Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To Chxta's Unborn Son

My son, I cannot argue with the pearls of wisdom your father set out for you in his letter. Do not be alarmed at my choice of address, for you shall be as much Chxta's son as you shall be mine, and in all probability, you shall grow up calling me "Uncle" though we are not related by blood.

As someone who has known your father these many years, there are certain things I shall tell you here which he expects me to:

First of all, if you are anything like your father, the two of you are likely to have some serious clashes as you grow older. Do not take these to mean that your father is an old "Moustache Pete" or unwise in the ways of your generation. Our elders always said that what the old man sees while sitting, the young man shall not see even if he climbs the tallest tree. Rest assured that even though you shall be inclined to dismiss this as an attempt by the old to hang on to power, you shall eventually see the truth in those words, as we did.

Should you be inclined to follow in your father's professional footsteps, be sure to choose for yourself friends in fields as diverse from yours as possible, and make sure that at least one of your closest friends is a lawyer. Granted, you shall hear all sorts of jokes about lawyers, in fact, I'll probably tell you most of them, but believe me when I tell you, they are as important as your own right arm.

Never breach the trust of your friends over money or women. The first runs through your fingers like water, and the second runs through your money like... well, your ears are as yet too young to hear that particular similie. But never fear, for one day, when you're old enough, I'll tell it to you. That is, of course, if you haven't already learned it by then, or made up your own.

My home shall be as open to you as yours, and my office shall be likewise. Feel free to come to me with your problems, but know that if you do something deserving of an ass whopping, I will not keep it from your father. Of course, I shall plead on your behalf as to the extent of the ass whopping you'll get, but your father shall be free to disregard my sentencing recommendation if he wants to.

You can feel free to come to me with questions about things which your father may feel you're too young to know. Especially about sex.

The earlier you develop a capacity for cynical thought and ice-cold self-analysis, the better. In all things, keep an open mind, but always view the actions of those around you through the prism of self-interest. Of a truth, you shall occasionally encounter individuals with genuinely altruistic motives, and such persons are rare and your relationships with them should be carefully nurtured. When you come across those with purely selfish motives, play along until you can use their motives to serve your interests.

With friends you classify as "true" you must be open and honest. Say what you really feel about their choices and actions, and hold nothing back even if you fear you will hurt them or permanently damage your friendship. It may take years, but they will realise your worth. I can't imagine the amount of trouble I would have gotten into if I didn't have your father around to pour cold water on some of my more hare-brained ideas. And I have done the same for him, let me tell you. Your true friends shall be there for you when all else fails, and you must be as willing to make sacrifices for them as they are for you. In such ways are lifelong friendships established.

One area I openly disagree with your father is football. The game does have a very strong spirit, and if you allow it, it will possess you to the extent that you feel physically ill when your team underperforms, or simply plays like crap. But, much like being in love, you cannot be half in and half out of football. And I have a clue that although your father wishes you to be spared the demons of football, he shall be the one to introduce you to them, and smile while you shake hands. However, there are few better analogies for life than following a football team through the years. Some years are good, others are bad, some are downright terrible, but a true supporter sticks to his team no matter what because he understands that no one has the divine right to be on top all the time.

Between us, myself and your father may be able to do a reasonable job of bringing you up to be a principled gentleman, and as the English say, the most important thing you can learn about being a gentleman is when to stop being one.

And whatever you do, don't support Juventus. That way lies something else I shall have to explain to you at a later date.

I love you, as your father does. Be good, my son.

Your Uncle Oria.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What An Obama Victory Means For Africa, Really

"It's over. Cover the field. Get some bulldozers in here and turn this place into a parking lot!"

- Randy Quaid

Major League II

The above statement may or may not accurately describe the mood in the John McCain Campaign after today’s debate (the first one I have actually been able to stay up for). However, even if it is not accurate, it can’t be far off. Naturally, McCain’s campaign organisation will come out and claim victory. In a way, it was a McCain victory. He performed far better than in his previous two debate appearances, and even managed to look at Obama once in a while. But, I don’t think it was enough to swing the election his way. The way things stand now, come November 4, we may actually witness the election of America’s first black President, barring some unforeseen calamity.

Obama’s campaign to this point has been a reflection of the man himself. It has been calm, unruffled, and steady, qualities he showed again in the final debate. Watching on CNN, which had a split view of both candidates, you could virtually see some of McCain’s attacks bouncing off Obama’s smile. During some McCain attacks, he chuckled, and then refused to respond to them, instead choosing to focus on passing his message across. I think that infuriated McCain, who was desperate to provoke a negative reaction from Obama.

Now the Republican Party has to say to Americans, “Well, fair is fair. And if we lose the White House (as is looking increasingly likely) then y’all have to give us the legislature. You see, we can’t have Democrats in the White House, Senate, and Congress, it would be a monopoly!” Naturally, this line of argument completely ignores the fact that for the first six years of Dubya’s reign, he had a braying, overwhelmingly Republican legislature backing him up completely. Which allowed him to launch his country into a war which has cost the American economy $10 billion a month for the past three years. You do the math.

All the post-debate polls showed an overwhelming victory for Obama in the debate. Frankly, I thought that McCain started far better. He was sharp, his attacks were pointed and precise, and he had Obama on the back foot for about 20 minutes. He even scored points on the economy, which is supposed to be Obama’s forte. Obama looked and sounded flat, and slightly lethargic. I even commented to my brother that he seemed to have sprouted a few more grey hairs. Then came the turning point – when the moderator asked them about personal attacks, and attack ads. This is where, for me, McCain lost the opportunity to “whip Obama’s you know what” in the debate, which he was actually winning up to that point.

He allowed Obama lead him into the bear trap of his own words, and the chants at Sarah Palin’s rallies, and all he could do was whine about how Obama did not “discredit” the statements of Congressman John Lewis, comparing the atmosphere at a Sarah Palin rally with that of the Civil Rights Era. When Obama pointed out, in his infuriatingly calm manner, that the said Congressman was not speaking on behalf of the Obama Campaign, and further, the said Congressman had since issued a statement in which he admitted to having over-reacted, McCain said Obama still didn’t denounce the Congressman.

Then it was on to Bill Ayers who, as Obama pointed out, is a Professor in a University in Chicago, and that the Education Board McCain kept referring to actually contained Republicans. McCain kept trying to bring it up, and Obama kept deflecting it. And then Obama landed his own killer punch, pointing out that when people chanted “kill him” at Palin’s rallies, McCain never came out to denounce those people. McCain, determined to not only dig his own grave, but to build his own casket, and bury himself as well, responded that he could never denounce the “patriotic” Americans who attend his rallies!

For me, that finished McCain’s debate. On all issues which followed, Obama hammered him. He even got McCain to admit on live national television, that he planned to tax peoples’ health care benefits! That was a major coup, and no matter how the likes of Tucker Bounds try to dress that up, it was a huge blow for McCain’s healthcare plan. I predict some fancy footwork from McCain’s campaign over the next few days on that one.

Overall, I think McCain actually did well. Far better than I expected him to, in fact. Though, to tell you the truth, if all he had done was manage to stay in his seat without running around shouting “Mayday!” “Mayday!” and “Damn you Viet Cong, you’ll get nothing out of me!” he would still have exceeded my expectations. The bottom line is, McCain needed a game-changing performance, but he failed to produce one.

Now, here’s my cynical mind speaking to all you out there who think that Obama becoming President of Yankee will immediately make the US Embassy issue free visas to Africans to go and join their brother in celebrating his victory with the Owambe bash to end all Owambe bashes, think again. For one thing, Barack Obama is an American. By certain quirk of genetics, he inherited his father’s dark skin, though, truth be told, his mother’s genes must have been pretty strong, otherwise he’d have the traditional Kenyan skin of black coffee and not his milk chocolate complexion. My point is, he was raised by his American mother and her American parents after his African father had fucked off back to Africa. Sure, he visited Kenya once, to “connect” with his roots, but that’s just about it.

American's first, and most times, only interest, is and has always been, America. Sure, the election of Obama as President will be a shot of pure heroin to the America's international image, but that’s where it will end. The IMF and World Bank will still tell the self-centered African rulers to deregulate, and remove “subsidies”, while imposing economic “reforms” on the countries that are calculated to cause more problems while providing no solutions.

Indeed, with Obama as President, since he is such a likeable, well-spoken fellow, America might even be allowed to get away with more than it is currently allowed, which is just about anything it wants. One of Obama’s greatest weapons is his earnest demeanor, so imagine that demeanor being turned to the project of projecting America’s military might. Hell, he wouldn’t even have to threaten you with sanctions. All he’d have to do is smile at you and tell you how he understands your fears, and your cynicism, and how he’s here to change all that, and before you know it, you’ll be yelling at your wife to spray her best perfume and get in the bedroom to wait for him.

So far, America’s image has been that of the white man, oppressing Africans and others around the world. Heck, when the IMF and World Bank want to send officers into African countries, they send their totally indoctrinated blacks, who then recruit Africans, indoctrinate them, and send them off to do their master’s bidding. Imagine what would happen with a black American President, who is also of pure African descent. I imagine he would be besieged by offers to visit Africa, during which our rulers will throw our countries’ legs wide open for America to come and pillage and plunder. Heck, when an African ruler wants to prove stubborn, I’ll bet all Obama would have to do would be pick up a phone and begin the conversation with, “Help a brother out...”

So, with Obama as President, everything would change, and everything would stay the same. At least Kenya should be able to leverage having contributed some DNA to the first black American President into producing the Chairman of the AU for the duration of Obama’s reign.

That being said, I hope he wins so idiots like the one above get to eat crow.

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I love my country, enjoy a cold beer once in a while, rabidly support Arsenal FC, but I don't get Diet Coke...