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Par Roseline

This is my first official post, and a very short one, and I’m sorry for the delay. I’ll be contributing more and more in the next coming days and I wanted to start with this: Rwanda Threatens to Pull Peacekeepers From Darfur

Finally right? Most of us Rwandans have always known that this day would come but I guess some of us lost hope along the way. For years, the story of our country’s dark days hasn’t been told in full and with this new report from the U.N., we can expect that to change.

And here’s an updated version with a Rwandan official further defending their decision to pull out of Darfur:
Rwanda: Peacekeepers On Standby for Pull Out – Mushikiwabo

In short, it’s desperate and the fact that the Rwandan government is reacting like this in the first place only shows the rest of the world that they have something to fear. Even more of a bigger reason why this report should and will be published and I hope it does not hold back. The saying is true that everything you do in the dark will eventually come to light. Rwanda is no exception. We, Rwandans, speak of “moving on” and “never again” but we will never be able to do that until the full truth is revealed. Our country has thousands of skeletons in its closet and it’s time to let it all out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

_Roseline

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Par l’Oiseau.Rebelle

Having lived half my life in Africa & the other in America, I always see both cultures clash in my everyday activities. When I was growing up in Africa, I’d here “en Amerique…on fait ceci, cela…”; never would I have thought that I would have ended up here. Growing up in SoCal is every teenage American’s dream. To me it was just another page in my story. Amongst the new friends I made, I was always the awkward African gal. No matter how much I tried to assimilate myself deeper in American culture, there was always something that was a dead giveaway of my roots. The fact that my accent was neither American, nor African, made it hard for the peeps to guess where I was from. My French first name could have made me a Haitian immigrant…however, my long last name made me African at best.

After high school, I volunteered to work for Uncle Sam. I remember having to carefully talk people through on how to pronounce my (heavy) African last name. I used to take my name tag off because I was embarrassed. I was still African nonetheless, even when I took the oath of citizenship of the United States. I had concocted a story of being a proud Haitian gal. To the Africans that knew me in the service, they knew my real story. To the Haitians that knew me in the service, they knew I wasn’t really from Haiti.

I began delving deep into reggae music in the service and at one point, people thought I was from Jamaica or somewhere around the carribbeans. The mistake that made me a poser was the fact that when someone spoke to me in their Patois, I was unable to respond.

I have been living here in Aspen country for about a year now and my close friends here still don’t know where the hell I’m from. I told them once but they forgot so whatever pops into my mind at the time of their inquest is what they remember.

Two weeks ago, here in Aspen country, I participated in a race benefitting the building of a church in my birth nation. At the race, I met two American bros, who were born and raised in the Congo (Kinshasa). The only thing that makes those two Americans is their parents and names. I was so shocked at how their French was better than mine. They spoke English with a very foreign accent. They knew so much about African countries and it made me realize how much I miss living there. The high point of my conversation with the two brothers was the fact they knew about “insombe” (hmmm…there’s no kinyarwanda spellcheck on here). I was shocked and appalled.

The few African friends that I have here in Aspen country, often remind me that I am not African but American. So what does it mean to be American? I am a prolific reader and just because I read Charles Dickens’ novels, that makes me Americaine? Because I spent my teenage years in California, I am Americaine? Because I changed my last name, that makes me Americaine?

Well, je suis Africaine et je suis Americaine. Both halves of my lives having been spent on two different continents, I am a human being. I have knowledge of two cultures and live them both everyday. My children shall be the same and I am proud to say que je suis Africaine et Americaine!!!

par aimee 🙂

ramadan kareem, family! and in case anyone’s wondering…no i’m not muslim and yes, i’m doing ramadan (to the fullest extent of my will). the past few days i’ve been talking to a close friend of mine (shout out to you ma!) she’s been explaining ramadan to me (which spirals into hours of deep and reflective conversation) and i’m liking the month more and more.

now i grew up catholic (let’s not go there though) so i fasted for lent and made the sacrifice etc. etc. but never in my adult life, this ramadan will be the first time i am consciously and willfully practicing self-control, forgiveness and honesty (without deviation) although not to the extent that my friend is (she is really leading by example!).

so far, in the three days since the fast began, i have not fasted, i’m not even gonna front haha but i have prayed (and i use the term loosely, for me) and been conscious of my speech and thought, and am capturing the motives, incentives and instances when i feel a lie brewing, or my self-control leaving my grasp. the difficult thing this ramadan is the idea of forgiveness, and truly forgiving… from the lady in my family who chooses an abusive relationship over our loving support, to the former comrades who have demonstrated demonous contempt for a loved friend, during her pregnancy–i am trying to forgive but lawd help me because this may just take the entire month to get through.

if there is one thing i can hold on to…it’s not life, it’s a grudge! and i’ve got plenty, my people…but, universe willing, i will work through this with the guidance and support of my friends and family. peace be upon them and upon you.

speaking of ramadan, this mosque at ground zero business. i just can’t believe how much people are tripping over a mosque being erected NEAR ground zero….i mean, someone erected many churches in buckhead off peachtree st, near some damn bars (uhum, picture misc. drunks wandering home sunday morning), but you didn’t see atlantan drinkers and barhoppers bitching about that shit!

it’s quite simple you see, family, what we have here is islamophobia at its peak and the media completely failing to address the issue. the argument is that due to the “background” of the “terrorists” on 9/11, it would be inappropriate to erect a mosque near the sight, which assumes several things: that muslims are all terrorists, that the sheer sight of muslims is inappropriate, that all muslims are arab and vice versa and that there is some inherent flaw in either islam or the muslim person that somehow negates their humanity. oh les blancs, les blancs!

americans….look, i get it, you don’t get out much, you don’t read much, but please give yourself more credit than this. i mean, to go so far as to mystify your president because he’s brown and has an arabic middle name, to go so far as to make blanket generalizations for the sake of preserving your completely artificial society (i.e. it’s all made in china, india, mexico, haiti, chile…need i go further) it’s quite ridiculous, but then again, it is america.

i also wanted to share a story about the intifada (uprising) in kashmir…this gets almost no press which is curious, especially since india is so in right now! that’s right, that slumdog millionaire film, the outsourced television show, bollywood is everywhere even that little white man from saturday night live made a movie about it, as did fuckin austin powers…. india could very well be the new black (in terms of trendiness and exploitation) but it has a deep dark secret, much like israel, which is the oppression and supression of its muslim population.

so the kashmiri muslims are rising up, i wonder how long it’ll take for american media to build up a slander campaign against the freedom fighters in order to support a genocidal mess upfront (the way it does is much of the arab world)…hm. in any case, i stand with kashmir and the intifada! long live the intifada! indians…shape up before you end up on the black and brown world’s shit-list…i’m just sayin.

peace

story links:
kashmiri intifada
obama defends mosque near ground zero

par aimee 🙂

i was kinda debating with the little commentator in my head, on whether or not it is worth it to get my feelings on paul kagame and wyclef out for all to know. obviously i decided for it (remember the “silence won’t protect you” part?).

for those of you under an american rock these past few weeks, paul kagame was re-elected rwanda’s president for another whopping 7years; and wyclef jean announced that he will be running for president of haiti.

(see story links at the bottom)

okay, now i’ve been stateside for a few years but i still have to opine about this kagame (kaGOME) business. aside for the repression, censorship and genocidaire business, he’s leading rwanda right into the hand of usa and britain’s largest profiteers (picture image of rwandan slaves marching onto ship, and guess who the overseer is…) now rwandans in the diaspora or in the usa at least, seem to be mute on the subject so far. for whatever reason, politics is seldom something we can talk about openly and with conviction, this is pretty sick of us since 1) we have the freedom to be verbal (something that our peers back home are being jailed for) and 2) we’re probably in this country for political reasons to begin with. so why all the silence? i’m just waiting for us to rise up, to look the state of rwanda square in the face and demand that that genocidal maniac (kagame) be taken out.

i suppose it is to a degree, a matter of political leaning in the individual rwandan young’n, that doesn’t make it any less inexcusable, i mean, even if the folks in gwinett, dayton, los angeles, nashville etc. come out with some crazy shit (like all hail kagame….eek) at least it woud be said, at which point i could put you on my list of who not to travel back home with!

speak up my people!

as far as wyclef, i think it’s quite obvious. maybe it’s the lithium from the miami beach air (where his MANSION is conveniently sitting) or maybe it’s the false sense of supremacy other hollywood idiots gave him after the earthquake…whatever it is though, it’s got him thinking he can actually lead haiti into a better era, tsk tsk wyclef. i know a meglomaniac when i hear one and wyclef, baybay, keep your hands of ayiti! i mean, you would think that someone who claims to care about haiti would have publicly come out and supported the peoples’ demands that aristide be returned or that the multi-national non-profits yield to grassroots efforts…instead this brother is asking (white) hollywood power couples to adopt (black) haitian kids ( because they’ll really know how to keep ayiti’s culture alive in their villas and mountain top estates, smh) and helping support those nonsense non-profit drives that raise millions to pay for the administrative costs of delivering non-sustainable, capitalist aid to the poorest and most economically underdeveloped nation in the west.

good job monsieur president! (please note my sarcasm). there isn’t a palm big enough to slap the ego off his face…but god knows i’ll look for one.

peace

story links:
kagame story
wyclef story

par aimee 🙂

hello saturday! so i just heard this dr. laura craziness that went down this past tuesday hear it here. for those not familiar with dr. laura, she is a radio shrink who gives advice (often bad and from the perspective of an elitist, white, repressed woman). this fateful call came from a caller named jade, a black woman married to a white man who doesn’t defend her against his racist friends and family. dr. laura responded by calling jade “hypersensitive” and saying the n-word a whopping 12 times…. if i could slap a b*! lord i would right about now.

obviously dr. laura was the wrong person to ever get this kind of advice (she could very well be a spokesperson for the klan aka tea party at this point) but the advise is necessary, but from sisters and brothers who do and have experience interracial relationships.

i wish i’d had a support group or something when i chose to date outside of my race and culture, i have had two white lovers, both political and both aware of white-supremacy, and still nothing stopped their little mouths from spewing some of the craziest questions and comments.

exhibit a, b and c: “oh, you’re walking fast, don’t africans walk slow, take their time?” or “i can’t believe you’re from africa, came here and can do all this and that” (the clear undertone being, you’re african, exotic, you should be like this to feed my fucked up fantasy, and you can read??!) but the one that i find inexcusable is “i don’t think this [situation/person etc] is racist”…as if being white for twenty some years gives them any realistic idea of what is and isn’t racist.

i think a lot of youth (teens to twenties) dive into interracial relationships a lot more freely now because society supports this post-racial myths, and if we’re not careful as people of color, we risk falling into relationships with whites who don’t challenge racism, or worse…we won’t challenge racism in our own relationships.

unfortunately i’ve had horrible, painful, experiences with my past white lovers, i’m actually a little traumatized by the whole thing so a white lover isn’t any where in my imaginable future. but my advise to those who do plan on being in an interracial relationship would be to really talk about race and culture so that no assumptions are made about how each of you feel about white-supremacy.

in my case i would say: i don’t tolerate racist jokes, generalizations, false sense of inclusion, culturally strict spaces (basically all white and uninviting), racist friends, racist politics (anti-welfare, anti-black/brown, anti-immigrant politics), and i definitely will not tolerate any attempt to exoticize me, my family or my friends….and it would help if the person read some literature from black and other white authors who are anti-racist (audre lorde, malcom x, angela davis, joel olson, tim wise, ted allen).

just sayin.