The Biggest Events of 2008 the World Community Has Ignored

1. The Darfur Crisis – thousands of civilians, women and children, are suffering and most are dying each day, from violence, diseases, and hunger, but no one wants to do anything. The UN seems to have stalled, powerless, or simply doesn’t care anymore, or never cared in the first place. Does China still threaten to veto any UN resolution which could help end the Darfur crisis?

2. The Zimbabwe Crisis – the world community has been barking but not biting at the Zimbabwean government to end the crisis. They want African governments to force Mugabe out of the office, but the fact is this; since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 from Britain, Mugabe and his government acted as the guardian and pillar of other African neighboring countries, such as South Africa and Namibia, which helped them gain their independence from the South African Minority Apartheid Regime, thus most African leaders, with the exception to Botswana and Kenya’s opposition Prime Minister, are reluctant to pressure Mugabe to leave the office, because they feel like they still owe Mugabe. In the mean time, the majority of Zimbabweans are suffering. The recent report by BBC News states that about 1,564 people have died in Zimbabwe from Cholera. The country’s inflation is over 231,000,000%, healthcare facilities are non-functional, water in cities doesn’t run any more. Thus the majority of Zimbabweans are fleeing to neighboring South Africa. And what is Mugabe doing? He’s laughing at the West, calling them stupid, probably because they have become idle spectators. Read more at CNN.com.

3. The Somalia Pirates Crisis – welcome to the 8th century Mercantilism, when the Romans and the Greeks used to fight against the pirates, in almost the exact same area off of the coast of Somalia. Did you know that the insurance was invented by a band of British gentlemen in England as a result of ocean storms and pirates against their merchants’ ships to and from the New World? On the coast of present day Somalia, a band of pirates have been capitalizing on seizing foreign ships and cargos in return for hefty ransoms. It was reported that in 2008 alone, they profited over $100 million in ransom payment. What are the world powers; China, US, UK, Germany, etc, doing to end this crazy thing, pretty much nothing. They seem incapacitated by the Somali pirates.

4. Haiti – this is a country in the Western Hemisphere, but it is one of the poorest countries in the world. In November, a school in Haiti collapsed which caused at least 88 school kids to die, with another 150 injured. Not only that the school has caused devastation to Haiti, but many Haitians still live in poverty, and ravaged by all kinds of diseases.

5. The Israel-Palestine Crisis – about 320 Palestinians have died in just less than 3 days as a result of Israel’s all out war against Hamas. Since the recent signing of the Peace deal between Israel and Hamas government, Hamas has been firing rockets inside Israel, killing about 8 Israelis. In response, Israel has waged war against Palestine. Bush has become silent, while PE Obama has been a spectator. Read more at CNN.com.

In all, innocent civilians around the world are dying, children and women are hurting and endlessly suffering. The crisis in the Niger Delta, the Guinea’s recent military coup, coupled by the recent bombing of India’s hotels. Overall, President-elect Obama has a full plate waiting for him starting January 20th.

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What Every Organism Wants: Sexual Selection

Yes, the title is an indicative to capture your attention. And, since you’all seem so tired and perhaps stressed out, well, we are now in “officially” a recession. Perhaps, an economic depression is next, but not soon or may be never, I hope.

So, I wanted to arouse your attention for a minute and entertain your curiosity. The following may rather be out of the box discussion, but we may as well have an interesting discussion, other than focusing on the news about job loss, layoffs, rise of unemployment, etc. So here it is.

What Every Organism Wants: Sexual Selection

This week, in my biological evolution and speciation class, we had an interesting discussion, a lecture from my professor, Dr. Taylor at Ohio State University, focusing on sexual selection. The subject was about mate choice between males and females for reproduction.

The question that Dr. Taylor posed was: “If sexual preference was not biological but a choice, then how did you make your choice?”

Now my question is this; if you are a man, did you hop from one man to the next, different men each time, any number of times, and then to a woman, different women each time, any number of times, testing your sexual preference?

Likewise, if you are woman, did you also hop from one woman to the next, different women any number of times, and then to a man, different men each time, any number of times to test and decide your sexual preference?

So, how did you decide your sexual preference?

Wrisen, a New Facebook App to Help Users Remember Their Loved Ones

Wrisen

Within just a few days, I am going to launch my new social application on Facebook.

Wrisen is designed to enable social networking users to create, share, and browse profiles for all their passed loved ones, both humans and pets.

Users will post their loved ones’ photos and videos, personal and work history, talents and accomplishments, as well as eulogies, condolences, and memorial gifts to honor, remember, celebrate, and cherish their lives and memories, forever.

The version for MySpace, Hi5, Bebo, and Friendster will follow after I launch Wrisen on Facebook. See the Wrisen demo at Facebook now at this temporary link at http://apps.facebook.com/wrisenbook. When it’s launched, the permanent link will be announced on this blog.

Double-Standard; Still the Surprisingly Insanity Factor

It’s been noted that even in this day and time, certain people of color and perhaps moreover, gender and or religion, still feel like they still have to work twice as hard as their counterparts, just to prove themselves that they are actually just as good as their counterparts and are just as worth of doing something good and or even better just as their counterparts.

I am doing a research for my research project on “double standard tactical usage”, especially in the world of business, sports, academia or whatever else the situation might be unique, and I want to hear some opinions from those while they are trying to do something better to achieving and fulfilling their dreams, goals and wishes in life, that they feel mistreated, left out, or simply being passed out by either not given an opportunity, promotion or a fair play, because they believe it is because of their race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

If you are one of these and especially if you are an entrepreneur, athlete, politician, or whatever else it is that you are, or trying to do, and in your conquest to realizing your dream and potential, that you’ve experienced some kind of perhaps discrimination or double standard tactics, whereby you feel like you’ve been particularly left out and have not been given a fair chance or an opportunity simply because you believe it is based on your color, race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, creed or sexual orientation, I’d like to hear from you with your particulars, story and your mistreated experience by anyone, anywhere within the last 10 years.

Please email me with your details and particulars; just your first name, city, state (if in US), country, race, gender, and age at research (at) rentersq.com. If necessary, I may need to talk to you or email you back to learn more about your case and situation.

I need at least 1,500 respondents, so please let me hear from you right now.

Fast Forwad; What Would It Be Like, 4.6 Billion Years From Now?

A million years from now, or even a billion years from now, what and how is history going to be written about us, the humans? What’s the earth going to be like, let’s say 10 billion years from now?

Would there be anything left for our children’s children’s future generation? With all the things that are happening everywhere, from global warming, the depletion of ozone layer, the depletion of all the natural resources, from the water in the oceans, the plants, humans and animals, what would be left for the on-coming generation?

What and how is our history going to be written about, 500 million years from now? What’s our excuse for inexcusably messing things up for all the generations and generations to come? How are we going to explain to what we have done to Mother Nature, to everything we govern on this earth?

Some experts estimate the earth to have been formed about 4.6 billion years ago, and from about 250 million years ago, the dinosaurs and other earthly creatures roamed the earth, up to about 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs suffered a major catastrophic distinction, some believes that a large meteorite hit the earth, and that was the cause for a massive distinction to both earthly plants and animals.

About 150 thousand years ago, Adam and Eve were sanctioned to work in the Garden of Eden, and about 4,900 years ago, Moses freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and about 2006 years ago, Jesus was born and crucified on the cross, and on the third day, He was risen.

It’s obvious that history is written for every event, whether it is about Abraham, Noah, the famine in Egypt or the freeing of all the Negro slaves in America about 400 years ago. Every year when history is written and all the major events, good or catastrophic, are all noted at the forefront of the “never-to-be-forgotten” page, let it be the crumbling of the Roman Empire, the British Empire, or the end of World War I, II, Cold War, Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the end of South African Apartheid, the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein Regime, or the current Israel-Lebanon War, in every catastrophic event, the lives of hundreds and thousands of people and animals are unreasonably, incomprehensibly wasted. When a 500lbs bomb is dropped anywhere, every living creature in that area is completely and perhaps forever destroyed, and radiation may stay there for years to come, which may cause incurable diseases and illness both to humans, plants, animals and or birds.

What must we be accountable for, we as humans who have, from the very beginning, have been naturally sanctioned to govern this earth and everything in it? What are we doing to help curb and or stop any future devastating global events that may cause the spread of diseases to our children’s future generation? What’s it that we are supposed to do on here, on this earth? Are we to help build or destroy it? What is it? When history is written 500 years from now, what will it be? What will it say? What are we doing to help make our planet, this planet, to be more habitable for our children’s children future generation? What and how will it be, this planet, planet earth?

Aren’t we supposed to be accountable for all that we do now, so that our children’s children’s future generation, anytime from now, whether it’s 20 years from now or 10 billion years from now, will they have playgrounds and backyards, soccer fields and clean ocean water to play and swim in them? What’s it? Why are we like this now? What do we need to change, all of us, whether it’s Africa, North and South America, Asia, Europe, or Australia? Are we really doing enough to help secure the future of our children’s future generation? Are we? Are you? What and how?

Who’s Killing All The Parents, Kids Ask?

Joseph is 26 years old and lives in Windhoek, Namibia. At the age of 21, he has unexpectedly become the father and mother of his 4 young brothers and 2 sisters, when his most loving mother, Hileni, a school teacher and city councilwoman, the only provider of the family, unexpectedly died from the HIV disease.

Their father, Samuels had died a year before. The youngest child at the time was just less than 4 years old. Fortunately, when Hileni passed away, Joseph has already graduated from high school, and he was planning on going to college, but he could never go, as he had to find a job to support his young brothers and sisters.

Joseph has a brother, Fritz, who is 23 years old and is defying the gravity of their hardship by going to college. He wants to go to Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, and then transfer to UCLA to complete his degree education, so he can one day find a good paying job to help his brothers and sisters.

And by the time Fritz completes his degree education, Joseph would be in his 30s, but Joseph also plans on going to college as soon as Fritz finishes and gets a job to help take over the family load. However for Fritz to find the money he needs to pay for his tuition and fees at SMC is another dream that needs to come true for him, which is almost impossible, his mother and father have died and they have no relatives who can afford to send them to college. With stringent bureaucracy, who and how can anyone even ask the government to help fund their education?

In Columbus, Ohio, Timothy is 20 years old and a second year student at the Ohio State University majoring in Computer Science Engineering. His mother was gunned down in a drug related accident when Timothy was just three years old. His father has had unfortunately fallen a victim of drugs and alcohol since Timothy was little, so he has never been in any place to help raise Timothy and his young brother.

Luckily, Timothy has an aunt who helped raise him and his young brother. And at the age of 14, Timothy was forced to find a job in Richmond, Virginia, at a local McDonald’s restaurant, but because he was just too young to work, he had to lie on his job application that he was in fact 16 years old. He had to work in order to support himself and his young brother.

Timothy calls himself the ‘definition’, the definition of overcoming hardship, struggle, and growing up without any proper supervision and parental love. His favorite word is ‘focus’.

Whenever you talk to Timothy, you would hear that word ‘focus’ lamenting in his tone more than a dozen times. It’s his vocabulary and his reminder to staying focus on what he has always wanted to do, reaching his goal and realizing his potential. He has already defied that by finishing high school no matter what he had faced in his early years of life and by enrolling in college to achieving his dream.

Timothy works more hours each week, more than the hours he needs to study. He has to work in order to pay for his rent and housing expenses, for him and his young brother. However, he’s at least fortunate that he has financial aid and student loans from the U.S. Department of Education to pay for his tuition and fees at the Ohio State University.

Zanelle is a 16 years old from Soweto, South Africa. She has three sisters and one brother. Her father died of AIDS when she was just 12 years old and her mother died of the same disease when she was 14 years old. At 16, Zanelle is the mother and father, provider and bread-winner of her siblings. She dropped out of school in order to work as a brick layer in order to earn money to help and support her brother and sisters.

Her relatives, aunts and uncles have also died of AIDS and the few remaining relatives are also HIV positive. Her 79 years old grandmother is the only one left to help out at home, but what can she really do at her age, except to look after the kids when Zanelle goes to work?

In the rural areas of India, there’s a place well known as Destiny Village (http://www.destinyvillage.org), with children, mostly orphanage, some of whom were abandoned by their families. This same Destiny Village has also been setup in Haiti to help house the same type of children. These two houses have been generously setup and sponsored by members of The Potter’s House Church of God (http://www.pottershouse.org) in Columbus, Ohio, under the leadership of the anointed, Pastor Tim Oldfield.

Some or all of the children in the Destiny Village housing projects, if it was not for the Potter’s House initiatives to help them by providing them with adequate housing, food, and education, God only knows where these kids would be today, most of them would probably be dead, or staying homeless as they once were prior to the Potter’s House initiatives to help them.

In the rural areas of Lundazi in Zambia, Mathias Zimba, director of Rising Fountain Development Program (http://www.risingfountains.org) is trying his utmost best to help families; grandparents, children and HIV positive victims in the whole rural area of Lundazi to have access to medical facilities and education.

Lundazi is one of the largest Districts in the Eastern part of Zambia, with a total population of 296,560, of which the majority live in the Lundazi rural area, while only a small part of the population lives in the city district.

Most of the population of the Lundazi area is HIV positive for those who are still living, while the majority of the parents have died of HIV and only the grandparents are left to raise and look after the orphanage kids.

When only the grandparents, most of them are in their late 70s and 80s, they cannot really provide the children with the care they need and cannot also help them with their educational work, as what normal parents would do. Because most of the grandparents were born during the colonialism and did not have opportunity to get an education. Thus now, the cycle of illiteracy continuous to repeat itself.

“There are a number of policies that have been put in place and slowly being implemented by the Zambian government, though the challenge is that, most of these policies are really only effective in urban areas and trickle at a snail rate into rural areas” said Zimba.

Among some of the notable policies in place by the Zambian government include:

Education Policy – free education for all at Basic Education. However the challenge is that despite being a policy, school authorities still charge a fee ‘user fee’ for students to pay.

“This money is used for operational costs for the school to cover the deficit they have from their lean budgets. Now, in rural areas, where on earth can a family with almost no income meet these costs? The end solution is that in rural areas, some children, particularly girls are left out from school and are forced into early marriages and so forth” said Mr. Zimba.

Healthcare Policy – free HIV/AIDS drugs to people infected with the disease. Zimba said that this is a wonderful policy to allow people who are HIV positive to have access to life saving drugs.

“The challenge is that most of the rural area clinics are centralized near the urban areas and sick people need to walk by foot almost 120 km (about 75 miles) to access the help they desperately need. There is no reliable transportation, despite the community efforts to put up good feeder roads and in the end; people are just dying in the rural areas” said Mr. Zimba.

“What are the consequences? HIV is increasingly being spread throughout the country and grandmothers are now taking over, looking after their grandchildren as due to the death of their own children” Said Zimba.

Agricultural Policy – a good policy has been put in place relating to marketing of farm produce to allow local farmers to sell their produce through a liberalized system in order to earn a few monies to support their families.

“The challenge is that despite all of these wonderful policies for Agriculture, in rural areas, we are only seeing a few “unscrupulous” traders who come and rip off poor farmers and buy their produce at extremely low prices” states Zimba.

“Our main goal really is to help children and women in these areas of Zambia to have a future and fulfill their dreams. But to do that, we need advocacy on our work so that people who have power and resources can help us meet our objectives. We need to help children to have food on the table, medical, clothes and most importantly, a good health system” cries Zimba.

One of the projects that are currently helping and working with the Rising Fountain Development Program is The Pencil Project (http://www.thepencilproject.com) led by Maria Vick and is based in South Carolina, USA.

“I lived in Swaziland as a child and was able to witness poverty firsthand. As you know, a trip to Africa will change anyone forever. I was always struck by the joy and gratefulness that I found in the African people despite the fact that so many had so little” states Mrs. Vick.

“As I’ve matured, now at 36 years of age, I have come to believe that education is the only real way out of poverty and that all the world’s children should have access to the tools they need. A pack of one dozen pencils, something that people in well developed countries take for granted, could help 12 children” states Mrs. Vick.

“In just a short time, my project has gotten a pencil into the hands of over 10,000 needy children. The pencil, though a simple thing, symbolizes education and the promise that I would like every child to feel” Says Maria Vick.

Mrs. Vick says that she acts as a ‘matchmaker’ between a donor school and a needy school. People come to her website who are looking for an easy way to help children in need. The donor school will collect pencils and then ship them to the needy school that she has found for them. And that’s how her organization started working with Mathias Zimba and the Rising Fountain Development Program.

“I believe that Mathias first contacted me, I can’t remember, and we sent an initial shipment of pencils to his students. He responded so beautifully by sending me many photos of the children receiving the pencils. They were so grateful! Their photo is on my homepage. Simon, I cried for days” sadly states Mrs. Vick.

“I have helped numerous needy schools around the world since my project’s inception but something about this program, about Mathias Zimba, and about these students have touched me as they have touched you. I have pledged to personally collect supplies for their school and am currently sending two additional parcels a month of paper, books, etc. all on my own dime” cries Mrs. Vick.

“The children have nothing, no shoes, and no blankets, nothing…and yet they try to come to school every day with a smile on their face. I don’t believe that the UN or any government for that matter is doing much to help the world’s children. There are children that are forgotten all over the world. Even in my state of South Carolina, we have school districts that are terribly underfunded (http://www.corridorofshame.com). I personally feel that we cannot wait for the government to come through for these children. They need materials now and every day that goes by is another lost opportunity for them. I won’t wait for the government. I just want to put the materials into their hands” states Mrs. Vick.

“As far as the children left homeless by AIDS, it is devastating. But it’s all part of a much larger problem which comes back to education. Knowledge is power, Simon. I know that you understand that. It is often difficult to recruit people to help in these efforts if they have never been to Africa or have only ‘seen’ poverty through the television screen in their warm, comfortable living room. That’s why I am focused on the younger generation—the children who email me every day to help. They are so eager and so willing to help build their generation. It encourages me that my small idea has blossomed into something that I never could have imagined” states Mrs. Vick.

Mathias Zimba states that his organization’s main goal is to help children and women in these areas of Zambia to have a future and fulfill their dreams. “But to do that, we need advocacy for our work so that people who have power and resources can help us meet our objectives. We need to help children to have food on the table, medical, clothes and most importantly, a good health system” cries Mr. Zimba.

“Our current urgent need is to allocate funding to help pay teachers at our rural community school, which is US$150 a month in salary for a qualified teacher to work in the rural areas. We need to recruit two qualified teachers to help out. Currently we are only working with volunteers and there is no consistency” Says Zimba.

“Rehabilitation of water wells. Water borne diseases thrive in the rural areas and we want to help them rehabilitate and maintain by forming a water committee. It costs around US$400 to rehabilitate a well and we need to help them rehab approximately 5 wells that will serve 300 members” states Mathias Zimba.

The most important problem currently facing Mr. Zimba is to find someone who may be willing to help them through donations or grants to buy a vehicle that they can use for an ambulance which will help people in his communities be able to go to healthcare clinics and receive medical care they so desperately need.

Most sick people when they walk the long distance to go to collect their daily HIV dozes of medicines, most of them don’t even make it back. They die on the way to the clinics because it takes them up to 3 days to get there by foot.

And when they don’t return home, the kids ask, who’s taking away all of our parents? Who’s killing our parents? Doesn’t God love us anymore? Why has God forsaken us?

The grandparents have no answers to any of these questions, they simply look at the kids and tell them that it’s God’s will that He’s taking them away.

Some of the people, who can afford, use donkey carts to go to and back from the clinics. Zimba believes that finding someone to help them with a van that they can use as a vehicle will tremendously help them solve one of the most critical problems of getting the sick to the healthcare.

The week of October 16, 2007, Jennie who is one of the volunteers from Ireland who arrived last week to volunteer at the Rising Fountain Development Program, brought Mr. Zimba and his team an award, presented to them by Mayor Edwin Stevenson of Limavady City, Ireland, who awarded Mathias Zimba and his group as a recognition for their outstanding community work.

“This is great news for all of us. It’s a great daily challenge being faced with so many problems in our community, and this award encourages us to work relentlessly and help people in our community as much as we can. We just need help, more resources and supports in order to enable us to carry on with our tasks, even a small contribution can help make a difference in a big way” states Mr. Zimba.

In the near future, Mathias Zimba and his organization want to initiate a cooperative program to help farmers sell their produce at economic prices and raise income for their savings.

“There are many other organizations such as WVI, Global Fund, and others that are working for the same cause in Zambia, but most of these organizations are centralized in large cities and towns and don’t really reach people in rural areas” says Mr. Zimba.

There are many Josephs, Timothys, Zanelles, Destiny Villages and Lundazis out there, all around us, everywhere in the world, and the question is, what are you doing to help out?

If you would like to learn more or find out how you can help Mathias Zimba and his organization, The Rising Fountain Development Program, please visit their web site at http://www.risingfountains.org.

About Simon Kapenda

Simon Kapenda is a volunteer author of this article. He’s founder of Tip-Mart, Inc., (http://www.tipmart.com) and developer of RentersQ (http://www.rentersq.com) and Gatepedia (http://www.gatepedia.com). He’s a student in Economics at the Ohio State University, a self-declared serial entrepreneur, speaker, and philanthropist, and an avid amateur blogger at his blog at http://www.princesimon.com.

A Call for an African Community Forum

There’re many business, economic and political forums in the world such as World Economic Forum, World Business Forum, TransAfrica Forum, and other forums that meet regulary or yearly to discuss issues that pertain and matter to them.

The murdering of Lucky Dube reminds the world of just how the violence has gotten out of control in South Africa, as well as in most countries in Africa, the cry of hundreds of thousands of parentless children, whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, lack of access to quality education and healthcare, the poverty and corruption in many different African countries call for an immediate and actionable action to figure out how to severely take whatever the necessary steps to put an end to these inhumane.

In the honor of Lucky Dube, I am calling for the establishment of an African Community Forum, a free non-political and non-partisan peaceful discussion forum for a multitude of young African people to get together to discuss, decide and make strong and actionable recommendations to the world bodies such as the United Nations and the developed countries about what steps must be taken to immediately ensure that these issues as stated far above can be eradicated effectively.

We can organize the first African Community Forum to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2008. This will be a weekend long events, composed of panelists, questions and answers discussion style, workshops, and a celebration of life through music and storytelling, and at the end of the events, there would be a selection of five individuals who would be tasked to go present the recommendations and outcomes of the events to the United Nations in New York. The African Community Forum will then make a persistent follow up to make sure that these recommendations are implemented.

Each year, the African Community Forum will then gather together in any selected city anywhere in Africa to discuss certain issues that matters to the African people.

These events are for senior high school students, college students, academia professors, and business and community leaders. Transportation, food and lodging to and from the African Community Forum will be provided.

It’s time to step up. During the apartheid era, students around the world used to march and demonstrate on the streets against the injustices by the South African apartheid government, and likewise, it’s time to step up against violence, HIV/AIDS, corruption, poverty, and better education and healthcare.

I am looking for well-placed individuals to help carry out these events. Interested individuals and parties should contact me via email at simon(at)rentersq.com, immediately.