[Toot!] Index: 2.2
Communism Bit: On
Location: Job, of course
I'm not in the mood to work, right now. There's even no sugar, so I can't throw in my second coffee of the day. Among other things amiss. So ... I dip my hand into me head, feel about in the sloshing pool of brains (there are some, even though it's not obvious), blood, goo, stuff, and reach for a nice memory. Here. I have got a nice day out. It's twitching and kicking like a fish drowning in the air. Watch as I cut it open and feed you on it. Given my current state of mind, this post
I'll talk about the bloggers' happy hour, the etymology of "blogren", Andrew Mwenda, et cetera. If you don't read long posts, don't bother getting started. :o) Go away.
I was at the Uganda Bloggers' Happy Hour. My post is late, so everyone has said it all already. The girls were disturbingly pretty. Many new faces, shining rather brightly. Dee, Carlo, Ivan, Back 2 Basics, Duksey, Antipop, MPhoebe, Kissyfur, Tumwijuke, Lulu, Dante ... basically, girls outnumbered boys.
The title, by the way, is because this post is dedicated to my blogren. You know, when that word was invented, maybe last year or the year before, it was meant to be a portmanteau on "blog" and "brethren": "blogren". Of course, nobody could have known that, indeed, it captured (more or less) the spirit we have. Even when the spirit falters, the pale parts don't show who we are: the good parts that shall remain will show who we really are.
This is not contentious. Until we get to Andrew Mwenda's arrest, and similar things. You see, there are (roughly) one million people at any one time saying wild anti-government things in Uganda. When they are not arrested it's no big deal. When one is arrested, it is a big deal: this one pale point is the definition of what we are. This one time you're late at work is the reason for your pay cut.
Sadly, nobody ever seems to note that the local uproar (in media, especially on radio) is a sign that this is not deemed normal. No, no, no! For them, the face is defined by the lone spot there. Pathetic. Negativist. Pessimistic. Stupid. Idiotic. American.
See here, the BBC article on Mwenda's arrest calls Museveni "authoritarian". Hmm. I dunno about you, but I don't live in an authoritarian country. You know, it's most likely my hate for unimaginative newspaper stereotyping coming into play here. I can't know. My late grandfather worked for Radio Uganda for decades. He was also an actor nonpareil, on top of being a philosopher. One of his Three Laws on Media Truth is: There isn't enough space in any newspaper to fit half of any truth. But this guy is worth a post on his own.
The worse thing is that Mwenda is not the worst that's happened. Ah, but nobody notices when you are not a self-righteous journalist. I like the assumption that Mwenda is right, and the government is wrong. Maybe it's true. But why did you valiant guards of democracy shut up when a Ugandan boy was caught at a UK airport for saying Insha'llah, and labelled "Terrorist"? Where were you? Is a dubious arrest only bad when done by an African country? That boy is doing time in a jail away from home. I'm older than him. (At this point, you'll be forgiven for playing Boney M. In particular, their song El Lute. You have only three minutes.)
Here's the strange thing: Mwenda is driving around Kampala, right now. He could be guilty, for all you know. But Hassan—the boy the Brits gave ten years of jail—is on some island somewhere. Insha'llah, they'll spare him the fate of being a mussulman on The Bay of Pigs.
My old housemother was arrested for nothing, in this Budo inferno thing. You all kept quiet. Mwenda is arrested (let's assume it's also for nothing). You are all talking. Cool. You want justice? Why not try giving it, first? Sheesh!
This leads me to something else. You know, I do read some French blogs from Francophone Africa; The Congo, for example. I landed on that when I was looking for a Tchala Mwana record, and I found a discussion on a Congolese blog about her. In the end, I created a category for these French blogs. I read them, but I refrain from commenting because my command of French is not too good. Anyway, I saw one on Babilown, where he was wondering where the differences are between Robert Mugabe and Paul Biya of Benin. In the end, he says "... for the Whites, a dictatorship doesn't start until their interests are endangered." Yeah, so if arresting a Ugandan on flimsy charges and paranoia doesn't endanger their interests, that's not dictatorship. I wonder what would happen if we caught a Brit or American spy—and most of these are spies—and locked him up. Oh, we are an evil people against freedom.
You'll notice that Idi Amin killed every day of his rule. His rise to power was particularly messy. It's at his messiest peak that he was the beloved of the West. When he faced Mecca and bowed, they wanted a new guy. Then he was a buffoon pretty quickly. The West straddled Africa with dicators we would have thrown away in seconds. In so doing, the real "bad governance" people of Africa are the West. But ask anybody who leads in "bad governance" on any of their pretentious indices.
This is probably why I look at this thing of the West lining up behind Tibet suspiciously. I think it's just knee-jerk. 99% of the people screeching for Tibet are doing it on 99% assumption. Or maybe I'm just more-accepting of "authoritarianism". Like I said here: "If you honestly believe that the only thing that is uniform from society to society, even decade to decade—as shoe, hair and talking styles change—is the way people should be governed, you're the only person I'm sure to be smarter than." I maintain that. And it may be a Freudian way to say I like authoritarianism. Kind of like a governance submissive masochist or something. :o) I face the fact that the parts of the world you call "developed" were running slaves and hung-draw-quartering people when they arose to their perceived prominence. They were exterminating natives and running authoritarian monarchies that were never voted into power. But we, Africa, the rest of the World, are just some toy they can tweak to desired shape. As in, had this been one hundred years ago, we'd be forced to be homophobic absolute monarchies. Gwahahahaha.
The West rushes with stereotypes when it's Africa involved. Let me tell you the other name for that: racism. You'll only pary this if you can explain that double standard. Many people are screeching about Mwenda, now. Let's wait for how many will screech over Hassan Mutegombwa. I'm waiting. Funny, because I came back from my break and blogged about it. And it was the first time it had been on any blog anywhere. A twenty-year-old is going to come out of jail at thirty. For a crime he not only did not commit, but is only flimsily-accused of committing. The Brits grabbed him. Along with his brother. Main point: he greeted in Arabic. Silence.
But if it's some loud journalist who could be guilty? Since he's being grabbed by the Africans, that's definitely wrong. They aren't Brits, you know. Fuck you.
By the way, that French post has some comment of mine. I broke a rule and commented in French! :-o And, before I forget, I'm willing to pay for a Manu Dibango record, whoever has it. And any Tchala Mwana music you may have. Hell, here's the list (I'll pay): Manu Dibango, Tchala Mwana, Oliver Mtukudzi (the old, old one with Under Pressure and the one of Neria), Ringo Madlingozi (the one with Sondela), and Khaled (really, any Raï music, any music from the Maghreb).
At the UBHH, Antipop really showed she was against pop music. I always thought her name was a euphemised "antipope". Oh, well. And Dee was trying to tell me rock music is good.
Look, we all know the last true rocker was Ormus Cama. The rest of them are just footnotes to VTO. I have the Quakershaker album both in vinyl and MP3.
On to other things, then.
In this older post of mine, a militant Capitalist came and made a home. We went on for a while, and you can find some explanations for my words and beliefs in there.
And since this made Global Voices, I can also link it here. A spat I had at GUG's. In particular, my second comment there. There are many things I was replying to that have been deleted. Anyway, if you have the silly patience to sit through my rants, there you are.
Now, my being critical of the critical is in no way new. Here's me, back then, saying stuff about Mugabe and his demonisers. Second-last paragraph. That post also has a comment I'm most-grateful for. It's pertinent at this time in our history. It shows how the Western media—back then—painted freedom fighters as murderous psychos. They are doing the same with whoever is ideologically opposed to them, even today. And y'all just go ahead and believe. The comment summarises this page, which (if you can) you should read. Don't pretend nobody ever said this stuff. It's at this point that I remind you of the even-more-pertinent Where is My Continent post. One more thing, this post says "Democracy is not an American/Western concept. It is a human concept. It existed long before America was formed, long before Europe was populated [...] a concept that is richer on Kampala's streets than in the Pentagon."
I'd go deeper into that, but I've typed enough for a day. For those of you who think you should be more-worried about "democracy" in Africa than about one of those above-the-law rogue states of the West dropping nuclears bombs on your children, sisters, wives and mothers, here's one last narcisistic link: "I won't let me be the tenth person to note that something bad happened in Kampala. I want to be the first to note that something good was born a generation ago." That was in reaction to something similar to Mwenda's thingy.
It's stupid of you to worry about some African government when there's a nuclear bomb in the West with your city's name on it. You've been fooled, foolish one, into having your priorities wrong.
One last thing. So, I'm going for the UBHH, right? And I find this Kampala Road overhead screen bleeding Prison Break over our city. I once said "there are no Ugandan kids who didn't watch the bootlegged Matrix Reloaded two weeks before it was released." I was trying for some hyperbole, but it appears our homeless people actually are fans of that Prison Break guy. Although, of course, Americans still get shocked that we can manage to speak English.
Eh. Enough. :o)