Friday, May 27, 2005

Media on Africa

The International Press Institute held its 54th General assembly in Nairobi last week. The theme of the assembly was, 'Reporting Africa'. In his speech at the assembly, the Rwandese President Paul Kagame deplored the negative portrayal of Africa by the International media. Why, he wondered, was the image of Africa was that of poverty, famine, disease, corruption and civil wars, while it was a continent blessed with one of the oldest cultures and most diverse wildlife.

Why indeed?! Could it perhaps be because poverty, famine, disease, corruption and civil wars are prevalent?! It's just a thought, only a thought. Can anyone dispute those adverse stories? Surely not! How typical of African leaders to change the subject rather than address difficult issues! The president proposed culture, wildlife, and the strides that Africa is undertaking to change its face as alternative topics for coverage.
In respect of culture and wildlife, the president should know that every continent has its own. How often does he see news coverage of Britain, Pakistan, China, or The U.S of A's culture and wildlife? Why should Africa be judged using a different standard? Does he mean to say that Africa isn't good enough to be judged by the same standard as every other continent. How can we expect to be taken seriously be anyone? Doesn't that perpetuate the idea that we are inferior?
In my very informed opinion, international coverage of Africa is not nearly as bad as it could be. Fortunately for African leaders news constitutes a movement away from the norm. Imagine how much worse the coverage would be if dilapidated infrastruture, political intimidation, repression of civil rights and media freedom, to mention but a few ills, were not the norm? I don't mean to imply that the nothing changes. Things change but for most people,they only get worse. The reason such changes aren't news worthy is that they occur by degrees.
The president added that Africans must take responsibility for the sorry state of our affairs.He said that unless Africans begin to portray themselves in a good manner that they are capable of, the international media will continue to portray a negative image of the continent.
How i wonder can we portray ourselves in a "good manner" without deluding ourselves?!

The president also wondered why the continent has stagnated economically, despite its endowment with abundant natural resources.
That is a question best answered by our beloved leaders i should think!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Wear sunscreen

Wear sunscreen is the title of a song that i absolutely love. It contains useful advice that i resort on occasion when all else fails,which is dispensed without so much as a hint of sanctimony-unqualified certitude is an attribute i've become wary of. A wise man once said that the problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves while wise men are given to doubt. And doubt,as Rene Descartes so aptly put it,is the begining of wisdom. (Note to reader: Distrust anyone who is certain of everything; surely they couldn't have lived long enough to resolve their doubts about everything,it's more likely that they never had any to begin with.)
But i digress, my favourite part of the song's lyrics is this, "The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself.." That's self-evident enough you'd think but apparently not so.
I have recently been the victim of malice. A more knowlegeable and better informed person took it upon her/himself to hurt/punish me by withholding knowledge. The intention, i suppose, was clarify the nature of our relationship; to remind me that i needed him/her more than he/she needed me! Clearly an intellectual expression of emotional needs! To paraphrase Einstein the great, intellect is more important than knowledge. Unless one has an intellectual edge, i can always catch up or surpass them.
I appreciate the fact the some people have the need to compete with others but it can be done in two ways; positively or negatively. One could subdue the competition or transcend it. I don't believe in competing with others, it's hard enough racing against myself. But if anyone would like to compete with me,am always ready to indulge them! However there are rules; if you're worth anything,pick on someone your own size. And if you're any good, there's no need to play dirty. If you do however, perhaps you're not as good as you thought you were!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

crumbs from their tables

Lately am having a torrid time coping with the reality of life. The reality that people are deliberatley unkind, cruel even, that friends are rare. Humanity,which i always took for granted,seems dated. It's as if the world changed over night,and am night equal to the new challenge. What are we here for if not to make life easier for each other? People are so paralyzed by fear that they don't want to get involved in anything, or they are too busy to genuinely are about anything. We make perfunctory gestures that are so hollow that it'd be best if we did nothing at all. We are so may and yet so alone. Hurt is not a reason to never care again. As Bertrand Russel put is,it's said that man is a rational creature but am still awaiting proof of it. Many people are enslaved to knee jerk reactions,very few think things through before responding. It's a pity really. Look what we've become; lonely, despondent, suicidal, angry, dependent on psychologists!!