Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The African Self?

I chucked in "self" into and came up wit the following:

Person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality:
A person's nature, character, etc.: his better self.
Personal interest.

the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

So a person's "self" is basically an introspective view of his complete individuality? Considering that there is a thin semi-permeable membrane in existence between an individual and his environment-Can one really have a true appreciation of one's "self" if most things that they "should" identify with is falling apart-right around them? I don't profess to have the answers to these questions and must admit that this is a current trend which is beginning to mortify me. Clandestine questions with seemingly unapparent answers.

So what is my point? The word "Respect" has lost its meaning to most Africans. This is inexcusable considering that respect is a principle that gets talked at kids from the minute they can breathe! "Aunty, Uncle, Sister"- all expressions of respect for those who are older than us..Sometimes, we go beyond these verbal gestures and kneel or even prostrate in some cases. All interesting and sweet, but does this mean much?? Fortunately, I have come to my own conclusion: NO! When you show respect- you are declaring high esteem or a sense of worth or excellence of a person maybe because of a personal quality or ability that you admire. Respect for Africans has gone the route of religion and has become routine. The African has lost the meaning of respect for himself, and obviously for his brother.Why..I wonder.Most African cultures have proclaimed values that should mean that the African is a symbol of integrity, honour and accomplishment. We have stood the test of time and have been blessed with resources which some other continents can only dream of. Why has the African chosen to be the very thing that will undermine the progress of all that we really have: Our people. Why do we still lack a sense of real identity an dedication to the land that has been ours even before we were born?

So how can people claim to have respect for anything and anyone when greed and corruption has eaten through the fabric of everything sane and sacred? Life will always go on but things can be made better.In today's reality- money is the only thing we've given respect and though there are many arguably valid reasons for this-at the end of the day- we all fail, if after all the struggle..we've left our land worse than we met it. Until we can claim to have made an effort, lets stop the pretence and banish the word "respect" from our vocabulary. We do not preach respect..maybe fear, submission but definitely not respect. The soul of the continent is not dead yet but the grim disease that we see on the surface now is fast eroding the essence that those before us have strived for..What happens next? Another rhetoric yet written without practical solutions..

Maybe if we all "think" a little bit more.
Maybe if we all stopped pretending..just enough to see people for who they are
Who are we?
Who do we think we are?
Who will our kids think we are?

We all have to start with our "Self" because that's where the true trauma lies...

I'm much better at asking

Friday, February 23, 2007

Et Al..

For a second, I invite you into my bubble where all things are nice, pretty and pink..
Everyone's happy and we never have to hurt, cry or lie pale..
Life as you've known it will surely change.. the day that you decide to see through my eyes.
Nothing's impossible..God's on the throne
What if you wake up? I hear you ask
I urge you to trust me..This is for life..

In this same bubble of mine..
Love is soo perfect..Its awesome...just the way he intended..
I never get bored..You give and I take..You take and I give..
Contented...we never wear thin..This "us" that will now be in this world and the next
Of course there'll be struggles..all part of the game...
But "us" is for life, so lets have fun fighting to win

The thing is..we'll now be living a dream..
And this bubble now ours will drift as we please
Past oceans and borders, both physical and not.
We'll work and we'll rest just as we please
Our bubble's our world and we needn't care less..

Lights Out..

So the lights have dimmed and there's not much to see..
Camaraderie between two lost like it never really was.
Pride and its allies seem to be winning the day again.
Maybe this time but never again..

Nobody can tell the future..
We can only look back and smile
Hoping that at every step, we did our very best..
Somehow, I pray this works the same for you.

What goes on in anyone's heads? Who knows?
People guesstimate and often get it wrong.
For what its worth, the words are plain
Reading between the lines will surely be an exercise in futility

We always think we know more than we show
Only to realise that the game's been on us
Because we've been too caught up to see
But all that's part of the sphere, undoubtedly is..

Monday, February 05, 2007

Livin' on a Prayer..

Once upon a time
Not so long ago
Tommy used to work on the docks
Unions been on strike
Hes down on his luck...
its tough, so tough
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man,
she brings home her pay
For love - for love
She says weve got to hold on to what weve got
cause it doesnt make a difference
If we make it or not
Weve got each other and thats a lot
For love - well give it a shot

Chorus:Whooah, were half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and well make it - I swear
Livin on a prayer

Tommys got his six string in hock
Now hes holding in what he used
To make it talk - so tough, its tough
Gina dreams of running away
When she cries in the night
Tommy whispers baby its okay, someday
Weve got to hold on to what weve got
cause it doesnt make a differenceIf we make it or not
Weve got each other and thats a lot
For love - well give it a shot

Weve got to hold on ready or not
You live for the fight when its all that youve got

(Bon Jovi)

For some reason, I've been listening to this song a lot...She brings home her pay-for love..? How many ladies get married with the notion that at some point or the other, they will have to bring home their pay?? For Love..

As I harbor that dream of a life with untold pleasures nesting beside Prince Charming who's truly madly deeply in love with me...I'll have to remember that sometimes, we'll have to hold on, say a little prayer and thank God that we have each other and Love...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I want to be Free..

This is the stuff that dreams are made of..

Pray be free..Free from
Fear .
Fear .
Fear .

Go, my mind-explore..The world is your oyster..If you think it, you can have it..
Be Free...Don't fight it..Live Life, Fall down, get up..Live

Life is a gift..

In the I's

Love God, Live Life, Love Life
It's all in the eyes..
When I look deep into his subconscious
Through the windows that are his eyes
There, between the lines
I learn everything I need to know
People say the eyes don't lie
So I've watched him from the start
Trying desperately to uncover the secrets that he dare not tell
Unravelling slowly the mysteries that lie viscerally beneath the well manicured layers of his personality...
Often, we play games, his eyes and me
This man oblivious to the guise..
I ask if he loves me?
They blink that he does..
I ask if he'll always be true?
They reveal uncertainty
I smile and Mr. Man asks why
I brush him off swearing to guard the secret..
That its all in the eyes.

Such is Life(SIL)

Ok.forgive the slightly cheesy header but hunting down appropriate three letter acronyms are becoming more difficult these days. In the past fortnight, I watched quite a few un-happy ending movies and although I'm a sucker for the digestible predictable ending, I have to admit that some of these movies with real-life endings can provoke thoughts in you that one ponders long after the camera has rolled by. I have to admit that one easily gets lost in our own matrix and we forget to think about other realities that exist parallel to mine. It is real that children suffer in developing countries around the world while I junk a half eaten brownie for fear of the full effect of the calorific intake. I think in a way being Nigerian and going home annually somehow lulls you into a false of African-ism, so you think you know what's going on and therefore assume that you've have a grip on the full picture. Watching Blood Diamond, I really felt compelled to do something...How can people who look unmistakingly alike spend so much time causing grief to one another? How can children suffer and get drawn into hate such that their frail bodies are ill prepared for? Has God really left Africa?? What can I do?? I must admit that being African myself, the selfish one in me would be terrified to drop down on the front lines-what if I get I get caught up and perish for a simple case of mistaken identity? So, there must be something I can do..The naive one in me really feels like the world doesn't have to be so wrong. Why can't people just get along? Why do we fear those that are so different from us? Don't we all just want to live out the rest of our lives, knowing that we did the best that we can, leaving a legacy behind that our kids will be proud of?? Where have all the good men gone..Fear...Fear has crippled our world..I look around today and all I see is the product of fear..Sexism, racism, tribalism-all illnesses that have perpetrated as a result of the fear that has begun to eat human kind from inside out..I get very irritated and emotional when even amongst my friends, I hear the stereotypical and hate-filled voices that were our parents begin to have a grip on our hearts.Why do Yoruba people think Ibo people cannot be trusted? Why do Ibo people think that the Yoruba will sell them out when it comes down to it? Why do the Scottish hate the English? Why do Christians and Muslims hate each other even though they all claim to serve an all-loving God? So many questions. As we grow older, I know that one can easily get sucked into the fear that has eaten those that came before us and to survive, I will fight before I become a part of it. I thank God for my parents, because I haven't grown up hearing that the next man is beneath me just because they are different in one way or the other. If only we could see..if only...that we can only compensate for each other's weaknesses. Why do we have to carry on doing things exactly the way those before us have done it. I believe in heeding the counsel of the elderly but I also firmly believe that we have to take what we hear and rip out the notions that have become extinct..Rome was not built in a day...We need to stop spreading the fear filled hate. We need to show our parents that we can do better. Fear is the opposite of faith..When we fear something so much, it usually comes to pass..Change is good, healthy, people are different for a reason...How can I learn to embrace others and learn to reconcile the things that my instinct shies away from on account of how different they are to my norm. The past month or so has brought be very close to a few cultures quite different from in particular. For example, I had no idea how different a Hausa wedding was from a Yoruba/Ibo wedding...Thrilling and exciting.I can tell you that much..only bit I didn't like is the part where the bride is absent from the actual wedding! Also quite fascinating to understand why Europeans feel the need to go to the ski slopes when its winter. I realise that people are the good ones or bad ones.It's the choices we make day-to-day that determine which side of the fence we stand on, at any given point in time. We all have needs, we all have blood running through our veins..and we all have fears..But isn't growing up supposed to be about tackling these fears and preventing them from taking over the person that we can be. So many people have died because of fear-bred hate and many more will still die..All for what?? And its not only the Africans that inflict this suicide on themselves? What about the governments of the world that send troops to fight a war fuelled from fear? Isn't that just the same? Many people have died in the name of "The war on Terror" and what has been achieved? In my opinion-nothing! It's time we all woke up and got off the inertia that is fuelling our fears..I'm a Christian and I've met Muslims that have changed my life..literally..God is a God of Love..When we spread fear, anger and hate in his name-how can we blame how he feels...There are probably many thorough and intellectual reasons why these conflicts exist-some valid, other not..But as far as my own 24 year old mind is concerned-It all comes down to fear and I don't need a PhD to expand on this. This fear eats into friendships, then filters into marriages which they emanate as children..and as we are all a product if what was put into us? Who can we blame? We need to begin to challenge our upbringing and all the sacred truths that we've always taken as given...How else will we achieve change? We need to confront and test the fears that have held us captive? Where are all the great men? Alexander the great might be misplaced in this time and age, but we still need role models who have conquered the canopies of Sexism, racism, and all the isms that people use an excuse to spread fear. The crimes and atrocities that have been committed in the name of fear are very real and are probably a valid catalyst for more hate. But people need to stop and say no..How can we desire peace when we all choose to do nothing..Surely, that's the definition of madness..I think it's time we begin to take ourselves a little less seriously and the people around us more seriously..embrace life and step out from our parents' shadows..Life is a gift that is surely wasted walking in anybody else's shadow..
A little change everyday will surely culminate to make a difference..Some of us will have kids in the recent years to come..Please spare them and let this degeneration stop in our generation..Maybe this is just another spiel..but who knows..Its a dream I pray I can make come through for my children...Amen..

Disclaimer: I have to admit that some of the issues discussed above I struggle with daily, so do not take this as a subscription to perfection. if I pen down my aspirations, and revisit now and again..I'm sure I'll change in time..prejudices and stereotyping have no place in the great...according to me anyway..