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
THIS FREEDOM IS MINE TOO
Just had a Lafayette, SanFransisco, feeling this midnight hour: Not a soul on the streets; not even the midnight Black Cat of Suburbia. Only an accasional car this and that way. No police, no private security patrol vehicle on sight. But they are there. Press Panic Button, and they will appear as if from nowhere, in no time. Things money can buy in opulent society.
Strutting up and down, with two buckets as I chose to manually water my street side garden flowers and trees, I can’t help anticipating that from the shadows yonder, someone can throw a projectile at me anytime. If this is my night, they might even shoot, KABOOM!!! Goodbye, Ngamla. Welcome to Mzansi fo sho, land of the living dead.
But then again, I wonder, how free can I feel, and be free and if I go round paranoid of getting killed in my free land? In my world, freedom as a living sentiment in the whole of my being means that I will, and shall, defy death, as well as uncalled for death threats from societal deviants. Freedom is courage to choose to live, and victor over enemies of liberty for the free, the peaceful and peace loving, as well as the progressive. I did not fight for the freedom of my land for it to be enjoyed by criminals and gangsters alone, giving them the prerogative to decide when and how I shall die. Neither can they decide for me how I shall live, enjoy, and manifest uttributes of the freedom of my land. So, I shall water my garden in peace, anyhow, anytime I want to. When done, as I did this midnight in front of a recently planted flower, I shall perform my Tai Chi form powerfully with grace, in praise of Freedom, in profound thoughts of all fallen freedom fighting heroes for generations the world over. There are still beautiful things about South Africa. These are what I’ll take with me to Exile II.
TEL .: +27 717 454 115
November 17, 2014
HOME AT LAST! Part 8
POLITICS OF MURDER: APARTHEID, GANGSTERS, AND DEATH STORY
Necropower regimes take rule by fear to the goriest level. You are not their friend, threatening their status quo, they catch you, they torture you; information obtained or not, they kill you. On a good day they may kill you first, then ask questions later. If you are their friends, in the inner or the outer circles, same difference, you trust nobody, nobody trusts you. All go with tight golden turtlenecks of death waiting to squeeze, burn, or blow up at the slightest sign of disloyalty. Staying alive is a loyalty reward enjoyed one day at a time. Rock the boat once, and a day can instantaneously be extremely long, the world can all of a sudden seem very, very small, with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, smell of death real, and omnipresent, like God.
When you finally hear total silence, you see your voice waving and bopping away from you, the echoes of your desperate begging for mercy cries coming towards and quietly passing through your still body like the wind through a porous medium, then you know you are dead. Heaven, or hell? It does not really matter now. Sitting on the right hand side of the necropower regime, life was heavenly on earth: You ate and drank to your fill, you smoked Havanas; virgin or no virgin, they were there everywhere the women. Oh, yes, the monies, the cars, the aeroplanes, and all the luxuries. Hell is when the golden turtleneck cuts your breath, as well as constrains all blood flow to-and-fro your brains. Your eyes bulge so you can see death coming full view. Die, mother, die! Necropower base and existence secured, sustained, and justified once again.
Necropower regimes have their tentacles everywhere, at home and abroad. You can run, but you cannot hide from them. From the moment you decide in any way to stand up against a necropower regime in your own land, you sign, by default, an automatic pact with death. We are all going to die someday. But no single person, or groups thereof, have any natural and legitimate right to take it upon themselves to terminate the life of another at will, simply because the victim represents opinions, standards, and values incongruent with the former’s. Therefore, necropower and necropolitics are as undesirable as any evil on the face of the earth.
Any exile resettled anywhere in the world as a result of necropolitics in countries of origin will have long embraced living intimately with death by the time they find a place of relative safety, and possibilities of starting new lives. An exile of this nature has uncalled for, sudden death not only hanging at close proximity above their heads, but follows them like a shadow with the sun sitting directly overhead at midday in the tropics. You become uncomfortable in the dark when you cannot see your own shadow. You thrive in conditions of light for, if you can see your own shadow, you are still alive, you can still fight for freedom, even if just for one more day.
In exile milieus anywhere, to the extent that you stay alive, also one day at a time much like a necropower politics loyalist back home, somebody else gets assassinated, or maimed in your stead every so often somewhere. You may, or you may never, live to see your home country liberated from necropower someday, but, in time, you do get hardened to and towards death. People of your political/ ideological/ religious persuasions will keep dying, getting killed in all sorts of the crudest methods, requiring, where and when possible, handling of the remains in the most emotionally and mentally demanding ways. You routinely do what you have to do to honour the fallen comrades, sisters and brothers, compatriots. Eventually, your tears dry up, and your feelings become deep and hard like a diamond in the ground. Your experience of, and response to death become, then, a deeply private and personal matter. No need, rather, no strength to manifest your sadness and mourning to the world. Untimely death, no matter, the circumstances saps the energy out of you. But to the extent that you still have another day of living, you can only do what you can, and have to, only in your own way, in the name of freedom. You cannot be indifferent; otherwise necropower reign is perpetuated, and can justify itself and its abominable ways.
I survived Apartheid necropower death at home and in exile. Apartheid necropower venom permeated every fibre of pre-1994 South African society. In many a political education debate while in exile, I would argue that the brutality of Apartheid in South Africa reproduced itself in the home. Freedom came, and in the twentieth year of the same I am still alive. I saw the threat, and felt the venom, of Apartheid necropower leave my being, as well as my entire existence, as I cast my vote on April 27, 1994, in exile, Oslo, Norway. How sweet life became thereafter, then, in prolonged exile. I began to live, and feel, like I owned all the time I am allotted on earth. My longevity would now be, to a large extent, a function of the conscious and deliberate choices I make in my life as a free and independent man of the world. My dreams and hopes for the future of my at long last free and sovereign land of my birth and I became larger and brighter. My heaven on earth had come to life.
Heading towards the twentieth year celebrations of the New South Africa, I heard Nelson Mandela was terminally ill. I decided it was to come back home. He passed on. I mourned in my own way, exile style. Worked for me. The country did what it had to do. Worked superlatively well for all. When my time comes, it’s like I can do it like Madiba. Strange thing, though, is that I go from day to day with the feeling like I am living on borrowed time with extremely high interest rate. The risk of defaulting is high. Penalty? Immediate death, execution style. In our own beloved Rainbow Nation, The New South Africa? Sure.
The paradox is, twenty years on since the fall of Apartheid and its atrocities at home and abroad, I feel like I live my life from hour-to-hour. Life feels and seems shorter and more brutal these days. During Apartheid days, senseless deaths and killings came with the territory. That was a given fact as well understood, as it was predictable. When we rose against Apartheid we knew exactly what we went up against, as well as the potential consequences thereof. That, of course, never dissuaded us from our goal of ultimately achieving a free, non-racial, inclusive, and sovereign South Africa. But now, sadly, it is clear that when Apartheid fell, necropower remained in the hands of criminals and gangsters. What comes with the territory concerning the latter is the common tendency of randomness and unpredictability. Who knows, this just may well be the last article I write for my blog.
Breaking news!!! … Simon Chilembo, internationally acclaimed Karate expert, Wellness professional, and writer/ poet has just been shot dead by an undisclosed number of armed men who broke into his home. Initial reports say the late’s bullet riddled body was found lying in a pool of blood in his study in the middle of the night, barely five minutes after the security alarm in his house had gone off. Apparently, Simon had been working on his two computers, which were still on, and left untouched by the time the private security company officers arrived on the scene. Only his new plasma TV was found missing. No arrests have been made yet.
Don’t cry for me, South Africa. I hear Exile II calling. Life does not have to be as short and as cheap as necropower likes to force it to be.
Dedication: All those who fell, directly and indirectly, in the hands of the former Apartheid regime in South Africa. May their souls rest in peace.
Special dedication to political exiles of the world in our times, including all children of the Diaspora. Death can be defied. In South Africa, we say Del’ukufa, Xhosa.
Inspiration: Senzo Meyiwa, as well as all who have fallen, and shall fall in the hands of armed criminals and gangsters in South Africa. May their souls rest in peace.
Remembering: HE Michael Sata, President, Zambia; Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, and Phindile Mwelase, as well as all others who departed of this world in the last 2-3 weeks, in South Africa and elsewhere. May their souls rest in peace.
Tel.: +27 717 454 115
November 03, 2014