Was Gaddafi a Bad President?

The whole world is messed up, badly!

Most of the African leaders have received millions of dollars from Libya’s Gaddafi (at one time Gaddafi has also accused or made claims to have given millions of dollars to the French Prime Minister for his re-election campaign and he wanted it back).

That’s why some African leaders have not been vocal publicly to condemn Gaddafi’s accused atrocities for his people, but then again, they are also afraid to publicly show their support for him.

And the West, they have always wanted Libya’s oil but Gaddafi has been a pain in a butt to cooperate with them, so the best option to get access to his oil is to take him out; which they did (and the soonest he’s killed, Libya’s oil started to flow into the world’s market).

Now, domestically, Gaddafi did a decent job for the economy in Libya. He had setup decent infrastructure for his people in his country. And only about 7.2% of the Libyan population lives under US$2 day unlike in many developing countries, especially in Africa. And the unemployment rate in Libya is at 40%, but most of the basic services such as education, healthcare, etc., in Libya were government subsided.

Apart from the alleged inhuman treatment of his people, Gaddafi provided decent basic necessities for his people. But in most countries, you would always have the ”loud mouth” opponents or opposition parties who when they speak, they sound as though they represent the rest of the citizens, just because they somehow feel dissatisfied with their government. It’s like saying that when some Republicans in the US voice their dissatisfied with Obama’s presidency, that when they open their loud mouths, that they speak on behalf of all the Americans, but that’s not how it is and that’s not how it should be. But when these loud mouths get any media attention, then they open their loud mouths as though they are speaking on behalf of everyone else.

Yes, Gaddafi mistreated and torched his people inhumanly, as accused, and I am not condoning his alleged actions, but he also did some good for his country.

So, who’s right to condemn Gaddafi? Depends on who you are and your thinking motive thereof. I believe everyman has and should have an equal access to a fair judicial system. No one is guilty until otherwise proven guilty. And those who commit these heinous killings, like what we have seen today, killing Gaddafi and pulling and kicking his corpse on the streets, just because he is accused of being wrong, then those who have killed and kicked his body around the streets are no different from the accused himself.

No human body should be pulled and kicked around the streets as what we see happening to Gaddafi et al. Every human being has a God given value, and no matter how guilty one is, there should be some kind of decency and humanly treatment.

If you gonna kill someone and pull his or her body on the street and kick his or her corpse around the streets while celebrating, then what makes you any different from the accused?

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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.

A Product of Your Own Environment?

Yesterday night, my friend, Reggae Super Star Lucky Dube was killed in a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, by a punk who tried to hijack his car as he was dropping of his son at his brother’s house.

And, as I sit here right now, not really currently interested in doing anything, work or study, but just sitting here listening to some of Lucky Dube’s music. Everything that he used to sing, are issues about life, real social life that affect most people around the world.

Lucky Dube used to sing about real issues, real life, things that he has always known most of his life, things he has seen with his own eyes, things he has experienced while growing up in an apartheid era South Africa.

Lucky Dube is a product of his own environment and he died from what he has always been against, violence; which he has been fighting for most of his life. He has sung against poverty and apartheid, some of his music were banned in South Africa, and he used to get harassed by the South African police and the Boers prior to the South African independence in 1994.

Like everybody else in South Africa and Namibia until 1990 and 1994, they all have experienced the same hardship caused by the South African apartheid government, but there were those who stood up for what they believed in, and Lucky Dube was one of those who stood up, and in whatever he could, he fought for what he believed in and he died with that belief.

The question is; whether you live in America, UK, or India, what’s your environment, what are you made of? Are you a product of a hardship upbringing, poor family, bad neighborhood, or you’re simply filthy rich that you just don’t even know what you supposed to do with your life?

For whatever your situation or circumstance is; what are you doing about it? Are you just sitting back and let it go by and be the way it is? Or will you stand up and do what you believe is right and just?

South Africans and Namibians have stood up and fought for what is rightfully theirs, freedom. Martin Luther King Jr., fought for what he believed in, equality and civil rights for all Americans.

Gandhi stoop up and fought for his rights in South Africa and then for peace and freedom for all Indians in India.

What about you, what do you believe in? What’s your purpose in life? Is eating, drinking and being merry your only purpose, that’s it?

Now, that South Africa is free, the fight is not yet over, the war is just beginning and the people of South Africa should stand up in uprising and march in multitude, just the way they used to prior to 1994, not with guns and weapons, but they must uprise against crime that’s ravaging South Africa and against HIV/AIDS that’s destroying and killing people of all ages in South Africa.

The real war is just beginning in South Africa, and it’s up to each and every South African, anywhere in the world, to say, enough is enough; they must take back their country, their communities, and their way of life.

The murdering of Lucky Dube by one schmuck should serve as a wakeup call. It’s not just a reminder of how dangerous South Africa has become in terms of crime, but it’s a turn off for some outsiders who may wish to travel to or for some foreigners who may want to do go business in South Africa.

It has been said over and over that crimes and AIDS in South Africa have become one of the worst in the world. It has been said over and over that once the 5 o’clock in the afternoon hits, you should fold yourself to your own place, and don’t be anywhere near downtown Johannesburg after office hours.

This does not sound like a free country, this sounds like a curfew that the South African apartheid government had imposed in Namibia and South Africa prior to independence.

People, wake up and speak up, it’s your world, it’s your country, it’s for your family, your children, your parents, it’s your livelihood.

Stand up, please stand up!

African-Americans Disgust Obama, Boost Hillary Clinton, Poll Finds

In the United States, racism has been merely historically defined and accepted only by certain individuals and groups as a distinct and complete separation between whites and blacks, with the belief that all white people are intrinsically superior to all blacks, anywhere, but the real and always has been hidden racial separation can now be intrinsically seen, felt and observed among black Americans towards black Africans in America.

U.S. Senator Barack Hussein Obama, the only African American male in the U.S. senate, who when he ran for and won the seat in the U.S. senate in November 2004, he was seen by many African Americans as the glory black-knight with the shining rescuing armor, a dream in the making, and a breakthrough in the United States politics.

Not only that he has become the most caring, charming, and distinctive black representative in the U.S. Senate for the state of Illinois, but as the first and only black male in the U.S. senate, he was seen by many as the true representative of all the black people in the U.S. senate.

However, because Obama was born to a black Kenyan father and to an American mother, who’s white, as a candidate for the 2008 U.S. presidential election, most African Americans do not really perceive him as being black enough, not because his mother is white but simply because his father is an African, born and raised in Africa, or the jungle as most refer to it.

The racial separation between black Americans and black Africans in America can be clearly and visibly observed, felt and experienced anywhere in most areas in America, where most black Americans seem to honestly reject the notion of completely associating with black Africans in America in terms of having personal relationships such as marriages, dating, and business partnerships.

It’s just as hard finding a black African male dating or married to an African American woman, as it’s rare finding an African American woman, dating or married to a black African man. But you’ll find most African men and women dating or married to white men or women in America, one example as that of Barack’s father.

If going to most historical black colleges in the US, you can clearly observe a great social separation between black American students and black African students. They only mostly socialize in classes and cafeterias, but they rarely talk to each other. You would find black African students sitting on one side and black American students playing or sitting on the other side either in Cafeterias or during many social events. While at most integrated colleges, most black African students rather associate and mingle with white students instead of black American students.

One can easily conclude that Africans are the one who isolate themselves and try to separate themselves away from black Americans, but most black Africans get tired of being labeled and mocked at and making fun of such as, as an African whether you sleep under a tree back in Africa, or have seen and chased lions and tigers, or have an electricity and phones in Africa, et cetera.

Most African Americans don’t even know the difference whether Africa is a continent or a country, and most of them still think that Africa is a country; they don’t know that Africa is just a continent composed of many different independent countries such as Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, etc.

Also, it’s just funny how some news media make a distinction when reporting about something that might has happened in Africa. They rather say South Africa, Morocco or Egypt when reporting something that has happened in those countries and would simply refer to other countries in Africa as Africa instead of mentioning the individual countries’ names such as Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi, etc.

In the movie, Coming to America (1988), starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, which depicts two young men from Africa who travel to America for Prince Akeem of Zamunda, accompanied by his friend Semmi, to look for the love of his life. In that movie, one can see the true stereotype of how most black Americans really treat Africans, even today.

Although Barack Obama is an American by birth, many black Americans still perceive him as not a complete African American enough, thus most black Americans rather support Hillary Clinton. And this is not based on Barack’s campaign platform or belief or experience, issues, etc., but mostly because of his national origin, being a half black African and white American, and not a fully blooded African American per se. So, in the case of African Americans supporting more of Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama, it is not by mistakes but just an old trend and true stereotype of how most black Americans do not cling to Africans.

But the tribalism and racism among Africans is not something new. It’s an old practice that dates back even before the age of slavery and or African occupation by white people. For hundreds of years, Africans have been waging war against each other, kings versus kings, tribes against tribes, and nations against other nations, bloody killing each other in hundreds and millions. And this is still going on in many different countries in Africa today, such as in Darfur, Sudan, Congo, etc.

Racism among black people does not merely begin with white people or the slavery, but has been going on for centuries and it is still growing strong. The only difference is that the world outside Africa doesn’t really care nor has really honestly ever cared to help end the misery and put a stop to what’s happening in Africa when coming to violence and civil wars.

Many countries in Africa have gained independence over 40 or 60 years ago from their colonizers. And no matter how rich the African continent is, in terms of mining, agricultural and wildlife, Africans are still dead-suffering, simply because of their ignorance to put aside their tribal and racial differences and work together for the sake of making their life better, healthier, happier and productive.

As for this nasty and filthy separation between black Americans and black Africans in America, this just goes way back to how Africans used to live and still live among each other today, no matter where they are, they fight each other, kill each other, and hurt each other. And at front of it all; it’s humanity crisis, the loud cry of parentless, poor, and AIDS stricken children in Africa is heard throughout the nights, every night, but sadly, no one is listen to any of them. The world does not care.

As in America, you’ll find black gangs and drug dealers, selling each other stupid and deadly poisons such as cracks, cocaine, etc., in almost every city in America, prisons and in many different institutions, where black fights against each other. No wonder there’re beer houses and gun shops in almost every corner of every black suburb in America, just so they can destroy and kill each other for good, just as it always has been, in Africa.

So it’s true that you can take an African out of Africa, but you cannot take Africa out of an African, even here in America. And before you shake your head in disgust, there’s still and will always be Africa in all of us.

The question is; how far can this go on, and when is enough is enough?