Thursday, December 4, 2008

Final Project Blog: Positve Change

As you can see by this photo to the left, I am still quite touched by the happenings in Africa involving the topic of Child Soldiers. When I did my previous blog I believed my normal guaranteed emotion was revealed in my writing, but in that case I felt a little more compelled to continue my thoughts, research, and ideas about this issue. (Click here to see some visual examples of the topic from a well known documentary.)

Before I continue on I'd like to thank Dr. Allen Webb for bringing these issues and concerns not only to my attention, but to the interest of my classmates and several more throughout his journey for a better Africa.

Now moving on with my topic, I've come across a few sites I found interesting and that I wanted to go deeper into detail with my research for. A list of those sites include the following...

I'm sure (or at least I hope) these are just a few places where information is being given as well as action being taken to rehabilitate what damage has been done to these innocent children, and to STOP any of the things being done to continue using these children. Hopefully by the end of my final project I will have come up with some ideas that can really give aid and take action to prevent the mental, emotional, and physical destruction of children in Africa or anywhere else.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Child Soldiers (Shooting from the Knee Caps Down!)

What do you see when you look at this picture? What many would guess is an adorable child whose eyes are full of promise and love, although from his looks physically that promise may not be fulfilled. You may see a child in great need of a better chance at life than what he has been given, or maybe a child who may just hasn't had his bath yet. Any thought that may come to your mind about this little boy has just as much as a chance of becoming a reality than the next.Yet what the sad part really that there is one conclusion amongst all the ones you and I could think of that has an even greater probability as well as possibility for this young African child.

For this young child (as well as several others in Africa), his future has the greatest chance of being placed into a world of pain, hurt, destruction and chaos. For you see, this child like many others, will most likely become a CHILD SOLDIER for a rebellious army (or gang in most cases.) By the time this young boy reaches the age of seven, he will be taken in pure thievery away from his home and his family. By nine years old, he will be broken down mentally (brainwashed) into believing that his family is dead (rather it be truth or not) and that the only people that "care" for him are the soldiers he sees before him. By age eleven, he will be known for destroying an entire African village (city) bullet by bullet with each one aimed at what could be a loved one. At age thirteen, he most likely will have rape some one's mother, sister or cousin with out a second thought. Finally and most unfortunately, by the age of fourteen or fifteen he will be thrown to the wayside after he has done all that he was stolen to do. Left to dwindle away in his own insanity and agony.

This is what is happening at an continuous rate in places all over Africa. It is sad to say that this may not stop at the process this continent is in. Just think, this could be your younger brothers and sisters, or cousins. Maybe even your children. Or think, just a few years ago it could have been YOU. Now try to think what we as informed people can do to stop this from happening anymore. Let's try to find a way to give that child in the picture above a future full of that love and promise that fills his eyes. Other wise his future may look something like this...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Johnny Mad Dog

Emmanuel Dongala's Johnny Mad Dog is an extraordinary novel that displays truth in the most (To me) fantasized yet blunt way. The detail within each character's story throughout the novel completely intensifies every page in the book. Some situations were given so much detail and reality that it made me feel as though I were there in the midst of the action.

Tales of war, rape, power, greed, rebellion, just name off any scenario we've discussed in class that has a focus on Africa after colonialism and you will be sure to find an situation in this novel that can touch on it (from the lightest of modesty to the heaviest of heartache!) Even newer issues arise with the development of child soldiers' role in the occurrences that have taken place in Africa after colonialism.

Over all, this is a great read that has truly kept me captivated completely throughout my entire course of reading. I would highly recommend this novel to not only those who have concern about the issues in Africa, but to everyone who has the opportunity to explore this book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Soil Fertility

Soil fertility has become an issue with continuous effects that will forever leave it's impression on the continent of Africa as a whole, as well as the individual members of each country within the land. With the ever growing and strengthening market of oil in Africa, the land has come to a breaking point. Several African businesses were based mainly on being able to live off the land. Yet with oil being in the picture, these market fields have become obsolete due to the lack of quality to produce.

With the land in chaos, farmers can't grow crops, fishers can't fish because the fish can't survive within the land, and everything in between is left to rot. Due to this discrepancy in the land, everything has been left in an irreversible state of destruction. Oil has done more than put money in the pockets of corrupt military and political officials, but it has further deepened the despair of the African people as a whole.

What can be done to save this land? Better yet, at this point would there be a point to attempt it? I have as many answers as you, yet just as many answers. Sorry!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Bleeding of the Stone

Ibrahim Al-Koni's novel The Bleeding of the Stone was some what odd to me. I enjoyed the book due to it's "mystical"(for lack of a better term right now) story line. There were several moments in the book that seemed captivating, yet those moments were competing against the times during my reading where I was truly confused. Yet, the novel had it's "bright spots" to me. An example of such positive outlooks in the reading to me seems ironic considering I found it from a "negative" character.

The character Cain (which many would consider an "antagonist" in terms of stories) peaked my interest greatly throughout the novel. His actions and thoughts were so strong and somewhat uncalled for (although they were in order for the plot to play out.) His constant greed and lust to take from a land that he felt had done nothing for him, and what he did to take it was to me the very definition of evil (as describe in class.)

We took some time out in our discussion of his character, and we came across Cain's similarities to characters in novels we have previously read. The most potent one was the comparison of Cain's role in The Bleeding of the Stone and El Hadji's role in the novel Xala. We find that both of their character's attributes were derived from elements of greed, deception, in being inconsiderate. Their roles are further related du
e to them both having curses (although they weren't the same.)

All around the novel has its ups and downs but I can't complain. It was actually more of an interesting read than I had originally gave it credit for. Yet, it all revolves around the main topic we've been discussing somehow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pushed to the Limit!!!

I am SO tired of talking about this now! Don't get me wrong here, these past few months in class has opened my eyes to many things I couldn't even begin to imagine was true, and it has made me feel as though with the knowledge I've gained also came with the responsibility of spreading it for the better. I actually believe that each book we read and every discussion we have, being it the same topic or not, I learn a whole new concept of just what injustice is. But I'm like COME anybody else in this class getting tired of hearing new degrees of B.S. by the same immoral bastards (I know I'm not alone here, even if it's just me and Dr. Webb). So, excuse my French (because I'm clearly speaking English) but I WISH PEOPLE WOULD LEAVE AFRICA THE F*** ALONE!!!

(Oh and by the way...I started with this picture of me because I wanted a more visual way to imagine me STOMPING A MUD-HOLE in a corrupt jerk)

I'm sorry to seem so much like the typical "angry black man," but The happenings concerning African history as well as the wrong doings that continue to plague them today. I mean with all that occurred during colonization in African should be enough, but it gets worse even after colonization with the development of bigger business. So it's gone from slavery in exchange for natural resources such as rubber and diamonds, to the essence of imprisonment (being held captive in your own home which has been destroyed agriculturally, economically, politically, and culturally) for the natural resource of the 21st century...OIL! (This still leaves out the things that go on within the native cities due to what others have done/ i.e. poverty, rebels, child soldiers, etc.)

Maybe this was a waste of a blog, or maybe I'm just thinking too much with my heart instead of my brain. Yet I feel as though my anger is justified due to the fact that these injustices have happened, and continue to happen to this very day for SOME ONE ELSE'S PROFIT. These native people have been held hostage as slaves and prison mates for centuries now, and I for one am tired of it being that way. After this course, I hope to find out information of what's gone wrong in Africa, and even more information on what do do to help.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Waiting For an Angel

Helon Habila's award winning fiction novel Waiting For an Angel to me was a fairly nice reading. I'm pretty sure a few people would question or complain about the structure of the reading, but I agree with the way Habila has it ordered. By starting everything with a scene of a main character Lomba in prison, it almost gives the reader a sense of catching up with a story that just started. With that as a factor in mind, it gives the story as well as the reader a boost in the plot as far as how the general structure or stories go (you know, the story starts by placing a setting where the main characters are introduced in order to formulate a plot. As those characters interact amongst themselves as well as others i.e. antagonist or extras, they lead into a climax, resolution, and then it's over.)

Yet Habila makes it so you enter just a fraction of the climax, then takes you back and forth throughout the story to explain each event. Just as I previously stated, the story begins with Lomba in prison, then as it continues on it goes back (chronologically based from the characters) which introduces other characters, and even describes the plot openly (basically when they saw the fortuneteller and they were given their fate.) Now all that was left was for these assumptions to fall in place (which they did,) which to me brings forth another twist to the plot in itself, creating more story for the reader. Smart move in my opinion.

All in all, I 'm somewhat enjoying this reading. It's starting to dull up some, but I really can't complain too much considering how I feel about how much work Habila did to create a twisted yet structured storyline which seems difficult in my eyes. I could understand why it might start to seem that way based on the pure energy and climax the novel begins with. He couldn't keep the book that in depth the entire time simply because then I don't think there would be a real storyline besides a bunch of mess happening at one point in time that's exciting. Yet I'm enjoying it so far one way or another.