Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Mama Aretha Franklin and Us, a View from Africa, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Mama Aretha Franklin and Us,

a  View from Africa,

by Gabriel C Banda

 

ARETHA Franklin has passed on!

Many persons in America and other parts of the world have been greatly moved by the passing of the very gifted singer, music artist, and actress Mama Aretha Franklin, Thursday, August 16, 2018, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She went down following some cancer condition.

Aretha Franklin, born 1942, was from her childhood and teens performing and reaching many church and popular audiences. She established herself in the hearts of many worldwide.

Mama Aretha Franklin came onto the wide world stage at a time of great transformation in human relations.

Aretha Franklin reached more than persons of African descent. Yes, in America, Africa, and other places with numbers of persons of African descent, people were inspired by persons like Aretha Franklin.

People in various parts of the world did not consider her American, but foremost as one of them, a human being close to them.

                                             One of Our Mothers

For the young in Africa, Aretha Franklin was considered One of our Aunts, One of our Mothers. For those older, such as our biological fathers and mothers, Aretha Franklin was one of their Sisters.

In Africa, some widely respected singers we then considered our Mothers and Aunts included Mama Miriam Makeba and her friend Mama Dorothy Masuka. Mama Dorothy Masuka we considered one of our Mothers when at some point of my childhood she lived some forty metres or so near us along Mulilima Street, Libala II, Lusaka, Zambia.

In America, there were singers like Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, and Joan Baez. Music artists, as with other artists, could be both gifted singers and activists in favour of rights, harmonious humanity, and life.

                                                       Of  African Descent

In the 1950s and 1960s, as Africa’s societies were getting independence, there was still organised racism and apartheid in USA. The US Constitution had some two hundred years earlier proclaimed the freedom by birth of human beings while it had massive, organised, slavery against persons of African descent.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Martin Luther King and others were fighting racism and apartheid in the United States.

In 1960s Africa and the Americas, images and symbols were important. Music and the arts were important channels for freedom. In the 1960s and 1970s, fighting for their fundamental rights, Africans and persons of African descent were wearing themselves with pride.

They were parts of the human race. They were legitimate parts of humanity in both its unity and its deep and pleasant variation. No person was by birth in a particular group born superior or inferior to another of some other group. Africans were not on the margins. They were also on the centre.

                                                                    Afro

Rather than just fit into the agenda being designed and dominated by others, artists of African descent sought clothing and colours that they found creative for their situation. They made creative and artistic expressions that were very innovative.

The physical features of Black African persons were not to be stigmatised and repressed, but to be celebrated. The African, in all particular features, was a legitimate part of humanity. The African was not inferior. Thus the decision to take a stance of acceptance and pride in their inherited features.

It was not one’s fault that they were Black or White. In fact, it was not a fault to be Black. Being of African descent was to be accepted and celebrated.  Thus the skin tone was accepted.

And thus, the Afro hair style, as promoted by persons like Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Angela Davies, Muhammad Ali, and millions of persons in USA, Africa, the Caribbean, UK, and other places of residence of persons of African descent, asserted their hair as part of being a person and being a natural part of the human world and life itself.

For persons of African descent, Mama Aretha Franklin and others were symbols of self-appreciation and self-acceptance.

It was not just about the message in their songs. Some fans were not concerned about the message but that the singers were persons of great deepness. The singers could stand up as great persons of African descent. Some were inspired not by their songs but images they proudly pronounced, images like Afro Hair style.

And when they were singing, they DID sing!  It was singing from the soul and reaching your soul. They not only moved the listener who was of African descent but others of other backgrounds. The artist of depth is able to reach the human soul in whatever circumstances the person is found in. True art is universal.

Many loved these persons, these beings, these beings showing and sharing deepness.

                                                                    Movers

Mama Aretha Franklin has been one of those that stand out as great movers of the various sectors they are in. Indeed, their work affects people from other fields.

This is in similar ways that during the struggle against racism and Apartheid in Southern Africa, a person like Mama Winnie Mandela, sparked strength in many persons in various fields, including music and the arts.

In various fields, they have affected how things will be done.  They move things in directions that forever transform sectors and, indeed, the whole society.

They affect many things near and far. They heavily affect those in later generations.

                                                                  Deep Talent

From their presence, musicians and artists like Aretha Franklin have set the direction in which things will move. They do their remarkable works with ease. The easiness flows with great depth and reach.

They come in and do angles that other persons will be inspired with. They show others how things could be done. Their talent fills up and provides the direction and the minimum standards to follow. Their innovation becomes a way of doing things.

Mama Aretha Franklin brought out deep talent. She was deeply passionate in her singing. She was confident in her talent. She was one of those eternal artists that take a space in their generation and move on to reach generations that follow.

They reach relevance in all generations. They cross generations. Deep art is boundless. True art is eternal. True art lives on after the maker. The maker lives on in the art.

Their arts and works reached many in the world. They were appreciated as innovators and masters in their fields. What they said and did had great influence on many others.

                                                               Foremost Human

From various backgrounds, Aretha Franklin and colleagues were foremost human. They showed that each is valuable. We are valuable to others and to the body of humanity as a whole.

Apartheid and racism were sins against humanness. They were sins against humanity, as individuals and as a whole. Apartheid, racism, tribalism, and sexism are crimes against humanity. They are sins against life itself.

Africans and persons of African descent, as all humans, were human first. We were legitimate. All skin tones of humanity were legitimate. Wherever you were born was also an important part of the world.

Aretha Franklin reached and crossed generations. She linked generations. Aretha Franklin has been an important figure in people emphasizing the humanity of all persons from all backgrounds.

Over the six and half decades, performing to her Brothers and Sisters of various backgrounds, singing at the Martin Luther King funeral in 1968, singing in the presence of President Barack Obama in 2009 and later, or presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton before that, with a Presidential Medal of Freedom given to her by George W Bush Jr in 2005, or playing roles in the very memorable and enjoyable Blues Brothers movie, Aretha Franklin put her soul into her performance.

Aretha Franklin did not hesitate, delay, or avoid practising her talent. She expressed the deep wisdom that Barack Obama was to, decades later, in 2008, say:

“… Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope …”

Yes, “we are the ones that we have been waiting for.”  I believe this, from Barack Obama, is one of the biggest transforming realisations you will find.  And, without hesitation, decades earlier, Aretha Franklin had started to follow and practise her artistic gift.

Like others, I felt some bond with Aretha Franklin. Some of us have lost another of our Mothers and our Aunts.  Mama Aretha Franklin has passed on and her works continue to live on in the souls of many worldwide, now and in future.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

The writer, based in Lusaka, Zambia, is independently involved in writing and the arts, social development work, and observation of peace and conflict process issues. 

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GCB, August 2018, LUSAKA.

 

 

 

 

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Why No Trump Nobel Prize, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Why No Trump Nobel Prize

by

Gabriel C Banda

IT is presently unlikely that Donald Trump will get a Nobel Prize for Peace. Even if, from the coming Singapore talks, some advances were to be made on settling some Korea issues, it will not be easy to give Donald Trump a Nobel Prize.

The reasons why Donald J Trump is unlikely to be offered a Nobel Peace prize are many and easy to understand. The Nobel Prize for peace is meant to honour a determined and deeply humane quality that acts to build peace where there is extreme disharmony.

There are many factors around Trump and a Nobel Prize. The award of a Nobel Prize is not just about opposing parties reaching some settlement. The method and process of reaching some settlement are very important.

Method Important 

Depth of Spirit and Method are what are rewarded for being examples of action towards high human achievement and dignity. The spirit and method must be in combination.

The method must show some peaceful approaches. The Nobel Peace prize suggests Non-Violence and Non-Aggression as its base. Important are the spirit and method through which a conflict is settled. It is about action that very positively transforms the family of humanity.

Some persons turn round from rough individual and group methods and practices to embody more non-aggressive, respectful, and harmonious attitudes and actions. They accept and embody the essential humanity and dignity of others.

The Donald Trump spirit’s approaches, in word and deed, will likely exclude him from honour of the Nobel magnitude.

Fire and Fury 

Installed president in January 2017, Trump has made himself an emperor, complete with ruling princes and princesses, that has decreed some policies and actions that have hurt humanity and the integrity of Creation.

Trump has some issues that are “disqualifying,” to borrow a term our Big Man Senator John McCain has said about other issues.

Donald Trump’s methods counter the spirit of the Nobel Prize for Peace. In local and international relations, he believes in, and practises, Fire and Fury, to quote his own words.  He bullies and pushes others around, issuing threats and strong-arm tactics to get others to yield to his position of advantage against them.

He insults others. He disrespects the humanity of others. He tries to bully citizens and rulers of other dominions. He is proud, boastful, of the aggressive style.

Trump has been consistent in his harsh attacks on others. His performance makes many uncomfortable. In his presidential election campaign, he displayed sparks of inner violence towards others.

In the Korea issue, Trump and Team have made “fire and fury” threats against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. As incitement to stop North Korea’s nuclear weaponisation, Trump has offered economic benefits or else economic sanctions and even force.

Trump is seeking some surrender of Kim rather than an amicable settlement over differences involving North Korea, South Korea, and the United States. He was rushing for immediate “denuclearisation” instead of, as we suggested before, working towards first understanding Kim Jong-un and building some relationship and friendship that will help the parties reach amicable settlement of contentious issues.

“Denuclearisation” has become a term for some disarming of North Korea while the USA keeps its weapons arsenal and presence in the area.

There was some taunting of the other just like some boxers have done before matches. Some poor Trump and team remarks and approaches towards his Korean counterpart threatened the planned June 2018 Singapore meeting with Kim Jong-un from taking place. But Kim has not been scared by Trump and team.

Recently, in the same breath of denying such intention, Trump has openly asserted that the “Libya Model” or scheme of force as said by his National Security Advisor John Bolton can be visited upon Kim Jong-un if the North Korea ruler does not comply with Trump’s demands.

The Nobel Prize is not just some matter about reaching a settlement. The method you use is important. Otherwise persons would have been honoured for using force to make others surrender and thus stop a war.

Carrot and stick diplomacy does not seem consistent with the Nobel approach. The Fire and Fury doctrine or practice counters the spirit of Nobel peace. The method of threat prevents Trump from being honoured with the Nobel Prize.

Enemy of the Earth

Besides approaches in international negotiations, the Trump spirit has continued to act against the integrity and togetherness of humanity and creation itself.

He has put into place policies and laws that act against persons of some religions – Islam. Trump is still planning to put up physical walls to divide persons in their human variation.

The anti-immigration policies, with Mexicans as the immediate face of that deep prejudice, are creating disharmony in humanity. Trump has also created problems for families of migrants through his policies that divide parents and young ones.

And, also, Trump has pulled the USA out of the international agreement on Iran and nuclear technology.

And through effort to withdraw the USA government from the Paris Climate Accord, Donald Trump has acted against humanity’s collective efforts towards healing the earth and maintaining a sustainable environment in the present and future.

At home, the Trump spirit has worked against the earth and communities by encouraging industries and businesses to disturb the environment.

Trump has taken a position as an Enemy of the Earth. Meanwhile, the Nobel Committee has honoured those, like our Big Sister and Aunt Wangari Maathai in 2004, that worked strongly towards wide environmental health.

Besides actions against the health of our common environment, for the earth and environment are one and wholesome, Trump has disturbed world trading relations through imposing or threatening selfish economic tariffs and sanctions that will have negative effect upon many in the world, including Americans.

And Donald Trump, carrying along with him Britain’s Teresa May, and France’s Macron, in April 2018 attacked Syria even before the planned international investigation team on accusations of use of chemical weapons had done its work.  In some pattern, there had been another US attack in April 2017.

This was like George W Bush Jr, in Iraq, before him, and the fake Weapons of Mass Destruction charge against Saddam Hussein. George W Bush, Jr, had carried along Britain’s prime minister Tony Blair as accomplice. There has been no learning from the self-evident misdeeds of his predecessors.

Locally, in the USA, Donald Trump has put into place measures that will reverse Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and lead to reduction of access to medical services by millions of Americans, as was before Obama.

Obama Legacy

It seems Donald Trump’s obsession and hatred around the legacy of the Barack Obama presidency prevent him from making his own achievements in some things.

Perhaps Trump’s hostility towards Obama is driven by envy of the younger President’s achievements. Where Trump has sought to build walls, Obama built bridges.

Barack Obama was in 2009 honoured by the Nobel Committee for his thoughts and actions towards making the world a more peaceful place. The award was for “efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

On becoming USA president, Barack Obama had reached out to those previously demonised and considered pariahs in an “axis of evil.” They included North Korea and Iran. Obama began to work towards denuclearisation. His was not about disarming others while USA kept their nuclear weapons, which their opponents felt threatened by.

Locally, Obama, through the Affordable Care Act, worked on improving the situation of millions not having access to medical services.

Obama, through the 2012 DACA policy, showed compassion towards children and families found in illegal migration. Obama supported the worldwide effort towards a Climate Accord that leads to a healthier environment.

Obama Effects

Of course, Barack Obama’s rule had its negative effects upon the world. One Obama sin was to reluctantly, but inexcusably, joining France’s warlord Nicolas Sarkozy in raiding Libya, after misusing the United Nations sanctions system, an invasion that led to great suffering and disorder in humanity.

The world still has to recover from that Libya invasion. The effects of disorder have reached far, including the western world and nations that sponsored the evil action in Libya.

Another Obama sin was the committing of resources and other support to a rebellion to remove Syria’s Assad administration. Obama’s weakness has been to reluctantly go along with bullies even when aware of a destructive path he was enjoining himself to.

But things could even have been worse had he not declined to use force, as John McCain and others urged, on accusations of chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces. Another US president might have been more forceful and disruptive over Libya and Korea.

The burdens to Obama belonging to the Nobel peace team came up for his actions that happened after he was already honoured for actions making a positive difference in human relations. I do not think Barack Obama would have got a Nobel prize after the events of Libya and Syria.

Rulers and Laureates

As in Obama’s case, the combination of being government ruler and Nobel Peace Prize winner is delicate.

In South Africa, Frederik de Klerk, just before he became president, worked with Nelson Mandela, Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda, and some in the worldwide anti-apartheid team to dismantle the evil racist system of Apartheid. In 1993, De Klerk and Nelson Mandela were awarded the Nobel for Peace.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos was in 2016 awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his great work and sincerity in working for resolution of a long FARC armed insurgency. He has continued to show sincerity in his belief and effort. It is not known how far the reconciliation process with reach.

Elsewhere, my Big Sister Aung San Suu Kyi got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, after consistently, in a non-violent way, working for social and political change in some difficult situation found in Myanmar/Burma.  She showed deep humanity in the midst of harsh adversity.

Of course, after she took on state office after the social change in a complex situation of military and political authorities, there have been uncomfortable situations involving the sad situation of persons of some ethnic and religious groupings. But she got the Nobel Prize before she became a government official.

Trump’s Burdens

Now, with Donald Trump, his disqualifying burdens are current, before he has been listed for a Nobel prize. I believe that Trump’s burdens against peaceful human relations and creation itself will make it difficult for him to be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.

In fighting Obama’s legacy, Trump has been fighting the very honourable actions for which the Nobel Committee honoured Obama. Trump should not hope to win a prize while doing things that work against the Nobel team’s appreciation of another candidate.

Trump sometimes unleashes things he cannot control, things that become problems for the world.

Nobel Peace holders in general have some deep dignity in their demeanour and actions. They show respect for other human beings and they are supposed to respect the earth and creation. They have shown determined action, following non-violent methods, towards peace or the integrity of creation.

Calming Fire and Fury

Nobel Peace Prize persons show that they are deep friends of humanity and creation, not enemies of the earth. Nobel Peace prizes are for those who calm and tame fire and fury in themselves and others.

Of course, over the decades, there are those persons that have been Nobel honoured and others doubt their efforts were sufficiently worthy. Of course, there are some, like the great pacifist Mahatma Gandhi himself, whose non-inclusion has continued to surprise many.

Sins of Rule

The sins of rule that Donald J Trump has committed prevent him from such high honour as the Nobel Peace prize. It is difficult to be honoured for settling tensions and problems you have willingly created or contributed to. By error or belief, Trump practises principles of threat and intimidation, from which “fire and fury” arises, adverse to Nobel Peace principles.

Trump and North Korea’s Kim, with his nuclear weapon tests that disturb the earth, are unlikely to get Nobel awards. But more likely suitable candidate can be the South Korea ruler, Moon Jae-in. Moon has shown good humanity and commitment.

Even before he became president, Moon Jae-in was already for peaceful co-existence with the North and good relations between North Korea and USA. He has been a facilitator able to reach both Kim and Trump, build a bridge, and move towards dialogue.

Thorough

I have no authority over the final awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. But I know that the awarding Committee is thorough in its consideration of candidates in relation to the purpose and basic principles of the Peace Award.

I knew a member of the Nobel Peace Committee. Cheerful Professor Ole Danbolt Mjos, of Norway, was a very thorough person with deep medical, academic, and public service credentials.  When we met in Norway and Zambia, he was always systematic and thorough in his discussions over various issues. Sadly, Ole Mjos passed away in 2013.

I believe other Peace Committee members that have carried on where he left are very objective and thorough. My comments on the suitability of Trump will not affect their views should someone offer Trump as a Nobel candidate.

I have merely tried to show that Trump’s methods and practices have been at variance with the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. His methods of negotiation have not been peaceful.

Using the antagonistic doctrine and practice of Fire and Fury will prevent Trump from being highly honoured.

He is using his presidency to implement policies and practises that are bringing disharmony to humanity and creation. The Trump spirit has heavy disqualifying issues.

 

ginfinite@yahoo.com

 

GCB,  LUSAKA, May/June, 2018.

 

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Based at Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues. Attended the MA Peace Studies programme at University of Bradford.

Radical Trump, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Radical Donald Trump

By

Gabriel C Banda

WHEN did Donald Trump become radicalised? Around the time he was presidential candidate in the United States, there was often, in our mind, some question about the genesis of Donald Trump’s radical stances. When did Donald Trump become THE Donald Trump?

Not many times in humankind history, as some of us have known it, has there come onto the platform, as a ruler or even as a very private citizen, one so remarkable in the way of the Donald Trump spirit.

There have been some politicians and rulers in other times and in other parts of the world, including in Africa in very recent times, that have been very outside the widely practised range of human behaviour.

We thought that some recent president in Africa could rarely be surpassed by others in eccentric and rough behaviour but that one now measures low in comparison to the Donald Trump spirit.

In this world, there are not many visible persons that behave or perform like the Trump spirit. In many parts of the world, societies have evolved in such ways that a person in leadership and rule would almost definitely never turn out to behave like our American Big Man Donald Trump.

The appearance of remarkable persons has sometimes heralded wide changes, good and bad.

                                                                       A Radical

A radical is often considered to be a person that stands for, or works on, big changes and shifts in thought and organisation of society. Some persons strike a lot of controversy but may not be radicals. Radicals are more than just being unconventional. Radicals are involved in transformations that lead to extreme shifts in societies and times.

Some persons use the term “radical” to denote persons of particular political positions. For instance, some will easily name “leftist” guerrilla leader Che Guevara as radical.

Of course, I believe Che Guevara’s situation was significant for the ethics around combining his training as a doctor and his role as a military frontline commander. I would not be comfortable in Che Guevara’s situation.

But radicals are not confined to the left of politics. We would like to consider as radical someone, from whatever political or social action, who leads to dramatic and extreme transformation of society’s processes and systems.

There are some persons whose thoughts and actions greatly transform societies they are in. Their influence even goes beyond their societies and their times. That transformation can in some cases be almost irreversible, although things can follow on and develop in various ways over different periods and environments.

                                                                         Anti-Truth

Now, candidate Trump said things that were considered uncomfortable to say. Some of the things he said were not truth. Some of the things were even anti-Truth.

The things he continued to say cannot be tolerated by many in many societies. And the things the big man was busy tweeting on Twitter were shaking many persons.

Donald Trump promoted the hatred propelling idea that President Barack Obama was by birth not American, portraying that Obama was from a descent that was less American than some – especially the Euro-American.

And almost to a crusade, he carried an obsession, a constant discomfort, against the policies, practices, and even presence and existence, of outgoing president Barack Obama.

Some of Trump’s words on some things were not acceptable by those persons, in America and elsewhere, in pursuit of improved relations of human beings of various backgrounds.

From Trump, swear words have been uttered, uncommon from rulers and officials in prominent public roles. Some of it inflammatory and divisive, some persons can label some of his as hate speech both in word and tone. Sometimes, like on his tax situation, he did some verbal gymnastics.

Trump breathed tough, or even rough, language. He has used harsh words towards groups and political opponents. He was sarcastic, sometimes appearing insulting, of others. He made some persons deeply uncomfortable.

Remember, as they debated on television, Trump hovered very near candidate Hillary Clinton in some intimidating manner. We wondered, at what point in his life did candidate Trump become so radicalised?

                                                                  Devil’s Workshop

Some of candidate Trump’s remarks, in word and tone, seemed lifted straight from the devil’s workshop, with its fire and fury. Candidate Trump proudly talked of making institutions, laws, and barriers that would sieve humanity one from the other, lesser and greater.

Candidate Trump labelled Mexicans rapists and criminals. In many places in our modern times, persons, especially those in leadership, politics, and government, are not expected to express words that are prejudiced against members of social groups, amongst them ethnic, racial, and religious categories.

But on top of that, Donald Trump was openly saying he will keep away many Mexican migrants by actually building a physical wall. Many persons expect rulers and leaders in various fields to lead to building of bridges and bonds involving humans in various backgrounds.

Yet the Trump position was not hidden. Donald Trump’s prejudice, in open words, against Mexicans, Muslims, and persons of other human social classifications, was openly stated.

                                                                 Euro-American

He was fiercely hostile to the entrant of the Mexican type and seemingly welcoming of the Mrs Ivana Zelnickova Trump type, hailing from Czechoslovakia, and Mrs Melania Knauss Trump type, born in Slovenia. And the type of his mother, born in Scotland, Mrs Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.

Current wife Melania Knauss Trump immigrated into USA, around age 26, in fairly recent times, in 1996. She and Donald Trump married in 2005.

Donald Trump arose from migrants, some of them recent, of some particular kinds, including Germany and Scotland. Yet Euro-Americans, persons of European descent, are only a part of a wholesome America where each member should be considered a legitimate human being and citizen.

Persons are not supposed to be victimed due to classifications like colour, culture, ethnicity, citizenship, religious and spiritual following, location, being female or male, and other factors.

                                                                  Great Again

Now, candidate Trump was talking about making America “great again.” America, in his view, had declined under some administrations, including, or perhaps key, outgoing Obama’s.

The implication, said and unsaid, was a USA that was not like the result of the recent efforts of predecessor Barack Obama.

In reverse to the spirit of Trump, Obama’s America had tried to create bridges among persons from various backgrounds in USA and the globe.

In comparison to some other administrations, Obama’s America had reduced inter-state belligerence and appeared less war-like towards those other administrations had labelled “axis of evil”.

Obama was moving away from an America some might consider a Goliath and bully. Obama promoted a unity of humanity.

Of course, the USA machinery made some essential mistakes in joining the invasion or regime change efforts in Syria and Libya, whose invasion was driven by the France war-lord Nicolas Sarkozy. On many accounts, many Obama pronouncements and actions were for reducing friction with other governments.

What “great again” of United States’ time Trump has been referring to is not openly stated yet its components are apparent. Which “great again” America?

                                                       America’s Experiences

America has had many experiences, pleasant experiences and experiences of trauma. There have been times of aggression and genocide by Euro-Americans against Native Americans.

There have been times of Trans-Atlantic slavery feeding America’s economy.

And at some point, from 1787, it was proposed, even when there existed the Constitution that should have proclaimed rights for all, that enslaved persons of African descent were to be counted as some three-fifths fraction of persons of European descent.

In past America, many persons of African descent did not vote. Even in recent times, in the mid- 20th Century, there was racial segregation of students in some learning institutions.

And there have been times when women of all colour were not allowed to vote. And Native Americans were not allowed to vote.

And there was some America of a violent “Wild West.”

And there have been times of some apartheid against non-Euro-Americans in as recent times as when Martin Luther King was campaigning for human rights in the 1960s. In “Apartheid” South Africa, racism was organised and racial law forcibly enforced in the land.

There have been times of America being in unpopular wars and invasions in other parts of the world.

And there is sometimes an America of killings, by uniformed or vigilante team persons, of innocent persons of some category, the Trayvon Martin human type.

America has also had social issues like huge amounts of persons that do not have access to secure basic health services.

Barack Obama’s administration made the radical effort, through the Affordable Care Act, to have many left out persons, in millions, to access health care, as is common in much of Europe, with their wide welfare programmes covering many basic needs.

In a radical assault on the Affordable Care Act, candidate Donald Trump openly wanted to have it disbanded. This would go to the position where individuals will by individual effort swim or sink rather than being supported by wide social humanity.

Yes, there have been many major challenges in America’s society. Which America “great again” was candidate Trump, and even President Trump, talking about? What face or appearance does the “great again” have?

                                                            Enemy of the Earth

Besides the radical walls to exclude some Mexicans and also plans banning entry of Muslims, candidate Trump had views that are against the health of the earth. Trump’s stances on weather, environment, and human union have made him appear like an Enemy of the Earth. Like an Enemy of Creation.

To the collective welfare of the earth and its environment, Trump has said, and acted, as in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, against the integrity of creation itself.

                                                   Insular America, Mental Walls

Candidate Trump pledged an isolated but thriving America or a prosperous but isolated America. It would be insular, insulated by walls of physical and mental kinds, against other nations. Of other nations, he charged: “They have taken our money…. They have taken our jobs!”

Trump’s America would no longer tolerate “trade abuses.” He threatened China, and other governments, for trade imbalances and threatened sanctions which may not be easy to apply but would also lead to some adverse effects on America’s people.

Trump’s America would be insular, yet aggressive. It would not consider the welfare of others but focus on its selfish self-interest. It did not seem to matter to candidate Trump and supporters that the principles of natural life do not for long allow for such a state of human isolation to exist.

The design of life, and very evident in the human part, is inter-dependence and cooperation. Isolation and insular living are bound to fail.  Humanity is a whole. Life is a whole. Within Trump’s concept of an isolated but elite “America First,” are inbuilt seeds of decline and self-destruction.

                                                    Tooth for Tooth

Trump would not be like Jesus Christ. On BBC Television’s Hard Talk programme, Donald Trump had supported the Moses times’ revenge and retribution of “an eye for an eye” and a tooth for a tooth, something Jesus Christ’s message and practice moved away from. A tooth for a tooth is fundamentally unChristian.

                                                  Emperor of the United States

Candidate Trump seemed to go for becoming a de facto Emperor of the United States, his likes and dislikes to decree on. The Trump spirit would then move the USA and the whole world.

Of course, many extreme persons sometimes, if without discipline, overstretch themselves and fall. Donald Trump seemed oblivious of, or unconcerned by, possible negative effects upon himself that could arise from his tweeting enterprise as he operated it.

It is clear that Trump’s mission on this earth, and some of it openly stated and unhidden, could greatly affect the world and reverse some major things in the USA and the whole world.

The Trump spirit roams, shaking many in its path. But a question kept on coming into our mind: at what point in his life was candidate Donald Trump radicalised? For many persons, it is not easy to understand the Trump spirit’s covfefe.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

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Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing, social development, and observes peace and conflict issues happening worldwide.

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GCB, 2017. December 2017, LUSAKA.

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump and the United Nations General Assembly, by Gabriel C Banda

 

 

Donald Trump and the United Nations General Assembly,

by Gabriel C Banda

HOW will heads of state and government of the countries recently banned entry into the USA get to the United Nations?

Previously, there are those of us that wondered how international sports and culture events and interaction will be affected by Donald Trump administration’s fortress walls that have targeted persons from particular places of the world. (Some of that we had published on WordPress.com platform in February, 2017, as “Donald Trump and Olympics and Oscars.”)

 

One can assume that the 2028 summer Olympics have been awarded to Los Angeles because the Olympics Organisation assumed that the Trump fortress practice and influence will no longer be in place then. These games will be the third to be hosted by that popular city.

Now, a big concern by some persons has been what the Trump doctrine and practice will mean for the United Nations Organisation, especially when all representatives of nations and societies meet.

Every year, in September, representatives, most of them the rulers, of the United Nations member governments fly to New York city, in the United States of America, to participate in the General Assembly debates. They state their country’s situation in relation to humanity.

They are coming to share with others as a common humanity. They are not going to New York because they want to go to the United States. The United States happens to have the place that hosts the event.

How many of those from Trump’s banned list will arrive at the United Nations. And how many of them will not arrive? How many will not arrive because of the ban? And, of course, there are those that will test Trump by making the trip to the New York city.

And how many will merely send other representatives to a meeting that should be represented by the most senior government official?

Of course, there are Donald Trump’s fortress and isolationist stances against core items the United Nations was founded to grow and improve. Where there should be growth in human relations, Trump is building walls against targeted peoples and religions.

The Trump spirit has even acted against Creation itself, that through his plan to withdraw from the world climate agreement. From the earth’s view, the Trump spirit should be acting as an enemy of the earth.

Trump has started to develop some trade wars against those societies appearing to prosper in their trade and manufacturing. And where many persons need to be covered with health care as Obamacare tried to do, his plans may reverse this.

Whereas the United Nations was built to put an end to the practice of war, the Trump spirit breathes fire and fury towards others it differs with. The United Nations, as I have observed with the statues at the Head Quarters, believes in weapons eventually being turned into productive ploughs.

The United Nations has many times made joint declarations and plans to improve the lot of all of us in the world through collective planning and action. And indeed, in spite of some limitations, the world is overall a more stable place than if the United Nations had not been around.

It will be interesting to see if Bashar al-Assad and others from the listed ban list will attend the United Nations General Assembly. Of course, Assad may be busy dealing with the war in Syria. But we have to observe whether those from other banned countries will arrive. It may be that the United Nations may ask for exceptions or that the Trump administration may have exceptions for those going for the UN General Assembly.

But the reaction of the excluded governments will be interesting. Some may attempt to go to New York in defiance and assertion of their right to be with the United Nations body even when they are not in good books with the United States administration.  Others may send junior persons. Yet others may not send any high ranked official and do this as a way of protest against the Trump ban.

Some officials may be exempted from the ban but will avoid going to New York as a way of making some solidarity statement in support of their fellow citizens that are denied entry.

The doctrine and practice of the Trump spirit test the United Nations in its gathering, activities, and, essentially, Purpose. Interesting issues will arise at the first United Nations General Assembly under Donald Trump’s rule.

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Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the writer is involved in the arts, social development, and is a keen observer of Conflict and Peace issues.

 

– GCB, LUSAKA. April 2017/August 2017.

 

 

 

UK Election Candidates and Lessons, by Gabriel C Banda

 

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UK Election Candidates and Lessons

By

Gabriel C Banda

THERE are some lessons the UK Elections of June 8, 2017 have for the conduct of elections and politics in other parts of the world.

We will now consider the leaders of the main political parties.  Prime Minister Theresa May, of the ruling Conservative Party, called for the elections after she got into office after taking over from her leader David Cameron, a fellow Conservative, who resigned after the negative result of the Brexit referendum.

David Cameron, who had expected a vote in favour of remaining in the European Union and called for the referendum, was disappointed with the “Leave” result. He could therefore not preside over the exit from Europe, an exit he opposed. Therefore, David Cameron resigned to give way for another ruler to deal with the exit.

                                                                 Brexit

Mama Theresa May is in a position of heading a government that must respond to the Brexit Referendum result requiring UK to leave the European Union. Of course, leaving Europe is very complex for Europe, UK, and others and will have effects that are likely to leave Britain worse off in various things.

After UK leaves the EU, it is almost certain that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom.  There will also be complications in Northern Ireland, administratively a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. We feel Brexit is more of a Break It.

But Theresa May is now prime minister and has, whether she likes Brexit or not, the task of following the referendum result that requires UK to leave UK. Because she must administer the exit required by the referendum, she has focussed on performing the task, whether she wants of not.

She has set her mind on doing some necessary task and role. She is making herself to flow with it. But we have to wait to find out if she will turn out like Cameron, calling for a poll and not winning it. But the elections she called are useful because they enable people, all citizens, to actually make a choice about who should be their prime minister at this time.

Of course, the elections will be more than just about Brexit.

                                                          Conservative for All?

Now, there are some issues that may be difficult for Theresa May because they are Conservative Party position and issues, not necessary that they are her limitations. It is interesting that Theresa May has, from the beginning of her rule, has called for a Britain and Conservative Party, often associated with positions of wealthy persons and the right wing striving for the exclusive, that works for prosperity for all people.

She wants to move the Conservative Party to be a party for people from all areas of life, rather than the wealthy and exclusive, so-called “elite.” She wants a Conservative Party and Britain for all.

Of course, sometimes Theresa May acts with a sincerity that can be considered naïve. At her meeting new USA president Donald Trump, one would have been careful about showing a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship with the Trump presidency.

Some people’s attitude towards her can be affected by their attitude towards Donald Trump. But Theresa May comes out as a person one may differ with over some issues but will respect for her listening to what others are saying and to her sincerity.

                                                               Jeremy Corbyn

In the elections also is my big man, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader. Just like my big man Bernie Sanders of the USA, Jeremy Corbyn is both sharply analytical and very courageous. He is fearless. And he is sincere as he speaks his message. His sincerity connects to the hearts and minds of many.

There were some persons, many from Labour in Parliament, who blamed him for what was not his fault – the “Yes” Brexit result.  They implied he did not do enough.

But Jeremy Corbyn could not do much about the result. Jeremy Corbyn did not cause the “Yes” Brexit result. Some persons, some of them Labour parliamentarians, also tried to stigmatise Jeremy Corbyn but, without much facts and basis, implying that he did not appeal to voters.

While those politicians within and outside Labour may not like Corbyn or his political positions, he actually has a lot of support with the public. The plotters of the coup plot may have envied, ignored, or underestimated Jeremy Corbyn’s widening appeal to the public.

If Corbyn’s Labour does not win the June 2017 elections, Corbyn, who was for Europe, will be saved from a very uncomfortable and complex Brexit UK delink process. If he then stays as Labour leader, he is very likely to win the next elections.

It seems Corbyn may currently be in a Win-Win situation. But, like in all elections, you do not speculate but just wait for the final announced results. In the UK, the elections are not held directly on the leaders of parties, but the leader of the party that gets the most parliamentary seats, or a coalition of parties with most seats, becomes prime minister. A victor may get the most seats but not necessarily the most votes nationwide.

                                                                   Lessons

In the June 2017 elections, there are also other contestant parties and candidates. For now, some of the key lessons are about the conduct of candidates during elections. The controversial, and cut-throat 2016 United States elections provided big contrast to the current UK elections.

The UK elections of June 2017 provide great lessons. The UK party leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, are generally, or relatively, polite. You do not hear outright insults and uncouth statements. They try to focus on policies and issues, and actually discuss those issues, even if they do not have the answers.

What I find striking is the sincerity of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in opposition. You may differ with some things they say, but theirs are not political gymnastics to please voters. They are sincere in their discussion. They lay out their positions on issues. They are persons who have missions they feel are important for the society, not just for their personal and group interests. Their sincerity is very notable.

                                                              David Cameron

Besides the examples of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in UK there was also some good lessons from David Cameron. One of the greatest things Cameron did was to allow the decision of parliament about not striking Syria over accusations of chemical weapons.

David Cameron, who actually as a person comes out as a likeable person, respected the decision of parliament. In America, that provided Barack Obama a window to also not raid Syria.

Raiding Syria at that time could have made ISIS thrive earlier and brought about further difficulties for the Middle East, the Western World, and the whole. Syria would have become ISIS.

Earlier, David Cameron and Barack Obama had made the mistake of supporting, even if reluctantly for Obama, the war-lord Nicolas Sarkozy, in charge of France’s forces, to, despite caution and opposition from the African Union, raid Libya and murder and overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and regime, leading to instability that has greatly affected the world.

The 2017 lessons about sincerity of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn towards politics and governance can help others in many parts of the world. Politics would be more civilised, more cultured. UK June 2017 elections are better example in politics and governance than USA 2016. And, currently, we have not heard about some Russia conspiracy to hack into the UK Elections!

ginfinite@yahoo.com

The Author: Based in Lusaka, Zambia, Gabriel C Banda is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues.

*

– GCB, June 2017.   At Wednesday, June 7th 2017.

 

 

Obama and a Syria Strike, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Obama and a Syria Strike

by

Gabriel C Banda

Yes, I believe, Obama’s 2013 position not to openly strike Syria with American forces was the appropriate one.

As outgoing President Barack Obama’s legacy assessment will continue for ever, we will consider one issue.

There are those who feel that if Barack Obama had in 2013 ordered an attack on Syria due to accusations around the Bashar al-Assad administration and chemical weapon use, the recent outcome in Aleppo and Syria would have been against Assad. The accusers almost blame Barack Obama’s non-striking as the cause of the situation they are unhappy with.

Their wish had been for a “swift” and “sharp” strike that would have disabled, and removed, the Assad administration.

Strike supporters included John McCain and, sadly, Hillary Clinton, and others such as “Professor” Bernard-Henri Levy, so-called “philosopher.”  Bernard-Henri Levy, consistent with his war-mongering, had been a strong supporter of the intervention in Libya and the removal of Muammar Gaddafi.

War Monger

Over abuse of force, Levy has been a war monger hiding, or excused, under the coats of academic freedom and free expression. Had it not been for the tags of “Professor,” “Philosopher,” and “intellectual” he is referred by others with, the unclothed position of Bernard-Henri Levy would be more clearly recognised as that of a thug.

Still unrepentant about the terrible and evil effects of his position, Bernard-Henri Levy greatly supported and continues to defend, when on BBC and other media, the 2011 invasion of Libya led by the war lord Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then France’s president.

Nicolas Sarkozy, with a guillotine trailed against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, used the machinery of the France government, and even twisting the United Nations system, to force a coalition of force that removed Libya’s Gaddafi and led to instability that has affected Libya, Africa, the Middle East, and the whole world, including innocent people in France and Britain, the USA, and ally nations assembled in the raid on Gaddafi and Libya.

Crossing Line

The proponents of a swift strike and knock-out of Assad and administration have used Barack Obama’s warning about not crossing some red line against him. They use it as an Obama weakness because Obama had given a warning and did not follow it up with action.

It does not seem to matter to them whether Obama’s action would be right or appropriate for the emerged situation but that he had said it and therefore should have proceeded to attack Syria. It seems not to matter to them that the issue of chemical weapons use was not easy to definitely assign.

It does not seem to matter to them that the reasons or excuses of Weapon of Mass Destruction or Crimes Against Humanity used by intervening governments have at sometimes come out false or snares.

It seemed not to matter that the position of a clean, swift, strike was an assumption that was based on a sense of supremacy of oneself over others considered easily conquerable. Why is there an assumption that military might will always defeat others?

In long gone times and recent times, some rulers have acted improperly and created long term difficulties for all of us. Many leaders and rulers, from George W Bush Jr to Tony Blair, have acted by poor egos and handled the arsenals of military and force with immaturity. Many leaders and rulers have not been mature enough to handle authority over force.

Angela  Merkel Maturity

However, not all rulers have the same immaturity over use of force. One who has been cautious about use of force has been German’s Angela Merkel, a person of greatness, and one of the most mature of rulers and leaders in modern times.

To some degree, especially for an American president, Barack Obama has on some critical times acted with great caution where others would have thrown in the military machine heavily. This, not acting to go in when one is not sure, has been faulted against him.

In my view, it is better to be cautious about the use and effect of force and violence than end up creating the results that George W Bush Jr did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack Obama’s caution is a more sustainable and just position than that of leaping and attacking first and then thinking later, with turmoil around you.

Some bully others because these bullies feel they have weapon arsenals and can always defeat others they consider lesser.  It has been said that some bully others because the bullies have weapons and want to try out the weapons or intimidate others. Without weapons, they will not bully others.

Duet

In 2013, there was pressure to have Barack Obama and Britain’s David Cameron to repeat a duet, as George W Bush Jr and Tony Blair did over Iraq, and attack Syria. What helped the situation was the British parliament, with much of the public behind them,  voting against the move to another open war.

To his credit, and democratic credentials, David Cameron readily and politely accepted not to proceed with the proposed open armed intervention. That helped Barack Obama’s position for, without ally Britain, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, America has been reluctant to attack alone.

What if Barack Obama had directly used America’s forces to intervene in Syria and remove Assad? The results might have included the following: If Assad had fallen, ISIS would have been stronger. If Assad had fallen, ISIS may have now been in control in Syria. ISIS may have become Syria or Syria would have become the ISIS state.

Then also, there would have been no guarantee that American strikes could have happened without injury on America and those intervening. In scriptures, the story of small David and big Goliath is a lesson for all times.

You should never underestimate your opponent. Already, without factual basis, many officials in the West had underestimated the resilience of the Assad administration and thought he would collapse in a short time, in months rather than years. The situation turned out differently.

Barack Obama had been reluctant to get in to support Nicolas Sarkozy in the removal of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Obama’s weakness was to yield to Sarkozy and reluctantly join in. It is not enough to say one did something wrong because another had insisted to be joined.

Within his administration, war monger Susan Rice pushed for the military intervention and even insulted Africa’s rulers for calling for caution because of the effects they feared would happen with intervention. The effects feared came to pass. Obama had allowed people like Susan Rice and Nicolas Sarkozy to work against his inner caution over Libya.

Spring

Another sin that Obama fell into was to agree to support the armed rebels fighting the Assad administration in the so-called “Arab Spring.”  Clearly, ISIS was, from the beginning, in the “Arab Spring.”

Yes, I believe, Obama’s position not to strike Syria was the appropriate one. Already, the position to support armed rebellion against Assad’s Syria in a conflict with religious undertones was not appropriate, with its consequences that led to the rise of ISIS as Syria government forces faced militias from many groups.

There have been times when rulers of America’s regimes, feeling and acting on the myth that their country is a superpower and can push around others to do what it wants, have gone on to take actions that have created immediate and long-term problems for others, the USA, and the world.

Over the decades, even just to take the decades following World War II, this has happened under various administrations, Republican and Democrats. There seems to be in the background a machinery that, with whatever party in office, tries to assert intervention in other parts of the world – even where the intervention will create difficulties for those intervened, others, and the United States itself.

In recent times, this has happened over the invasion of Afghanistan, occupation of Iraq, and, without lessons being learnt and applied, intervention in Libya. Another key burden of a US administration has been supporting the armed rebellion against Syria’s Assad administration. But Barack Obama’s avoiding of striking Syria in 2013 was, I believe, the appropriate one. That will be a pleasant memory of the Obama legacy.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

**Gabriel Banda has been on the MA Peace Studies Bradford University  programme.

Hillary and Trump first debate lessons, by Gabriel C Banda

 

The Hillary and Trump first debate lessons,

By

Gabriel C Banda

The first televised debate involving Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, done September 26, 2016 USA day, provided some deep lessons. We learnt, through Hillary’s presentation, that it is possible to tame persons that behave roughly.

Of course, there are some moments when Hillary Clinton allowed some chances to slip away following Trump’s words or responses. Trump called treating another person badly some business achievement. He tried some gymnastics over not revealing his tax details.

Even though Donald Trump threw in some cynical comments and remarks that would have shaken and destabilised other persons, Hillary Clinton kept steady. She was in control of the debate and even Trump himself.  Trump’s gymnastics, which had humiliated fellow Republican candidates of the primaries, did not make Hillary Clinton fall.

With skill, facts, preparation, and keeping balance, a calm, gentle, person can actually tame a beastly creature. Even a beastly creature that is normally unpredictable can, under effective approach, be tamed.

Actually, Hillary continues to show that she is connected with issues and people. There has been heavy propaganda, much of it from her opponents, about Hillary missing something in terms of connecting with persons. It is possible that even her team may be believing this statement which sometimes is difficult to prove as always true. But her opponents have created a “connection” stigma on Hillary. Yet this calculated stigma seems exaggerated.

In our last post written just before the debate, we were concerned that Hillary Clinton should not be ruffled by the crude diversionary and humiliating antics of Donald Trump. We said she should keep her cool and not have some instinctive, knee reflex, “knee jerk,” reactions to Donald Trump. She should avoid Trump driving and avoid herself been driven into a direction Trump was crudely determining.

But the actual first debate showed Hillary Clinton with great composure and with masterly over the Trump personality in human body. In the process, such as on business and taxes, Donald Trump mumbled some words that made him appear crude in his relations with the public. Donald Trump seemed not ashamed that he had fanned the prejudiced Barack Obama was not born in America “Birther” lie.

Trump had been persecuting and slandering an innocent person and now, as it is in the open that what he said about Barack Obama was false, and crude, he says his evil actions actually helped Obama. It was as if he did the Birther campaign as a way of helping Barack Obama!

Many times, the more Trump tried to defend, dismiss, or cover up on something, the more open and fake he began to appear.

Many observing the debate should have been taken aback that Trump casually dismisses off serious things he had done wrongly and had thrived on. To many, it should be frightening to have such character as a President, influencing America and what influences it has in other parts of the world.

He defends exploitation of persons and the public as being astute, clever, for finding ways to cheat or beat official systems and human morality. Instead of correcting and improving himself as many persons all over the world try to do, Trump seems proud and protective of his very evident weaknesses.

The first debate, and Trump’s words and attitudes have shown there are distinctions between mere political debates/games and actions that nourish and drive evil.  Yet the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debate has shown that, with good preparation by those confronted by such, falsehoods and evil do not triumph.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

*           *         *

GCB, LUSAKA. September/October 2016.