Monday, January 29, 2007

"Evil" Blogger, Eliza don pay buses, offer to Dr Reid and DARFUR

I haven't posted in a while because I was trying to resist moving to the new Blogger. I have nothing against the new format- I'm not techie enough to, but I just have a problem with being forced to move against my will. Things came to a head on Saturday when I tried to post and could no longer access my blog unless I agreed to move to the new Blogger and set up a Google account. I really did not want to do that having posted earlier about the spookiness of my gmail account where if I get an e mail about say a conference in Switzerland, adverts about flights and hotels in Switzerland instantly fill the screen. Now I know it's all automated and that but I'm not 100 per cent comfortable with the fact that someone somewhere (or a machine somewhere) is scanning my personal e mails, and drawing my attention to relevat adverts. Anyway I explored the options for moving using (yes you guessed it Google) and the procedures all seemed far more complex than I had time or patience for. So I've signed up to the new Google/Blogger account and joined the "evil" Google empire whose corporate motto once was "Don't be Evil". Or to be correct I've just formalized my relationship with them, seeing as they bought Blogger a while back.....

This weekend I was going somewhere with a Nigerian friend and we had to get a bus. When it turned up, it was one of the new extra-long bendy buses beloved by our Mayor, Ken Livingstone and hated by many Londoners. Opponents dislike them not only because they seem set to eclipse and ultimately replace the old double decker buses, starting with the Routemaster, but also because they do not require a conductor which some say makes them less safe and more impersonal. Anyway as this bendy bus pulls up, my friend says "Ah, na Eliza don pay" (Nigerian pidgin for Ah, this is an Eliza has paid). What on earth are you talking about? I asked bemused. Well, he told me, among some Nigerian Londoners, these bendy buses are known as "Eliza don pay" because since they don't have a conductor on board to check your ticket, it means you are travelling courtesy of Her Majesty (otherwise irreverently known in some Naija circles as Eliza or Mama Charlie- work that out) - no need to pay...I couldn't help chuckling at that- I wonder if Mayor Ken knows about this, perhaps it's part of his concern for the underdog.....

Politics in the UK has started off with a bang this year what with the debates on whether to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from the new anti-discrimination laws so that they do not have to place children with gay couples, and the Big Brother racism row and now the news that the prisons are full up. Yes, that's right, John Reid the bruiser at the Home Office whose mantra in the past has been "bang them up" has been forced to write judges asking them to bear in mind that the prisons are full when sentencing. The Home Office is busily scrambling around looking for prison places for new offenders and has had to begin renegotiating to lease back a prison ship which they had recently sold to a Nigerian oil company. This is at the same time when a broom cupboard (11ft by 7ft) in Chelsea- one of the more desirable parts of town has just been rented out for 170 000 pounds. Now I wonder if Dr Reid would be interested in leasing my spare room at above the market rate- I wouldn't mind offering it as a cell for the tabloid editor jailed last week for four months after pleading guilty to hacking into Prince William and Prince Harry's voicemails http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=141622007

I've just finished Andrew O'Hagan's Be Near Me and I enjoyed it so much that I've gone hunting for his previous books. It's about an Oxford educated English Catholic priest who ends up in a rural Scottish parish and ends up accused of paedophilia. It sounds cliched but the language is so evocative and beautiful, and it's full of ideas about faith and loss and longing and politics- I loved it!

Today I found myself (gulp) agreeing with David Cameron when he said that people needed to be inspired to seek and adopt British values and not bullied into Britishness. It was a more sensible approach than we've heard from Government ministers lately, but as is usual with Cameron was rather light on what HE would do instead. I also consoled myself with the thought that many in Cameron's party would disagree with him

On a more serious note- DARFUR. We've all read the books about Rwanda. And watched the films. And debated the issues. And sighed "never again". So why, oh why is the world standing by and watching as the horror is repeated. Why are we going about our business, forgetting that the horror is continuing and spreading. And the Sudanese president on whose watch this is happening actually wants to lead the African Union. Thankfully just as I was typing this, I see that the AU has acted with some sense and handed the leadership for this year to Ghana's Kuffour. But it isn't enough. Something must be done- the handwringing must stop

8 comments:

Talatu-Carmen said...

LOL on the new blogger. I resisted it for a while too, but it just became so difficult to do anything without signing up for it. I find the google ads amusing (and occasionally helpful). We call my grandmother "Nannie," and I noticed a few months ago that after I sent an email to my family mentioning my grandmother, all of these au pair adverts were showing up in the sidebar. {-;

londonnaijachic said...

lol @ "Eliza don pay" Trust nigerians to always find humour in almost everything.I am not a fan of the bendy buses cuz they are too slow.The whole "Reid,prison palava" has been non-stop in the new and paper.I wonder why adequate provision wasn't made before now for more prisons.Anywayz, what do i know about politics.

Naijadude said...

lol @ "Eliza don pay", that is classic, Nigerians and their ways to get by...hmmmm
But isnt what is going on in Darfur really sad? well while that is going on I bet prayers (going the religious route) could be offered for Nigeria, a time bomb waiting to explode!!

ayoke said...

Yes, I was bullied into the new Blogger as well. Not fair.

Hmm, Darfur... It's not that easy. Last week, I had dinner with a Sudanese Prof. and we spent some time exploring why the Darfur crisis is so complicated - the land and resource issues between the pastoralists and the farmers, Libya's involvement by supplying arms to the Arabs, etc.

In my opinion, though, the reason why it seems the world is not doing anything is because the states that "control" the world have different interests to protect - notably, oil. So, the Sudanese President can keep misbehaving because he knows there are states in the Security Council that will protect him as long as he assures them of a constant supply of oil. Sure, we may have seen Rwanda but it's a shame to admit that sometimes, international law is too much about states' interests and not really about people. Who cares about a "few" thousand black African people? They will rather play politics on the definition of "genocide". So, Darfur is not "genocide", it is "crime against humanity" and so, "we cannot intervene unilaterally".

Madness.

My Talking Beginnings said...

Looks like you've had a wicked weekend! That said, i found the eliza don pay bit hilarious and completely typical!! On the political end of things, don't let the devil whisper in your ear i.e. Dave 'cycling' cameron and the world has every right to not do anything about darfur while those fat assed SOB's in the AU do nothing!Charity didn't begin in London!

uknaija said...

@talatu-carmen- lol at your nanny adverts but googlemail is spooky

@londonnaijachic- sounds like you know enough :-)

@Naijadude - Nigeria's implosion has been predicted for the last how many years- going back this new year I understood why the dire predictions never come to pass- it's a different world
@mtb and ayoke - I wasn't exonerating the fatasses at the AU- I agree that charity must begin at home, or underplaying the complexity but while we are pointing our fingers of blame people are dying- can someone, anyone PLEASE do something? Or shut up with our "Never Again" and other hot air

ayoke said...

can someone, anyone PLEASE do something?

Why not? What do you suggest? "Someone" and "Anyone" including you and I. There are enough written petitions around, so I'm not sure that'll be a good suggestion...

uknaija said...

Ayoke, so petitions are out- what other options are open to us? If we can't do anything then maybe we shouldn't judge ordinary citizens so harshly for doing nothing in Rwanda or even in Nazi Germany