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Monday, 13 February 2012

My Endless Love

So here I am, realizing that whoever said "Life is not a bed of roses" was an extremist-level optimist with a penchant for euphemism. But, being that the tone of my blog has always been somewhat positive, enlightening and, on occasion, amusing, I will not further elucidate what it is that I come across daily that leads me to such a derisive conclusion.

Instead, I'll describe my present position, in this mundane humdrum slave-ship that I refer to as my day-job (which, ironically, is at night), struggling to read the gargantuan medical textbook which lies pristine ("untouched", for those of you "english-is-not-my-mother-tongue" pundits) in front of me, while Vanessa Carlton's "Be Not Nobody" album (circa 2003) plays softly from my nearby laptop in order to establish an academic mood for myself.

Unfortunately, the music has not succeeded in nudging my frame of mind towards the intellectual leaning that I hoped it would. Instead, it has only succeeded in transporting me backwards in history, to all the different times that I discovered that music has saved me.
Specifically Vanessa Carlton's music.
(Well, early Avril Lavigne, too. But Vanessa's music, in my humble opinion, has progressively become more mature and tasteful while Avril's... *sigh*) but I'll get back to that.

See, maybe it's not just the music that has me gazing wistfully at my not-so-effervescent past, maybe it has something to do with the fact that tomorrow is just another in my long line of valentine days which I will spend numb, working and date-less.

Now, it's not that I don't have, well, dates. It's just that I think I deserve better. Which is surprising. Because the only thing (I'm inclined to think) that is "beautiful" about me is my mind. (Okay, that and my 'mind-shattering' er... "bedding". But you'd have to get to really know me first before I let you see my sheets!)

Yeah. I feel I deserve better, not like one of those whimsical dreamers who want the angel-ina jolie body that they can only see on a TV screen. Nope I feel I deserve better because I've MET better. I've met people who have pushed all logical neurological signaling out of my brain. Leaving the palpitations of my heart to take precedence with regards to the electrical stimulation required for action. I've seen, I've (even occasionally) "come", but honestly, shamefully, I've never really "conquered". At least if conquering can be considered to be having someone under your control (or spell or whatever-) for the rest of the person's life.

In essence, due to some unfortunate Pavlovian conditioning, once I "fall in love" with a real live woman being, it just seems mandatory that I have to fall into love unrequited.
And I've played it in every way that I know of, highlighting the broad spectrum of my multiple personalities: the brilliant nerd, the sensitive writer/artist, the rakish rap star, the (pseudo) successful medical doctor...
Nah, it's never worked.

And each time, I could go back home and drown in the music.
Maybe not so much to 'drown' as to "bathe" in the melody and get the feeling of love requited.
Music has always saved me from dying from a broken heart.
Cause music never told me I'm too nerdy or too unkempt or too poor to love me back.
Music never said "its not you, it's me."
Music never said "I'd LOVE to go out with you sometime. Just not today, though. Maybe when I'm back from the peace corps"
Music never lied to me.
(Well, except maybe that one time when Ma$E said "I thought I told you that we don't stop?" just a meager few months before he actually did stop.)
Music never cheated on me. (except maybe that one time when I found out that Celine Dion's "Let's Talk About Love" album did not feel we should be exclusive and I found it with nearly every other guy that I knew!)

I could go out, explore the world, return battered and broken, and music could always caress me back into health. Filling my cheeks with rosiness, my mind with optimism, and my heart bursting to the seams with song.
Music always loved me.
(At least until I tried making money off her, then she turned into a b!+{#.)

But she's always there for me still, I guess.
Not exactly helping me study, but at least she's here to make me feel happy, regardless of what my examiners will have to say in the matter.

And she's the only person I'll spend my valentine's day with.

At least she'll not stand at my door, fingers a-snapping and neck a-twisting, looking all dressed up yet irritable, asking, "Where's My Valentine present?!"

Happy Valentine's day, y'all.

Its your boy,

Fly Fellow, Y'all!
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

When Democracy Fails.

The world is now a better place. At least, that's what SOMEbody would like us to believe. The arab nations that were previously governed by dictators and terrorists are in the process of being washed clean by the phenomenon called arab 'spring', heralding a new dispensation of hope, humanism and the pursuit of happiness. Libya's erstwhile superhero, savior and suzerain was 'helped' out of power and into the afterlife by "concerned" international powers and disgruntled intranational minions who had forgotten the positive changes which his seizure of power had brought upon the land, perhaps because those positive changes had been so long ago, amnesia was inevitable.
These winds of change have blown so far and wide across the globe that 'uprising' has become the most contagious disease since childhood measles! It is bordering on epidemic proportions. Sudan. Iraq. Afghanistan. (Pause while I google up lesser known countries)

Which brings us to the Population-explosion fuelled "Giant of Africa": ('Gassed', anyone?) Nigeria. Barely 6 months ago, we conducted what had previously been tagged as the 'freest and fairest elections the country had ever seen', save for the "June 12" debacle. We voted en-masse for a president who epitomized the "rags to riches" tale (which we forgot was the basis for the 'american dream', NOT the all-too-familiar 'nigerian nightmare').
He'd had no shoes he said. Forget that some diviners, after due consultation with the spirit of his late father, refuted those claims saying his bare-footedness was not for lack of good shoes but for lack of the good sense to wear them. We chose to believe him. And we (at least, a whole lot of us) voted him in.

Fools, we were. I must say.

Or maybe we weren't. Maybe by some unforseeable miracle, a quantum misappropriation of time, space and intention, we would be right. Our present president will ACTUALLY do our nation some good. But that is unforseeable, like I said. It remains to be seen.
But I've personally always had to use glasses to correct my sight.
Maybe it's just me.

But right now, at this moment in time, I know I'm not alone in the feelings of disappointment, of betrayal of trust, of hopelessness that overwhelms one on consideration of the affairs of this nation. And the question in EVERYBODY's mind is quite singular: "Can we return our president and get a Refund, please?"
(Let's not even talk about the first lady! "Buy one get one free" ended up being "buy one, let one flee"!!!)

I mean, WE got him barely 6 months ago. Don't we get some sort of warranty, a receipt which we can take back to the store? "We voted this thing for president a few months ago and, um, all it has done since then is allocate over 35% of our national budget into its unseen recesses, worsen our feelings of insecurity, increase the foreign debt, the cost of living and of fuel, and do nothing for our general standard of living! It's not working, not doing it's job the way the promotional leaflet said it would. Ummm, can we exchange it for a cheaper model, at least?"

I mean, at present, the situation in Nigeria is so bad that you can't even wish a ATHEIST 'good luck' in his/her endeavors, you don find trouble be that o!
"No! Don't wish me good luck, abeg. 'God's grace' is preferable!"
I mean, I thought you don't BELIEVE in God?! Sorry.
*BBM confused face.*

I have been in complete agreement with the philosophy of the #OccupyNigeria movement. And I cheered eagerly from the sidelines as I found millions of nigerians pouring out of their homes to protest the callous treatment of our citizenry by our government.
I was suitably unhappy to find out that the police, who are unable to fight for their rights due to the nature of their vows-slash-oaths of, er office, were busy killing the people who were fighting for privileges that they, the police, would also benefit from.
I was also sadly disappointed by the 'cop-out' by our labour leaders, who for some reason, decided to stop the fight for the common man. And looking back on the events of the past week, I wonder, "IS THIS THE DEMOCRACY?"
**BBM confused face*

Is this the so-called 'government of the people, by the people, for the people' (I'm not sure if it's in that particular order) that we have been fighting for? Is this what the international community claims to be, not just a stimulant, but a prerequisite for development and economic growth? Is this how it works? Despite the fact that 99% of the country's working and non-working population disagreed with a policy, our 'democracy' forced it upon us?
That is what people like MKO Abiola were martyred for?
Something MUST be wrong.

I decided to find out what it is. I took out time to compare ours with the models that were the basis of our so-called democracy. And I observed some differences which make our democracy to be nothing more than an illusion (for us) and lip service to the international powers that be. A few of the things I noticed were these:

1."Mid-term elections" (and the lack thereof): This, I noticed, was the singular most important difference between our democracy and that of the first world. In the middle of each presidential (or prime ministerial, lol) term, the people get to reward (or punish) their leader for his (or her) actions thus far, by voting for or against members of his/her party during their mid term elections which select who the legislators will be. As a result of that, the head of government is already under pressure FROM WITHIN HIS PARTY (wow!) to carry out policies that will please the populace. Else, the party will lose their majority in the senate or house or parliament or what have you. This is a vital recipe for the international standard of democracy. And we are completely lacking in this. In our own uniquely naijacentric brand of democracy, we elect a king, his court and his cohorts who will lord it over us for the full term, giving ourselves absolutely no say in the government's affairs for the full run of the term.
What can we do? If a single party owns the presidency, senate and house of reps, there is no voice of dissent or reason to help stir the country away from disaster, they all move together to trample upon us all for 4 complete years. I mean, a president would be more careful in a house or senate where other parties have a say because there is always the off-chance that they will get together to impeach him.

2. Representative Gap: in better economies, Aldermen or councillors or senators have offices in their home zones, close to the people they represent. Their people have access to them, infact, their people must have had multiple opportunities to interact with them PERSONALLY before they even get voted into office. These are not imports from a central party processing zone, being given a senatorship or house of rep-ship as appeasement or 'settlement', they are outstanding (and locally known) exceptional members of the community that they will go on to represent. As a result, any decision that they make in the house ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE THEY REPRESENT would better BE on the people's behalf. Because they'll have a lot of explaining to do DIRECTLY to the people they represent. Not so down here. Our legislators are exalted members of the King's court forced upon us by their political godfathers playing (and preying) upon our collective helplessness and gullibility. They are unreachable, untouchable, unavailable, unassailable. They don't answer to us. They answer to no one, not even God!

3. Campaign Funding. The love of money is the root of all evil, the Bible says. Rarely does it happen that a human being brings out crippling, mind numbing sums of funds to contribute for another person's benefit if he himself has not, or will not gain in the short, medium or long term. In crime thrillers they say "follow the money (trail) and you'll find the murderer" and it is a simple fact. Money wahala dey even cause divorce! (Flesh of my flesh, kee? Where MY MONEY?) The source of election campaign funds should be transparent, publicly declared, and same funds should have a ceiling, a maximum amount that individuals or corporations can donate to any given electoral candidate. Because any amount more than what common sense dictates will point to ulterior motives. And it is a fact: If two rival companies donate the exact same amount to a candidate's campaign, they have an equal influence over the government, canceling each other out. But leaving election donations uncontrolled would allow richer corporations and individuals to 'put the government in their pocket', giving themselves unfair advantages and only pushing policies/legislation which they alone will gain from, to the detriment of the poorer 'masses'.

I'm not really into politics. I hate the lies, the mud, the grime, and the slinging thereof. I hate the constant recycling of family names in the same elevated positions. And I usually have too short an attention span to keep up with it all. But a point arises in the life and times of an individual and a nation when we have to become more accountable, more responsible for our environment and what happens in it.

And without these seemingly trivial changes, all we can do is put our collective destinies in the hands of a 4 (or 8) year dictator who, along with his goons, will plunder our foreign reserves, increase our debts, and place crippling burdens upon us all, all the while bumbling with ineptitude in the simplest, most basic, routine chores of an elected official. And then we'll have to hope that our labour leaders have the spirit to take on the tyrants who we imposed on ourselves.

I take this opportunity to thank everyone who left their houses and congregated at each meeting point to protest this evil, risking life, limb and luxury. I hail you. May your days be long and may God bless us all.

Unfortunately, when democracy fails, we can't do anything about it. We can't return it to the americans and britons and ancient greeks and say "No, thanks. It wasn't working for us". We can't hope for a hard Jerry Rawlings to come and cleanse us of our greed, inertia and nepotism because history is typically unkind to revolutionaries no matter what they achieve for the 'common man' (think Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte. Fidel Castro, Muammar Ghaddafi). All we can do is what we have done already: Let our grievances be heard, try to make a change by working within the system and MOST OF ALL, pray. (Think Abacha, lol)
*BBM angel face*

Its your boy,
Fly fellow, y'all!