Ma and me
people consider a real job. The demands of the NGOs had escalated. It left little time to visit, to talk. The schedule was getting hectic, one international NGO meeting after the other. I was beginning to feel the strain. There was little time to earn a living
and there were bills to pay…. Then Ma surprised me, by saying this…
international policy for Information and Communication Technology at the United Nations in Geneva – a follow-up meeting to the first World Summit on Information Society meeting held in Tunisia some years earlier, to assess the distance traveled in ICTs and the way forward. I had presented on the need for gender-sensitive ICT policy, with a critique of gender blindness in ICT policy. Rewind! FastForward, it was entitled. Fastforward was the name of the national ICT policy.
last time we would see each other. …
When A Mother Forgets A Birthday
nephews and nieces knew of me from what they read of and by me. For many years my birthday went uncelebrated or in other lands. In Uganda, coordinating the outreach for the Women’s Affairs Minister’s Meeting, the women came together because Hazel Brown insisted that my birthday be recognised with a cake.
Mothers’ Day Missed
the Political Glass Ceiling so it could be out before the general
elections. I felt a launch before the elections was crucial, because there were some prophetic elements therein, I felt. prophetic, guided by my original research that generally departs from and challenges the thinking of the day or long held notions – mostly guided by skewed research. I try to review and revise some of those about the political culture in this book’s introduction, The Clash of Political Cultures: Cultural Diversity and Minority Politics in a Small Island. I focused on the intangibles of political ideology that has often been overlooked in political and socio-cultural analyses. The world is only now awakening that to the reality that these overlooked elements are indeed central and core to democratic failures, and only now recognising how focusing primarily on overt factors can skew analyses. And that made it seem as if I had a Krystal ball – that is, prophetic. It was around these insights that I wrapped career the woman who was in line – or destined -to shatter the political glass ceiling as the first woman Prime Minister.
And then she said…
Ceiling. We are sitting. I had just finished giving her a massage, with coconut oil, as she liked.
At the grinding stone
gyul you peesaying masala….’
and ancient Asian, Arabian, African, American European culinary delights. The
scents in Ma’s kitchen are like the convergence of global force winds and
waters at the crosscurrents of the world.
culinary secrets from the mystical Orient beyond the Middle Passage through
Pacific-Atlantic Spice Routes, rerouted and rerooted. Like tantalising tall
tales of the Arabian Nights they tease my senses out of my comfort zones of
fairytales through Tunisia and Turkey, Venice and Manhattan to discoveries that
will overturn histories and empires and turn pages, heads and square, oval and
round tables of global diplomacy…..
gyul you peesaying masala, Ma hums.
lore transfers an exotic and erotic past from the perfumed gardens of the
ancient new world. Silken curtains swish against each other sinuously and in
sensual whispers seduces me to board closely guarded camel-drawn caravans laden
with dhania, pippali, nutmeg, cloves, maithi, nigella, cinnamon, cardamom,
mace, turmeric, across the deserts from Dravidian civilisations; aboard Persian
carpets of Iran and Iraq; pausing for refueling at the intersection of shipping
ports via the Arabian Sea into the Egypt’s Nile and the courts of Ramses; then
onward through to Mediterranean parts, Turkey, swashbuckling with the Ottomans
to enter Greece, to join Marco Polo through Rome, Venice; and Vasco De Gama
then Magellan in Portugal, and onto Spanish, French, Dutch Europe, and to the
British Empire.And yes, Letter’s To Lizzie is to be reincarnated! stay Tuned….
only to the truncated byline that accompanies this article.
credited for my articles.)
to disown my family, I convinced myself I was orphaned; on better days I
savoured my secret – that I was a love child!
would smilingly indulge in this little secret I shared with my Ma. She groaned
approvingly every time I massaged an ache out. I dread to think what her real
reaction would have been had I voiced my thoughts…
the State. It began when…….
3,000 women who can trace a bloodline to her.
I know of some of those women in her lineage, …
labelled – towards. Because we know her name.
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Despite its very clear identification of Commonwealth challenges, and its theme Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future, the CHOGM concept paper gives unequal focus to its three key words, ‘partnering, equitable, and sustainable.’ The paper is heavily slanted to climate change, almost to the oblivion of all else, and even that is skewed to the perspective that all the world’s ensuing problems will arise from the climate change phenomenon. This constitutes a business-as-usual, plaster-on-the-sore approach that holds the symptoms for the cause.
It ignores the reality that anticipated challenges from changing climate patterns are really manifestations of the continued imposition of culturally alien financial and other systems on many of the world’s communities, unbalanced economic development, neglect of the contributions of women and girls, and inequitable investments in the largely rural-based agricultural sectors in favour of close-to-the-nose urban sectors.
The paper’s approach is analogous to the get-rich-quick models that spiraled the financial crisis in the first instance; the failures that have arisen from focus on economic security at the expense of food security; and the disrespect for home-grown, culturally evolved modes of coping with life’s challenge that have excluded large segments of the world’s peoples from an equal share of development — spring-factors that will exacerbate the impacts of climate change, not the other way around!
The concept can certainly benefit from strengthened emphasis on the need for integrated and multi/cross sectoral approaches that promote balance and equity and that recognise different notions and cultures of development that can add enormously to solutions for the current crises of finance, food security, water and land management, soil conservation, rising temperatures and ocean levels.
As it treats with climate change, there is need in the concept for dedicated attention through paragraphs that:
1. recognise that peoples’ cultures are central and pivotal to development around which all else orbits if there is to be widespread buy-in-to the Millennium Development Goals;
2. account for the conditions of and contributions of two-thirds of the Commonwealth—who are women and children—as key starting points (not endpoints) to reversing the horrifying imbalances of poverty, malnourishment, child and maternal mortality that will be aided and alleviated through – not token – but revisionist priority positioning of agriculture, food security and rural in the Commonwealth and others’ development agendas.
This would go a long way to help right the lopsided vision in the concept, clouded as it is by climate change as the looming tsunami bearing down on the world, by sharpening its focus on the real subjects of the MDGs: the neglected communities that huddle on tsunami-endangered coastlines, farmers who are squeezed onto precarious hillside to produce the world’s food as concrete encroach on prime agriculture lands and the plight of the disadvantaged, including women and children.