Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Summertime and Compo Beach is Calling

Beach Party in Westport 06880

Dan Woog writes a blog called 06880. It’s all about the town and people of Westport. Whatever he writes must have a Westport connection. Compo Beach is a major feature of Westport.

Watching the sunset from Compo Beach

Watching the sunset from Compo Beach

For the past few years Dan has announced a party at Compo Beach for his blog readers, which must be half the people in town. He names a date and invites everyone to come. You bring your own food and drink. It doesn’t require an RSVP; you just show up.

I had put the date and time on my calendar, but wasn’t sure if I’d go.

This afternoon my friend Eileen called to see if I’d like to go to the Compo Beach party with her. I was delighted to say yes. Clem does not particularly enjoy the “meet and greet,” but I do. I know more people than Eileen. So I could introduce her to several friends.

Eileen brought bruschetta and wine. I had made a delicious pasta & zucchini dish with ricotta a couple of nights ago. I took that. We set up our beach chairs, had dinner, caught up with each other’s news, and took pictures.

The weather was perfect. The temperature had cooled to probably 80 degrees. Rain threatened but held off. The sunset at Compo Beach was gorgeous. So glad we went!

Does Africa Have ‘Civilizational’ Problems?

Remi Adekoya is a Polish-Nigerian journalist, commentator, and political analyst. He wrote a great piece in the FP (Foreign Policy) online magazine referring to comments by French President Macron. He asks,

Is It Racist to Say Africa Has ‘Civilizational’ Problems?

At the G20, “Macron pointed to three major challenges facing the [African] continent today: demography, democracy, and failing states,” the writer says. There was an outcry at the term ‘Civilizational,’ but he says Macron is right.

Denying the truth will not solve Africa’s problems. He says even though Macron exaggerated in the numbers of children born to African women, the basic truths are there for all to see. Adekoya says, “the continent’s generally high fertility rates need to be addressed frankly and urgently.”

French President Macron

French President Macron

Macron’s point about “failing states” is also borne out by the facts, the writer says. “According to the 2017 Fragile States Index, 14 of the 20 most fragile countries in the world are in Africa: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.”

Decent governance is by no means assured in any of these countries. I believe people who know Africa well will not argue with these conclusions.

Could Macron have used more diplomatic language? Probably. Would it change the reality? Non!

Do We Know Our History?

I get regular emails from Atlanta Black Star. In the email I receive, the online journal declares its point of view: “Atlanta Black Star is a narrative company.  We publish narratives intentionally and specifically to enlighten and transform the world.”

Last week they published a story on America’s history and our lack of knowledge about it. The author of the article, D. Amari Jackson, says, “A 2012 [American Council of Trustees and Alumni] ACTA survey found that less than 20 percent of college graduates could identify the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. A 2015 survey revealed more than one-third could not place the Civil War within the correct 20-year time frame.

“Such widespread historical ignorance is problematic for a nation currently grappling with deeply entrenched issues of economics, power and race,” she says.

The lack of knowledge is frightening. But there’s so much more that many of us don’t know or don’t think about. She cites Gerald Horne, the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, who says, “America began as a slaveholder’s republic.”

According to Horne, the American Revolution was fought because the slaveholders wanted to maintain their slaves, not for some lofty principle of freedom. The colonists also wanted to continue the practice of dispossessing Native Americans of their land. They feared Britain would halt that.

He believes that today, “the exoneration of police officers who kill us [Blacks] on a regular basis tends to show” that the Constitution does not really pertain to everyone. There is a “disconnect between the official stated policy of nondiscrimination and what’s actually happening to Black people in the streets.”

Harsh words! I find truth in the article. What do you think?

Girl Power in Nigeria

Malala with Rebecca. Her daughter Sarah is still missing.

Malala with Rebecca. Her daughter Sarah is still missing.

“Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai was greeted with cheers by dozens of young women in northeastern Nigeria, where she spoke out for the many girls abducted under Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency.”

USA Today had the story. The report of the visit on BBC had this photo of Malala with Rebecca, the mother of one of the kidnapped girls.

“Yousafzai also met Monday with acting President Yemi Osinbajo, speaking up for the more than 10 million children displaced by Boko Haram and pressing for the declaration of a state of emergency for education in Nigeria.”

Interesting that the report now used her last name instead of the more familiar Malala in references. She’s now 20, so maybe the media decided to upgrade her!

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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