24 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
by Max Ehrmann, 1927
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
12 Oct 2013 3 Comments
The African Union had a special session this weekend to discuss Africa’s stance on the ICC, with a possible withdrawal on the table. Although the withdrawal wasn’t agreed upon by all parties, the resolution that emerged stated that 1) Uhuru should not honor his appointment at the ICC and that 2) Sitting heads of state and those in acting capacities should be immune from any indictment amongst other points. Although this resolution is not legally binding, it does have political implications.
The argument for the second point is that Europe has provisions for immunity of its sitting heads of state – so why not the same in Africa? When are we going to stop comparing ourselves to others? If others have backward policies, must we adopt the same? Why do we continue to set the bar low for ourselves? Do we not, as Africans deserve better? Do we not deserve the highest standards possible? Do African citizens not deserve not just rulers but leaders who not only preach but practice integrity? Leaders who truly lead and are transparent and accountable to their people? Not simply because it is a donor requirement, or isn’t but just because that’s the least we deserve?
I hear the complaints that most of the cases being investigated by the ICC are from Africa. Yes, I understand that the US and others should also be held accountable for their crimes and pressured to sign on to the treaty. However, I am very disappointed with the African Union. First of all, why waste money convening a special session to discuss this? Second, while the African Union protects and pushes for the interests of the heads of state – who may or may not deserve to occupy their seats, who stands for the interests of the African citizenry??
We must also remember that at least 20 African signed on to the Rome Statute which brought the ICC into existence. Additionally, we have Africans at the highest level of judges and the Chief Prosecutor is an African woman.
If Uhuru and co are innocent, then why are they worried? Why not prove their innocence in court? Second, the argument that is being shared by the Uhuru government, that there is no other country who’s sitting president is being tried is nonsense. The ICC indictment happened before Uhuru was elected to presidency. As a leader of integrity, he should’ve sat this election out (whether or not he was innocent), cleared his name (if he is) and then come back to run at the next opportunity. Kenyans should not have voted in someone who is wanted on the international scale. Although he claimed ‘it was a personal challenge’ it is no longer personal when public funds are used to fund trips for him and his entourage to the Hague.
Plus, I don’t know if anyone can explain to me why we excuse our sitting presidents? Why is that if a ‘leader’ has abused his or her power that we don’t have the power to hold them accountable – while they’re in power and not wait until they no longer sit on their thrones?! Why do we want immunity for individuals who commit grave and war crimes?? Why would we still want those kind of individuals ‘leading’ our people? I ask again - do we not deserve better?
If we are to move forward, we must think paradigm shift. We must think revolutionary. We must think transformative. Isn’t that what Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance and Agenda 2063 are meant to be about? Are all of these delusions? Can the next generation not expect anything different? Will we continue on the trajectory that we have been on for the past 50 years?
I feel this is a ploy by our ‘leaders’ to once again not be held accountable for their actions. Yes, I do agree – ICC should be a last resort. That doesn’t excuse us from pulling out. We must strengthen our indigenous, internal, national, sub-regional and regional courts – such as the African Court – which has only been ratified by less than 10 of our nations, limiting its effectiveness. So the message that we’re getting is that our heads of state don’t want to be held accountable – at any level – either at the international, the regional or national levels.
Well, true leadership is about scrutinizing yourself – making sure that you adhere to and listen to the calls of your people, you don’t flaunt your power and you don’t break your commitments, that you respect and uphold the rights of others. If this is not the case, then you shouldn’t be leading.
Gado’s cartoons on the ICC say much more than I can. In any case, either step up or step down.