Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No, I didn't do it for you...

I put away this book " I didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation" by Michela Wrong for God knows how long. Well not longer than a Month and half I guess. I finally got down to reading this book on my way to Lagos from Bamako, the journey which took 39 hours provided me time and space to read this book. I finished it on my way back to Bamako. Was I glad I read this book? Oh yes, I did!
It makes things simpler to grab an academic piece that is literarily simply written, easy to read, captivating with deep in depth of research. Making this academic work into a book is a very wonderful initiative. I am soon to start another book by the same author titled " It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower". The question I will like to ask before I proceed on talking about this book is, how many of us have ever heard of ERITREA, how many of us is aware of the existence of this country of five million people? How many of us know the sordid history of what Eritrea and its people have gone through and what they are currently going through in the hands of their own very leader? The Eritrean phenomenon is a touching one indeed.

Eritrea is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti with an extensive coastline on the REDSEA, the fact that made Eritrea desirable by the Italy who captured it in 1890. The British eventually took control of Eritrea in 1941. With Ethiopian under the rule of their powerful, larger than life emperor
Haile Selassie on the side waiting to have Eritrea as part of its country, again because of the strategic importance of Eritrea to the redsea coastline. Going through the gruesome details of what Eritreans suffered from being tossed around or even being captured will mean re-writing Michela Worng's book which I will ask everyone to get and read.

The United States federated Eritrea and Ethiopia via resolution (390)A of the UN. A step that sealed the faith of Eritrea in the hands of Ethiopia with a federation agreement that was largely ignored by Ethiopia. Ethiopia changed the official language of Eritrea to Amharic and made it diffcult for Eritrea to have a say on how things so be run in Eritrea. Lack of regard for this federation agreement led Ethiopia and Eritrea into a 30 years war that ended in 1991 and led to Eritrea independence in 1993. During the period of the "mutliple colonialism" as I will call it from the hand of Italy, Britain and Ethiopia, Eritrea suffered, countless lives were lost but they were all hopeful that freedome would be theirs!

Freedom indeed they got, depsite a century of waiting, hoping and fighting. Freedom yes they got but freedom had somewhat turned into captivity in the hands of their freedom fighter and leader Isaias Afewerki who has refused to conduct election since 1993 that he got to power, who had turned the whole country into a militarised state, who has gone to war with all its neighbours, who has shuned the international community ( a fact that was justifiable in the beginning), who has jailed all his ministers for criticising him for going to war with Ethiopia in 1998. Many of these issues were clearly researched and discussed in Michela Wrong book. After reading this book and researching further about Eritrea on the internet, I felt like turning into a superwoman that will go and rescue the people of Eritrea!

When I now met an Eritrean in Nairobi, someone who has become a good friend of mine and he related briefly amidst supression of tears of how he escpaded from Eritrea to Nairobi, how he trekked for 2 days in the forest with some other people who escaped from the military with him to go and find a life, I now understood Michela's book better. I now saw her passion in discussing in details what went wrong in Eritrea and how instead of having solutions, there seem to be more to tackle... Many Eritreans have fled their own very country, just like Sudan and Somalia. many of them settled illegally in Nairobi and many of them never wanted to go back home. Even though some of their parents were arrested for coniving with them to escape. The government of Eritrea is in full control of everything including the media and in every sense have no understanding of what human rights is all about.

Despite the heroic effort of Eritrea to be liberated, depite the zeal to conquer all, depite the promise never to let their experience go to waste, depsite the enthusiasm felt by all the Eritreans to now have a country that will be theirs to have, to contribute and develop, they have all their apsirations taking away by their own very leader... Eritrea is indeed on my mind.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two interviews: African sexualities & gay imperialism – Queer activism in Germany & Europe

This interview featured Jin Haritaworn and Sokari , a long time blogger and LGBTI activist. Sokari is a dual winner of Nigerian blogger awards for 2010 as the Best political blog and Best Use of Theme award ( She beat me to the latter this year). This was a very thought provoking and informative interview.

Two interviews: African sexualities & gay imperialism – Queer activism in Germany & Europe

Friday, July 16, 2010

Call for participation on the use of new media tools for advocacy and activism

Tactical Technology Collective is calling for a focus group discussion for rights advocates on the use of new media tools within Lagos Nigeria. Tactical technology Collective is not-for-profit organisation, which develops support materials for rights advocates and is looking to get critical input into the development of some new materials. If you have some experience using new media for advocacy and you work for a not-for-profit rights organisation or you are a rights campaigner, blogger or independent media producer we would like you to participate in this discussion.

A small per-diem to cover transportation cost within Lagos and be provided with snacks. You will be also be given a number of technology support materials to take away.

DATE: 14th August 2010
TIME: 2pm to 3.30pm (first group), 4pm to 5.30pm (second group)
LOCATION: 1 Kasumu Crescent, Agege, Lagos

If you would like to participate please email in the following information to teeajao@yahoo.com:
1. Name:
2. Organisation/s you work for (with web address/es if possible):
3. Your experience in making media like video, audio and print content:
4. Your experience in creating mobile phone applications or running mobile campaigns:
5. Phone number:

Deadline for application: July 30th, 2010

For more application submission and more information contact:
Name: Toyin Ajao
Email: teeajao@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where is Lady Guide?

To think that I would deserve a blog post! Waoh, my head is swelling! Many wishes had poured in through different channels and I was commending Afronuts for his attempt to reach me on the phone today which was so impossible because I was at the UN office all day not knowing he has done something greater! He did made a blog post about my birthday with the "good old day" picture appearing with the post. I am so overwhelmed! Thank you so much Afronuts!!!

Also "big thanks" to Histreasure, Lara, Dee and Zena for their birthday wishes! Thanks my darlings! It is still my birthday blogsville so the gifts and the birthday wishes can still pour in. I was overwhelmed by the wishes that poured in via facebook. Thanks Geebee, Parakeet, Afrobabe, SolomonSydelle, Sokari, Spicytee, Jaycee, Jarrai, Myne Whitman {She even sent me a gift!} for your FB messages! You all made me feel loved and I appreciate this gesture a great deal.

It won`t stop there, July 19th is my marriage anniversary. Waoh 3 years and I am now a confirmed off shore wife! Hubby must meet me halfway probably with a parachute in the air for the celebration! We have come a long way! Glad I am to have a wonderful partner and friend. It is being a journey to cherish and celebrate.

Has anyone seen or heard from Lady Guide? Her last post was January 2010 and that was a very strange occurrence. Not our Lady Guide, she updates regularly. Tomorrow happens to be Lady Guide birthday and I wish her the very best of day and many happy returns! Lady Guide, you are missed and I hope you are doing very fine!

Another wonderful blogger and friend Bill Hess, who factored the payment of my cats neutering and spraying operation is having his birthday tomorrow! Happy birthday Bill Hess and many many happy returns! I am still trying to figure out how and when I can make it to Alaska to see you and your family! have fun on your day!!!

Something tells me that blogger histreasure and a few other close bloggers will be celebrating their birthday tomorrow but I am trying hard to recall if this is true... if you are a July baby and today, tomorrow, next tomorrow and the rest of July is your birthday, just know you are loved and have a fabulous birthday!

I am currently in New York and I visited DC to have a relaxing weekend with Sokari. And guess who I met? Solomon Sydelle and Catwalq! They are fabulous! They represent and I was so glad to have made the journey and to have met these wonderful progressive Nigerians! Solomon Sydelle did not look one inch like a mother of three. She looked sweet sixteen! And Catwalq, sexy is the word! Please can someone echo to Vera, the multiple Nigerianbloggers awards winner ( congratulations by the way) that I must see her before I leave the states? Yeah, thanks for delivering the message!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Activist is going dotcom!

Greetings from New York! It is very hot in here and I do not like their subways one bit! Okay on to other things, I have being thinking (and I should consult Free Flowing Florida on this) that it will be good to have "theactivist.com" blog. I think I need the domain name as well as different segments to deal with different issues that I am passionate about, working on and raising awareness of. I want to still be able to do "cats on Tuesday" series, the "interview Thursday" series all which seem to have gone into extinction at the moment. I need to rekindle these two series. I want also to have a different segment where I can talk about my daily life experience.

All these thoughts keep going back and forth in my mind at the moment because, I am taking on more responsibilities, I need to be able to blog about conflict, security and development, Gender and Development, Feminism and Women's rights, ICT4D, Climate Change and other vital development issues in African and Abroad. I trully believe it's time I took that decision of going "dotcom" or "point com" like my Malian friends would. Taking up the opportunity of having multiple pages on one's blog is hard to ignore. I also want to be able to publish materials from other activists, scholars, academians working on relevants areas of interests.

Still thinking hard about all these. What do you suggest my ever reliable blogshpere/blogsville?

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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