Friday, April 25, 2008

They will get a candidate.....

"The primary race is dragging on and on and on.
But the Democrats are trying to put a good face on it, they're confident, they say now, absolutely they will have a nominee for president by McCain's second year in office.
So there.
They're ready to go."

--David Letterman

Monday, April 21, 2008

Woodcarving

My wife asked me to get a woodcarving for our mantel while I was in Ghana.
It was not an easy thing to do, because we did not want a tacky souvenir wooden evil-looking mask.
I finally found these. We like them very much.
They are Chiwara carvings, from Mali. Male and female antelopes, who according to the legends advised the Bambara people about agriculture and social values at the beginning of the world. The sun and the moon meet and unite, and peace and prosperity reigns.
We hope that peace and prosperity also reign in our house.
And we will keep on praying for that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A new wall

Is this the only thing the Bush administration can think of to create and ensure security in in Sadr City?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

America's weapons

On Sunday evening I saw the film "Why we fight", a documentary about America's military-industrial complex.

I was sitting on a bed in resort hotel 25 miles to the west of Accra, with my friends Alan and Sally Lee. We were watching the film on a laptop, each person with his own set of headphones. This is how the family Lee watches movies when traveling, or at home and when they don't want the neighbors to hear the film's dialogue or soundtrack (apparently the neighbors can hear through the walls).

Anyway: pretty good film. Not at all Micheal Moore. A serious documentary, to be taken seriously.

It begins with an articulate and passionate speech by President Dwight Eisenhower: his farewell speech given in January 1961. In the speech he warns America about building up an industrial military complex, in which, for the first time in history, weapons will be produced just to have them, and not because of a specific war threat. He warns about the moral and spiritual implications of that for the country, as well as its impact on economics and peace issues. Great speech.

Well, as you can guess, America didn't listen, and the weapons industry has become big business. And the film asks the question what kind of influence these big businesses had on the decisions surrounding the Iraq war.

I could easily connect this film with what I had experienced that Sunday morning, in an international church in Accra. It was "International Sunday", in which the congregation was paying respect to all the countries represented in the church. At the beginning of the service (which lasted 3 hours, including a good sermon by a Nigerian), the representatives of each country paraded into the church, while a woman gave facts about the country.

When the American group paraded in (I didn't join them, as I was traveling on my Dutch passport), it seemed the clapping was a little less. And I felt shame when the lady read the list of primary exports of the United States, and weapons was prominent on the list. The only country to have that on the list.

This is really too bad. What can a simple citizen do about it?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Accra

Here are some pictures of Accra, taken from the Jamestown lighthouse. this is one of the oldest and poorest sections of the city. You can see it in the pictures. Not particularly shocking for me, I've seen lots of this kind of stuff before, but you sure wonder what might happen if the West took some of the money being spent in the Middle East and spent it effectively here. (I am experienced and smart enough to know that that is a simplistic thought, and the folks on the ground here in Africa share a lot of responsibility also. But still.....). 



Monday, April 07, 2008

Ghana

Today I leave for a week in Accra, Ghana.
I need to get a change of scenery, and out of all the options this seemed the best one.
I will meet a couple of friends there - an American couple we have known for years, and a Dutch man who is setting up a business there.
I'm looking forward to warm weather, renewing freindships, and making aquaintance again with West Africa.
It's been almost 21 years since we left Nigeria, so I am interested to see how things are there and what kind of memories rise to the surface.
I am also interested to see how missions has changed.
Hopefully it has........
Maybe I can blog from there, I don't know yet.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008