Canada


A bad day for Jesus

became a GOOD FRIDAY for all of us.

Because the story didn’t end there.

The hope of our joy is that RESURRECTION SUNDAY is coming!  

3 days later

I always had an idea, a vision really, to create a diasporic-wide think tank type blog. I envisioned that it would focus on discussing issues, exchanging ideas and creating strategies, with the objective of developing concrete and viable solutions to tackle the concerns relating to those of us of African descent worldwide. 

 

shared this vision over at thefreeslave blog page and I was overwhelmed by how enthusiastically it was received. It is not necessarily an original idea on my part and others have previously either engaged in similar discussions or have created such a venue. However it garnered much discussion, offers of assistance and words of encouragement.

 

I would like to acknowledge two brothers who have taken hold of the vision and ran with it. Francis L. Holland and Exodus Mentality have been engaged in the type of discussions that I had hoped would be initiated through the vision of AfroSpear. These brothers are an inspiration. Below I linked 2 recent discussions from their pages, which are an example of the think tank based discussions that I hope to be engaged in through AfroSpear, once we get the site launched.

 

“Can the AfroSpear Help Reduce Urban Violence?”

“Open Thread: What’s number 1”

 

 

Humbly,

Asabagna

Last week I attended a book launch at the Amnesty International office here in Ottawa. The book, Illusions of Security, is authored by Maureen Webb, and it discusses issues of global surveillance by governments in the post 9/11 world. As I sat there listening to the speakers, including the author, detail the current threat of government surveillance programs and why we should all be scared (after first praising and congratulating each other on how wonderful and self-sacrificing they all are), I looked around the room at the audience. I suddenly came to the realization that I was in a room full of about 200 privileged white people…. looking for a reason to be scared. 

 

The Queen and I were the only Black people there and although I had initially been invited by this white friend of mine, I only went because she wanted “a night out during the week.” There were two other “brown” individuals in attendance, who if I had to guess, I would say were of South American Indian heritage. They both had this “look” on their faces during the proceedings. You know the one I mean. The “look” that says “can you believe this sh*t!” On the way home the Queen expressed how condescending the whole event was and what a waste of time. We laughed and had a discussion on how the privileged white progressive/yuppie socialist types, are always appropriating the atrocities and/or injustices experienced by “peoples of color”, as the basis for their works of literary and artistic expressions, such as books, articles, films etc. They then reap the monetary awards and critical praises for their work and self-inflicted compassion, while projecting this image that they are potential victims themselves.

 

The more I thought about it, the more I became enlightened to the fact that white people really do like to be scared. They are scared of Al-Qaeda. They are scared of Osama Bin Ladin. They are scared of the environment. They are scared of the flu. They are scared of getting old. They are scared of their young. They are scared of getting fat. They are scared of getting thin. They are scared of rap music. They are scared of the poor. They are scared of immigrants. They are scared of Black people, Brown people and Yellow people. They are scared of Christians. They are scared of Muslims. They are scared of corporations. They are scared of the past. They are scared of the future. They are even scared of themselves. And according to this book, we need to be also scared of the government. THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT TOO!!! The list of what they are scared of is endless. I could go on and on! I have just touched the tip of the iceberg of their fears.

 

The more I meditated on this, the more aware I was that here, within North American society, with all that we have been blessed with materially, technologically, financially and even spiritually, we have developed this culture of fear that has become the basis of our existence. This mindset of “seeking” to be a victim has permeated our society. It’s as if we need to constantly feel the emotion of fear to feel alive! Then if there isn’t a pill marketed to deal with our fears, there is of-course “counseling” to treat our phobias. If it’s real bad…. critical even, we can then call Dr. Phil or Oprah!

 

A Muslim friend and I discussed this phenomenon and he pointed out that those who live in areas of constant civil strife, poverty and oppression, primarily black and brown people, where their lives could be taken at any moment, do not define their existence by fear. They will struggle to live! They will fight for justice! They seek to enjoy life! They do not go around looking for reasons to be scared! They are not crippled by fear! They don’t find any merit in being a victim! 

Privileged white people looking for a reason to be scared. “BOO!!”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be scared.” John 14: 27 (NIV)

I wish you peace.

Asabagna 

Whatever in the world can be done, will be done. The question is whether it will be done by you or to you?

Coming soon to the AfroSphere.

“GOD IS GOOD!”

“ALL THE TIME!”

I started blogging about a year ago after the 2005 Oscars. My first post ever was on some thoughts I had about Three 6 Mafia winning the Oscar for Best Song, George Clooney’s acceptance speech for winning best supporting actor for “Syriana”, and on the winner of the best picture… who can remember? “CRASH”. (first post) I was new to the blogging game and wanted to see where my voice would take me out into the blogosphere.

 

John Smulo

 

This week, I have been featured in a 2-part interview on the blog page of John Smulo, called SmuloSpace. John is a Christian blogger whose page I read frequently because he expands my thinking and brought a different perspective to the “Christian” experience for me. He is one of very few bloggers from the “Christosphere”, that I link to my page. The others are Gruntled Center, Imitatio Christi, The Church Boy and God’s Politics (which is a site of “white” progressive Christian bloggers developed by Jim Wallis). This is not to say that there aren’t others linked to this page who consider themselves Christians. However these specific blogs primarily discuss religious themes and look at other topics from a “Christian” perspective, whatever that may mean to the authors, which is why I refer to them as the “Christosphere”.

 

I found it very difficult finding Christian bloggers to read. It wasn’t due to there not being many of them out in the blogosphere, but I prefer to become engaged in discussions that will challenge my thinking and beliefs, that will expand my knowledge and not spew the same “ole time religion”. These blogs do that to some extent and SmuloSpace is my favourite. I cannot remember how I found his page but I started reading it in January 2007. What attracted me most is that I found John to be a sincere listener…. and that is a rare quality in a person. I started reading and commenting on his page and visa versa. A couple weeks ago he asked if he could interview me for his page. I was pleasantly surprised! He was primarily interested in the process I went through to adopt my African/Spiritual name: “Asabagna Alatentou” and my self-definition as an “Afrocentric Pentecostal”. I felt honored and gladly said “yes”. Here are the links to both interviews:

It is my hope that those of you who frequent this page may not just read the interviews, but will also read some of John’s other posts, and be inspired to become engaged in conversations and be regular commentators there. I also hope that those who frequent John’s page, through the interviews, may discover our community and engage with us also. Isn’t that the beauty of the internet? To discover, communicate and learn from those of other countries, cultures and beliefs. To transcend borders, barriers and build bridges of understanding through dialogue, discussion and debate. To make friends. It’s not a “pipe dream”. It’s possible. I’ve done it with all of you.

 

I wish you heaven.

Asa.

Friday (03-23-07), I’m at the gym doing my “cardio thing” and watching the news, when I see a story concerning a polar bear cub by the name of “KNUT” in Berlin Germany. Apparently this cub, which was born about 4 months ago, was rejected by it’s mother, a circus bear. The Berlin Zoo decided to raise it and a national furor was caused when an animal rights activist stated that the cub should be put to death rather than be raised in captivity. According to a variety of news reports (see one here), school children took to the streets chanting “Knut must live”; news headlines read “ The Polar Bear of our Hearts”; t-shirts were printed; websites were launched, including his own personal one (see here); soccer fans chanted for him instead of their teams and a CD of songs about him was produced. He has been adopted by the German Environment Minister and is now a symbol of the effects of global climate change. The cub had made it’s public debut on Friday amid hundreds of reporters from around the world as well as thousands of supporters.

Friday, I also read a story on the blog page of Francis L. Holland on the case of Shaquanda Cotton in Paris, Texas (see here). This 14 year-old African-American girl was sentenced in March 2006, to 7 years in a Texas juvenile correctional center for pushing a 58 year old teacher’s aid. As I read the story, I thought there was no way this could be true! This must be some sort of internet hoax. I did a little internet research myself and read some news accounts of this situation. The more I read, the more I became stupefied and enraged as the truth of this injustice crystallized in my psyche (see here). The accounts of the blatant separate and unequal treatment of the Black community to the obvious targeting and retaliation against Shaquanda because her mother frequently accused school officials of racism.

 

 

BUT what enraged me the most was that I had not heard of this before. Had I really missed this? AND if I had: Where is the national furor? Where are the other school children taking to the streets for her cause? Where are the news reports and headlines? Where are the t-shirts? She does have a blog page (see here) but where are the other blog posts heating up the Afrosphere for her cause? Where are the sport fans chanting her name? Where is the national political and/or government official, regardless of party affiliation, who has adopted her cause as a symbol of the fight against the continual racial discrimination and judicial injustice faced by those of African descent in America? AND when I ask all these questions of “where?”, I am not asking society at large! I am asking the Black/African community itself!

 

Or am I asking the wrong questions. Maybe I should be asking: are we so caught up in who will be dismissed from this week’s episode of American Idol and Survivor to care? Has our desire for justice and equality been replaced by a craving for the new Three 6 Mafia “joint”, the latest dance craze and the next McDeath “Happy Meal”? Have we become so bamboozled by the media, that our attention has been captivated by who is the “baby daddy” of a dead, white, fat, drug and alcohol addicted slut, to even see the injustices that are visited upon our young? Are we so entranced by the circus performances of Obama, Hillary and John that real life wrongs pass under our radar? Have we completely sold out the birthright of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for our children, to feast on the pottage provided at the back door of the white women empowerment movement (feminism), gay marriage and other gay rights issues?  Have we become so mis-educated as a community that our time and energy is focused on rallying against the plight of illegal immigrants, the atrocities perpetrated by the Iraqis against themselves and the empowerment of Afghani women while our own young are dehumanized?

 

There is a call for the Black community to write and/or telephone the Judge and Governor of Texas to “voice” our displeasure and disappointment at the treatment of Shaquanda Cotton. Hmmmm. ‘nuff said.

 

My sister Aulelia recently pondered: “Perhaps celluloid exposure is needed for more people to care about Africa?” Along with the numerous movies featuring Africa, Africans and African-Americans that we have been recently exposed to, there has also been a deluge of cartoon or digital animated films featuring animals. The animals are portrayed more like humans. The Blacks/Africans are represented as less than animals. Ironically, I think we now have an answer to her question.

 

Asabagna                   

 

This was on the wall of Mother Theresa’s Calcutta office. It written by Kent M. Keith.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered: Forgive them anyway…

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives: Be kind anyway…

If you are successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies: Succeed anyway…

If you are honest and frank people may cheat you: Be honest and frank anyway…

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight: Build anyway…

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous: Be happy anyway…

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: Do good anyway…

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough: Give the world the best you have anyway…

You see, in the final analysis, it`s all between you and God: It was never between you and them anyway…

 

A friend sent this to me. I thought I would share it.

 

1. Give God what’s right — not what’s left.
2.
Man’s way leads to a hopeless end! — God’s way leads to an endless hope.
3.
A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
4.
He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.
5.
In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma–but never let him be the period.
6. Don’t put a question mark where God puts a period.
7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.
8. When praying, don’t give God instructions – just report for duty.
9.
Don’t wait for six strong men to take you to church.
10. We don’t change God’s message — His message changes us.
11.
The church is prayer-conditioned.
12.
When God ordains, He sustains.
13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.
14. Plan ahead — It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.
16.
Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.
17.
Exercise daily — walk with the Lord.
18. Never give the devil a ride — he will always want to drive.
19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
20.
Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
21.
He who angers you controls you.                                                         
22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
23.
Give Satan an inch & he’ll be a ruler.
24.
Be ye fishers of men — you catch them & He’ll clean them.
25.
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. 

God Bless.

Asa.

There is so much to be done, there is so much that can be done. One person – a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr. – one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death.

As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs. 

We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.

Excerpts from Elie Wiesel Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1986

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