Reading the Signs

I know someone. That someone is a good guy. He talks about his “wars” against colleagues, friends and even family. I listen and try to be fair. However, he does not expect fairness. He expects blind applause. That is not me and will never be.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that, sooner or later, aggressive people hurt you. Right now I am in the process of synthesizing, in my analytical mind, that when someone tells you stories about war, you end up bleeding.

I am concluding that if someone is fighting some war you are not directly involved, you have to be clear from the start and say: “I am out. I do not agree. Thank you, but no. I am glad and happy to be in peace with myself and the whole world.

They hurt you, while swearing they don’t. That is what I have learned. They are hurt because of someone or something and, the first thing they do, is hurting you. The despicable side of human nature. Violence begets violence. You have to stand, from the first moment, against it.

The thing is that I am almost convinced that what is true for us is also true for countries. The message is clear: if you don’t want war in your borders, you have to show it fast and clearly.

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Age Is Just a Number

Doris Day, who found her birth certificate recently, was surprised to learn she was turning 95 instead of 93. It seems she said: “Age is just a number.” Right. At least for African standards, she is presidential material.

Politically speaking, things are hotting up in this side of the world. Tomorrow there must be a huge protest against controversial president Jacob Zuma. Once again, tech and politics collide. Going against tech doesn’t solve wrong politics. Cameroon is a good example of that. The government blacked out the internet mid-January, in an attempt to control the protests spreading through English-speaking parts of the country.

“However this attempt to stifle opposition seems to have backfired, sparking further activism and galvanising international attention,” writes a reporter. “The affected areas – primarily English speaking – have been the center of protests over policies of the country’s 83 year old president, Paul Biya, rooted in a language dispute linked to the country’s colonial past. The internet outage has disrupted business and bank transfers in the west African country and prompted a #BringBackOurInternet Twitter campaign. The outage has cost the country $1.39bn in economic activity so far, according to global digital activist group Access Now. A former German, British, and French colony, Cameroon became an independent republic in 1961. As part of a reunification process, it adopted both English and French as official languages. However, now Cameroon’s federal government has been imposing various forms of French administration on the other regions, prompting a backlash.”

As it seems, the situation is improving. Anyways, the article underlines the “irony in how the mounting backlash has unfolded. The government’s attempt to stymie protest has demonstrated that the most powerful tool in shining a light on that blackout is the internet itself.”

Back to Zuma (74), after reading the above I was surprised to find myself thinking how “young” he is if compared with Robert Mugabe (93), Paul Biya (82) and other African leaders. No wonder some people believe that right now Zuma is pondering over his options: shall I stay or force ex-wife Dlamini-Zuma way up?

Is It Smart?

Is it smart to own a smartphone? With everything we have been hearing, I doubt. My smartphone decided to bath, sizzle and die. Consequently, less net and less music. I don’t mind the net. Music is a different story. I was able to walk a few minutes on the beach, listening to a few tunes, and realized how I missed such moments.

I am smartphone free. For now. My first smartphone is so old that the only smart thing he still does is charging. When it charges.

I know I should buy a new phone. Yet, I was caught by the magic of number 8 and at the same time I worry with all the negative reviews I’ve been reading and listening. Buying a new phone shouldn’t be so worrisome.

Poets and Analysts

It’s not the first time I write that I have this thing for poets and political analysts. I thought that by becoming a poet or a political analyst I would be less enthusiastic. No way. Probably I am more selective and demanding. My admiration is still intact.

I’ve been reading a great deal of political stuff. From time to time, I am amazed with the ideas. A well-known analyst suggested, recently, that it’s a mistake to keep accusing the African leaders of corruption and longevity in power. One of the reasons evoked is the questionable behavior of western leaders. The example of the current USA candidates was mentioned. The other reason is that they rarely are criticized for what really matters: their incapacity to improve the life of African citizens.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense for some, mainly because the three aspects are usually associated. But if you think in electoral terms, an African voter regards longevity as a very prestigious thing. As for corruption, I guarantee you that many out there vote for corrupt leaders just because they consider them to be smart. It would be a completely different game if they clearly understood that such person doesn’t care about them.

To use an analogy, I see this as trying to hit someone whose ears are longevity and corruption. His head is bad leadership. In case you want to knock him down, you surely wouldn’t aim at his ears. Questionable or not, ideas are a pretty nice thing…

Happy & Upset

The wind came later and stronger. My backyard is full of dancing flowers and leaves. They crush against the large window, greeting me and disappearing in a whirl. I don’t feel like saying a lot. I am happy but not tranquil.

The economic situation worries me. I don’t know what the future holds. We live through ups and downs. Sometimes people get all excited with the resources, other times they only see debts and daily difficulties. It’s changing time for the Africans. The money is no longer enough to run the economy. They got used to financial aid and now they have to survive without it. Some will succeed and some will fail. I wonder about this country, knowing that the next four years hold the answer.

A young couple is running a gym nearby. They came during the 2000 boom and are packing back to South Africa, because it’s no longer good for business here. It’s palpable. The almost imperceptible disappearance of this kind of small entrepreneurs, employing 3 to 5 people, seems insignificant. Yet, in the long run, if you think about one per street, it is a lot of people loosing their jobs. I am worried. The economy shrinks. There’s a sort of wind blowing in this country that signals stormy weather ahead.

The Bloodstain

It was hard for me to believe that a mosquito could have blood stained my pillow the size of a small coin. I refuted the mosquito theory and evoked the nose bleeding. It wouldn’t be the first… But when I removed the pillow, there it was: a large dark mosquito was lying dead on the white sheet. Paul remarked how lucky I was to have neutralized the mosquito before some of my contaminated blood had been injected back into my blood stream. I commented: “I just hope he burst with my blood.” And I took a picture because I was sure I would write about the stain, not as an incident but as an analogy.

Mosquitos are stupid or despairingly hungry or both. They insist in biting when a hand is ready to purée them. They suck our blood, even when we react and turn their enjoyable meal into a last supper. I believe that political leaders behave like mosquitos. They lack vision, independence and intelligence to foresee the backlashes of their political decisions.

In History classes I learned how for centuries the European countries trusted that growth and wellbeing were directly related with the stability in the continental borders. Regimes capable to implement peace and act as protecting shields against less friendly civilizations were regarded as fundamental. Now look how the European political leaders of today are incapable to put the interests of Europe first. Someone decided to destabilize the north of Africa and so on. Reasons or no reasons, a good leader must put the interest of his country first. What we have seen is the new political leadership, accountants apart, embarking on a crusade with malefic consequences for Europe.

Because Africans can no longer live in the countries where chaos has been created, they are trying to find ways to intrude into Europe in search of what they no longer have. There are many stories and the number is rising. The European political and economical stability is only possible if the buffer countries enjoy peace. This is a primary principle. The European leadership forgot it or just don’t know it? Don’t care? Are no longer equipped with the capacity to evaluate the consequences of their decisions? The analogy.

And look at this statement (I couldn’t find the English version). For a first it is a copy of another one issued before. Lately, they check if they are well tuned first. It is as if Europe had no longer its own mind, its own heart. All the terminology seams to be correct, but in fact they put in the same bag criminals that are killing innocent people and the ruling party, which receives and protects European citizens, interests and diplomatic personnel. I suppose the reasons are not very far from what moved politicians since the XVI century: exploring the richness of underdeveloped countries. This is another age. They should know it and move on. R-e-a-l-l-y!