HOME AT LAST! Part 12 CITIZEN OF THE WORLD? MY FOOT!
SPECIAL NOTE: Link takes us to an article written by a frustrated young lady in Oslo, Norway, who feels she has no place to call home anywhere. Although my writing below may sound harsh, it is not personal. I am writing on the subject in general terms at her inspiration, from my, of course, highly subjective point of view. Believe me, I feel her pain, anger, and sorrow. I am a citizen of the world is another one of those idealistic statements of which poetry and literature are inspired. I am a citizen of the world as an emotional statement reeks of arrogance, ignorance, naiveté, self-centredness, patronization, and imperialistic tendencies. You don’t go calling yourself citizen of the world simply because you don’t feel at home in your country of birth, and/ or your host country if you are an exile in the Diaspora. It’s not up to you to declare yourself a world citizen, as if the world owes you any favours, to begin with. We belong to the world, and not the world to us. You were born to the world. When you die, the world will still be here. Should the world perish, you’ll have no space in the universe, at least not in the way you know yourself today. What you want to do is, when you die, whichever way that happens, you leave this world a better place than you found it at birth. Therefore, it is the world’s prerogative only to declare you its citizen, and that not just because you are not happy with the conditions of your existence anywhere; but because you have done, you do, some kind of deed/ -s beneficial to humanity. There is no free ride to world citizenship. It is not a human right to be I am a citizen of the world just because, from your privileged position somewhere in the 1st World, you can bad-punk-style spit down upon your own, pack your rucksack, and travel the world abusing your economic, or pussy power among the less fortunate of the world because “life is so cheap out there. And, it’s ever so giving to be among poor people. They have nothing, never know where their next meal will come from. And yet they are ever so happy, hospitable, generous, and kind” Jeeezzuz, you don’t do service to humanity through enjoying living high in poverty-ridden slums and villages in the 3rd World like you were some cheap royalty member. Do something to permanently alleviate, or eliminate poverty, then, you might just qualify for the I am a citizen of the world stamp of approval. In the Diaspora, owing to the common phenomenon of paranoia towards strangers, life can be full of scepticism, lack of trust, isolation, exclusion, and, at worst, hate, as well as discrimination with all that entails. That’s just the way it is. It is not the duty and responsibility of the world to show and prove to the Diaspora that you are a normal, decent human being on the look out for things everyone else wants and needs. It is your own duty and responsibility to work to show that you deserve the love, respect, recognition, appreciation, admiration, support, and protection you so much crave for. Naturally. If you cannot get these in your home base, it cannot be easy for the world to give you, all for nothing. The world may want to make you its citizen if you take it on with the life-supporting and uplifting values and deeds you will have nurtured in/ from your home base, first and foremost. When you are a citizen of the world, you don’t go out in the world looking for love and recognition; you go out in the world to give and promote these qualities, demanding, claiming nothing in return. Just do it. You are greater than you realize. In spontaneous appreciation, then, the world will declare you its genuine citizen. But that does not mean that you necessarily have free access to all corners of the world; that does not mean that the entire world will see you in the same light. You will never be able to come banging on, and slamming any first door in the world and say, “Hello, I’m home!” It doesn’t quite work that way. Be smart, therefore. Define your world according to what values you stand for, and live accordingly. It all begins and ends with you. The moment you turn your back on your own land of birth, fleeing from injustices and oppression, as well as other gross Human Rights abuses, the bonds between your own people and yourself will never be the same again. You may be fighting a common course, but you go away, and they stay behind. You will mutually miss one another painfully. Growing up further apart with time, everyone inevitably changes. Things that held the fragile bonds together fall apart. The only thing that remains constant is common heritage. As time goes, years apart turning into decades, everyone grows up each in their unique directions. History takes different meanings to everyone. No one is ever the same again. So, after so many decades, you come back home, the land of your birth. Everybody knows, has heard of, your name, but nobody knows you anymore. Actually, nobody cares. You are not one of them, stranger in your own land. YOU have changed so much: You look different, you walk different, you talk different talk, you smell different, you eat different, you dress different, you think different, you don’t belong here, stranger. Who are you, really? What are you doing here? What do you want? Nobody wants to touch you, nobody wants to be near you; you are so very special these days. Nobody can, nobody wants to, relate to you. You thought paranoia and uncalled for hostilities were bad out there in the Diaspora, but when you experience them in the land of your birth, the land whose freedom you fought for, you know you are thoroughly crushed. Who am I, really? You ask. Where do I belong, really? You ask. Okay, I don’t feel wanted in the Diaspora, I don’t feel welcome back in the land of my birth. But what the heck, they can all go to hell, I am a citizen of the world; my home is the world now! You reason. Alas, it’s not that simple. The real world is hard by default. It’s beautiful at the core, though. You just have to know how to get there. Acknowledged, and aspirant, citizens of the world the world over don’t spend and waste time whining about how unfair life is towards them. Citizens of the world proper take the world by the horns and deal with it in science laboratories, as well as libraries of the world in an endless strive to find answers to ever challenging questions of how to make this a better world to live for all, at all levels of human endeavour. I am a citizen of the world isn’t simply a state of mind, a question of attitude. It’s about how huge personal sacrifices you make for causes meant to promote human and life integrity through struggles for, for example, freedom, which (may) have global implications and impact. Many a freedom fighter of the world has had prisons, torture chambers, and, at worst, death, as their laboratories and libraries in seeking to give meanings to the value of human dignity in freedom, justice, and abundance for all in the world. When their work is done, or still continuing, and the global significance of that is established, the world has a way of showing acknowledgement, respect, and encouragement to keep doing what you do. The latter is done through various awards of variable significances and magnitudes across the world, both at the institutional and private levels. You become I am a citizen of the world by first and foremost winning the hearts of citizens of your home base. Be a source of inspiration and hope locally first. Promote, and be a living proof of love, freedom, peace, faith, and creativity. Everyone, the world, loves a good story, anytime. If your story, the story of the good things you do for humanity, transcends your borders, and precedes you, then you are not too far from living the I am a citizen of the world reality, much to the extent that the entire free world becomes curious of, and is ever so keen to meet you in person, or even merely symbols of your good deeds, because you may not be physically enough for the world. Thus, you may become a globetrotter, a Super Star in whom, in whose works, the world can find meaningful answers to some of the most pertinent questions in/ of life. I am a citizen of the world is a function of action in relation to how, and what, you contribute to the betterment of the human condition, given your talents, knowledge and skills, tastes and preferences, wherever you are in the world, in service to humanity. I am a citizen of the world is also about “Ask not what the world can do for you, but what you can do for the world”. Humility. So, President Chilembo, what are you in this regard, then? Ahh, who? ME? Ohh, ja, ahh…, I am an Ethnic Norwegian citizen of the world with Zambian roots from South Africa! ;-) Simon Chilembo Riebeeckstad Welkom South Africa Tel.: +27 717 454 115 December 15, 2014
HOME AT LAST! Part 11
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Ama-a-andla nga wethu! We’ve got it all so wrong in Mzansi fo sho. Power To The People! Is not all about the right to toyi-toyi for the next 350 years over even the most banal of people’s dissatisfactions against, or demands from, the government; it is not about the false-premised belief in the right to the indiscriminate orgy of vandalism, theft, abuse, and misuse of public infrastructure with impunity due to poverty, daily evident in the most unequal society in the world today. Power To The People! is not a statement of delusional entitlements to excesses of privilege and power to members of the ruling, as well as other elite classes, and their beneficiaries.
Power To The People! means exactly what it says: People’s right to appropriate material, as well as subjective conditions for setting, and effecting their energy in motion, as expressed through their creativity, as well as actual and potential optimal productivity. Without power, people’s creative and productive potential is curtailed. The latter condition is, and can never be conducive for development and progress in society. And, by extension, development and progress will translate to abundance, which, in turn will imply peace and stability in society.
The Diaspora in the industrialized First World will always thrive at the expense of home in the poorer Third World due to the relatively better and more functional concepts and practices of Power To The People! Here, the latter is manifest through, assuming no unforeseen natural calamities and the like, regular, adequate, and dependable supply of electric power to the people. This power facilitates non-interrupted R&D, and other production processes. People have light all hours of the day. Across the board, machinery, equipments, tools, gadgets, and instruments of all kinds requiring external sources of energy for prescribed functionality, work as they should. And life just goes on and on, on an upward spiral of constant improvement of the people’s qualitative and quantitative lives and living.
In an apparently progressive and promising country like South Africa in the 21st Century, it, therefore, should be declared a Crime Against Humanity to deprive the nation of electric power at will, as the concerned utility, Eskom, seems to be doing. It should be taken as a matter of course that a historically vibrant and globally competitive economy like that of South Africa will have ever rising needs and demands for energy. For the relevant state authorities and Eskom to fail to live up to this reality by way of timely and corresponding energy production, storage, and distribution capacity management and regulation, is a scandal of the worst order. Load shedding sucks more than none existence of any expected utility supply of electricity at all. People in South Africa plan and organize their lives on the assumption that, all things remaining equal, there will be, and there is, regular, adequate, and dependable supply of electric power at all times.
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
November 30, 2014
HOME AT LAST! Part 10
LIFE IN THE DIASPORA – MUCH TO PROVE
Once you land in exile, even more so if you do eventually get stuck out there, you have everything to prove. You have to. Your life depends on it. Exile confronts you first and foremost as the individual. Troubles in your country of origin will only make sense, or not, on the basis of what story you talk and walk. Consciously chosen or not, it may be your mission to be a Messiah for your people. Prove that you are; their lives depend on you.
Regardless of your real or imagined social status in your homeland, the fact that the latter and yourself can no longer thrive in each other’s presence, and because countries do not move, people do, you hit exile with much of you hanging on the line. Anything you’ve called identity, pride, and self-esteem changes meaning. It is no longer about how you perceive yourself; your ego gets crushed in ways you could never imagine before. You’ll have to learn how to respond to what exile initially makes of you, throws at you. If you let it, exile can, and will break you down in more ways than one.
If you want to live to grow and thrive in exile, staying for life if you so wish, or must out of necessity due to non-foreseen other imperatives of life; if you want to grow and thrive in exile so you can see the day freedom dawns and rises in your homeland, you must prove you are somebody. It is not just about names, tribes, and races; it is not about religions, faiths, or belief systems. It is primarily more about being a human being of flesh and blood. A human being of feelings, thoughts, and creative potential, a human being with the power to influence and effect change in any direction, anywhere you find yourself. The quality, as well as attributes of your life and living in the Diaspora will testify as to your humanity.
Are you worthy, are you deserving, of support, or neglect and destruction in exile? Prove it with your deeds. If you have knowledge, use it. Hone it some more as a daily objective. If you have some special skills, some special talent, show them. Improve, and develop them continually all the way. If you are a Super Star, never be afraid to shine whenever opportunity arises. Everyone loves a Super Star, more so in lands of liberty and fraternity. Choose your exile host land with caution, assuming you have the chance to choose when shit hits the fan, and you have to flee at extremely short notice. There are many in the Diaspora living on the edge in exile host countries more inhuman than their original homelands.
Myths abound about the Diaspora. Crush them. Truth is, only you, and others like you could leave your homelands because you were, you are, the strongest, the bravest, the most intelligent, and the most resourceful. It has very little to do with luck. You left because you chose to. You didn’t leave because you were lucky enough to have the opportunity to choose. Reality is, through the choices you made along the way, by way of associations, as well as strategic moves, you facilitated for the chances to make it possible for you to choose to leave present themselves. So, how can you fail to prove that you are human, you are as good as any one in your exile host land, and you have the same rights to treatment with dignity?
You are not stupid; you are not ignorant. You are wise, with a great capacity to learn new things fast. That’s what makes you a survivor, a legend of all times. Prove this. Prove to your hosts that, contrary to one common myth, you are not there to hijack, or pollute their cultures and countries. On the contrary, because you are a good human being, your hosts will in the long run gain from your positive contributions and influences to society. You are a resource. You are, by default, a value-adding person of civility and culture. Prove that you are worth more than gold to your exile host land, whether or not you came to stay. Otherwise you may perish, giving more substance to myths about the Diaspora comprising largely of leeches, and angels of the devil out to destroy all the good that has been developed and built by progressive mankind over many generations and epochs. The lives of your kind yet to escape tyrannies of their homelands depend on you.
You will fall in love in exile. Thus entering into the innermost circles of your host country through family and relations, if your new love is a local. Never is the need to prove things greater than in this most intimate domain. Here, you’ll be undressed naked, literally, all days. Your conscious strengths will often be no issue because you know them well, and they are a great source of pride for you. You build your world around your strengths. However, where else are our vulnerabilities more exposed than in love? In the power games of love, depending on the individual dispositions of the lovers concerned, the one may seek to dominate the other one way or another. The exiled may be pitied like a poor, homeless child. The locals may want to take it upon themselves to want to protect, guide, groom, and educate the exiled in the most disgustingly patronizing ways. In extreme scenarios, the exiled will even be considered to be devoid of any opinions on things, and the ways of the world. Love teaches us to put our defences down. So, the belittled exiled in love will tolerate a lot of trash, in the hope that, in time, the exile land lover will understand that there is more to being an exile. But then again, time can be very long, and we can only tolerate so much. Goodbye, love.
Next to love, perhaps, learning the host country’s language is the most pertinent thing. Any wise and knowledgeable Diaspora member, any hustler, knows that a new language learnt always brings out the best in one, as well as the exile land/ -s. It opens one’s mind to intricacies of the ways of thinking and attitudes towards the myriad of complex societal issues through reading local literature, as well as appreciating other aspects of culture. Ultimately, language mastery facilitates direct person-to-person communication. Prove that you have nothing to hide, and you are open for new ideas and life impulses through communicating with your exile host country people in their own language/ -s. Language mastery brings down barriers of suspicion, insecurities, and fear of the unknown. Speak, read, and write your exile host land’s language/ -s to prove, if only to yourself, that you feel at home. By the same token eat, and appreciate the cuisine, especially those dishes and foods considered as unique and exotic to your host land. Speak, eat, and drink to prove you belong. Language, food, and drink have a tendency to heighten sensitivity to the on-goings in society.
You’ll find in the Diaspora host lands, many who’ll have travelled the world. They may even have lived and loved across the world in different places, and different times. You’ll soon be surprised, though, to find that the supposed ignorance and backwardness they initially see in you as a poor refugee/ exiled, is actually a projection of themselves onto you. By your open mindedness, patience, tolerance, never ending curiosity about the state of the world, near and far, you shall prove that travelling for you is not only about experience. You travel in order to learn, first and foremost. You travel more to acquire, and disseminate knowledge wherever you are. Your life depends on it.
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
November 25, 2014