Tag Archives: change

I’m back!

Hi everyone. I’m sorry I dissappeared for a while. Where was I?

 

I dropped off the radar just before Zimbabwe’s elections. A lot has happened personally since then, but like most other Zimbos, I got a little depressed. I got so caught up in the country’s politics I couldn’t focus on much else. At the same time, I got was getting a bit of radio time because of articles I had written on both Zimbabwe and other issues.

 

I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that change in Zimbabwe is not going to come about through a political process but a social movement. There will come a time when people just decide that enough is enough and we want to build something better. That may happen before or after Bob (Mugabe) goes, but the truth is tht he is just part of the problem.

 

The biggest issue in Zimbabwe is the same one that gets in the way of progress in Ireland, in the United States, in China,… everywhere. Self interest. And not just the self interest of the ruling classes. All of us. We are all so consumed with getting an iPhone or a Macbook (I’m an Apple fan), or a new car or house or just protecting our persona space and security. We are all so concerned with our own issues that we don’t fight for others. So much so that we allow injustice to reign.

 

In the words of Matin Niemoller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out

 

I think that when people start sacrificing heir personal interests for the sake of the general good, then things will really start to change. Otherwise, the changes will only be superficial.

Wanted: rebels with a cause (as well as web designers, developers, writers, artists and more)

Reading an article about Michael D. Eisner in the New York Times got me thinking. He left Disney in 2005 and started up a business in new media. I want to do something similar.

One of my greatest passions is that for social justice. Call me naïve, but I just don’t get why things aren’t more equitable in the world. Take Ireland for example. If I’m not mistaken, there are more millionaires here per capita than in the rest of the world. But there are so many really poor people. There are lots of places, especially in rural areas where people don’t yet have indoor toilets. There are also huge social issues in inner city areas like North Dublin and Limerick.

Closer to my heart is the plight of a lot of the African continent. Contrary to public opinion, your typical African dictator is probably no more corrupt than your average Western leader. He just lacks finesse in his dealings and his country doesn’t have the infrastructure or money to support the same levels of self-centred greed that are displayed by a good number of Western leaders.

In any case, I don’t just want to be a person who complains and criticises the way things are. I want to change them. And in my opinion, the best way to effect real change is by mobilising everyday, ordinary people. Again, in my opinion, the best way to do that is through the media. When I was young, I decided what clothes were cool to wear based on what I saw on TV. I would like to claim that now that I’m an adult, I make my own mind. The reality though is that most of us still take our cues from the media – be it mainstream or alternative.

With all that in mind, I want to start a web based business at whose core is the desire to see social justice. I think that initially it should take the form of magazine – or something similar to bring about awareness, and then grow out of that.

Where I come from, if you wait on the government to change or fix things, you typically wait a very long time; more often than not in vain. That and I want to see things change.

If you would like to get involved, get in touch. I’m especially looking for:

·         Artist and photographers

·         Writes

·         Web designers and developers

·         Software guys

·         People who are genuinely excited and passionate about doing the things I’ve just written about

We Are The Ones

Leeroy emailed me the link to this video. Thanks Leeroy.

What makes a movement? What stirs people to risk disappointment and get behind Barack Obama’s? If anyone has any answers, please let me know because I’m stumped.

What I do know is that hope is vital. I come from a part of the world where all some people have is the hope for a better tomorrow, and that hopes keeps nations ticking. Having read Dreams From My Father, I also believe in the integrity of the man Barack Obama.

With that in mind, even though it means very little, I too endorse him as my selected candidate for President of the United States.

God speed Barack Obama.

Bye Bye Fidel

Are the winds of change in the air? Pervez Musharraf has lost the elections in Pakistan and Fidel Castro has indicated that he is to step down as Cuba’s leader. That’s a lot to have happen at more or less the same time.

I think Musharraf sabotaged his legacy by trying to stop the inevitable: his exit from power. He turned the whole affair into a painful bloody process and few will be sad to see him go. Castro on the other hand isn’t so easily dismissed.

He is loved by many in Latin America for the same reason that most African leaders still stick up for Robert Mugabe. Both stood up to Goliath. Both have taken on superpowers and told them to go jump in a lake, and off course onlookers have loved them from it. It’s easy to get caught up in both men’s rhetoric and be impressed by them until you look at the cost of their actions.

In both cases, ordinary citizens have paid the brunt of the consequences. A friend who recently visited Cuba said he felt like he had travelled back in time. He was appalled by the poverty there. Having said that, Cuba’s health care system is arguably better than that of the Americans. The same could be said of their education system. But was it worth it? Would not making peace with the United States have served his people better? And didn’t ruling with such an iron fist, for whatever reason take away from his message? 

Of Musharraf, Mugabe and Castro though, the only one with a chance of being remembered in a positive light is Castro. I wonder if the fact that he relinquished power voluntarily (sort off) has anything to do with it?

Against the Status Quo

My brother-in-law, K., and I disagree on most things. This weekend’s topic was Barack Obama. AS far as K. is concerned, Obama is nothing more than hot air. He acknowledges the fact that Barack is an incredibly motivating speaker, but as far as he’s concerned there is no evidence that he has any substance. Hillary on the other hand was in the White House when her husband was president, and since Bill was a good president, K. is happy to assume that Hillary will also do a good job. None of this is unreasonable really, so why am disappointed (again) in K.?

 

I hate the assumption that enthusiasm and excitement are for the naive whereas the dull, serious demeanour of Hillary signal depth and competence. People are so sceptical it’s sad! Many of those who don’t support Obama are instinctively repelled by his message of because they feel it’s too good to be true. We’ve been conditioned to keep our expectations low and not too hope for too much. To borrow Barack’s words, we’ve got used to doing the same old things the same old way we don’t believe things could be different. Like caged birds that don’t realise that there’s an open hatch or have just become comfortable with the cage they know. It breaks my heart.

 

It’s not just about Obama. If you have genuine issues with what he stands for, don’t support him. It’s about everything. There’s just such a general poverty of hope everywhere. There’s a reluctance to question the status quo and dare to do things differently. Fear, self interest and the desire for conformity and acceptance have shackled us.

 

Why isn’t the world a better place? Most of us won’t dare stand out. Like K., we’re willing to sacrifice our dreams for the familiarity of the status quo.

Why not?

I’ve listened to Will.I.am’s song over and over again. I can’t help but be inspired. I can’t help but feel that I’ve stumbled on a profound truth. As I continue listening to Obama’s words, I find myself believing him. Why not? Why can’t there be change? Why can’t Zimbabwe come right? Why can’t the violence of Darfur stop? Why can’t Odinga and Kibaki come to their senses? Why not? Why shouldn’t Ireland’s alcohol and drug culture be replaced by something wholesome?

Do me a favour. Play the song. Read the lyrics below. Allow yourself to believe. And then start to think about what you are going to change. 

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can.It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.”

Yes We Can

This post isn’t about politics. I’m not even American. It’s about inspiration, hope and the belief in change. I wrote against modern pop stars recently, but Will.I.am has put me to shame – there’s hope.