Omowale Jabali : The Spiritual Divide

Omowale Jabali

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Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing "Does not!" ~Author Unknown
 

Omowale Jabali

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[The true Indian] sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God's days. The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. ~Ohiyesa of the Santee Sioux (Charles Alexander Eastman)
 

Omowale Jabali

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Religion supports nobody. It has to be supported. It produces no wheat, no corn; it ploughs no land; it fells no forests. It is a perpetual mendicant. It lives on the labors of others, and then has the arrogance to pretend that it supports the giver. ~Robert G. Ingersoll
 

Omowale Jabali

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In an early class, one of the students asked me if I believed in God. I replied, 'I don't think so.' And then proceeded to wail on the theme, using material from this column of some weeks ago, in which I observed the perpetuation of insanity on this planet through the mediums of Arabs-vs-Jews, Catholics-vs-Protestants, Southern Baptists-vs-Everyone. I said I felt if 'God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them,' (Genesis 2:27, King James's italics, not mine) then we were God. And when Man (my capitalization, not King James's) in his most creative, his most loving, his most gentle and most human, then he is most God-like. The student said he would pray for my immortal soul. He also asked for my address, so he could send me some literature on the subject of God. I thanked him politely and told him I'd gotten all the literature I could handle on the subject from a certain Thomas Aquinas. ~Harlan Ellison
 

Omowale Jabali

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Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion
 

Omowale Jabali

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I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. ~Frederick Douglass, escaped slave
 

Omowale Jabali

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez and an African Fable

Sanya Osha

Carlos Fuentes when describing “the cultural context of Latin America” wrote on these terms:


We are a balkanized polity, yet we are deeply united by a common cultural experience. We are and we are not of the West. We are Indian, black, and Mediterranean. We received the legacy of the West in an incomplete fashion, deformed by the Spanish monarchy’s decision to outlaw unorthodox strains, to mutilate the Iberian tree of its Arab and Jewish branches....
And this balkanization is amply reflected in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, Of Love and Other Demons (1995) which can be read as an enthralling tale of a Latin American society caught on the throes of diverse influences and transitional phases, and like any other society undergoing the pains of metamorphosis, it is the most revolutionary individuals who pay the highest price and who are ultimately destroyed. The outline for the story is quite simple but in the process of narrating this seemingly simple tale, entire worlds collide, civilizations are shaken, and then old orders are reinforced with perhaps even greater harshness and intolerance. Sierva Maria is the twelve-year-old heroine of the novel and tragedy befalls her when she is interred in a convent because it is suspected that she suffers from demonic possession. Previously, she had been bitten by a rabid dog and those bites, as we all know, can be quite fatal. In Sierva Maria’s case, it does prove tragic because it eventually provokes a concatenation of events which truncate her life. The priest, Cayetano Delaura, who is assigned to break the demonic spell troubling Sierva Maria soon falls in love with her, ruining a promising career and the monolith of his orthodox faith. In short, everything that has ever been dear to him. On her part, Sierva Maria dies whilst enduring the crucible of exorcism, separated from her beloved, Cayetano Delaura. And so ends the simple tale in which an unflagging Catholicism wages a mortal war on secularism, and also one that portrays the excesses of medievalism locked in combat with a few tentative strains of modernism.
But what concerns us here, is the "Yoruban" element in the work, that is, how Garcia Marquez creates a sense of blackness. Is it salutary or does he repeat the flaws of a typical racist artist? Indeed, these questions are pertinent when viewed against the background of those Chinua Achebe asked regarding Joseph Conrad’s racial motives in Heart Of darkness and then in Joyce Carry’s Mister Johnson. More than a decade ago, Niyi Osundare, the Nigerian poet, re-opened the debate by decrying the rather partial readings of post-structuralist theorists dealing with Conrad’s novel.
Both Achebe and Osundare fault the undifferentiated mass of blackness Conrad presents as Africa. Africa, as it were, is a dark, savage continent. Indeed, in Conrad’s eyes, its people are characterless when they are not savages, and the land is dense with unspeakable horrors. The sense of sub-humanity he depicts is totally overwhelming. Nonetheless, this kind of insensitivity to the subjectivities of blacks from one who is widely acknowledged to be a great literary artist could only reach such intolerable heights in an epoch plagued with racial bigotry. Conrad not only robs blacks of their humanity, he also goes ahead to invest them with a singularity that amounts to nothing more than abuse and disfiguration.

http://mtls.ca/issue5/writings-essay-osha.php
 

Omowale Jabali

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ETHNO-POLITICAL FACTIONALISM



Bound to the failure of African politicians and communities to overcome the rapacious legacy of colonialism and post-colonial authoritarianism, has been the increasingly obvious failure of many states to develop a sense of national community or consciousness. Across the continent, ethnic, linguistic and regional groups, and politicians willing to exploit their aims and fears, have continued to render the state structures inherited by independent countries unworkable. Colonial rulers and authoritarian rulers had been able to suppress or combat ethnically-based conflicts. Strong presidents or regimes had based their governments on ethnic, linguistic or regional support bases. As the apparent end of authoritarianism across Africa removed or weakened such regimes, these long-repressed factional grievances and antagonisms re-emerged or escalated into conflict (as they have done in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union).

Burundi and Rwanda are two of the most tragic examples of this resurgence of long standing ethnic differences. In the two former Belgian colonies, the populations are split between the majority Hutu tribe and the Tutsis, the latter traditionally having been the ruling group. In the last years of colonial rule and the first decade and a half of independence, the Hutu in both countries rose up against the ruling Tutsis. Each time (in Rwanda in 1959, the mid-1960s and in 1994, and in Burundi in 1965, 1972 and 1988) these uprisings had provoked a Tutsi backlash and the massacre of Hutu civilians. A precarious peace still holds in Burundi, but the UN is already making contingency plans for intervention. These two countries have become the shame of Africa.

The same is true in Angola. The civil war heightened the fear and hostility between the Ovimbundu people, loyal to UNITA and making up 38 per cent of the population, and the non-Ovimbundu, who fear an ethnically-based government and reprisals if UNITA comes to power. On the other hand, Jonas Savimbi is able to use Ovimbundu fear of domination as a means of bolstering his traditional support base. The level of mutual fear and hostility, combined with Savimbi's apparent inability to compromise or to work as a junior partner in a coalition government, provides little hope for a lasting political solution within the existing constitution and without some form of decentralisation or federalism.

Elsewhere in Africa, conflicts which also have their roots in the unrealistic state boundaries inherited from the colonial era, and the combination in one country of incompatible or hostile ethnic groups, are widespread. Sudan continues to be torn apart by the struggle between the chiefly Arab, Muslim north and the black African, Christian south, with the further bloody complication of bitter fighting in the south between factions within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) – one faction loyal to the leader, John Garang, and drawn from the Dinka tribe, and the other faction from different southern population groups, such as the Nuer, who fear Dinka domination. One would argue that religion is about creation and not about destruction.

Ethnic, regional or clan factors are also playing a part in the continuing conflicts in Liberia, Chad and Somalia, and in the political crises in Cameroon, Togo, Congo and Nigeria. In Somalia, during 1993 and early 1994, the scope of clan conflict had abated and much of the countryside was peaceful enough for food supplies to get through to rural communities and for food crops to be sown and harvested. The UN, however, withdrew from Somalia on 31 March 1995 after no meaningful progress towards peace had been made, whereafter the country plunged back into a state of civil war without any form of central authority.

In West Africa, Liberia continues to cling to an unstable cease-fire put into effect on I August 1993. There have been regular breaches of the cease-fire and in April 1996 there was a general breakdown of order and a resumption of full-scale fighting between the Armed Forces of Liberia (representing the West African backed interim government in Monrovia), the National Patriotic Front of Charles Taylor (which controls most of the territory between the border with Côte d'Ivoire and the outskirts of Monrovia) and the United Liberation Movement, which is mainly fighting Taylor's forces. Each movement represents a different ethnic group: the interim government is chiefly Krahn (the late President Doe's group); ULIMO draws its support from the Mending (mostly former members of the Liberian army); while Taylor is backed by the Gao and Mano peoples. The strongest military force in the country is not Liberian at all: it is the 10 000 strong multinational West African force, ECOMOG, put together by the members of ECOWAS. ECOWAS has been plagued, however, by political differences among its founders: Nigeria, which provides a large proportion of the troops and the commander, is fiercely opposed to Taylor, while Côte d'Ivoire has always backed Taylor. This has meant that ECOMOG has not been able to play the role of a neutral peacekeeping force. Despite the objections of Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, Nigeria and other ECOWAS members have allowed ECOMOG to become involved as one of the combatants, trying to use it to destroy Taylor's forces.

In South Africa, the blood-letting in Kwazulu-Natal continues unabated, although democracy is taking root in that country. Kwazulu-Natal, however, has the potential to destabilise South Africa and the subregion, if the political differences between the predominantly Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party and the ruling African National Congress are not urgently and adequately addressed. The struggle for freedom in South Africa, as was the case in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, was bitter and protracted, and involved significant bloodshed.

Zambia seems to be drifting towards internal political turmoil, following recent legislation which prevents citizens who are not of Zambian parentage from contesting presidential elections. There is potential for violence in Zambia and as a consequence, potential for mounting peacekeeping operations in that country. The problems of Southern Africa need statesmen of great vision if the whole of the subregion is to escape a general and violent ethnic conflagration. The message is clear: democracy still needs to be nurtured in Africa in order to avoid the ever present political instability and insecurity that have made the continent the laughing stock of the world.
http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/monographs/No10/Muzonzini.html
 

Omowale Jabali

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Former Prime minister Apolo Nsibambi has condemned people who misinterpret the Bible saying they are responsible for the mushrooming religious factions and sects. “Although translating the Bible into local languages is very good, it poses some problems. Some people misinterpret it and form different religious factions and sects,” Prof Nsibambi said. He said it is therefore, important for religion leaders to undergo training in theology so that they interpret it correctly.

Mr Nsibambi was officiating at the Bible exhibition in celebration of 400 years of King James’ Version Bible at the Bible House on July 15. Mr Nsibambi also said individual ownership of the Bible has unfortunately declined, attributing it to the poor reading culture and increasing secular cultures. He said currently when people leave office, they rush to bars, others go to watch football and other entertainment that appeal to them, which greatly affected the culture of reading the Bible.

Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga said whoever misconstrued the bible did it in Satan’s name. “Such people are spreading the word of Satan and working against God,” said Bishop Lwanga adding that, “They promote division, while the Bible upholds unity.”

http://in2eastafrica.net/religious-factions-misinterpret-the-bible-says-nsibambi/
 

Omowale Jabali

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Police free two 'Al-Shabaab'
suspects after questioning

Sylvester Owino Opiyo aka Musa Osodo of
Siaya district and Hussein Nderitu Abbas
a.k.a. 'Mohammed' of Nyeri were set free

.
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police released two individuals suspected to have link with Somali militant group, Al- Shabaab, without charge on Tuesday.

Sylvester Owino Opiyo aka Musa Osodo of Siaya district and Hussein Nderitu Abbas aka Mohammed of Nyeri were set free, as their lawyer Chaacha Mwita confirmed the development, saying his two clients who were arrested on the Dec. 24 were ordered to report to Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) on Friday.
"My clients have been set free and no charges have been preferred against them.
"They have just been told to report back to the ATPU on Friday," Mwita told Xinhua by telephone.​

The two suspects were forced to surrender to the ATPU on Saturday after police spokesman Eric Kiraithe circulated their photos to the media and urged members of the public to provide vital information that could lead to their arrest.


"Kenya police has cause to believe that the two individuals are believed to have vital information on Al-Shabaab activities in Kenya," Kiraithe said on Saturday as he released the photos of the two suspects.

http://www.coastweek.com/3451_security_10.htm
 

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