Categories
Africa reflection thoughts

Story about the Tongue

Once, a chief told one of his servants to bring him the best meat from the market.

The servant brought him a tongue. The next day the chief told the servant to bring him the worst meat from the market.

The servant brought a tongue again. “What?” the chief said. “When I ask for the best meat, you bring a tongue and then you bring the same thing for the worst meat.”

The servant said, “Sometimes a man is very unhappy because of his tongue and sometimes his tongue makes him very happy.”

“You are right,” the chief said. “Let us be masters of our tongue!

Categories
human rights opinion politics reflection thoughts

Opinion: Eurasia & Nagorno-Karabakh 2

Is enough not enough?

Civilian casualties

In peaceful times, it is easier for the victor to reconcile with the vanquished.

It’s ten days already and I kept wondering why these two governments prefer to use force over dialogue. I regret that the Armenian political leadership failed to engage the Azeri in peaceful talks when they had the upper hand (after winning the 90’s war and occupying western Azerbaijan). If they had acted on that maybe we would have some peace.

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially Azeri territory, but settled by ethnic Armenians. Let’s look at a scenario where the Armenian Government used the occupation period to rally and hold a referendum for the breakaway state. Let’s assume further that they did attempt to make peace with Azerbaijan while rallying regional and international support for a plebiscite. Azerbaijan would either say yes or no. If no, then something could be done to pacify them. Give back some occupied territories (not Nagorno-Karabakh) or agree to grant the territory a greater autonomy under Azerbaijan. If the Azeri accepted, then all this stress will be long forgotten. The two countries have legitimate claims but can only find a solution by consensus.

Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh and some Azeri areas are under heavy shelling. Two neighbours constantly exchanging fire as both record military and civilian casualties. News agencies play videos of destroyed homes, offices and farms. Few months ago these people, now victims of war suffered from Covid-19 pandemic. Now that the impact is gradually reducing, a war greets them.

It’s in every human nature to want freedom from where they feel marginalized, threatened and subdued. In fact, many places still seek self governing status. Denying that leads to rebellion and conflict. This happened in Biafra – Nigeria’s bloody war and is still happening in Ambazonia – Southern Cameroons.

Role of External Influences

It’s obvious that each side has a cheerleader and also has a national ‘pride’ to protect. So it hurts some pride to want to cease hostilities first. My anger is that innocent people bear the brunt of the war. What a waste of resources and lives in these hard times.

Turkey has openly pledged support for Azeri forces, while the Russians are committed to Armenia where it has a military base. Greece (recall the territorial issues with Turkey) supports Armenia. It now seems like an unfolding ethno-religious war. Syrian mercenaries are fighting alongside Azeri forces. If care is not taken, this may escalate into a full scale regional war. This time, Turkey, Greece, Iran and Russia will be drawn into a direct conflict with each other.

Since Nagorno-Karabakh is the bone of contention, why not administer a joint plebiscite on the territory with international agencies as observers? Excuse me, but you can’t force a cat to be a dog. Whoever anyone chose to be, well let them be!

Role of the United Nations

I have a couple of questions to ask the UN, the warring nations and humanity in general. The first is for the United Nations: should we continue to look away while people die in this meaningless war? To conflicting nations: Hasn’t the Corona virus done enough harm to your people and economy already? And now to everyone: Does it occur to you that some nations are trying to use a regional or global conflict to resuscitate its economy or influence? It may not make much sense until it does. Time will tell.

The United Nations needs to wake up before it’s too late. I don’t know how the protocols work but the UN can mobilise a peacekeeping force to help broker a ceasefire, create a buffer zone and return all parties to the negotiation table. Why do we always wait for the last minute to act?

Categories
opinion politics thoughts

Opinion: Eurasia & Nagorno-Karabakh

The drums of war has been beating since the beginning of this year.

Eurasia

‘When it starts, it will be over there. Eurasia* may introduce the world to a global conflict.’

Those were my words as I sat watching BBC’s global news. Before the news on Nagorno-Karabakh, I had always predicted that a future global war may start from Eurasia. I will share my opinion after reflecting on the events that happened this year.

And I’m not talking about Corona virus or the upcoming US presidential election. Of course, 2020 will always be associated with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic which took the world by surprise and drew attention away from many things. While the world was distracted something else kept on brewing behind the curtain.

If you follow global news you may agree with me that the political tensions flaring up in Eurasia is not ordinary. Well Africa, known for violent political clashes is enjoying ‘some peace’ when compared to Eurasia. There’s an ongoing battle for political and economic control in Asia. Nationalist feelings is on its zenith and countries are disinterested in reaching an agreement through dialogue. It is now necessary to engage in military drills and showcase hardware to intimidate others. What an unnecessary show off of military strength in times when many economies are crumbling or struggling.

Eurasia is boiling hot, old rivalries and wounds scratched open. Consider the territorial dispute between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over drilling rights in the Mediterranean. Iran is at the background though quiet at the meantime but protecting it’s interests. Syria and Yemen hasn’t really gotten over their wars. Israel is weary of Hezbollah and Hamas. Let’s look at Pakistan and India over Kashmir and internal issues in Afghanistan and Iraq. Consider also the Chinese aggression over the South China sea, and the Indian, Taiwanese, Japanese borders and currently the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In the past, nationalist feelings and movements preceded dangerous events. Such was with the years preceding WW1 and WW2. While the leading world governments look elsewhere and show indifference to the collective responsibility to protect fundamental human rights, rogue nations grow morale to intimidate their citizens, political opponents and bully other nations. This further encourage barbaric misadventures of territorial expansion and resource grabbing.

This is not good for humanity and not good for the world.

Nagorno-Karabakh

I kept wondering why the forces want a conflict in Eurasia. Many questions float through my mind. With the world’s current position, one conflict can trigger a bigger global war. Some nations make a lot of money through sales of military hardware and weapons. Will I say they are innocent or guilty for the rising tension?

How unfortunate it is for Armenia and Azerbaijan to allow their armies to be drawn to this crave, this madness for a senseless war. These are trying times indeed and any discerning leader should be weary of that. The drums of war kept beating since the beginning of this year. It has drawn two Eurasian nations to its dance floor.

I hope this two beautiful brothers find a peaceful way to settle without hurling bombs at each other and that things do not get out of hand.

Time will tell.


*Eurasia: Subcontinent comprising of large portions of Europe and Asia linked by history and culture. In this blog post I am referring to both continents with more emphasis on Asia.

Categories
opinion reflection thoughts

Opinion: A Divided House

China and America
I was wondering what the world will look like should China attack America or vice versa. It’ll be a disaster, a man-made catastrophe. But I’m not only weighing the destruction that will follow a war between the two but the economic stress it will cause the world. Or maybe I’m a bit exaggerating over two giants fighting for global economic leadership and control? Let’s imagine a situation where human progress (medicine, agriculture, education, health, infrastructure etc) and civilization came under attack and all had to be wiped out. What a collosal waste it’ll be! The happy fact is that wars are avoidable. All we need to do is sit and talk around it.

America is gradually driving away Chinese products and excluding their social media apps from her internet space. On another note, I’m aware that China has in operation before now the Great Firewall which blocks Western internet structures from accessing information from China. The Great Firewall also censors and blocks her people from accessing foreign websites. So this Trump and Xi dilemma has turned a tit for tat affair; a tooth for a chin, an eye for an ear.

Let me stray a bit. But if I was president, I’ll draw up a table to count costs of war against the costs of peace. If peace, which is in fact costless can get my nation more jobs in place of economic hardship, more food in place of starvation, more life instead of death then I’ll definitely chose it. I’ll dwell on lessons from past wars – that alone should be a good deterrent for anyone. Unfortunately, some world economies are built on war that is why some are beating their drums of war. Sad indeed!

A Divided Chinese House

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Abe Lincoln

I read stories of young Tibetian volunteers who helped carry supplies to the Indian army stationed at the Chinese border. And they often did this by carrying heavy food and equipment on their backs through some of the most uninhabited and inhospitable ranges on earth. It’s strange to see members of a country help a rival prepare to fight their own nation. Something is amiss.

When people are held against their will, freedom of expression becomes costly. Its pricetag go a little extreme – imprisonment or worse. There are concentration camps in a supposedly ‘peaceful modern society’. Yet there’s no war. I’m left to wonder the rate of human rights abuses recorded in China and how easy it is to cover them up without drawing public attention. China is making progress economically, this is what we in the so called Third World countries believe. But success in material things is not good enough.

I’ve a couple of questions to ask. How can a society, economically and militarily powerful stand on the rights and privileges of it’s greatest resource – her people? Is the Chinese public aware of their government actions and decisions but chose to keep silent? If yes, does it mean that they are helpless just like other minorities?

The ‘Chinese nation’ is divided. Hong Kong protested the new law, Tibet is seeking her own nationhood (with a government-in-exile), Taiwan is on red alert for any Chinese aggression, Xinjiang is reeling in oppressive concentration camps.

Shouldn’t this be a clear warning to the Chinese government and her advisers that all is not well from within?

Categories
opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Racism

It costs absolutely nothing to be kind

Live and Let Live

An Igbo (African) proverb goes thus: Let the Eagle perch, let the Kite (bird) perch also. Any that forbids the other from perching let his wings break!

We say that as prayers in West Africa because it’s a reminder and belief that all men are born equal and so must have equal rights and privileges and (I add) should be free from ALL prejudice and discrimination. When I talk about men, women and children’s rights are included. All men are equal and everybody should have the opportunity to be their best selves. In summary the above idea is founded on the African concept of live and let live.

Racism

Consider racism as a weed. It’s existence can suffocate other useful plants in the garden. Racism is worse than cancer. When it attacks, it destroys the human soul. It’s like locust infestation which leaves behind destruction.

Racism is an evil root that is no good to anyone. If it stays unchallenged it may grow deeper and can alter a society’s sense of reasoning.

Pumpkins begat pumpkins. Not only that, little pumpkins will learn to be one either by association or emulation. Children are easily influenced with what they are taught or perceive.

We can never foretell the full extent or form racism can take or assume. For instance consider Hitler’s hatred for Jews and the consequences that followed.

Humanity will die when good people look away from racist acts and words.

Truth and Love

Good news is that many people are joining the fight against all manner of racism and oppression. That’s a good thing to be thankful for. At least there’s some good out there.

Truth is a bitter pill when swallowed. But it can set the world free! When we truly understand that we are one people and that we are equal before the law and society then a bulk of the problem is solved.

While we talk about the truth we must know that love is key to our fight against racism. Racism can be stopped when we let true love reign. Love suppresses discrimination and prejudices. It stops mistrust and fear. It’s the foundation of all human values.

With truth and love we can lay a greater future for our children and their children. Live and let others live.

Categories
opinion Poetry reflection Series thoughts

Poets Corner: Difference between Wisdom, Knowledge and Education.

My take on this…

It’s generally believed that knowledge is power. Yet many find it difficult to differentiate between wisdom and knowledge. For me knowledge is having the stuff while wisdom boils down to application of the stuff. To differentiate both from education is even a thing of further logic.

In my opinion education should come first, followed by knowledge and wisdom. That’s the order most of us acquire them in.

What’s the difference?

My aim on todays blog is to identify the differences between education, knowledge and wisdom through the minds of writers and poets. Have fun.

Suzanne Uchytil offered that “Education isn’t a type of intelligence – it’s something that is usually forced on us. Whenever someone is called educated, it usually means they’re knowledgeable (they know facts). Education can be good, though, if we choose to gain knowledge from it. (For instance, I’ve never had a college class that I didn’t find at least interesting and learn at least a little bit from, because I approached all my classes as opportunities to gain knowledge.) Then wisdom means applying that knowledge in real life and understanding consequences.” This sounds exactly like my thoughts.

Gareth John Jones opined that knowledge is understanding and remembering your education (formal or not). Wisdom is knowing how to use your knowledge. I surely agree with this definition.

David Franklin has this to say “Education is when people try to stuff knowledge into you. Knowledge is what you know for yourself. Wisdom, though, that’s something else. I know very knowledgeable people who are fools, and fairly simple people who are very wise. It’s about using one’s judgment about situations, knowing which piece of knowledge to apply when. Knowledge may be power, but wisdom is control of power.”

For Fiona Margaret Jones, education is only what can be given to you. Knowledge is what you take from it and wisdom is what you make of it.

Jimi Gardner says that education is received for outside. Knowledge is created by testing education. Wisdom is created by diligently observing the outcomes of testing knowledge.

David Gilbert observed that one can’t buy wisdom, education means plaque on the wall gates opened and knowledgeable is your cumulative wisdom.

Annette Bergman has this to say: “Selling real estate for over 30 years I can say I have met educated people who were not very knowledgeable. For instance I showed a house to an Engineer and he asked me what the line out to the garage was. It is an electrical so you have lights in the garage. Another engineer went directly to the sellers and negotiated a small possession problem. He agreed to 60 days after closing for possession.I praised him for his brilliant compromise. I will bet money when he had two mortgage payments to make plus his two months of rent, he had to have figured it out. It takes all kinds and the creative people only need a skilled traded to make a great living. Another college education person said to me. Those of us who went to college know that The United States wasn’t founded religion. She probably still thinks that and will vote accordingly.”

J Christopher Harman showed his disappointment on others opinion. He said, “How sad that so many of you have such poor views of education. Education should be the key to both. What a shame we live in a world (at least for most countries) where education is such a dire experience.”

I hope this discussion was helpful. What is your opinion on it?

Categories
Africa opinion reflection thoughts

Farewell Nkosi, the Black Panther

Life like the mist is temporal but legacies live and last forever

The Black Panther

I get easily bored with movies. It’s hard to see me watching TeeVee anyway. No matter how much I try, I can only watch National Geographic Wild and Discovery Documentaries. But when a movie gets me hooked I can see it a hundred times without losing interest. I saw The Black Panther early last year. Then it didn’t make much sense to me (again with the little interest on movies). But I saw it again and again because I was impressed with a lot of things. First the casting; the actors and actresses were top-notch. I was impressed with the display of African culture and tradition: the casts intonation, dressing, setting and more. Talking about the setting, Wakanda portrayed beautiful Africa. Each scene even the fighting ones had a view of something spectacular at the background: hills and vales, waterfalls and rivers, chains of mountains and vast forests. Diverse tribes fought for dominance and this added some taste to the plot. This was Wakanda (Africa), an advanced modern technology driven society which managed to maintain her ancient tradition despite contact with external forces. I was excited that the directors brought in reality too. The rigour and stress of power tussle shown in the movie reveals the norm in African societies. Such tussles normally drain the people and her resources. I give Marvel Pictures a big thumbs up. Also, the use of domesticated Rhinos as a war animal kept me glued to the screen. I wanted to see more, though afterwards I was left to ponder on the directors ingenuity. The Black Panther is a good movie. No wonder it is Marvel’s biggest hit yet.

Chadwick Boseman

I can write a long story about this down to earth actor, but that won’t be today. Instead I aim to highlight the exceptional qualities that made him a true king both in cinema and real life.

Chadwick’s fictional character brought colour to the movie. Just like Bruce Wayne with his Batman and Peter Parker with the Spiderman, he switched from being the kind King T’challa to being the strong community vigilante (Black Panther). The good thing is that he used his powers to protect and lead his people. But there’s more to the man who played the Black Panther. He was open, humble, kind, considerate and determined. He wasn’t the loud type so I barely noticed or heard him on the news.

Chadwick’s determination is worth emulating. He didn’t give up when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Instead he went forward to gift the world great movies. It’s sad to know he did these movies amidst chemotherapies and treatments. Nothing could be depressing. It’s even sadder that he was just starting to a greater future. Who knows, he could have been the next Denzel Washington or Will Smith.

To the King T’challa I’ve this to say: “You brought hope to many African youth“. He has taught that we can be anything we want to be. I picked another lesson from the life of Chadwick Boseman: never jump to judge people because you don’t know the secret battles they are fighting.

Rest in peace King, the Black Panther. Africa mourns you. Wakanda forever!


**Nkosi: King

Categories
Africa Inspiration/Motivation opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Quote on Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson MandelaAt a time colonial forces and indigenous South Africans fought over land rights and freedoms, a courageous man spoke up for his people. He was imprisoned for decades but that didn’t deter him. His resilience contributed to a free South Africa. We call him Madiba.

Categories
Africa painting quotes reflection thoughts

Muse: The Happy Wind

Poem: The Happy Wind

Greet the happy wind,
Tell him when I waved
My fingers got him bursted

When morning dew is upon the tree line
The sky is sometimes blue and grass is green
Far up the blue horizon the sun shine

Birds sing from the trees all morning
Yet the happy wind: timid and soft will bring
Her entourage to fly on their backs and wings

I open my curtains and window to feel and behold
The beautiful sight of trees, grass and happy wind
A perfect picture never to be imagined

Explaining the painting

This is the first in my paint-writing attempt. I like to paint and then write about the inspiration behind it. I’ve several imperfect drawings and paintings scattered here and there. Some are on the internet, some in the drawer, some under piles of books and others lost.

This is a painting of three palm trees under the hot sun, cloudy skies and strong wind. It may look like grasses on vases but on closer observation will reveal that it’s a view of the horizon. Initially I thought of featuring the Iroko as its greatness will play a better role on the little poem above. But the Iroko is perceived as a great tree and the king of trees in West Africa and it’s not common to see one. Three Iroko trees standing together will even be a bit of stretched imagination.

The bulk of work fell on determining the best layout for the skies. I’m sure no one can define perfectly any natural colour and infact those of the cloud. It will take more than human ingenuity or imagination to achieve that. So no painting can illustrate natural things exactly. Painters just assume. It might be sunny and the clouds blue, it might be rainy and it won’t. I made the passing clouds look like the skies by mixing two blue-based hues. But this is my own version of what the clouds look like.

What do you think? I’ll be doing more painting this weekend. It’s a beautiful morning here. Have a great weekend. ❤️💚

Categories
Christianity Inspiration/Motivation Love and Christianity opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Quotes on Resilience

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ Joel Osteen.

A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose. John Maxwell.

I love the light for it shows me the way to go, but I love the darkness more for it shows me the stars. Og Mandino.

We can’t speak about resilience without speaking about hope. Hope is the bedrock of resilience. Reeta Roy

You can stay fours days without food, but the minute you lose hope, you’re dead! Eliud Kipchoge


Always remember that when battles are like a flood there is a standard, a red line it cannot cross. We gain strength by overcoming obstacles.

Ever had to give up? Remember why you started at first. That purpose is the reason why you must persist. Have a great day.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion reflection thoughts

Reflection: Counting the Costs 1

At times you need to stop everything you are doing to sit by yourself and mend your broken wings.

Cold evening and a To do list

I sit outside. A cold evening out here with me. A community of crickets quizzing through the grassland. A gust of wind upon my face, swinging my helpless lamp back and forth. The crickets, just like myself must be musing over the changes in weather conditions. Before now the noon was hot. Strong wind blew hot air and it has been two weeks since we saw the last rain. So all is dry. The mud on the once flooded road is cracked up, exposing the debris. I overheard an elderly man speak that the harmattan will come a little bit earlier this year. To me it’s too early to predict. Maybe the earth is recovering after all. I think.

The year is far spent and almost over. Memories of New year’s eve still fresh on my mind. I remember my wish to start my graduate education and to support some friends and relatives with their endeavours. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck and had most plans canceled or postponed. In spite of that, I’ve made outstanding success in some areas. But the year is not over yet.

On relationships

I’ve learned many things about relationships (dating). Sometimes it scares the trees out of my head to even think about those.

I’m not an expert when it comes to dating. In fact I’m not into one at the moment. I’ve observed my close friends try and it’s crystal clear that managing another person’s emotion(s) can be one huge task. Toxic people and relationships can suck the life out of other people. I’ve seen it happen. Yet I know that many relationships can change things for the better.

Categories
Inspiration/Motivation Love and Christianity love poems opinion quotes thoughts

Quote on Love

Of all the magic in the world, none is more powerful than love.

…And that’s if we accept that any other thing qualify as magic.

Love is a driving force. It can change things; perceptions and imaginations. Great achievements are accomplished through it. Great writers wrote about it. It’s something beautiful to love. Imagine what the world will look like when we love genuinely. Show love today.

Categories
education Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle quotes reflection thoughts

Quotes on Helping Others

1. Nothing makes life sweeter than making people happy.

2. The people you help today become your soldiers in the battle of life tomorrow.

3. To invest in properties is good, but to invest in people is far better.

4. To make money, make people.

5. Your greatest trophies are the tears you wipe away from people’s faces not the things you acquire.

6. Your greatest achievement should be raising achievers.

7. People will defend, stand by you & honour you when they realise you value them.

8. Don’t let other people’s ungratefulness stop you from making others great.

Categories
Inspiration/Motivation reflection thoughts

Selflessness

Someone is an answer to your prayers as you are to others

Seasons: Things just don’t happen

One beautiful thing about life is: there are seasons for everything so things just don’t happen. Everything happens to serve different purposes. Even in nature there are seasons. There are times for flowers to blossom, time for the night and day and time to eat or rest. In West Africa we have the rainy season and dry season. Each season has a role to play and must fulfil it’s purpose.

Selflessness

Here is a story from ODM that talks about selflessness and compassion. The lessons in this story goes beyond self.

A man was out taking pictures of eagles on a Sunday afternoon in Bellevue, Nebraska in the United States when he witnessed a Sedan (car) containing 3 men which lost control while crossing rail road tracks. The vehicle is a fire hydrant (big container where water is stored to put out fire) and then landed upside down in an ice-cold pond. According to ABC News Omaha affiliate station, KETV the man said “The car just came right in front of me; they hit the fire hydrant and I don’t think they even touched the ground They were airborne”. The man heard the occupants screaming for help and immediately jumped into action. He panicked when he heard the voice of one of them say, “Get me out, it’s filling of water”. But he overcame his initial fear, took a dive into the freezing water and managed to pull one of the car door open. Immediately he did, water started gushing out of the car. The man who screamed for help started making his way out of the car. He pulled him and got him out. He pulled another man and there after pulled another man. Gradually, he got three men out of the overturned and submerged vehicle. The man who was later hailed as the hero for saving the lives of this three men, said he will always look back at the pictures he took that day and be thankful because his timing was right and that he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

Remember always
Everyone on earth is here for a purpose. No one is extra human or excess human being. Abhijit Naskar reasoned thus, “Without purpose, we are just good looking animals.” Life is a place of inter connectivity! You were created to be an answer to somebody’s prayer. You are someone’s bundle of joy and someone was made to be your bundle of joy!

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral reflection thoughts

Poem: Twilight

Beginning and end
Light after dark
Dark before light
Darkened skies
With dancing fireflies
Breezy evening
Joyful moonlight
And glittering stars
A shepherd’s lore
Down the country
Sheep and goats,
Green and gold,
Patches of life,
Water and fire,
Dust and wind,
Heaven and earth
All in fine contrast
But happy unison
Shallow roots shoot
Masqueraded shadows
Of life or death,
Again beginning and end

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

Beirut

Beautiful Beirut and AUB

I’m writing about this lovely Mediterranean city because of my connection and attachment to it. I’ve seen several YouTube videos of it’s beautiful landscape and neighborhood. Beirut combines the tranquil setting of ancient history with the thrill of a modern city. I followed some Beirut based vlog channels and it’s always exciting to see another video made in this fine ancient city. Honestly I fell in love with Beirut.

The city lay on the foot of swift flowing and tumbling waters of the Mediterranean sea. AUB videos showed white beaches under the mild romance of sunshine. Date palms and coconuts, typical of such climate stand here and there. Perfect weather for outdoor reflection and relaxation, one unique only to Beirut’s position and location. Tall buildings block away the sun when the day was far spent. And just behind those skyscrapers you will find the view of spectacular mountains. I also saw restaurants preparing mouth watering dishes and surely this appealed to me. I love good food and admire places known for it. Paris and Beirut are my favourite good food cities in Europe and Asia respectively.

What actually brought my attention to the city at first was my application to the American University of Beirut (AUB). During this online application process I met compassionate and kind people who turned out to become friends. One in particular helped to keep me informed of school activities. Fortunately my application to the Master of Finance (MFIN) was accepted at the Olayan Business School (OSB). But for financial reasons I deferred this offer.

Unfortunate events

Few months ago Lebanon suffered from economic depression. The national currency lost its value and inflation went hyper. Food was scarce and cases of suicide was reported. At the background, reports of human rights abuses were rampant. Domestic maids who came from Africa and Asia were abused and many left unpaid for months long. Echoes of modern slavery rang out through this beautiful hilly country.

Early August, an explosion devastated the port and surrounding neighborhood. Hundreds died and more went missing. The wounded was in thousands. Hospitals and medical centres were overwhelmed. It was horrific. The video I saw captured the fumes as it enveloped the port, sending shattered glasses and debris across it. Cars and buildings were overturned and damaged. The cost of lives and property destroyed in this blast was in millions of USD.

Pray for Beirut

I read some heartwarming news. Several countries sent aid to Beirut. Greece, France and others contributed to this aid. Even the French President visited Beirut. This shows that the world stood with the people of Lebanon at this trying time. I also read promises made by other nations and corporate individuals.

No matter what led to the explosion or what really happened on that fateful day; the reaction and aid from the international community proved that Lebanon is truly loved. I only hope that the cruel treatment of domestic workers are stopped and that the radiant beauty of this city shine forth upon her residents. I’ll always remember Beirut in my prayers.

Categories
culture/tradition education lifestyle Nigeria opinion reflection thoughts

Opinion: Leadership Woes

Admitting imperfections are great ways to becoming a better person, people and leaders.

City of Talents and Resilient people

I was born and raised in Ogbor hill, a suburb of Aba, a city in Southern Nigeria. Aba is known for its industry and export of labour to many Nigerian cities and overseas. The city is full of talents and all manner of craftsmen and women live in it. As a manufacturing town, traders and private businesses such as leather works, pottery, brick, electronics, food processing, plastics, metal, cosmetics, distilleries, and fabric call the city home. Most of these factories are owned by private residents. Many foreigners also trade in the city’s large markets and the enterprising spirit in Aba can be likened to none in Nigeria. The city itself is a big market. Aba youth is highly skilled. It’s common to see graduates turn to business as means of livelihood. This enterprising spirit led many to pick up different skills and develop talents to fit in with Aba’s resilient business environment.

Little is done to encourage the budding enterprise which has been in the city for decades. Yet Aba can contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth if her potentials are well harnessed.

Sadly I remember dead startups and factories and even more on their way to moribundity.

Leadership woes

Like most African cities, government neglect is common. Lack of proper economic planning and public infrastructure kept the city running in circles. With no visible economic plan on ground, Aba records low growth and decline in economic activities each year. In civilized economies, a city that shows promising private ventures involved in wealth creation and industrialization is aided by the government. When government steps in, it should be to create an enabling business environment. But this is not always so. There are key areas to focus on should the government decide to fix Aba’s unique economic landscape. First and foremost, good road network and stable electricity should be in place. Sadly, Aba’s road and drainage systems are in a state of limbo and contributes to road accidents recorded each year. In Aba electricity distribution is epileptic, or let me put it in milder words: not consistent. This push away investors and increases cost of production as businesses resort to generators for power.

The Way forward?

The two best ways to start government intervention is by bringing uninterrupted power supply and building good roads in Aba. This two can go a long way in encouraging businesses and startups. Providing clean water, markets, tax incentives and holidays, patronising local content will help too.

Not only will good road networks encourage inter state trading, it will enable access and more businesses to thrive in rural places where electricity is cheaper. If steady electricity is achieved, government can work to reduce the electricity rates paid by startups and businesses.

Despite years of government neglect, the city’s people had grown thick skin to negligence and the saying that life must find a way vividly applies to the city’s hustle and bustle. Aba will continue to live because it is a city made resilient and popular by her own people.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

Keeping Valuable Relationships

Sometimes those who crown kings don’t look like kings and may never become kings but they can help one wear the crown.

A short story

There was a poor man who wrote a book at the age of 40 and decided to launch it on his birthday. He had no money to fund the launching and so he decided to seek help from a millionaire in his community.

He made a visit to the millionaire’s home and after they exchanged pleasantries, he told his host what brought him. The millionaire told him to take out a piece of paper and pen. He said, “I’ll give you a test. If you pass it, I’ll give you the money you need and if you fail, I’ll still give you the money”. He then told him to write down the names of 10 people who could give him 10k each for his book during the launch. Surprisingly, the man could not write even 3 names.

Relationship is a currency

It’s not enough to have talent and skills. But there is much gain in building valuable relationships. A wise man once said, your network is directly proportional to your net worth.

Relationship is a stream of income.
Everything in life actually reproduces on the basis of relationship. Men are lifted through men. Many are talented but lack the right direction and person to announce them.

Who one knows matters a lot in life. There are heights and opportunities one will never attain if one don’t understand the power of keeping valuable relationships. Classmates and colleagues at work may be the ones that will lead one to his/her destiny helper because you have no idea who they know.

It takes just a recommendation to change a story. Don’t despise anyone. They might be needed one day.

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Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle opinion Pastoral reflection thoughts

Story: Be there for someone


An old man once told me the story of how as a young man, his mother used to ask him: “What is the most important part of your body?” Through the years, he would take a guess at what he thought was the correct answer. First time, his answer was: “The ears.” The mother replied: “No, many people are deaf. But you keep it and I’ll ask you soon again.” Several years passed before she asked him again. His second answer was: “My eyes”. The mother told him: “You are learning fast, but the answer is not correct, there are many people who are blind.”

Then a year later, his father died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was crying. Then the mother looked at the graveside and when it was their turn to say their final goodbye to their father, she asked him, “Do you know the most important body part yet, my son? He was shocked when she asked him by the graveside. The mother said to him: “Don’t be confused or shocked. This question is very important now and it shows you have really lived in your life. For every body part you gave me in the past, I have told you that you were wrong and I have given you an example why. But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.” Then the mother looked down at him and threw her head to his shoulder and hugged him. With tears in her eyes, she said “My son, the most important part of your body is your shoulder.”

Wow! This young man was forced to ask: “Mum, it is because it holds up my head?” She replied, “No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes in life. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.” There and then this young man knew the most important body part is not a selfish one. It is made for others and not for yourself. It is sympathetic to the pain of others.

People will forget what you said and did. But people will never forget how you made them feel in their crises times. Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but you always know them when they around you. No wonder a wise man said “If you want to be wisely selfish, care for others.” Yes! It will come back for you. Be someone’s shoulder today.

Culled and editted from the ODM.

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Inspiration/Motivation lifestyle opinion reflection thoughts

8 August: Birthday Wish

Birthdays are rare
They come once in a year

Unique Birthday: A set of Eights!

Ah, it’s today. 8th day of 8th month of the year 2020. I usually write poems or stories to celebrate but this year’s birthday is unique. So instead of a poem I’ll muse about the actual numbers that made my birthdate special. My birth certificate reads that I was born on 8.24 AM in the year 198*. Even the minutes are multiples of 8, haha! If I had to scribble out my birthdate it will read thus: 8.24 AM, 8/8/8*. One princess from the United Kingdom share exactly this day with me.

How do I feel?

‘So how does it feel to be a year older?’ a close friend had asked me over the phone. I knew it was a rhetorical question meant to reflect on what I’ve done with my time and self since the last birthday. Normally I would have said I feel nothing since the question focused on my self. Personal achievements are not a yardstick to measure overall success.

‘I feel special. I feel alive. I feel fulfilled and I hope for better things to come, not just for me but for every good person.’ To be honest this is what I feel, at least for these past few months. The year 2020 had been a tough one. It brought death, disease, drought, and man-made disaster. Poverty is still at large. Many lost loved ones. I lost a sister, an uncle and some relatives and friends. The lessons I picked broke the mirror called self. I started engaging in humanitarian work and volunteering online for charities, foundations and organizations. This threw me out of my introvert shell. I met great people who had become a strong network. The opportunities I sought before the pandemic came calling and I grabbed them with both hands. I’m glad to be helping other people with my talents, no matter how little. That’s what I count as real achievement.

So I won’t dwell or reflect on my personal success. If I do, I’ll say I achieved very little this past year.

Birthday wish

What do you wish for? This is the big birthday question. No one can give an appropriate answer in one response. At the moment, it’s futile to wish for some things. Nevertheless, I’m just happy to see others happy and successful.

So I make this wish for myself today; for longlife to continue in service to my faith, my nation and humanity, for prosperity to help the impoverished, destitute and be the voice of the voiceless, and for success to inspire children and other youth around the world. Finally, I wish that the world may know tolerance, peace and love. I wish myself a happy birthday.

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opinion reflection thoughts

Thoughts on Global Tension

An African proverb goes thus: when two elephants fight the grass suffers. The only issue in the case I’m about to discuss is that both the elephants and grasses suffer.

News
Before the advent of novel corona virus, the world knew some peace. I mean there were wars, civil unrests and some economies wobbled on unsteady legs, but the world never came close to this level of distrust, hate, and xenophobia towards one another. Before corona virus we could sit and reason on the same table but this is not the case anymore.

Each day I wake to heart breaking news. Nations isolate, build wall boundaries as the US did across its southern border with Mexico and Brexit from the EU. Other nations focused on territorial expansion and conquest: China, Pakistan and India in Kashmir and Lakda; Israel and Palestine Territories; Greece and Turkey; China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and South China Sea. Spying and economic sabotage is the new. Corona virus for example crippled some economies. Suddenly more satellites are sent into space, more equipment are purchased for armed forces. India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other countries are purchasing military equipment. Lands (and islands, previously without military presence) are rapidly fortified. Economic guru’s say the world economy is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Countries retreat into their shells, to withdraw from alliances and agreements. Nationalism are on record high. It had overtaken common human reason. The human selfish and greedy nature is awoken. Nations pledge loyalty to their benefactors or brethren. Communism and capitalism engage in a ruthless tug of war. Yet the world is faced by other pressing issues like rising poverty levels and insecurity, unemployment and lack of quality education. Lebanon’s economic woe has more than our eyes see. Hong Kong, an important international financial hub is no longer under the influence of the West and this is causing ripples globally. Religion is persecuted and minorities silenced or sent to camps in Asia and Africa. Freedom is gradually suppressed. At this time, things don’t look good for the human race. The truth is that the world is heading for a conflict.

What am I really talking about?

I’m no politician but I follow political trends. I need no gainsaying to know that the world is very sick. I also don’t need a soothsayer to tell that corona virus is not the major bone of contention. Why should America and Europe bear the brunt of the Corona virus disaster while China, where it came from record lesser cases? I don’t want to buy into theories. Not yet.

Every nation and region has a fair share of internal disturbance. This shows that no national ideology is perfect. So we must stop trying to impose on others our ideologies. America and the rest of the world is still contending with racism. Recent global riots on racism and black life matter protests attest to that. China is grappling with human rights violations like the case of the Uighur muslims. The EU has shown its weakness by taking biased decisions. The UK is not perfect, Scotland is dissatisfied and nationalism is growing. The German, French and Italian economies are not that strong anymore, Brussels has a big job to do. Talking about economy, Venezuela, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and some other nations suffer from hyper inflation. Does it look like someone is testing how inflation rates will look on selected samples from each continent? Sine Fein wants political and economic unification of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Middle East is divided into factions; Iran and Saudi Arabia leading different factions. The war in Yemen is one of selfish interest and does not reflect what the average Yemeni wants. Turkey is fighting for her interests in Libya and currently having a roll with Greece. From Burma, to Thailand and Malaysia human rights abuses are recorded. We don’t need to talk about North Korea, it’s a very secretive country. Siberia just like Biafra and Catalonia demand their independence and liberties from Russia, Nigeria and Spain respectively. This is a global uproar.

To summarize, I have few questions that I’ll like to answer. First, why the sudden land grabbing, territorial expansion and intent to exercise economic and political influence over other people? I know this has been happening before now, but why the sudden intensity? In my opinion, I’ll say with the look of things, it seems that some nations are grabbing resources and spaces in preparation for something. What is this something? Whatever it is, it won’t spell good for anyone.

I’ll end with a rhetorical question: do you agree with me that there are forces anxiously fighting to destroy the global economy and possibly ignite a worldwide conflict?