Sunday, January 17, 2010

We’ve moved!

Hi everyone thanks for visiting this blog and for all your comments. Due to a collaborative effort with other bloggers we have created a new blog: WORLD OF OPINION. Please visit us and as always all comments are very much welcome.
Here's the link to the new blog:
Some of the articles you may be interested in include:


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama’s ascent to greatness

Obama’s stardom transcends national frontiers

by Etse Sikanku

There’s a very good argument that Barack Obama is well on his way to clinching the Democratic nomination.

Now I’m no mathematician but suppose the Florida and Michigan votes are disregarded and nothing dramatic happens to sway super delegates away from Obama, this may very well become reality. Should it materialize, the man who lost his first contest for a seat in the Illinois legislature may be turning history on its head.

There are many reasons why Obama’s success is iconic. He will become the
Democratic Party’s first black nominee and potentially the nation’s first African American president. But even before his meteoric political ascent Barack had achieved other significant feats.
During his law school days at Harvard he became the first ever African American president of the
Harvard Law Review.

When the people of Illinois sent him to Washington in 2004, he became only the third African American since reconstruction to be elected to the US senate.

Despite the media frenzy that has been associated with his run for the white house and his unusual personal story Obama has come up for criticisms from several quarters both home and abroad. Only a day after he announced his candidature, Australian Prime Minister John Howard aimed straight for him when he signaled that a victory for Obama will mean victory for Osama.

Howard said: "If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats."

Obama dismissed Howard’s criticism as empty rhetoric calling it ‘flattery’ before going on to say that: “… if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them up to Iraq."

Others such as
Geraldine Ferraro believe that Obama is in the position he is because of his race. During the early part of his campaign before the brouhaha over Wright-gate, it was common to find right wing internet bloggers and Clinton supporters over reaching themselves to paint Obama as a Muslim.

Clinton herself and McCain have often said Obama’s campaign is being run on “empty promises” or “empty rhetoric”

But no one need doubt Obama’s abilities. There is no denying the fact that America has gone through some of its hardest years under the current president. Of all the candidates in the race I sincerely believe that Barack Obama is the one who can right the destructive abyss that this country has been plunged into.

Every single fight between Obama and Clinton has been about whom can best serve the needs of the American people and unify them. Looking at his campaign policies, his support for fair trade, his experience as a community organizer and his personal background Barrack Obama stands out as the best choice for America at this time. He opposed NAFTA which he has always maintained was “oversold” right from the beginning.

Overall he has a genuine concern for the hardworking people of this country which will inform his policies and actions as president. Internationally he’s more favorably viewed than any of the candidates with a city in Japan supporting his candidature whiles songs are being composed in other parts of the world such as Ghana and Kenya in his honor.

Such cordiality will help restore America’s reputation-which has been patently battered- on the international scene. Some Americans complain they don’t know much about him but his freshness and distance from Washington will make him a great agent of change.

By any measure, Clinton and McCain are clearly outstanding alternatives for president but what America does not have is time.

This country is in the middle of one of its worst economic, foreign policy and constitutional crisis. In politics time is everything. America cannot afford to wait.

I don’t for a moment think that Barack Obama is a prophetic messiah but this much I know: he’s the best suited to the lead the nation at such a time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Traditional culture is still a huge part of many African societies

by Giftypearl Abenaab
Contributing Columnist

Culture by nature is very dynamic and goes beyond music, dance, food and clothes. It encompasses people's values, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. In today's era where the world is now a global village and 'Global partnership for development' i preached, there is the need to connect cultures.

Connecting Cultures is a current phenomenon where people from different backgrounds are linked together with the aim of exploring the different cultures. The British Council coined a project “Belongings”- a cultural exchange project which seeks to explore culture, identity and to build understanding between Africa and the UK.

I got the opportunity to gather the thoughts, feelings and experience of some of the young people who participated in this cultural exchange project and i thought i could share it with “Maadwen” readers.

“As i said goodbyee to my parents at Glasgow airport tears filled my eyes and i was not really sure of the journey i was going to take. it was not just a physical other words, i was not only leaving one country and continent to another but i was going on a cultural voyage. a self discovery journey. When i alighted at Kotoka International Airport, everything seemed so different! the people, the language, the weather etc even the air felt different!. i wondered if i could survive because it was the very fiirst time i was going to leave away from my family and close pals and it was my first time i was going to see Africa! After my two week stay with my colleagues in Ghana i learnt some values- hopsitality and politeness which i am taking home as my belongings. i can now boldly boast that i have had a practical experience of the Ghanaian culture which is quite different from what the media portray. I now appreciate culture and i think it is very important to explore each other's culture” Sarah from Glasgow.

I copied this from Maj's journal:

“My name is Majid Bashir and I am 22 years old studying in Business in Paisley University.
I came to Ghana as the 2nd part of the Belongings Project with a group of eight other young people. I cannot explain how much I have enjoyed myself and how much I miss the country and my family in Ghana. We were taken care of very well and we met with chiefs from different villages and districts and we also got to play football against the Obracherie team, which we won 2-1!!
I had various meetings with local and national radio stations and even had the opportunity to be interviewed by GTV live on the breakfast show!
We visited various schools Cape Coast, Obracherie and others where we had the chance to work with young people and also share some conversations.

I have had the best experience of my life in Ghana, staying there for two full weeks and having the chance to understand, see, hear and being part of different cultures is one of the things I will always remember. Ghana is a country full of love and peace and is a place where people are always smiling. The warmth I felt from the people is unexplainable and also unforgettable. My family in Ghana taught us everything there is to know in Ghana and also taught me some Pigeon English! This is still something I try and practice in the UK.

Mepa chaow, ye fremi Maj Kofi Baboni Baku! As you can see I also learnt a little of the Ghananian language. It is very difficult to explain my experience as everything was so very new to us and different, I have forgot to mention the weather, which I absolutely loved! The sunshine, the warmth, the humidity was just truly amazing. Never say that Africans are underdeveloped. To me you are developed because of your attitude and beliefs.

I am going to finish with something I learnt from my brothers Gideon and Prosper in the Ghananian Language:
“Ghana Yeme krome, Meya Ghana Ni”

One participant from Africa had this to say “ i was wondering what the English culture-people, food, whether accent etc was like as i sat in the plane headding towards the west. i wonder if discrimination and racism really still exist and how i was going to cope with white young people i never seen or met. After two weeks, my colleagues from Africa and those from the west had glued to each other. i experienced sweet friendship, learnt warm attitude and caring hearts. Almost every minute i hear some one ask me “are you okay?'. Their culture of neatness, punctuality is what i took home as my belongings.

Dear Maadwen reader, wouldn't it be wonderful if we connect local cultures to bridge the gap between the various ethnic groups in Africa which breeds conflict on our dear continent?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sen. Obama's litmus test

One would have thought that, several months into the presidential campaign, questions about Barack Obama's blackness would have been settled, or at least ignored.

But it's now apparent that Obama's lack of total support among the black population has nothing to do with his abilities. Instead, an unthinking spectrum of the black population - both inward-looking and self-serving - has decided to subject him to this hapless color scrutiny.
The issue about Obama's blackness first came up in 2003 when he was running for Senate. Four years later, the topic is as virulent as ever.

Considering this country has never had a black president and the perception that past leadership have not done enough to address problems of African-Americans, it's easy to assume their support for Obama would have been automatic. Yet this has not been the case. Instead, many in the African-American community are more interested in subjecting Obama to a "how-black-are-you?" test.

In November 2006, African-American columnist Stanley Crouch threw the first blows before Obama even announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic ticket, saying, "He has not lived the life of a black American … If we end up with him as our first black president, he will have come into the White House through a side door - which might, at this point, be the only one open."

Comments like this are silly, immature and divisive. Why doesn't anyone ask if Bill Richardson is Hispanic enough, if Hillary Clinton is feminist enough or if John Edwards is handsome enough? Why hasn't anyone asked if Mitt Romney is religious enough or why Rudy Giuliani has marriage problems? Has anyone bothered to find out if Joe Biden is tall enough or whether Ron Paul is white enough?

Obama may not represent the black community the way 50 Cent does, but he shouldn't have to. Obama's trouble with the community is that he's biracial, has a direct connection with Africa, doesn't yell racism at every opportunity and will not make reparations a campaign theme. Because Obama is a Harvard-trained lawyer ready to break from the stereotypical African-American mold, he has been given a bad name by a community that should have been his most unyielding support base.

Should the reluctance of blacks to vote for Obama be seen as a display of political maturity or a reflection of their own small-mindedness? Is the reluctance of a black person with African-American parents to vote for another with non-African-American parents - but still black - any different from a white American refusing to vote for a black person? Do we call that racism too? Or is there another name for it? Is one's blackness determined by one's parentage, culture, color of skin, educational background, prison history, propensity for violence or something the rest of us don't know about?

Actually, when did race become such an issue in presidential politics?

To cast your vote based on the color of one's skin is as simple-minded as making a judgment of one's character based on the shape of his or her nose. In any case, who has bestowed on anyone the authority to determine the blackness of a human being? When did Al Sharpton's definition of blackness become a barometer for measuring race? What were people thinking when they called Bill Clinton the first black president? We should be worried, because the factors that gave Clinton that label are nothing to write home about: a huge appetite for sex and single parenthood.

Obama is the first black candidate with a realistic chance of becoming president, so isn't it ridiculous that a prowling mass of gullible ethnocentrists are pulling the trigger on his quest to make history?

The simple truth is that playing the race card is a great disservice to the future of America and the qualities of high achieving aspirants. Race is irrelevant. I hope that one day many more Americans will move beyond the clouds of trivial politics into the high plains of thought where ability, skill and relevant qualities are considered in making a judgment of one's suitability for the White House.

Perhaps the bickering about color reveals more about the pettiness that underpins our politics than about the candidates themselves. Let us judge them on their records. Let us judge them on their policies. Let us judge them on their message and the reason of it - not on the color or discolor of their skins.