Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Worthless Silverware

“They are both Arabs, I can’t cheer on either!” Miss Mukadisi AKA my mum on her criteria for support.
Arab hommies, take not offence; it’s nothing personal, my mother dislikes all non-black people.

Ladies and Gents it’s that time again when middling African teams that pass off as national teams do take part in the rat race for the inconsequential silverware that is the African Nations Cup. Three days after the African nations cup tournament, which I had anxiously looked forward to for months, the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation finally got around to airing the games. The company had not, until last Sunday, gotten sponsors for the live broadcasts. Considering that the majority of Ugandans are avid funs of football -or soccer as the Americans like to call it - even of lame African football, it follows that advertisers would be keen to sponsor such an event. And that all a broadcaster would have to do is plan for and make sponsorship arrangements well in advance. Wrong! That would be reasonable according to Western standards but not in relation to African standards. Yeah, our standards, what are they again?
Am in no mood for apologist excuses, I did not get to watch the opening ceremony of the event and that’s all there’s to it! A vibrant culture, strong morals and a strong sense of community are no recompense.
But no amount of railing will change a thing so moving along to actual, as opposed to self created, difficulties. Foremost is the question of who's a African? Many black African do not support the Arab Africans because they fall short of their standards for Africanness. The reasons for this short fall are nebulous and varied but they largely center around the Arabs', supposed supercilousness, their real or imagined, desire to be a part of the European Union, their identify with their Arab league hommies. I've had little contact with Arab Africans, save for that with my childhood friend Uda, so i cannot speak with any authority on their supposed superciousness but i know for sure that one of the North African countries, Morocco i think it was, applied for membership of the European union. But i can't indict the Moroccans for being pragmatic. As for their moderate levels of melanin, there's little that can be done about it; and no one's perfect! No doubt then as to my feeling on the matter - I truly am a discredit to my parents!

Happily unhappy?

I had the most peculiar of days today; I was happy, frightfully happy! Most unusual because it’s almost exactly two years to the last time I was happy; don't ask - a succession of unfortunate events! By happy I mean not euphoric or anything extreme but cheerful, sanguine. As a child, happiness was synonymous with exuberance – yes, I was an unusually happy child – my expectations now are more realistic (realism, how I detest that word; so often does it mean disillusionment and negative adjustment of hopes and expectations). But I digress.
One would think that I revelled in the unexpected clearing of the clouds of gloom but they would be off by quite a margin. Because as it happened, I spent the entire day fraught, oppressed by the fear that my joy would vanish as it had come, unexpectedly; the dread was more than equal to the happiness. I was also anxious to know what had occasioned my improved spirits; things don’t just happen, do they? Doesn’t recovery from despondency require some endeavour from the afflicted? It may appear that am looking a gift horse in the mouth but am not. I’d simply like to understand the nature of happiness so that I can make it replicable; I’d hate to be at the mercy of fate! I did nothing unusual that could have occasioned the change. I have a dreadful start to my day, made worse by unending traffic jams; took a chance – which I won’t speak of unless it materialises, read an email from my girl. And voila I was happy. Then I reread an email, which I received three months ago, from a most lovely man but which I had discounted as inane. But in my newly found cheer I found it touching, so I replied most thoughtfully.
Having experienced a day of happiness, and two years of unhappiness, I hereby give my two cents for the latter: when at rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up, which rules out anxiety, the forecat is always bleak; despondency is explicable, and therefore more predictable! And one's less likely to be deluded by sweet nothings when depressed.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hapi nu yeah

At the stroke of midnight, yesterday, revellers the earth over waved good bye to the old and ushered in the new year; with characteristic fanfare: fireworks, tickertape parades, the works. Such extraordinary efforts, to the extent that cities vie with each other to be more exuberant, makes one wonder; is the revelling borne of expectation or is it the other way around? Is the promise of the New Year so dubious that it must be backed up by ostentatious displays? Isn’t self-deception the purpose of all the fantastic industry? Okay, okay, self-deception’s rather harsh; escapism’s a more suitable word. But it’s a thin line between seeking relief and going off at a tangent. The gulf between the need for respite, and wanton revelling is rather difficult to bridge. The desire to escape is only natural; life sucks! But it’s remarkable that people can mark the end of a year without the urge to weep inconsolably; for faith lost, for struggles well fought and miserably lost….; That a New Year can be celebrated not with lethargy but with great enthusiasm, self-inflicted if you ask me. Ah, but perhaps, it’s genuine; who knows!
Since, cities went to so much trouble to outdo each other, it’s only right that I should do them the honour of choosing which was most outstanding. (Drum roll) The winner by reason of absurdity is Sydney. With the eloquence of fireworks the people of Sydney expressed the hope that love and brotherhood will prevail amongst all peoples throughout the New Year: the fireworks formed fantastic heart shapes in the sky. I wonder whether that means that the Australian government will treat refugees and Asylum seekers better!
And now for a sensible celebratory gesture: prisoners in Kenya forewent their meals in order that they may go famine-afflicted people in the north east of the country. While the gesture is laudable the necessity of it is lamentable. The regularity of famine in Africa is reproachable; people have grown orchards in deserts, and they’ll soon make them bloom on mars while we’re still trying to figure out how to ensure food security in our fertile climatically favourable lands.
Finally, the story of New Year’s Day; the termination of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine, which has the Ukrainians crying foul, and gas guzzling Europeans scared. The Ukrainians claim it’s blackmail; punishment for their having embraced democracy. A four hundred percent increase in prices sounds a bit much but it’s only up to the market price, no more. The Americans claim that the Russians are distabilising the region by increasing prices by so much and so abruptly. There's still no word on what they make of similar moves by their peeps in Iraq. At any rate, Ukraine was trying to straddle the fence between old and new friends; they failed miserably for it was apparent that they’d spurned their old comrades. And even if they’d succeed in straddling; they’d have lost Russia’s Patronage because, it seems to me, that Russia accepts no half measures. On the bright side, Ukraine’s progress in all things western continues, only this time the experience is of the bitter hemlock, genetically modified to remove it's fatal element, that is market prices. Welcome to the New Year, Ukraine; so unlike the old.
Y'all are probably wondering what i did on new year's day; damn it you are! So i'll tell. I spent the night and day with my niece, Ngabire Oweimana Sonia Rain ... We had a great time, rather she did: she peed on me, then laughed at me; wailed for me to sing and dance for her. The new year altogether started with me jumping through hoops to please, only to an appreciative audience this time around - bodes well for the rest of it. Happy new yeah!