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Monday, August 30, 2010

Koi and the Kola Nuts : A Tale from Liberia by Verna Aardema

We did love this book! The story is everything my mother did teach us about being kind to everyone because life is mysterious. Besides the illustrations from Joe Cepeda are amazing!! It is a great read, funny and cute. A perfect book to read aloud. And it is even better if you play the african accents!!! Definitively A+ from us.

"Koi returned late from his hunting trip and learned that his father, Chief Ogumefu had died. What's more, the village Wise Man had divided the royal possessions among Koi's brothers. All that was left for Koi was a kola tree. Koi picked the nuts and set out to explore the world. Along the way he met a snake, some ants and a crocodile all of whom ask for his help which he gladly gave. Koi then met Chief Fulikolli who told Koi he could marry his daughter and gain half his chiefdom if he could succeed in three challenges. While at first they seemed impossible, those he helped along the way help him in return. Aardema has enhanced this Liberian tale she first published in Tales from the Story Hat (1960) with ideophones (words that mimic the actual sounds)."

O Último Pôr-do-Sol by Lenine

Enjoy this song from Lenine a Brazilian Singer... 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Artsy Peeks of the week

Eleanor Rubin in "Dreams of Repair"

Peter Gikandi at his amazing blog!

Howard Zinn: A people's history of American empire: a graphic adaptation

This Book is from Howard Zinn. He is a a professor activist. In Wikipedia, it is mentioned that he wanted to be remembered "for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality," and "for getting more people to realize that the power which rests so far in the hands of people with wealth and guns, that the power ultimately rests in people themselves and that they can use it. At certain points in history, they have used it. Black people in the South used it. People in the women's movement used it. People in the anti-war movement used it. People in other countries who have overthrown tyrannies have used it."

"Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics form Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies, become required classroom reading throughout the country, and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People’s History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up. Now Howard Zinn, historian Paul Buhle, and cartoonist Mike Konopacki have collaborated to retell, in vibrant comics form, a most immediate and relevant chapter of A People’s History: the centuries-long story of America’s actions in the world. Narrated by Zinn, this version opens with the events of 9/11 and then jumps back to explore the cycles of U.S. expansionism from Wounded Knee to Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, Central America, Vietnam, and the Iranian revolution. The book also follows the story of Zinn, the son of poor Jewish immigrants, from his childhood in the Brooklyn slums to his role as one of America’s leading historians. Shifting from world-shattering events to one family’s small revolutions, A People’s History of American Empire presents the classic ground-level history of America in a dazzling new form."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Between ‘the rock’ and a hard place by Caroline Muscat

Immigration issues and problems in Malta! Powerful and interesting  article.
Here the full version from the Malta independent Online

When Suleiman committed suicide in the dormitory he shared with other migrants at the Marsa Open Centre,it was a wake-up call to those who witnessed it. Now, two young men dare to hope in a life that has no meaning. Alidu Osman and Abshir Abdala are among the exiles of the modern age. They live between a lost past and a changing present. In their journey between different worlds, they are at home in none. Their greatest fear is despair; the same kind of despair that consumed Suleiman. Coming from entirely different backgrounds and completely diverse social contexts, they have nothing in common except one goal – a future.

Their predicament is difficult to understand. It is almost impossible to imagine a life where the only certain thing is the here and now. In such a life, hope and ambition are futile. Relationships are a luxury. Even self-respect is difficult to preserve.
“I do not know who I am,” says 22-year-old Alidu, looking down at the floor. He left Ghana five years ago, too young to know what the journey held in store for him. Instead of escaping to a future, he is now stuck in a present that never ends.

His friend Abshir even regrets leaving war-torn Somalia: “I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. I have no future here”. “The discrimination around me makes me a prisoner of myself. I have built my own boundaries to avoid embarrassment,” says the 31-year old husband and father of two children he has not seen in over a year. In Malta, the two men have become friends. Together they now form part of a movement for change. They have hope in the Migrants’ Network for Equality they launched earlier this month with the support of 12 local non-governmental organisations and 26 university academics.

They want to be an active part of Maltese society, contributing positively to the debate on migration. Their first action was to write a letter to Justice Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici. It was signed by representatives of communities in Malta coming from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

In their letter, the message is simple: “While we are fully aware that life for us can never be easy, as most of us left our families and belongings back home and are now in the difficult process of starting a new life in a foreign country, we are conscious of the fact that certain factors related to policy are making our life harder and resulting in much suffering among many of us.”

They ask Dr Mifsud Bonnici to review policies on documentation, movement within the European Union, asylum procedures, discrimination, accommodation and employment.
“Maybe the Justice Minister doesn’t know the real conditions we live in. If they are brought to his attention, he can do something about it,” says Alidu, betraying an innocence even injustice could not dent. The letter was sent almost three weeks ago. “We have not received a reply yet. Perhaps they are busy,” he adds. They have not even received an acknowledgment.
In the meantime, their message extends beyond the silent walls of the Justice Ministry. Their concerns reflect a wider problem related to rising xenophobia and racism in this place that is lovingly, or not so lovingly, referred to as ‘The Rock’.

A lesson in humanity
All he has is nostalgia for a past, fixed time, when his identity was rooted in a community. It is a past to which he can never return. Both his parents are dead, and Alidu says he is wanted.

A convenient truth
In its report last year, ECRI confirmed that “people under humanitarian protection and refugees faced racial discrimination in accessing various services and exploitation in the labour market”. The Commission also noted that the detention policies put in place by the authorities to respond to the challenges of irregular immigration were “seriously reinforcing perceptions of immigrants as criminals and increasing the levels of racism and xenophobia among the general population.”

Abshir’s situation is one example. In Somalia, he was a full time biology teacher. He lived his life setting a good example to his students. When he was forced to leave, he sent his wife and children to Kenya for safety, while he attempted to use his skills and education in Europe so his family could at some point gain freedom.
When he arrived in Malta, he was confined to the detention centre where he became ill and had to be taken to hospital. He was handcuffed for the journey and constantly accompanied by an officer.
“When they put the handcuffs on me, I was shocked. Handcuffs are put on criminals. Suddenly, I am the one wearing them. When we entered the hospital waiting room and I saw everyone looking at me, I understood what they were seeing. I turned to my officer and told him to take me away. I could not bear it,” he says.

If the problems related to such double standards escape the attention of those same authorities entrusted with handling migrants’ concerns, how is it possible to expect a society that is free from prejudice? It is an infectious attitude that culminates in the often-repeated phrase targeting migrants: “If you don’t like it, go back to your country”.

Moving on
Abshir is grateful that his time in detention was a relatively short one. Due to his particularly vulnerable situation, he was let out after four months. Those who arrived with him on the same boat, in February of last year, are still there.
“The detention centres do not stop people from making the journey from Libya. All detention does is promote suffering,” he says, shaking his head. He cannot, and will not, accept that things do not change.
I believe change can come. It may take long, but it can come. All I wanted was peace and freedom. I have peace, but not complete freedom because of the social segregation surrounding me. I have to be part of the community to contribute to it,” Abshir insists.
He finds the authorities’ silence particularly disturbing. The most recent case involving the rescue of 55 migrants from his country is impossible to ignore at this point.

That change starts to happen when every individual who witnesses discrimination refuses to turn away. Change is possible when citizens demand it from their elected representatives. How a state deals with immigrants should be a measure of its social and political health.
Migration has always been a core process of global politics and historical change. The theme of migration has been part of the collective human narrative for as long as there has been recorded history. Its roots lie in poverty, economic deprivation, persecution and failed states.
It is simply not possible to ignore the world’s dispossessed.

What about: How the Earth was formed?

This "what about" series  are for and from my seven years old son. Now that we have the continents down. He asked about the formation of Earth. And he wanted to know the cool details. Here is more for your little ones,when collision, accretion, and plaques tectonics are not enough to explain speculation of the early  Earth formation.  After my brief explanation, he said "Maman? The planet Earth is a giant sleepy volcano,made of hot hot lava, explosions can happen and God knows what happened for real". Well, I am definitively subscribing to few science magazines, such as Odyssey and Ask. Until that time I want to thank You tube...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pakistan:Natural disasters and political ballroom dances

In the Express tribune, George Fulton wrote Cry wolf. In my opinion, he gives a good analysis on the current situation in Pakistan. In short, everybody is too broke to help. People do not trust a foreign government.  Many fear corruption and misuse of aid. His analogy to Cry Wolf is sad but captures the international feeling.
Here a good quote from the article: “So why the pitiful response? One reason has to do with the nature of the natural disaster itself. Earthquakes and tsunamis are sexy. They make for good TV. They expose the extent of their devastation for all to see. Death and destruction are instantaneous. And as the pictures are beamed around the world they engender an emotional response. Floods disguise and submerge their devastation. Shots of water do not generate a similar heart tug for the viewer. Floods are silent, and often long-term, killers.” Yes, marketing is the key to everything.

I believe that the crumbling economy does not help. However it consolidates the hypocrisy in vigor. While so called political friends perform different ballroom dances, snobbing and carefully choosing dance partners; we tend to forget that mother earth imposes the tempo. Natural disasters are part of the music, sexy or not, here they come.

Romani-Gypsies :The refugees within

On December 14, 1950, the UN established the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR coordinates international action to protect refugees and resolves refugee problems worldwide. “Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.”

As a child, I used to believe that all stateless and homeless were synonyms for refugees. Virtually, everyone has the rights “to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state”. And if you are lucky you can find safe refuge within your state.  In a previous post, I talked about my experience with the gypsies. Lately the French government is closing gypsy encampments across the country. And many others European countries are discretely surfing on this racism wave. It is so hypocritical for a country fanfaroning the idea human rights for over 200 years. Besides I was thinking that The European Union allowed you to freely travel within the union regardless of your citizenship of origin. I know regulations and laws are necessary. However, I would like to point out that Europe should remember Auschwitz. Yes!!! Romani-Gypsies were the first to be placed in camps. Under the Vichy government, France deported 30,000 Gypsies to Nazi concentration camps.

So I deeply appreciate that “the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the French government for a lack of political will' in tackling mounting acts of racism.”  Maybe gypsies should be labeled “nomadic stateless refugees”. Once again I would like to say that I am a Gitana, a gypsy, a traveler, refugees, and I am here. And let us not forget it is the same moonlight for our dreams.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Lost Horse : A Chinese Folktale , English, Soft Cover by Ed Young

This is a Chinese folktale that takes place among the nomads in Northern China. It is sweet and beautifully illustrated. There is a certain softness, delicateness that it is soothing. It gives the necessary relativism about disasters and the gratefulness expected for blessings. This story is about contentment, faith in fate and providence. It is excellent.  Ed Young offers us a perfect tool to explain the mystery and beauty of life. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The soul of exile - Mona Ki Ngi Xiça by Bonga

In my opinion, this song of Bonga is the soul of exile.This one is for all the traveling birds in this global community. When nostalgia resides in our nests. Life's mysterious melody reminds us that beyond our dreams;these children of ours will stay here when we gone.Forever immortal in their hearts, we can  open their eyes to this beautiful world with love. We are different but the same. We are all urban refugees and distant relatives. To you all...
Same Moonlight for our dreams

(The Child I’m Leaving Behind)
(Barceló de Carvalho “Bonga”)

Bonga - 1972
Also recorded by: Ruy Mingas
Attention! I’m in mortal danger
And I’ve already warned you
She will stay here and I will go away

This child of mine
Evil people are after her
This child of mine
On a tide of misfortune

God gave me this offspring
That I brought into the world
And she will stay here
When I am gone

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am free by Kunline

To my Brother David...
Thank you!!

I am invincible beyond the visible
Emotions are intense
Love without nuances
Where everything commences
Where reigns the ultimate happiness
No more bitterness
No more guess

I throw myself into the blue
An intense silence reigns
No more fear in my veins
Far from the insane parade
Within the waves I am not afraid
Finally my heart beats
I am free.
From Journal 3: May03, 2002

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perseverance by Derek Redmond

Beautiful.....the true spirit of the Olympics.
It is an universal message.

The Feasting in the Ramadan

According to Wikipedia:
Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality and is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

However, there is the feasting in this fasting month. Everybody is looking forward to share delicious meals. Cooks are chasing for special recipes, as well as perfecting all culinary skills.

Here a $30 wonderful gift for all the special chefs in your kitchens.
Happy Ramadan! Bon Ramadan! Ramadan Mubarak!

"This Serving Tagine is formed entirely of clay which was painted and glazed. This original and beautifully handcrafted.Tagine adds a touch of something different and colorful to your gourmet meal and delight your guests.A tagine is like a casserole dish used in Morocco. It consists of two parts; a base unit which is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.All tagines are handcrafted by Moroccan artisans, resulting in truly unique pieces that may vary from the image shown."All measurements are approximate.
• For best results, wash by hand if needed.
• 9 1/2" h x 8 1/2" diameter
• 3 lbs

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aug 09,2010 International Day of the World's Indigenous People

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World's Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. 

Let us celebrate indigenious cultures!!
Great website:Censored News Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights News Publisher

The emblem of revolution: Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Last year, I watched Che: part one and two at the theater. It was great, intense, poetic and inspirational. Finally, I watched the “The Motorcycle Diaries” over the weekend. Now, I can have my own review on both versions of Che Guevara. 
      In the motorcycle diaries, the Che had a compassionate attitude toward the leprosy colony ward. He is also portrayed as man who tells his truth regardless of consequences. This movie is about spiritual growth and consciousness. My favorite quotes are from Ernesto Guevara de la Serna: “This isn't a tale of heroic feats. It's about two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.” “Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I'm not the same me I was.”
     As for the two parts movie, Che: It is about his personal passions. It is about the leader, the trademark, the revolutionary, the man. Benicio Del Toro amazingly delivers the struggle within his desires, his personal demons, and his political beliefs. After his death, Sartre declared him to be "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age” and the "era's most perfect man." Sartre also said of him that "he lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story and the story of the world ran parallel."
     That is why, I love a scene when the Che unveiled his crisp realistic view of our human parade. He warns his young zealous translator with “Little boy, no one is so necessary or indispensable in this life. Don’t go thinking that you are indispensable.” In my opinion this sentence alone was the essence of his power. He was balanced enough to be aware of his talents and humbled by reality. I am convinced that his perpetual asthmatic episodes did contribute to his mysterious devotion to humanity, justice, and solidarity.I will remember him as “the revolutionary foreigner" who did fight for universal justice and unity.

Few quotes from Ernesto “Che” Guevara himself”
Man and Socialism in Cuba (1965)
A school of artistic experimentation is invented, which is said to be the definition of freedom; but this “experimentation” has its limits, imperceptible until there is a clash, that is, until the real problems of individual alienation arise. Meaningless anguish or vulgar amusement thus become convenient safety valves for human anxiety. The idea of using art as a weapon of protest is combated. Those who play by the rules of the game are showered with honors — such honors as a monkey might get for performing pirouettes. The condition is that one does not try to escape from the invisible cage.

Letter to his Children (1965)
Your father has been a man who acted according to his beliefs and certainly has been faithful to his convictions.

Grow up as good revolutionaries. Study hard to be able to dominate the techniques that permit the domination of nature. Remember that the Revolution is what is important and that each of us, on our own, is worthless.

Above all, try always to be able to feel deeply any injustice committed against any person in any part of the world. It is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sew Mwen Enme by Kassav

A sweet melody, so good for the soul...
Happy Friday and have a great weekend.
Peace, love and happiness! 
Same moonlight for our Dreams

Sew Mwen Enme
Uploaded by kassav. - See the latest featured music videos.

Artsy peeks of the week

From Desta Hagos Ethiopia from here

Betsimisaraka warrior Madagascar by Eric from here

Walking With Life - The Birth of Human Rights Movement in Africa by Kenny Mann

Walking With Life - The Birth of Human Rights Movement in Africa from Kenny Mann on Vimeo.

Book of the week: Zenj, Buganda: East Africa by Kenny Mann

It is a very well  written exploration of ancient civilization. The writing is passionate, alive and so entertaining!! I was looking for a book that will help me explain East Africa to our son. He did not understand how come I did not learn African history. Well after a timid explanation. I told him that we could learn together. All I remember was some stories from my parents. And sadly, I know way more about Europe, America, even ancient Greece than my own history. I really love this book!  It did put everything in a time line and historical context. And I was so happy that the little I knew about East Africa and Comoros was true. I realized that I am not just born in Rwanda from Burundi and expatriated in Comoros but I spent my first decade in the kingdoms of the Nile basin-The land of Zenj! Oh yes, and believe me, it did impress my favorite little californian.
Thank you Mrs. Kenny Mann for this gift!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Art Blakey, His Afro-Drum Ensemble - Ife l'ayo

Just because there is Happiness in Love...

France: African Mothers protesting against Immigration

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity rhymes with Illegality, Inequality, Hostility in nationality.French I am, French I am not.Whatever...However, if I was homeless, paperless, penniless and about to be evicted and maybe deported: I will keep my baby close to me. I will stay close to the people that made me feel at home. Far away from the Eiffel tower, the Parisian lights and the splendid promenades, there are crowed dark, cold, humid rooms full of illegal immigrants. In those dark rooms, families are surviving wars that only some of us know about. In the absurdity of the barbarity, hope of bright future warm the hearts. Dreams of success orchestrate smiles and laughter. I was hurt by some of the reader’s comments on this video. Seriously, no mothers, parents will use his child as a shield: not even desperate illegal homeless mothers... ... Ignorance is a lethal….......... We are not animals. Even animals do not use their young for protection……

Like Bob Marley in War, I am pleading for “World citizenship”. I am praying for "international morality". And I am dreaming of "lasting peace". As Marley sang “ We Africans will fight We find it necessary and we know we shall win  As we are confident in the victory Of good over evil"

Well, I remember the last part of the French anthem about “sublime pride of avenging”. Instead, I am exercising my sublime pride of confidence in the victory “Of good over evil”. I want to thank these warriors for having the audacity of dreaming.
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

Evacuation de familles sans logement à la Courneuve
Uploaded by Mediapart. - News videos from around the world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Avan i two ta( Before it's too late) Jocelyne Labylle Feat Jocelyne Béroard

I love this song. I did not know Jocelyne Labylle but everybody knows Jocelyne Béroard from Kassav. It is a sweet melody  that remind us to enjoy each minute because it all we have. It is in creole, I tried to translate from french. Here it is!
Well enjoy this sweet melody before it's too late...

"Let me talk   Before it's too late Let me open your eyes Do you have time, I must talk to you absolutely Sit there and listen to me now    Let me say thank you  Before it's too late Let me dance with you   Before it's too late It is not certain that we have whole life ahead,..., We must enjoy each minute we have... Before it's too late Let me dance with you... Let me tell you sorry Let me give everything I have  Before it's too late Let me do whatever I can   Before it's too late Sing for you a beautiful melody   Before it's too late    For you my big brother, you my sister, my darling ... my child
Before it's too late    Let me tell you sorry   But let me say thank you"

My constellation at 32

I am back! I enjoyed every minutes of my retreat. I perfected the art of napping as well as good eating and real living. I am deeply grateful for my constellation and my beloved stars. I am ready to moonlight a little more. Sweet, sweet Thirty two, I am! Flaws and all I am perfectly imperfect. Now, it is fine with  me. Thank you thirty two!!

Here few peeks of my


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