Going back to Africa

I must confess to mixed feelings now.

It has taken some time to get to this point. Nearly twenty years in fact.

This has been quite a sudden realisation; not so long ago I wrote a poem about returning my spirit to Africa, where I grew up and where 10 generations of ancestors are buried:

Journey

Like a boomerang, we go forwards to go back

to our hearts home where our mum’s wombs rest.

From light to dark and smooth to shoddy.

People simple but direct, not so friendly.

But it’s the home of our heart and soul,

darker Africa, so far and so near.

The warm people now despondent

about unrealised comforts, leached away by lazy overlords,

Maybe blamed on us, who give, build and take.

 

Where I die, twirl a thorn twig,

catch my ghost and take it home,                                         

like a boomerang, back from where we came,

to the bosom of the family we left.

Then maybe I will rest.

 

Now our near family is here, not there. Without a doubt, feelings are mixed.

But now I feel as if I am leaving home, not going home.

I am happy and sad.

(The picture is a twig from the Umlahlankosi tree that can be used to carry the spirit of the deceased from the place of death to a new resting place).

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It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in

Do not for one moment think that the Establishment exists for your benefit or that the government or the opposition or doctors or bankers are right.

 

Check the facts – make your  own mind up.

 

With that as a theme I reviewed some articles I had saved and these are a few quotes that I found thought provoking from an article called Intolerant Liberals by Tucker Fitzgerald 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”Isaac Asimov

Do not accept everything you are told by the Man:

There is no such thing as an outright political lie. Instead there’s distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation,deception, half-truth and overstatement. The assumption is that the risk is worth it.

Because democracy isn’t the only value we hold. We don’t accept the 51% enslaving the 49% by popular vote. Because Hitler was brought to power by a democratically elected government. Because American slavery was legal.

lenin deception

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Gary Kasparoff

Now  – getting closer to the point I want to make:

More people are recognizing that the economic paradigm that guides our global system today is deeply misaligned with a thriving future.

The Neoliberal economic system is a cultural construct. It has a particular history and espouses a cogent set of core beliefs, social values, and organizational practices. There is a narrative coherence to notions of “freeing” markets from regulation, letting wealth “trickle down” from the coffers of the rich, and a “rugged individualism” that pays too little attention to the social factors that shape economic outcomes.

Joe Brewer

Soreefersmetime last week Queensland news was filled with the successful busts by police of numerous marijuana growers who had rented suburban houses and converted them to grass growing hothouses. A number of serious statements were made about these heavy criminals.

 

There have been over twelve million cannabis arrests in the United States from 1996 until 2013.

35.6 percent of 12th graders in US and 67% of medical students had used marijuana during the year prior to a recent survey

Also last week, I received an article from an investment advisor heavily tipping investment in marijuana projects listed on stock exchanges.bank of ganja

The United States Marijuana Index (a stock exchange index) has jumped from a level of 48.39 a year ago to the current level of 70.83, an increase of 46%

Enjoying a growth rate of 77% over the last few years and an estimated 700% growth rate by 2018, it’s bigger than corn, bigger than cotton, and bigger than wheat.

In fact, according to UN data, it’s valued at about $142 billion. To put that in perspective, the global coffee market is valued at about $80 billion per year.

Possession and cultivation are Federal offences but lawful in over half the states in US. It will be totally decriminalised in Canada next year. Possession is lawful in South Africa and Netherlands. Medical marijuana can be lawfully prescribed in Australia.

Now how about that for a disconnect in values?

I am not a recreational user (yet), but I may well become an investor.

How does one reconcile that with being a law abiding citizen?

 

And just to see if you are awake and did read this to the end, I have included a quotation which should make most of my African readers grin.

This is a gentleman’s affectionate description of his donkey:

“most fokkin fency-schmency blerrie fokkin perd on the whole of the Cape-Flats, eating epples from fokkin Woolwurths.”

donkey grin

Ephemera *

*things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.can opener

To think that motor cars, meat, doctors, lawyers (yay!), teachers are ephemeral, just temporary fads, is quite sobering.

My grandfather was a cavalryman, born in 1861 in Ireland. He died in 1931.  I am pretty sure he never owned a motor car.

A forecast I read (which I checked out in case it was fake – it wasn’t) noted:

In 2018 the first self driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving.

My grandkids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car.

Here’s another point from the same list:

  • The price for solar will drop so much that all coal companies will be out of business by 2025.
  • With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.
  • Aeroponics will need much less water. lab burger
  • The first petri dish produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow  produced veal in 2018. …

There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat.

Sustainability requires us to reduce the environmental footprint of the meat producing industry…accounting for some 18% of our total greenhouse gas emissions.

A Tricorder X machine  that works with your phone, will replace your doctor:  it takes your retina scan, blood sample and you breath into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.

online medic

shongololo

Enough for today – my mind has been boggling since I read this… hope I didn’t spoil your day.

Anyone for a shongololo burger ...

spidersauce

 

 

with spidersauce…?

Another Myth

Once upon a time, less than 40 years ago, I sent people to gaol for growing hemp; reeferswell, the recreational type of it. In those days it was used as a drug for purposes of pleasant intoxication and it was verboten!

It seems that marijuana was caught up in the prohibition legislation years when all intoxicants were demonised and prohibited: liquor, morphine, heroin, etc.

Before that industrial hemp was a major crop: even George Washington grew it, as did the ancient Egyptians. Henry Ford said: “Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” 

Big business seems to have had a hand in suppressing the cultivation of all types of hemp.

These days we are slowly rediscovering the wonders of hemp (including marijuana). All that is necessary is to re-educate ourselves. Even legislators are grudgingly relenting on the illegalities of cannabis, persuaded by its undoubted medicinal benefits.

We are all educated to a high level now, so we can get over the mythical monsters of past propaganda… even communism has been deflated as a 20th Century bogey.

So … get your mind around the fact that industrial hemp is a wonderful and highly useful plant:

  • 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with hemp fibre until 1883. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle, but hemp stalks only take four months to mature, whereas trees take 20 to 80 years.
  • Clothing & Fabrics: One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton
  • Hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic.
  • Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today… and is completely biodegradable hempstalk_diagram
  • Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: biodiesel, or ethanol and methanol.
  • Hemp seeds are very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, they contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
    • In Australia it fetches above the average price of grains that are currently grown.
  • In Canada, industrial hemp has become a booming multi-million dollar export.

So check it out for yourself. You will find that like butter, hemp is good stuff! Become a new age hero and promote hemp as a replacement for paper and fossil fuel.

Not as easy as you may believe. Common sense has other opposition:

hemp joke

This is the new age challenge: rooting out fake news and reviving buried treasures of the past: Remember Nikola Tesla  – his inventions are now being realised as the treasures they are!

There’s a kick in Silly Socks!

no necktie noblesThose of you who have followed the doings of the sillysocksonfriday school/movement will know that victory was recently declared in the campaign against the necktie and a new target was identified: plastic bags!

no use bag

Well now, you may be as surprised as we were when within a few weeks of our declaration, the big supermarkets announced they were banning the horrible thin bags and would promote re-usable bags.

sugar snakeAs you will recall we also targetted the sugar snake recently and there are increasingly loud calls for a sugar tax as a prelude to a stronger campaign to reduce sugar usage.

no sugar cokeCoca Cola have now released a No Sugar Coke and are moving into the bottled water market.

Tell me that is not mega-impact!

So where to now? We need a Goliath to tumble!

don quixoteObsolete windmills or naked emperors are the preferred targets for a quirky tilt, but occasionally some dumb stunt will prompt a rant or a sunny day an ode to the good life.naked emperor

Please add your ideas and targets in a comment below.

namaste.jpg                                                           Namaste!

Because it played on Pandora today and it has always moved me, I have added this little gem  from Crosby, Stills , Nash and Young for y’all:

Teach your children    (click on the link to hear the song)

You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a goodbye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they pick, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
and so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they pick, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Honour the Warrior

iwo-jima glory

“One hour of life crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honour or observation.”

Sir Walter Scott as quoted by Peter FitzSimons when writing about the recent Lions vs All Blacks third test.

It caught my heart as had a clip on Facebook showing the last parade of the Rhodesian Light Infantry in 1980.

It got me thinking about passion and the drive to pursue adventure into the face of danger, and courage and why so many seek to confront death.

morituri te saluant

The warrior heart, the need to prove courage, dominate and defeat opponents?

It has been so forever: Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!

 

I believe it is not just the pursuit of glory. It is justification of our primordial need to defend and protect our community and values.

I hope that the story of the Spartans’ defence at Thermopylae is still told in schools and will always be told and the  Victoria Cross, Croix deGuerre, Medal of Honour and Iron Cross continue to inspire and motivate new generations.

It is all very well to debate and decry the horrors of war and predict that modern society will have no place for warriors but pay heed to the words of PF Sloan written in 1964 (over 50 years ago) when he was just 19:

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

I remember it made my Mum cry, because there is always somewhere on the eve of destruction. She knew all our ancestors had carried weapons and served in armies and that it was likely her sons and their sons would too – and so it was.

We need warriors and defenders of our communities and they need supporters.

Hmmm! That’s as rough as guts…! Enough!

It’s Friday, so here’s something that might make you feel a bit better:

cold-beer “Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.” –  Henry Lawson

That is philosophy and by the time you get your head around it, you will be ready for another one.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

So sang Kristofferson and Joplin after Bobby McGee left them heartbroken and bereft.

That may be true in the sense that relationships and possessions carry obligations which are fetters on your freedom.

Throughout Africa, freedom from colonial rule has led to continued corruption and tyranny, the destruction of agriculture and plunder of natural resources without regard for posterity and a disregard for welfare of the people, which will soon leave nothing left to lose.

In the supposedly more civilised ‘western world’, increased freedoms have led to the inability of governments to curtail or restrict the increasingly conflicted demands on the fiscus and the disempowerment of Police, Border Control and Armed Forces. Soon they too may have nothing left to lose, because everything is free.

But I digress.

I have recently done a course on What Works in Development Aid strategies

corruption funnel

The course started off by saying that not many aid strategies worked because of the rip-offs by the empowered elites in recipient countries.

Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians are still starving after how many years and dollars of aid . In addition, because the development aid in health has been so successful, there are many more people doomed to hunger!

We are talking big money: $135 billion in 2014 spent by OECD countries alone!

The United Nations sustainable development goal number 1 is: to leave no-one behind by 2030. Cute, hey?

trickle down effectPerhaps consideration should be given to the existence of the development aid industry as a whole: from UN agencies, to government ministries, to universities to aid workers and supply chain operators – is it worth the significant expenditure of taxpayers dollars?

Should foreigners be intervening in sovereign states to prolong life expectancy in a world where natural resources are being depleted and destroyed by too many people?

Or is the development aid industry too entrenched to re-consider its roots. The disguise or suspicion of imperialism and market growth will remain.

Should we continue to shore up tyranny by removing the desperation of their populace, who eventually must be the authors of their own liberation? The alternative is the one that communism and agencies like the CIA instigated: arming people to enable them to confront abuses. Is the morality not the same?

The survival of our world is threatened by the wholesale destruction of our environment by unrestrained economies with burgeoning populations. The survival imperative is to safeguard resources. Economic and political interventions are apparently tenuous and entail the appeasement of tyrants for success, which is morally unpalatable.

Military intervention to impose and sustain appropriate institutions and practices is an alternative, but failed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somaliland, Syria and is much more expensive and politically sensitive!

However, my putative rant hit a brick wall.

A little more research and thinking about the topic suggests that it is in fact very necessary expenditure:

  • On average, the richer states spend only about 0.7% of their gross national incomes on aid (relatively insignificant)
  • it curbs global spread of diseases
  • it buys friends, allies and access to resources
  • it provides markets…
  • the aid industry employs many people at home and abroad; e.g.: in the US all aid supplies must be made in the US.

In 1990, 1.9billion (36%) of the the world population of 5.3 billion, lived in extreme poverty. In 2010, only 1.2 billion (18%) of the increased population of 6.8 billion, lived in extreme poverty. Aid is believed to have significantly contributed to this reduction in poverty and increased life expectancy and the eradication of a number of diseases.

It also definitely contributed to the 28% increase in population.

 

There are other secondary (or maybe primary objectives), like the renewed

scramble for Africa, illustrated by the numerous and significant projects

china aid.gif

funded and manned by China.

 

 

It is ironic that China was one of the main supporters of the spread of communism in Africa, until its loss of credibility.

 

 

 

However, over 150 countries (of the 196 in the world) have committed

themselves to the United Nations Development Programme’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

 

This is where our hopes lie, as signatories can be held accountable to their commitments.

Here’s hoping!

global goals