As I have been following the current news events out of Africa, it is disturbing to see all the images of chaos, death, disease, greed, genocide and corruption. Is that all there is or is that only what is being fed to us? I have always believed that western society’s (and the global) view of those of African descent starts, is influenced and perpetuated by these negative media images from the Motherland. I also believe that these images have an effect on how “we” see ourselves here in the Diaspora.
Africa is indeed resource rich. However, despite the dismal news reports and negative images, Africa has much more to offer the world other than it’s material resources, that is being raped and stolen for the benefit of former neocolonial regimes and to enrich their propped up African overseers! One of the resources we don’t utilize enough as people of African descent, are the many voices that are available to be “mined” for our benefit. There are cultural, political, econimic, artistic, literary and spiritual gems of experiences, knowledge, beliefs, values, insights and opinions, which are available to help bring clarity and strength to our being. The continent is rich in books, films, magazines, music, websites and blogs, etc., which are the invaluable jewels that their best and brightest have to offer the world.
For this month’s carnival, let’s share and exchange some of the priceless resources from the Motherland that have enriched and brought joy to our lives. Create a post on your page with African based web links, as well as book, music, magazine, movie and blog lists, etc., and submit a link to Afrospear@hotmail.com by this Sunday 10th February. I will compile the links and publish the carnival on Monday the 11th.
Over the holidays one of the books I read was “An Ordinary Man” by Paul Rusesabagina. His real life experience as the general manager of the Hotel Mille Collines during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was the inspiration for the film “Hotel Rwanda“.
One of the issues he discusses, which I found to be profound, was the question of whether the true nature of human beings was more geared towards doing evil than good? As a species, do we fall primarily under the Darwinian law of “survival of the fittest”, the resulting by-product of which are the wars, conflicts, genocides and other atrocities which we continually face throughout the ages, the present and into the future? Are we engaged in a losing battle against the very nature of humankind, i.e., the “so-called” 7 deadly sins: pride, jealousy, greed, gluttony, lust, anger, laziness… when we put forth the effort to be humble, supportive, generous, sharing, exercise self-control, forgiving and responsible? Are the virtues of justice, equality, liberty, integrity, charity, kindness, mercy, etc., figments of our imaginations and delusions of our spirit? And if doing “evil” is not the natural state of humankind, then what is it, why aren’t we doing it and how do we get there?
To participate in this carnival, post an essay on this topic on your blog page and then forward the link of your post to Afrospear@hotmail.com, by Sunday 13 January. The carnival date will be Monday 14 January when all the links will be posted here.
“Great topic – but to be honest…this takes some time to think about…you know, to try to formulate your thoughts correctly.”
This was a comment left on my blog page in response to the December Carnival topic. Does it take that much effort to think about something positive…. to share what we are thankful for and hopeful of? And is this effort and time worth expending? Well it appears the answer is a resounding “yes” and “no” respectively, as only one person submitted a post…. and it wasn’t the commentator above. But here is mine since I choose to end the year on a positive note.
There are 2 things that I want to share that I am thankful for in 2007. One of course is the birth of my son. I was told by many people that my life would change. Intellectually I thought I understood… but I didn’t realize how much of a change. I love him so much. I cannot think of my life without him in it. My priorities, values and beliefs have all shifted…. for the better no doubt.
The second is the formation of the this Afrospear Think Tank page. The collective comprising of the original six started out strong with vision, energy and great ideas. It was ground-breaking in how it galvanized the Afrosphere and Blackosphere. It was unique in it’s attempt to bring together a variety of Afrocentric voices from different countries and continents. It is disappointing that the voices have dissipated…. have gone silent. I thank and commend Adrianne for keeping my hope alive by regularly contributing to this page. I am also thankful for Francis Holland, AAPP, Mark and Bronze Trinity who worked and struggled through the ups and downs to expand the scope of the vision and brought substance to the ideas. This leads into what I am hopeful for…..
I am hopeful that this page will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. Some others will catch the vision and see the value of contributing to this collective effort.
I am also hopeful that we as people of African descent will move towards emotional and intellectual healing and clarity…. and subsequently create our own ideologies. Not based on a reflection from the opaque and broken mirror of Eurocenric values, judging others based on religious and political beliefs, as well as their materialistic and social status. I am hopeful that we will create ideologies based on integrity, accountablility, resposibility and respect. We will be an example of the beneficial returns of listening intently to those who may disagree with our beliefs and have different values…. so that we can learn through humility (and to be humble).
I am finally both thankful and hopeful because of Anika at Writeblack who took the time and effort to share the five books she is thankful to have read and why (click here).
It took me a while to be able to sit down and formulate the topic for this month’s carnival topic, but here it is. I wanted come up with something positive to reflect upon, in relation for both the out-going and the upcoming year. Most of us have just come through the Thanksgiving festivities and are now gearing up for the holiday season and new year.
I read a lot of different materials. I read a lot of blogs also…. and there is a dominant undercurrent of negativity (I know some would call it: controversy) in the media, whether it is print or visual, and especially in the most popular blogs. But it’s understandable because controversy and negativity sells. It get’s the attention. That’s the way our societal mentality has developed…. so we are subconsciously and consciously programmed to focus on the bad…. the negative…. the so-called controversial. So I ain’t mad at yah! However I would like to end the year by asking us here to flip the script, stop drinking the koolaid for a moment, clear our minds and refocus our perspective, and seriously reflect on what are some of the things we are thankful for in 2007, and what are we hopeful for in 2008? What are the achievements in 2007 you are most proud of and what do you hope to achieve in 2008? It can be either personal, as a community you identify with or both…. and please don’t take it as you’re making some sort of new year’s resolution. That’s not the point of this exercise.
Please have the link to your post submitted by next Tuesday 11 December at Afrospear@hotmail.com, and the carnival date will be Thursday 13 December.
Thanks to those who participated. Additions are welcomed and respectful discussion is encouraged. As always, if you have an idea for a future Carnival topic, let us know at Afrospear@hotmail.com.
Jamelle discusses what reparation’s mean and more importantly, how we should really conceive of reparations at The United States of Jamerica.
Hathor argues that the public needs to understand the impact of slavery before reparations can be discussed at Hathor-Sekhmet.
Aaron sees the reparations movement as engaged in an unwinnable political contest and nothing more than a distraction and diversion at A Political Season.
Brother Pruitt lays out a blueprint (or should it be called “blackprint”) for his vision of the reparations movement as a guest blogger at Second Book of Asabagna.