Monday, September 18, 2006

Catching up, the Queen, and the mystery of Booker prizes

You turn your back and so many things happen at once. The last week has been so hectic work wise that I've had no time to blog. Or perhaps that's just a lazy man's excuse. From the Pope's speech and the furore it caused to the continuing mudslinging between Obasnjo and Atiku in Nigeria to the armed forces plane crash to the march for Darfur yesterday- it looks like the world has been far busier than I have.....

I just wish the National Assembly would get their act together and impeach both Obasanjo and Atiku, leaving the Senate president to preside over what would then hopefully be a level playing field as there would be too little time for the Senate President to rig himself into the presidency...dare I wish?

Went to watch The Queen, Stephen Frears' new film starring Helen Mirren who plays Her Majesty so well it's uncanny. The film is set in 1997 around the events when Diana died and watching Martin Sheen play the young ambitious newly elected Blair you begin to remember why his election was greeted with such excitement. It's a great film and has some great cinematography ofthe stunning landscapes around Balmoral, the Scottish royal retreat where the Queen is holed up with the royal family at the time they receive the news of the Princess' death. There's one shot where the deep red of Her Majesty's lipstick is echoed in the deep red border of her Hermes scarf and the deep red of the blood running from a stag that has been shot on a neighbouring estate which of course is supposed to echoe the sense of Diana the huntress turned the hunted.....At the cinema where I watched it, the audience roared at a scene where Tony Blair asks his secretary to put Gordon Brown on hold...

Just finished Caine Prize winner Segun Afolabi's excellent collection of short stories- A Life Elsewhere which was poetic and evocative of a displacement echoed in the lives of many immigrants. I'll look forward to his Goodbye Lucille which is due out next year....

I'm reading Theft by Peter Carey which made the Booker longlist but failed to make the shortlist. I'm still reeling at Sarah Waters' The Night Watch being the favourite for the prize. I read it ages ago and while it was quite entertaining, I hardly thought it Booker material.....still I suppose the judges must have seen something in it that I missed...

On a final note it appears I might be "meeting" the real Queen before the year runs out on some work related stuff. As iconoclastic as I claim to be, I guess there's enough of the old colonial mentality in me to thrill at the thought....


Jay McGinley said...

DARFUR VIGIL DAY 116 (now in NYC); 56 DAYS HUNGER STRIKE since July 4, 2006

It only took just one failed component, one failed component out of millions that painstaking effort had made right, to cause the searing tragedy of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. You'll remember that for Challenger it was a faulty "O ring."

The contributions of the many that led to a brilliantly executed September 17th series of worldwide events is something we all should humbly honor, praise, reverence and express our deep respect and gratitude for. I do. It was awesome. And a handful of truly heroic efforts took place - promoting/filling busses from Pittsburgh, Boston, Ohio, DC, All Parts Global…; logistics; PR.... Thank you and God bless your commitment.

What the September 17th teams worlwide did is absolutely necessary! But there is a faulty "O ring" in the Campaign to Save Darfur. SEPTEMBER 17TH, AND THE FOLLOW-ON EVENTS CONTEMPLATED AND PLANNED WILL NOT STOP THE GENOCIDE. And I have yet to have anyone prominently involved with the Darfur movement that disagrees. And I've asked. And I've received responses.

A crucial component is missing; a component that has been essential for every previous social-change movement. Stopping Genocide requires Monumental Social-Change - NEVER has genocide been stopped. N-E-V-E-R. Never. Not Rwanda, Cambodia, Kurds, Serbrinka, not 6,000,000 Jews.... Kosovo was far too late addressed to some degree.

What is profoundly missing is a Core Group of Leaders that anyone, EVERYONE SEES is heroically putting their skin in the game, standing up for, getting in harms way for, SACRIFICING PERSONALLY for Darfur. Name major social change that has ever come without this. Civil Rights? Apartheid? Stopping Vietnam War? Suffrage? IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED.

Unmistakable-Sacrificial-Leadership-visible-to-the-masses is the spark plug; the inspiration; the moral clarity; THE PROOF OF IMPORTANCE THAT INSPIRES COMMITTED ACTION IN OTHERS. Leadership of this kind, in sufficient quantity is - the price to Save Darfur. Until the "price" is paid, the genocide will not stop, no matter what else we do.

We can do everything else right (and these are NECESSARY): advertising, PR, rallies, celebrity participation, strategy, Sudan Envoys... but without the ignition, without the spark-plug we've got our "O ring," our efforts will crash in defeat, and 4,000,000 family members in Darfur are exterminated.

I have been begging for two years for such effort:

So Jay, does all this make you right? What matters is: 1. Might it be correct?; 2. That YOU decide, correctly, in time. As Reverend Gloria said in NYC on Sunday, “It’s about T-I-M-E.”

Someone(s) cried out about the "O ring" long, long before the Challenger exploded. I'm sure of it. He/She/They were blown off as troublemaker, renegade, lone ranger, loner, outsider, not-a-team-player.... The Challenger exploded. All that was left were, regrets.

Jay McGinley ( 484-356-6243 DARFUR VIGIL DAY 116 (now in NYC)

ayoke said...

Impeach both Obasanjo and Atiku? Do they have the guts? You have to realise that just about every member of the Senate may have something to hide...

So, you're meeting the Queen? Tell us when you return from meeting her so we can sing you: "Pussy cat, pussy cat..."

uknaija said...

Why does having something to hide stop them? Won't getting rid of both of the mean the skeletons in the Senators cupboards can rest in peace for a little bit more time?

ayoke said...

No, uknaija. Your last question presumes OBJ and Atiku will silently stand by if the Senates tries to impeach them both. They'll make sure they all go down together.