Uncategorized

Priorities and the human purpose

The human experience is something that is in some aspects, different for everyone and this experience is fundamental in shaping the kinds of people that we are (personality-wise, in terms of attitude, ideas, beliefs, socio-economic status etc). So, to understand the unique human experience of each person, communication is needed. It is better to ask questions and learn than rush to pass judgement.

I believe that trying to tap into the human experience of individual persons is something that is very important in dealing with issues of social injustice. In many cases, social justice issues are left unattended to because those who have the power (the elite, politicians etc) to address the issues are making judgements from a ‘throne’ that seemingly blinds their judgement. Privilege of any kind can blind one’s judgement.

For example, there are people who believe that poverty is a choice and so, for someone to be poor, he or she is just lazy. This kind of idea is problematic because it is sometimes woven from the position of privilege and one is blinded to the fact that people fall on bad times and in some cases, there could be systemic barriers to someone’s ability to succeed in a society. Or when people write – “Black Lives Matter” to show their solidarity with African Americans against the constant unjustified killing of Blacks, there are others who surface and say: well, “All Lives Matter”. The latter are totally straying away from the point. It is disrespectful. People do this from a point of privilege, probably never having faced the challenges of being a Black person in America and the fact that you can easily be killed by those who are supposed to protect you, because of the colour of your skin.

These are just a few examples of how a lack of willingness to communicate and understand the other person’s perspective, affects the way people see social justice issues. It is important that when you see people struggling or suffering in your society, you try to learn about their circumstance and perhaps in that way, you may derive a solution. The truth is that no one problem is limited to one person or one society. In trying to solve a problem that you saw in one household, you are probably setting the pace for that problem to be solved in many households in that society.

Communication is key.

Peace & Love,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Lessons from Zimbabwe’s Ruvimbo Tsopodzi & Loveness Mudzuru

Thanks to the bravery of two teenage girls, child-marriage has now been banned in Zimbabwe. Why this is not making headlines everywhere, I do not know but I am very glad to have come across the good news in an article published by Upworthy.

Two teenage girls, Ruvimbo Tsopodzi and Loveness Mudzuru who were married already at age 16, took the government of Zimbabwe to the country’s Constitutional Court to challenge this norm of child-marriage. They were victorious and it is now illegal for anyone below the age of 18 to be married in Zimbabwe. Talk about girl power! This story on the victory of Ruvimbo and Loveness was a major highlight of my week and there are lessons that we can take from these courageous girls, who are still in their teens, according to the story published by Upworthy.

The first lesson is to conquer the fear. In a lot of societies, organizations and institutions, fear is a major factor. People are unable to speak up against the so-called powerful. Sometimes you are afraid of being the first to challenge the status quo. But think of it this way: If I don’t, then who will and even if someone will, when? Loveness and Ruvimbo challenged the status quo. They took a whole government to court. It is like David against Goliath. But the girls stood in their bravery, their passion and their truth, and won.

With the story of these girls, this Twitter fan (me) can’t help but think – hashtag Girl Power (#Girlpower). In almost every society, women are a minority group, we are victimized, we are marginalized and we are often left to defend ourselves. But somehow, we always manage to break the glass ceiling, we always dismantle the barriers, somehow we always surface. That “somehow” is that girl power or woman power that we possess. Girls are STRONG and it is inspiring to see how much we are soaring, around the world like Ruvimbo and Loveness.

Lastly, never forget that in society, we do not owe the state a submission of our human rights. The state is meant to protect its citizens from violations of human rights and physical attack, and ensure that the citizens are given opportunity to succeed. However, if the state fails to protect you, it is your right to peacefully demand for an acknowledgement of your rights. This is exactly what Loveness and Ruvimbo did, by taking the government of Zimbabwe to court. I celebrate these girls because they have paved the way for liberty for so many girls in their country, in the continent of Africa and girls all over the world.

Love & peace,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Random acts can be revolutionary

Fela

Photo: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

Random acts of kindness are probably something everyone can relate to. At one time or on several occasions, a stranger gave you a helping hand and this brought you huge surprise yet great joy. It is true that on some occasions you may welcome the random gesture but on other occasions, you may shun it because it seems kind of ‘awkward’.

These ‘awkward’ people if we shed a light on them can be admired for something that is truly special – their boldness, their ability to step of their comfort zone to approach you to offer help or to say a kind word to you. It is in the same way, through random acts that people come out randomly, unexpectedly to spark positive social change. Whether or not they are seen or judged as being deviant is the least of their worries. It is so fascinating and admirable how a small group of people can create a new social structure of peace and fairness in a society that is marred by dictatorship, fear and injustice. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is definitely someone among many examples that rings a bell. His fearless and consistent struggle for social justice in Nigeria at times when Nigerians were gripped with fear to speak up against unjust governance was deviant, different and random. And that is why till today, nearly 19 years after his death, Fela is still loved and appreciated in Nigeria and around the world.

One day in Ottawa, I was walking to the grocery store and I saw a little group of teenagers speaking to some people who I presume were homeless and offering them snacks. That was a random act  that touched me. It was a random act that for me, emphasized how a society can be united in love if we stopped the stigma and leaned a little bit more to help the less privileged.

Last week Monday, January 18 was Martin Luther King, Jr Day. MLK was another person who stepped out of the box whatever it could have been at that time – probably a box of fear, pain and suffering. He did not comply with any man-made rule on how African-Americans should be treated. MLK did not abide by the norm, he struggled and defended the inherent right of every human being (INCLUDING African-Americans) to freedom.

Random acts can be powerful, they can be revolutionary. Don’t be quick to shun them because it’s random, seemingly awkward, out of the box acts that have led certain people to make huge positive impacts in their society.

Love & peace,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Black bodies, black spaces

The recent verdict by an Ohio grand jury on the killing of 12-year old Tamir Rice is yet another indication that the rule of law is not very often upheld in courts in the United States. Tamir Rice is not the first unarmed black teenager to be shot in America and my fear everytime a black person is killed senselessly by cops is – Will this really be the last time?

There have been way too many Twitter hashtags acknowledging the deaths of African-American mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, fathers, sons, brothers and children. Way too many and there needs to be no more. The horror has to stop. This is part of what all those hashtags have been about. It is time for some waking up. Justice and equality is long overdue. Why should people even have to struggle for their inherent human right to equality, fairness and justice.

It is true that America occupies an infamous presence in conversations surrounding racial injustice (even in Hollywood movies, ever notice how the Black characters very often tend to die first?), however, the latter exists in Western nations around the world. A friend told me of another friend of hers who had mentioned that he has been stopped several times by police in Canada. As she was telling me that story, she paused and added – that’s probably because he is black and that is not good. Desmond Cole’s story on  the racial profiling that he has experienced in the hands of police officers in Canada, gained so much attention last year. Oh and let me not forget the condescending language and attitudes that sometimes surface from inhabitants of Western nations, at the mention of the word ‘Africa’ or any country in that continent.

There is a need for de-cleansing of minds, there is a need to face head-on and overcome, the stronghold of white supremacist thinking. I write “face head-on” because people say and do things without even realizing how racist what they just said or did is. Also, there seems to be that idea that because of how far Western nations have come in terms of formally recognizing the existence of different races, we should thus use sparingly the word – racist, in this 21st century. However, concealing issues doesn’t solve them.

From slavery and colonization till present day, there still seems to be something about black people and black spaces (eg. African countries) that spurs white supremacy into action and any kind of action from that sort of ideology of supremacy can hardly be good. We have seen white supremacy among police officers, civilians and in courts of law lead not only to embarrassment and injustice but also to untimely, painful and unwarranted deaths.

Racial injustice against blacks is pretty much a global problem. I do hope this article is a wake up call for those who need it. Enough is enough.

Love & peace,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

Standard
Uncategorized

2600 views in 2015. THANK YOU!!

Fireworks

Photo from: http://flinttown.com/event/4th-of-july-fireworks-friday-july-3rd/

Happy New Year everyone!!! I am really grateful to have you all as readers of this blog – Blurred Creations and I hope that 2016 brings you an abundance of joy, success and peace! I would like to inform you of the amount of attention this blog got in the year 2015. I received an Annual Report on the blog from the people at WordPress.com and the contents of the report are pleasing to my heart. Blurred Creations garnered 2600 views from 53 countries in the year 2015. The majority of these views came from Canada with the United States and Nigeria “not far behind”.

I am very committed to doing my part to raise awareness on attitudes and issues that rid our world of justice, equality and peace, so it means a lot to me that there are people like you all who can connect with the content of my posts and who certainly share my desire for a better world. THANK YOU for reading. Let’s make 2016 rock too! If you haven’t subscribed yet and would like to, please CLICK HERE.
Love & peace,
Chiamaka
Standard
Uncategorized

Asserting, surviving and thriving

Assertiveness. This is one of the main attitudes amongst others that takes us from wishing and wanting for something to actually working towards obtaining that thing. Assertiveness takes us to the point of action. Something that can be observed from the works and stories of some of the greatest pioneers of social change in our world is that spirit of assertiveness. For these people, we can see that desire to strive for change regardless of threat, regardless of their financial or racial class in the society and so on.

The world is filled with many ethical issues and an abundance of violence. So, neither is it wrong nor beyond human nature to feel hopeless but do not drown in doubt. Take a stand on the kind of person you want to be in order to help make the world at least a little less harsh. Be assertive about the kind of change you wish to see in the world and work towards it. Remember that after all, it is our conscious or unconscious assertiveness to survive that keeps us standing in spite of life’s occasional heavy blows – in spite of pain, disappointment, rejection etc. That assertiveness to survive takes us from not just surviving  but also to thriving. So imagine how asserting to be part of creating a better world can make a positive difference because assertiveness leads to action. Our world thrives in different aspects because of people who did not ignore injustice but promoted love, peace, justice, fairness and equality.

It is not enough to just complain about injustice and war in our world. It is important that you be assertive on what you can do – in your school, at your place of worship, in your family etc – to promote social justice. Be assertive to be a part of creating a better society. Being assertive is hard, in general because we tend to lose focus, we tend to get discouraged. I often fail at this thing so a few months ago, I decided that I must have assertiveness as a mindset. I wanted to just be assertive with regard to my passions and desires, and fixing my mindset towards assertiveness has definitely made me bolder, more in control of the kinds of people I surround myself with and before I go way off track … it has made me more accepting of my passion for advocating for human rights in this beautiful but truly heartbreaking world.

On that note, I would like to hear from you in the comment section. In what way(s) are you working towards achieving social justice for your society/the world and how would you go about being assertive about this? Please share:)

I wish you and yours the best of this Christmas season and a Happy New Year!!

Love,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

 

Standard
Uncategorized

My Two Cents on Change and Human Rights for Nigeria

What does bringing change in the governance system of Nigeria mean if it does not include enforcing human rights? Simply nothing. Nigeria, as is the case of many developing countries, has been a hub of many human rights violations that often go under the bus. Jungle justice happens on the streets, speculations fly around of how much political leaders have squandered – just speculation, no sight or news of an official investigation) and 20 years after the unjust execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, an artwork to commemorate the anniversary of his death was seized by customs officials.

As someone who ran a campaign centred around “Change”, human rights recognition and respect must be at the top level of the agenda for President Buhari. For Nigeria, I do not see how development can really be attained when we have laws but they do not necessarily govern. For the poor in Nigeria, human rights violation is all too common for them. Their homes are the ones that get demolished when there is a so-called building/housing development agenda (see this). They are the ones that get mobbed and killed on the streets because of an allegation that a banana was stolen. Yet, there are many politicians who have not been able to give account to Nigerians on how they used the public purse but walk freely and are celebrated. Human rights is for everyone but in Nigeria, I especially see that the poor are vulnerable and seem invisible but yet are boldly exploited.

For Mr. President, I urge that he sees the urgency of the need for Nigeria to uphold human rights strictly and change with the times. For Nigeria, any promise to “Change” the system of governance must encompass upholding human rights for all, strictly. We are a country of laws, so therefore, the public should not feel like we live in a lawless society. Human rights also means that a people should not be duped of their resources. Recently, it was reported that the World Bank allegedly stated that the money Sani Abacha stole is too much for them to “handle”. For a country in dire financial need as Nigeria, I advise that President Buhari should not just focus on investigating the previous government of President Jonathan. Basically, retrieve as much of Nigeria’s stolen funds as you can for re-investment in our dwindling economy and this retrieval should be without restriction. It can go back to 50 years ago. So many people live in abject poverty in Nigeria, how then can restrictions be put on when and from who any stolen funds may be retrieved?

I was reading the ministerial list a few days ago and was impressed at the cultural diversity it encompasses. However, when I did see the group photo of the ministers with Mr. President, I spotted an issue. A gender imbalance which is disturbing for 2015. I would advise Mr. President to encourage and allow for more female participation in the political and public administration of Nigeria.

This is not an attack on the President but an advisory note to him. Like millions of others, I am eager to see a better Nigeria and a better Nigeria cannot be achieved without equality, fairness and justice.

Peace,

Chiamaka

If you like this post, CLICK HERE to subscribe!!:)

Standard