There Was 1 White Masai Woman, The Rest are Black

June 17, 2012

We’ve all been somewhat educated about Imperialism in Africa. In non other than History class which is ironic in and of itself seeing as we are still putting up puppet leaders, funding wars, controlling resources and attempting to westernize them.

Several years ago I happened upon Corinne Hofmann’s book The White Masai. It told her story- the story of a Swiss woman that had followed her Masai lover into the bush.

While we invest so much in modernizing Africa, when it comes to the bush-tribes, we’ve (relatively) chosen to leave them alone. Is it perhaps because the main sufferers are women?

Masai women are raped on a daily basis (according to western definition and law). They don’t have any remote chance at education, equal opportunity or decision making within their tribe, let alone within the country they live in.

Was imperialism not entirely in the wrong and, more importantly, should we perhaps bring some form of it back (publicly, admittedly), to those specific places where ancient practices blatantly come at the expense of women’s basic human rights (as defined by the united nations)?

You may wonder why I’m already jumping at the western world and not initially claiming we should encourage their local governments to get involved. My argument rests on the fact that though in some countries (Liberia is a prime example) women are making advancements, those are women from the big cities, women from villages where modernizations’ grasp has reached. Not bush-women.

Women in the western world have gained more power than women in Africa, as a whole. We have more say in our politics than they do. Dumping this responsibility on African governments is bound to produce (if at all) results that wouldn’t come anywhere near our definition of basic women’s rights. Not anytime in the near or distant future.

Which in my opinion leaves it up to us. Bringing back the dilemma of whether this would be ‘moral’ according to our western moral codes of conduct.

I tend to always go with helping every single woman on the planet. Even when it comes at the expense of cultural identity, because in a vast majority, this cultural identity was developed and promoted by men that always held the upper hand (literally).

Islamic women are finding a way to gain their rights within Islamic culture, as are religious Jewish women within Judaism.

It’s time to interfere, send in the ‘morality army’ and save these women.

Right Now.


Don’t Mind Me, Keep Blowing Stuff Up

December 21, 2010

A year ago I published one of my first posts on this blog “Don’t Charge, Educate!” following President Obama’s announcement that the U.S would deploy more troops to Afghanistan (right after receiving the peace prize, one might add).

Following  a RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) report I just read, I find myself once again wondering if anyone in the administration will happen to recall the word “education” anytime soon.

The report, in 14 words, explores the role child labor is playing in the lives of afghans these days.

Without digging (which I seem to have done quite enough in last year’s post) I will simply ask- how is our current war in Afghanistan, preventing the 33,000,000,000$ war that will “unexpectedly” start up in about 6 years?

I bet you’re wondering where that number comes from, easy- 370$ a year (the avg. Afghan household income) X 15 million Afghan children laborers that are currently under 18 X the plus/minus 6 years it will take them to reach fighting age-or-the time it will take the terrorists to find these kids and “encourage” them to join the struggle.

So, 33 billion dollars will be made in the next 6 years, most of it illegally. It will likely cause severe mental and physical trauma to those earning it. And the time spent earning it is time spent away from school and normative childhood activities.

So, how exactly is it that we, America and Europe the Great, are helping?

Are we providing these kids with a way out? No.

Helping the Afghan Govt. uphold laws instead of turn a blind eye? No.

Helping the poor working class to ensure their kids can go to school? No.

Building new schools instead of blowing up existing ones? No.

What is it exactly that we’re doing now, that’s going to prevent the next anti-WesternWorld uprising?

I’m really just a tad confused.

But don’t mind me, keep blowing stuff up. At least we’re winning, right?


Don’t Charge, Educate!

December 24, 2009

30,000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan won’t solve the incredibly high morbidity amongst Afghan women giving birth. It also won’t teach Afghan women how to read and I can’t really see how it will help improve their health and well being.

But why care about the Afghan women? We’re out to fight terrorists aren’t we?

It seems this is yet another case that comes down to the birds and bees. If any world leader was ever told the tale, now would be the time to take it to the next level!

Terrorists aren’t brought by the stork and don’t grow on trees. They’re born to Afghan women and are being raised by them.

So, want to improve security in Afghanistan? Make women your top priority!

Teach Afghan mothers to read, provide them with health care and provide their children with health care. Give them support, pay attention to them. Generations of Afghan boys are growing up in mother-less families, without health services, those with mothers have un-educated mothers. Is the situation in Afghanistan any surprise?

Sending 30,000 teachers and health care professionals to Afghanistan, it seems to me, would achieve a much greater positive outcome than sending more soldiers, something that doesn’t seem to me to be the correct solution to dealing with high birth rates and high maternal morbidity.

It’s time for a Time Out!

We are no longer in the days of the tribal men dancing round the fire in grass skirts with elephant skin on their backs, motivating each other for tomorrows coming insurgency on the nearby tribe. The renaissance, industrial revolution and educational revolution have left us with better tools and better ideas for dealing with different situations we create in the world.

Now, when I say “tools” and “ideas”, little do I mean guns and war-strategy. That’s just all fancy tribal bullshit. I mean the ability to mobilize, the ability to translate books into all different languages, to be able to get across an ideology, a technique, a notion. We are able to get medicine and aid and food and clothing across the globe in less than a day. We are able to count the number of people in each country, we know how many of them can read, how many of them are sick, how many kids they have and their average income. So, if we spend so much time and money gathering this information and publishing it, why can’t anyone seem to realize that more can be done with it? We can make decisions based on it.

Wait! Don’t pass out! I really mean it. We can actually make decisions and base policies on numbers and on information. Not just on a whim, on the powerful superlatives some general is using or his persuasive power-point with all those cool tank pictures. I know they look so much better than un-educated covered-up women.

The information we have does not seem to me to be screaming CHARGE! It seems to me that it’s screaming EDUCATE WOMEN. Of course the majority of people making decisions based on this information are of the type that relates more to ‘charge’ than to actually treating women like equal members of the human race.

30,000 extra soldiers to fight? Even if they won, Afghan women would be no better off, and then we can all just sit and start counting back to next time.

What a waste of work. What a waste of information. What a waste of government ability. What a waste of people.