE.

The profits that corporation makes will be wired out of Tanzania to already developed and rich countries. Countries that needs the benefit of the resource much less, and that have billions in cash reserves to fall back on. And those profits will find their way into the fat pockets of already rich shareholders in those rich countries. Ultimately such funds will trickle down to contribute to the tax system of those already rich countries, benefitting their economies.

Meanwhile, poor Tanzanians already struggling with poverty, low incomes, unemployment, high cost of living, government corruption, who do not own property, poor healthcare in hospitals and the lack of medicines, no electricity in most areas, deforestation, poaching and lack of clean water in the villages will not have benefitted proportionately from such natural gas deals. Instead they will have to continue receiving handouts, breadcrumbs from aid organisations – when their country possesses the natural resources that could be used to create wealth for them…all just because of greed of some corporations

How absurd and stupid is that?

So the scare mongering self-serving attitude against Tanzania choosing to teach their students in Kiswahili is wrong, It’s anti-African and I vehemently disagree with such dishonest views.

Africans and other developing countries have been stamped on for too long. We must end this corporate driven theft and madness and begin to create economies which are designed to serve and benefit us as Africans, just as others have been building economies to benefit their own economies, and their own people.

Inequality in graphs and images

Lately, talk of inequality has dominated the media. Everybody is talking about it. Probably because of this year’s Davos Summit, but everyone seems to be keen on reminding us just how economically unbalanced the world is. Just how a few people own huge amounts of wealth, while the rest live on breadcrumbs.

Global Wealth 14Yesterday, it seems Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England entered the fray, when he said:

“Without this risk sharing, the euro area finds itself in an odd position,”

While the context of Mr Carney’s statement may have been different to the subject of this post, and directed more to institutions on a country level, on a personal level, I don’t believe in the RobinHoodesque notion of ‘stealing’ from the rich to give to the poor. I don’t believe that such an approach works because it’s a dangerous idea that is not only open to abuse, but that can backfire. And before you jump on me and criticise my socialist credentials, let me qualify it.

I know inequality is real, and I know its crippling effects on people and communities across the world, especially in poor countries.

My contention is that if people work hard to earn their money, if they pay their taxes and do not accrue wealth using dodgy (or outright illegal means); if they do not use tax havens or other immoral ways of depriving governments of the much-needed lifeblood of corporation tax; if these business magnets are no more than scions bequeathed of inherited blood money (money tarnished with the proceeds of slavery and colonisation), if they have earned their way to the top, why should anybody sensible think it is a good idea to take it away from them?

Why!?

wealth-gap-2I believe in fairness, I believe that corporations must pay their fair share in taxes. That the government must act in the interests of the people, not just working for the interests of corporations. I believe that those who are rich, or who have the means, must do more to help the disadvantaged – whose spending ironically often drives the profits. Doing all these things will likely lead to less inequality, less strife, and better social harmony.

And here’s why:

If you look at recent events, not only comments made at Davos, what you find is that it’s not so much that the money isn’t there. Instead the problem is that the money which is made on the back of extremely liberal national and international tax regimes – is stashed away in enclaves where cash-strapped governments be they in Africa or elsewhere cannot get to it.

As a result the government cannot sufficiently invest in services, cannot create jobs or help those at the bottom of the pyramid improve their lives. This increases inequality, including spurning side effects such as crime and social unrest.

So then, where’s a good place to start, when addressing this problem of inequality?:-

1. Change the laws to ensure that companies pay a fair share in taxes from the revenues they generate.

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Essentially, it also means being firm with tax havens to reveal the sources of blood money or any untaxed funds.

offshore_tax_jurisdictions

2. Crack down on corruption, and stop illicit financial outflows.

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3. Streamline services (a streamlined small government that is cheaper and efficient to run is preferrable to an inefficient large and bloated government that is expensive to run).

4. Stop unnecessary privatisation. But encourage responsible Investment

US_Africa_Summit_Day_1If you privatize everything, from where will the state earn its income??

Everybody knows that employment tax revenues are not a sufficient revenue source. That’s why there are so many governments across the world that have budget deficits, simply because all the tax companies pay plus the tax their employees pay – IS NOT ENOUGH to sustain all the functions of government. From Britain, the US, France, Ireland, Italy and Greece to South Africa, Malawi,  Ethiopia and Mozambique, and many others, budget deficits and debt are commonplace. As a consequence most of these countries fail to adequately invest in healthcare, in poverty alleviation, in education, in job creation for young people, in women’s health and advancement…because there isn’t enough money coming into the government coffers for them to spend on these things.

Simply put, the state has no full-time job and is only employed part-time. So how the hell can it spend, or raise its family properly?

5. Instead of privatisation, countries should enter into joint venture partnerships with businesses, for win-win deals because these will not only provide tax revenues from employment tax, and corporation tax,  but will additionally earn the government dividends (which can be significantly higher than corporation tax and employment tax combined).

CossartDevelopment_webfg2

It also means deals that involve raw materials should principally benefit the people of the country in which the raw material is first (NOTE I’m not using ‘politicians’ or a country’s leaders here. Contracts must benefit the people not a handful of politicians). As I like to put it, when was the last time an African mining company was given a 70% mining/ oil drilling stake in Europe or the Americas?

africas-natural-resource-wealth6. Empower young people by training them to acquire advanced entrepreneurial skills so that they become assets capable of adding real value to communities.

Providing Aid is not good enough, emphasis on ‘Trade not Aid’ (other than Fairtrade or better) is becoming cliché. Further, I think the advantages of possessing a first degree are overstated. In my experience they rarely equip students with entrepreneurial skills.

business-paper-clipWhat is required to begin denting inequality is to train young people to be ‘go-getters’. And that is a different ball game altogether over and above merely providing a quality education.

7. Finally invest in services (hospitals, transport, policing and security, infrastructure, the youth and women, etc) including investing in things like ecofriendly energy. Because if everybody paid their dues, such investment would create jobs. And they’d be enough funds for people to receive living wages.

Foundations of Economic Growth – lessons from pre-industrial Britain – part 1

Among the several books I’m reading is one titled “The Social and Economic History of Britain (1760 – 1965)” by Pauline Gregg, which I picked up at the local bookstore over a year ago. It seems it was initially published as “Modern Britain: A social and economic history since 1760” [amazon copy here ]

As pleasure in reading goes, the beginning is not that interesting. But as the story progresses, it get’s rather animated. And revealing. Having been published in 1965,it also doesn’t look that appealing in terms of aesthetics, unless a hardback is something that tickles your fancy. But as they say, do not judge a book by its cover.

Yet this book is more informative than first appears, and references to a critical period of the Industrial revolution, when Britain was rising to cement its place as a great world power, its empire as the largest in the history of mankind, its economy as one of the biggest and most resilient.
Thus like many others who have an appetite to properly understand how economies develop (or more accurately in my case – how it was triggered in Britain),I’m inclined to share some of its contents.

Firstly the book acknowledges that every nation develops differently. In some its slow – occurring over centuries, in others, its revolutionary, noticeable over a lifetime.

But before I dig into it further, there’s a summary that encapsulates the content which I’d like to begin with:

Eighteenth-century Britain was still far from being a country of capitalist enterprise. In only one of the three parts of the country in which the woollen industry was located had the capitalist form developed on a large scale. Cotton was in an intermediate stage. The iron and coal industries employed comparatively few people, and other capitalist enterprises were not typical. The agricultural interest was still dominant, and the handicraftsman was more important than the industrial or commercial capitalist.
It was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that the change towards large-scale industry quickened, becoming so rapid as to appear revolutionary. A number of interconnected causes produced this acceleration. There was a growth of population, creating an increased demand for goods. There was improved transport, making possible the carrying of finished commodities to markets and raw materials to centres of production. There were the great mechanical inventions, new materials, and improved chemical processes, which quickened and cheapened production. It is useless to try to assign priority to any of these factors; together they comprised the Industrial Revolution

Personal Devil’s Advocate

truth

A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. ~ Jim Bishop

The slap of a friend can be trusted to help you, but the kisses of an enemy are nothing but lies. – Proverbs 27: 6

I’ve got a  friend who in many respects is a complete opposite of me. He takes pleasure from calling himself my nemesis (somehow that makes him feel good??), he’s not religious, is culturally and physically different, has an attitude to life that is way too serious, has no identifiable hobbies – other than time in the gym. He doesn’t take holidays or relax, hates Tv, hates travelling, doesn’t drink alcohol, hates the sun,  in fact this guy is different from me in almost every imaginable way, other than the fact that I listen to a small selection of the same type of music he listens to, and that we view technology through similar lenses.

He’s much older than I am, almost twice as old, caucasian, and became an acquaintance a few years ago when fate caused our paths to cross. Long story cut short, we are now friends, which to an extent also means he does some  things I find somewhat annoying. Things that drive me nuts. Conversely, it appears my habits at times also get the better of him, and after heated fits of rage, and much shouting and swearing, everyone eventually calms down. Sometimes the results to these rage bouts include periods where he will not even answer my phone (or me his), and can last for up to weeks. But most times, I have a sense that he means well, even if at times it appears selfishly so. My ex girlfriend once said ‘if he were a woman, there would be an affair to worry about’ . That’s how close we have become.

I’m giving this example because he speaks his mind, and is not influenced by historical biases or myths. He is not given to lies or hypocrisy, and his input into my life has taught me a number of very important lessons.

A typical conversation with him either involves his antagonizing me or his poking holes in my thinking. As troublesome as it can sometimes be, a perpetual devil’s advocate can find many faults, most times way before they occur, saving one unnecessary mistakes. Indeed wisdom can come from the most unexpected of places.

He likes to bash at my faith (which is fine – some people can’t be kind to things they don’t understand). If not then he’s ever attempting to ‘educate’ me in one thing or another, which I know sounds paternalistic and condescending, and I can imagine could be offensive (or annoying) to others, but I often patiently play along.

Of everything he has said, he has repeatedly informed me that certain people in Britain are horrible;  the heists crafted in the name of tax planning –  behaviour which he says depresses him because he sees the bigger picture and how it worsens Britain’s economic situation in the long run. Yet he’ll often remind me – when I criticise public policy – that Britain has done more to help the world than to destroy the world. So he is patriotic. But he is convinced that at the end of it all, there will be no winners as people will destroy the world anyway, so our efforts at conservation and restraint although noble, are futile?? Which is an incredible thing to say, for someone who get’s extremely annoyed when he sees people litter…

oldman-wisdom

Among the crazy and incredible things he has said in the past are a few which stand out quite remarkably:

(1) ‘Most people are two-faced, and don’t trust what some people say because often they are saying it to influence you, to the benefit of them alone.’ What I think he means is there are too many oafs in Britain, so beware…

(2)  He says that his opinions are driven not by anything he wants from me or my family, but because he knows that nobody else  will give me the whole truth. I think what he means is that he thinks that no other white person I know will tell me what he tells me?? But obviously just because one white person speaks one way, doesn’t mean what he says is true. Although, it’s probably true that there are people who think in the ways he describes.

(3) He says the major ‘cultural differences’ between white and non-white people boils down to one group which  is bent, whether legally or illegally, to keep all other groups ‘subjugated’, and the other group which inherently and historically come from cultures that are more caring of their friends and accepting of their neighbours. Apparently, that is why you hear about all the immigration noises. He says its down to greed, jealousies, selfishness, and power, because when 5 to 6 million British people are in other countries, its ingenious to be complaining about immigration because what about if every country in quid pro quo manner decided that the British citizens in their countries must be expelled or  thrown out?. This friend says a worrying number of British people  are only happy to have its citizens live in other countries, and benefit from it, but not other country’s citizens living in Britain, which he says is as ‘selfish and predatory as it gets, and the definition of hypocrisy‘. He says I should leave Britain because of this fact alone, because as long as I live here, ‘the hostilities‘ will continue in one form or another, mostly covert. What he probably means is that there are some politicians given to popular sentiment and whose actions and populist policies have divided communities in introducing hate for the foreigner. He probably has a bit of truth in this?? But to generalise that all white people are hostile to foreigners is a bit unfair. Or maybe he is saying it because, like he says, some British people don’t want foreigners in  their country, so maybe he’s one of these kind of people??

(4) In addition, he correctly says that too many people in Britain are only interested in your money. It depresses him, the whole ‘money obsession’ and he has to take antidepressants for that. He says if he becomes rich, one of the first things he will do is build a homeless shelter, because those people have been are neglected. He has been homeless before, so he knows what that world looks like. I have written briefly about this money thing before on this blog, here, after a chance encounter with one Ghanaian.Its the same thing which Jagadish Chandra Bose meant when he wrote:

” This multi-millionaire has come to me like a beggar for making some more profits. Friend, you would have seen the greed and hankering after money in this country, – money, money – what a terrible all pervasive greed ! If I once get sucked into this terrible trap, there wont’ be any escape ! See, the research that I have been dedicated to doing, is above commercial profits. I am getting older – I am not getting enough time to do what I had set out to do — I refused him”

(5) My friend also hurts from the fact that the standard of education for young people in primary and secondary schools is lagging behind other less developed countries. He seems to think the teaching system is too soft, and young people are not being equipped with knowledge and skills, instead they are taught to pass exams, so they leave school ill prepared for higher education, or even for vocations, and after university, they don’t have many transferable skills, which puts off employers as employers have to spend too much time and resources in ‘plugging the holes

(6) He hates the waste, ‘spending competition’ that’s the words he uses. Apparently, a thrifty, recycling approach would do, and save western economies huge amounts of resources, from food to money. Similarly, he thinks Britain should grow more of its own food, in local urban farms  and local greenhouses and not ‘import things as far as from Argentina‘. Again, I agree with this to a large extent.

bbc-1

(7) He says if it wasn’t for his children and wife, he would leave the UK, go and live in a monastery among monks somewhere far because ‘the bullshit being peddled about is paralyzing‘ . He doesn’t watch British news as he says ‘it’s severely biased, it’s not even funny and even a blind person who can’t see will tell you that’ . I agree that families can make it difficult for one to determine their own life, but a monastery is probably too radical an approach.  But his language  in re blind people is clearly inappropriate.

(8) He thinks robots will take over the world, controlled by their masters – ‘the super rich‘. It sounds like an orweilian plot from a movie, but you can never know what the future will look like. On this point, I have some reason to agree with him. I too believe that machines will undertake more and more of the tasks human have done, or historically used to do. But to what extent will this happen?? And how safe in the long run will it be is yet to be seen.

(9) Finally, he says the world economy has been ‘swallowed by masters of deceit‘. That if you follow the chain of debt, you’ll soon get to the ‘mega banks’ who control events, create wars, and make trillions out of all the chaos they create, behind aliases, oil companies and other ‘pawns’. ‘To these people it’s not about money any longer’ he says ‘It’s about power, they don’t care whether you or me dies, they don’t even care whether the US president lives or dies, all they care about is the sustenance of this deceptive machinery that keeps them in control. They have enough money they don’t need any more, so it’s not about profit anymore, but control.’

As much as I hate to admit it, I like this guy, because in my view he’s real and honest, and doesn’t care whether what he says upsets me or not. And since I always do my own independent research before agreeing with any opinion, a lot of his views have a credible basis. There are hints of truth in some of these things, at least that’s what my research shows, although quite where fact becomes conspiracy theory is debatable.

In the past, this man has come to my rescue in many instances, when some Malawians have ‘shied away’ from helping me…and there are too many examples to list here. Whether he does so selfishly knowing that I will return the favour, I do not know. What I do know is there exists an interdependence between us. He has accepted me and my family and never judged me (at least I don’t feel judged). I have accepted him and his family and don’t judge him – even though sometimes I question his mannerisms. He does things for me and my family, I do things for him and his family. I try to understand his world, his friends, his way of life, and it seems he also tries to understand my world. He says he knows that what I do for him, nobody else can do for him. What he must mean is that nobody can do for him at that cost, so again, questions of motive behind his assistance could arise?? But since he does things for me aswell, without pay, I doubt that’s of much relevance.

And considering everything he has said in the past, maybe it’s not too bad an idea to have a pessimist who plays the devil’s advocate card time and again over you; someone who tries to show you (or pretends to show you) what the dark side of the world really looks like (assuming they quote facts). I believe that we live in a world where duplicity is more common than before and since not all people one meets are genuine (or what they claim to be) , maybe one needs a dose of error check about always.

Especially if one is a migrant living in a foreign country. A country where popular sentiment against foreigners is often negative (which is probably everywhere in the western world), and at times hostile. In which case, maybe you should get yourself a personal devil’s advocate, who says it as it is, unsanitized, and will put things into perspective – whether it hurts you or not.

Isn’t it better to have that from a ‘friend’ than be surrounded only by dreamy optimists who half the time choose to ignore the reality, and speak only what is sweet to the ear?

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