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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mama by Kalash

Dancehall reggae beats for this Mother day!
Kalash  is from Martinik.

The Negro Mother by Langston Hughes(1902 - 1967)

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face -- dark as the night --
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave --
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety , no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth .
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me --
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast -- the Negro mother.
I had only hope then , but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow --
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life --
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs --
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother.

Thanks mom.

Painting of Jean Ryan Hakizimana for asylum-seekers

Jean Ryan Hakizimana is the author of  "Postcolonial Identities: Constructing the 'New Irish'".He was born in Rwanda from Burundian Parents, a Hutu Father and a Tutsi Mother. He survived the early 70's Burundi civil war. His Family was assisted in their escape by an Irish priest, Fr. Ryan. His  parents gave him the middle name 'Ryan' in honour of this priest's generosity. In the early 90's his family returned to live in Burundi, butthey were force to flee again. His mother, father and sisters were killed . He was emprisonned and tortured. He managed to escape. He lived in precarity in the long marathon of refugees and asylum-seekers. Upon arrival in Irland, Limerick "he had no family, no English, and no certainty about his future.Today Jean Ryan uses his paintings to tell the story of his troubled past and the difficulties experienced by asylum-seekers all over the world."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cartoon: Once upon a time Life by Procidis

For Children
Once upon a time series have the best educational cartoons.
Procidis is a French animation studio, founded by Albert Barillé. Procidis realized series that became cults in the 80’s. I grew up with them and now our son is enjoying them. Thanks to his super Grandma Chantal! We have the complete collection of Once upon a time Life in French.It is  funny, educational and well done. I am sure that my love for biology came from those lazy afternoons watching this cartoon.Procidis did a great job by creating an European audiovisual landscape and the programs are sold in more than 100 countries.This French independent producer has a wonderful international dimension.In my opinion the program about Life and Planet Earth are the best. I am a fan for twenty two years!!

My only request is that Procidis should consider launching “Once upon a Time: Africa”. I think it is time and we need it. As a fan, I will be delighted to help. Just in case it does not happen, I will be recruiting talented artists to create, produce and launch “our Once Upon a time: Africa!!” Sorry Procidis, it is not personal. I just think that it is time.

Here is a great quote from Procidis founder Albert Barillé “Make our children want to know, arouse their curiosity. Also treat them as people in their own right, who understand much more than adults would have us believe. They will be all the stronger for it and be grateful to you.” Yes!! I am very grateful!! Lets enjoy the cartoons until the launching of samemoonlight programs "Once Upon a Time:Africa"  :)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Moonlight serenade: Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1832-1892)

Just Beautiful!!!
From warriors and legends on Richard Kruml's  website.
"The Heian courtier Fujiwara no Yasumasa playing the flute by moonlight. Based on a painting Yoshitoshi exhibited at the Exhibition for the Advancement of Painting in the autumn of 1882. The story relates that while Fujiwara no Yasumasa was playing on Ichihara Moor he was approached by the bandit Kidomaru who intended to kill him. Instead he was overcome by the beauty of the music and gave up his plan. Yoshitoshi's painting was so well received, the subject was incorporated into a play with Ichikawa Danjuro IX playing Fujiwara no Yasumasa several months after the publication of the print.
Published 1883 by Akiyama Buemon. Considered by cogniscenti to be Yoshitoshi's finest design.Superb impression of the utmost finesse. This appears to be the only illustrated example with the background clouds wiped from left to right. The "proof" impression in The Philadelphia Museum of Art is annotated "Please print the background colour this way" [ clouds wiped right to left ]. Fine colour. Minimal shaving bottom centre sheet and a slight discoloration on last sheet, otherwise fine condition with extra paper for joining. Signed Oju Taiso Yoshitoshi sha."

Book of the week: The Autobiography Of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and collaboration of Alex Haley.

Here few quotes from the introduction by M.S.Handler that set the atmosphere of the book:“Malcom’s attitude was that of a man who had reached a crossroads in his life and was making a choice under an inner compulsion. A wistful smile illuminated his countenance from time to time_ a smile that said many things…I sensed that Malcom was not confident he would succeed in escaping from the shadowy world which had held him in thrall.” “It was always a strange and moving experience to walk with Malcom in Harlem. It always seemed to me that their affection for Malcom was inspired by the fact that although he had become a national figure, he was still a man of the people who, they felt, would never betray them."
So far my favorite part is that Malcom had a garden when he was a child. His mother gave him a little plot. He narrated how grateful and proud he was. “I loved it and took care of it well…And sometimes… I would lie down on my back ...and I would gaze up in the blue sky at the clouds moving and think all kinds of things.”I love this part because I had a little plot when I was a child. My mother did let me grow carrots and lettuces. I was ecstatic each time we ate my vegetables. It was priceless. My dirt was my most precious possession. Life, death, and time made more sense with a garden. I had to keep bugs away to protect my plants and they had to feed their colonies. Even the rabbits were not  cute anymore when they ate all my carrots.It was silent but colorful lessons about life through gardening. I did learn that you can dream and enjoy everything. But at the end  if you do not work you do not eat.
To conclude I will use Plato’s quote.“Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, You cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.”

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Royal Drummers of Burundi for peaceful elections.

The royal drummers of Burundi form a percussion ensemble. The drums are sacred and represent the king, fertility and regeneration. The techniques and traditions are passed from father to son for centuries. With Burundi's forthcoming presidential election may peace win because the “Si vis pacem, para bellum -If you wish for peace, prepare for war” is not working! In the meantime may the drums plea for a peaceful renaissance.. And may peace be pass from parents to children for centuries.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A green refugee camp in Ethiopia.

It is an interesting documentary of environmental measures to protect local environment in refugee camps. They are using dead trees and planting new trees. It is all about change and hope for a better. Solutions are available specially when being green is a gift not just a investment. Solidarity is the key.Yes we can!!

Morality, Virtue and Us.

Albert Einstein states that "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our action. Our inner balances and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life."In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s practical philosophy is based on moral action, which is opposed to the intellectualism of Plato. For Plato virtue appears to be a high level of knowledge. While Aristotle has a practical and social approach for whom virtue is a mean between two vices, deficiency and excess. Plato ethics defines the essence of virtue while Aristotle ethics shows how to become virtuous. Aristotle offers a real concept applicable in society because individual are rational and social animals. Through the analysis of pleasure as virtue in Aristotle’s ethics and his divergence from Plato, I will demonstrate that his ethics is not relative to an individual and his subjective experience of pleasure.

In his first book Aristotle justifies that for most people; pleasure is the best measure of whether we achieve the end of our action. He says that most men seem to “identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure” (BookI,).And the good is the final goal to “which all things aim” (BookI,).For him the proper end of human beings is the pursuit of good and happiness. In his first book, he defines “happiness as something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action”. Which concurs whit his argument stating that the end for all that we do, will be the good achievable by action.(BookI) What  he indicates as the proper end of human being is the “activity of soul in accordance with virtue”.(BookI). This activity of the soul is linked to pleasure because he claims that pleasure is a state of soul. Adding that pleasure and pain are measures acquired by all in childhood. “And we measure even our actions, some of us more and others less, by the rule of pleasure and pain” (Book II). By analogical examples, such as “a good shoemaker makes the best shoes” he explains that pleasure must be the result of the achieved appropriate action.

            Then, Aristotle clarifies his argument, with the example of the doctor: who does not study health on itself but the health of man, in order to prove that moral action is directed at proper ends.   And it should be in accordance with appropriate excellence. (Book I). And his term of “appropriate excellence” also refers to the mean between two extremes.  An important justification was made in (Book II) about virtue. He says that “virtue is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean…relative to us, this being determined by a rational principle and by that principle by which man of practical wisdom would determine”.(BookII) The principle of moral action is also based on the deliberated choice. A deliberated choice required critical thinking, morale disposition, and good habit. According to Aristotle, virtue is a disposition to act voluntary. And the chosen action must be guided by the “right rule”. (Book III). This statement shows that pleasure is not sufficient to indicate a virtuous action. By “pleasure appropriate to an action completes it”, he means that a completed voluntary action guided by the “right rule” will creates pleasure (happiness). Aristotle makes clear that we do not deliberate about ends but about means. (Book III) So by acting in accordance to the “right rule”, one will choose the best mean. Aristotle clarifies that the virtuous act can only be done in a unique way, which must conform to the “right rule”, which I believe is related to the intermediate temperance. “men are good in one way, but bad in many.” (Book II) Therefore the pleasure will result from the activity of the soul in accordance to the appropriate excellence.

A crucial distinction is made by his argument that “ we should not consider a wise man as model but a temperate man”, who is virtuous because he repetitively acts virtuously. He claims that actions are just and temperate when they are such as the just or the temperate man would do”.(Book II).  This distinction supports the fact that the pleasure is not subjective to each individual. But rather conforms to acting virtuously as the temperate man would. Because only the temperate man chose the appropriate actions therefore act virtuously. Happiness does not come from simple satisfaction of life but from the accumulation of experiences in a lifetime.  Aristotle claims the happy man will be happy all his life regardless of “Turns of fortune’s wheel”. He states “he will be happy throughout his life; for always, or by preference to everything else, he will be engaged in virtuous action and contemplation,..” Pleasure (happiness) is not subjective because it set in the time. Virtuous actions must be done in accordance to the right rule followed by the “truly good” and “foursquare beyond reproach”.(Book I).  Even if virtue is relative to us, it is a rationally determined by the right rule in accordance to the mean. So virtue is not subjective even if relative to us because it rationally determined by the “temperate man”. He his the measure that we ought all to follow, is not “ a chameleon or insecurely based”(BookI)

In conclusion, Aristotle provides a very detailed and concrete study of pleasure as measure of virtuosity. Aristotle focuses on moral action rather than moral theory, by taking in consideration the social context. It is where he diverges from Plato. In Crito, Plato says that individuals should be lead by the educated elite, because the opinion of a group is not valuable. The elite would be highly educated and would know what is “just and unjust”.  Plato promotes a moral obligation to obey to the laws of the state. Whereas Aristotle believes that the right rule is the mean of human passions and desires, and the proper of human being is to be happy in accordance to the virtue. For him, we are masters of our actions from beginning to the ends (Book III). And he adds that “the good man differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things, being as it were the measure of them”(BookIII)  Plato believes that there is not finality in virtue because it comes from continual self inquiry. While Aristotle presents happiness “as something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action”.  He makes clear that pleasure is not subjective to individual experience but it is determined by a rational principle, which is relative to us. “Us” stands form all rational members of society. His justifications show that his practical philosophy is not a relative because happiness requires a lifetime commitment to act in accordance to the norm. The consistency appeals to the moral duty of all members of the moral community to act as “the temperate man”.

By Aline Diop-Nkunzumwami

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Religious music corner: Matisyahu

Born Matthew Paul Miller, Mastisyahu is American Hasidic Jewish reggae.He is known for his song a “King Without A Crown”. I like his fusion of rap, dancehall reggae, beatboxing and songful prayer.  According to Chasidism, music is “the quill of the soul.” With the perfect beat and meaningful lyrics, music is my religion regardless of religions. I did find a video of Matisyahu performing with a Muslim beatboxer Kenny Muhammad!! Really great!!I dedicate it to my favorite DJ Kunzu!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A weakness for jackets and blazers

Jackets and blazers are perfect accessories. Besides I am always chilly. Here is a selection of my forty minutes window shopping!
Short-sleeve blazer in woven - $14.99 at NewPort News
3-button jacket with balloon sleeves -$17.99 atNewPort News
Oakley Commander In Chief Jacket - $ 49.49 at Dogfunk
Yes over $20 but it is a cool military-inspired jacket...
Well it is Friday! Have a great Day!

Book of the week: Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis

In this book, Angela Davis offered a perspective on feminism as the intersection of race, gender, and class. With my Afropolitanism; race, gender, and class are definitively in the mix. I am also looking for a book on African feminism. Growing up my mother used to remind me that western feminism was not mine. Her fear was that her only daughter will remain a tomboy for the rest of her life. I did respect and enjoy everything my mother did teach me. I did learn how to cook, serve, host and be a respectful African lady. In the meantime, I played sports from rugby to basket ball, never wore girly clothes, and skateboarded my way out of adolescence. As a foreigner trying to find my way, it was difficult to accept my womanhood with race, and class issues.  Angela Davis message is about unity. She underlines the necessity for women, regardless of race, to work together. Once again thank you all ladies for being such great friends, sisters, mothers, and women. And thank you dear mother for your patience.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When you need a break....

Because we all need a break!
For this picture, I said  sorry, may I, please and thank you(twice)!
He smiled and voila!
Enjoy and take a break!

Monday, May 17, 2010

African Great Lakes Province: where blood is not red anymore but green.

The wealth of the African Great Lakes Province is known for centuries. And the blooded conflicts are also well known. Even if the Great Lakes Province appears to be this renewed “Wild West”, we need to think about future generations. When pollution, erosion, and ecological human made disasters will destroy that wealth, saying we did our best will not suffice. The ideal would be to create programs, collaborations, or “cooperation” to reduce pollution. And maybe promote a local sustainable development. “National resources” should benefit locals and improve quality of life. Right now corporations accelerate environmental damages on top of conflicts. And when some electronics gadgets will become obsolete, many will complain of certain migrations to greener pastures. Any migration to greener pasture is the result of corruption, discrimination and survival. Blood is blood no matter how green it looks.

Great article: Conflict Minerals: the New Blood Diamonds by Teri Schure on May 16, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cesaria Evora - Petit Pays

Cesaria Evora - Petit Pays
Cesaria Evora, is a Cape Verdean singer.
Her blues always preaches hope, resilience, and faith.
And like Willie Dixon said "Blues Is the Roots, Everything Else Is The Fruits"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Je m'ecris from Kerry James

 Kerry James is a French Rapper. He is a voice of French ghettos. He said what we all wanted to scream.  My father did forbid us to curse or complain when we were frustrated.  However he encouraged us to write in order to control our emotions. I started writing poems at eight. And my mother saved  all of them!  This song is for my parents and my brothers. Thank you, Papa and Maman!

 Here the lyrics 
 Si je ne pouvais écrire je serais muet
Condamnés a la violence dans la dictature du secret
Submergé par tout ses sentiments sans mots
Je m'effacerais comme une mer sans eau
Ma vie ne serait pas la même
Aussi vrai que j'aurais pût prendre la tienne
Mon talent s'est corrompu dans l'illicite
Ou les instants de bohneur sont des éclipses
Lorsqu'ils ne sont pas des élipses
Alors j'ai écris dans l'urgence
Comme si ma vie en dépendait sous les sirènes des ambulances
J'ai écrit par instinct, par survie
Je me suis surpris a écrire afin de supporter la vie
Yeah, trop de moi dans mes écrits
Peut être que je n'écris plus, je m'écris
J'abandonne mon être a mes lettres
Car l'écriture sans âme n'est que l'être
Je n'écrit pas que pour m'oublier
Parfois j'écris pour qu'ils ne puissent jamais oublier
Pour qu'ils ne puissent jamais nier le martyre des braves
Soudain j'écris des volcans que je grave à l'encre de lave
Je ne fait que de la musique pour vibrer, faire vibrer les cœurs criblés
Je n'écris que pour dire vrai
Si je n'avais eu les mots, que serais-je?
Sur le banc des mélancoliques, ma poésie siège

Entre le marteau et l'enclume
J'ai dus éguiser ma plume
Quand je suis perdu dans la brume
Je fais chanter mon amertume
Alors j'écris, je crie, j'écris
J'ai pas le choix j'écris, je crie, j'écris

Comme une dédicace au slam, ca commence a capela
Toutes ces voix qui décrassent l'âme, toutes ces voix qui m'ont amené la
Si tout à coup mes mots s'envolent, c'est parce que le beat attérit
Moi j'ai pris ma plus belle plume pour pouvoir répondre a Kery
Et quand le piano redémarre, c'est pour souligner nos érances
Si j'écris c'est pour mettre face a face mes regrets et mes espérances
Seul sur scène, face a la salle ne crois jamais que je me sens supérieur
Si tu ne vois jamais mes larmes, c'est parce qu'elles coulent a l'intérieur
Y a très peu de certitude dans mes écrits
Mais si je gratte autant de texte, c'est que mon envie n'a pas maigrit
Envie de croire qu'a notre époque, les gens peuvent encore s'écouter
Là ou j'habite y a trop de gamins que la vie a déjà dégouté
J'écris, parce que les épreuves m'ont inspiré
J'écris comme tout ces mômes que le bitume a fait transpiré
Si y a tant de jeune dans nos banlieues qui décident de remplir toutes ces pages
C'est peut être que la vie ici mérite bien quelques témoignages
j'écris, parce qu'il suffit d'une feuille et d'un stylo
Comme les derniers des cancres peut s'exprimer pas besoin de diplôme de philo
J'écris surtout pour transmettre et parce que je crois encore au partage
A l'échange des émotions, un sourire sur un visage
On changera pas le monde on est juste des chroniqueurs
D'un quotidien en noir et blanc qu'on essaye de mettre en couleurs
Mais si on ne change pas le monde, le monde ne nous changera pas non plus
On a du cœurs dans nos stylos et la sincérité comme vertue

Entre le marteau et l'enclume
J'ai dut éguiser ma plume
Quand je suis perdu dans la brume
Je fais chanté mon amertume
Alors j'écris, je cris, j'écris
J'ai pas le choix j'écris, je cris, j'écris
Entre le marteau et l'enclume
J'ai dut éguiser ma plume
Quand je suis perdu dans la brume
Je fais chanté mon amertume
Alors j'écris, je cris, j'écris
J'ai pas le choix j'écris, je décris, ce que je décris

Friday, May 14, 2010

Unspoken sacrifices in proficiency and fluency battles

Language fluency is defined as a high level of language proficiency. Proficiency and fluency are related but composed of distinct skills, such as reading, writing, comprehension, and speaking. Well, we are in the middle of reading for a first grader.  I remember my mother teaching me how to read. It was difficult and frustrating at time. And it is frustrating for our son. Everybody praises the benefit of bilingualism but few talks about the suffering before the blooming.  It is not easy when reading fluency becomes the Holy Grail. It requires a lot of patience, and encouragement. Personally I do not like the timer. Instead of telling children that reading is like a beautiful cross running trail. We condition them to sprint to the finish line. They will eventually enjoy the scenery but they have to sprint first. I know that fluency does not meaning proficiency. How fluid is fluid enough, fluent or proficient enough?

This reading journey awaked a lot of my memories. So I called my mother. I was wondering how difficult it was for her to teach us French. To my surprise, she confessed restraining herself to speak Kirundi at home. She knew that we were overwhelmed and frustrated. And it sadly helped us. Speaking less Kirundi was a difficult choice for her. After the first three years in France my mother reinforced Kirundi at home. Our parents exposed us to our community and many cultural events. However the lack of fluency made communication exhausting intellectually and emotionally. I know that my mother did it for us. Back then I did not understand why she would talk to any random compatriot but us. Kirundi became a background melody that I had to tune out in order to reach proficiency and reading fluency in French. And when I was trying to tune in, I was lost, confused, and frustrated again. It was a constant battle that affected my self esteem, and my identity. I realized the unspoken sacrifices made by our parents to ensure our success. It is like letting go a piece of your soul. That’s why I am holding on to teaching him French. I want him to know me. So he will never have to tune out.  English reading proficiency will take time  because he was rocked to sleep with Kirundi, Wolof and French lullabies.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bande dessinées and Comics for field trips.

Bande dessinées, or BDs are comics. I grew up with Franco-Belgian comics, and Manga.Now as a parent I am thrilled to share my comics with our son. So far he did learn about the Smurfs, Boule and Bill, Asterix and Tintin. And few decades later, they are still great. For us it is a French-English tool. He said that everything is different from the jokes, the tricks, the happy and the sad. Once he said that “it is like going to a field trip”. And he is right. When I first went to Europe, I was his age. Belgium was a long field trip full of chocolates, delicious waffles, perfect fries with mayonnaise and my first snow. Everything was different and I had a tough time adjusting from my tropical island. When I was introduced to BDs, it slowly made sense. I could finally comprehend my new environment.
My seven and his seven are different but so similar!
He introduced me to the best American animated television series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. I can wait for the movie! My favorite episode is "The Crossroads of Destiny"
Until then, I did find “Tintin in Iraq”! I had to share!

Yes,we did find a full episode!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Entre Nos by Paola Mendoza

Entre Nos is written and directed by Paola Mendoza and Gloria La Morte, and starring Paola Mendoza. “Entre Nos” is the inspirational story of an immigrant mother and her children as they struggle to build a life.
In my opinion the title says everything. He says something that you feel deeply when you have two worlds, cultures and languages. “Entre nous” was what my mother told us. And Between us is what I say to my child. Same moonlight for our dreams is about keeping in mind that no matter what our “Entre nous”, “Between us”, and “Entre nos” are different but the same.  It is about family, hope, faith and dreams.
I cannot wait to have the DVD!
Happy Friday!

Entre Nos - Trailer from IndiePix on Vimeo.
Mariana leaves her impoverished hometown in Bogotá, Colombia with her two young children, Gabriel and Andrea, and heads to the USA to be reunited with her husband.
Soon after her arrival her husband abandons the family. With all her options closing in on her Mariana turns to the city's trash in order to put food on the table. With Gabriel and Andrea working beside her collecting cans, the family finds the most stability they have known since their arrival. And it is during these heartbreaking moments that the family triumphs.
In Entre Nos, Mariana, Gabriel and Andrea take us on an inspirational passage from innocence to maturity. Ultimately, we bear witness to a family's story of love that is not everlasting, and their personal courage that is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Bible and Sunday shoes: Another angle on homelessness

This picture was taken in the midst of garbage. In a back alley, the Bible and the Sunday shoes were put aside. The neatness was in contrast with the chaos. Someone did toss them away. And someone else did find them and save them because only “he or she” could see their real value for someone else. I felt a mix of graciousness, awareness, kindness, gentleness, tenderness and selflessness. That is why I stopped and took this picture. I wanted to pick up the Holy Book but it was not mine to take. It was there for reason. My reason was selfish. I was curious to find a note or anything. A lady did look at me like I lost my mind. Yes, sometimes when I find something outside that I can use and like, I take it. I guess “she” never did.  So Graciousness is another angle of homelessness. I hope that someone took the Bible and the Sunday shoes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Painting Activist: Ashley Cecil

I just stumbled on this painting: "Climate change on canvas".
And I love it! The artist is a "painting activist "Ashley Cecil.Her work was exposed at the UN in the Oxfam's climate campaign in 2008."Oxfam International is a confederation of 14 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change.They work directly with communities and they seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them."
 The 14 "like-minded organizations" include:

My Quote of the day:

Heraclitus "The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Philosophy break:Martha Nussbaum, Cosmopolitanism and Global Justice

CASEP conference: 
Martha Nussbaum, 
Cosmopolitanism and Global Justice,
University of Nottingham, 6-7 May 2010

According to Wikipedia, Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all kinds of human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. It is what globalization implies regardless of our nationalism, patriotism and ownerships. It requires a relationship of mutual respect regardless of differences. It is an ideal that has to go beyond practicability and be real. Even if  cosmopolitanism is a discussion for elite that do take place in economical boudoirs. We have the right to claim global citizenship. And of course discuss a cosmopolitan democracy.
Martha Nussbaum will discuss  global Justice and Cosmopolitanism.
I would love to attend that conference! If anyone passing by this page is going, please drop a comment about it! I would love to know what she thinks about the UN and the EU!
Have a great day!

From:"Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. From 1986 to 1993, she was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University.  She is a prolific thinker and writer, with a wide range of interests. Amongst contemporary political philosophers, and against the predominance of constructivism and relativism, she stands out as a figure who defends an essentialist and universalist approach to moral and political issues. Her many publications include Aristotle's De Motu Animalium (1978) and The Fragility of Goodness (1986, 2nd edn. 2000).


Some pursue happiness - others create it.

 I love it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Afrocentrism, Panafricanism, Afropolitanism, Blackness and Identity

Identity is often shaped by culture, language, socio-economic, ethnicity, religion, and race. We pretend that it does not matter but it does. Obama’s election is a beginning of a new era. As much as everybody avoided focusing on the issue of race. It was all about it.  Obama got a big job. We got a big change. As child,I did struggle with my identity. It was like having different hats for every mundane occasion. Hutu, Tutsi, Comorian, Burundian, Rwandan, Belgian, French, African, Refugees, Resident, and Not Citizen were temporary labels. I did not know for sure who I wanted to be. However our parents were implementing the notion of “citizen of the world”. Most of the time, I was just black and refugee but our parents kept reminding us that our black is not their black. The bottom line I had two worlds: our and their. The worst was that in our, I was not black enough because I had too many accents when I did talk my native language. And I had a blended culture nothing authentic. Most of the time, I was labeled as an islander which was true too! Besides some Africans were  “afro” frenzy that I was happy being an “Islander”.

Identity crisis is present in all generations of migrant regardless race and ethnicity. There is gap that parents and children have to jump over to connect. And if you add adolescence, it is a recipe for complex silent dialogues full of fears and sadness. For our parents, Afrocentrism was a therapy to boost our pride. And Panafricanism was the fire that kept them going beyond the struggles of expatriates by relying on solidarity and hope. Afropolitanism is our mixing of European and African heritages.

 In Malcom X, Spike Lee illustrated Afrocentrism, Panafricanism , Blackness and the struggle for identity to world. When Nelson Mandela did talk at the end, I had chills. I knew that it was a movie where fictions and facts were intertwined. However seeing children saying “I am Malcom X” was deep. I felt the strength to be my own activist to say “I am me”.  Spike Lee did put words on the struggle of blackness. The movie engaged dialogues between generations. Thank You Mr. Spike Lee!

In 2005, riots occurred in the French Ghettos. I was sad but I felt that the hypocrisy was unveiled. Do not give me wrong France is my home. It is a part of my identity. I was in elementary school for the bicentenary of the French Revolution. In my mind, I was French but at sixteen, I was reminded of my foreigner status with a French residency. I happily took my citizenship at eighteen. As ex-refugee I knew the value of a European passport. The current French identity crisis is the refusal to address the issue of race. A secular system that preaches “liberty, equality, fraternity” cannot openly accept racism and xenophobia. That is why it relies on elitism, classism and separatism of immigrants and their descendants. I am hoping for a French civil rights movement and  for reforms.

I am a mix of the cultures and languages. They all shaped my identity in many ways I cannot define but they did. Kirundi is a valley where I belong, French is a plain where I grew up, English is woodland where I am growing. I am an Afropolitan and a Negress. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a woman and a mother. Beyond my skin and words, I am here.


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