THE BLUE DOT HURTS…….EVERYWHERE 

  

Page 365 of 365. 365 days ago I decided to embark on a journey to write a book, each page reflecting the daily experience and shared it with my friends. As simple as it was, it was a project not without its trials, joys and tribulations. 

Each page reflected my daily musings on encounters, thoughts, readings, relationships, spirituality, visuals, hurts, pains, emptiness, happiness, strengths, weaknesses, love & life. The book was a digital library of my human experience. 
And so we have come full circle. #TheBlueDot spins, with me and the 7 billion inhabitants on it. #TheBlueDot smiles, as it always does, at the joys mankind has created through collective love , communion, and giving. 
And like humans, #TheBlueDot also feels pain. Like a mother she cries at our failings and grieves at our hate. What have I done, she ask? Where did I go wrong, she opines? 
#TheBlueDot is in pain. She is hurting, she is hoping that her children will realize this is our only home, and every home is a safe place. But a place without #Love is a cold place, a dark abyss. 
And so #TheBlueDot hurts, everywhere, everywhere, Everywhere.

THE ACCOUNT OF A SYRIAN REFUGEE’S JOURNEY TO EUROPE

 Written by Rizal Imran – Syrian refugee.They say a man’s home is his castle. It can certainly said  that a man’s country is his identity.  Torn by the civil and military strife in their country, millions of refugees left behind their birth right and heritage for fear of certain death, to find a place to call home. 

The plight of every individual that experience this flight is  a story that will make a permanent mark on their soul. No one chooses to be a refugee without having a reason. Despite the reason the hatred and unimaginable inconvieniences faced  is not worth the trip . But a man needs somewhere to lay his head and protect his family. Faced with unspeakable hatred, this man tells his story. 

  
You’re 29 years old with a wife, two children and a job. You have enough money, and can afford a few nice things, and you live in a small house in the city. Suddenly the political situation in your country changes and a few months later soldiers are gathered in front of your house. And in front of your neighbours’ houses. They say that if you don’t fight for them, they will shoot you. Your neighbour refuses. One shot. That’s it.

You tell your wife to get the children dressed. You grab a small bag, because anything bigger will be impossible to carry for a long time. You hastily throw your smartphone and the charger in the bag. Because you saw the emergency coming, you have already scraped all your money together. The kind people smuggler charges 5,000 euros per person. You have 15,000 euros. If not, you will have to let your wife go.

The journey to the border takes two weeks on foot. You are hungry and for the last week have barely eaten. Half the time you have to carry your younger daughter. She is only 21 months old. A further 2 weeks and you arrive at the sea. In the middle of the night you’re loaded onto a ship with other refugees. You are lucky: your whole family can travel.

The ship is so full that it threatens to capsize. You pray that you don’t drown. A few small children have died of thirst. The smugglers throw them overboard. When the coast is in sight, you are loaded onto small boats. Your wife and the younger child are on one, you and your older child are on another. You are warned to stay silent so that nobody knows you’re there.

Your older daughter understands. But your younger one in the other boat doesn’t. She doesn’t stop crying.

The other refugees are getting nervous. They demand that your wife keeps the child quiet. She doesn’t manage it. One of the men grabs your daughter, rips her away from your wife and throws her overboard. You jump in after her, but you can’t find her again. Never again.

Your wife hasn’t spoken a word since your daughter died. But you have to keep going. You are just about to arrive at the emergency accommodation. It is 10pm. A man whose language you don’t understand takes you to a hall with camp beds. There are 500 beds all very close together. In the hall, it’s stuffy and loud.

The next morning you’re given some clothes. You are given 140 euros. For the whole month. Then a ‘concerned citizen‘ comes by and abuses you. You don’t know why. You don’t understand “Go back to your own country!”

NeoMakeba

THE TALLEST PERSON EVER OF AFRICAN DESCENT

We have always heard of the tallest persons in China and other parts of the world but hardly any reference to persons of African origins. This is the story of the tallest man from Africa, someone who has been hidden from the Western world. 

 John William Rogan (February 16, 1865 – September 12, 1905) is one of 17 known people in medical history to reach a height of 8 feet (2.44 m) or more and also the second tallest person ever recorded, after Robert Wadlow.

Rogan, the son of William Rogan, a former slave, was born in Hendersonville,Tennessee on February 16, 1865. He was the fourth of twelve children. The identity of his birth mother remains unknown. He began to grow very rapidly at the age of 13, leading to ankylosis. 

Already accustomed to walking only with the aid of crutches, by 1882, he could not stand or walk at all. By 1899, he had grown to a height of 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) and often appeared in newspapers, referred to as the “Negro giant”. He got around on a cart he had made for himself that was pulled by goats. Although he was unable to perform physical labor, he made a living by selling portraits and postcards of himself at the train station. 

Rogan’s hands measured 11 inches (28 cm) in length and his feet measured 13 inches (33 cm) in length. He continued to grow until his death; his exact height was not measured until after his death. At that time he measured 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m) tall, but weighed only 175 pounds (79 kg), making him the tallest person of African descent, and the second tallest person ever recorded.

Rogan died on September 12, 1905 from complications of ankylosis. He was buried in the family yard under solid concrete to prevent anyone from exhuming and examining his body.

  
NeoMakeba 

THIS HISTORY OF GRAN MARKET IN JAMAICA

The roads are blocked from vehicular traffic. It is usually one of the main roads in every Parish. The music man strings up his system, the vendors display their wares, the foodies secure a spot for visibility, the police are on double duty, the air is festive, the mood is delightfully friendly. As the night slowly crawls on the parishes, the crowds begin to swell. Soon it will be body to body, with little room for careless movement. This is Gran Market, a Jamaican experience like no other.

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On Christmas Eve, Jamaicans look forward to “Gran’ Market”. This is a day-and-night event which goes on until early hours of Christmas Day. It is also a chance for Jamaicans and visitors to the island to buy a wide range of items at much reduced prices! It is also one of the few times that Jamaican children are allowed to be out of their homes beyond 10 pm.

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Wares on sale include toys, games, clothes, household appliances, food such as jerk chicken, fried fish, pineapple, sugar cane and jelly water. Of course, the peanut vendors whistle through the town square and people step gingerly on sidewalks to avoid stepping on vendors’ wares. Oh, forgot about the sound systems!

The “Gran’ Market” is an activity that dates back to “slavery”. The Africans were given few days off from their labor in the sugar cane fields. On Christmas Eve, they dressed in their finest garments, met up with others in a central place and sang, danced, played drums until the wee hours of the morning. It was also a chance for them to sell their homemade crafts such as baskets, hats and brooms.

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In recent times, rural vendors are seen at Gran’ Market in the numerous markets around Jamaica. They load their donkeys with the produce very early in the morning, some of them walk with bottle lamps to the main roads where they board the “country” buses, their wares heaped unto the tops. Wares include fresh fruits, vegetables, sorrel, ground produce, flowers and imported items. Famous markets in Kingston included the Victoria Craft Market, at the bottom of King Street and of course, Coronation Market. There is also the most famous Falmouth Gran Market.

Let the party begin!

Thanks NeoMakeba for original story.

THE FIRST BLACK PILOT NO ONE KNOWS

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Do you know who this is a photo of? Chances are you don’t, but don’t feel bad because probably not one American in one million does, and that is a National tragedy. His name is Eugene Jacques Bullard, and he is the first African-American fighter pilot in history. But he is also much more then that: He’s also a national hero, and his story is so incredible that I bet if you wrote a movie script based on it Hollywood would reject it as being too far-fetched.

Bullard was an expat living in France, and when World War 1 broke out he joined the French Infantry. He was seriously wounded, and France awarded him the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. In 1916 he joined the French air service and he first trained as a gunner but later he trained as a pilot. When American pilots volunteered to help France and formed the famous Lafayette Escadrille, he asked to join but by the time he became a qualified pilot they were no longer accepting new recruits, so he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps instead. He served with French flying units and he completed 20 combat missions.

When the United States finally joined the war, Bullard was the only member of the Escadrille or the French Flying Corps who was NOT invited to join the US Air Service. The reason? At that time the Air Service only accepted white men.

Now here is the part that almost sounds like a sequel to ‘Casablanca’: After WWI Bullard became a jazz musician in Paris and he eventually owned a nightclub called ‘L’Escadrille’. When the Germans invaded France and conquered it in WW2, his Club, and Bullard, became hugely popular with German officers, but what they DIDN’T know was that Bullard, who spoke fluent German, was actually working for the Free French as a spy. He eventually joined a French infantry unit, but he was badly wounded and had to leave the service.

By the end of the war, Bullard had become a national hero in France, but he later moved back to the U.S. where he was of course completely unknown. Practically no one in the United States was aware of it when, in 1959, the French government named him a national Chevalier, or Knight.

In 1960, the President of France, Charles DeGaulle, paid a state visit to the United States and when he arrived he said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to meet Bullard. That sent the White House staff scrambling because most of them, of course, had never even heard of him. They finally located him in New York City, and DeGaulle traveled there to meet him personally. At the time, Eugene Bullard was working as … An elevator operator.

Not long after Eugene Bullard met with the President of France, he passed away, and today very, very few Americans, and especially African-Americans, even know who he is. But, now YOU do, don’t you? And I hope you’ll be able to find opportunities to tell other people about this great American hero that probably only 1 American in 1 Million has ever heard of.

Untouched and unedited, I posted the story as it is shared. Thanks Ask A slave:The Web series

BARBADOS TO BECOME A REPUBLIC

pmbarbadosBarbados plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state and replace her with a ceremonial president from the Caribbean island, a former British territory once known as “Little England” for its colonial trappings.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (pictured) announced that the plan is to make Barbados a republic by November, 2016, when the island of roughly 300,000 people celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence. He said it makes no sense to keep the monarch as the head of state of an otherwise independent country.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Monday that “it is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.” British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said he expected the approach in Barbados to be “consistent with self-determination.”

Upon taking power in early 2012, Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller insisted her country must remove the monarch as head of state, in part because of slavery’s legacy. But nothing has changed since Simpson Miller made that statement.

Barbados needs a two-thirds majority in Parliament to authorize the constitutional change. Stuart’s government currently has that majority in the Senate, but not in the lower house. Opposition leader Mia Mottley did not immediately comment on Stuart’s plans.

But in a sign of changing times, Barbados adopted the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal in 2005, dumping the London-based Privy Council that long served as the court of last resort for many “former colonies”.

Congratulations to Barbados. They  now join Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica as having a President and not The Queen as Head of State. It is hoped that Jamaica with its constant chatter on this reform, somehow cease the talk and hopefully get something done and shape the future for the country and its people.

 

NeoMakeba