Posts Tagged ‘Ferguson’

Well hello again people and literate non-humans everywhere!

I’ve killed about 40 mosquitos tonight so I’m feeling quite productive. I hope all of your Novembers are going well. I hear it’s starting to get pretty chilly up north. (Welcome to Buffalo. Come for the wings, stay because you can’t find your car.) I hope everyone is buckling down appropriately. It’s cooling down a bit here in Bamako as well, but all that really means is that my clothes are not quite as drenched in sweat.

This week I had a lot of fun working with my students of various levels. Games and music are invaluable teaching tools! Who knew Somewhere Over The Rainbow and What A Wonderful World could turn into an hour long lesson. Work is fun and actually feels productive on a real level. It feels good. I went to a party this weekend and had dinner next to a former Olympian from Togo! That was a surprise. She was really cool. That wasn’t a surprise.

This weekend, for Thanksgiving, I’ll have the house to myself. Dad’s packing his longsleeves and gloves for Paris, but I’m just hanging in Bamako. This marks my first Thanksgiving without any sort of celebration but no worries, I’m actually kind of excited. It’s not my favorite holiday anyway. Just as a heads up: next week’s post will be all about why. The Holidaze are indeed in effect. Tra La La La La.

So as I write this I am watching news coverage of multiple protests across the United States in response to the Wilson/Brown non-indictment. There are a plethora of issues surrounding how this situation has been handled, partially by violent protestors, but more so by the agents of the justice system in my opinion. Whatever the final verdict might be or have been, there was definitely enough evidence here to constitute probable cause for a trial. (Grand juries only need to find probable cause, not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt) This is disconcerting. Now the evidence and witnesses need not appear in public trials. Instead, the entire process concerning the state killing of an unarmed man has occurred in secret, behind closed doors. Most paying attention are unfortunately not very surprised by the non-indictment, but it still hurts nonetheless. Tear gas, tanks, and riot shields now fill the streets of Ferguson, like they did in some of the police-induced riots I’ve witnessed with my own eyes at the University of Maryland and in the District of Columbia. The police system was built on the system of overseers in the days of slavery to protect plantation owners’ property, i.e. their slaves. So it’s no surprise that recent pro-Wilson rallies have been supported and organized by the KKK.

Prejudice plus power equals racism. The system is racist. Now it just gets leftover military-grade weaponry from our campaigns in the Middle East, to make it militant as well. And people wonder why every 28 hours a black man is shot dead by police in the U.S. The police system in the U.S. is rotten to its core. So much so that even good police get neutralized. Hell, I wanted to be a cop myself when I was younger until I learned how different things were than the public-servant/protect-and-serve idea I was taught in public school (no surprise there).

I fear for my fellow Americans. I fear for us all. Robert Kennedy once said, “and let them say of us as they said of Rome; they made a desert and called it ‘peace.'” Unfortunately that’s the direction we are, have been, and continue to head in today. As someone on Twitter just said as well, the problem with a non-indictment here is not more riots, but more Darren Wilsons. I don’t believe in praying, but tonight I just might.

Stay safe out there tonight. Tear gas and gunfire is in the air. Stay on your toes.

Onward and upward.
Z

Bonjour mes amis!

It’s halfway through November already, and I already miss the rain. The red laterite dust that blankets the ground here in Mali really does blanket everything. And with the end of the rainy season it only gets dustier. The brownish red paints everything with at least a single layer of tint. Buildings, streets signs, sidewalks, plants, everything has a slight tint of this deep, almost bloody red.

They tell me the rain won’t come again until next year. Bamako is barely in the Northern hemisphere so it is generally starting to get a little cooler now. This helps one to forget it’s effectively stopped raining until next August. However if I am to understand correctly, once April hits, it will be the real hot season and I’ll want to kill myself. Happy Birthday to me. In the end I’m confident these “seasons” will have little to no effect on my wardrobe. Either way, sleeveless all day. The only thing that could change is I might just eliminate shirts from my wardrobe entirely.

I’m actually kind of glad I have no current plans to visit the States for the holidays. Not because I wouldn’t love to see all my friends and family back home, but I hear the U.S. is starting to be pretty tough on people entering the country from Mali, and I would prefer not to have someone follow me around for 20 days taking my temperature. No, I’ll happily stay in my corner of the Sahara and catch up on my reading.

Last week Edmond took a five-day trip back to Togo to pick up his family and bring them back up to Bamako to live here with him. Thankfully his trip through the Ebola hot zone was a grand success! This has been his plan ever since moving to Bamako, so I’m ecstatic that he found a way to actually make that happen. He grew up working in the fields in Togo with a drunkard for a father, paying his own way through grade school and learning the culinary trade. Now he and his family have an apartment in Bamako. His kids get the chance to grow up in a major international city because he has worked his ass off his whole life. That’s what it’s all about in my book. Hoo-rah!

French is slowly becoming less of a mystery. I can understand a good amount of what I hear. Now the challenge comes to being able to speak it back to the world. I’ve got faith. Today in class I learned a phrase I doubt I’ll forget. La haine est la fille de l’amour. Hate is the daughter of love. That’s some gnarly stuff right there.

Well, that’s all I’ve got from my end for now. Just to throw some news in here, shout out to Anonymous for hacking the KKK’s twitter account and posting St. Louis members’ identities online after their chapter threatened protestors there with “lethal force.” Now that’s what I call hacktivism. If you’re interested, look up #OpKKK. Good stuff.

Have a good one Internet. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

Onward and upward,
Z