I like controversies, a good juicy controversy. That’s when you can see and hear the most extreme differences from every voice  from every crevice they emerge from.  Controversies always  begin when one person or many , go on the mountain top and shout a story they either heard or read   and without much facts, the different faces of the story appear. The faces that appear begin the chatter and idle chatter becomes fodder, fodder becomes  conspiracies and sooner or later the conspiracies become the truth.  

Conspiracies always have a receptive audience. 

The Colin Kaepernick’s story is one such scandal. As the  story goes,  Kaepernick has been sitting all along , not standing , when the US national anthem is being played. For days he did that until one reporter casually asked him why? That’s when all hell broke loose. He told the reporter his truth. 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” – Kaepernick
To say this story had the effect  like the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima is  putting it lightly. Every possible theorists  had something to say, scurrying for more ammunition to further advance their hate.  From outright calling him a radicalized Muslim to a communist traitor,  once the golden boy of the 49ers football club , Kaepernick  was now the most hated person in America. 

The noises were loud and often loud noises drown out the truth. And then suddenly in comes Jim Wright, quietly and succinctly making his point on his discovery of Kapernick’s truth. And there lies the meat of the problem. 

Discovering the truth.

Kapernick’s story erupted all the vile and viscous emotions of those that read or possibly heard the story and few attempted to discover the truth behind the story .Jim discovered the truth and it is this truth I am so proud to repost on my blog. 

Read the truth and hopefully you will understand Kapernick’s story. 

Kwesi Copyright (C) 2016. All Rights Reserved


I’ve been away from the internet all day. 

I came home from a family picnic on the Blackwater River to find my inbox, as usual, overflowing like a ripe Port-O-Pottie. 
One of the first messages I read was about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, quoted above, who last Friday night at the beginning of a preseason game suddenly decided to become the most hated man in America du jour by deliberately not standing for the National Anthem. 

Yes, that’s right, a football player didn’t stand for the National Anthem. 

As you know, this means Kaepernick is scum, a horrible human being, a likely member of ISIS, a Muslim terrorist, a black thug, a communist, a socialist (and not the cool share your weed Bernie Sanders kind of socialist but the Red Brigade kind of Socialist who sleeps under a poster of Chairman Mao), a radical, a Black Panther, and he probably has Fidel Castro’s phone number in his contact favorites. 

Yeah. Okay. 

I answered the message and went on to the next one. 

The next message was about Kaepernick. As was the next one. And the next one. And…
They all begin pretty much the same way: Jim, AS A VETERAN, what do you think about this? Well? 
Let me answer all the messages at once

AS A VETERAN, what do I think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the National Anthem? 
As a veteran? 
Very well, as a veteran then, this is what I believe: 
The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT. 
If you want respect, you have to do the things necessary to earn it each and every single day. There are no short cuts and no exceptions.  
Respect cannot be compelled. 
Respect cannot be bought. 
Respect cannot be inherited. 
Respect cannot be demanded at the muzzle of a gun or by beating it into somebody or by shaming them into it. Can not. You might get what you think is respect, but it’s not. It’s only the appearance of respect. It’s fear, it’s groveling, it’s not respect. Far, far too many people both in and out of the military, people who should emphatically know better, do not understand this simple fact: there is an enormous difference between fear and respect. 
Respect has to be earned. 

Respect. Has. To. Be. Earned. 

Respect has to be earned every day, by every word, by every action. 
It takes a lifetime of words and deeds to earn respect. 
It takes only one careless word, one thoughtless action, to lose it. 
You have to be worthy of respect. You have to live up to, or at least do your best to live up to, those high ideals — the ones America supposedly embodies, that shining city on the hill, that exceptional nation we talk about, yes, that one. To earn respect you have to be fair. You have to have courage. You must embrace reason. You have to know when to hold the line and when to compromise. You have to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable. You have to keep your word. You have to give respect, true respect, to get it back. 

There are no short cuts. None. 
Now, any veteran worth the label should know that. If they don’t, then likely they weren’t much of a soldier to begin with and you can tell them I said so. 
IF Kaepernick doesn’t feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can’t MAKE him respect it. 
You can not make him respect it. 
If you try to force a man to respect you, you’ll only make him respect you less. 
With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might. 
But that’s not respect. 
It’s only the illusion of respect. 

You might force this man into the illusion of respect. You might. Would you be satisfied then? Would that make you happy? Would that make you respect your nation, the one which forced a man into the illusion of respect, a nation of little clockwork patriots all pretending satisfaction and respect? Is that what you want? If THAT’s what matters to you, the illusion of respect, then you’re not talking about freedom or liberty. You’re not talking about the United States of America. Instead you’re talking about every dictatorship from the Nazis to North Korea where people are lined up and MADE to salute with the muzzle of a gun pressed to the back of their necks. 

That, that illusion of respect, is not why I wore a uniform. 
That’s not why I held up my right hand and swore the oath and put my life on the line for my country. 
That, that illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran. 
Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn’t feel. 
That’s called slavery and I have no respect for that at all. 
If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him. 
If America wants the world’s respect, it must be worthy of respect. 

America must be worthy of respect. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, unarmed black men shot down in the street every day, poverty, inequality, voter suppression, racism, bigotry in every form, obstructionism, blind patriotism, NONE of those things are worthy of respect from anybody — least of all an American. 

But doesn’t it also mean that if Kaepernick wants respect, he must give it first? Give it to America? Be worthy of respect himself? Stand up, shut up, and put his hand over his heart before Old Glory? 

No. It doesn’t. 
Respect doesn’t work that way. 

Power flows from positive to negative. Electricity flows from greater potential to lesser. 

The United States isn’t a person, it’s a vast construct, a framework of law and order and civilization designed to protect the weak from the ruthless and after more than two centuries of revision and refinement it exists to provide in equal measure for all of us the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The United States is POWER. 

All the power rests with America. Just as it does in the military chain of command. And like that chain of command, like the electrical circuit described above, respect must flow from greater to lesser FIRST before it can return. 

To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. 

The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT. 

A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes. 

You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect. 

It’s really just that simple.

(C) 2016. Jim Wright. All Rights Reserved.

This was originally posted on Jim Wright’s Facebook page and reposted here .You can see more of Jim’s prolific writing on his blog I am happy I read the post. I just found a writer I can read and be throughly amused, entertained and informed. 


A funny thing happened on they way from a party in Brazil. Three high profiled swimmers, by US standards anyway. were reportedly ambushed and robbed at gun point. This bombshell was dropped mid way through the staging of Brazil’s biggest party, the Olympics.

As you can imagine, no country, not even the US, would want such negative headlines in bold print splattered across every major news media around the world. Negative publicity means negative impressions of the country, regardless of the efforts thousands are doing to make the games a success. It was no surprise the authorities took these reports seriously and investigated post haste. 
The findings as you would have heard by now unless you are living under a rock, were conflicting, and Brazil exercised its rights to summon the ” victimized” as the Americans referred to themselves, to answer these conflicting questions. 
The proceeding events that happened could not have been written for a reality show. The parts were moving violently and what has been to date, an Olympic Games of highs and lows, surprises and excitement , the story became the focus and the games became that other story. 
It was depressing and the lines were drawn on both sides. From outright condemnation to acceptance of the behavior, the story never went away. Neither did Lochte. 
Waiting until his “brothers in arms” returned to the US, Lochte said he had “suffered enough” to come forward to discuss “the mess” he says he is in. In a classic “let me hold your hand gently ” interview, NBC’s Matt Lauer attempted to “ruffle Lochte’s feathers. It was an attempt for Lauer to come across as the ‘tough interviewer’. 
Millions like myself did not buy it. Lauer was more intent on saving face as social media was on fire. The dye had been cast. It was another classic example of what white privilege looks like in the comfort of your home. and the media, through its agent was upholding and reminding you of this unwritten standard of the way things are in good ole US of A. 
A friend wrote his response. I thought I would share it for you to read and draw your own conclusions.
Kwesi (c) 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger and James Feigen all thought they were in a third world country, and as such, their bigotry and newly-acquired gold accessories warranted them vandalising a hard-working family’s service station by urinating on the walls and trashing the place – – and then running to the USA media with claims of being robbed at gunpoint (as is “expected” in Brazil).

The Brazilian judge (in his quick wisdom) smelled a rat and sent for the rodents on the aircraft bound for the United States . As it played our, apologies were offered, the stories recanted and monies were paid (all of this as the world watches). 
All across America white privilege apologist in the people of Billy Bush et. al. seek to offer excuses for a 32 year grown ass man and his punk team members who cite “youth” and “immaturity”. Where were these voices when a young black girl stood on the podium (yes, their teammate) and (in her nervousness) forgets to place hand across her chest at the medaling ceremony? 
 What of the superhuman gymnast of color who (after endless flips) just can’t seem to keep her nappy hair in one direction and is slaughtered within the same circles? …oh how different the cry would be if Felix and her relay peers behaved the same way eeh? 
The cushy reporting from US media would not be afforded them I’m sure! All in all, America has a long way to go. The shackles are transferred from black ankles and is seemingly evidenced now in the minds of the once captors.
The incident in Rio only highlights who these thugs are in their heads and certainly it presents the opportunity for pause to thought. Ryan, Jack and James are damn lucky they weren’t black men behaving in the same fashion in their homeland – notwithstanding there would be three funerals sometime next week – the men behind their shiny badges would have seen to it!
Good going gold medalist! …Donald Trump would be extraordinarily proud of you! 
H. Pratt (c) 2016.All Rights Reserved.


I read this story on Nelson Mandela  and found it interesting enough to reproduce it and post as is. We often forget when we listen to our leaders that they are in fact like you and I. We often place them on pedestals , and create in our minds a life unattached to the throes we ourselves go through.

That is so far from the  truth. Their lives are very much like ours, the difference is they mask their lives in support of ours. It is a high price to pay for leadership and a friendly reminder that leadership is never a rite of passage, rather one is called to lead.

Nelson Mandela in prison for over 25 years endured that physical entrapment allowing him to bravely walk away. He had the strength to endure his physical  imprisonment however in the arena of love, he failed.  It was easy for him to endure man’s heartlessness,  but in the arena of love, nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. That was the game changer. That was the poison.

Read and make your own conclusions.


DECEMBER 16, 2013
Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on 15th Dec 2013. John Carlin in his new book ” Knowing Mandela,”reveals why he never forgave the former wife who has featured through out the 10 day mourning period and even in the official program.

TWO weeks before Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990 I went to see his wife, Winnie, at her home in Diepkloof Extension, the posh neighbourhood of Soweto where the handful of black people who had contrived to make a little money resided. It was known as Baverly Hills to Soweto’s other presidents.

Winnie’s home, funded by foreign benefactors, was a two-floor, three-bedroom house with a garden and a small swimming pool. The height of extravagance by black standards, it would have more or less met the aspirations of the average white, middle-class South African.

Zindzi, Winnie’s slim and attractive second daughter, was 29 but looked younger in a yellow T-shirt and denim dungarees. It was 9.30 a.m. and she was in the kitchen frying eggs. She invited me in and started chatting as if we were old friends. The truth was that I had not scheduled an interview with Winnie. I had just dropped in to try my luck. But Zindzi saw nothing wrong in me giving it a shot.

Mum, she said, was still upstairs and would probably be a while. As I hovered about waiting (and, as it turned out, waiting, and waiting friends of Zindzi wandered in for coffee and a chat. Completing the South African middle-class picture, a small, wizened maid in blue overalls padded inscrutably around.

mandela2Finally, Winnie made her entrance, Taller than I had expected, very much the grande dame, she displayed neither surprise nor irritation at my presence in her home. When I said I would like to interview her, she responded with a sigh, a knowing smile and a glance at her watch. I said all I would need was half an hour. She thought a moment, shrugged her shoulders and said: “OK. But you will have to give me a little time.” She still had to put the finishing touches to her morning toilette.

The picture presented to me by mother, daughter, friends and cleaning lady was of a domesticity so stable and relaxed that, had I not been better informed, I would never have imagined the depths of trauma that lucked beneath.

Winnie had been continually persecuted by agents of the apartheid state during the 1970s and 1980s; she had borne the anguish of hearing her two small daughters screaming as the police broke into her home and carted her off to jail; she had spent more than a year in solitary confinement. Trusting that her confused and stricken children would be cared for by friends; she had been banished and placed under house arrest far away. But she was back, her circumstances altered dramatically for the better now that Mandela’s release was imminent.

One hour after her first entrance, she majestically reappeared, Cleopatra still needed her morning coffee, and motioned me to wait in her study while she withdrew into the kitchen. I had five minutes to take in the surroundings. On a bookshelf there was a row of framed family portraits, a Christmas card and a birthday card. Only a month had passed since Christmas, but nearly four since Winnie had turned 53. I could not resist taking a closer look.

I opened the Christmas card, which was enormous, and immediately recognised Nelson Mandela’s large, spidery handwriting. “Darling, I love you. Madiba,” It said. Madiba was the tribal name by which he liked to be known to those close to him. On the birthday card he had written the same words.

If I had not known better I might have imagined the cards had been sent by an infatuated teenager. Once we began our interview. Winnie took on just such a role, playing the tremulous bride-to-be, convincing me she was in a state of nervous excitement at the prospect of rekindling her life’s great love.

Close up she had, like her husband, the charisma of the vastly self-confident, and there was a coquettish, eye-fluttering sensuality about her. It was not hard to imagine how the young woman who met Mandela one rainy evening in 1957 had struck him, as he would later confess, like a thunderbolt.

The Mandela the world saw wore a mask that disguised his private feelings, presenting himself as a fearless hero, immune to ordinary human weakness. His effectiveness as a leader hung, he believed, on keeping that public mask from cracking. Winnie offered the greatest test to his resolve. During the following years the mask cracked only twice. She was the cause both times.

The first was in May 1991. She had just been convicted at Johannesburg’s Rand Supreme Court of assault and accessory to kidnapping a 14-year-old black boy called Stomple Moeketsi, whom her driver had subsequently murdered. Winnie had been led to believe, falsely as it turned out, that the boy had been working as a spy for the apartheid state.

thWinnie and Mandela walked together down the steps of the grand court building. Once again the actress, she swaggered to the street, right fist raised in triumph. It was not clear what she could possibly have been celebrating, except perhaps the perplexing straight off to jail and would remain free pending an appeal.

Mandela had a different grasp of the situation. His face was grey, his eyes were downcast.
The second and last time was nearly a year later. The setting was an evening press conference hastily summoned at the drab headquarters of the ANC. He shuffled into the room, sat down at a table and read from a piece of paper, beginning by paying tribute to his wife.

” During the two decades I spent on Robben Island she was an indispensable pillar of support and comfort. My love for her remains undiminished.” There was a general intake of breath. Then he continued: “We have mutually agreed that a separation would be the best for each of us .I part from my wife with no recriminations. I embrace her with all the love and affection I have nursed for her inside and outside prison from the moment I first met her.”

He rose to his feet. “Ladies and gentlemen. I hope you’ll appreciate the pain I have gone through and I now end this interview.” He exited the room, head-bowed, amid total silence.

Mandela’s love for Winnie had been, like many great loves, a kind of madness, all the more so in his case as it was founded more on a fantasy that he had kept alive for 27 years in prison than on the brief time they had actually spent together. The demands of his political life before he was imprisoned were such that they had next to no experience of married life, as Winnie herself would confess to me that morning.

” I have never lived with Mandela”, she said. “I have never known what it was to have a close family where you sat around the table with husband and children. I have no such dear memories. When I gave birth to my children he was never there, even though he was not in jail at the time.”

It seemed that Winnie, who was 22 to his 38 when they met, had cast a spell on him. Or maybe he cast a spell on himself, needing to reconstruct those fleeting memories of her into a fantasy of tranquility where he sought refuge from the loneliness of prison life.

His letters to her from Robben Island revealed romantic, sensual side to his nature that no one but Winnie then knew. He recalled “the electric current” that ” flushed ” through his blood as he looked at her photograph and imagined their caresses.

th copyThe truth was that Winnie had had several lovers during Mandela’s long absence. In the months before his release, she had been having an affair with Dali Mpofu, a lawyer 30 years her junior and a member of her defence team. She carried on with the affair after Mandela left prison. ANC members close to Mandela knew that was going on, as they did about her frequent bouts of drunkenness.

I tried asking them why they did not talk to Mandela about her waywardness, but I was always met by frosty stares. Winnie became a taboo subject within the ANC during the two years after Mandela left prison. Confronting him with the truth was a step too far for the freedom fighters of the ANC.

His impeccably courteous public persona acted as a coat of armour protecting the sorrowing man within. But there came a point when Mandela could deceive himself, or the public, no longer. Details of the affair with Mpofu were made luridly public in a newspaper report two weeks before the separation announcement.

The article was a devastating, irrefutable expose of Winnie’s affair. It was based on a letter she had written to Mpofu that revealed he had recently had a child with a woman whom she referred to as a ” white hag “. Winnie accused Mpofu of ” running around f***** at the slightest emotional excuse .

“Before I am through with you, you are going to learn a bit of honesty and sincerity and know what betrayal of one’s love means to a woman ! Remember always how much you have hurt and humiliated me . I keep telling you the situation is deteriorating at home, you are not bothered because you are satisfying yourself every night with a woman. I won’t be your bloody fool, Dali.”

th-2In private, Mandela had already endured quite enough conjugal torture. I learnt of one especially hurtful episode from a friend of Mandela some years later. Not long after the end of her trial, Winnie was due to fly to America on ANC-related business. She wanted to take Mpofu with her, and Mandela said she should not, Winnie agreed not to, but went with him anyway. Mandela phoned her at her hotel room in New York, and Mpofu answered the phone.

On the face of it, Mandela was a man more sinned against than sinning, but he did not see it that way. It was his belief that the original sin was to have put his political cause before his family.

Despite everything, Mandela believed when he left prison that he would find a way to reconcile political and family life. Some years after his separation from Winnie, I interviewed his close friend Amina Cashalia, who had known him since before he met Winnie.

” His one great wish,” she told me, ” was that he would come out of prison, and have a family life again with his wife and the children. Because he’s a great family man and I think he really wanted that more than anything else and he couldn’t have it.”

His fallout with Winnie only deepened the catastrophe, contaminating his relationships with other family members, among them his daughter Zindzi. She was a far more complicated character than I had imagined when I chatted with her cheerfully in her mother’s kitchen over fried eggs.

th-2 copyAt that very moment, in late January 1990, her current lover, the father of her third child, was in a prison cell. Five days later he hanged himself. Zindzi was very much her mother’s daughter, inheriting her capacity to dissemble as well as her strength of personality. The unhappiness and sheer chaos that she would endure in her own private life, a mirror of her mother’s, found expression in a succession of tense episodes with her father after he was set free.

One of them took place before friends and family on the day of her marriage to the father of her fourth child, six months after her parents’ separation. It was a glittering occasion at Johannesburg ‘ s swankiest hotel, with Zindzi radiant in a magnificent pearl and sequin bridal dress. It seemed to be a joyous celebration; in truth, it provided further evidence of the Mandela family’s dysfunctions.

One of the guests seated near the top table was Helen Suzman, the white liberal politician and good friend of Mandela. She told me that he went through the ceremonial motions with all the propriety one would have expected. He joined in the cutting of the wedding cake and played his part when the time came to give his speech, declaring, “she’s not mine now,” as fathers are supposed to do. He did not, however, mention Winnie in the speech. When he sat down, he looked silent and cheerless.

Maybe he had had time to reflect in the intervening six months on the depth of Winnie ‘ s betrayal. For more details had emerged of her love affairs and of the crimes of the gang of young men ” Winnie ‘ s boys” , as they were known in Soweto , who played the role of both bodyguards and courtly retinue. They had killed at least three young black men, beaten up Winnie’s perceived enemies and raped young girls.

Whether Mandela chose to realise it at the time, he was the reason that Winnie never ended up going to jail. Some years later, the minister of justice and the chief of national intelligence admitted to me that they had conveyed a message to the relevant members of the judiciary to show Winnie leniency.

Mandela’s mental and emotional wellbeing were essential to the success of the negotiations between the government and the ANC; for him to bow out of the process could have had catastrophic consequences for the country as a whole. Jailing Winnie would be too grave a risk.

Bizarrely, one of the guests at Zindzi ‘s wedding, prominently positioned near the top table, was the “white hag” Winnie had derided in her letter to Mpofu, and she was sitting next to a man I know to be another former lover of Winnie’s.

It also would have been difficult for Mandela to miss the menacing glances Winnie cast towards the “hag” although I hope he missed the moment when Winnie brushed past her and hissed at her former lover: “Go on! Take her ! Take her! ”

When the band struck up and the newly married couple got up to dance, Mandela, who had been standing up, turned his back on Winnie and returned stiffly to the top table. Grim-faced for the rest of the night, he treated Winnie as if she did not exist. At one point, Suzman passed him a note. “Smile, Nelson,” it said.

maccabees press shoot

Nelson Mandela

In October 1994, five months after Mandela had become president, I spoke to a friend of his, one of the few people in whom he confided the details of his marital difficulties. The friend leant over to me and said: ” it’s amazing. He has forgiven all his political enemies, but he cannot forgive her.”

During their divorce proceedings a year and a half later, he made his feelings towards Winnie public at the Rand Supreme Court, where he had accompanied and supported Winnie during her trial in 1991.
As his lawyer would tell me later, he was arbitrarily generous about sharing his estate, giving Winnie what was more than fair. But he made his feelings bluntly known in the divorce hearing. Standing a few feet away from her, he addressed the judge, saying: “Can I put it simply, my lord? If the entire universe tried to persuade me to reconcile with the defendant. I would not .I am determined to get rid of this marriage.”

He did not shirk from describing before the court the disappointment and misery of married life after he returned from prison. Winnie, he explained, did not share his bed once in the two years after their reunion.

“I was the loneliest man,” he said.

The Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough wrote about the “terrible notions of duty ” that boost the public figure but can stunt the private man. It is impossible to avoid concluding that Mandela was far less at ease in private than in public life. In the harsh world of South African politics he had his bearing; in the family sphere he often seemed baffled and lost.

Happily for his country, one did not drain energy from the other. Thanks to a kind of self-imposed apartheid of the mind, personal anguish and the political drive inhabited separate compartments and ran along parallel lines.

As out of control as she could be in her personal affairs, she possessed a lucid political intelligence and a mature understanding of where her husband’s priorities lay, even if she was deluded in attributing some of his qualities to herself.

” When you lead the kind of life we lead, if you are involved in a revolutionary situation, you cease to think in terms of self,” she said. ”  The question of personal feelings and reactions dues not even arise, because you are in a position where you think solely in terms of the nation, the people who have come first all your life.”

Courtesy: Sunday Times
Extracted from Knowing Mandela by John Carlin
NB: In Mandela’s will, Winnie was left absolutely nothing.


Vapid arguments about boycotting the equally vapid Oscars rage on with “Black Hollywood” dragging us into their tantrums. Do any of them hankering for awards ever marched on a BlackLifeMatters campaign? 
Do they ever boycott Louis Vuitton, Versace, Armani or some fat Italian geeser with a cigar in his mouth and instead, choose to promote talented unknown African designers when they flash their teeth on the red carpet? 
In 2014, “Best Supporting Actress”, a Kenyan, Lupita Nyong’o’s graced the red carpet at the Oscars. Her look was described as “GRECIAN, in a custom Prada gown, 18-karat headband by Fred Leighton”. Oh, she won an award for a re-run of “ROOTS”. White people just love congratulating us for remembering the emasculation of our kings. 
As recently as 1918, Mary Turner, a 21-year-old black woman, was lynched in Lowndes County, Georgia. The mob of several hundred white men tied her ankles, hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil and set her on fire. While Turner was still alive, a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife. Her unborn child fell on the ground, where it gave a cry before it was stomped on and crushed. 
Mary’s story will never make “mainstream”. Too uncomfortable. “Mainstream” edits what it spends its money on and has become accustomed to shamelessly appropriating aspects of black culture they want. 
Elvis Presley sneaked behind the juke joints and listened to the heart-wrenching lyrics black folk were belting out and became “King of Rock and Roll.” The Beach Boys stole Chuck Berry’s lyrics. Elizabeth Taylor became Cleopatra. Our African braids became the Bo Derek Look. Now a white man will play Michael Jackson in a film. Oh yes, Joss Stone won Billboard’s reggae award. So what? WE know the truth, we do not need to watch their nonsense. 
Since 1953, only 31 from 2,947 Oscars have gone to black actors. Are these modern hangers-on so naive that they did not realise “mainstream” flashes them off its frock tails whenever it suits the society? 
Disingenuous at best. Hypocritical at worse.




Behind the ancient way of life for the Tuareg tribe of the Sahara is a culture so progressive it would even make some in liberal western cultures blush.

Women are allowed to have multiple sexual partners outside of marriage, keep all their property on divorce and are so revered by their sons-in-law that the young men wouldn’t dare eat in the same room.

What is even more surprising is that even though the tribe has embraced Islam they have firmly held onto some of the customs that would not be acceptable to the wider Muslim world.

It is the men, and not the women, who cover their faces, for example.

Photographer Henrietta Butler, who has been fascinated by the Tuareg since she first followed them through the desert in 2001, once asked why this was. The explanation was simple.

‘The women are beautiful. We would like to see their faces.’

But this is certainly not the only place the Tuareg, related to the Berbers of North Africa, differ from the Muslim world of the Middle East, and even other parts of their own continent.

Before a woman marries, she is free to take as many lovers as she wants.


These two children were pictured in December 1967. Tuareg children traditionally stay with their mothers after a divorce

‘They turn a blind eye,’ explained Butler. ‘The young girls have the same great freedoms as the boys.’

For years, the men of the Tuareg have been able to ride to a young woman’s tent, and sneak into the side entrance – while his well-trained camel stands quietly and waits.

There, they will spend the night together – while the family, who all live in the tent, politely pretend not to notice.

 Should the woman choose to welcome a different man into her tent the next day, so be it.

However, there is also a code of practice which none would dare break. Privacy is all important for this centuries old tribe of nomads, who once crossed the desert bringing dates, salt and saffron south, and slaves and gold north.


The idea of breaking the rules of courtship would be mortifying; as a result, the man is always gone before sunrise.

‘The Tuareg are utterly discreet. Everything is done with utmost discretion and respect,’ said Butler.

The relaxed customs around sexual partners has resulted in the girls getting married later than they may otherwise do, with the age of 20 not being uncommon.

Although, before then, they will have been wooed with poetry written by the men, who spend hours carefully crafting the words which they hope will win their beloved over.

But it is not a one-way street: the women are just as capable of putting pen to paper, using their own alphabet, taught to them by their mothers.

‘The women also make poetry eulogizing the men,’ says Butler. ‘There is high romance and idolatry.’


Unlike in so many other cultures, women lose none of their power once they marry either.

Many marriages end in divorce among the Tuareg. And when it happens, it is the wife who keeps both the animals and the tent. And it is she who normally decides that she’s had enough. 

His wife, meanwhile, will keep possession of everything she brought to the marriage and that includes the children.

The mother’s camp, Butler explains, is the root of the community, the home everyone returns to – and this arrangement ensures it stays that way.

And there is no shame in divorce. Families will often throw their daughters a divorce party, to let other men know they are available once more.

But this is not a matriarchal society, where the women are in charge.


Butler explains it is still the men ‘who sit and talk politics’. But even here, the women can be deferred to. They are often consulted for their views by their sons or husbands, and are quietly pulling the strings behind the scenes.  

However, Tuareg society is matri-lineal, which means the families trace their lines through the women, rather than the men, right the way back to their first queen.

So, Butler explained: ‘Traditionally, the man would belong to the woman’s group, rather than the other way around.’

The preference for the women’s line goes as far as man leaving his possessions to his sister’s son as it ‘is considered a stronger link to your family than to your own son’.

In other words, it can be guaranteed that your sister’s child belongs to your sister, rather than a man’s son, who cannot be absolutely guaranteed to share his genes.


Before young Tuareg women marry, they are allowed to take as many different lovers as they want – as long as they abide by the strict rules of privacy which govern their society.


This means the man must only arrive at her tent after dark, and leave before sunrise. Pictured: A Tuareg woman’s decorated hands.

But there is one tradition which is certainly far more unusual: it is highly rude for a man to eat in front of a woman who he cannot have sexual relations with, or any of his elders.

In front of his mother-in-law it is especially shameful.

‘I didn’t realize this until the I was having dinner with a Tuareg woman, who had brought her son-in-law as her traveling companion,’ Butler recalled.

‘We were all sitting down to dinner, and the man has his back turned. She said the poor man was completely horrified because he has to eat with his mother-in-law.’

But it is unlikely he would have ever complained about it, or felt sorry from himself. The very idea is horrendous to the Tuareg.

‘You would shame yourself. The Tuareg will go to great lengths to maintain personal dignity. They will suffer,’ said Butler.

‘If they are not offered water, they won’t ask for it – even if they are thirsty.’

Perhaps for this reason, the Tuareg welcome is legendary. They never forget to offer water, and travelers who appear on the horizon will always be ‘treated like a king’.


It means the mother’s tent is the heart of the community – although they do not eat together, and do much separately


It is the men who cover up their faces, while the women are happy to show off their faces – although they often cover their hair


The camels are of vital importance in the Sahara, and are often the only thing a man is left with when he gets divorced


A Tuareg man in a traditional indigo veil, which is likely to leave his face with a blue mark across his skin


The Tuareg’s many small groups are joined together by the same family tree – and at the top of that tree is the person who bought them all together.

And it should probably come as no surprise for a tribe which views women in such regard, that person was a queen.  

Tin Hinan is said to have traveled south from modern day Morocco to what would one day become Algeria in the fourth century, where she became the first queen of the Tuaregs.

It is from Tin Hinan – whose name translates as ‘she of the tents’ – that every noble family is said to descend.

Takamet, her handmaiden who traveled by her side, is believed to be the ancestor of the peasant caste. It is unlikely there will be any quibbling over who gets what. Pre-nuptial agreements are the norm.

In practice, this often means a man is forced to return home to his mother, possibly with just his camel and nothing else.

Now the Tuareg living in south-western Libya face a new threat – that of ISIS – while those living in Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria now have to contend with the rise of Boko Haram.


The Tuareg women, seen here arriving at the Tuareg Political Party speech in 2006, may not obviously be part of political life, but their opinion is highly valued by the men, who will likely discuss issues with their mother or wife.

Source: DailyMail UK | Henrietta Butler’s new book, Tuareg Time Re-post under Creative commons. All Rights Reserved to writer of original post and photographer.


Oh, cute Mr Mongoose, hard to catch. The Indian Mongoose was introduced to Jamaica in 1872 to kill the rats. But it has contributed to possible extinction of two of Jamaica’s endemic ground nesting birds – the Jamaica Petrel (Pterodroma caribbaea) and Jamaican Paruraque (Siphonorhis americana) – as well as the Giant Galliwasp (Celestrus occiduus), and a snake, the Black Racer (Alsophis ater). It is also a threat to the endemic Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei). OH DEAR!

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was introduced to Portland as tourist attractions at the Somerset Falls. Some escaped in the 1980 Allen and 1988 Gilbert hurricanes. The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park nearby contains about 923 endemic species of vascular plants and serves as an important watershed that is vital for the water supply to the eastern end of the island, including Kingston. There is anxiety that the deer do not wander in that area…
Deer have created havoc around Mount Pleasant, Shrewsbury, Content, Little Spring Garden, Swift River and Eden Wood. Farmers reported deer in their crops at dusk and dawn. But they are fighting back. Deer meat goes for about JS$400 dollars per pound. Poor Bambi!

Mr Camel recently re-entered Jamaica as tourist attraction at the Prospect Estate in St Mary. In the 1600s, camels were brought to Jamaica from the Canary Islands to carry sugar and rum to the market.
But the “ships of the desert” either rebelled against slavery or the roads were much too rocky for their hoofs and hills too steep. Seems that nature had designed them only for extensive and level sandy deserts. The poor docile animals died out then. We are yet to see whether camels on the Prospect Estate will create havoc on the island. 


The Ghosts of Baha Mar: How a $3.5 Billion Paradise Went Bust

This tenet is true which says – “an organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it.”

At the time of the conception of this mega Resort idea, the intentions at the time seemed trans formative, innovative and one that was projected to stood the test of time, launching the tourism DNA of the Bahamas into the 21st century. It was a mega idea designed to take an existing stretch of hotels on the prime real estate strip, Cable Beach, demolishing them and create super Resorts to rival that of Vegas.

It was an idea no one with cash could afford not to take a bite. Serving this  delicious piece of pie with tasty side bowls of mouth watering dips to push the other competing prime real estate Paradise Island, further down on the chess board , it was like business caviar served with the  golden fleece.

But as it turned out, if these super money barons when embarking on their mega yacht with their mega idea do not  know which port they are ultimately sailing to, no wind is going to be favorable.

At the end of the day business is about taking risk and there is no business that does not possess a great amount of risk. But it is also good business to minimize the risk that will certainly come your way and one such way is to invest and work with people or companies with understandable business models.

The curious business models of an Armenian hand in hand with the Chinese and embraced by a Bahamian seems like a culture clash that is terribly  dramatic. Because when you have millions of people with this kind of need for gratification, and the culture is saying that it’s possible for everyone to satisfy all of their needs and desires all of the time, there are obviously going to be clashes – clashes of ego.

In the end leadership is not about the self aggrandizement of personal egos vying in a popularity contest. As Quincy Jones did when he gathered one of the greatest assembly of egomaniacs for a project,  he wrote a simple rule posted above the studio door for all to see- “Leave Your Egos At The Door”.

This did not happen in The Baha Mar project. Egos went flying, actions were perceived as betrayals and jostling for public support became the classic “Its not my fault ” reality show. The minute this starts, where all parties are compromising for the sake of massaging their egos, that’s it, game over.


Baha mar Resort- photo Dawn McCarty/Bloomberg



Beyond the tropical waters, across palm-fringed sands and behind locked gates, looms Baha Mar — the largest and, at $3.5 billion, priciest resort in the Caribbean.

Here, no one frolics pool-side, pina colada in hand, or hits irons on the Jack Nicklaus golf course. No slot machines jingle-jangle in the casino. The Flamingo Bar, the Brasserie des Arts and the Cartier boutique lie dark. On this bright October morning in the Bahamas, all 2,200 guest rooms are empty.

The quiet is almost spooky here on the outskirts of Nassau, where the waterscape frills of nearby Paradise Island give way to the vast ghost-resort that is Baha Mar.

 Just how the place ended up like this — in a bankruptcy so colossal that it’s jeopardizing the Bahamas’s credit rating — is the biggest business story to hit this Caribbean nation for as long as anyone here can remember. It stretches far beyond the white beaches and across time zones, to none other than the State Council of China.

‘Big Boys in the Room’

Turns out that even in paradise, local aspirations can collide with China’s global ambitions. Baha Mar may have been dreamed up in the vacation land of the Bahamas, but the central government in Beijing controls the development bank and construction giant that will determine its fate. And China, some Bahamians say, is playing tough as its state-run enterprises project money and influence around the world, including to this small island 180 miles off the coast of Miami.

“Their attitude is, ‘We’re the big boys in the room, we’ve got the money — so you do what we say,’” says Dionisio D’Aguilar, a prominent businessman and former Baha Mar Ltd. director.

Time is short. Bahamian officials have been counting on Baha Mar to invigorate the tourist economy. The developers claimed the resort could single-handedly generate 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product — provided it ever opens.

Li Ruogu, Brent Symonette, Sarkis Izmirlian

FILE – In this Feb. 21, 2011 file photo, Baha Mar Resorts CEO Sarkis Izmirlian, center, stands between Export-Import Bank of China President Li Ruogu, left, and Bahama’s Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette during the groundbreaking ceremony for a Baha Mar resort in Nassau, Bahamas. In 2015, a Bahamas judge ruled that a U.S. bankruptcy filing by the developer of its unfinished mega resort will not be recognized in the archipelago, meaning the developer won’t get a new loan to pay for daily operations. The resort was billed as the largest project of its kind in the Caribbean. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen, File)

Understanding the island’s predicament requires going back more than a decade to 2005 when Prime Minister Perry Christie reached an agreement with a local businessman named Sarkis Izmirlian to help revitalize Cable Beach, the most popular beachfront destination on New Providence Island.

Izmirlian, then just 32, seemed a natural choice. He’s from a wealthy family — his father is Armenian peanut tycoon Dikran Izmirlian — and lives on nearby Lyford Cay, a billionaire enclave. Izmirlian sank nearly $900 million into Baha Mar and recruited marquee-name partners like a Caesars Resort hotel.

Then the 2008 financial crisis hit, and would-be partners balked. When China State Construction Engineering Corp., the world’s second-largest contractor, approached Izmirlian about stepping in, he said yes. The company directed him to Export-Import Bank of China, or Exim, which promotes trade and investment under the direction of Beijing.

Seeing a way into U.S. markets, China State Construction promptly invested $150 million. Exim kicked in $2.45 billion in construction loans — with the proviso that Izmirlian could never fire the Chinese builder, no matter what, and that workers from China would do the job. Flush with Chinese money, Izmirlian declared four Baha Mar hotels would open by 2014.

All this was documented in court filings, and supported by interviews with Christie and other Bahamians. The Chinese and Izmirlian declined interview requests.

Endless haggling complicated by language barriers ensued — about payments, invoices, workmanship, on and on. Deadlines were set and promptly broken. Emails flew back and forth to Beijing.

Burst Pipes

In May 2014, Izmirlian appealed to an independent mediation service based in Washington, D.C., but the troubles multiplied. Pipes burst when inspectors tested the fire sprinklers and faulty balcony railings had to be reinforced, people with knowledge of the construction said. When Izmirlian complained, China delayed its money, one said.

As construction dragged on, Izmirlian and Christie flew to Beijing. There, officials assured them the resort would be ready to open on March 27. Upon his return, the developer hired 2,070 hotel workers, ran a global ad campaign and stocked the casino with $4.5 million in cash.

For Izmirlian the affair was becoming the ultimate contractor nightmare. He was spending an additional $4 million a month to pay staff for a hotel with no guests. Concerned that China State Construction might gain a tactical advantage by filing first, he secretly planned to have Baha Mar declare bankruptcy in the U.S. rather than the Bahamas, whose laws would make liquidation all but inevitable.


He didn’t even alert the prime minister for fear he would tip off the Chinese, says D’Aguilar, the former resort director.

Baha Mar Ltd. filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on June 29 — and all hell broke loose. China State Construction accused Izmirlian of disrupting the project with endless design changes.

“Baha Mar Ltd.’s decision to file for bankruptcy is the direct result of its failure to secure adequate financing and its mismanagement,” the Chinese company told the court.

Christie’s foreign minister, Fred Mitchell, spoke out in an August speech celebrating the end of slavery on the island, saying “the attempt to keep us bondsmen and slaves does not and has not stopped.”

At the Emancipation Day Service, Mitchell continued, saying: “It is therefore no surprise then that an investor — because he has the word billionaire behind his name — would think, would have the temerity to believe, that he can challenge the leader of our country.”

As the dispute dragged into September, a Delaware judge dismissed the U.S. bankruptcy and a Bahamian judge put provisional liquidators in charge, rendering Izmirlian’s $900 million investment nearly worthless. In October, they hosted negotiations at a nearby hotel. It was a bizarre scene, with Bahamian dancers gyrating in hot pants in the lobby as Chinese men in black suits hunched over laptops.

Still Negotiating

In November, Izmirlian said he was still negotiating with Exim and hoped to remain involved. Failing that, he’s also sued in the U.K., claiming about $192 million in damages for a breach of contract, a figure that could grow as another winter tourist season passes with the resort still in limbo.

How it’ll end is anyone’s guess. Fernando Menendez, a senior fellow at Washington think tank Center for a Secure Free Society, says the episode says less about the Bahamas or Izmirlian than it does about China and its state-owned enterprises.

China Exim wielded billions to guarantee work for one of its biggest customers, China State Construction. How and when that work got done didn’t really matter: Exim made sure the state-run company could never be fired.

“State-owned enterprises don’t function as competitive entities,” Menendez says. “They’re protected from failure.”


Christie says he’s still optimistic the resort can open. In December, Exim said a number of potential investors had expressed interest. These include Guo Guangchang, chairman of a non-state Chinese conglomerate called Fosun Group, people familiar with the situation say. Fosun already owns stakes in Club Mediterranee SA and Cirque Du Soleil Group.

Back in Nassau, people worry that even with new investors, the promised economic boost will take time. It could be 2018 before Baha Mar makes a meaningful contribution to the economy, according to Standard & Poor’s, which lowered its Bahamas rating to BBB- and warned it could be heading for junk.

For now, Baha Mar faces mold and corrosion as it bakes in the tropical heat. Its pink and cream towers are ringed by a chain-link fence and blue tarps cover unused supplies. At night, lights pop on in several rooms — a move the Bahamians hope will ward of the desolate air of this Caribbean ghost.

(The following was taken form Bloomberg Business website . It was written by johnmlippert   and BcyDawn . Please visit the website for more business news. )