Michael Jackson – A Music Icon and A Legend of Our Times

June 26th, 2009

There are moments in time that you never forget.  Michael Jackson’s passing today will be one of those moments. It came as a shock to me – and while I am still digesting the news, I am wondering if a bit of the empty pit in my stomach comes from knowing that Michael led somewhat a disturbed and unhappy life.

Over the years, Michael has been chased by media hounds – looking for any weakness or misstep to exploit, and Michael never dissapointed.  From dangling his baby outside a window, to building a petting zoo in his home – especially with all the allegations of child abuse – following his persona like a shadow – Michael found his way to the front pages.

Regardless, despite the many attempts by media and all ‘haters’ alike to tarnish Mike’s image, one thing we ALL know and respect – is that Michael was one of the most talented musicians to grace our world. He was an amazing dancer, choreographer, entertainer and singer.  Hit after hit will ensure that Michael lives on forever in the hearts and memories  of his fans.

 And with that…. I’d like to share my top 10 favorite hits of Michael Jackson… leave me yours!

 1) Don’t stop till you get enough

2) Rock with you

3) Thriller

4) Human nature

5) Beat it

6) Smooth criminal

7) Billie Jean

8) Blame it on the boogie

9) Ain’t no sunshine

10) Can it be that I stayed away too long

 There are more songs, Remember the time, Maria, Ben, She’s out of my life…. you name it. Either way, I am dedicating the next month or so to Michael’s memory.  This is indeed a sad day. Death is inevitable, but at 50 years of age, it came too soon for Michael.

What Elvis was to those who grew up in the 50s… Michael is to those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s. RIP MJ – King of Pop!

Also – RIP to Farrah Fawcett – Charlie’s Angel’s beauty – and her courageous battle with colorectal cancer… and of course to Jeff Goldbloom – ‘The Fly’ – who I learnt died today of a terrible accident.  Today is seriously a tragic day…

The Blame Game – Who Did What In Darfur

May 9th, 2009

 

I am often amazed at how passionate people are when it comes to the Darfur situation. Mia Farrow just ended a hunger strike – claiming that she has the choice to continue living – but the people of Darfur don’t. Wether fanned by media, political organizations posing as NGOs (Save Darfur Inc), or US Congress – the noise level is deafening.

In some cases, some people on the US Congress have completely lost their heads.

WASHINGTON — Five members of Congress were jailed Friday after protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy over atrocities in the embattled Darfur region.“The slaughter of the people of Darfur must end,” Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said from the embassy steps before his arrest. Four other Democratic House members — Reps. James McGovern and John Olver of Massachusetts, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jim Moran of Virginia — were among 11 protesters arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor subject to a fine.

The passion underlines a common theme about how we in the west process information and how we choose to understand conflict in Africa – that is it is polarized. Read the rest of this entry »

O’bama – Where is the change in your rhetoric?

April 27th, 2009

   Barack O'bama

The new US Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan reeks of war.  And for America’s policy on the horn it will mean more militarized intervention – especially in light of Somalia’s problem with ‘piracy’ and the rise of Al-Shabab resistance group.

Despite the mis-adventures of the US in Iraq, O’bama has once again re-focused the revenge for 911 – back to the original wrong doers – the Taliban and Al Qaeda. And the response once again is military.  Read the rest of this entry »

Darwin’s Nightmare Re-affirmed?

April 20th, 2009

About four years ago, I rented a documentary called ‘Darwin’s Nightmare’ a film by Hubert Sauper . The movie hightlights how fish (Nile Perch) is packaged and shipped daily from Lake Victoria – to European destinations feeding some 2 million Europeans on a daily basis. But what is incidious in this story is that the same planes – take foodstuffs out of Africa, but when they come back, they actually also bring in illegal weapons to arm various political groups.

[According to Hubert Sauper ] “….soon it turned out that the rescue planes with yellow peas also carried arms to the same destinations, so that the same refugees that were benefiting from the yellow peas could be shot at later during the nights.”

These fears or claims are being re-confirmed. As recently as March 2009, there were reports out of Africa about a Russian plane, that had exploded immediately after take off and collapsed into or near Lake Victoria. The plane had been headed to Somalia.

The plane is contracted by Dynacorp International, a subcontractor of the US Department of Defense, which a checkered and controversial past including – some very well documented and disturbing allegations about illegal weapons sales and child enslavement and sex-trafficking.

All media reports thus far have been fairly muted on the subject – mostly acknowledging that a cargo plane carrying – 16 tonnes of tents and aid stuffs to support the peace keeping missions of the African Union in Somalia.

However as per one a recent blog on Crossed Crocodile – there are a lot of inconsistencies in the stories.

“There are only 28 days in February, that means this plane, chartered by Dyncorp, was making almost daily flights to Somalia during February. What was it carrying? Who was paying for the cargo? Was it in violation of the UN Arms Embargo? And was it only flying these trips in February, did it start before that? Does Dyncorp continue to charter Soviet era Aerolift planes registered in Sao Tome for flights back and forth to Somalia”

From the clean up efforts, which include employment of US Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit and its regional partners – It looks like weapons along with other materials were being flown out of Uganda when the airplane crashed.

“So far AFRICOM, the US Africa Command, has not been named in this story. But it officially enters the picture in the efforts to recover the wreckage from the lake”

USA Africa Command contend that they are there strictly to support the peaceful initiatives on the Horn. Hmmm…. these type of stories don’t bode well for their stance on interference.

I wonder at what point they plan on looking at these and many other activities as a destabilizing force – and when they plan to change hopeful rhetoric with substantial reforms in how they conduct business.

I guess not right now – as O’bama is still mending fences with Latin America… Africa will be quite the challenge.