Feed My Children

the20flyGrowing up in an American middle class, middle income family I never had to go without dinner. Even when things were tough there was usually more than enough to go around, and plenty to store in the refrigerator to heat up for the next day’s lunch. My mother used to threaten on those days when I would pick through my meal that poor children in Africa were starving and would love to have a meal just like mine. I used to think that if they were starving and liked the Hungarian hot-dish my mother made that I should send them mine. After all, I wasn’t that thrilled with it. I could share. Yet, as I grew older I learned that one could not just stick dinner in a box and ship it to Africa. The logistical problems back then as is the same case now are a nightmare. So the question became, ‘How does one feed the masses who are starving in Africa?’

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Bankrupting a country

bankrupt1Imagine the following scenario. You are a businessman. For years you have been under the rule of a large company. You were the manpower behind several big strategies that rendered a company quite successful, however, you were never allowed to make any company decisions. You grew tired of making others rich so you decided to venture out on your own. At first everything seemed promising. Your future looked bright and secure. You took out loans to pay for your new venture. But now business is bad. You can’t afford to pay your start up costs, let alone your employees. There is no money. What do you do? For most of us it is the same old story. We foreclose the business and file bankruptcy. Now imagine if we were not talking about you as a businessman. What if we were talking about a government? Governments cannot file bankruptcy. Countries cannot be foreclosed upon. Now what? What happens when these institutions overstep their capabilities? One suggestion that has been put forward has always been to provide debt relief. Robert Snyder and Dorothy Logie, as well as Logie’s collegue Michael Rowson take that suggestion under consideration in William Moseley’s book Taking Sides: Clashing views on African Issues.

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Once Upon a Time… in Africa

africacolonialMany people have heard the phrase ‘Once upon a time’. Typically, the phrase started a morality story; a sort of fairytale that would teach children about endurance, behavior, and becoming an adult. Now it is a phrase that can be associated into what was once and what might have been.

Once upon a time, Africa was a continent ruled by the people that inhabited the land. They had their own cultures, customs, and life. Some groups were simple. They cared only to provide what they needed and would travel in the pattern of migration. Others were complex. They created urban centers and elaborate societies. Both groups did quite well. Conflict was kept to a minimum, and there was land enough for a multitude of things. Yet those things changed with the advent of colonialism. Foreigners entered the land. They bought and sold everything. Concepts such as boarders, and stringent patrilineal social hierarchies were fashioned after these foreigner’s customs and forced upon the local inhabitants; thereby creating havoc.

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Rites and Wrongs

            Every culture or society has their own rights of passage. What seems like an everyday ordinary experience that all young people go through seems like a barbaric, inhumane and oppressive ritual to others. One such rite of passage is FGC or female genital cutting. As William G. Moseley’s book Taking Sides: Clashing Views on African Issues shows this is a rite of immeasurable debate. Continue reading

Are experts part of the problem?

Not long ago I read an article by William M. Arkin called “Iraq: Experts are Part of the Problem”. Arkin’s article went on to explain that the movers of Washington were merely experts and that these experts had no opinions what so ever as to what was going on. He claimed that they knew the rhetoric of government, strategy and logistics, as well as were able to argue and debate issues such as weapons of mass destruction, but were paralyzed when it came to actually having an official political position. Instead of helping the government to properly asses its actions and legitimize its reasons for entering a drawn out war or debating if US led action in the region would be helpful or hurtful, our experts were analyzing the small things like the minimum number of troops that could accomplish the governments goal and if those troops needed masks. He went on to claim that these experts were doing the same sort of thing in other areas of the region (especially in relation to the current situation in Iran.) Continue reading

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