Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Power of the People

Dear President Obama,

We here in these places you call the third world would like to know something from you, where do you stand? In this struggle between powers that be and the people, where do you stand?

The people have elected a leader, the leader has done something wrong, and the military has usurped his power. The usurpers have arrested him and denied him due process; they have exiled him from his home and thereby broken Article 9 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document I know you and I hold dear. The leader has cried out to you and asked for your help to free his people. I know it is within your power to help and if you have taken these tenets to heart as I have then the course must be clear. You know the cost of failing to help will mean that these people will become the next martyrs of democracy, and their blood will be on all our hands because those of us who could did not help.

We watch you, we listen to you. You tell us that we are the generation that can make a difference; that we can move towards a more peaceful world. We want to champion these causes and we watch you for inspiration. We are enthusiastic about your efforts in the Middle East and hope you succeed where many have failed. Please show us the way and tell us where you stand, be and do the things that you believe are right.

Best Regards,

PS: This is all about the people of Honduras

Setting the News Agenda

I am obsessed with the news; I finally understand why our parents and grownups used to watch news those days. Remember? You'd be dying to watch some interesting stuff on TV and they would come and switch to something like CNN or 9 O'clock news on UTV. Local news is still lousy, except NTV's with Rosemary, she has mob steez. For those of you who don't know what steez are, it's the colloquial equivalent of style. It goes way beyond appearance and includes such things as demeanour, IQ, attitude and a host of other things. Anyway, I like her steez. Back to the point, I like news especially world news. For some reason I am that guy who is obsessed with what's going on out there. Perhaps it's because I have a vision of a future where all mankind is at peace and I like to know how we will get there. More importantly, I find that the news is a great source of inspiration. If you don't believe me, light up a joint and watch Al Jazeera. And that is why I am here today, to tell you about Al Jazeera, that it is, without a doubt, the best international news channel out there.

Most of us have grown up watching and reading news presented by the western media. We are accustomed to CNN, BBC, VOA, DW and the like. We have always had the western view of the world. This was made very clear to me recently when I told my friends that Al Jazeera is the best news channel. One of my friends asked whether it was the one owned by Osama bin Laden. I wasn't shocked because I had managed to consume every bit of info I could get about this news network. I learnt that during the early days of the war in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera was the only news network with reporters allowed behind enemy lines. Its journalists had been reporting from there for a while that they were the only ones trusted by some of the Taliban to report the news objectively. Graphic images of the impact of the US led invasion were availed to the world and understandably there was shock and uproar especially among the Arab nations. The US and its allies cried foul, they claimed that Al Jazeera was intentionally turning the Arab peoples against them by portraying them in a bad light. This wasn't helped by the fact that Al Jazeera was the first to air Bin Laden's famous interview after the 9/11 attacks. It was accused of being a mouthpiece for the Taliban and other Islamic extremists. The Bush administration and other western governments went to great lengths to discredit the news network, failing to see it for what it is; the first Arab news network free from government influence.

Al-Jazeera grew out of the termination of a contract in April 1996 between Rome-based, Saudi-owned Orbit Radio and Television Service and the Arabic TV division of BBC News Service. A disagreement between the Saudi Arabian kingdom and the BBC News Service concerning editorial independence led to the Saudi investors' abrupt withdrawal of financial support only twenty months after the deal was signed. It was reported that the Saudis pulled the plug following an argument over the broadcast of a special documentary about executions in Saudi Arabia.*

Al Jazeera executives solicited and acquired funding from Qatar's progressive emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and then proceeded to recruit the now jobless BBC staff. These were people trained in the Western journalistic tradition with expert knowledge and understanding of Arab politics and audiences. Armed with the editorial spirit, freedom and style of the BBC, they set to work on building an independent and non partisan news network free from government scrutiny, control and manipulation.

Al Jazeera has since become the forum for political and social debate across the Middle East, angering virtually all Arab governments from Morocco to Syria. Many of them have recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in protest of unfavourable news coverage, demanding that the emir rein in the news network. The emir has maintained that Al Jazeera operates independent of government control, keeping the highest journalistic standards possible. These governments realising that network enjoys the highest popularity in the Middle East have attempted to court it for more favourable coverage.

Al Jazeera's mantra is "the point of view and the other point of view". The network believes in everyone having their say, even going as far as inviting Israeli officials to debate issues with their Arab counterparts, something previously considered taboo in the Arab world.

For me, Al Jazeera presents the view of an outsider looking at the west. It analyzes the values and impact of democracy presenting issues within Western borders that Western media would most probably not highlight. It analyses the impact of the West's foreign policy in all corners of the globe. Shows like "Faultlines" take a critical look at American society, highlighting instances where the government has gone wrong and could do better. "Witness" is another favourite of mine, a 30 minute special that highlights the plight of marginalised groups around the world such as black farmers in America or the Uighurs of Xinxiang province in China. There are tons of special reports that show you the world in a new light, especially the Middle East and without this independent voice, there are things that we would never have known. Like the alleged war crimes committed by Israeli in the recent "War on Gaza" because when the Israeli military started its campaign, all news networks were refused entry into the warzone and only those networks with staff already in Gaza could get accurate information. I particularly like "The Listening Post", a show that highlights areas around the world with the little or no press freedom.

I realise that I could go on and on, if I haven't already, but Al Jazeera rocks! I think Africa needs to come up with its own network news channel to address all these issues that we seem to keep having. Why should we wait for some foreign media to tell us that people are starving, that these diamonds and this oil will kill us all if we don't get our acts together? Why?

* Source: Al Jazeera – The Story of the Network by Mohammed El Nawawy and Adel Iskandar, Westview Press 2004

Peace, Love, Sex, Freedom and Rock n Roll

See, I have this affliction; I have become addicted to kb. Perhaps it's because I want to spend as little time in my head but then again, how will I write? I have come to a realisation that there is nothing more intimate than thought and so I inquire about other people's thoughts. I have had interesting conversations with many of you and I hope to have many more. For example, I didn't know that the longer a girl goes without sex, the less the urge to fornicate. For us guys, the longer we go, the worse it gets and we end up doing all sorts of things. Like that booty call to your ex which you know will complicate everything. Seriously, I think a large part of our brain is set aside for sex and all that goes with it. Some aspiring philosopher friends of mine have actually come to the conclusion that life is all about sex. I agree, but sandwiched by four other things, a five way if you will. Enough of that, on to the baby shower.

I thankfully arrived after all the ooohs and aaahs at baby clothes, big bellies and other things in that galaxy had gone down. Eats and drinks were available in plenty, as well as "conversates" as Arnold would say. I proceeded to get intimate, high and hearty. Elle B, you have too much kb, it's not fair to everyone else. We should hang out more. Several beers, samosas, frankfurters and words to the good, we headed to other places i.e. Bubbles. Normzo, a piece of advice, baby showers are definitely not hunting grounds. It was full of newlyweds, engaged couples, expectant mothers and those married with children. It is the wrong place to hunt for a hook-up. The conversation though is nothing short of interesting, from baby tips to wedding tips and other things. One happy newlywed could not understand my zeal to evade institution of marriage for as long as possible.

"Bubbles" was amazing as usual, though I was too inebriated to be a credible judge. All I know is that at the end of the night I was running up Acacia avenue after a barefooted girl who didn't appreciate anyone telling her what to do.

And then comes Saturday and I had two parties to attend. Here's a simple rule about parties, if you find yourself at party 1 and you're having a good time, by all means stay there. Anyway, first stop was Penny and Trish's house party which was good and then got better after I inhaled a few puffs of some herb. I was with Jorge and the missus. The missus happens to know many interesting people and I met Abid who introduced me to the concept of being "punch drunk". You pick a glass, preferably a big tumbler, then you go adding a bit of whatever drink is available at the party, you end up with the most exquisite punch ever and when asked what you're having, you can confidently say "I'm drinking everything at the party!" if you're still in charge of your vocal chords. Under no circumstances should you add Amarula or Bailey's unless you prefer a yoghurt based beverage. Abid is the kind of guy who walks around with an idea book; he recently started an e-zine aimed at working class people like you and you and you. I've read the first two issues and they're interesting. You should holla at him for a copy. Stella where's that email you promised me?

So we left the party still alive and kicking and headed to the ends of the earth for a birthday party that unbeknownst to us was in its death throes. Along the way we picked up the missus' friends and proceeded to spend the better part of an hour trying to find this party. It was in Kyanja! By the time we got there, it was done, so we got down to doing the dusting. I have been reliably informed that everyone enjoyed the dusting. There are pictures which unfortunately I can't show you, I might not last the week if do. It was off to "Bubbles" after that and then home.

My love for kb ensured that I ended up getting home on a bajaj sandwiched between the pilot and another guy smoking some herbs. I'm off this herb stuff for a while, seriously! Streetsider how's that going?

Jq, this bridal shower stuff sounds interesting, how bout you holla at me.

There's too much stuff in my head, I'm off to put it down.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'm off to attend a baby shower! Apparently it's always a girl thing, my excuse is that I'm doing research. Delving into the minds of these exotic creatures we call women. What does one do at a baby shower? Will let u know how it goes! Enjoy the weekend people, and if anyone is at bubbles I will be sure to run into you. Plus "Harry Potter 6" that's wknd plot. Va va vooooooom!

Idle Times

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moral Ambiguity

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. He finds himself in some sort of moral dilemma. Should he do something that he feels is the right thing to do and then lie about it because he also feels that is the right thing to do? I've found myself in this place before and to tell the truth I have told my fair share of lies. So I told him that if you feel that this is the right thing to do, then by all means do it. But your actions will be judged and validated by those who will hold you to account. So you must speak the truth to these people, you are bound by honour to do so. I will try my darndest to follow these words. I will attempt to speak only the truth and see if it can truly set me free.

Do What You Have To Do

Thank you Darlkom for cluing me in to this song, it is moving me.

What ravages of spirit
Conjured this temptuous rage
Created you a monster
Broken by the rules of love
And fate has led you through it
You do what you have to do
And fate has led you through it
You do what you have to do ...
And I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go
Every moment marked
With apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
Trying to escape this desire
The yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
The yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
But I have the sense to recognize
That I don't know how
To let you go
I dont know how
To let you go

A glowing ember
Burning hot
Burning slow
Deep within I'm shaken by the violence
Of existing for only you
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
And I have sense to recognize but
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
...................................................Sarah McLachlan

Friday, July 17, 2009

Representing Sironko

All the way from the land famous for "Imbalu" and other things (I don't know what?) I present one who is known as "Wagidoso Wanasolo".

In Memoriam

Natalya Estemirova

For all the fallen and forgotten heroes, we shall continue the fight. Now that you have passed us this mantle, we shall wear it with pride and continue the fight until each and every one of us takes to heart the rights of his fellow human being. You have not died in vain!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


@. This is my reason for putting my comments here besides it being my blog. I don't know wh@t this k@ thing me@ns, but I keep seeing it on other people's blogs. Each time I use it I wonder whether it means "at" or "for each" and then my mind races all over the place. I'm not up to scratch on this k@ thingy so please someone enlighten me, pleeeease.

ScotchBiscuits, you blow me away! You and that damn pastry just blow me away! Good luck with the exams.

Mr. B2B, we try. We try to put down the words as they come to us, one at a time.

Carsozy, on any other day I would feel too modest to accept but what the heck, I'll have some of that "artistical genius" stuff as well.

African gurl, here's some advice you don't get when you're stepping into the world. "Find the things that make it all worthwhile and point your compass there, all else will be okay."

Fiona, where have u been hiding? I need one of those long emails. I am on a hunt for kabozi. I guess I am in the process of evolution, it is a wondrous thing!

Monday, July 13, 2009

State of the Nation

I have never imagined myself as a political pundit or some such thing. I don't buy newspapers and I would be hard pressed to tell you who my member of parliament is. However of late I have found myself wanting to know more. It occurs to me that I do not know my country, like many I have developed apathy towards it and as such my people. I have decided to embark on an investigation of this nation. I want to know things about you my people. I want to know your dreams, hopes and aspirations as a country. Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve? What is our stand on local and global issues? Does our government have the people of this nation at heart? How patriotic are we? What are the things that divide us? How can we end poverty? I want to know what you think. But first let me tell you what I know and think about Uganda.

Our nation will turn 47 this October. Apart from the outstanding highlights, I have a vague knowledge of our history. I know that there are perhaps way more than 30 distinct ethnic groups in Uganda. This division along tribal lines has been exploited by those who have sought power over us and I can't help but feel that we need to get past this. I know that discrimination in all its forms has manifested itself in our society time and again. This has undermined our unity and led us down some dark roads. I think that over the years things have changed, with each new generation, old notions and customs have been laid aside as obsolete and irrelevant. However, these divisions persist, even among a single tribe; there are some who will not embrace the fundamental human rights of freedom and equality.

There is a love of peace among us. Perhaps it is because many of us still remember the dark days of turmoil and the tyranny of evil men. A greater part of this country has known peace for some time now. We would not see it change. We have however failed as a nation to bring peace to all. Our brothers and sisters have for years endured the ravages of a senseless war caused as far as I can tell by the ambitions of a madman and those who follow him, willingly and unwillingly. It is a stain on our nation and we should each feel the blood that has been shed on our hands.

There is something about this peace that we have. I think that many of us do not see it as something that we have a right to. We feel that it has been granted to us by a government that has the image of an all knowing father. The idea that things could change peacefully is so foreign to us that we live in fear. This fear perpetrated by some of our leaders and propagated by those among us who should know better, cripples us. It leads us to behave in ways that take us backwards instead of evolving as a nation.

We have developed apathy towards each other. I have been guilty of this for a long time and perhaps it is the fear but for my part I have been ignorant for a long time. I have not cared to know about things that have not involved me or affected me directly. Oblivious to the fact that everything is tied together, I have not cared about things I have perceived as beyond my sphere of influence. Many of us live like this; we believe that the best way for us to survive is to become as independent as possible. We forsake all forms of fellowship and abandon the true meaning of humanity. Empathy becomes something as alien to us as disease. It is considered weak to care, to give a damn, to feel. We have always been known for our sense of community, kindness and friendship. I can't help but feel that we are losing these values.

I could tell all that I think about the economy, politics, and other things but I cannot presume to bore you that much. At least not yet anyway, so here is my suggestion. If you can, find a topic that you feel passionate about, investigate it as much as you can and write something and send it to me at I am going to stroll around and see what I can find out, then I'll try and aggregate all that I have gathered and we shall have "the state of our nation", at least through our eyes. I actually think that this is perhaps something that should be done by someone with more credentials than I, but I am Ugandan and damn proud of it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

You Make Me Believe

Nostalgia Revisited

I am of this world,
Earth, Wind, Water and Fire
Of the beyond,
I have an intense desire
I am guilty of the sins of man
All shades of colour under the sun
Red blue and sometimes cyan
My fate is not beyond the clouds
Nor am I destined for hell's hounds
A flower of these gentle grounds
I must sway to life's sounds
I must climb the mountains
Sail the calm and the stormy seas
Walk through the dark forests
And dance on the flower filled leas
And when my dance is done
I must take my place in the mud
Forever under the sun
For I am of this world.


I used to believe that when you died, everything was wrapped up. There was nothing that came after. You just lived the best you could. How can I believe that now, now that you are gone from here? I cannot face life with this belief; it will not keep me going. There must be something more that transcends us all and of all that I have before me I choose love. I choose you. You make me believe!