Dida gets hired to the CDF board, unbeknownst to himself

This article was written for Mashada.com for more click here

Mohammed Abduba Dida, former presidential candidate in the just passed elections, has been appointed chairman of the Constituency Development Fund Board. Dida was appointed to the board on the 9th of September 2013, but he wasn’t formally contacted about it. He saw it in the papers like every other Kenyan.

According to the daily nation, dated the 8th of January 2014, when Dida was contacted about this issue he said he wasn’t convinced this was actually true, he said he would have been more comfortable with his appointment and about speaking on it once he was formally contacted.

His appointment to the board is against procedure and many of the MPS involved are disgruntled seeing Dida as unfit for the post and his appointment a setback for the constituencies because the urgent decisions that need to be made about the already late disembursements of funds cannot be made until he settles in.

Dida was appointed to this post by the president, Uhuru Kenyatta himself, in the place of Mrs. Jennifer Nafula Barasa .However according to the CDF Act, the president doesn’t wield the power to hire into this position, only the Cabinet secretary for planning and devolution does.

The Didactic man, Dida, ran for office in the 2013 elections in Kenya, he is mostly remembered for his humorous accolades and jaw dropping questions which left many Kenyans and the other presidential candidates shocked.

Quotes Dida 2013

  • If your football team fails to score, you can’t just change their kit and expect to score.
  • Don’t eat too much Githeri, leave room for water and air.
  • 20 years ago teachers were very important but today every child has a lawyer
  • We don’t dwell on the weaknesses of each one of us…I am not asking you to vote for me, vote for the best.
  • We are exporting tea and coffee while importing condoms.
  • Dida on gay marriage: When a man is busy with another man, what will my daughter do?
  • “Kenyatta Avenue should be an open hawkers market from 8pm to 11pm at a fee of 20/= per night,” Dida during a COTU presidential debate.
  • We spend alot to seek treatment of cancer abroad yet the answer is in camel milk and urine
  • The immediate job creation is asking all politicians to pay 10,000 to have posters cleaned up after elections.,Dida reacting to questions on how he will create jobs.
  • Let us reduce diseases by eating healthy foods. Eat white meat instead of red meat.
  • If you want to be healthy, eat when you are hungry! – preventive medicine
  • Dida on abortion: I don’t like wrestling with God. If God wants life, let it be. God has a way of balancing life. Some are born, others die,during a debate by Christians.
  • Kenya has much potential. A university student told me Arts and Design alone can create 70,000 jobs
  • Unemployment fetsers from poor governance and corruption.
  • You know you wont win if you’re standing behind a weird podium
  • Uhuru is sure migingo is in kenya because he has the title deed

The Media Bills Kenya

These are dark days for Kenya; just as we celebrate 50 years of independence our freedom is once again threatened. Democracy’s demise looms and draconian dictators are trying to get their tenterhooks in our hard-earned freedoms. Here we are, right at the turning point, socially economically and politically, just about to open ourselves up to be worthy as a global competitor and then the vices that come with power and greed strike again.

Background

It all begins with politicians trying to abuse their power. First they tried to increase their salaries, going against the salary and remuneration commission by setting up their own commission to regulate this. Here they were, directly after their campaign promises trying to get more from a struggling country. Protests ensued and the media went to town. Caricatures of greedy politicians and articles pointing out these discrepancies splashed! They even got a new nickname “MPigs”. During this time every story involving corrupt politicians was highlighted especially the racy ones… The deputy president used a plane to take him around African states, the MP’s were seen in Amsterdam finishing their per Diem on ‘ladies of the night’ and the next day it was headline news. This riled up the politicians to no end.

Then Westgate happened. This was very serious, however, there was misinformation from the Government and the real story wasn’t told. The media got their hands on the story and in the name of public interest released the story as it unfolded. The discrepancies and the lies were plain to see and the government was now in the hot seat again. The public started asking questions. What are the implications of this? How safe is our country? How big is the cover up? How corrupt is our army? These were some of the questions asked. What became apparent however was the role the media plays in educating and informing the public s. This was a threat to the politicians and as the Westgate saga unfolded and more unfortunate truths were brought to light our leaders became more and more uncomfortable.

The solution to the problem?

Well according to the politicians the solution was to pass a draconian law that curtailed free speech. They passed a bill proposing to fine media houses and journalists individually if they wrote stories that didn’t adhere to the new code of conduct that would be dictated by the new commission which would be run by the Government, It could also “make any supplementary or subsidiary orders or directions that it may consider necessary”… Confusing? Well, what that basically means is instead of the independent commission set up by the Media Council of Kenya, the government would set up a Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal to address media complaints which would decide which stories were illegal and then fine the journalists and media houses accordingly. The government would control the media. As (Oluoch) points out “This would appear to fly in the face of Article 5 of the Constitution, which empowers parliament to enact legislation that provides for the establishment of a body that will be “independent of control by government, political interests or commercial interests; reflect the interests of all sections of the society; and set media standards and regulate and monitor compliance with those standards.”
There was an uproar from different media houses.

On November 1st, The Nation published names of the people trying to kill free speech and challenged Uhuru not to assent to these dictatorial laws while exposing the fact that while the debate took place TV coverage was switched off. ‘dark days MP’s pass law to control the media’ In a furious attack on the bill, The Daily Nation newspaper said the bill “puts the country in the same ranks with Zimbabwe, Cuba, Ethiopia and Kuwait” and had set Kenya “firmly on the path of regression into the era of darkness.”
“In one dramatic swoop, parliament has written away the media’s rights,” wrote the paper, a pillar of Kenya’s burgeoning and vibrant independent media.

The Standard pointed out that the new tribunal would limit foreign advertising on local media and that MP’s would vet nominees to the communications authorities ‘democracy under attack’ was their headline.
This all sparked a public outcry and as events unfolded it became clearer and clearer that our system was flawed.

What is the What?

These laws will have far reaching consequences in regards to how the media conducts business and how they handle stories. Development journalism looks at political, economic and social development. Let’s see how these laws will affect the rights of the people and the media. As we look at the implications of these laws, let’s first explore the Universal Declaration of human rights, (UDHR) Article 19 which states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Let’s also look at the ICCPR, Article 19 states:

  1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
  3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
    (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
    (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

The Old Constitution

Section 79 – Protection of freedom of expression:

“(1) Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons) and freedom from interference with his correspondence.”

The New Constitution, Articles 33, 34, 35:

33. (1) Every person has the right to freedom of expression,which includes—
(a)freedom to seek, receive or impart information or ideas;
(b)freedom of artistic creativity; and
(c) academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

(2)The right to freedom of expression does not extend to—
(a)propaganda for war;
(b)incitement to violence;
(c)hate speech; or
(d)advocacy of hatred that—
(i) constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or
incitement to cause harm; or
(ii) is based on any ground of discrimination specified or
contemplated in Article 27 (4).

(3) In the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, every person shall respect the rights and reputation of others.

34. (1) Freedom and independence of electronic, print and all othertypes of media is guaranteed, but does not extend to any expressionspecified in Article 33 (2).
(2)The State shall not—
(a)exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in
broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication
or the dissemination of information by any medium; or

(b) penalise any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination.
(3) Broadcasting and other electronic media have freedom ofestablishment, subject only to licensing procedures that—
(a) are necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal distribution; and
(b) are independent of control by government, political interestsor commercial interests.
(4) All State-owned media shall—
(a) be free to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts or other communications;
(b) be impartial; and (c) afford fair opportunity for the presentation of divergentviews and dissenting opinions. (5) Parliament shall enact legislation that provides for theestablishment of a body, which shall— (a) be independent of control by government, political interestsor commercial interests;
(b) reflect the interests of all sections of the society; and(c) set media standards and regulate and monitor compliance with those standards.

35. (1) Every citizen has the right of access to—
(a) information held by the State; and
(b) information held by another person and required forthe exercise or protection of any right or fundamentalfreedom.
(2) Every person has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.
(3) The State shall publish and publicise any important informationaffecting the nation.

Why did they come up with these draconian laws? Do these laws have a positive or a negative impact? Are these laws realistic? And what could possibly be the motive?

What is The Kenya Information and Communication Bill, 2013 about?

The Government will set up a body, The Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal to handle issues pertaining to media

  • A Journalist found to have violated any information-related law will be liable to pay a fine of over Kshs 1 million with the affected media house paying 20 million shillings.
  • The body has the mandate to adjudicate on complaints by any person in stories carried in the newspapers, the conduct of journalists, and other matters that are likely to hinder the practice of journalism in the country.
  • The tribunal can also “recommend the suspension or deregister the journalist involved.”
  • Under the new law, local media houses will be required to have at least 45 percent of local content in their programming during the day.
  • Media houses will also have 18 months to terminate advertising contracts from foreign firms to meet the prescribed quota.
  • Broadcasters licensed to distribute Radio and TV programme services shall make sure that 45 per cent of programmes and advertisements broadcast on TV and radio on any given day comprise local content

According to an article by (Wanambwisi) “The bill was passed a week after Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo summoned Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei and KTN investigative journalists Mohammed Ali and Allan for questioning over an expose they documented from CCTV footage obtained following the Westgate Shopping mall terror attack that claimed over 70 lives. “This article goes on to describe how “The order was however reversed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who later defended Kimaiyo, saying he was not out to oppress the media.”

The Human Rights Watch (Bekele), in an article dated November 12th, pointed out that ‘The new laws would undermine basic human rights’ he goes on to say “These new laws are an attempt to undermine freedoms of expression and association in Kenya, “Kenya’s leaders should act swiftly to prevent these bills from becoming law and focus on the country’s real challenges, like police reform and accountability.”

Bekele also points out that our involvement in the ICC and the impending doom that these laws propose go hand in hand with our president’s current case at The Hague. He points out that “The laws come as Kenya’s human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations are experiencing increasing hostility, harassment, and threats, particularly individuals and organizations viewed as supportive of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations in Kenya.”

It does seem quite convenient doesn’t it? Especially considering that in the wake of the Westgate attacks our president was seen rallying up signatures from African Union states to avoid his hearings at The Hague. Considering his campaign promises and his vow toward transparency and honesty, our president does seem to have strayed a little off the path prescribed by his manifesto. As one Nation journalist, Mutuma Mathiu writes, “By silencing the media, politicians know they can do whatever they like with impunity. No one will ever know.” describing the Kenyan media as a key source of checks and balances in public life.

Conclusion

As I come to my conclusion, after exploring the different tangents this argument has to offer, I am impressed yet again by (Oluoch), who phrases it perfectly.

The law is being seen as reflective of official thinking within the regime of Uhuru Kenyatta. He brings to the fore that “Of specific concern to the media fraternity is Article 5(b) 2 of the Bill, which says that freedom of the media and freedom of expression may be limited and shall not extend to situations where the media spreads propaganda for war, incites the public to violence or spreads hate speech. The devil here will be in the exact definition of these offences, with fears that interpretation may take on the hue of the government of the day.”

During these tumultuous times even as we celebrate 50 years of independence the tough questions must be asked. We need to ask the questions Kunczic would ask.Is this government allowing the fourth estate its freedoms as defined by law? What about the people and their right to information, isn’t that relevant? If not, how far will the country regress because of this?

As he protests begin today and the media takes the government to court, I cant help but think that we have a long way to go and the freedoms once shown by our pseudo democracy are starting to show for the cracks that they were. We may have shaken off colonialism but the journey, really, has only begun.

The Railway Saga Continues

The Kenya railways in conjunction with the state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) have launched a KSh1.3 trillion project to build the railway line between Kenya and Mombasa. The CRBC has offered to fund the first part of the project, Nairobi to Mombasa to the tune of $5.2 billion. This railway is expected to go all the way to Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. It’s expected to expand our areas of trade and create a lasting trade relationship with all the countries involved.

Mr. Zhang, the spokesperson for the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), parent company of CRBC, says “The railway development will have the following immediate economic benefits: reduce the cost of transportation in the region making it an attractive investment destination and accelerate industrialization through easier and cheaper transport and the establishment of new industries to service the new railway,”
This project fits into the government’s vision 2030 plan and is President Uhuru’s brainchild. “The project will define my legacy as president of Kenya,” Kenyatta says “What we are doing here today will most definitely transform … not only Kenya but the whole eastern African region,”

However this project is marred with discrepancies. Some are calling it the biggest scandal yet with allegations of single sourcing the tender to one particular firm and raising the initial cost so as to line pockets both within the Kenyan govt and their Chinese counterparts. ‘The variations are shaping the railway project into the country’s biggest financial scandal, beating the Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing and Triton frauds.’ The standard, January 3rd 2014.

The agreed initial cost stood at Kshs. 220 billion when the job was tendered in July 2013 to the CRBC, it rose from that to a whopping Kshs. 1.3 trillion in only a few months. Apart from this there are a few other issues surrounding the railway. Our Kenyan Debt ceiling stands currently at Kshs.1.1 trillion or not more than half of our GDP. For this deal to go through the government will have to raise this ceiling and pass a bill to expand the current limit before committing the government to the loan agreement.

The Public Investments Committee (PIC) has been appointed to investigate the tendering process and to check whether there were any anomalies in the process. They promise a thorough investigation of the same and will have their report ready when the house resumes session.

ImageThis article was originally written for Mashada http://baraza.mashada.com/the-railway-saga-continues/

Peter Kenneth for president.

I have often argued that the Kenyan voting system has an inherent flaw. Kenyans don’t vote on what the candidate can do for them but rather on how flamboyant he is, or what tribe he is from, or how much he can pay them during his campaign. This doesn’t bode well for the Kenyans themselves because later there they are complaining about how little he has done for his country.

 

Peter Kenneth is an exception to this rule. Since he was elected in 2002 for member of parliament for Gatanga Constituency,  He has used all his CDF funds appropriately… in fact his constituency has been voted best CDF fund user for the years 2011/2012. Peter Kenneth is now running for president promising to bring change and development in certain sectors, namely, National security, food security and employment infrastructure, health care, education, tourism, slum upgrade, water, agriculture, diaspora, environment and manufacturing.Isn’t that what we are supposed to be focusing on? Aren’t we supposed to be looking at our political leaders critically, looking at how they have used funds in the past and deciding whether we want them to run our country?

 

According to the source credibility theory, the two elements most commonly identified are perceived expertise, and trustworthiness of the source. This research also indicates that the ability to internalize the message is influenced by the potential impact the message has upon the receiver. So shouldn’t that mean that we should be looking for a presidential candidate that has a past record of financial stability. Also shouldn’t we be focusing on what type of change and how much development he has already achieved for his constituents to then decide on whether he is viable for this seat?

 

On his website, Peter Kenneth reiterates his stance on the issues allowing people to debate the issues interactively. He enjoys feedback and was in fact one of the first Presidential candidates to allow for an interactive, debate filled website. He is taking initiative and allowing for transparency even before he’s been elected.

 

 It’s a lot of responsibility to be a president and I don’t feel that we as Kenyans take this seriously. If we did we wouldn’t even condone the thought of having people running that were indicted for crimes against humanity before the ICC. After all to indict them they had to have some proof. Are these the people we want in positions of power, where exactly are they going to take our country? Do we really want these Mafioso type gangsters controlling our money? Isn’t this a clear indication that they can get away Scott free with murder, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

 

 It could be said that Peter Kenneth can use this as an argument against Ruto and Uhuru but he hasn’t in fact, because of his moral standing, he has chosen to focus more on reminding Kenyans what he wants to do for Kenya. “Look at all of us and dismiss the noise makers. Let us look for a leader who will serve the entire country. So all I ever want is to work for you. That is all,” said Kenneth while on a campaign train in Tharaka Nithi. “I do not want to be anybody’s running mate. I want to work for Kenyans,” said Kenneth. His policies are far reaching and if implemented can help bring a lot of change in Kenya.

 

Kenyans however, aren’t rooting for Peter Kenneth. Despite the fact that he has proven himself responsible, trustworthy and a viable potential president they still have their doubts. Their doubts are unfounded however. I have heard things like, ‘he is too well spoken’, ‘too educated’, ‘too young’, nothing that carries weight making me wonder if what we want is a gangster president indicted for war crimes who also stole all our land and plundered all his constituents money but is Kikuyu and can speak Kikuyu… is that what defines a good leader.

 

I am convinced that Peter Kenneth is our future. He will help us deal with our issues while developing the private sector and dealing with our corrupt police force. He has also proved that he can allocate funds wisely so we can be guaranteed that our money will be well spent. Let’s start making educated choices. Let’s start with Peter Kenneth for President.

 

 This was written for an assignment at USIU

 

Idiot

Did you know that there is an actual animal called an IDIOT?

#DEAD!

According to wiki answers its,  a spiny animal like the Hedgehog and Echidna It is indigenous to semiarid regions of West Africa.

The rise and fall of the Roman Empire

It’s always important to understand what came before so as to understand what came to be… A particular scholar even coined the phrase ‘you have to know your history to know where you’re going. In the case of Rome, in this instance, their predecessors have a lot to do with their being; in fact their predecessors built Rome (the city). The Etruscans were a people who lived in the Italian Peninsula before Rome flourished their origin is said to be somewhere in the Asian Minor. Their rule is said to have begun somewhere in the first millennium when they imposed it on the Iron Age natives they are known for pottery and bronze and for their beautiful tombs, under their rule Rome flourished! Of course this was a few centuries later around 509bc and around this time the roman kings overthrew them and incorporated their cities into theirs. Thus begins the Roman Empire.

The Romans had two types of people in their ‘caste system’ so to speak; the plebeians and the patricians. The Patricians were the wealthier upper-class citizens while the plebeians were the poorer lower class. These two were the basic make-up of the Roman Empire. Rome was ruled mostly by patricians and its overall influences seem to have been art and intellect therefore suggesting freedom of spirit.

The Greek and the romans seem to have nothing in common their paths and the way they were ruled and even their forms of social expression being very different and yet their paths seem intertwined. ‘The Romans have an image in history very different from that of the creative, liberty-loving, self-destructive Greeks who preceded them…’ (A. Esler 2004) Roman women it seems had more freedom than Greek women, being able to attend public gatherings alongside the men and being able to work in public places as well while the Greek women did not have such freedom.

The Romans as described by my textbook were ‘reluctant imperialists’ However just counting the wars that came after I deduceD that they could have also been described as victorious anarchists. There was; Italy, Carthage, Macedon, Greece, Western Persia, and Ptolemaic Egypt surely they defeated every strong nation there was! Apparently though defeating other nations was easier than dissipating the civil unrest within their ever expanding borders… these wars and the loot they pillaged during them allowed for the purchase of excessive land, slaves and the luxuries of the Greek and Asiatic people. Corruption was the norm because the rich it seemed didn’t pay taxes while the poor did… This caused dissent amongst the ranks of the poor who were expected to suffer in silence. The ensuing bitterness saw the poor rising up to claim their dues.

The rest of this time is marked with uprisings and change. Julius Caesar, came, saw and conquered, seeing it into its prime. He seems to have been the man for the people lowering taxation, allowing citizenship to people from conquered lands, made a program for public works, passed laws to provide for the landless, reorganized the administration in place to stop corruption as well as many more things that worked for Italy. Of course this caused dissention in the ranks yet again however this time it was with the rich. This probably was the reason he was stabbed to death by a group of conspirators lead by his own lieutenants.

All hell broke loose is probably the best way to describe the next ten years stopped finally by August Caesar also known as Octavia.  August Cease’s reign begins with him and his allies forcing the senate to grant them the power to restore the state. He is known not only for his military strength but also and most importantly because he restored peace. He didn’t just restore peace he created it seems a peace that maintained itself and lasted for 200 years something not only his predecessors but others from different empires would have found it very difficult to do. The Roman maxim under which he ruled ‘let justice be done though the heavens fall’ seems to have been his gift to the roman people.

After him enters the crisis of the third century which sees many rulers and a lot of confusion. None of them living up to or long enough to establish anything of note and after this, the decline and fall of the Roman empire which is baffling at best. How could an empire so strong fall? Was it confusion? Population decline?  Anarchy?  Strife?  Weakness from within? History suggests that empires built on what Rome was built on don’t just fall and yet it did… how? Historians have no conclusion. This empire, beautiful in its art forms majestic in its imperialism, strong in its culture just dissipated leaving behind a wealth of political history to learn from.

The above was written for a World Civilizations Class, USIU

Racism and its effects on my culture

Racism has evolved with time and like religion it takes on different forms. It has sects that range from fundamental to existential that have names like “modern racism”, “economic racism” and just like religion it has its extremes. One of the main things that stand out in regards to this issue is the hatred caused by the division created in the aftermath. “Racism is the belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race. It denies the basic equality of human kinds and correlates ability with physical composition.” Racism goes hand and hand with prejudice and stereotyping.

The key to most things is usually understanding but seeing as racism is both conscious and subconscious it is almost impossible to understand it and therefore that much harder to stop it. It, being based on prejudice and stereotyping, becomes irrational. Racism is often the caused by deep rooted prejudices that people don’t even realize they have. This paper will focus and explore on racism and how different cultures experience it to try and better understand the underlying cause of it.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states ‘Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,’ It goes on further and states ‘Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,’ it’s very important to note the role the UN plays in the grand scheme of things when it comes to race and ethnicity. The UN unlike governments is governed by an unshakable code of conduct emphasized within this declaration amongst others. Universal equality is their aim and again unlike governments they have bodies to monitor and audit them based on set rules. This is not to say that they are perfect but Governments are fickle seeing as most politicians and leaders thrive for power. This makes them biased; greed corruption and a myriad of other factors make governments susceptible to racist slurs. A good example of that is Post election violence here in Kenya which emanated from corrupt politicians dividing the masses for personal gain and then creating a stereotype based on previous prejudice. They didn’t realize how big the thing they were perpetuating was and it soon went out of control.

Racism and its effects on different cultures

Racism in America

The age old story continues. It’s the black man again crying about his woes and blaming them on slavery but can he and should he play this role anymore? Definitely not. This black man in America now is free. He is not oppressed it seems that he is now just getting comfortable with the idea that being oppressed is now becoming profitable with all these new laws on freedom of speech and the like. African Americans play this card everywhere at Home at work and it’s just not valid anymore. Clayton and Tangri believe the reason there is a pattern of underestimating Black candidates is due to the fact that if an evaluator expects a weak performance but sees a strong one, the strong performance is attributed to luck or effort, which can change. Strong performances based on ability can be repeated (the explanation used in this theory by White evaluators for White candidates). This shows how affirmative action’s efforts that focus on process rather than outcome may be ineffective. There are too many chances for evaluator bias to be manifested. (Tatum, 1997)

The evidence strongly suggests that segregation continues because of continuing racial discrimination in the banking industries and in real estate, the continuation of white prejudice against black neighbors and discriminatory public policies. Black ghettoes continue to contain a disproportionate number of the nation’s poor, creating an extremely disadvantaged environment that only Black people face. The quality of life in White neighborhoods has not changed very much over the years, but poor Black neighborhoods have negatively changed greatly. In many metropolitan areas, three-quarters of Black Americans are highly segregated. Intense segregation causes a concentration of poverty 27 percent worse than would occur under complete integration. White Americans may endorse open housing in principle, yet they are reluctant to live in neighborhoods with high numbers of Blacks. The main issue is how race and class interact to create walls to Black socioeconomic progress that are intense, severe and durable. (Massey & Fischer, 1998) Racism in this case has created an extremely detrimental effect on Black Americans.

 

Racism in Australia

Australia has also had a very racist past in which apartheid has been practiced and where indigenous Aboriginal people have lost almost all their land and suffered many prejudices. In the past, the notorious policy that led to the Stolen Generation was practiced. This was the institutionalized attempt to prevent Aboriginal children (and thus future generations) from being socialized into Aboriginal culture. (This also occurred in various parts of the Americas too.)

The original inhabitants, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people, were dispossessed of their land and were discriminated against by the first British and European settlers. For some Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, the process of colonization has been perceived as invasion. Racial discrimination has continued to influence the lives of Indigenous Australians in the two centuries following white settlement.

The migration of peoples from all parts of the world led to the increased cultural and linguistic diversity of the Australian population. Prejudice and discrimination have been directed towards many groups who arrived in Australia, in particular towards groups from language backgrounds other than English, despite the fact that many government migration schemes invited people to settle in Australia.

Until recent years, racist policies and practices were also embedded within Australian laws and institutions. The most telling examples of these were the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and the denial of full citizenship rights to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. Similarly, the White Australia policy aimed to restrict immigration by people from non-European backgrounds. Historically, rises in unemployment have often led to calls for immigration restrictions and in some cases led to the scapegoating of people who were seen to be different to members of the dominant culture. While legislation now exists to protect the rights of all citizens, there is a continuing legacy today from the effects of these racist practices

 

 

 

Racism in Europe

Greece has one of the worst records in the European Union for racism against ethnic minorities, according to the BBC. Anti-immigrant sentiment has long been high, especially against ethnic Albanians, who form the largest minority. Until the 1990s, the BBC notes, Greece had been an extremely homogenous society. With the fall of communism many immigrants from Eastern Europe came to Greece. Albanians especially have been targeted by a lot of racist sentiment. Some hostage taking by a few Albanians in recent years has not helped the situation.

Into 2010 and problems of racism in Italy continue. For example, a wave of violence against African farm workers in southern Italy left some 70 people injured. This resulted in police having to evacuate over 300 workers from the region. The workers were easy targets being exploited as fruit pickers living in difficult conditions. They earn “starvation wages” according to a BBC reporter, doing “backbreaking work which Italians do not want” in a labor market controlled by the local mafia. In Italy, there are attempts to try and deal with the rise in undocumented immigrants from Tunisia. It cites Italy for having passed new legislation as part of a security package establishing as a criminal offence “irregular migration”, which would deter irregular migrants from accessing education and medical care for fear of being reported to the police This is especially the case given existing provisions in the criminal code obliging teachers or local authority employees to report all criminal acts to the police or judicial authorities.

At the end of the Spanish Inquisition imposed racial purity” against Jews and Muslims.

Spain and England’s soccer teams confront each other in Spain for the first time since a 2004 match sparked outrage in the UK after Spanish supporters barracked England’s black players with monkey chants and other forms of abuse throughout large portions of the game. Many observers felt this was sparked by racist comments made by the Spanish coach, Luis Aragones, about the French player Thierry Henry who played in England and was well-known amongst the English players as a team-mate or opponent. While Aragones was heavily criticized in Britain, the Spanish soccer authorities failed to take any serious action against him. The Spanish Football Federation was eventually fined 100,000 Swiss Francs ($87,000 at the exchange rate of the time) by FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, and warned about the future conduct of supporters. Aragones was also fined 3,000 euros, a punishment labeled ‘a tokenistic gesture’ by Kick It Out, English soccer’s principal anti-racism organization.

While the matter garnered widespread attention in the UK, it was by no means an isolated incident. As with a number of other European countries, Spanish league games have often been plagued by the racist behavior of fans (the Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o famously ‘danced like a monkey’ after scoring for Barcelona against Real Zaragoza after sections of the Zaragoza support had targeted him with monkey noises). Italy, England and France have also had widespread problems. Some felt it was hypocritical of the British government and media to be so scathing of the Spanish supporters, as their English counterparts have regularly been heard singing disparaging songs about Pakistani and Turkish people

The UK government is criticized for having put behind bars Iraqis who were rejected by Baghdad when flown back to the country, an expression of the “encroaching prison culture” when dealing with irregular migrants. In December, the Royal Colleges of Pediatrics and Child Health, General Practitioners and Psychiatrists issued a joint statement calling for an immediate end to the administrative detention of children under Immigration Act powers on the basis that it was “shameful”, “damaging”, and “permanently harmful to children’s health.

According to the report Racism and Xenophobia in Sweden by the Board of Integration, Muslims are exposed to the most religious harassment in Sweden. Almost 40% of the interviewed said they had witnessed verbal abuse directed at Muslims. The famous Swedish botanic researcher Carl Von-Linné (Carl Linnaeus) was also a pioneer in race-biology field. He divided humans to races and related behavioral patterns and claimed blacks are lazy and slow while Europeans are innovative and smart. Sweden outlawed slavery in 1335. Sweden had trade colonies outside of Sweden where slavery was tolerated but performed mostly by other countries (99.9% of transatlantic slave transports was performed by other countries than Sweden)

Sweden was also the first country in the world to open an institute for race-biology research in the Swedish town of Uppsala. European Network against Racism in Sweden claims that in today’s Sweden there exists a clear ethnic hierarchy when ethnic Swedes are at the top and non-European immigrants are at the bottom.

Sveriges Radio reported that the punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol tended to be harsher for immigrants than for Swedes; while over 50% of immigrants were sent to jail for driving under the effect of alcohol, only less than 30% of ethnic Swedes were sent to jail with the same level of alcohol found in blood. There has been evidence that the Swedish police used “Neger Niggerson” as a nickname for a criminal in police training; this was published in Swedish media. Lately however, many incidents of racial attitudes and discrimination of the Swedish police have led for the first time to the control of racial attitudes of police students under police education. A recent research done by the Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees (TCO) found that people with foreign background have much lower chances of finding a job that is appropriate for their education, even when they have grown up in Sweden and got their education in Swedish institutes.

In 2007, there were a total of 3,536 hate crimes (defined as crimes with an ethnic or religious motive) reported to the police, including 118 cases of anti-Semitic agitation. Racism in Sweden is reported to appear within Swedish health-care services as well.

Swedish social services have reported on racism in Swedish hospitals as well. A study of statistics Sweden (SCB) reveals that segregation is widespread for Swedish immigrants when there are large differences in the fields of education, housing, employment and politics between immigrants and ethnic Swedes. Sweden has been criticized by the UN human rights council for an increasing number of hate crimes which seldom resulted in criminal charges, when more hate crimes are Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic, with an increasing amount of racist propaganda appearing on the internet and in Sweden’s schools, for failing to provide adequate health care and education to immigrants, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants and the ongoing discrimination of the Roma and Sami minorities in Sweden.

Sweden has recently handed over 22 skulls of Hawaiians from the late 19th century in an official ceremony in Hawaii. Those skulls are only the top of an iceberg of thousands of remains from humans from different parts of the world that were found in Swedish museums and institutes. The remains are defined as a “racial inheritance”; however Sweden did not publish how they got into Sweden.

Swedish national television (SVT) has reported on a new research done in Sweden which identifies that job seekers with a Swedish name have 50% higher chances to be called for an interview than job seekers with middle-eastern names. The research enlightens that there is not much difference between foreign-born job seekers and job seekers born in Sweden if both don’t have a Swedish name; this indicates that ethnic discrimination is the main cause of the variations.

Swiss “Confederation Commission against Racism” which is part of the Swiss “Federal Department of Home Affairs” published a 2004 report, Black People in SwitzerlandA Life between Integration and Discrimination (published in German, French, and Italian only). According to this report, discrimination based on skin color in Switzerland is not exceptional, and affects immigrants decades after their immigration. The vast majority of asylum seekers are believed by many Swiss politicians to be economic immigrants rather than genuine asylum seekers. Furthermore, the SVP or Swiss People’s Party has significantly increased its share of the vote in recent years on a perceived “anti-immigrant” platform. It is best known for opposing Swiss membership in international organizations such as the EU and United Nations and for its campaigning against perceived flaws in the immigration, asylum and penal laws.

The economic downturn has led to a rise in discrimination, racism and xenophobia in Europe, particularly in EU countries such as Italy, Slovakia and Hungary, the latest Amnesty International report on human rights shows.

“The marginalization was heightened in 2009 by fears of the economic downturn, and accompanied in many countries by a sharp rise in racism and hate speech in public discourse,” the annual report reads.

 

Kenya: trade and colonialism

Trade down in the coast because of the port has been a sore subject for many Kenyans. Because most of the traders were Arab and slave traders the Kenyans down in the coast felt intimidated and oppressed after the turn of the century. Change begun, Thee missionaries brought in education and people became more aware of their rights. Soon after this Kenyans fought for their independence and finally had freedom but because the Arabs oppressed and intermarried with Kenyans along the coast and with impunity, with freedom came a channel to voice the grievances that had previously been only suffered in silence. Arabs now became the oppressed. the tables turned.

 

Colonialism and the mentality created by it, is the reason that black Kenyans feel oppressed by white people. The only problem is that they are the enablers. It’s because of the deep set mentality that Kenyans have that white people have money and are more educated and should therefore be respected, that they treat them with reverence and unquestioning obedience. Our government does not help either, by borrowing money and setting us even more heavily in debt and creating openings for foreigners and treating them with the utmost respect they help perpetuate the stereotype  that white people have more money so much so that we cannot survive without them. This over dependence on aid can be summed up in a word. Post colonialism.

Kenyans then claim that they are oppressed. This is not true, what is true is that from their childhoods Kenyans are taught to respect and revere people of a certain skin tone, this then, in later years translates to a prejudice. The Kenyan light skinned people are also to blame because of their notoriety and their semi ‘god syndrome’ picked up after years of being treated with reverence they begin to lose respect forgetting that they are not actually better or different and start taking advantage of these enabling Kenyans. It becomes and remains a vicious cycle.

Our Politicians don’t help they feed the masses with ideas and stereotypes loaded with prejudice. Again I refer to post election violence for proof of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racism and its effect on my culture

Being mixed race and of multicultural backgrounds I find this subject extremely depressing. To demean or exalt a person because of race seems to me to be the lowest form of expression, it expresses one’s self-loathing or at least it should because it mirrors ones insecurities. We are all the same inside and we are a wonderful creation. I went with a friend to the hospital to donate blood and I realized, while marveling to myself what a wonderful creation we are, that blood doesn’t know color. The nurse did not ask me where I was from, she didn’t look or treat my blood like it was different, and she took my blood and thanked me. If only people could see past skin to the things that really matter.

Racism is also a very touchy subject for some people, just like America and free speech and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights come into play. Some people argue that talking about supporting racial discrimination and prejudice is just words and that free speech should allow such views to be aired without restriction. Others point out that these words can lead to some very dire and serious consequences (the Nazi government policies being one example).

As described previously racism is the belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race. It denies the basic equality of human kinds and correlates ability with physical composition.. I believe that there are two kinds of racism, reverse racism and racism itself. Reverse racism is described as the act of racism against a majority. It needs to be noted that there are times when racism has worked to my advantage. This however does not make it right. It would be unfair to deny the very important role perception plays in regards to race and color. Being distinctly different is a blessing as much as it is a curse. Humans are prone to egoistical tendencies where they get so used to being treated a certain way that they just expect it and I am no exception. I however have had different experiences that opened my eyes to this fact. Having lived in Kenya, Somalia and in the USA i have been lucky to interact with several different races and noted small peculiarities that made me more accepting and more able to interact with almost anyone in the world save of course for people who speak different languages.

 

In Somalia, race is a touchy subject. Somalis take pride in being different and because it’s a Muslim state they like to claim that they are not African, and instead that they are Arab. This is a cliché because they don’t even speak Arabic and they don’t even like the Arabs. They feel the need however to distance themselves from Africans. As is being African is a bad thing. Somalis are also very prejudiced about religion and although they have incorporated cultural practices into Islam which is a religion that is supposed to be practiced in its original form, they believe their way is right and their version of Islam is therefore the correct one. Again I would like to reiterate the importance of education. The percentage of educated Somalis is very small and is therefore a pressing problem. The UN is trying to address the problem with continued aid and small projects on women empowerment and so on but their cultural practices and religion supersede these and so it turns into a frustrating battle of wits and a balance when found is hard to maintain. Ignorance is rampant in Somalia. Cultural practices like FGM continue regardless of the health risks because Somalis believe it to be culturally correct, and no matter how many times the UN tries to stop or change this it will continue unless a balance is found between culture, education and of course religion.

In Somalia they thought I was Arab because I was lighter than most Somalis and because I had prominent Arab features and this is how I began to notice that they actually did not like Arabs. This type of racism, is described as ‘Arm’s Length’ racism ‘some people engage in friendly positive behaviors toward out-group members in some social settings, but treat those same out-group members with noticeably less warmth and friendliness in other settings’ (Brislin, 2000) is something of a Somali trademark. Somalis in Kenya are friendly and participatory in Somalia however it is apparent that you are an intruder, Unwelcome and different.

Race, religion and gender differences are particularly noteworthy when speaking about Somalia. Men don’t respect women partly because of their corruption of Islam but also because they think that woman are not intelligent. This coined with their deep resentment towards foreigners and their intense suspicion of outsiders makes Somalia a very difficult place to live. Somalis are very nice people once you peel the layers off though. They are very passionate and loving and deeply religious.

 

I felt cheated when I went to the states because I had gotten accustomed to being labeled and teased here in Kenya because I was different however in I thought that  America would be different. It wasn’t it was worse ignorance and America should mean the same thing because Americans can ask the stupidest questions. I was often mistaken for Puerto Rican and Mexican. I remember remarking to one of my friends ‘ Kenyans think I’m white, white people think I’m Puerto Rican, black Americans think I’m Spanish and Puerto Ricans think I’m strange! I don’t fit in anywhere!’ The issue of skin color for me is a sensitive one but mostly because of the false impression and the stereotype created suggesting that lighter skin means more open doors. It does but it also shuts a lot of them and it alienates people and makes them feel unwanted. I don’t like preferential treatment I would instead like to know that I did something and did it well and be judged on merit. These stereotypes alienate people like me and leave us alone always wondering what the reason behind people’s actions actually is. Take for instance a relationship, If a man approached me and asked me to go out on a date with him and I said yes, the first things I would look out for are things like ‘is he showing me off to his friends’ ‘is he listening to what I’m saying or is he distracted’ ‘is he going over the top or is he comfortable’ does he treat me with respect but it’s very hard to actually tell whether he wants me for my intellect and other qualities as opposed to being light skinned and a trophy chick.

Where does it all end?

How do we stop racism? Well I think the answer is in educating people about their cultural differences and their little different ways that are specific to different cultures, interaction is also key understanding why people do or act different is of utmost importance. People need to interact so that they better understand each other, so that the stereotypes, myths and little nuances that ignite their prejudices are out in the open and not alien. By doing this people become more accepting and understanding better able to communicate and interact with each other.

We are quickly become more and more mixed and soon enough race as we know it now won’t be an issue but prejudice will remain. It may take on a different form but it will always be an inherent trait of humanity. This said, we need to stop squabbling over the color of skin and begin to deal with the other problems facing all of us. Like global warming, poverty and the like what will the color of our skin matter if we are all erased from the face of the planet?

 

The above was written for an intercultural communication class at USIU

The History of Radio

Early beginnings                                                                                             

Radio, like any other great invention, has begginings submerged in politics. Nikola Tesla, who invented the basic idea didn’t get recognition for his idea until 1943, 28 years after he first went to court to claim his right as the actual inventor of the radio. Gugliemo Marconi was, until then, known as the ‘inventor of radio’.

Marconi was great in his own right, he saw the potential radio had as a medium and went on to transform it from its basic model into what we have now. From introducing voice over air in 1921 to shortwave in 1922, Marconi however had also been accused of copying other peoples designs and as we can already tell from his aforementioned altercation with Tesla we couldn’t put it past him. Earlier Indian scientist J.C. Bose had demonstrated the radio transmission in 1896 in Calcutta in front of the British Governor General. He had also solved the problem of ‘hertz’ making it easier to penetrate walls mountains or water.

Marconi was present in the meeting of the Royal Society and it is thought that he stole the notebook of Bose that included the drawing of the ‘Mercuri Coherer with a telephone detector’. Marconi’s Coherer, which he used in 1901, was the exact copy of that of Bose. Apparently Marconi was unable to explain how he got to the design. He said that an Italian Navy engineer called Solari had developed it, but Solari later denied it. Marconi then said that Italian Professor Timasina did, which later was exposed as a lie by another Italian professor, Angelo Banti, who claimed that the design was invented by signalman Paolo Castelli.

Marconi its seemed was very self seeking, there was another scientist, Nathan B. Stubblefield, a farmer from Murray, Kentucky, made a voice transmission four years before Marconi transmitted radio signals. Even Bose wasn’t as self seeking as he was! Bose did not apply for a patent on his design because he believed in the free flow of inventions in science! Later though,  under pressure from American friends, he applied for the patent in September 1901. He was awarded the US patent for the invention of the radio in 1904. By that time Marconi had received his patent and international recognition.

Lets go back a little bit shall we? As we trace the history of the radio. Its important to remember that radio was initially created as a form of communication – telegraph messages- which were then called wireless telegraphs. Its also very important considering the subject matter to remember that radio as a form of communication and radio as media is two different things.  Now lets talk about the history of Radio as media.

Radio was the first ‘modern’ media form, and had a huge impact on the history of the 20th century. For the first time information could be broadcast… it could be received by anyone with the right equipment, without wires and the birth of radio really ushered in the era of mass communications. Many people likened the explosion of radio in the 1920s to what is happening with the internet today .

                                      Humorous accolades and fun Trivia

  • 1/4 of media use in a day is to radio; 1 out of 6 minutes spent w/ESPN done through radio.
  • iPod/mp3 players have no impact on time spent listening to radio for 8 in 10 consumers
  • Radio has a higher percent of adults 25-54 using it from 5am-5pm than any other media
  • The News/Talk format captures nearly half of all public radio listening
  • All Sports stations attract a far higher percentage of male listeners (almost 87%) than any other radio format
  • 63% of consumers turn to radio first over internet, television, and newspapers to learn about new music

 

Where we are now

Today, there are more than 33,000 radio stations around the world, with more than 12,000 in the US alone. Worldwide there are more than 2 billion radio sets in use, or about one radio for every 3 persons; proof that video never killed the radio star.

 

The above was written for a journalism class at USIU


Electronic or Print?

When I think of journalism as a whole I think of the wheels of a clock, all winding together to help each other wind together. Like a well oiled machine made from perfectly rounded bolts and screws with everything else fitting into its space with exactness and precision. My machine however allows for innovation. Making space for smaller machines that can still work within the physics of the larger machine. In this way, print, electronic and broadcast Medias work together…. Grinding…Have I lost you already? Well imagine what it would be like trying to explain Facebook to your grandmother let alone a computer! Explaining Facebook to my mother is hard enough she has just gotten over trying to understand what texting is!
Imagine the technological progress we have made as a race in less than a century! Imagine the possibilities the future holds… the big question now is will technology take precedence over the tangible? And if it does, how will that affect us? Will it be a change in the right direction or will we be regressing?
Look around, a lot of us have forgotten how to type, even more of us have forgotten how to spell. Why? Because now, we have computers that do that for us. Once the few of us left figure out how to use an online thesaurus we won’t even try and think up the words we need to describe things ourselves! Whatever happened to good old fashioned journalism where you would sit and write an article and then applaud yourself for the sheer voracity of emotion it elicited? Whatever happened to the love of poetry? Of language? Whatever happened to getting joy out of composing sentences worthy of awards, our love of the spoken word? Whatever happened to us? As Giuseppe Caramazza points out ‘words are a precious form of communicating facts, events, feelings, hopes and sorrows. Words provide paint for the painter.’2
Now we are too lazy to try forgetting that the pioneers that created the computers we are typing on that now guess everything for us spent a lot of sleepless nights, time and effort reading, researching, studying to make it all possible. And now what have they created? A society that’s quickly losing brain cells because of their inventions? Do you think they would have wanted that? But I digress. Let’s go back to the subject matter shall we?

What is Journalism?
We would have to start at the beginning, by defining journalism. According to the dictionary,’ journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or broadcasting news on radio or television.’ 1 but is that it? Is that all?
This is the question here. Where does electronic media fit into it all? As UNESCO notes ‘The newspaper has today become a medium of mass communication, facilitating both the spread of information and the revival of cultures. The independent press is an essential tool in the democratic process, providing both access to, and a plurality of, information sources. ‘Humans are prone to being scared of what they don’t understand. In this case they are scared of what the consequences of accepting embracing and allowing for electronic media to be considered a form of journalistic practice… and they have every right to be. Just because you can write an article doesn’t mean you can be a journalist.
There are ways of preserving and respecting print media and journalistic talent. As Sehgal points out, ‘ with respect to purely formal communication, most electronic journals currently available on the world wide web were launched as electronic versions of existing journals.’
This however doesn’t remove from the fact that journalistic talent should be applauded and acknowledged. The argument however begins where a trained journalist and an untrained blogger lock horns. The trained journalist will always have the upper hand because of his/her training. It’s a no brainer. The untrained journalistic wannabe might have ‘potential’ but so does every newborn baby in our hospitals today but how many of them actually live up to it. They just won’t have the longevity, or the constant creativity a trained journalistic has. To have that ‘edge’ you need that training, it’s just a cold hard fact.

What social changes has electronic media created?
Everything is on the web! Everything. We no longer need phonebooks anymore they have been completely phased out and now they are available online. When I was younger you couldn’t get internet on your phone now you can send messages using Facebook to a radio station. Even CNN has a Facebook page! It’s interesting to note how quickly and completely everything has shifted from ‘hardcopy’ to the ‘world wide web’.

Does that mean we are embracing technology? Are we getting too excited too quickly? Does this mean we are ready? I think it’s too soon to say, like most subjects this delicate if we wait a few years it will probably make or break itself and then nobody can say I speculated and was wrong! Take Caramazza for instance, he said ‘today radio and TV can replace the newspapers or books for many people, these means touch the world in an instant for better or worse. The devastating events of Rwanda 1994 demonstrate this only too well. We have moved into a new culture often without realizing it. We can create ‘Pentecost’ or ‘Babel’ in an instant.’ He is right and then considering how young the internet was back then and adding a little bit of foresight, he is right again. His book, News reporting and broadcasting, was published in 2002.
This is only 10 years later and the internet has overhauled our way of living completely. How many ‘Pentecost’ and ‘Babels’ have they been since? And how many of them have broken on the internet? When Michael Jackson died there was an outcry and the internet shut down for a few seconds. Wait, how many people would it take to shut down the internet? According to CNN, they received 20 million page views in the hour the story broke. Several other websites crashed and then for a few seconds, the net went blank… Funny how those four words can actually make your heart stop now, imagining the sheer voracity of numbers it would take for the net to crash… But for Caramazza that was the television. What can I say; electronic media is all about sheer numbers.
As Barton Points out ‘The argument that entertainment programs on both radio and television exist only as a vehicle to deliver commercial messages to large numbers of potential consumers has been advanced by numerous media critics over the years; it’s hard to argue with such a point.’5. It’s important to note, like Caramazza, his book was published in 1993. Before the internet. I wouldn’t be surprised if the generation that follows mine begins to use ‘before the internet’ as a catch phrase, you know like before Christ…but I digress.
The potential for print media supported by electronic media is great though! Now we not only have social networking sites but we have apps on our phones that allow us to be omnipresent so to speak. if we used electronic media to support print and had all accredited newspapers, magazines and radio stations with both paper and web presence… Oh wait! We do! The question just is, will the camel’s back break?

What is it all about?
That’s the million dollar question. It is all about advertising! That’s what pays the bills. Now once we remember that perhaps we can put it in perspective, naturally that makes the second question, who generates more revenue from advertising? And this again is a no brainer, hint world wide web. Now if the money is anything to go by then, unless something drastic happens (or like I suggested, print media is supported by electronic media) then print media is in trouble. As white notes, ‘any advertisement placed anywhere within a newspaper is, by definition, a onetime impression.’4
Now let’s talk about advertising and the internet. Just imagine the sheer numbers of people on pornsites at one go. Now imagine hosting your advertisement at the top of that page. Can you hear the ka-ching ching? That’s money flowing into your pockets. The internet is the biggest intangible cash cow yet and the problem is, it’s only getting bigger. There are no limits to the internet, there are no limits to the money you can make, there are no limits to the new innovative ways you can think up to make that money. I mean, who would have thought that a social networking site like Facebook could gross over…….. in profits! Not to mention how many doors the internet has opened for humans as far as communication is concerned.

Can print media compare? NO WAY! Not unless it’s both digital and in print. We need to remember that people hardly write anymore, in fact in first world countries people don’t even carry money anymore. You leave your house with your keys your ipad and your credit card. This being said we either need to evolve or revolt but something’s got to give.

I wrote the above for a journalism class at USIU

Psychic universals in my world

It’s important to understand my background to understand what I would consider psychic universals. I’m mixed race, therefore influenced by several cultures.

My mother believed in several religions and practices when I was younger, When I was a child she was a staunch Christian, however when I was about eight she decided Christianity was a farce, a man made religion and decided to practice Yoga instead. She did this for several years until she got that ‘itch’ again and added Buddhism to the Yoga, for that je ne sais quai. Much to my chargin, my teens were spent in Buddhist halls chanting ’namyohorengekyo’ endlessly. Somewhere in the middle of all of this she started growing her dreadlocks and many people thought she was a Rastafarian… I finished school went to the states worked came back and my mother was right where she had started, a saved Christian again. Until the vicious cycle begins again.

During all of this my mother believed, (and still does) that she was psychic. My mother had books on psychology, could read tarot cards, tea leaves, was telepathic as well and was into all sorts of holistic treatment based approaches to life; she also believed in astrology and the meaning of dreams, and swore by The Secret. A lot of this still remains true about my mother apart from the fact that now her favorite self-help book is A New Earth and she somehow isn’t as ‘saved’ anymore.

When I was a child my mother insisted that everything and everyone was connected through some sort of psychic way; that we were telepathic in some way, creating and maintaining order by doing things in waves. This, created balance she insisted. The’ balance’ she meant was a war creating jobs and economic opportunities for another nation thus sustaining it and creating balance for it or, a simpler example, Mother Nature and the idea that everything worked together to create a semblance of order, balance, everything/one needed other things to die or be born to keep the cycle going. Destruction and war were always imminent and a constant undeniably necessary evil.

Needless to say I was advised to find my own way through this religious maze that she seemed lost in.

The one thing I gathered from all of this was distaste for religion and a firm belief in me because believing in everything else seemed like an excuse to depend on something other than oneself. This also made me completely against heresay, self-help books and everything holistic. For a while this was enough and it stuck with me through the years and helped me get through the hard times. Of course like many things my unwavering dedication to me soon needed to be combined with more because of course, life got tough, so I started searching for more… more what? I eventually found my own way. Confused, I decided that my religion should be based on facts, or at least that’s what I thought they were at that time, and I went for the most ritualistic religion of the book; Islam. I’m still Muslim and haven’t wavered since but I have become lazy like most people, because with time one realizes, that religion can be used as a tool and a very powerful one at that and nobody is exempt from this tools’ chips and so I slacked.

Psychic universals are based on the premise of the burden of proof fallacy, in which the argument affirms that nothing has been proved about something and so therefore the conclusion is a definite assertion to that thing. For example, nothing is known about God therefore he is Omnipotent and religion needs you to believe blindly in Him. This example is the most common psychic universal by far. Humanity’s need to believe in a greater being has not only made many a man rich but it has also fuelled many wars created jobs and is by far the most exhilaratingly (for preachers and the rest) cash cow yet!

Now this is where it gets all confusing… If Psychic universals are myths that communities create that have uncanny similarities, and if myths are stories created by cultures to mirror their fears, aspirations, beliefs, goals and so on, and if these communities create these myths to explain the inexplicable, then where is the truth in all of this and how long would it take humanity to unravel themselves from all the myth ritual and archetypes they have created? Better yet is it even possible? Is it even possible to know for oneself how much myth one is shrouded in?

It can be argued that perhaps what people need to do is just stop trying to explain things and start focusing on creating a logical future rather that a myth marred non progressive one. However is this even possible? Considering how myth is interwoven into our cultures, histories and even our very beings is it even possible to see through the huge dust cloud referred to here as myth and be logical? After all, as an example, Logic is only a word, a word used to explain a way of thinking a way of thinking that I think is right but why do I think this is right? Is it possible that my ultra-urban culture has some sort of myth that suggests that logical thinking is key? Like every other phrase, primitive thinking will probably be changed (if it hasn’t already) to something more retro sounding to make it more modern, or postmodern, like for instance logical thinking!

This argument frankly makes my head hurt…

One has to note that, although they may not know why they chose to follow psychic universals, leaders worldwide know that they help them combat crimes. For instance in my religion Sharia law plays a huge role in controlling the community. In an urban society one could argue that capitalism as an urban myth also does the same thing. It seems we are all in agreement about one thing. The people need to be policed, whether it’s by religion or by the idea of freedom, one way or another, the goal, policing the people, has to be realized. People need to be bred with a concept of right and wrong, what is right or wrong however is dictated by the leaders of the communities and the myths that surround them.

That being the case, here is an example of a myth that transcends culture that stands today and has been scientifically proven. Incest in most cultures around the world is frowned upon. Until the early 20th century scientists knew but couldn’t prove that it caused birth defects and sometimes even madness in the children borne from such sexual travesties. It has now been scientifically proven that incest when conceived not only waters down the blood line but produces harmful and often emotionally defective humans or animals. Only just recently there was a feature on one of our local television stations here in Kenya, explaining how the cheetahs in Nakuru national park had had so many incestuous relations that they needed to bring in cheetahs from Tanzania to reinforce their bloodline, save their DNA. Some Cheetahs were presenting with strange symptoms while others had congenital anomalies.

Using this example it is possible to argue that although some of these psychic universals have no explanation they add value to our communities and protect them from things that could possibly have adverse effects on the communities combined longevity.

It has been said that myths are packaged ways to guide our interactions. This being said, some of these myths are created to protect our communities from self-destruction and although we can’t explain how we know that, for instance, incest is wrong we can tell from trial and error that the birth defects, emotional instability and other symptoms are caused by such interactions and therefore we then create myths to protect ourselves.

Like for instance, Global warming can be argued to be our urban myth. It can’t be proven or disproven that we are destroying our planet; however this myth has the qualities present in creation myths…and just myths in general and it is an endless well for prospective investors (that being us, humans, investing in our planet) and it’s also a fantastic cash cow and will remain that way for as long as there’s doubt…

Where does all of this thinking end? Well I am not sure it does… It would be impossible to tell what positive or negative impact psychic universals have on our thoughts because it’s impossible to even tell how many psychic universals exist and how many, we are so submersed in that we can’t even tell that they’re influencing us. This being said perhaps we should just relax after we shall soon be history and someone else’s study.

I wrote the above for USIU as an assignment on psychic universals