Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “nayyirah waheed nejma review”

i am writing this book.
ii am writing a daughter.

-nejma (nejii)

Writer, nayyirah waheed recently released her second collection of work, nejma. While I enjoy poetry, it is seldom I read books of poetry by one author in its entirety. Yet, I read nejma in whole and in hours.

Before even opening the book, I took some time to appreciate the title, cover art and thickness. To my understanding, nejma is an Arabic word meaning star. nejma (star) was illustrated through the art used as cover. The size and placement of the author’s name caught my attention. in small font it was placed on the right hand corner of the book. while I am not sure of the reasoning behind this placement, I interpreted it as nayyirah saying “pay less attention to my name and pay more attention to the words I am presenting you.” finally, nejma is not a light book. Just as her words are heavy and plenty, so are the pages of her book. nayyirah presents to readers 172 pages of poetry. 172 pages of stories, 172 pages of emotions.

nayyirah has always made it clear that she writes for people of color, so it was no surprise to open the book and find these words waiting for me:

to you.
my people of color.

you are an altar of stars.
remember this.
always.
do not ever forget this.

for those who are used to traditional styles of poetry, you may find nejma hard to swallow. It may scratch your throat a bit. As other women of color before her, nayyirah creates her own style and her rules when it comes to poetry. Whether it’s her sentence structures or the placement of her periods, her work is not pretty. There are poems you read and they are pretty and beautiful, then there are poems you read and they are salt. As the name of her first book, nayyirah waheed’s work is salt.

what I appreciate most about nejma is its ability to explore different topics but yet connect. You can pick a poem from the 3rd page and a poem from page 164 and somehow, they are a part of the same story. I look forward to more work from nayyirah waheed.

a poem can eat a person.
whole.
for years.

-Bilphena Yahwon

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “nayyirah waheed nejma review”
i am writing this book.ii am writing a daughter.
-nejma (nejii)
Writer, nayyirah waheed recently released her second collection of work, nejma. While I enjoy poetry, it is seldom I read books of poetry by one author in its entirety. Yet, I read nejma in whole and in hours.
Before even opening the book, I took some time to appreciate the title, cover art and thickness. To my understanding, nejma is an Arabic word meaning star. nejma (star) was illustrated through the art used as cover. The size and placement of the author’s name caught my attention. in small font it was placed on the right hand corner of the book. while I am not sure of the reasoning behind this placement, I interpreted it as nayyirah saying “pay less attention to my name and pay more attention to the words I am presenting you.” finally, nejma is not a light book. Just as her words are heavy and plenty, so are the pages of her book. nayyirah presents to readers 172 pages of poetry. 172 pages of stories, 172 pages of emotions.
nayyirah has always made it clear that she writes for people of color, so it was no surprise to open the book and find these words waiting for me:
to you.my people of color.
you are an altar of stars.remember this.always.do not ever forget this.
for those who are used to traditional styles of poetry, you may find nejma hard to swallow. It may scratch your throat a bit. As other women of color before her, nayyirah creates her own style and her rules when it comes to poetry. Whether it’s her sentence structures or the placement of her periods, her work is not pretty. There are poems you read and they are pretty and beautiful, then there are poems you read and they are salt. As the name of her first book, nayyirah waheed’s work is salt.
what I appreciate most about nejma is its ability to explore different topics but yet connect. You can pick a poem from the 3rd page and a poem from page 164 and somehow, they are a part of the same story. I look forward to more work from nayyirah waheed.
a poem can eat a person.whole.for years.
-Bilphena Yahwon High-res

"MBAA" (GIRLS)

Sex. A small yet loaded word. We all have our own theories, opinions and ideologies on the subject, and we use them to maneuver our way throughout the various sexual experiences in our lives. If you have had the chance to speak in an honest and open forum with people you are comfortable with about the subject, you’ll know that those ideas, theories, and opinions are varied and diverse, and often not what we would assume. As the pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey puts it, “The only universal in human sexuality is variability itself.” When it comes to the sexual ideologies of the African woman, the picture that is generally painted is a complex one. It is shrouded in mystery perhaps because people aren’t comfortable sharing their private matters, and as one of my aunts puts it simply “It’s just not the first issue people think to talk about of all the problems in Africa.” For those and other reasons, there just isn’t enough information to make conclusive take.  For example, I Googled the phrase “Sex of the African woman”, and below a few scandalous links, was a Wikipedia page on dry sex. The article stated that dry sex is “common sub-Saharan Africa” citing one study that was done in one province of South Africa with a “random sampling of men and women”. Clearly more research needs to be done and more conversations need to be had, (if we feel so inclined), before such assumptions and over arching generalizations are made.

Since we have the opportunity to share our stories here,  I profiled four Ladies about sex in context of a young African woman living in either Africa or abroad, and how the balance between our individual preconceived notions on sex, what we are thought by our parents, what we learn from school, or peers and the media. These young women are between the ages of 19-25, and lead varied lives in different corners of the world. Their names have been changed as a way to maintain their anonymity. (continue reading)

"MBAA" (GIRLS)
Sex. A small yet loaded word. We all have our own theories, opinions and ideologies on the subject, and we use them to maneuver our way throughout the various sexual experiences in our lives. If you have had the chance to speak in an honest and open forum with people you are comfortable with about the subject, you’ll know that those ideas, theories, and opinions are varied and diverse, and often not what we would assume. As the pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey puts it, “The only universal in human sexuality is variability itself.” When it comes to the sexual ideologies of the African woman, the picture that is generally painted is a complex one. It is shrouded in mystery perhaps because people aren’t comfortable sharing their private matters, and as one of my aunts puts it simply “It’s just not the first issue people think to talk about of all the problems in Africa.” For those and other reasons, there just isn’t enough information to make conclusive take.  For example, I Googled the phrase “Sex of the African woman”, and below a few scandalous links, was a Wikipedia page on dry sex. The article stated that dry sex is “common sub-Saharan Africa” citing one study that was done in one province of South Africa with a “random sampling of men and women”. Clearly more research needs to be done and more conversations need to be had, (if we feel so inclined), before such assumptions and over arching generalizations are made.
Since we have the opportunity to share our stories here,  I profiled four Ladies about sex in context of a young African woman living in either Africa or abroad, and how the balance between our individual preconceived notions on sex, what we are thought by our parents, what we learn from school, or peers and the media. These young women are between the ages of 19-25, and lead varied lives in different corners of the world. Their names have been changed as a way to maintain their anonymity. (continue reading) High-res

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Chi Chi of ZurikGirl”

Chinenye “ChiChi” Ezurike is a 23 year old graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a BA in Hospitality and Business Management. From coordinating fashion shows, to taking the stage as a pageant winner of Miss Nigeria USA 2011, Chinenye is not afraid to be challenged. Inspired by her love for creating and online shopping, Ezurike is the CEO of ZurikGirl, an online women’s clothing store. Rise Africa had the opportunity to chat with Chi-Chi, here’s what she had to say…

August 2014: “Let’s Talk About Sex”

After a couple gets married, children appear and we celebrate the blessing of new life, but did anyone tell the bride and groom about the birds and the bees? Did the groom get tips from his father on how to bring his wife pleasure? Did the wife seek out an Aunty to find out what really happens in the dark?

Sex is such a taboo on the African continent. We are aware it is happening, because people are having children, and people are getting diseases, but no one is talking about it in the open. We have creative artists making safe sex fun, and taste good too. Despite the youth’s demand for information, tips, tricks, and safety guides, sex is not a conversation to be had at the dinner table—or any table for that matter. We may talk about it with our friends,but can we have those conversations with our elders? As we tout improving infrastructure, growing international investments, we still struggle with social concerns like rape, sexually transmitted diseases, and stigma against testing. How, without open conversations, can the continent have sex, without the side affects? Do we need toimplement sex education? What role does the religious nature of the region play in the sexual tension present in many African countries?

This month, Rise Africa will ask the questions: What do Africans know about sex? How do we pass on the knowledge we do have? If there is no formal sex education, is there informal education? If we don’t talk about sex directly, how do we address it? For instance, what role does sex play in the marriages? Speaking of relationships, does the image of the virile African man create an atmosphere accepting of cheating and deceit? How has the demand for sex changed women’s expectations of monogamy, respect, true love, and marital unity? How has the conversation around sex transformed the idea of family in African countries? Do we live in societies that care what women want or do we simply demand that women undergo painful rituals just to be considered chaste? Lastly, what does love have to do with any of it?

Don’t be shy; share your experiences with, and reflections on, this month’s theme with the Rise Africa community. We value your participation.  If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our August 2014 theme.

-Chinwe Ohanele

August 2014: “Let’s Talk About Sex”
After a couple gets married, children appear and we celebrate the blessing of new life, but did anyone tell the bride and groom about the birds and the bees? Did the groom get tips from his father on how to bring his wife pleasure? Did the wife seek out an Aunty to find out what really happens in the dark?
Sex is such a taboo on the African continent. We are aware it is happening, because people are having children, and people are getting diseases, but no one is talking about it in the open. We have creative artists making safe sex fun, and taste good too. Despite the youth’s demand for information, tips, tricks, and safety guides, sex is not a conversation to be had at the dinner table—or any table for that matter. We may talk about it with our friends,but can we have those conversations with our elders? As we tout improving infrastructure, growing international investments, we still struggle with social concerns like rape, sexually transmitted diseases, and stigma against testing. How, without open conversations, can the continent have sex, without the side affects? Do we need toimplement sex education? What role does the religious nature of the region play in the sexual tension present in many African countries?
This month, Rise Africa will ask the questions: What do Africans know about sex? How do we pass on the knowledge we do have? If there is no formal sex education, is there informal education? If we don’t talk about sex directly, how do we address it? For instance, what role does sex play in the marriages? Speaking of relationships, does the image of the virile African man create an atmosphere accepting of cheating and deceit? How has the demand for sex changed women’s expectations of monogamy, respect, true love, and marital unity? How has the conversation around sex transformed the idea of family in African countries? Do we live in societies that care what women want or do we simply demand that women undergo painful rituals just to be considered chaste? Lastly, what does love have to do with any of it?
Don’t be shy; share your experiences with, and reflections on, this month’s theme with the Rise Africa community. We value your participation.  If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our August 2014 theme.
-Chinwe Ohanele High-res

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “The Woman Who Proposes”

For the past month or so, there have been many videos and pictures floating around the internet of women proposing to their significant others. With these videos, came lots of “A woman should never propose to a man” and “what happened to tradition?” comments. I saw comments of men questioning the masculinity of those men being proposed to. I saw comments of women claiming a woman who proposes is desperate. While I am not forcing any woman to propose to her significant other, I do want to examine 3 of the frequent arguments that I’ve seen. What I found is that these 3 arguments and all other arguments made are deeply rooted in patriarchy, gender roles and a society that tells women they are chosen rather than the choosers. (read more)

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “The Woman Who Proposes”
For the past month or so, there have been many videos and pictures floating around the internet of women proposing to their significant others. With these videos, came lots of “A woman should never propose to a man” and “what happened to tradition?” comments. I saw comments of men questioning the masculinity of those men being proposed to. I saw comments of women claiming a woman who proposes is desperate. While I am not forcing any woman to propose to her significant other, I do want to examine 3 of the frequent arguments that I’ve seen. What I found is that these 3 arguments and all other arguments made are deeply rooted in patriarchy, gender roles and a society that tells women they are chosen rather than the choosers. (read more) High-res

Heres the video to my poem “Bring Back Our Girls.” Bringing light to the issues going on in Nigeria, our voices are all we have now.

Twitter: @theresa_lola

Tumblr: http://creativeshot.tumblr.com

deebott:

dynastylnoire:

shartichoke:

thekingsvoice:

theblacklittlemermaid:

nikkisshadetree:

iknowwhythesongbirdsings:

africaisdonesuffering:

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Pray the Depression Away”

yesterday, she finally mustered the courage to call her mother. with shaking hands and cracking voice, she told her how she couldn’t sleep. she couldn’t eat. her body felt heavy. something was inside of her that didn’t quite belong. the something was sitting on her chest. breathing was harder. thinking was harder. she told her what the doctor said. it was depression. her mother on the other end of the line sucked her teeth. she didn’t believe in such things. all her daughter needed to do was pray. she just needed to attend church more, read her bible more. nothing was wrong with her, it was juju. it was god testing. and so she went to church. she sat in the front pew, eyes fixated on the pastor. and when it was time for altar call, she peeled herself from the wooden seat to stand in the front. people surrounded her. they prayed, and screamed and placed holy water on her head. this would fix her they told her. she would be better. and so she went home, she opened her bible to psalms 121. she prayed harder, went to church every sunday. she would be fixed she told herself, all she needed was more god. but months past and the darkness inside of her began to spill over. she no longer enjoyed the activities she once did. her night walks in the park became nights of sitting in the dark. curtains closed, door locked. she no longer wrote poetry or baked her favorite hershey cookies. she barely slept and her mouth was sewed shut rejecting food and water. she was sinking deeper. god wasn’t fixing her. praying wasn’t fixing her. and so she reached for the white pills that sat next to her bible. 3 at a time she threw them down her throat. if she couldn’t pray the depression away, she would kill it.

-Bilphena Yahwon

Please read this.

There’s such a stigma against the ills of mental health in the black community. Prayer is great, but it doesn’t solve everything.

Americanah from Ngozi Adichie protayes it well also with Ifemelu’s bad start in America :s

This is real man

the realest shit ever.

seriously.

to find counselors and therapists in your area based upon race/gender/specialties go to psychologytoday.com and visit their doctor directory.

Honestly this is almost exactly what happened to me. I told my mother in the same fashion that I was going through depression and she didnt believe me until I called her after almost destroying one of the only relationships I have ever wanted. She finally said You need to seek help to get a real reading on what is happening to you she never once said sorry to me for not believing me the first time but she does encourage me to seek help.

deebott:

dynastylnoire:

shartichoke:

thekingsvoice:

theblacklittlemermaid:

nikkisshadetree:

iknowwhythesongbirdsings:

africaisdonesuffering:

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Pray the Depression Away”
yesterday, she finally mustered the courage to call her mother. with shaking hands and cracking voice, she told her how she couldn’t sleep. she couldn’t eat. her body felt heavy. something was inside of her that didn’t quite belong. the something was sitting on her chest. breathing was harder. thinking was harder. she told her what the doctor said. it was depression. her mother on the other end of the line sucked her teeth. she didn’t believe in such things. all her daughter needed to do was pray. she just needed to attend church more, read her bible more. nothing was wrong with her, it was juju. it was god testing. and so she went to church. she sat in the front pew, eyes fixated on the pastor. and when it was time for altar call, she peeled herself from the wooden seat to stand in the front. people surrounded her. they prayed, and screamed and placed holy water on her head. this would fix her they told her. she would be better. and so she went home, she opened her bible to psalms 121. she prayed harder, went to church every sunday. she would be fixed she told herself, all she needed was more god. but months past and the darkness inside of her began to spill over. she no longer enjoyed the activities she once did. her night walks in the park became nights of sitting in the dark. curtains closed, door locked. she no longer wrote poetry or baked her favorite hershey cookies. she barely slept and her mouth was sewed shut rejecting food and water. she was sinking deeper. god wasn’t fixing her. praying wasn’t fixing her. and so she reached for the white pills that sat next to her bible. 3 at a time she threw them down her throat. if she couldn’t pray the depression away, she would kill it.
-Bilphena Yahwon

Please read this.

There’s such a stigma against the ills of mental health in the black community. Prayer is great, but it doesn’t solve everything.

Americanah from Ngozi Adichie protayes it well also with Ifemelu’s bad start in America :s

This is real man

the realest shit ever.

seriously.
to find counselors and therapists in your area based upon race/gender/specialties go to psychologytoday.com and visit their doctor directory.

Honestly this is almost exactly what happened to me. I told my mother in the same fashion that I was going through depression and she didnt believe me until I called her after almost destroying one of the only relationships I have ever wanted. She finally said You need to seek help to get a real reading on what is happening to you she never once said sorry to me for not believing me the first time but she does encourage me to seek help.
High-res

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Pray the Depression Away”

yesterday, she finally mustered the courage to call her mother. with shaking hands and cracking voice, she told her how she couldn’t sleep. she couldn’t eat. her body felt heavy. something was inside of her that didn’t quite belong. the something was sitting on her chest. breathing was harder. thinking was harder. she told her what the doctor said. it was depression. her mother on the other end of the line sucked her teeth. she didn’t believe in such things. all her daughter needed to do was pray. she just needed to attend church more, read her bible more. nothing was wrong with her, it was juju. it was god testing. and so she went to church. she sat in the front pew, eyes fixated on the pastor. and when it was time for altar call, she peeled herself from the wooden seat to stand in the front. people surrounded her. they prayed, and screamed and placed holy water on her head. this would fix her they told her. she would be better. and so she went home, she opened her bible to psalms 121. she prayed harder, went to church every sunday. she would be fixed she told herself, all she needed was more god. but months past and the darkness inside of her began to spill over. she no longer enjoyed the activities she once did. her night walks in the park became nights of sitting in the dark. curtains closed, door locked. she no longer wrote poetry or baked her favorite hershey cookies. she barely slept and her mouth was sewed shut rejecting food and water. she was sinking deeper. god wasn’t fixing her. praying wasn’t fixing her. and so she reached for the white pills that sat next to her bible. 3 at a time she threw them down her throat. if she couldn’t pray the depression away, she would kill it.

-Bilphena Yahwon

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Pray the Depression Away”
yesterday, she finally mustered the courage to call her mother. with shaking hands and cracking voice, she told her how she couldn’t sleep. she couldn’t eat. her body felt heavy. something was inside of her that didn’t quite belong. the something was sitting on her chest. breathing was harder. thinking was harder. she told her what the doctor said. it was depression. her mother on the other end of the line sucked her teeth. she didn’t believe in such things. all her daughter needed to do was pray. she just needed to attend church more, read her bible more. nothing was wrong with her, it was juju. it was god testing. and so she went to church. she sat in the front pew, eyes fixated on the pastor. and when it was time for altar call, she peeled herself from the wooden seat to stand in the front. people surrounded her. they prayed, and screamed and placed holy water on her head. this would fix her they told her. she would be better. and so she went home, she opened her bible to psalms 121. she prayed harder, went to church every sunday. she would be fixed she told herself, all she needed was more god. but months past and the darkness inside of her began to spill over. she no longer enjoyed the activities she once did. her night walks in the park became nights of sitting in the dark. curtains closed, door locked. she no longer wrote poetry or baked her favorite hershey cookies. she barely slept and her mouth was sewed shut rejecting food and water. she was sinking deeper. god wasn’t fixing her. praying wasn’t fixing her. and so she reached for the white pills that sat next to her bible. 3 at a time she threw them down her throat. if she couldn’t pray the depression away, she would kill it.
-Bilphena Yahwon High-res

Domesticated Religions or Faiths of the Oppressors: Islam and Christianity in Africa

Time and again in discussions about Africa and spirituality arises this idea that Christianity and Islam are faiths of the oppressors; that the practice of these religions not only served to crush indigenous beliefs on the continent but that they are also symbols of an Africa which has embraced the tools its oppressors used in their (old and new) quests to dominate the African peoples. Those who profess such arguments however seem to miss a very crucial point: although the instrumentalization of religion in the various brutalizations committed against Africans cannot be ignored, the introduction of Christianity and Islam go far beyond imperialism, the transatlantic slave trade, and colonization.

The narratives of Islam and Christianity making their way into the African continent through, respectively, the Arabs conquering and forcibly converting the North and the missionaries sent by empires set on sharing a piece of the “African cake” are problematic and ahistorical. They erase, for example, the long legacy of the Christian religion in Ethiopia, which dates back as early as the 1st century AD. And Islam, on the other hand, was practiced on the continent since the 7th century AD when the religion was still new and persecuted Muslims sought refuge in Africa by migrating to what was then known as the kingdom of Axum. While both religions are not indigenous to Africa, they have been domesticated by African people, as both Christianity and Islam have been practiced on the continent “for nearly as long as they have existed” (Olupona 89). (read more)

Domesticated Religions or Faiths of the Oppressors: Islam and Christianity in Africa
Time and again in discussions about Africa and spirituality arises this idea that Christianity and Islam are faiths of the oppressors; that the practice of these religions not only served to crush indigenous beliefs on the continent but that they are also symbols of an Africa which has embraced the tools its oppressors used in their (old and new) quests to dominate the African peoples. Those who profess such arguments however seem to miss a very crucial point: although the instrumentalization of religion in the various brutalizations committed against Africans cannot be ignored, the introduction of Christianity and Islam go far beyond imperialism, the transatlantic slave trade, and colonization.
The narratives of Islam and Christianity making their way into the African continent through, respectively, the Arabs conquering and forcibly converting the North and the missionaries sent by empires set on sharing a piece of the “African cake” are problematic and ahistorical. They erase, for example, the long legacy of the Christian religion in Ethiopia, which dates back as early as the 1st century AD. And Islam, on the other hand, was practiced on the continent since the 7th century AD when the religion was still new and persecuted Muslims sought refuge in Africa by migrating to what was then known as the kingdom of Axum. While both religions are not indigenous to Africa, they have been domesticated by African people, as both Christianity and Islam have been practiced on the continent “for nearly as long as they have existed” (Olupona 89). (read more) High-res

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “1953 - How I Wear My Crown”

As a young girl, I always enjoyed watching my mother in the mirror on Sundays wrapping her hair. I admired the artistry of it all and how regal she looked. My freshman year of college, I started wrapping my hair also, mimicking what I saw my mother doing in the mirror.  My head wraps became a part of my identity.

I enjoy wrapping my hair up with vibrant pieces taken from my mother’s closet. I enjoy walking down the street and having people stare because they’ve never seen such a pattern. Most importantly, wrapping my head with fabric from my mother’s closet connects me to my home of Liberia despite the oceans that separate us. Each pattern, color and style has a story and history of its own. I am carrying a piece of home and a story on my head. This is why I am so drawn to 1953, a head wrap collection by Folasade Adeoso.

Inspired by her father and his birth year, 1953, Folasade started this collection not only in honor of her father but to also share a piece of her home (Nigeria), with other women. The pieces in 1953 are handmade in Nigeria and handpicked by Folasade throughout local markets in Nigeria.  With this collection, she seeks to promote individuality in all women. It is a celebration of women and all of our unique beauties. So whether you are in an elegant evening dress or simply sporting jeans and flats, you can still wear your crown.

africaisdonesuffering:

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Michel Foucault’s Discourse and Africa”

“I don’t waste food, there are starving kids in Africa”

“We should appreciate what we have, you know? There are people suffering in Africa.”

“Appreciate the rights you have in America, I know in Africa people have no rights.”

Here are 3 of my favorite quotes from conversations I had this week. I cannot count the amount of times Africa is used as an example for why I should appreciate the economic, social and political freedoms presented to me in the United States of America. I mean, let’s be honest, these statements summarize America’s outlook on the rest of the world. Appreciate America because *insert country here* does not allow you to *insert right here*

Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard someone say “you should appreciate what you have because there are people in America suffering”? More than likely, you’ve never heard this before. Making such a statement would be seen as ludicrous to many, they may even ask “how can you generalize such a big country?” It is so easy to see America as a diverse country divided into 50 states with different economic situations. While Africa, a continent that is far bigger than America, is portrayed as one big country lacking diversity. Furthermore, it is assumed that every good thing a nation should possess, America already does. This thinking is influenced by discourse.

(read more)

africaisdonesuffering:

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Michel Foucault’s Discourse and Africa”
“I don’t waste food, there are starving kids in Africa”
“We should appreciate what we have, you know? There are people suffering in Africa.”
“Appreciate the rights you have in America, I know in Africa people have no rights.”
Here are 3 of my favorite quotes from conversations I had this week. I cannot count the amount of times Africa is used as an example for why I should appreciate the economic, social and political freedoms presented to me in the United States of America. I mean, let’s be honest, these statements summarize America’s outlook on the rest of the world. Appreciate America because *insert country here* does not allow you to *insert right here*
Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard someone say “you should appreciate what you have because there are people in America suffering”? More than likely, you’ve never heard this before. Making such a statement would be seen as ludicrous to many, they may even ask “how can you generalize such a big country?” It is so easy to see America as a diverse country divided into 50 states with different economic situations. While Africa, a continent that is far bigger than America, is portrayed as one big country lacking diversity. Furthermore, it is assumed that every good thing a nation should possess, America already does. This thinking is influenced by discourse.
(read more) High-res

africaisdonesuffering:

July 2014: “Let Us Pray”

We are an Arab, Muslim nation, anyone who does not like it can go,” said Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. Soon after 2011 was the year when majority Christian Sudanese left Sudan, and formed South Sudan.  In 1989 Sudan undertook a cultural project, which denounced the multi-ethnic, culturally rich Sudan and replaced it with an Islamic theocracy—a religious nation state. In the early years, many women and children fell at the mercy of officers who either humiliated or punished them. Even though the diktats, or rules have loosened over time, occasionally a sweep reminded Sudan’s citizens of what it means to live in a nations whose rules are one in the same as religious rules interpreted by the few for the many.

Sudan is not the only nation that has struggled with keeping church and state separate. Currently, Boko Haram has become a household name for its extremist terrorist bombings, abductions, and rapes of all opposed to strict sharia law. Over 70 days ago, the organization abducted over 300 schoolgirls form their campus in the middle of the night. While about 50 girls escaped, the remaining girls have not been found. Since the abduction, there have been more abductions, killings, and bombings, all in the name of Allah.

All over the continent from the Central African Republic, to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Africans wage religious wars all in the name of God. How often are these wars publicly about religion but privately about politics, control, resources, land, and centuries old family disputes?

There is no doubt that African continent is one of the most religious communities in the world. There are churches and mosques in every major city and most rural communities. Even with houses of God casting long shadows of African communities, what have Africans gained from their deeply seeded faith?  Extremist religion has been used in very political ways to criminalize inter-religious marriagehomosexuality, and maintain grave gendered education gap. With a reality as dangerous as that is religion a sword used to cut down the disobedient, and outspoken in society, or staff guiding us together to a life of harmony?

Have Africans accepted the faith of their oppressors without examining the role those religions played in taking over their cultures, traditions, and communities? What role has religion played in some of the most heinous atrocities on the continent? How can religion bring healing where it is the cause of so much distrust and animosity?

Have Christianity and Islam truly made the continent a better place? Is it possible that what we lost was far more precious, more natural, more humane, or is it the interpretations of these foreign religions that has lead to so much violence? Is there room on the continent for indigenous religions as well as more modern faiths? Can the past and future live comfortably together?

This month in Rise Africa we will explore all of these questions and more. Our goal is to develop a connected and empowered global African community, one that has the confidence to speak their voice and the awareness to engage in productive conversations with one another about the shared and unique lives we live as Africans and members of the African Diaspora. We imagine an Africa where we’re all involved. With that being said, as always we value your participation. Share your experiences with, and reflections on conflict on the continent with the Rise Africa community. If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our July 2014 theme.

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July 2014: “Let Us Pray”
“We are an Arab, Muslim nation, anyone who does not like it can go,” said Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. Soon after 2011 was the year when majority Christian Sudanese left Sudan, and formed South Sudan.  In 1989 Sudan undertook a cultural project, which denounced the multi-ethnic, culturally rich Sudan and replaced it with an Islamic theocracy—a religious nation state. In the early years, many women and children fell at the mercy of officers who either humiliated or punished them. Even though the diktats, or rules have loosened over time, occasionally a sweep reminded Sudan’s citizens of what it means to live in a nations whose rules are one in the same as religious rules interpreted by the few for the many.
Sudan is not the only nation that has struggled with keeping church and state separate. Currently, Boko Haram has become a household name for its extremist terrorist bombings, abductions, and rapes of all opposed to strict sharia law. Over 70 days ago, the organization abducted over 300 schoolgirls form their campus in the middle of the night. While about 50 girls escaped, the remaining girls have not been found. Since the abduction, there have been more abductions, killings, and bombings, all in the name of Allah.
All over the continent from the Central African Republic, to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Africans wage religious wars all in the name of God. How often are these wars publicly about religion but privately about politics, control, resources, land, and centuries old family disputes?
There is no doubt that African continent is one of the most religious communities in the world. There are churches and mosques in every major city and most rural communities. Even with houses of God casting long shadows of African communities, what have Africans gained from their deeply seeded faith?  Extremist religion has been used in very political ways to criminalize inter-religious marriage, homosexuality, and maintain grave gendered education gap. With a reality as dangerous as that is religion a sword used to cut down the disobedient, and outspoken in society, or staff guiding us together to a life of harmony?
Have Africans accepted the faith of their oppressors without examining the role those religions played in taking over their cultures, traditions, and communities? What role has religion played in some of the most heinous atrocities on the continent? How can religion bring healing where it is the cause of so much distrust and animosity?
Have Christianity and Islam truly made the continent a better place? Is it possible that what we lost was far more precious, more natural, more humane, or is it the interpretations of these foreign religions that has lead to so much violence? Is there room on the continent for indigenous religions as well as more modern faiths? Can the past and future live comfortably together?
This month in Rise Africa we will explore all of these questions and more. Our goal is to develop a connected and empowered global African community, one that has the confidence to speak their voice and the awareness to engage in productive conversations with one another about the shared and unique lives we live as Africans and members of the African Diaspora. We imagine an Africa where we’re all involved. With that being said, as always we value your participation. Share your experiences with, and reflections on conflict on the continent with the Rise Africa community. If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our July 2014 theme.

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Michel Foucault’s Discourse and Africa”

“I don’t waste food, there are starving kids in Africa”

“We should appreciate what we have, you know? There are people suffering in Africa.”

“Appreciate the rights you have in America, I know in Africa people have no rights.”

Here are 3 of my favorite quotes from conversations I had this week. I cannot count the amount of times Africa is used as an example for why I should appreciate the economic, social and political freedoms presented to me in the United States of America. I mean, let’s be honest, these statements summarize America’s outlook on the rest of the world. Appreciate America because *insert country here* does not allow you to *insert right here*

Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard someone say “you should appreciate what you have because there are people in America suffering”? More than likely, you’ve never heard this before. Making such a statement would be seen as ludicrous to many, they may even ask “how can you generalize such a big country?” It is so easy to see America as a diverse country divided into 50 states with different economic situations. While Africa, a continent that is far bigger than America, is portrayed as one big country lacking diversity. Furthermore, it is assumed that every good thing a nation should possess, America already does. This thinking is influenced by discourse.

(read more)

Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Michel Foucault’s Discourse and Africa”
“I don’t waste food, there are starving kids in Africa”
“We should appreciate what we have, you know? There are people suffering in Africa.”
“Appreciate the rights you have in America, I know in Africa people have no rights.”
Here are 3 of my favorite quotes from conversations I had this week. I cannot count the amount of times Africa is used as an example for why I should appreciate the economic, social and political freedoms presented to me in the United States of America. I mean, let’s be honest, these statements summarize America’s outlook on the rest of the world. Appreciate America because *insert country here* does not allow you to *insert right here*
Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard someone say “you should appreciate what you have because there are people in America suffering”? More than likely, you’ve never heard this before. Making such a statement would be seen as ludicrous to many, they may even ask “how can you generalize such a big country?” It is so easy to see America as a diverse country divided into 50 states with different economic situations. While Africa, a continent that is far bigger than America, is portrayed as one big country lacking diversity. Furthermore, it is assumed that every good thing a nation should possess, America already does. This thinking is influenced by discourse.
(read more) High-res

July 2014: “Let Us Pray”

We are an Arab, Muslim nation, anyone who does not like it can go,” said Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. Soon after 2011 was the year when majority Christian Sudanese left Sudan, and formed South Sudan.  In 1989 Sudan undertook a cultural project, which denounced the multi-ethnic, culturally rich Sudan and replaced it with an Islamic theocracy—a religious nation state. In the early years, many women and children fell at the mercy of officers who either humiliated or punished them. Even though the diktats, or rules have loosened over time, occasionally a sweep reminded Sudan’s citizens of what it means to live in a nations whose rules are one in the same as religious rules interpreted by the few for the many.

Sudan is not the only nation that has struggled with keeping church and state separate. Currently, Boko Haram has become a household name for its extremist terrorist bombings, abductions, and rapes of all opposed to strict sharia law. Over 70 days ago, the organization abducted over 300 schoolgirls form their campus in the middle of the night. While about 50 girls escaped, the remaining girls have not been found. Since the abduction, there have been more abductions, killings, and bombings, all in the name of Allah.

All over the continent from the Central African Republic, to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Africans wage religious wars all in the name of God. How often are these wars publicly about religion but privately about politics, control, resources, land, and centuries old family disputes?

There is no doubt that African continent is one of the most religious communities in the world. There are churches and mosques in every major city and most rural communities. Even with houses of God casting long shadows of African communities, what have Africans gained from their deeply seeded faith?  Extremist religion has been used in very political ways to criminalize inter-religious marriagehomosexuality, and maintain grave gendered education gap. With a reality as dangerous as that is religion a sword used to cut down the disobedient, and outspoken in society, or staff guiding us together to a life of harmony?

Have Africans accepted the faith of their oppressors without examining the role those religions played in taking over their cultures, traditions, and communities? What role has religion played in some of the most heinous atrocities on the continent? How can religion bring healing where it is the cause of so much distrust and animosity?

Have Christianity and Islam truly made the continent a better place? Is it possible that what we lost was far more precious, more natural, more humane, or is it the interpretations of these foreign religions that has lead to so much violence? Is there room on the continent for indigenous religions as well as more modern faiths? Can the past and future live comfortably together?

This month in Rise Africa we will explore all of these questions and more. Our goal is to develop a connected and empowered global African community, one that has the confidence to speak their voice and the awareness to engage in productive conversations with one another about the shared and unique lives we live as Africans and members of the African Diaspora. We imagine an Africa where we’re all involved. With that being said, as always we value your participation. Share your experiences with, and reflections on conflict on the continent with the Rise Africa community. If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our July 2014 theme.

July 2014: “Let Us Pray”
“We are an Arab, Muslim nation, anyone who does not like it can go,” said Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir. Soon after 2011 was the year when majority Christian Sudanese left Sudan, and formed South Sudan.  In 1989 Sudan undertook a cultural project, which denounced the multi-ethnic, culturally rich Sudan and replaced it with an Islamic theocracy—a religious nation state. In the early years, many women and children fell at the mercy of officers who either humiliated or punished them. Even though the diktats, or rules have loosened over time, occasionally a sweep reminded Sudan’s citizens of what it means to live in a nations whose rules are one in the same as religious rules interpreted by the few for the many.
Sudan is not the only nation that has struggled with keeping church and state separate. Currently, Boko Haram has become a household name for its extremist terrorist bombings, abductions, and rapes of all opposed to strict sharia law. Over 70 days ago, the organization abducted over 300 schoolgirls form their campus in the middle of the night. While about 50 girls escaped, the remaining girls have not been found. Since the abduction, there have been more abductions, killings, and bombings, all in the name of Allah.
All over the continent from the Central African Republic, to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Africans wage religious wars all in the name of God. How often are these wars publicly about religion but privately about politics, control, resources, land, and centuries old family disputes?
There is no doubt that African continent is one of the most religious communities in the world. There are churches and mosques in every major city and most rural communities. Even with houses of God casting long shadows of African communities, what have Africans gained from their deeply seeded faith?  Extremist religion has been used in very political ways to criminalize inter-religious marriage, homosexuality, and maintain grave gendered education gap. With a reality as dangerous as that is religion a sword used to cut down the disobedient, and outspoken in society, or staff guiding us together to a life of harmony?
Have Africans accepted the faith of their oppressors without examining the role those religions played in taking over their cultures, traditions, and communities? What role has religion played in some of the most heinous atrocities on the continent? How can religion bring healing where it is the cause of so much distrust and animosity?
Have Christianity and Islam truly made the continent a better place? Is it possible that what we lost was far more precious, more natural, more humane, or is it the interpretations of these foreign religions that has lead to so much violence? Is there room on the continent for indigenous religions as well as more modern faiths? Can the past and future live comfortably together?
This month in Rise Africa we will explore all of these questions and more. Our goal is to develop a connected and empowered global African community, one that has the confidence to speak their voice and the awareness to engage in productive conversations with one another about the shared and unique lives we live as Africans and members of the African Diaspora. We imagine an Africa where we’re all involved. With that being said, as always we value your participation. Share your experiences with, and reflections on conflict on the continent with the Rise Africa community. If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Visit our “Submit a Guest post” page for more information on the guest contribution process and e-mail us at info@africaisdonesuffering.com if you have additional questions. Click here to access all articles under our July 2014 theme.