Friday 30 January 2009

Milking udder nonsense from cows with names

Roaming free with eggs

There isn’t a moment of indecision when one walks down the supermarket aisle looking for eggs and taking the free range variety.

Obviously, free range could be taken to mean the eggs would not sit in the egg-box when opened, but presumably we have been cajoled into thinking the eggs were laid by hens that roam free rather than those in battery cages.

Giving a cow a name

What would surprise me after recent studies is to find that my choices of milk have moved from the basic whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed to some more bizarre description like this was milked from cows with names [1].

Apparently, beyond the context of the holy cow, sme dairy cows have developed a personal relationship with their owners that they have been given names allowing them to produce more milk than would nameless bastard cows.

Cowed by silly names

Typically, the cow is given a name like Daisy in the UK, or Clara with a number in the Netherlands,they might even get names Milka, Crema or Skima to play on the context of names. But then, just imagine people who share their names with cows being called cow for the sake of being unfunny.

However, if a dairy farm has to name its cows, would the cows than have to take on surnames and would surnames denote ownership as was the case with human slaves rather than kinship depicting the brood of the bovine matriarch or the farm bull?

Stressing out on a name

And just as double-barrelled names depict illegitimate liaisons long forgotten what additional stress can be placed on a cow that realises that its name is borne of bad provenance rather than the consummate love of its owner and its healthy progeny?

Would it then be a stretch that named bulls would produce better beef or would the realisation that name-calling is healthy preparation for the abattoir be a weight loss regime on the part of the bull?

For instance, the sheep called Woollies might produce more wool and the crocodile called Snappy might produce more skin – Errr!

Udder nonsense

It goes without saying that there is a lot of useless science expended in stupid discoveries because I would not be surprised if commercial diary farms implement sound systems that whisper sweet nothings to the cows just for the sake of the milk.

At least, one can hope that those in China would call the cow Chin-Milk and completely kill that despicable act of adding melamine to milk to boost its protein content.

I could just hear someone say this is udder nonsense when in fact it is udderly true.


[1] Cows with names produce more milk, scientists say - Telegraph

Monday 26 January 2009

Nigeria: The false debates on same sex marriage

A bill to kill

This blog has been edited and parts of it have been rewritten to offer more clarity.

I have decided to tackle this issue head-on because I am fed up of our democratic representatives debating with fallacies and untruths fed by bigotry, ignorance, stupidity and religious fundamentalism.

It is just completely out of order to have seemingly educated and enlightened people engage in subjective discourse on serious matters that need most clear-mindedness and fair-mindedness to arrive at objective conclusions.

I wrote in my last blog [Blog-City] that the bill providing an outright ban on same sex marriage had passed in the Nigerian legislature [Sun News Online] when in fact it had just scaled though the 2nd reading in the House of Representatives unanimously [HRW].

The seriousness of the issue prompted the Human Rights Watch to write to the President about their concerns for basic human rights. [HRW]

Busybody representatives in full flow

Note: I would be quoting liberally from the Sun article [Sun News Online].

It is interesting to note that the bill was sponsored by the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Steel [Afrol News], at a time that Nigeria is vying to become leader in steel production in Africa after having lost the premier oil producer position in Africa to Angola [Reuters].

His bill was supported by the chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora [IGLHRC] which probably indicates that lady is completely oblivious of the many Nigerian homosexuals who live abroad away from this despicable persecution mob.

Then another chairman of the House Committee on Gas Resources [NPR] in the midst of the gas flaring environmental disasters and that of Steel added their views before deputy chairman of the House Committee on Human Rights [HRW] added her tuppence to the debate.

The links beside each House Committee would suggest to me that they should be very busy doing other productive things more aligned to their briefs rather than to engage in this idle banter promoting prejudice and religious fundamentalism.

The reality is this kind of topic does not require the exacting thoroughness of producing dossiers, interpreting hard facts as contained in statistical data or burning the midnight oil seeking to knock out policy documents for serious legislative debate and progressive politics.

Anyone can engage in this debate as an expert, drawing from their wealth of bigotry, their resources of prejudice having been schooled in unfounded generalisations and grounded in religious fundamentalism – you might well throw a rabid dog into the pack and get a vote of confidence.

This is easy work for legislators who get paid so much and produce so little as it offers the opportunity for people to say the most dastardly and repulsive things and still garner applause from the floor – we are being short-changed big time.

The debate or the prejudices

And so the debate with the context that, “all condemned such marriage, saying that it was immoral, against African tradition and God designs for human being.” It would make you wonder if you were in a debating chamber of democratic discourse or in a seminary.

But what is striking about this is that the House was about to legislate on an issue of morality, not criminality, policy nor point of law but some deep seated prejudice that has no particular basis in fact.

As one representative goes on to say, he “noted that the act depicts moral decadence in any given society and a digress from God’s purpose of creating marriage institution, stressing that such act as stated in both Islam and Christian religions remain ungodly act.”

The bad faith of the House

Whatever happened to other religions including indigenous home growth animist faiths where they might not be so particular about who is sleeping with whom?

Besides, would Christians who eat pork then be more unclean than Muslims? It just goes to show that we cannot have legislative debates so heavily tinged with religious sentiments not expressed by the clergy but by nominal adherents with a fanatical bent.

An elected representative then says, “It is against my faith to have same sex marriage. It is against our penal code to even engage in activities that are as quarrelsome as this between man and man, as well as women and women.”

I do sympathise that it is against his faith but is he there to represent his faith, the collective Nigerian faiths or ensure that there is a clear separation between the accepted religious systems and the State?

The issue might well be a matter of conscience but democratic representation does not confer the right to impose personal prejudices on a national debate; in matters like this the representative should abstain because expressing such a contextual prejudice at jury selection would definitely lead to disqualification.

As for the penal code, it is in need of repeal, it arrived in our statute books by reason of colonisation and those who colonised us have already repealed those intemperate laws in their home countries.

This gets my rag

Then the nuclear option; get emotive and do not let the truth get in the way of the sensational as one representative says, “It is time for us at this point in time to think back and look at the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The greatest means of transmitting this disease is through the act of ‘sodomy’. Young children are already victims of been lured into this cruel and unimaginable act. It is an act of perversion.”

The part about young children being lured into sexual acts be those homosexual or heterosexual needs to be in a children’s rights bill and should not be conflated with one that talks about marriage which would essentially be amongst adults.

The scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa is very evident but its prevalence and demography in the West is completely different from that in Africa – the legislator here is incorrectly asserting circumstances in another location, it is both dishonest and unconscionable whilst falsely labelling victims in Africa who have inadvertently been infected by other means.

Especially, in the case of victim wives, mothers [Isiugo-Abanihe(PDF)], children and those infected through blood transfusion, [NIHGOV] the people deserve a better voice clamouring for good and affordable health services available in the cities and the rural areas.

As Nigeria accounts for 10% of the global HIV/AIDS burden coming to about 4 million inhabitants that are sero-positive with the possibility of that creating 3 million orphans by the end of the decade. [USAID]

We can safely conclude that orphans are not offspring of homosexual intercourse but are products of heterosexual consummation where as another reference suggests prevalent extra-marital relationships increase the risk profile [Isiugo-Abanihe(PDF)].

The numbers are a sad story

Sadly, it is women who carry the greater burden of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria accounting for more than 50% of those infected, with children accounting for 8% [HIV InSite] and it is quite unlikely that this is by reason of the immoral behaviour that so excites the legislators.

Basically, we have a health emergency in Nigeria because of HIV/AIDS [AVERT] [Wikipedia] and malaria [HIV InSite] but those are topics out of the reach of the humanity and compassion of our politicians to tackle; their religious myopia compels them to chase after shadows, giving the appearance of doing something positive for the country.

Dropping the word sodomy into the debate is the red-rag to the bull of completely dispensing with any objectivity, but the truth is that many studies have noted the increase in anal sex amongst heterosexuals [NATAP] [Wikipedia].

As contraception or something else

With reason, where Female Genital Mutilation [WHO] is prevalent, there is a tendency for more heterosexual anal sex than virginal sex [LibChrist].

It then makes interesting debate if the light of the Vatican’s aversion to family planning through the use of contraception [Time] [IPSNews], sexually active but considerate partners indulge in contraceptive anal sex which just happens to be against our penal code.

It does make one conclude that the legislators are just wasting time on useless laws that are legislated in the hypocritical denial of facts that depict a clear national emergency in need of serious attention.

Ditch the hypocritical God talk

The problems in Nigeria today are definitely not as a result of the activities of a handful of practising perverts, too many voices call on God in Nigeria that he dare not blink – to blame moral decadence on those few rather than on the lasciviousness of the majority is hypocritical and dishonest.

Nigeria is not a homogenous religious community like the Old Testament Jews under the leadership of a pseudo-theocracy; we are a democracy in the 21st Century of 140 million people, for crying out loud.

Get doing the work that matters

This bill would now be referred to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Justice and Women Affairs and I hope the human rights element of living in a global community gains ascendancy, that the sense of justice prevails over the idea of legislating on religious and supposedly moral issues and that they begin to concentrate on the plight of women by working to fully ratify the CEDAW protocol. [Blog-City]

If there is a need to ban same sex relationships, the argument has yet to be made objectively and not on moral and religious grounds – these matters should be able to stand the scrutiny of objective jurisprudence and legal challenge, the hysteria of mass prejudice to foment tyranny is not for democracies and that is what should be discouraged in Nigeria.

Dressed so gay as bad straight laws oppressed

Dressing creatively from depravity

Just around the time that America was being regaled with the sophistication of creativity, Nigeria was engaged in legislating for supposed depravity [1].

Now, there are very few who were not wowed by dress Michelle Obama wore [2] for the inaugural balls and as it transpired the maker of the gown found himself hoping from cloud to cloud in ululation as his handiwork debuted on the world stage of fashion that matters.

In passing, he was at home with his boyfriend as the First Lady was out partying with her husband.

It is ironic that a country that would not offer equal rights in marriage to same sex couples finds themselves in awe of the creative genius of someone who might well want his relationship to accrue the same rights as any traditional relationship.

Sermon on two mounts

Back in Nigeria, the legislature finally passed the Same Gender Prohibition Bill [3] which portends to criminalise homosexual relationships with the view to protecting society.

It is laughable that in a country where the police are at pains to solve obvious and blatant crimes that an armed robber turned into a goat that ended up in custody, they now have laws to enter the bedrooms of people participating in the consummation of their love because the tyranny of the majority has been inspired to terrorise the minority.

This legal framework no doubt stems from bigoted religious beliefs rooted in Levitical law [4] applied to others as it were at the mount where people gathered trembling in fear and loathing but seeks the blessings of the Sermon of the Mount [5] when it comes to themselves.

The abuse of democratic process

It is odious to have a situation where the machinery of democracy is co-opted as an instrument for the legislation of morality in aid of religious myopia that does nothing to promote harmony in the community.

Meanwhile, innocent people who just happen to be homosexuals in pursuit of their own happiness are now open to unnecessary persecution for seemingly victimless crimes as criminals are allowed to shape shift through society and go scot free to eventually become the rich and powerful with unaudited sources of wealth and able to peddling immoral influence on the gullible and hapless many.

This is no just cause and it can bear no justice, homosexuals as it was glaringly evident at the inaugural ball can be creative, able and worthwhile members of society.

Allow men to thrive

Jason Wu [6] is a world citizen of sorts who born Taiwanese, lived in Canada, studied in Tokyo and Paris and makes a successful career in the United States. He learnt to sew at 9 and by 17 was the creative director of a major toy company, the money he made from that venture went into creating his own fashion line [7] and his success brought on the interest in his designs that have now been modelled and showcased by the First Lady.

That he happens to be homosexual [8] is completely beside the point, the fact is our humanity has a lot to offer the generations in which we exist and to abrogate the pursuit of happiness of others for the satisfaction of the moral bigotries of those who can wield power without any concern for others is atrocious in the least.

Many men like Alan Turing [9] whose contribution to the development computer science was legendary and like many who had much to offer the world have been harassed out of their creative minds and fallen to the persecution of the mob who have the least to make our world a better place than to create more division, more fear, more terror and more disagreement as a sop to protecting our collective morality.

The need to real legislation

If we really need to protect our collective morality the areas of legislation required are in child sexual abuse, the sexual harassment of women, the protection of the rights of the minority, the freedom of information and the right to pursue our happiness without the untrammelled interference of the law.

These issues would be too tough for our legislators to tackle because their so-called religious morality does not really have much to offer in terms of concern, consideration, compassion or comfort for the poor, the afflicted, the abused, the voiceless or the oppressed.

We are herded into a moral debate as a cohesive force of unity without any hope for really useful change for Nigeria or Nigerians at large.


[1] The Sun News On-line: Reps vote against gay marriage

[2] Michelle Obama: Guide to the First Lady's fashionable looks – Telegraph

[3] The Same Gender Prohibition Bill – Black Looks

[4] The Old Law - Mosaic & Levitical Law

[5] Sermon on the Mount - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[6] About Jason

[7] Jason Wu Studio

[8] Michelle Goes Gay |

[9] Alan Turing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nigeria: Catch that goat

The police thing

I should have ignored this piece of news and it should have been stuff for the silly season if it were not that serious.

One of the reasons why I have not visited Nigeria for about 20 years stems from the impression I have of law enforcement agencies and their inability to tackle issues with any sense of objectivity.

Beyond that, they can be used by nefarious but powerful people as tools of oppression and menace where the notion of the presumption of innocence is based on differing aspects of being the first to contact the police, being the plaintiff or having a status in society regardless of the innocence of other parties.

I have many times been a victim of police unreasonableness and their corrupt ways – this however is not just particular to Nigeria but everywhere else because I have been schooled to believe that a career in the police force is that last ditch attempt to make something of a life without purpose - there are a few exceptions.

Catch the goat

It is fearful to read that a goat has now been arrested [1] as a suspect to a car theft. The vigilante group that handed the goat to the police believe that the thief shape-shifted from human-being to goat to avoid capture.

This stretches the limits of incredulity but ignorance is rife in the police force much as it is representative of a society hamstrung in superstition and held back by bizarre belief systems that have not been eliminated by the presence of foreign religions that were supposed to free us from savage and animist beliefs.

The amalgam of these fears and faiths simply creates a society that suspends every opportunity to use their God-given brains and intellect to reason and logically examine the evidence before their eyes.

Between the fact and the illusion

As for the goat, one would presume the shape shifter cannot retain that transmogrification for longer than a particular period of time before reverting to form.

But really, if anyone could shape shift into anything, where did the vigilante mob get the boldness to approach that goat that could have shape shifted into something even more menacing?

Where an armed robber has turned into a goat, it would be interesting to find the clothes that fell off the goat, the weapons that would have transferred from hands to hooves and every logically piece of evidence necessary for a thorough police investigation of a crime.

Some observers from afar might wonder if my people have not been seeing things, but I would wager that probably one person just thought up this sensational nonsense and the generally gullible crowd lapped it up and believed they had a truth, helping to give credence to a stupid idea.

Shape shifting myths

That is not to say that shape shifting [2] does not exist in its varied forms from myths to depictions in films like Maya in Space 1999 [3], and there are pretend princesses all about the place kissing frogs looking for princes – but really, if a car thief could change into a goat he should be able to raise a whirlwind to scare off anyone trying to capture him.

The poor goat may just have been a stray goat that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and beyond the mug-shots of the goat, one can only wonder if a goat lawyer is representing it in court because even a goat is too domesticated to be subjected to jungle justice in a kangaroo court.

Somebody must be having my goat – Really!


[1] BBC NEWS | Africa | Nigeria police hold 'robber' goat

[2] Shapeshifting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] Maya (Space: 1999) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Nigeria: Women's democratic rights curtailed by Sharia

Separating the state from religion

When the more established democracies of the world decided to separate religion from the state even though the governed have strong religious inclinations they probably had very good reasons.

Nigeria happens to be a democracy but one where religious diktat not only encroaches on civil society but sometime gains ascendancy over transparent democratic processes.

A group of women had organised a protest for the 29th of January and this has been banned [1] by the Islamic authorities in the Northern city of Kano in Nigeria.

The bane of religious policing

The head of the Sharia police and this is completely different from the state managed and civil law enforcement apparatus opined that the planned protest was both an embarrassment and un-Islamic.

One would generally suggest that the reason why any group of people would join to protest for any cause would be because whatever channels for redress or grievance amelioration fails to serve its purpose fairly, judiciously, justly, satisfactory and expeditiously.

The issue on the mind of the protesters might well be a social and cultural issue which for reasons of modernity or enlightenment was about to find expression through the democratic right to protest. However, when custodians of Islamic norms – they being the Sharia police – interfered with this democratic process they risked bringing Islam into disrepute through their zealotry and their lack of understanding of the social consequences of their actions.

The plight of divorced women

The women protesting are divorced Muslim women who when divorced get thrown out of their homes, lose custody of their children and sometimes end up destitute according to the reports - the mental and psychological damage than can ensue from this kind of treatment cannot be quantified.

One could very well assume that these women are victims of domestic violence and might have been subject to extreme maritodespotism without any recourse for legal or social review of their circumstances with the aim of attaining a favourable outcome.

One would then think that where civil society has failed to address these deep issues of marital discord, religion would play an even better and compassionate role.

However, if religious leaders or those in the position to take presumably infallible religious texts and imperfectly interpret the texts without due regard for humanity and consideration those issues are then not dealt with and the victims are left twice without justice and done an injustice.

Religion failing humanity

Indeed, a demonstration by divorced women who cannot find justice and fairness in their communities would be an embarrassment; but where religious leaders have given up that opportunity for wise counsel for expediency; they allow for this injustice to continue rather than create avenues in which to properly accommodate the concerns of the protesters and advice their communities of adherents of humane ways of handling marriages that have irretrievably broken down and where one partner is of limited means.

In civil law, a divorced party should be able to claim alimony or palimony depending on the circumstances however when religion is allowed to become a legal framework for the policing of morality and social curtailment conflicts might then create tensions and unintended consequences.

In short, religion that does not address social matters of humanity with compassion and consideration with a view to fairness and justice is a bad religion or has bad clerics as religious leaders.

Kano is the more ridiculous now

For instance, the banning of this protest was to prevent Kano from being ridiculed in the eyes of the world – it is debatable if Kano has not now been more ridiculed by the banning of the protests.

Civil law and secular society in a democratic context has checks and balances, even though they may not be as effective as they should be or might be corrupted by all sorts of self-interest and/or selfishness, but the parties involved can be made accountable eventually, if there is a will for ensure it.

Legislating for morality through a parallel religious legal code and adherence of some religious lifestyle stricture can be problematic where the purveyors for religious management are not necessarily accountable to any authority except to some superior being.

Those leaders are NOT perfect

The danger also exists where religious leaders who have acquired religious knowledge and have attained a high status in society might be deluded into an infallibility complex and hence be unable command authority with humility, exercise responsibility with considerable and temper commandment with compassion.

The tendency to take the interpretation of religious texts to a point where they begin to personify the deity they profess to worship is rife and it lends itself to error, mistakes, misjudgements, cruelty, heresy and hypocrisy.

Democracies should be pre-eminent

For those and many other reasons a democracy should by its substance extend to any lawful and enfranchised citizen the right to peaceful protest and these rights should not be subject to the whim of some religious organ.

Where civil law enforcement does express concerns about a protest, they should be able to provide good reasons defensible in a court of law as to why a protest should not take place or provide adequate policing and security to allow for the protest and expression of democratic rights.

To goes without saying that religious law which for those in authority allows for the domination of the citizenry by an unaccountable and unrepresentative lot also deprives the citizenry of their rights to the pursuit of happiness in any way they see fit as responsible adults and considerate members of society.

All means to restore the honour of the women

There is no reason to curtail the rights of anyone in a democracy where the curtailment derives from rulebook other than the constitution of that country and this should not be restricted or subsumed to a quagmire of religious laws.

The whole idea of policing morals in the 21st century is not only ridiculous, it is preposterous and invites opprobrium from well constituted democracies.

In the end, what is at stake is justice for women and the compassionate review of the unacceptable treatment of divorced Muslim women, it is shame that neither civil nor religious law has been properly leveraged to restore the dignity, honour and integrity of these women.

Even in a society where there is no religion our sense of compassion and humanity should not fail to do this as a minimum – the protest should most definitely be allowed to hold for the sake of our democracy and despite the religious misgivings.


BBC NEWS | Africa | Sharia police block women's rally

Tuesday 20 January 2009

The message in President Obama's inaugural speech

What I took away

And so my trusty but old combo system recorded three hours of the Obama Inauguration which was running for another 30 minutes after I returned home.

Then I sat to watch what had been recorded from 17:00 hrs my local time.

President Obama’s speech [1] sent one clear message as it embraced and encompassed all those leaders around the world especially those in Africa without equivocation as I had hoped in my last blog.

There would be the time, the place and the manner in which to analyse, dissect and subject to deep exegesis the choice of words spoken by President Obama on this day, but these few words out of the speech speaks out to those who have yet refused to hear the voices for freedom and good governance.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

I shall not add nor subtract from the import and intention of these words but that those who have ears, let them hear in Zimbabwe, in Sudan, in Myanmar, in North Korea, in countries that pretend to be democracies, in those that confer infallibility on their ailing leaders and subjugate their people to the despicable cult of personality but most of all, if this was not a message to Africa where every aspiring commentator or despotic leader seeks to gain validation by blaming our ills on the colonial past, then there is no new hope for humankind.

I believe the tenure of President Obama signals a great and momentous change to the world order and those who do not fall in line with aspirations for the good would be laid to waste and come to naught because this a juggernaut that is already on the move; if I wrote the inaugural speech, it would have ended with – “We say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

That sums up the will to win that begins to pervade our humanity from this hour onwards.

Hail to The Chief – Welcome to the era of President Barack Hussein Obama.


[1] Text of Obama's Inauguration Speech | The New York Observer