Changes!

New Year = new blog address, blog design and new post. Go on over and tell us what you think.

Find us at www.blipsterfarianlogic.com .

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2010 @ Blipsterfarian Logic: Part 1

I started this blog in July 2010 to make a different contribution to the Jamaican blogging landscape. I wanted to create a blog to discuss interesting events, entertainment and social issues that were outside the exhausted mainstream of our print, television or even online media. This venture has been more successful than I could have imagined. I have gotten several thousand visits from all over the world, many retweets and thoughtful comments.

WordPress‘ excellent end of year analytical email contained a Blog-Health-o-Meter™ which rated my blog health as ‘Wow.’ Not sure how they came up with that, but I’ll take it!

The Big 5 of 2010

These are the posts that got the most views in 2010. A good mix of social commentary and coverage of important events.

1

There’s Something About Glenn Beck August 2010
Glenn Beck’s attempt to claim the mantle of Martin Luther King made me angry. And I was even more incensed by the lack of appropriate response from civil rights organizations and leaders interested in minority issues.

2

The One Where the Blipsterfarian Goes to the #Jptweetup September 2010
The Jamaica Pegasus’ engagement of social media is not simply a big deal for those interested in social media. It is significant watershed in the ways that Jamaican businesses do business.

3

The #Haiti Aid Effort: Five Unasked Questions November 2010
I have a special interest in Haiti. All Caribbean people should. It is the first truly free republic in the new world. The way in which the international community is managing the reconstruction of the country makes one wonder who is it being reconstructed for and why. Continue reading

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A Jamaican Christmas

There are two pillars of a Jamaican Christmas: food and family. It is a time when family members return from all over the globe to celebrate with their loved ones in Jamaica. Everyone looks forward to the heavy Christmas cake, the ham done in the oven, Christmas morning breakfast, sorrel and much, much more.

Happy holidays to all my readers. Have memorable moments with your loved ones. That’s what makes life worth living.

 

Blipsterfarian Logic returns in early January.

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Flashback & Flashforward: On Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest yesterday. I thought this would be an appropriate time to post part of an article I wrote back in 2007 at the time of the monks’ uprising. There are many lessons and hurdles to engage with for those interested in democracy. I was in a cafe today and one man remarked to his friend that ‘this is Burma’s Mandela moment as Suu Kyi might be negotiating the generals out of power.’ I thought to myself, ‘for the sake of the Burmese people, I hope not.’

 

What is going on in Burma is really disheartening. It looks like the despotic government, at least at the present, is getting the better of people who are striving for freedom. I have heard people exiled from the country say that fear of the government is deeply entrenched in the culture. In this context, the monks are extremely brave. Imagine a government which could be so callous as the shoot at a monk carrying, not a gun, but a banner which extols the virtues of peace.

I am not optimistic about a drastic change there unless there is a coup by more moderate generals or the people start some kind of mass uprising. China does not want to place too much pressure on the regime as it is more interested in stability and prosperity rather than democracy. This is not surprising since Tiananmen Square happened not long after the last major uprising in Burma. It would set a dangerous precedent for external intervention. Moreover, many countries in the region are fearful of what the Chinese economic ascendancy means for their security. Not only does the US have bigger problems to manage (read IRAQ), but the US’s diplomatic machinery seems to be adrift under a Ms. Rice who has thoroughly disappointed.

How should the West respond? Sanctions? Those only hurt the poor people and prop up the regime. Can you say Cuba or North Korea? When you have a paranoid state, cutting average people off from the outside world, just strengthens the regime. Mr. Bush, Mr. Brown and Mr. David Miliband sound tough, but how will their statements translate to actions that help to dislodge the Burmese government? The vast majority of the generals do not want to go to Britain or the US anyway. They are free to go all over Asia including China to conduct business and take holidays. Much of the sanctions that will be ‘tightened’ have been in place for nearly 2 decades and do not seem to have any perceptible effect.

What the world needs to do encourage is the children of Burmese people to come, study and see how diverse democracies, as imperfect as they are, constitute the best way for organizing our affairs that humanity as yet devised. Think E. M. Forster, ‘So two cheers for democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.’

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The #Haiti Aid Effort: Five Unasked Questions

The coverage of Haiti’s problems in the last few weeks left me both disturbed and annoyed. The coverage of the cholera outbreak and the run up to Hurricane Tomas’ passing over the country has been not only very uncritical, but insulting to the Haitian people and overseas viewers alike. The poster boys for this type of coverage has been, quelle surprise, the BBC and CNN. But, when Jamaican news outlets such as TVJ and CVM-TV parrot or rebroadcast this material without pause, I am doubly upset.

The same stale questions were asked and all the questions that should have been asked were not. When they asked the members of the international humanitarian effort what they were doing, the main course was ‘we are trying to educate Haitians on proper hygiene.’ There was also a side of ‘Hurricane Tomas is coming and people don’t want to move.’ Really?!? And none of the interviewers interrogated those pronouncements.  Continue reading

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When Technology Fails

Technology fails when you have an extraordinary amount of work to do. That is the nature of the world and is what has been happening to me over the last few weeks. First my Blackberry Bold died, now my Mac is injured. As a result, I have not been turning out deliverables with my usual speed.

Blipsterfarian Logic has also been quieter than I would like. So much is going on though. I have really been liking some FX shows, especially the new Sons of Anarchy season. AMC is also hot: Rubicon and Mad Men has great season finales and I loved the premiere of The Walking DeadContinue reading

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Legacy of Miseducation Continues

A recent letter to The Jamaica Gleaner hit the nail on the head. Be sure to visit the article on the Gleaner’s website and check some of the inane comments made.

LETTER OF THE DAY – Legacy Of Miseducation Continues

Published: Wednesday | October 20, 2010

THE EDITOR, Sir:

ON THE day following Heroes Day 2010, I watched the rerun of the Junior Schools’ Challenge Quiz competition between two very esteemed preparatory schools and was deeply saddened. I heard the question being asked to the young competitors: ‘What important event took place in Jamaica’s history in 1655?’ and heard the uniform answer: ‘The British took control of Jamaica’.

Here I saw that, despite what may be the best of intentions, we are continuing a legacy of miseducation that goes against the very ideologies that our heroes like Marcus Garvey fought so hard to eliminate. We continue to educate our children about the events of history in a manner that has the opposite effect of what all civilised educational systems should be trying to achieve; inspiring confidence, national pride and self-awareness in its people. Why should the colonised celebrate their own enslavement/colonisation? Why should it be deemed an important part of our history when our colonisers changed hands from Spanish to British?

Sadly, however, this miseducation has not limited itself to our school system or national quiz competitions. In fact, it has permeated even the very institutions which were initially formed to uplift and enlighten us. At the most recent ‘dinner and a movie’ series, an event put on by the Universal Negro Improvement Association, there again I was appalled to see the film that was being presented about Leopold, King of Belgium and the atrocities of the Congo to our young, impressionable minds. This film, a production of the British Broadcasting Corporation, rather than properly addressing this crime against humanity, sought to provide excuses for Leopold as a man of his times; as being a great visionary who was simply ‘overcome with greed’ and worst of all, implied that his atrocities were caused by African conspirators and only brought to an end by the ‘good’ and ‘conscientious’ missionaries who ‘saved’ the poor Congolese people.

Liberating the minds

This film did not make any mention of Patrice Lumumba, a great hero who fought ferociously for his people’s liberation from the Belgians. This raises serious questions about not only why it was chosen to be shown just days before our national Heroes’ Day, but also whether those we have entrusted with liberating the minds of our youth are capable, or indeed willing to execute this so very great task.

We must begin the difficult task of retraining our minds and the minds of our youth. We owe it to them to provide a proper perspective of history, wherein they are not simply presented as the hopeless victims, shattered and dehumanised, awaiting to be saved by forces outside of themselves.

I am, etc.,

Keisha A. McDonald
Attorney-at-Law

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