Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yar'Adua makes public his personal assets

This seems like a positive step. According to VOA, this is the first time a sitting president in Nigeria has declared his assets. This paragraph in the Vanguard article (and mentioned in the others as well) just blows me away though:

"However, the Code of Conduct Bureau reportedly advised him against the public declaration because, as it said, "such action would put pressure on other categories of public officials to do same even when the constitution makes the exercise a private matter."

What the...? I'm glad he seems to be showing evidence of a mind of his own....

The links to articles about this:

Nigeria First


Daily Trust


Photo Credit: BBC (during the innauguration)

In a related link (that I found on the BBC page the photo came from), Nigerian bloggers' opinions on the election make BBC.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Death of Two Sons

Back from an amazing week and a half long trip to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Maybe I'll post more about it later, but I wanted to highlight an amazing documentary that I saw last week: Death of Two Sons (2006), a 64-minute documentary directed by New York based filmmaker Micah Schaffer. The film sensitively juxtaposes the lives and deaths of two young men, the Guinean Amadou Diallo who was shot forty-one times by New York police, and Jesse Thyne, the American peace corps volunteer who was living with Diallo's family in Guinea at the time of Amadou Diallo's murder. The film subtly illuminates the global inequalities that surround these two tragedies: while the taxi driver whose negligence caused the accident in which Thyne died is given a harsh sentence of three years in prison, the police who shot Diallo forty-one times were acquitted of all charges. The Peace Corps lead a march to raise awareness about road safety and a high ranking Guinean official dedicates a memorial plaque with the name of the two Peace Corps volunteers who died (as if there were not hundreds of other deaths in car accidents every year), yet when some women attempt to protest Diallo's murder outside the American embassy, the demonstration is quickly shut down: the government does not want to risk offending America. These points are not hammered out into a fully-formed polemic but rather emerge in the quiet laments of Diallo's family and friends in Guinea and those of Thyne's family in California, out of the understated but powerful way the two stories are woven together.
The back story of Amadou Diallo's life also emerges. A young man from a cosmopolitan family, he had travelled in Africa, Asia, and Europe. He had gone to school in Thailand and studied computer science in Singapore. Already posessing academic qualifications, he worked on the streets of New York to raise money to attend an American university. Yet the dreams he had pursued in his life were overwhelmed by the clamour of his death. Films like Death of Two Sons move beyond the symbol Diallo has become to remind us of the person he was and the personal grief of those who loved him.
For more information about the film, which I highly recommend, see the home page: Death of Two Sons.

Monday, June 18, 2007


At the wedding of a dear old high school friend this weekend. Off to California tomorrow...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mourning Modal Minority

I came back from my vacation (and blog break) yesterday to find that one of my favourite blogs, Modal Minority, by Teju Cole, has vanished, leaving me sad and bereft of an almost daily reading ritual. I google Teju Cole and find some of his poems left behind in the google cache, the floating residue of a ghost ship. I was going to post part of his poem "This," which expressed, in part, my sense of loss but decided to respect his desire to leave.

Teju, you are missed!