If you have ever doubted the power of love, you need to watch this.

I stumbled on this video this morning, it made me cry then, its making me cry now. The video has been viewed over 4 million times on Youtube. You have probably seen it too. Its about a 96 year old man whose wife Lorraine just past away. He responds to an advert from a radio station in response to an online singer/song writer competition. He writes this song to remember the 75 years he spends with his wife.  I dont know that I have 75 years to love and be loved like Fred had. But, his story will warm your heart. Dont stop yourself from crying, if you have to:) Have a listen here!

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I am Free…Author Unknown

This poem was read at Mr Nelson Mandela’s send off by his party the African National Congress.

This poem is attributed to various authors and is also known by several different titles
I am free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,                              
I’m following paths God made for me
I took his hand I heard him call
Then turned, and bid farewell to all
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to sing, to play
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found my peace… at close of play
And if my parting left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened… deep with sorrow                                            
I wish you sunshine of tomorrow
My life’s been full I’ve savoured much
Good friends, good times
A loved one’s touch
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with grief
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wants me now… He set me free.
Anonymous

Nigeria Airbrushed from Mandela's Life Story

This article is from our friends at urnaija.com. Ordinarily, I would not have commented, but I find it completely distasteful and out of touch, I must say a thing or two.
– Its been 18 years since Nelson Mandela left Robben Island, in that time, a lot has happened to the world and to South Africa. Why must Nigeria be singled out for recognition at this burial. I m more than sure that South Africa has said thank you many times since apartheid fell. Is the writer of the article suggesting that every time the dismantling of apartheid is mentioned, Nigeria’s glorious role in doing that is mentioned. Nigeria and other nations who played a part in supporting the ANC  and those who clamoured for the release of Mandela had a moral duty to do so. 
– It was probably best that the Nigerian President was not accorded any more respect than he was given. It is my opinion that in terms of security, corruption and preserving the middle class, Mr Jonathan has been more than spineless. To suggest that  the Europeans and Americans got more recognition at his demise misses the whole point of Nelson Mandela’s life. Africans are not in competition with the Americans or the Europeans. Or perhaps we should be!  The Memorial Service to which the writer alludes to was of the right calibre and tone.  Africa’s leaders have failed to learn from Madiba, they have failed to learn that its about the people. Service to humanity should be more than bread and butter, till that happens, the African continent will remain where it is. Irrelevant! 
The term ‘jailers’ I find offensive. The writer is making the mistake that every white person is meant to be the enemy. The whole article is rubbish really. I cannot agree with the tone of it.
More later!
Here is the article…. have your say! What do you think? Was Nigeria really airbrushed from Mandela’s history?
It’s amusing to see the same people who jailed Mandela several years ago falling over themselves to eulogise him at his death. This is not only because he showed in his life time
that he was made of better material than all of them put together but also because we Africans allowed them to take centre stage.
Africans always allow Europeans and their American cousins to call the shots. It was Europeans who sent Mandela to jail and the same Europeans released him after he was considered more dangerous locked up than free.
They dismantled apartheid when it became an embarrassment to them.
Now they are the ones telling us Mandela’s life story and all the efforts other African countries, especially Nigeria, played to set him free have been carefully deleted from history.
A wise man once said, “history is merely a piece of fiction written by the Victors”.
When Mandela left prison a wiser and more matured man than when he was thrown into jail he confounded his captors who quickly switched gears and became his best friends.
On the other hand, a disappointed Mandela was hoping to find an independent Africa with progressive leadership but what he discovered was that most African countries were actually in a worse state than they were under colonial leadership when he went to jail.
It was only natural for him to become best friends with the same people who jailed him especially after he discovered that the economies of most African countries were still tied to the apron strings of their former colonial masters.
If Nelson Mandela died with any regrets it’s probably the fact that he was the only African leader that Europeans and Americans had any respect for.
Take for instance his memorial service where America’s president was given centre stage to read an eulogy. President Jonathan was at the same memorial service but no major media organisation acknowledged his presence.
Yeah, nobody acknowledged the presence of Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at Mandela’s memorial.
Nobody remembers that Nigeria spent millions of Dollars to support the African National Congress (ANC) members in exile.
It was Nigeria that led a successful boycott of the 1986 Commonwealth Games in protest against the attitude of the Thatcher led Conservative government to apartheid South Africa.
Nigerian passports were issued to opponents of the apartheid regime so that they could travel around the world and drum support for release of Nelson Mandela and dismantle apartheid when the South African government wouldn’t issue them passports.
For several years, Nigerian Civil Servants were contributing a part of their salaries to support the struggle against apartheid.
What we got paid in return is not appreciation but a complete airbrush from history and it’s not because Mandela and South Africans were ungrateful but because they were too ashamed to associate themselves with our leaders.
Mandela would sooner travel to a country where there is stable power supply and security; make friends with Clinton and Blair, who were held accountable to the people they governed, than hang around those who would treat him like a god while oppressing the people who elected them to office.
Mandela would rather associate himself with a country where a cabinet minister resigned over accusations he insulted Policemen on duty than hang around a President who refused to sack a minister facing legislative probe for spending $1.5 million dollars on bullet-proof luxury cars.
Madiba avoided Africa because the state of affairs in so many African countries reminded him of how black South Africans were treated by white South African only worse because it’s now black Africans oppressing other black Africans.
When the tide turned around for Mandela, the organised western world – the same people who jailed him – made a decision to claim his legacy while his African brothers, who paid a price to get him freed, were busy tearing down the good work they built.
The same way he realised that the way forward for South Africa was forgiveness and reconciliation he also realised that the sensible thing to do was to fraternise with the people who jailed him and not the profligate and corruption ridden African leadership.
We pushed “our” Man
dela back into the arms of his jailers even after he had been set free from a physical prison because he realised that African leaders may be parading themselves around in luxury cars and private jets but they were still ideologically imprisoned.
Since he didn’t want to go back to any kind of prison he aligned himself with those who put him in jail because they did not only set him free from a physical prison they also had the power to set him free from the ideological prison that other African leaders were still trapped in.
They are now the ones re-writing Mandela’s life story and thanks to our leaders our children will probably never know the role we played in setting him free from jail and South Africa from an evil political system.

– See more at: http://www.urnaija.com/nigeria-airbrushed-out-of-mandelas-life-story/#sthash.6T1pHIqx.dpuf

Madiba's Message to Nigerians: Wise counsel?

I have seen this around the internet, but only just read it to be honest. I think it makes complete sense. Here is what he said in an interview in 2007 about Nigeria and her leaders.

Nelson Mandela: 1917-2013
Hear Mandela: “You know I am not very happy with Nigeria. I have made that very clear on many occasions. Yes, Nigeria stood by us more than any nation, but you let yourselves down, and Africa and the black race very badly. Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people. They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not more angry than they are.
“What do young Nigerians think about your leaders and their country and Africa? Do you teach them history? Do you have lessons on how your past leaders stood by us and gave us large amounts of money? You know I hear from Angolans and Mozambicans and Zimbabweans how your people opened their hearts and their homes to them. I was in prison then, but we know how your leaders punished western companies who supported apartheid.
“What about the corruption and the crimes? Your elections are like wars. Now, we hear that you cannot be president in Nigeria unless you are Muslim or Christian. Some people tell me your country may break up. Please don’t let it happen.
“Let me tell you what I think you need to do. You should encourage leaders to emerge who will not confuse public office with sources of making personal wealth. Corrupt people do not make good leaders. Then you have to spend a lot of your resources for education.
“Educate children of the poor, so that they can get out of poverty. Poverty does not breed confidence. Only c
onfident people can bring changes. Poor, uneducated people can also bring change, but it will be hijacked by the educated and the wealthy…give young Nigerians good education. Teach them the value of hard work and sacrifice, and discourage them from crimes which are destroying your image as a good people.”

Invictus

While in prison, Mandela would read this poem to fellow prisoners. The poem is about not giving up. Here is the poem again:

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the Pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods maybe
For my unconquerable soul
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Friends, and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul
William Ernest Henley
(1849- 1903)

Obama's Selfie

Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a selfie photo with Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (center) as First Lady Michelle watches the memorial service Why did this picture make front page news?  This is the picture some have viewed as inappropriate. I dont think so. Nelson Mandela’s death should be celebrated. He died at 95. A ripe age by all standards. So why not have some fun eh? If taking this selfie is part of the celebrations , why not? Politicians are human as well or are they not?

I  have no problems with this picture. I just wonder what Michelle might have been thinking though? Is Barack going to get it from her?

International Human Rights Day

Its really cheeky of me to post this here verbatim. So, if you havent read this yet, here is your chance to read why Ti-Anna Wang from the Guardian UK wants us to remember her father on International Human Rights Day. 

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On Human Rights Day, I’ll be thinking of my father in a Chinese prison

My father is serving a life sentence for pro-democracy activism. He’d see little optimism in China’s admission to the UNHRCl)
China human rights protesters

Campaigners protest against China’s human rights record outside the UN’s headquarters in New York. Photograph: Mustafa Bader/Demotix/Corbis
Today is Human Rights Day, an occasion commemorating the United Nations‘ passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The standards established that day built upon universal freedoms proclaimed by the allied forces during the second world war. In the aftermath of that horrific war, they were intended to deter systematichuman rights violations, and to raise awareness and action when they do occur.
For these reasons, it’s important to celebrate the tremendous progress in global human rights over the past 65 years, including the integration of language from the declaration into many constitutions all over the world. However, we must also remember that the UN’s vision of these values being “universal,” is far from complete, and the recent admission ofChina into the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) further highlights this reality.
For decades, China has faced persistent criticism for a range of human right violations. These include the suppression of political dissent its record annual number of state executions, among many others. Shortly after its admission into the UNHRC, China announced several major policy shifts, some of which concerned human rights. In a move that was praised by human rights advocates, China vowed to close labor re-education camps, ease restrictions of its “one-child” policy, and curtail use of capital punishment. While these signs may seem encouraging, China also re-affirmed the supreme control of the one-party state and its continued intolerance for dissent and freedom of expression, raising concerns about the long-term stability of its human rights progress.
My father, Wang Bingzhang, is among those who would find difficulty feeling optimistic about these new changes. He is serving a life sentence in prison in China for his pro-democracy advocacy work. As a young man, he founded China’s overseas democracy movement. A medical doctor educated in the West, he instead devoted his life to what he believed were basic freedoms long overdue to the Chinese people. For 20 years, he lived and worked out of New York. Inspired by American democracy of the time, and dedicated to his dream of a democratic China, he started a dissident magazine, founded several opposition organizations and travelled the world giving speeches to inspire others to share his ideals.
Then in 2002, while traveling in Vietnam, my father was abducted, forced into a boat to China and arrested by the Chinese police. After being held incommunicado for 6 months, he was subjected to a secret, sham trial, and found guilty of his alleged crimes. For over a decade, he has been serving his sentence in solitary confinement. In recent years, his despair and isolation have sent both his physical and mental health into devastating decline.
In a country without meaningful rule of law, my family has no means to legally appeal my father’s conviction, despite having secured exonerating evidence for the graver charges against him. The lawyers we’ve retained on his behalf are routinely intimidated by authorities, obstructed from visiting him and threatened to be disbarred. I, too, have paid a penalty for speaking on his behalf. For the past five years, I have been unable to visit him, as the Chinese government has refused to grant me an entry visa.
For his family who are citizens of the US and Canada, we feel a conflicted sense of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, and our inability to help him. While my aunts and uncle engage in sit-ins and hunger strikes, my siblings and I continue our own advocacy, each of us seeking appropriate channels of intervention for my father’s case.
Recently, high-level US and European officials met with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping and other officials to discuss a range of issues – from China’s territorial dispute with Japan, to new trade agreements, to, yes, human rights. But China’s increased global standing, its entry into the human rights council, and its new willingness to modify troubling policies it long defended are all signs that now is the time to make human rights the focal point of our discussions with China.
The significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights cannot be overstated. Its principles continue to inspire, and to provide a compass for human rights advocates around the world. My father dedicated his life to these values, and as a consequence, it is uncertain that he will ever see the world beyond his prison cell again.
I would ask that along with celebrations, people all around the world mark this day by rallying behind those who have fought to truly make human rights “universal” and fighting for their release. We must remind our leaders that in international diplomacy, there is no higher ideal or sturdier foundation to build agreements around than shared beliefs in human rights. If we lose sight of this, the sacrifices of so many, like my father, will be in vain.
Culled from the Guardian UK.

Poems and Prayers.

This morning, I handed in a piece of work (amended proposal) to my Phd supervisor. While I wait for her feedback which is essentially, the greenlight I need to start my chapter 1. I was emailed this prayer. You know I love poetry right? and I have a soft spot for prayers.
 I  know I have a lot of essays to update here on my blog, but I simply have not had the time to do it. Its Human Rights Day today.. I will write a blog on that. But, before then, here is the prayer. How ever your day is going, I hope this makes you feel just a little better.

A Prayer When Feeling a Bit Down and “Blah-ish”


The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2
Dear Lord Jesus, there’s no Savior like you—none so kind, patient, and understanding; none so connected to us when we’re feeling disconnected from you. The brokenhearted don’t need to “buck up” and be brave when they see you coming. The crushed in spirit don’t need to grab bootstraps to start pulling up, as though you’re greatly disappointed to find us less than conquerors. Your grace disarms our pose.
It’s so freeing to know that the gospel’s not about our being constantly “fired-up”, but our being eternally in Christ.  Lord Jesus, you have no need for us to be anything other than we actually are in this very moment. You are nearer than the next breath to those who know their need of grace. This gives us incalculable comfort as we bring ourselves, and a wide array of weary friends before you today.
Lord Jesus, for those of us who can’t point to any one crisis, just to several small piranha nibbling away at our hearts and energy, grant us perspective, refreshment and patience. Life in the “already and not yet” sometimes highlights the “not yet” more than the “already”, and that’s perfectly okay. This world isn’t our home yet; but it will be one Day. Until that blessed Day, grant us the good gift of perspective.
Jesus, we pray today for weary friends. Many of them wake up today disillusioned, depleted, and despondent. Jesus, for those of us who don’t feel crushed in spirit but rather feel “blah” in spirit, help us to sort through the issues. Show us what is repent-able and what is repairable, and help us quiet our noisy hearts so we can hear you speak. We need your presence much, much more than we need circumstances and people to change. Free us to know that the most godly thing we can do, sometimes, is to take a long nap. We believe that, help our unbelief.
Jesus, today and every day, we declare that our hope is built on nothing else, nothing less, and nothing more you and the free gift of your righteousness. So very Amen we pray, in your near and compassionate name.

(Extra inspirational prayers @: http://www.2heartsnetwork.org/despair.htm

RIP Nelson Mandela





This day we give thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela.
He led a nation on a long walk to freedom.
He fought for reconciliation and not retribution. 
He argued for peace in place of war.
When others surrendered to darkness he kept faith with the promise of tomorrow.
He envisioned a path to “heal the wounds of the past… “
…with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”
His work inspired the world.
In his time, the powers and the principalities reviled Jesus.
The leaders of great nations in our time called Mandela a terrorist and a communist.
Powerful interests stood up for white supremacy during the Apartheid era.
Mandela stood up for the least of these.
Death is not the final victory.
Nothing can silence the voice of Nelson Mandela – not Robin Island, not death. 
His words are eternal.
His voice will echo throughout time.
Let us have an ounce of his courage.
Let us have an ounce of his faith.
Comfort those in South Africa and across the world who mourn.
Let the work of Nelson Mandela continue in us.

Amen.

Time for Christmas?

Let’s just say when you are doing a Phd, on top of everything else in your life, your life can get very busy. Most especially when you have deadlines. I love my life! No time to blog etc etc etc.

Here is an article I wrote  last week or so. It has been described as juicy. I have titled it:  Time for Christmas.

I am writing this staring at pitch darkness. I lie, the sun is beginning to rise. The view from my desk is staggeringly beautiful. Unlike Nigeria where you hear the cocks coo, in England, you hear nothing. Nothing? Well, if you listen hard enough, you might hear the sound of on going traffic from the A5 two streets away, remote sounds of a police or ambulance siren or perhaps just vehicles leaving the car park of the building where I live. At this time of the morning, its normally just dark and quiet. No surprises. It is a typical November morning.

The heater is on and I am warm enough. Sun rise today is set at 0731am. Winter has come as quietly as possible. It needs no announcement. When you can no longer leave your house without a jacket, head warmers, gloves and about three to four layers of clothing, including thermal wears, you know you have entered into the wintry season. No one is ever a veteran of winter. Perhaps only those with excess
layers of body fat and school children who are somewhat used to walking to school only in their blazers. School children? You see them in their school uniform walking to school every day without a jacket and sometimes, you feel sorry for them. Luton has more poor children than most  boroughs in the country anyways.

Some one called into a radio station recently to talk about the level of poverty in Luton schools and the lady said she heard the story of one child who complained that her leg was hurting. When the pain was investigated, it was discovered that this child had been wearing shoes without soles. Imagine that, the child
had practically been running around bare feet. This is winter in 2013. Before you respond with shock, think about the many children you know who go to school in Nigeria without shoes, a proper school uniform and without breakfast.

Winter is generally a cold and miserable time of the year for most. Many people endure severe arthritis during this period, many people feel the pain of their electricity bills each time they turn on the heaters. With most utility company increasing their prices by up to 10% this winter, no wonder, the winter months are generally dreary and long. Thankfully, this week, the same companies announced that they would be passing on the savings given to them by the government in a sweetheart deal to reduce the cost of dual fuels. The utility companies were literally jumping over themselves to announce the best deals.

 Today is no exception. The temperature overnight peaked at minus 4. The roads would be wintry, wind screens would need to  be scraped for ice, if you drive a banger like mine, you would need to wait about 5 minutes in arctic like conditions in your car before you set out. The engine must be warmed up a bit. Even though my engine is still in very good condition, I impose this ritual upon my self. Common sense?  Ironically isnt  it? When I got the car second hand just  three years ago, it felt like I had won the lottery. Now, the same car is described as a banger.:) ‘Ayomide – the car- was ten years old in April. It  feels like it is time to buy another one.  Father Christmas… please stop by my house with a 2013 SUV Mercedes. I like color white too! lol

With 4 weeks to Christmas, the town centers are already decorated. The Luton mall already has the 20 foot tall white Christmas tree and the wishing well it had last year, Father Christmas at the Luton Mall is big business but there are no queues yet. They have managed cleverly to leave the reason behind Christmas out of the season. For example, the Santa circus in the Luton Mall has no baby Jesus. It has no shepherds as well. Just doves, pigeons and fake snow flakes.

Right about now is the best time to flee the United Kingdom. Flee? Yes! That technically means to remove oneself from the inconveniences of this weather. Many Nigerians (especially) the pensioners who have lived here all their lives, return to Nigeria till the spring. Other Nigerians are able to leave for a week or two and perhaps even more for Christmas. Again, for those who book their Christmas tickets late, the prices are heavy and disproportionate to normal fares to even further places like say Texas or California.

Many people spend a fortune in these parts on Christmas buying presents and gifts and everything else for their families and racking up huge debts as a result. I know a family that starts the Christmas buying right from August. Linda is a grand mother with over 22 grandchildren, she knows the best place to buy: Ebay. She monitors her favorite gifts buying many of them second hand but in good condition.  Now, thats an idea!

Whilst many homes and indeed people are getting ready for Christmas. Let’s think about those who would not be  celebrating Christmas this year. Starting with those who live
in areas decimated  by the Al Qaeda sprint off group Boko Haram, many of them wont know the joy and
perhaps the peace that a season like Christmas brings. Having said that, to about half the world, Christmas does not exist anyways, so perhaps there is no big deal about Christmas after all?

Federal , state and local government workers and those politicians who have benefited from the largess of the FG who routinely turns a blind eye to corruption would no doubt enjoy the season. They would enjoy the expensive holiday trips for themselves and their entourage to the States, UK and anywhere that catches their fancy really. They would enjoy buying the cows and fattening up themselves from the proceeds of their greed. They would enjoy buying more luxurious cars, caviar, town houses, land, gold et ceteras upon all that they presently have. The rich never seem to have enough. We must not salivate about how the super rich
spend or intend to spend this Christmas. To them the rest of us don’t matter anyways. If we don’t have a private jet or the life style to challenge them with, they are not interested.

So, lets really think about those who would not be celebrating Christmas. Its likely that most Christians in
Nigeria who still believe will attend a church service or two this season. These are the people we don’t see: the clerks at work, the security guards, street hawkers, handy men, cooks et all. It should include perhaps and all those who are less fortunate than ourselves. I know we all struggle but perhaps this Christmas many more
would be suffering and smiling. The question is what are you going to do about it? I hate the inequalities Christmas brings but I love the season nonetheless. If we can we commit to the idea that this Christmas would be less about ourselves and our appetites and more about others and their needs,
that would be great! If we can’t that’s also fine. Christmas is about sharing and caring after all. Perhaps this season you can be an angel to someone in need.

Tundun Adeyemo