Archive for the ‘world politics’ Category

Southern Statue Removal is Wrong: Here is a much better idea!

August 18, 2017

Confederate flags, nazis, white “supremacists”, statues of the Civil War losers – these are all things we could do without. But removing symbols and statues, fighting, killing or being killed to do so is completely wrong.

What is needed – BADLY NEEDED – is the legal REPLACEMENT of the statues. The Southern States should never have been allowed to erect statues to losers, or to display the disgusting symbol of racism – the confederate flag. They SHOULD have been taught in school that the Confederacy lost, slavery was abolished and now it is time to think right and move on. But they weren’t educated at all. Instead, they put on white robes and carried on with their lost cause.

So now there is an opportunity to start things on the right course. Replace the statues of losers with the statues of winners – of real heroes who fought heroically to do away with slavery. (I also include one person who stood up proudly to the Nazis on behalf of the United States.)

I have ten suggestions to start with. (1) Frederick Douglas; (2) William A. Jackson; (3) Robert Smalls; (4) Rosa Parks; (5) Harriet Tubman; (6) James Daniel Gardner; (7) Martin Luther King; (8) Miles James; (9) Abe Lincoln; (10) Jesse Owens.

That is just a beginning of great replacements for the statues of losers from the Civil War. There are MANY MORE possibilities.

It takes patience, planning and financing to replace statues. But it can be done. Crowdfunding would be a quick and strong way to do it.

What got me thinking about all this?  The news, of course,  and an email the other day, asking me to contribute to a “Silent March on DC”. The organiser wants to raise $400,000 for the March. I would rather put my money towards something that will make a lasting difference – like a statue of Harriet Tubman replacing Robert E. Lee. That’s where my money is going.

This is an opportunity for the people who want to end discrimination and racism. Plant good seeds in the South. It will take time to reap the rewards – but it will be worth it!

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Feminism Book Review

March 31, 2017

Dear Ijeawele, or A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This extraordinary little book gets right to the heart of raising a daughter to become a strong and independent person in a world where inequality is rampant. Fifteen suggestions are carefully constructed and could provide a valuable tool box for both parent and child.

If the term “feminist” throws you off, here it is defined as a person who believes in and acts on the goal of all people being equal. It means equal in all opportunities. In all ways. It doesn’t mean “Feminism Lite”;  it means “you either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

Adichie writes “Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. . . ‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever”.  This is a foundation for teaching equality. “Separate but equal” is not the same thing and is not applicable. The author gives good examples of how this works and how it could be applied to sons as well as daughters.

Another key concept that Adichie suggests is to “Teach her to question language”. It is not as easy as you might think and the author points out that you will have to question your own language.

“Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions.” She writes. Indeed, language is incredibly powerful – and often underestimated.

The book, which takes about 30 minutes to read, is an open letter to her friend, who has asked for advice in raising her daughter.

It addresses concepts like marriage, likeability, sex, identity, appearance, and one of the most important things in life – “difference”. Important because every human being on this planet is unique – something we often forget in our rush to label and box people based on some irrelevant basis.

“Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary.” And along those lines, the author ends with “I hope that (your daughter) will be full of opinions, and that her opinions will come from an informed, humane, and broad-minded place.”  A great place for the book to end…and this review of a beautiful and powerful book.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is from Nigeria. She is also the author of We Should All be Feminists.

Book Review by Phil Dynan, working artist.

A Time for Change in France and Africa and the US, too. Je ne suis pas Charlie.

January 12, 2015

Afrique being impaled...art by Phil Dynan

This week saw an horrific murder of thousands in Nigeria and also the despicable murder of a magazine staff in France. One event generated millions of responses and tons of money being thrown at the French magazine. I think millions got it wrong. And I think it is time for a big change in thinking on this planet.

Afrique (as the French say) is a continent battered and raped for centuries by colonialist powers including France. They left a legacy of poverty and desperation. Even today, Africans are generally looked down and marginalised in French society (this I know from living in Paris) and in other parts of the world, including the US.

A magazine that specialized in depraved “humour” and easy targets was on the edge of bankruptcy and with good cause. Picking on the marginalized and “religion” is a “soft” target for the lazy and insensitive. That magazine deserved, not the event that took place, but to go into bankruptcy. It deserved to be forgotten and was on its way out.

The Africans murdered in Nigeria were mostly women, children and the aged – people that could not outrun the “religious” lunatic fanatics of Boco Haram. They did not deserve this death either.

But why does the French magazine get the attention and money? It seems to me that it is an extension of the disregard and oppression of the people of Afrique – the almost endless attempt to marginalise the “black man” (and here I use the term “black man” to symbolize the people of Africa, not as a “literal” definition).

I say it is time for a change in attitude and values. I think it is time to re-build Africa, not stand by and watch the results of Western colonization and abandonment of this precious people.

Give that village in Nigeria the money and attention it deserves. Build them a secure and safe town, with running water and electricity. Take the money from the racist magazine in Paris and give it to people who deserve it. Take the “solidarity” behind the not-so-funny cartoon rag and give it to the people of Africa. End the racism and the taking advantage of the African people. Stand with Africa.