Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Meet "Jamal Mahjoub"

I just heard about "Travelling with Djinns", a book written by Jamal Mahjoub. Mahjoub was born in London to an English mother and a Sudanese father. He was brought up in London and Khartoum.

About Travelling with Djinna ( I would love to read it!)

Yasin is driving through Europe in a dilapidated Peugeot 504 with his seven-year-old son Leo. He's not sure where they're going. He just knows he's thirty-seven years old, his wife is about to divorce him and this is his last chance to explain to his son who he is and where he comes from. The problem is that Yasin isn't sure of the answer to these questions himself. Born in the Sudan to an English mother and an Arab father, he has two passports but no national identity. As he and Leo drift through Germany to Paris in search of Europe's history, and onwards through Provence to Spain to find Yasin's ex-lover and his lost brother, Yasin reflects on the tragic-comic ironies of his displaced life and the kind of mixed-up world his son will inhabit.

Other Books:-

Navigation of a Rainmaker
Wings of Dust
In the Hour of the Signs
The Carrier
The Drift Latitudes

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tribute to Natasja Saad

very very sad but kind-off old news:(
The half Danish/half Sudanese singer died in a car accident last June.

If only I understood Danish:)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rebels Boycott Peace Talks

We all expected it!

"The Darfur peace talks should go ahead in Libya this weekend in spite of rebel boycotts" Sudan's representative to the United Nations has told the BBC.

ofcourse, let's solve the conflict without them:)
Just like the rebels keep pointing out that the govt doesn't want peace, do they want peace?

Balad na7s!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Malawian Couple Ready to Adopt Britney Spears Children

Interesting news from African Loft at

Why not?

I'm sure American children feel disadvantaged and left out because African children are in the spotlight when it comes to "adoption" :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Random Thoughts:- Dictatorships and Technology

Are you kidding me kizzie?!?!?!
Do you really think dictatorshipsare gonna go away?
Yes, I understand your concern about my surprising title but allow me to explain.
You have the right to agree or disagree but for now, let me explain my theory.

What does Iraq, Darfur,Burma,Afghanistan have in common? I know you are going to say suffering or people died. but for now, let's stick to "PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THEM'.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are now in the digital age. We have internet, digital cameras,phones with inbuilt cameras and wireless internet, tape recorders,video-cams,e-mail and cellphones.
If Darfur, the war in Iraq happened decades ago, I'm not sure we were all going to know about them and even if we were aware of their existence, very little devices and technology means very little information.
Does the Sudanese government really think people are not going to see pictures of the plight of Darfurians? No way. I can travel to Darfur and take a picture with my cellphone and send it via bluetooth to my friend who can plug in his cellphone usb to his laptop and email it to his friends abroad or even post it to an online discussion board, blog or website.
It's not only communication, even getting there is relatively easy now.
Planes are available to take you to Bora Bora if you want. Cellphones are available so you can make international phone calls to your friends , editors and family in different parts of the world and reveal the situation you are dealing with.
You can have a conversation with a rebel or leader and record it so that the whole world can listen to them.
You can take pictures or make documentaries to spread awareness about security problems, sufferings or even hopeful situations.
You can, you can because it's the 21st century and we've come a long way baby!

How is this related to dictatorships kizzie?

In case you haven't noticed, many if not all dictatorships isolate and alienate their people from the rest of the world. They don't want them to know whats going on in other countries and they don't want the world to know whats going on in their countries!
I remember in the 1990's, during one of the most oppressive years of the dictatorial regime of the national "salvation" government, you weren't allowed to watch any another channel except Sudan TV(yes no dishes allowed!), some people had other channels because they smuggled receivers into the country but you had to keep it quite.
It was very important to avoid being exposed because dictators know their regimes are oppressive, hated and that the international community might take some serious action. That's why they sweet-talk the world, they don't allow any leakage of information or any foreign journalists inside their country. They impose severe censorship, block Internet sites and spread ignorance (ignorance makes you submissive and helpless, education enlightens and makes your voice heard, it truly frees the mind).
Since new technology was introduced , it was getting harder and harder for dictators to keep a secret.
Did Mugabe think the situation in Zimbabwe will not be exposed to the world?
There are blogs, pictures and stories all over the Internet and newspapers.

ok, back to the real world. Technology is not going to end dictatorships but alt east the world will know how people ruled by oppressive dictatorships live and survive. It helps spread awareness and ma bye..just ma bye someone somewhere is going to decide to take action.
As I'm writing this Nicholas Kristoff (NY times journalist who did alot to spread awareness about Darfur) and Samantha power( who convinced Obama to visit Darfur) and Riverbend(courageous Iraqi blogger) come to mind.

Great picture about the UN in Africa

Thanks to Kevin in Liberia at

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Australia and it's new immigrants

So..the Australian immigration minister announced that Australia will ban refugees from Darfur for a while because of integration problems. Instead of Darfurian refugees, Australia wants to replace Darfurians in its humanitarian refugee programme with people from Iraq and Burma.

My comment:-
If the problem is "integration" then do they really think refugees from Iraq and Burma will automatically integrate into the Australian society. Isn't it smarter to start to start effective integration programs?
For example, it's important for refugees to learn Australia's official language and acquire basic knowledge of Australian values and history.

"One community leader said they were making an immense contribution to the economy by taking jobs which many Australians simply did not want to do."

The same can be said about mm Turks in Germany, North Africans in France, Latino's in America- They usually do the work the locaks don't want to do .

Monday, October 1, 2007

Let's Make Poverty History from a African Female Point of View

This post is very interesting,it was written by an African/White African/ East African/Tanzanian housewive.
It's actually a letter written to Bono and the boys who want to "Save Africa" and " Make poverty history"


No point in whining about a thing if you’re not prepared to take some action. So I’ve written a letter to Bono, my mate Matt and all the boys who Make Poverty History. I doubt anybody will write back; I’ll let you know if they do:
Dear Sirs
It is difficult to know how to begin this letter. How to start in order that I can grasp your attention before you bin it? You’re busy, I know, and I’m sure you receive sack loads of mail every day.
If I were to begin by revealing that I am the descendent of East Africa’s earliest white colonizers, you’d dismiss me as being inherently un PC.
If I were to tell you that I am a housewife and mother of three, you’d sigh heavily and say ‘oh gawd, some silly woman who thinks she knows what she’s talking about’.
If I were to tell you that I never went to university, you’d presuppose I didn’t have the education and couldn’t possibly offer anything in the way of value to an operation that posts jobs for policy managers, research analysts and advocacy specialists.
But I am working on the assumption that – because you are of charitable disposition – you will read a little further to understand what it is I might have to say.
As the spawn of settlers I have no other home. My family has been here since my grandfather – a man of modest means from Scotland – arrived in 1904 - over 100 years ago. That means two things: that I have a fundamental and intimate knowledge of my part of Africa (her language, her geography, her problems, her people, her soul, her vulnerabilities, her cunning). And – because it’s home – I really do give a damn. It probably also makes me a little cynical of many aid efforts. But a little cynicism gives an edge of reality. And that’s always a useful thing to have when addressing a problem.
As a woman, I empathize with African woman and I have observed them: they are Africa’s spine. As a mother, I understand what children need in terms of care and education. As a housewife, I understand about budgets and monitoring what I spend; I know how to worry about money.
As for the fact I didn’t go to University, one ought not to overestimate the value of higher education: it’s not what knowledge a person has that counts, it’s how they use that knowledge.
So, in the hope you’ve got this far down the page and haven’t dismissed what I might have to offer before I’ve even started simply because I lack the conventional credentials, let me assume for a moment that I am the decision maker in your organization.
This is what I would do: I’d stop considering Africa in such patronizing light for a start. Africa has resources and manpower. It might seem a hopeless case, but there is hope. Little shards of it glinting amongst the chaff. Like needles in a haystack, not easy to find and careful you don’t prick your fingers whilst trying. I’d put those resources to work – nothing is so rewarding – so morale boosting – as a little bit of successful commerce. Why must Africa always be regarded in terms of handouts? What about a leg up instead? I’d offer loans – or inputs – with attractive conditions to farmers and small producers. That’s what my husband does: provides the inputs to 50,000 smallholders who grow tobacco. Once the crop is in and the farmers have been paid, they are in a position to pay their loans back and possibly extend the reach of their land in order to increase their earnings next year. Yes, yes, I know growing tobacco isn’t terribly PC anymore, but it’s a great deal more PC than adding another 50,000 families to Africa’s list of hungry and impoverished. And anyhow, it doesn’t have to be tobacco: it could be any number of things. Africans are amongst the best traders in the world – look at their markets for God’s sake – realize that potential; embrace them in commercial ventures. It’s much less demoralizing than throwing money at a problem. And much more sustainable.
I’d concentrate my efforts on women. I’d certainly employ them to monitor my projects in Africa – in the end they are responsible for the welfare of their children (single parenting and domestic violence are the reality for many African women – and they don’t have access to the support their similarly suffering peers in the West do). Should you question my applause for the African women, assuming I’m a wicked old man-hater (I’m not, I’m happily married, thanks), let me put to you a challenge: the next time you’re on the continent and being driven from one charitable effort to another in a nice new air-conditioned 4×4, take a look out of the window: who’s selling tomatoes on the roadside? Who’s carrying water? Or firewood? Who’s roasting maize cobs or brewing tea in the hope of tickling the taste buds of passers by and enticing a little trade? Who’s weeding that field? Now look again: who’s under a tree smoking and gossiping with his mates?
And I’d educate the children. But in a less conventional way than we do our own privileged children: remember an African child has probably never had access to a jigsaw puzzle or a book. I’d teach them to learn first. For then my education programs would be much more meaningful.
I would understand the media that Africans rely on for information: the radio, their own language newspapers. And I’d understand the enormous part cell phones play in their lives and see if I couldn’t manipulate that to good use. (Did you know, for example, that brewery profits have slumped since the mobile phone arrived here: the blokes would rather the kudos of owing and using a cell phone than forking out for a beer)?
So, that’s what I’d do. And I’d do it by surrounding myself with people who could help me implement my plans because they know Africa as well as I do. Because they understand her machinations, her strengths, her limitations. Because they have lived with her. Because they love her.
But as I said, if you’ve even got this far, now’s the time to diss what I think: after all, I’m just a mum: what would I know? But even if I have made you consider Africa’s difficulties from a new perspective for the briefest moment, I’m glad I took the time to write.
And now I’ll get off the soapbox I’ve been teetering on all week. Not content with relocating the family to splendid Outpost isolation, husband has organised that we go camping this weekend. To get away from it all, he says.
Get away from what exactly, I wanted to ask.

Darfur: Who wants peace?

A rebel attack that killed at least 10 peacekeepers at an African Union army base in Sudan's Darfur region has sparked international condemnation.

I wonder what Darfurians have to say about this " here we go again....the selfish idiots want to stop the peace at any cost.."