I can shake off everything as i write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn—Anne Frank.
|Grace Abaho Sr,AUTHOR of the Masterpiece|
Over the years, for a while now, I have written expletives on social media: very insightful, informative and educative; this statement is limited to those who pay attention. Like the people that inspire my life of Activism & Advocacy:[Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Albert Camus, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X,Harriet Tubman, EllieWiesel, Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Michelle Alexander, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton& Hillary Clinton among others].From these people I have learned innumerable lessons, they have been instrumental especially in charting the road ahead and who I have turned out to be today. The words from one of my literal mentors [that I love so much],C.JoyBell.C, can best tell how and why my audacity of hope is always shinning anew every day of my life: “I have come to accept the feelings of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it.Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you are going, but know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you”.
The truth is, there is nobody who will ever notice you if you don’t notice yourself—your story and who you are and want to be in this cruel world begins with the zeal and determination to do good, not for just the rewards but for the right cause [I learned that from Dr.King’s Drum Major instinct]: I cannot lay claim that I am perfect in this area but I am trying. Yes, I have failed several times to make it but I have never considered giving up as an option, especially on something I care about, in earnest; I don’t construct witty digs on a subject I don’t care about—I learned from J.K.Rowling [another literal mentor of mine] very important lessons, as I wrote earlier and for purposes of this article, this: “why do I talk about failure? Simply because it means the stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me”.
If you ask me, the far-most important thing in writing my legacy for the few or many years I have; if I am to have my name engraved upon the marble of history, it is that I shared with the world something that healed someone other than myself—shaped someone’s outlook from the little smatterings of hope to the audacity of hope, that’s what I am working so hard to do and as I have often said, as long as I have life; nothing will stop me.I love to say I have been blessed by the internet through the years (2) and for so many reasons I don’t just take that for granted, it means I am not chasing after the wind: I am going to get grades way above waving a futile flag, the internet didn’t look for me; I looked for it and I know without a shadow of a doubt ‘we are stronger together’.
I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters i am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of—Joss Whedon
It’s not a secret that being in this, doing this, has boosted my self-confidence in ways than I have ever imagined. From writing on local Politics to international Politics, I can now slide in my commentaries and endorse without cowering; because: I try to study hard before I write about things, I don’t slide in just as a pen-monger, that’s not what my writing career is about. Some weeks ago, in the last letter I wrote to Mr.Museveni of Uganda, I noted with concern some things that I want to keep here for future reference:
OPEN LETTER, LISTEN NOW.
“Dear President Museveni & General Kale,
I greet you with respect. I want to begin by calling you to drop the tired argument that Dr.Besigye is a violent man; because he isn’t .He said it, even during the debates and he has incessantly said it, even today morning on NBS TV, he aint looking at violence as a means to change then regime; because he did it with Museveni earlier and they didn’t get what they had intended.
I am sure you know why he left you. I will leave a link for you in the comments. I had a chance of reading the Hippocratic Oath for physicians and translating it into the political sphere would do us miracles, “I will not be ashamed to say that I know not, nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of the doctor are needed for the patient’s recovery”
Uganda is the patient and needs help from this man, Dr.Besigye that people love enormously, please stop thwarting the will of the people. I think as you see, his sister visited him in Luzira and he told her that all will be well, indeed he is another Mandela: ‘It always seems impossible until it is one”
Quoting Zora Neale Houston: “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say that you enjoyed”, we don’t enjoy the misery you put us through, please stop. The political fakery you have drawn this country to stinks, lets draw the lines to inclusive leadership. I have received stupid threats that I will be imprisoned if I keep writing, well; I don’t fear at all. Quoting a great writer, Arundhati Ray, “years of imprisoning writers and beheading them has never succeeded in shutting them up”
I have said it overtime that I learned from Dr.King that ‘Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it is demanded by the oppressed”—those who think it’s okay to be bystanders to the wrongs(several of them) happening in society are not only terrible and cruel human beings but also implicitly and explicitly colluding with the oppressor(s) at once: the mistakes of History and lessons of History are very much alive, it’s just about us to realize that without appreciating what History teaches we are bound to re-engineer the very mistakes known to us:
“The poles succeeded in their non-violent struggle when they lost their fear of their communist tyrants. In 1981, the soviets put General Wojciech Jaruzelski in charge to crack down on solidarity, a non-communist controlled trade union established a year ago.Jaruzelski immediately declared martial law and arrested thousands of solidarity members, often in the middle of the night including union leader Lech Walesa.Jaruzelski flooded the streets of Warsaw, Gdansk and elsewhere in Poland with police who shot, beat and jailed strikers and protestors by tens of thousands. The crackdown drove the opposition underground. Where the jailed union leaders left off, others including priests, dissidents and journalists took over.
Unable to meet in the streets, the people gathered in their churches, in the restaurants and bars, offices, schools and associations. By 1988, Poland’s economy was in shambles as prices for basic staples rose sharply and inflation soared. In August of that year, Jaruzelski was ready to negotiate with solidarity and met Walesa. In December 1990, Lelch Walesa became the first popularly elected President of Polland.It took nearly a decade to complete the polish non-violent revolution. When Poles overcame their fears of Jaruzelski and his Soviet Union backers and stood up to his secret police, spies, informants and blood thirsty thugs, it was all over him and his iron fisted regime.
Non Violent social change and political change came to many former Soviet republics and post-communist countries in Eastern Europe through the so called “color revolutions” (people wearing symbolic colors to show their demand for change)—PS: [I have written earlier though saying, We are more than just the colors, We are one UGANDA,ONE PEOPLE], over the past decade. InSerbia (2000) Georgia (“Rose Revolution” 2003), Ukraine (“Orange Revolution” 2004) and Kyrgyzstan (“Tulip Revolution” 2005), Ordinary people engaged in defiant massive non-violent street protests which culminated in the removal of oppressive and corrupt regimes. Not long ago, the “Arab Spring”dawned in the Middle East when Ben Ali’s regime was swept away in the “Jasmine Revolution”. The common element in the revolutions is that they were led by the youth who had lost fear of their tyrannical oppressors”
The challenge and struggle for liberty, equality and fraternity still goes on [PS: those are my catch words for my Presidential race run 2036],and we can only get along if we don’t make dress rehearsals for giving up but rather for staying on course the more. In a very powerful masterpiece, “the Ethics of Non-Violence”, [2013 p.226), Robert Holmes argues: “For Power dissolves when people lose their fear. You can still kill people who no longer fear you, but you cannot control them. You cannot control dead people. Walk through a cemetery with a bullhorn, if you like. Command people to rise up, clean the streets, pay taxes, report for military duty, and they will ignore you. Political Power requires obedience, which is fueled by the fear of pain inflicted if you refuse to comply with the will of those who control the elements of violence. That power evaporates when the people lose their fear”
You can make anything by writing—C.S.Lewis
|Grace Abaho Sr in Kanungu District his birthplace(2015)|
There is an old African adage, “when the water starts boiling; it is foolish to turn off the heat”, this is a very profound statement that I admire so very much: this, entwined with what C.S.Lewis says, if I am to put it succinctly, have molded my stay in the game. As I wrote earlier, one of the things I learned from Colin Powel’s memoir: [MY AMERICAN JOURNEY], is [p.35 (606)]:
“I learned that being in charge means making decisions, no matter how unpleasant. If it is broke, fix it.When you do, you win the gratitude of people who have been suffering under the bad situations. I learned in a college drill competition that you can’t let the mission suffer or let the majority pay to spare the feelings of an individual. Long afterward, I kept a saying under the glass of my desk that made the point succinctly inelegantly: being responsible sometimes means pissing some people off”.
I have said it before; one of the things I can’t afford to do is say, ‘I will forever support a certain politician’, not at all. The years I have been in Politics have turned me into a fair-weather supporter, if the person I am vouching for begins to look at just his/her interests—and those in the closest circle, I ditch them on the road and pick someone else, that’s how it works in my world: I learned from Dr.King’s letter from jail, where he quotes Bunyan, “I will stay in prison all the days of my life but I will never butcher my conscience”. The politics of today are so ugly, highly polarized and monetized; there is no sober discourse anymore: I personally have failed to get a job twice because I don’t support the Museveni government, which is telling.
Parker Palmer in a very great literary masterpiece, “Mercy Now”, writes: “If I want to find the words and actions that might be life-giving and see the common good, I need to reclaim my true self and recover my true voice, So I’ve been embracing the silence that has descended upon me—experiencing it moment by moment as a kind of solidarity with whose voices have been silenced forever”. About ten months ago, I read [the book] and watched the Book Thief about how Hitler used to burn down books and incarcerate people (the Jews), I felt so heartbroken, actually as I was writing about America, on Donald Trump’s asinine remarks, quoting Ellie Wiesel’s Prayer in the days of Awe, I emphatically slid in an extract from which I will pick the lines for purposes of this masterpiece:
“Where were you God of kindness, in Auschwitz? What was going on in Heaven, in the celestial tribunal, while your children were marked by humiliation, isolation only because they were Jewish?
These questions have been haunting me for more than five decades, you have vocal defenders, you know. Many theological answers were given to me, such as: “God is God. He alone knows what he is doing. One has no right to question Him or His ways”. Or: Auschwitz was a punishment for European Jewry’s sin of assimilation and/ or Zionism”. And: “Isn’t Israel the solution?”
I reject all these answers. Auschwitz must and will forever remain a question mark only: it can be neither with God nor without God. At one point, I began wondering whether I was unfair with you. After all, Auschwitz was not something that came ready-made from Heaven. It was conceived by men, implemented by men, staffed by men. And their aim was to destroy not only us but you also. Ought we not think of your pain, too? Watching your children suffer at the hands of the other children?”
|Snapshot from Viktor Frankaal's book|
Books other than anything else have shaped this grueling endeavor of my unfettered activism, I have been so confident enough to claim my universal citizenship: I am paying the rent for living here on earth and like I told my friend a few days ago, ‘it is through this that I will own an executive bathroom’ .From Man’s search for meaning, a book on the mass incarceration of Jews in the prison camp of Auschwitz, I learned very important lessons that everybody who claims to be an activist/game changer ought to know [answering the Questions Viktor Frankaal pauses, he provides answers as well] :
“We can answer these questions from experience as well as on principle. The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy can be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, independence of mind, even in such conditions of psychic stress.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in numbers, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s way”.
You’re not so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it—Malcolm X.
Many times people get blinded into not calling out their leaders when they fall short of what it really means to be a leader, that’s not okay at all, it cripples the minds into a false notion of saints—which if not checked graduates them [the leaders they have chosen to hold on a pedestal] into gods. I read a book last year,the Leader’s light or Shadow, it clearly settles it all [p.2/38]:
“A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create conditions under which other people must live and move and theirbeing, conditions that can neither be eliminating or shadowy as hell. A leader must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside his or her own self, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good. Political leaders, parents, clergy have potential to cast as much shadow as they do light. Refusing to face the dark side of leadership makes them abuse more likely. All too often leaders ‘do not even know they’re making a choice, let alone how to reflect on the choice of choosing’
Claremont graduate professor Jean Lipman_Bluman uses the term toxic leaders to describe those who engage in destructive behaviors and those who engage in dysfunctional charateristics.At the same time; derailed leaders act vs. the interests of the subordinates and the organization; they bully, manipulate, deceive and harass followers; they may be stealing from the organization, engaging in fraudulent activities and doing less than expected. Constructiveleaders, on the other hand, care about subordinates and help the organization achieve its goals while using its resources.Havard professor Barbara Kellerman believes that limiting leadership solely to good leadership ignores the reality that a great too many leaders engage in destructive behaviors. Overlooking that fact, Kellermansays, undermines our attempts to promote good leadership not by ignoring bad leadership, nor by presuming that it is immutable, but rather by attacking it as we would a disease that’s always pernicious and sometimes deadly”
The former President of the United States Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘the government should fear its citizens’ .Our government, on the contrary, laughs at us. It raises enormous hand and says, ‘go to hell’. It isn’t even trying to pretend anymore—what I would hope, what I would call for is a peaceful yet drastic change in how we function as citizens. We should be utterly unforgiving of corruption and entrenched injustice and we should make government officials guilty of such indiscretions pay dearly for it. The renowned Ai Wei Weieloquently warns us that, “If you don’t act; the danger becomes stronger”., this has been proven a thousand times every day of our lives: things are not getting any better, it’s crazy when people instead cheer on steady regress as steady progress, a very scary situation to be bystanders to.
For Politics, as Aristotle points out [P.51, Politics of Aristotle], ‘is only one possible solution to the problem of order. It is by no means the most usual. Tyranny is the most obvious alternative—the rule of one strong man in his owninterest; and oligarchy is the most obvious alternative—the method of rule of the tyrant and the oligarch is quite simply to clobber, to coerce or overawe all or most other groups in their own interest. The political method of rule is to listen to these other groups so as to conciliate them as far as possible, and to give them a legal position, a sense of security, some clear and reasonably safe means of articulation, by which other groups can and will speak freely.Ideally Politics draws groups into each other so that they each together can make a positive contribution towards the general business of government, maintaining order”.
Eckhart Tolle in his great book, A NEW EARTH, [P.28-29/189]; tells a very important story about the “Lost Ring” and finally leaves with us very undeniable truths that can better us as human siblings if we pay utmost attention to what he says, especially if we are to do away with the bitterness and the cruel hinging unto power that’s common with most African leaders (for purposes of this masterpiece,Museveni as the case in point): “Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the being that it cannot feel. You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to then, you will know its ego. And you are really never attached to a thing but a thought that has “I”, ‘me’ or “mine in it.Whenever you completely accept loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the‘I am’ which consciousness itself, emerges”.
To be honest, the raw fact is that if it weren’t because I am in this fight to the end, I would have given up on it already—but I have a vision, I have a dream, I want to do the little/much that I can and be the change I want to see in the world. The odds are great and have been great, all through—the crass threats, the costly internet, buying reading material and all there is to presenting all I have been able to accomplish; but, I have soldiered through it all with the help of family and friends; sometimes, I can never be more grateful: May the Lord richly bless you. I am often asked whether I am afraid of Museveni and his agents, I am not, not at all after this especially more—if anyone attempts anything stupid on my life, whatever happens to me between now and when I make my mark, I have written my legacy and not one single person will take it away: that’s what we talk about when we talk about the power of the pen. My very immediate big brother, Haven, sent me a message this morning and it read(s): “Dreams are not for individuals. They are gifts to the world. Goand make a difference”—thanks again Haven, that’s what I am doing, and I am not done yet.
|Tupac Shakur meme:Photo source,Huffpost Politics|
Like the legendary Tupac Skakur (inset),I subscribe to the notion that ‘the change we want to make is always just three feet in front of us’.—this should question everyone else into the question, “what are you doing to make the change you want to see in the world?”. I know there are people out there who have bought themselves into the dumb rhetoric that we aren’t going to win this, maybe you are right but if I am to be honest with you, that’s for a little while—I can assure personally that your report awaits you: you are certainly the real life equivalent of hecklers on a stage undermining an artist’s beautiful piece of work, that you may never be able to put up. Let me say this rather succinctly: “If you are going to wear blinders just to disagree with raw facts that I present(speaking for myself),you will never able make a point in my world, that’s just sheer ignorance that you are exuding—get back to your drawing board and pick better lenses”. I could have been born at night but i want to re-assure you that night is not yesterday night, I am not bribing you to agree with me but beat this with a sound rebuttal, that’s all you can do to save yourself embarasement.Between now and when I next write another masterpiece, let sober discourse shape the narrative, see you again: “I cannot turn water into wine but I can turn words into money and dope heads into responsible citizens of this universe”.
Grace Abaho Sr is AN INDEPENDENT BLOGGER: A SCHOLARLY MASTERPIECE ON THE QUEST FOR FREEDOM & JUSTICE: “THE POWER OF SELF-WORTH”.