Tuesday, October 30, 2007

They Have Come Again

I wake up at 6:15 every morning to the sound of someone getting interviewed on NPR. The topic of discussion is typically obscure (the effects of global warming on the development efforts of nouveau-altruists in Alevoor village, near Udupi, India) or insignificant (why don't Americans watch baseball anymore?). You can always tell I'm awake when I mutter sleepily but firmly at my talking box, "You're not the boss of me." But the box always wins, and as I stomp to the bathroom and reach for my toothbrush, sulking at my reflection in the mirror, I get to listen to Steve Inskeep's baritone reading the morning's headlines.

Today was not unlike any other day - I went through the same routine. But I was less pouty as I brushed my teeth, for one big reason: the headlines announced what promised to be an exciting story about French charity workers jailed in Chad on charges of kidnapping and complicity. My interest thus aroused, I was eager, impatient even, to hear the full story and hopefully before I had to get in the shower. As I spit out the last of my mouthwash, Inskeep read the story. I won't go into too much detail, but as I recount it, I will try to use some of the terminology I heard on the radio this morning - basically, aid workers from Zoe's Ark were arrested after trying to "rescue" 100 orphans from Darfur. Chadian officials stopped them and "claimed" that the children were not orphans and that they were not even from Darfur, but from Chad. Deby, the president, is "using" this event to "portray" himself as the "savior" of these children, and the ensuing tension between Chad and France is escalating. Of course, Deby's actions, though "extreme" are not surprising, given his history: after all, he "seized" power 17 years ago and frequently displays a penchance for extremism and heady egoism.

And so on and so forth. The latter half of the story was my favorite: When interviewed, one of the children said, "They came to my father and told him that I could go to school in France...". It would seem therefore - and please, someone correct me if I'm reading too much into this - that this child is neither an orphan nor Sudanese. But that isn't all: knowing that adoption is "strictly illegal" in Muslim countries like Chad, the aid workers "went to great lengths" to ensure they could secret these children out of the country, even going so far as to "wrap bandages around their heads" so they would appear injured. That's a lot of trouble to go to for a non-orphan, is it not? And I'm not saying there is any substance to Deby's claim that they were planning to use these children as involuntary organ donors, or as victims in a pedophile ring, but isn't it right to question their motives in light of these discoveries? And isn't it remarkable how the reporters first chose to villify the president, calling him crazy and his actions unfounded and extreme, only for we the listeners to discover that the French aid workers were indeed being shady??

It is a fascinating study in international relations, at least for me, and one that I wonder if I will ever tire of. The newscasters never did admit that the aid workers were wrong; indeed, one got the sense they wished they never had to mention the fact that at least one child wasn't a Sudanese orphan at all. It was a sheepishly-delivered tidbit, swiftly and briefly transmitted over the airwaves for a split second before they went back to talking about how "unreasonable" Deby is being.

But forget the media commentators; what about the moral issues at stake in this drama? Here you have foreign expatriates who feel that it is perfectly moral to lie, break the law and rip families apart because they believe they have more to offer "the starving children of Africa". And, in terms of monetary wealth, it is oftimes the case that they do. But so what? According to the interviewed child's testimony, they approached his family, not vice versa. Which says to me that they had the distinct goal of taking as many children as possible, regardless of their familiar situation, strictly based on economic condition. Your parents are poorer than we are, ergo you don't need them. Lesson #1 for those African children: Wealth = Happiness. How noble!

It's easy to say that taking our children overseas guarantees them a better life (which it doesn't - a number of our brethren have become criminals and ended up in jail for some of the social conditions they have had to endure, without their family's support), but what about the emotional and psychological damage these young children will suffer being without their parents or other people similar to them who understand their upbringing and world view? When they miss their mother's smell and all they have within reach is a strange white person who may or may not be willing to hold them the way they need to be held, what happens then? And what is really the end result? Do they truly learn that they must "return to the land that birthed them" and "help their people" in the same way their philanthropically-inclined saviors tried to do by spiriting them away (at all costs) in the first place?

I suppose the overarching question I'm asking is: is it worth it? Too often in this world of today, people make decisions based on their own shallow interpretations or - even worse - idealistic, academic notions of how the world should work. And I emphasize should because they seemingly tend to forget that they are dealing with flesh-and-blood human beings when they act, not automatons who live by the principles of Aristotle and Maslow. Is it fair to force families apart, simply because your giant ego thinks you have the solution to all their problems? My guess would be no.

Now is when Chxta would start harping on and on about Africans' responsibility to Africa and how there is no one to blame but ourselves if white people come in and do badly what we have refused to do for ourselves for decades. He's right, but it's no excuse to ignore the transgressions of our so-called saviors when they do wrong. When we do that, they act with increased impunity and then we get this catastrophe. Stealing children and, rather than admit culpability, insult the intelligence of the people who caught them doing it...what the hell!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nathaniel the Accountant

This defies description

Real Mccoy - Mr Frazier Video Datin

Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!

The Real McCoy

Why did nobody tell me this show ever existed??? The Real McCoy contains some of the singlehandedly most talented bunch of people I've seen on TV in a minute...and they're no longer on air! It's a West Indian British TV show that is simply remarkable. Videos coming up...

I know, I know: I should write something. But what's really worth discussing these days? The guy that assaulted me on the train last month? The never-ending rainfall that we have so badly needed this summer-fall? My continuing lack of a fulfilling job and all the money I'm spending, wining and dining people who can't do shit to get me one? I'll think of something....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Situation in Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex

Tried to post this video, but no such luck. If you've never heard of The Onion, it's a satirical publication that has apparently branched out to video/internet media and it's frickin' hilarious! This fictitious panel discusses the situation in Nigeria...or tries to. The last thirty seconds are priceless! $50 to the person who can tell me why the moderator keeps calling our esteemed leaders Umaru Yar'Adooya and Eebrahim Babandiduh.


I should actually write something one of these days. I could have sworn that's what this blog was supposed to be for....

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One unexpected effect of being hung over at "work" on Thursday morning is increased efficiency. It may sound oxymoronic, but it is in fact borne of a reduced ability to multitask. In other words, since I barely have enough brainpower to focus on one thing, I might as well make my "job" the object of my concentration.

(All evidence to the contrary, seeing as I'm now on Blogger en route to Facebook, but in my opinion my anguish permits my hypocrisy.)

Thank God for ORT - yes, the very same Oral Rehydration Therapy formula that saved many a Nigerian child from death by diarrhea during the ad campaings of the late '80s. Laugh if you will - you can even deem me a locito - but the fact remains that this ORT that many effyziemongers will shun in snobbish horror is none other than the Gatorade that athletes all over have repurposed to stimulate physical prowess.

Thanks to my re-discovered, super-cheap, quick-fix hangover remedy, I will be hitting the bar again tonight. Viva the Midweek Booze Binge!

Friday: I didn't go. Couldn't be asked to sidestep my apartment in favor of a bar. These Americans want to deceive me - drinking is so very over-rated.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How to pick up nigerian women! Toooo Funny!!

I don't know which "Nollywood great" this is, but this deserves to go down in the history books! I can't stop laughing...and what the HELL is he saying about cookies??