Thursday 30 June 2016

#Brexit: The Brexiteer is Brexecuted

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?
Rudyard Kipling                                      
The favourite
This is a blog I had wanted to write for a few days when I discovered the Rudyard Kipling poem titled ‘A Dead Statesman’, but the time was not ripe for it to written until this morning,
At the back of my mind, I had heard just a few days before on the possible contenders for the leadership of the Tory Party the opinion of a Tory MP that the favourite never wins.
I probably should have laid a wager at that point that Boris Johnson, the flamboyant and charismatic face of the #Brexit campaign, who was considered the favourite to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not claim the prize.
The knifing
Yet, this morning as I was having breakfast, I was in shock when I saw on television that Michael Gove, the Justice Minister who was Boris Johnson’s sidekick was running for the leadership job.
We must not forget that during the #Brexit melee, Michael Gove famously adopted the anti-intellectual stance that we should ignore all the experts that ‘prophesied’ disaster for the UK if we did #Brexit.
Then again, within 24 hours of the #Brexit vote, the proponents were backpedalling on the talking points that formed the basis of the #Brexit campaign, the £350m we were supposedly paying into the EU was not really so, the NHS was not going the retained moneys, we really would not be able to reduce immigration after all, because Europe is not at our door with a begging bowl for our trade.
The excoriation
We have become independent and probably sovereign but diminished in influence, economic power, clout and are in limbo with a rudderless government and an opposition engaged in internal insurrection. Project Fear has become Project Fact according to Lord Heseltine and the reality we face is, no matter the gloss we put on it, grim.
Lord Heseltine was no shyster when he laid into Boris Johnson who having given Nigel Farage’s odious campaign a veneer in credibility, his vitriolic excoriation is also a statement of the consequence of #Brexit and it would do well that we note his words.
"I think there will be a profound sense of dismay and frankly contempt."
He’s ripped the party apart. He’s created the greatest constitutional crisis of modern times. He’s knocked billions off the value of the nation’s savings. He’s like a general that led his army to the sound of guns and at the sight of the battlefield, abandoned the field - to the claims of his adjutant who said he wasn’t up to the job in the first place.
I’ve never seen so contemptible and irresponsible a situation. It’s a free society. There’s no question of punishment. He must live with the shame of what he’s done.
This process, which would not have happened without him, has now left a great gaping hole in the future of Britain’s decision makers. Not just Britain’s decision makers but all over the world, people thinking about investing in this country don’t know what the future holds. The priority now is for that question to be answered and quickly. We cannot just let this thing drift as everyone makes speeches and pontificates.” [Mirror]
In another interview, Lord Heseltine went on to say that Boris Johnson was like, “a general who marches his army to the sound of the guns and the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it … The pain of it will be felt by all of us and, if it doesn’t get resolved shortly, by a generation to come yet.” [The Guardian]
The odium
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage in his valedictory speech at the European Parliament where he accused his colleagues of never had a job or created jobs in their careers, one can only be bemused that Nigel Farage has idled in that parliament for 17 years when he was supposed to be representing our interests.
His penchant was to obstruct, to insult, to abuse, to belittle, to bluster and to exhibit the most reprehensible and undiplomatic conduct to partners who we needed to persuade and with whom it was necessary to find agreement; a polar opposite of the global consensus builder Winston Churchill, and we wonder why we always got a raw deal from Europe when we sent the worse of our lot to beat the drums for our interests.
And so back to the poem at the top and the blog, the lies that undo statesmen and bring political careers to an end, if anyone is weeping for Boris Johnson, crocodiles have shed more pitiful tears. The damage wrought by his perfidy reverberated around the globe and it will harm us for generations. There is no way he deserved to reach to for helm of government which many thought was his selfish aim for siding with #Brexit.
Like the Shakespearean play, when Marcus Junius Brutus knifed Julius Caesar, the Brexiteer has been Brexecuted.

Friday 24 June 2016

#Brexit: He traded his kingdom for horse shit

The truth is expendable
Probably there is much to be said of the EU Referendum results that have commenced the divorce of the UK from the European Union.
Throughout the campaign, it was difficult for me to elicit from all the talking points, the propaganda, the debates and outright lies that made up the interaction with the public what was fact from fiction, understatement from exaggeration, fear-mongering from bare-faced reality and snake-oil remedies from wild assumptions.
However, what it more or less confirmed to me was the need to redefine Modern Democracy as “The government of the sentimentally cajoled, by charismatic confidence tricksters for untrammelled vested interests.
Appealing to emotions
Worse still was the fact that literally all expert opinion was rubbished, dismissed, debunked or excoriated as fallacies were deployed with soundbite efficiency, completely ignoring any semblance of objectivity, truth, data or fact.
They appealed to our basest instincts and excited such raw passions that one young mother of two and an elected representative of a Yorkshire constituency was shot, stabbed and killed by a mental incompetent fuelled by the hateful rhetoric that had pervaded the discourse. Pandora’s box was opened and every kind of poisonous view let lose without compunction.
The most potent fallacy in the #Brexit debate was the appeal to emotion on the matter of immigration, it became the focal point by which a 0.5% increase in our population was made to look like a 5% influx of undesirables taking liberties and abusing the hospitality of our generosity that we had reached breaking point.
A reckless gamble
Prime Minister David Cameron, took a political gamble and with hindsight he had no chance against the charismatic buffoonery of Boris Johnson and the caddish affability of Nigel Farage. He is to be consigned to the scrapheap of history as the man under whose watch the United Kingdom faced an existential crisis of disintegration and ostracism from its closest partners.
He had lost his deft touch, in another statesmanlike setting, he would have put in some hurdles beyond a simple majority, this was the lowest threshold possible and on a 52% - 48% share in favour of #Brexit, we are in the realm of uncertainty, in uncharted waters, subject to avoidable but understandable turmoil, turbulence and volatility, unsure of what the future holds and this is supposed to be our Independence Day.
At the very least, a higher percentage threshold should have been met, the four-country lock suggested by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland should have been in the mixed, ensuring unanimity of all regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, before we agree to #Brexit and the 16-17-year-old cohort should have been allowed to vote.
Not that this might have changed the result, but whatever victory for whichever side would have been hard fought for and more than well-deserved. Worse than Shakespearean Richard III, David Cameron did not trade his kingdom for a horse, but for horse shit.
For now, the country is split down the middle, he has resigned, the pound was in freefall, the stock market took a battering along with bourses of our allies and the leader of the opposition faces a vote of no confidence.
We’ll suffer for this
Europe has also gone shrill and strident, the next meeting of the heads of government does not have the United Kingdom as an invitee, we have more than tough times ahead, we are most likely going to be harshly dealt with to ensure the referendum we just concluded does not become an excitable contagion to others.
Never, has a nation had the voice to express itself and squandered it on irrational fear of the other considering it has a not too distant history of dominating over 25% of the world in its heyday. The Great British Empire which was at its height just a century ago has collapsed upon itself with a whimper, and whilst in 1982, Margaret Thatcher put the Great back in Britain after the Falklands war, in 2016, David Cameron has welded the Little to England in our march out of the door from Europe.
The consequences of #Brexit will be more far-reaching than we have ever contemplated, and the people who promised us the world if we #Brexit probably only have loads of sorrow, tears, pain, sweat and blood to offer.
Welcome to the new world.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

On #Brexit: We must remain for our democracy

The Control
Much has been said about taking back control by the proponents and outsized figureheads of the #Brexit campaign, and maybe they have a point.
However, there will be immediate and long-term consequences if the United Kingdom votes for #Brexit.
The main issue is our democracy and that has been a serious debating point throughout this referendum discussion. We have a parliamentary democracy in the UK, and though I did not vote for the Conservative Party in the last general election, I am happy to be represented by the government of the day.
Some of their policies are not to my liking, but the people in charge headed by David Cameron who we voted for have maintained a somewhat steady course from 2010 in a coalition and then as a majority government since 2015. This parliament, come what may, will run until 2020.
The coup
If we do vote #Brexit, this the very likely scenario, there will be a palace coup, David Cameron and his cabinet will probably be thrown out and we face the possibility of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with senior cabinet figures in Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, I will not be surprised if Nigel Farage is flung into the House of Lords in gratitude.
Whilst this will be a democratic exercise within the ruling party, it is unlikely to bear the hallmarks of the democracy we desire and it will run until 2020. None of these personalities have ever held a great office of state, that is Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary or Defence Secretary.
Iain Duncan Smith has been a leader of opposition, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and Michael Gove is the Justice Secretary, the government of the UK carries a greater responsibility than these men have ever faced, they will be tyros, inexperienced, learning on the job and at the same time trying to negotiate a new identity for the UK in the world.
The greenhorns
It is my humble opinion that this task will be well beyond their experience and capacity to manage that the UK will probably both suffer internally and internationally for this venture into two uncertainties of experience and unquantified hope.
There is every reason to be energised by the concept of an Independence Day tomorrow, but give it a thought, on economic matters, they have no insight, on immigration, they have held no such responsibility. On negotiations even Boris Johnson could not bring to fruition the night travel he promised on London transport, Michael Gove literally frustrated the teachers rather than persuade them, Iain Duncan Smith presided over a regime where the vulnerable were victimised and Nigel Farage besides being abusive and rude in the European Parliament could not win his own constituency last year.
These are the untested and untried people, we are about to hand our country to, to take us on an untried and untested journey outside Europe outside of the people on the remain side have gathered a wide coalition, many of whom hold offices of responsibility and have validated contacts with our partners far and wide around the world.
 Some realism
Yes, we can be bloody-minded and adventurous as Britons, and indeed, if there were a different set of tested experienced people to hand control over to, the case for #Brexit might have been stronger to me, but there is nothing in #Brexit than a suicidal attempt in the unknown, for the unseen, in the uncharted, for a destination unscripted, there is just too much unappealing about this matter to hand it over to this crowd.
It is for this reason, even if we are persuaded of no other that I will appeal so earnestly that we vote to remain, for continuity in the hands of the experienced, for some confidence in competence even in the uncertain times ahead, a sense of quantified risk in what we know as opposed to a whole set of unknown unknowns.
This is just too great to risk for independence in the hands of greenhorns.
We must vote to remain.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Apology 001

Village rag of ruse
This morning, I came upon a malicious false accusation that was made against a friend on Twitter to the effect that he was allegedly recorded on video assaulting a woman and swearing at her.
On observing the video, it was clear that neither the man assaulting the woman nor the voice of the perpetrator was my friend, the accent was American, his is British-Nigerian. That this video appeared on one of the more odious vehicles of invective and the worst of Nigerian journalistic standards was at first instructive, the text dripped with malice, it could not be overlooked.
As it transpired, Nigeria being a country in the rat race of keeping and settling scores, someone decided to publish this malign atrocity and then continued with commentary that excoriated my friend in the most uncharitable terms before proceeding to church.
Malicious and atrocious
Meanwhile, anyone who had any idea of who my friend was had already seen this hatchet job for what it was, the antecedents of the village rag masquerading as an online newspaper indicated that the act was deliberate to cause injury and harm to the name and reputation of my friend.
Whilst, engagement on Twitter can both be robust and virulent, there are times when even my friend might have exceeded the bounds of decency. In the snake pit of Nigerian commentary, the search for gentlemen can be futile as to be impossible. However, that should not excuse the abuse of platforms and expression to denigrate anyone, that applies to both my friend and anyone else.
Address the issue at hand
I am not here to keep the record of longstanding conflicts between personalities on Social Media, however, I can as occasion allows when I am observing my timeline on Twitter engage in the discourse or the debate as the opportunity comes. This morning presented such an opportunity and for that particular act, I walked in with the clear intention of defending my friend from that particular smear and address all who colluded in propagating the odium.
For some people, they might seek moral equivalences to justify that atrocity, it does not excuse this particular one I decided to address and the forum is open for others to address grievances they might have with other issues they feel so strongly about. The idea that one should help them fly their own flags, whilst understandable is neither a duty nor an obligation.
I have on many occasions called out friend, acquaintance, stranger and worse on general issues, I am nobody’s surrogate, I work as an independent mind on the matters I choose to address and never as a policeman seeking to impute offence at every possible opportunity.
It was a hatchet job
The backlash was fierce and unrelenting, with that came a conditionally grudging apology which some considered a full-hearted apology, I was having none of it. Eventually, the village rag pulled down that rotten hatchet job, which it was and appeared to apologise. The apologies were an apology of an apology in and of themselves.
I say it was a rotten hatchet job, because if it wasn’t, the story would have been edited to address the matter of Violence Against Women, which one of the protagonists tried to use to deflect the opprobrium for his perfidy. It got to a point that I found myself having to write an Idiot’s Guide to Apology and I labelled it Apology 001 because to have given it Apology 101 would have made it impossible for some to understand as a very advanced course in appropriate restitution.
The Idiot’s Guide: Apology 001
The Idiot’s Guide appears below and I have really not seen anything that resembles an apology on the matter. Just because you dislike a person does not mean you cannot stand for right in support of that person, that is what constitutes having a value system and principles. It is left to us to decide if past hurt is an excuse for allowing injustice and worse to thrive in our midst.
Apology 001: A regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.
Apology 001: An apology requires first an expression of regret; that expression cannot be conditional.
Apology 001: An expression of regret cannot be prefaced with the conditional if, because that invalidates the acknowledgement of error.
Apology 001: An apology must stand on its own, it must be full, unreserved, sincere, honest and final.
Apology 001: An apology must fully repudiate all the errors and claims that caused offence. For example; I am sorry for falsely accusing ...
Apology 001: If an apology is not grudging and deemed honest, it will be obvious to all and the offended will receive it gracefully.
Apology 001: Until we grasp the fundamentals of giving a good apology, we cannot advance to the Apology 101 course. :)

Thursday 16 June 2016

Jo Cox MP (1974 - 2016)

A sad day for our democracy
When I read earlier today that a member of the UK parliament had been attacked, I probably did not read the detail of the story thinking the dust will settle and everything will be fine soon.
I got home and was shocked to learn that Jo Cox MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire had died of injuries sustained from being shot and stabbed just in front of her surgery. This was a mother of two young children who would have turned 42 in just 6 days’ time. [BBC News]
The tributes that have poured out in sympathy and recognition of this amazing young woman who has had a lifetime career of fighting causes for the poor, the needy, the enslaved, the refugee and many other powerless and exploited makes her in the one year of her parliamentary representation a glowing example of our democracy and her appreciation of the privilege and responsibility her constituency placed on her to fight their cause.
She died in the line of duty, doing the fundamentals of constituency representation, meeting people, tackling issues and putting forward her embracing worldview when she was attacked.
A better world
Now, it is suggested her attacker who presumably is a loner who kept himself to himself but loved gardening said some words as he assailed her and wounded a couple of other bystanders, we may never fully understand why he chose to harm and kill this woman regardless of whatever strength of feeling and animus he had towards her.
In her maiden speech in the House of Commons made on the 3rd of June 2015, as she spoke of the diversity of the constituency she represented, she made a very profound statement, “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.
Her widowed husband, Brendan Cox released a statement that included, “Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.” [BBC News]
Tone it down
Now, MPs do face aggression and some have suffered physical attacks though it’s been about 25 years since an MP died as a result of such an attack.
We must reflect on what is becoming of our democracy, the disagreements leading to disagreeableness and egged on by rhetoric that would inspire some to violence. The use of otherness, separateness, division to accentuate difference and pitch our common humanity against each other for political gain.
The demonization of allies, partners, friends, neighbours, communities, religions, beliefs, of Brussels, of Europe, of foreigners, of immigrants, of countries and so on as we have seen in the recent London mayoral elections and the current #BREXIT debates. All this exacerbates the tendency to harm others in word and in deed. When we denigrate anyone of us, we create a negative atmosphere that registers with our basest instincts and it encourages the less disciplined amongst us to atrocious and heinous acts.

Leveraging fear and loathing towards professing a kind of exceptionalism and an incipient superiority complex in relation to equal participants in a wider regional bloc that always requires persuasion, debate, compromise and consensus to achieve common goals and ends to the benefit of all of us.
Her enduring legacy
Jo Cox in her short life saw a bigger picture, a shared humanity and the passion to speak up for the voiceless, it took her to places of conflict and suffering in the quest to make lives better, she had a big heart and open arms to people regardless of who they were and in the vigil kept for her earlier this evening, we saw how she had earned the respect of all who ever had the opportunity to have an encounter with her.
I did not know Jo Cox until today, but I will never forget her after today, the spirit of what she espoused is what we should all embrace, she was a Europhile, she believed in the European project, she said as much in her maiden speech and it is very possible that this contributed to the attack on her person.
We should when we have a platform understand the responsibility that comes with the ability to make people think or agitate them to mob violence. I would hope each and everyone approaches that responsibility with deep reflection that strengthens the togetherness of our diverse humanity. That is the legacy of Jo Cox, may her gentle soul rest in peace and may her loved ones find strength and fortitude in this unfortunate and deeply sad time of loss.

Don't let me bare my teeth

The conflicts
An encounter that brought one to the meeting with another where much left unsaid is the unresolved conflict that goes back too long that memories begin to fade.
Yet, there are memories that will never go away because they are the foundations on which everything else is built, that thing unlooked, that praise unsaid, the act unloved, that wound unsalved, that curse unleashed are indelible markers of time and space, the manner in which all came to play in scenarios never yet spoken, they are deep.
The discord
Then a visit in the midst of sleep stirred up a maelstrom, a knowing that this was not comfortable, an instigator came to stir up the moment for a fiery exchange and that was the cause of excuses made when the other flung the apron strings again to see if they would bind, no, they would not for they’ve been cut for too long.
As the parting began, a terror was again unleashed, a momentary lashing out but one thought the better of it, the time and place will probably never come for any of this to be resolved, the egg has been broken, there is no getting the yolk and the albumen back in the embrace of nature that once was and the evolution that follows next.
The escape
Witnesses oblivious of the long history trooped to the other side and ganged up to torment, they began and at first strike, with a bite of a serpent in the deep of the back, a painful cry and the end of slumber.
They can harm the body but they will not touch the soul, that hold is gone and that story remains long and yet untold, there is a salvation beyond which they will never control who saved that soul.
If there is another encounter …

Tuesday 14 June 2016


He hated himself that much
My thoughts are many, many for the innocent who in the midst of the celebration of life were snuffed out by someone who might well have wanted to have the freedoms he saw, but through possible self-loathing and self-hatred decided what he could not have should be destroyed in others.
Much as he pledged allegiance to a hateful pox of a group that is antithetical to our common humanity to give some validation to his cause, it is very likely that it was a cloak for some inner turmoil that he never found the will or the courage to deal with.
He ended the lives of 49 people, harmed many more and blighted a community, a nation, and humanity, but in his hatred, he also expired in a hale of the atrocity he meted out on others.
He will not be remembered as the souls of the departed will be remembered, he will not be celebrated as the memories of families, friends, lovers, acquaintances or the good of our humanity and kindness will be celebrated.
He is of the ignoble, the unexplained evil, the heinous and the demonic, leaving us with a deep repugnant feeling that we will not visit for any longer than is necessary, for the remembrance of a terrorist is of the accursed and the worthless, the unloved and the unlovable, that if there were a hell, its jaws would open to its widest girth to receive him into the bowels of suffering unprintable.
Our common humanity loves
At this loss, we gather, we hold hands, we embrace, we mourn, we reflect, and we determine that no person in the expression of their lost cause, the hatred for happiness and the good things of life will take away our laughter, and if we shed tears it would be for those we love and we care for.
Much as life goes on, it will with a unity of purpose that those with whom we shared the joy of living will not have died in vain. Was it the sight of men kissing that disgusted him so much to kill? Then let us kiss the more that it becomes as commonplace as it should be – the expression of love, latching onto hope, living our dreams and holding hands fearless and bold to face the storms of life. Are you reviled by this? Deal with it.
Everyone needs love, who they choose to love is immaterial as long as they are adults and it is with consent. It brings to mind the many other places that use religion, traditions, culture and laws to persecute and prosecute difference, minorities, the poor, the powerless, the infirm or any other distinguishing thing that can be used to accentuate division when there is a greater call on our human spirit to celebrate our unity in diversity.
We have the greatest love within us
The fight must continue to serve the cause of our humanity and elevate that to one where our common cause should be the respect for each other with the freedom to be ourselves and to love ourselves in the expression of the greatest love of all.
Where some talked, the ones that mattered were the people invested themselves, the first responders, the first aiders, the hospital staff, the many who queued up to give blood not concerned about who it is going to, the people who gathered to remember and the many more who contributed to causes to help the victims and communities that suffered loss. That is our shared humanity and long may we continue to see that goodness amongst us.
We are all Orlando!

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Opinion: Lagos to London: Britain’s New Super-Rich

And so
I really had no intention of writing anything about the mockumentary that was shown on Channel 4 last night titled, Lagos to London: Britain’s New Super-Rich, but I was asked about it at work this morning.
There are a lot of Nigerians in the UK, my association with the UK was borne of the fact that my parents were here as students in the 1960s and I came along, born in the UK, but of Nigerian heritage and I am proud of that mix and makeup of my life.
Now, the Nigerians that appeared on that programme are rich, wealthy, educated in some of the best English schools, but somehow seemed to have missed a quality of educational finesse that combines the understated with sophistication.
They had cash, they were brash, they had lots to flash and very little class. It goes without saying that that essential component of comportment seems to have evaded their sensibilities by a country mile.
Of sensible Nigerians
There are Nigerians who graft it here daily to make ends meet, there are other Nigerians who are professionals of high repute with exemplary accolades and dare I say, probably the majority of the unseen Nigerians have more sense than money and I think that is a good thing.
The best education I got from my parents is one of contentment, this gives me the perspective and grounding to live my life successfully and happily without the encumbrance of trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Looking at some of the commentary on Twitter last night, some people were carried away with the acquisitive hedonism, the ostentatious show of wealth that has people groomed for appearance with little or no substance. Life has a lot more to it than that.
Indeed, we would all love to have the means to do anything we liked, yet we have a self-awareness, a sense of responsibility, considerable consideration, discipline and perspective to what we do that is a function of our stability and salvation from depression borne of envy, jealousy or covetousness.
The butler comes
Now, of the people who were showcased on this meat rack of vulgarity, one can commend Alexander Amosu for rising from a council estate to hobnob with the outrageously rich and he has apparently cornered a market to feed the constant one-upmanship that consumes people of that ilk.
Yet, with all that association, the minutiae of essence that comes with knowing was evident, limousine, chauffeur, sharp suits, gleaming cuff links and the ultimate faux pas; a matching tie and pocket square. Class is probably passed down and there is only so much finishing school can do.
Kids on the skids
On the matter of the daughters of the billionaire oil tycoon and the twins with a law degree from some midrange university, whoever sent them to public school should be asking for a refund with interest, none of the English norms seemed to have rubbed off on them, they spoke like silver spoon braggarts.
Many of us would rather keep our inflective Nigerian-English accents than to decline to a South or East London accent, especially after that kind of education. Come think of it, I seem to have gotten more out of my Nigerian-based multi-cultural education than they did from public schools in England. Their spoken English was quite below par as to be somewhat appalling.
The Daily Mail had a spread on the girls and one look at the comments shows they would always be celebutantes of the Kardashian or The Only Way Is Essex genre of trashy reality television until they find a vocation that is of service rather than self-serving.
The twins who spewed philosophy like it was going out of fashion, were planning on making their mark as lawyers, I won’t scoff, but whilst they looked good for a posse, looks do not a respected advocate make. Much privilege and given to spoilage, one might aver.
Beyond the zoo
Like I said before, there are a lot of people of Nigerian heritage in the UK, very few of us would like to be paraded as vacuous showpieces of opulence bringing on disgust. It was a mockery of the uncultured without a filter for self-restraint.
They do not represent the, as it were, sensible Nigerian, not in any way. That show was a zoo and one visit to see the animals was enough.
Prince said it about style, there was much on show and nothing that resembled style.
Style is not something that comes in a bottle
Style is more like Jackie O. when she was doin' Aristotle
Style is not a logo that sticks 2 the roof of one's ass
Style is like a second cousin 2 class.
Style – Emancipation (1996) – Lyrics

Monday 6 June 2016

Àwọn adití ajá - Deaf dogs

The Facebook forum
Facebook presents an interesting forum for interaction, the exchange of views and ideas, but there is also a very unpalatable side of the Facebook discussion.
It is probably not a discussion as such, the broad church of social discourse is generally friendly, however, when we begin to challenge the norms, espouse the liberality of expression and fight for the expansion of human rights, for the open-minded, it flourishes, but it also gives vent to the primal and uncouth tendencies of others.
Nowhere is this matter as volatile as one that involves religion or more particularly homosexuality.
He stands out
I am a Facebook friend and a personal friend of a gay rights activist whose shares a lot of views that many might term controversial.
There is no doubt that I have felt sometimes uncomfortable with some of his views, but I appreciate that we can have differences and different perspectives, my occasional disagreement will never tend to disagreeableness, that is the function of respect we have for each other, we can agree to disagree without damaging our relationship.
He stands out as someone who has always had the courage of his convictions and has never been afraid to express them boldly, forcefully and forthrightly.
On controversy they feed
Then, there are people who contribute to his page who for whatever reason, out of envy, jealousy, rage, inferiority, bitterness, nastiness, bigotry, hypocrisy, you name it, they cannot stand him, they revile his homosexuality and his freedom, yet they congregate to fulminate, to vituperate and vitiate the atmosphere of free human expression.
Mostly, they are religious fanatics of no scholarship apart from what they have been spoon-fed, who are versed in the letter but have no spirit in themselves, hypocrites seeking validation in places where they rush to be offended, they ogle liberty but are caught in the limitations of their thinking.
Offence sates them
On one occasion, my friend posted a status where he both excoriated and baited them, they came in droves to drink their poison, to which I wondered why anyone would choose to seek where to have their sensibilities offended when there are other places to have salubrious engagement with like-minded people, I left a barb at the end and it snared them.
I had touched a raw nerve and with that came a pack of dogs laden with abuse and invective. It became funny and pitiful and they railed and cursed with reckless abandon. Poorly written sentences and much else, I decided to deliver a rebuke in a language they hopefully will understand or seek someone to interpret this for them because a few appeared to be of the Yoruba tribe.
So as not to be misunderstood, I wrote with the exigency and scrupulousness of diacritical marks and accents, quite necessary for remove ambiguity from clear intent.
A ticking off
Ọ̀rọ tí ta wọ́n lára, wọ́n ti yẹ̀kẹ́ èébú. M'bá ti só fún wọn kí wọ́n lọ sílé lọ gbèsì wá, ùgbọ́n ọmọ àbíìkọ́ niwọ́n, wọn ò lágbà nílé láti gbẹ̀kọ́. Àwọn mọ̀lẹ́bí adití ajá tí ò lè gbóhùn olúwa rẹ̀ mọ́.
This translates to - "I had touched a raw nerve that they have now become abusive. I would have suggested they seek homely advice before responding to me, but they are unschooled and have no mentoring guidance from home to have had the benefit of any good manners. They are a horde of deaf dogs completely oblivious to the master's voice."
The context carries best in Yoruba and if any of them had any gumption, the very least that should result from their reading this is to reflect on themselves with an utter sense of shame.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Europe: We should remain

I’m a Europhile
Having lived on mainland Europe for almost 13 years, there is no doubt that I am much of a Europhile. It did take a while before I could bring myself to think of living and working outside the UK.
My first foray outside the UK was in 1992 when I visited the Netherlands, it was a bus trip that included a ferry ride to the north of France, through Belgium and up to Amsterdam. I felt lost, but it was somewhat an enlightening experience.
Then in 1995, I flew out to Berlin and with that began my love for mainland Europe, soon with my partner it was Paris a few times and Barcelona. In 1999, having acquired a strange fear of flying, this affecting someone who first flew at 5 between continents and into my teens flew a number of times in Nigeria, I went on a tour.
The Imperial Tour
I booked what was the Imperial Tour [The Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium to be completed in 2 months.] from Liverpool Street Station, it was one of those crazy ‘have a credit card, will travel’ adventures that I planned within 10 hours and was a ferry ride to the Hook of Holland and over 3 weeks I was in the cities of Amsterdam, Hannover, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, and Brussels.
Earlier in the year, a 7-year relationship had ended and with that was the exploration of possible job opportunities on mainland Europe, I concentrated on Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, I interviewed in Germany, but eventually, the best offer came from the Netherlands in May 2000 and I left for a new life and experience.
Life in the Netherlands was laid-back, the quality of life was high and there was means to extend travel to Portugal, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and further afield.
We have our identity
The ties with the UK were still strong, but with each election season came a spot of bother, the growing Euroscepticism that threatened my status in Europe, you just didn’t know what to expect.
Having returned to the UK for almost 4 years, I am no less a Europhile and my love from Europe is borne of deeper consideration than the political talking points of immigration, economy or sovereignty.
The Netherlands is by many factors a smaller country compared to the UK, yet I never felt the Dutch were losing their identity nor sovereignty from being in the midst and centre of the European project.
What gets to me is this incipient exceptionalism exhibited by the #BREXIT camp and sometimes in the #BREMAIN camp that suggests the United Kingdom has no control of its borders, can’t make their own laws, are being held back by Europe and many other supercilious and superior sounding arguments as if Europe is an imposition by the other 27 members of the union.
We’ve done ourselves in
Herein, is our problem, we are in a group that we have railed and carped about since the times of Margaret Thatcher, a setup that requires agreement and consensus, but we send people whose starting point is to antagonise rather than negotiate and we expect to win the argument when there is a difference.
In my view, we have a place at the table, but we have the worst representatives at the table, for instance, we have the highest number of representatives in Europe from Ukip, we are constantly in some sort of détente and suspicion thereby having none of the engagement that can carry anything even if well-reasoned in our favour.
We have become a nuisance in Europe and then expect a better deal from Europe, we are the cause of our own European handicap in the main, the rest is a matter of consequence.
We are not superior
I feel quite threatened by the prospect of #BREXIT because we are not necessarily better or superior to our other 27 partners in the scheme and the people who front the somewhat isolationist stance have not promoted any new thinking of a great future beyond denying, debunking and rubbishing the ideas and advice of others.
The thought of the UK cast adrift in the hands of an untrammelled Tory leadership whose austerity and government ideas have brought many into mystery. The whole concept of cutting costs by surreptitiously granting autonomy to schools and hospital trusts, thereby shifting responsibility elsewhere and burdening the setups without adequate means.
We belong in Europe
The laws and directives are not made with us excluded, they arrive because we are not participating enthusiastically enough. I do not believe the money that comes back from Europe will go back into the services that are under strain.
We live in a more tightly integrated world, I think we need to belong to global and regional blocs for us to project strength and clout, we belong in Europe and that is where we should remain.

Friday 3 June 2016

The Terrestrial Church of Cacophony

Out of sight, but an earful
I first learnt of the Celestial Church of Christ, an African initiated church in the 1970s when I spend short school breaks at my cousin’s in Sagamu.
The church was situated at the end of the road with a stream running by the church into a dense forest, they could have been unnoticeably ensconced there without disturbance.
Yet, it was impossible to ignore them, at almost half a mile away, their daily rumpus or dare I say worship was loud, agitated and quite a public nuisance.
Embrace silence
It came to a head one morning when the head of the house sent a cease and desist notice to the church to maintain a sense of considerate neighbourliness in their activities by lowering the volume of their orgies. God, we must appreciate is not hard of hearing.
Now, that was courageous, daring and bold, for anyone to challenge a religious establishment in that manner. It worked, they were quite amenable to the idea, probably under duress and with the knowledge that the aggrieved was a lawyer.
Mind the fine
Later, towards the end of the 1980s, I was a ward of some senior members of the Celestial Church of Christ, they were quite obliging to allow me attend the church of my choice rather than force me to align to their tenets, for that, I am exceedingly grateful.
However, the reason why we have this recollection of events past is because this morning I read in the newspaper that the pastor of a Celestial Church of Christ branch in Grays, Essex had been fined a total of £1,241.50 including costs for conducting unbearably loud services four times a week well into the early hours of the morning; 4:00AM that is. [Metro]
The neighbours had endured this public nuisance for months and one really wonders why any religious activity needs to be broadcast beyond the confines of the walls of the meeting place except for the need to use the sound to keep the members alert throughout the interminably long services.
Just unacceptable
More pertinently, what this suggests is a lack of understanding that what is tolerable and allowed in the hyper-religious Nigerian society borne of Lord Lugard’s suggestion that we have a vague dread of the supernatural, is hardly acceptable in many Western societies.
People are not as religiously imbued and those who have any sort of religious affiliation tend to go about their devotion with consideration and moderation, too high a bar of expectation required of an almost fanatical claque.
If this sanction does not serve as a deterrent, the council has suggested that the church might have to lose its sound equipment. Knowing that I have lived in a part of Essex where there was at least 6 non-establishment churches within 500 yards of our apartment, I was fully persuaded to veto an application to site another church nearby just because the existing ones had already exercised our tolerance to the point of intolerable.
For all the celestial aims of the church, there are terrestrial norms expected of any gathering for any purpose they might be persuaded to pursue. This one like many that have yet to be called to order around the UK has become a congregation of the Terrestrial Church of Cacophony.

Thursday 2 June 2016

Thought Picnic: The thoughts of a child rescued from a gorilla

The talk is much
Much commentary has been made about the episode where a toddler ended up in the gorilla enclosure of a Cincinnati zoo.
When I first commented on the matter, I put the blame squarely on the parents and in some ways I have not been too persuaded to excuse the matter. As far as I was concerned, a child in the care of an adult in a public place, that adult being the mother and by some happenstance, the child became a rag doll in the hands of a beast dragged twice through the gorilla’s play pool.
After what transpired, there is no doubt that the gorilla had to be shot for the protection of the child and that should end the matter.
Parents are generally good
However, the wringing of the hands of some parents who suddenly feel hard done by, by reason of the view that certain parents can be careless, negligent or even worse at standing up to their core responsibility of being parents will not wash with me.
Now, parents can be generally loving, genuinely concerned, rarely negligent, sometimes understanding, committedly responsible and suffocatingly protective, they deserve credit and gratitude for their parenting.
From the eye-line of the child
Yet, let us view things from the perspective of a child for one moment, the child is safe, but what are the consequences of that event on the long-term health and wellbeing of the child.
I was barely over 5 years old when an altercation between my parents led my father to leave the house and get into his car to drive away, my mother ran out as my uncle attempted to hold her back. There before me, the car tyre rode over my mother’s shin and to this day some 45 years after, that event still plays back like a film in my mind.
The abuse of trust
At 7, someone my parents were guardians for, took me into the toilet and sexually assaulted me, that was the day I lost my innocence. Though nothing happened between us after that, we had other man-servants who until I was 10 years old took sexual favours off me as if by entitlement. These were people to whom my parents had entrusted our care and they abused that trust.
When I left home for the first time to attend secondary school entrance exams, an older distant cousin took advantage of me, the matter vivid as can be. Meanwhile, having been away from home, the man-servant moved on to someone else. Nothing was revealed to my parents until I returned and I was informed by the abused that something had been done. My parents were informed, yet, no other questions were asked of others whether any one of their wards had been tampered with.
Long term effects
No, I do not think my parents were negligent, but the singular episodes that might have left them distraught cannot compensate for the lasting damage done to the child after abuse and without therapy. The scars remain even if the wounds have healed.
So, before parents genuflect with self-pity and defensiveness, they are not the only ones affected, the children, many of whom clam up and withdraw into themselves as a self-preservative measure, are just as affected and quite deeply too.
Many children never gain the voice to say what they have experienced or what they are going through, from abuse, through harm to depression and worse. Sometimes, there is no atmosphere that engenders the necessary communication the child needs to have. Parents take out their exasperation and frustration in an aggressive and accusative way that the problem is compounded and the child then gets labelled the problem.
This is the plight of many children and most will never get the help they need, the few of us who come into adulthood fortunate enough to have survived our many ordeals are yet to tell our stories to anyone will and able to listen.
What is safe?
There is much to write about the voice of children unheard, their fears unseen, their lives invisibly terrorised and their pleas ignored, much of which, I am afraid, parents have to answer for, despite that fact that they are trying their best. For a fact, parenting does not come with a manual, but it carries great lifelong responsibility. How a child turns out is a product of the presence or absence of that relationship.
And so I ended with the thought, whilst the child is safe now, you wonder if the child is really safe or what happened at the zoo was indicative of a deeper problem that an unfortunate accident.
The police are on the case: Police investigate parents of boy rescued from gorilla. [Fox News]

Wednesday 1 June 2016

The mistiming somnambulist

Quite much of an early riser that I am, the clock alarm serves no other purpose than to confirm the arrival and the passage of time. There are very few times when I get woken up by the alarm clock, my body clock seems to have the essential biorhythms for diurnal and nocturnal existence whilst being tuned to abort somnolence at the appropriate time.
Yet, it does not serve much purpose to the insomniac that gets to sleep well past midnight or more happiness slipping into dreamland with the lullabies of Sailing By and the Shipping Forecast.
Sleep arrives probably before 02:00AM and I will probably have 2 or more wakeful times by the time it is 06:00AM, BBC Radio 4 keeps my mind ticking away as I roll over trying to get a bit more sleep which altogether may not total more than 4 hours in the night with the 2 hours I have in the early evening.
Then yesterday, my eyes popped open at 7:16AM and my train was leaving the station at 7:17AM, how did I sleep through the alarm? It meant a day of working from home as I cancelled my pickup from the destination station to the office.
Had a health check and the prick of a needle in a number of places before the day was over and I looked forward to the next day. The night fell and I went to bed.
The dawn broke with the imprint of the last day; did I miss the alarm again? It was light, the light of an early summer’s day and one glance at my watch and I saw 7:00AM, jumped in my trousers and in 7 minutes I was in a rapid trot to the station.
The streets were eerily quiet for the time of the day and as I got to the station and looked at the clock on the noticeboard, it was 5:13AM. I smiled, got my ticket and sauntered back home for a lie-in.
The memory, the drugs, absent-mindedness or the simple blurring of the sight that gives the mind the wrong information to act on. I looked at my watch at least 4 times before I saw the time on the station clock, all the time, I saw a time 2 hours ahead on a watch with hands until the digital display at the station reset my perspective to see the right time.
Some made fun of me, I chose to ignore them. It was a lovely day.