Tuesday, December 5, 2006

tales of inebriation

sometimes, a blog just falls into one's tequila-soaked proverbial lap.

conversation overheard Saturday night, at the Obz Street Festival (40 bands, 5 stages, and lots and lots of alcohol and other mind-altering substances).

random: excuse me…can I just tell you something?

negrita: um..well…[seeks escape route, only to realize she is quite literally unable to move, on account of the crowd]

: you remind me so much of my aunt.

negrita: ok. okay, then. well, bye!

random: no! no! listen, she's really cool. she's all African and stuff, like you. and she's really tight (slang for "hot").

negrita: you think your aunt is—

random: NO! yes! yeah, she's totally tight. I mean, if she wasn't my aunt, I would totally—

negrita: OK! BYE NOW! BYE! [squeezes through crowd towards unknown destination (i.e. the frozen margarita stand)]

I blame the cheap frozen margaritas for slowing down my reaction to the extent that the conversation didn't end after the first 30 seconds. that being said, I would like to announce that, despite our bitter break up back in 2001, tequila and I are speaking again. I mean, we're not going to hang out regularly or anything—that would be a bit much. but we had a great time together on Saturday night. I know it's no good for me, and has the ability to reduce me to a sniveling shell of my former self, but when I saw it that night, I felt drawn to it. perhaps because of the general reverie of the evening, perhaps because it was really, really cheap and I'm a broke-ass. whatever the reason, we hooked up for a brief one night stand. and it was goooood. and I had no regrets the following morning! but there can be no repeat performances: I'm not as young as I used to be, after all.


inna heights

people talk to me about their problems all the time. I'm a very good listener, and I'm actually quite good at doling out sage advise in the manner of some wizened old woman with years of experience and insight. it's not completely altruistic, mind you. in fact, there's nothing quite like the natural high one gets from being to help someone.

I just wish I was as good at taking my own advice as I am at giving it.

I always marvel at the fact that I approach other people's crises (whether emotionally or otherwise) with such calmness and perspective, and then break into anxiety attacks when it comes to my own shit. I have yet to master the art of meditation…but I know that's what I need. and so, tomorrow, I will sit and breathe, and elevate, and try hard to relax my damn shoulders—something I learned I have become naturally incapable of doing for more than 30 seconds at a time (props to my new Pilates instructor for pointing that out) and I will try to do so without thinking of anything in particular and without making mental lists and wondering whether I remembered to email someone or freaking out about the fact that I still don't have a supervisor for my thesis, and really does anything I'm writing make sense, and what if I screw the whole thing up and PANIC! where was I? oh, yes, the breathing and relaxing: maybe if I do this, I'll be able to hear myself (or whatever other voices I'm drowning out with my anxiety) telling myself that whatever minor or major crisis arises, it's not the end of the world, and I've dealt with much worse, so there is no need to waste energy panicking.

I really don't spend enough time conversating with myself or with the Higher Power I tend to consult primarily when situations seem dire or desperation strikes. so, maybe, I'm not such a good listener after all. something to work on.

Currently listening : Essential Billie Holiday

By Billie Holiday


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

it's come to this

Botha, the face of apartheid, is dead

Mail Foreign Desk Last updated at 12:46pm on 1st November 2006

South Africa's last hardline apartheid ruler died last night at the age of 90. PW Botha led the country for 11 years, first as prime minister and then as president, until he stepped down in 1989.
His death, at the Western Cape home he shared with his second wife Barbara, puts paid to any hope that he might stand trial for human rights abuses committed during his leadership.

Botha had refused to testify before the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was set up to investigate human rights abuses and force perpetrators to account for their actions. His ill health saved him from prosecution for non-cooperation.
However in a surprising twist, Nelson Mandela paid tribute to the former South African Preident who is remembered for doggedly refusing to release Mandela from prison for battling white rule.
"While to many Mr Botha will remain a symbol of apartheid, we also remember him for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in our country," Mandela said today.

Nicknamed 'The Great Crocodile', Mr Both was an abrasive and controversial figure. In his last interview, he dismissed the idea of a 'rainbow nation' in which all races could exist in harmony. He described the ANC-led government's policy of affirmative action to help disadvantaged blacks as a 'bad form of apartheid'.
A farmer's son from the Afrikaaner heartland of the Orange Free State, Botha first became active in politics in 1936 as an organiser for the National Party, aged 19. He won a seat in parliament in 1948.

As defence minister from 1966 to 1978 he managed to get round the international arms embargo and oversaw a massive increase in the defence budget.When he became prime minister in 1978 he embarked on a number of reforms, including bringing an end to the ban on inter-racial relationships. These limited measures were, however, seen merely as an attempt to assuage hostile world opinion and retain the white minority's monopoly on power. For many South Africans Botha will be remembered more for his brutal suppression of political opposition.

Human rights groups estimate that up to 30,000 people were held without trial during the repeated states of emergency he ordered between 1986 and 1989. He was ousted as National Party leader by FW de Klerk in September 1989. De Klerk went on to release ANC leader Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa's next - and first black - ruler.
my first reaction: *singing* ding, dong, the witch is dead/the wicked witch is deaaaaad!
second reaction: i really shouldn't rejoice, outwardly or otherwise, in ANYONE's death, should i.
third reaction: whatever. his time had come. and what's this bullshit "about the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in [South Africa]"?? perhaps mandela is privy to information that i am not. cuz that smells like bullshit to me.
fourth and final reaction: why do these guys (mobutu, milosevic, botha) always die of natural causes before i get my chance to haul them into court for gross human rights violations!!??

Currently listening : Groove Theory

By Groove Theory


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ignorance hurts my head

Conversation held before class yesterday:

girl: where are you from?
me: rwanda?
girl: where?
me: ru-wa-nda
girl: what?
me: raaaaaaa-waaaaaa-ndaaaa
girl: ok, so that's like r-w-...?
me: um, yup.
girl: (whispers to friend) is that a country?
me: (clearly astounded at this point) ehh...YES!
girl: oh! like the hotel?
*laughter from other person*
me: *pause*
girl: *slightly embarassed* as in, the movie?
me: well. yes, the movie was not about a hotel, per se, but about...oh, nevermind.*suddenly exhausted*

okay, now, this conversation is taking place just before a class on punishment and human rights. international human rights. at the master's level. and the person i'm talking to attends what is generally considered a really good university in the US. so what's her excuse? why is it that years and years later, considering where i am both geographically and academically, that i'm still having essentially the same conversation i was having with my highschool classmates in small-town canada?

dear people of the world,

please read a book/newspaper.

lotsa love,



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

i shoulda stayed in bed

today feels like a dream. since i woke up this morning, i've been in a cloud-like haze that's so thick, i feel like i've been pushing myself to do the most menial of tasks. even walking is a struggle today because i feel as though i'm passively swimming against some kind of tide. and because i feel like everything is a dream, i don't trust anything around me. i'm having conversations and wondering whether they're real, so my interaction with people around me is strange and affected. i'm not sure if they can tell...i'm sure i seem normal enough. on top of this feeling, there's also an air of ominousness (is that a word?), that i can't seem to shake. like something's about to go down, and i know not what that could be. i keep looking at the date, wondering if something was supposed to happen today that i've forgotten.

maybe it's nothing. but it's occupying my mind and has disabled me throughout the day. it's like my body and mind went ahead and got high without my permission and now i feel ever-so-slightly out of control.

i shoulda stayed in bed.


Monday, July 10, 2006

getting stoned

well, i've done it. i've become a proper evil tourist.

i'm hanging my head in shame.

the other weekend, we were returning to addis from Nazareth, where we went to escape from the cold and rain, and check out the nearby hotsprings. on our way back, i was taking photos like a deranged woman, just trying to capture images of the ethiopian countryside, of the people, of the rural lifestyle. i tried not to be too intrusive and noticeable, so i was doing all of this from a distance, or from safety of the car. so when we came across a herd of majestic looking cattle, i naturally got all tourist-y and excited (hell, we ain't got no camels in rwanda--it was legitimate excitement!!) and started taking photos. as soon as i took the first one, out of nowhere emerged a crew of nomads. not just a crew, a massive. a posse, if you will. and they all slowly approached the car, shouting, and picking up stones from the road side, while surrounding the vehicle. i had no idea what was up and sat there grinning quizzically like a moron. then they began shouting and approaching the windows, and i started to get slightly worried. no one in the car could understand what they were saying, because they were speaking Oromia and our driver only spoke Amharic. we were so not in control of the situation. we rolled up our windows and they became more hysterical, obviously trying to tell us something and failing to communicate. the more we misunderstood and subsequently didn't react, the more fired up they got. all i could think of was that we should give them money. but i had no idea whether that would be appreciated (i.e, in exchange for the photographs) or whether they would be offended and proceed to kick my foreign ass. or stone it. because at this point, one kid was standing outside my window with a massive stone aimed right at my head, looking at me like with pure contempt. he must've been only 12 years old, but he was all kinds of pissed off and there was nothing but glass between us. after a few minutes, a traffic jam had occurred, due to this suddenj roadblock, and a truck driver came over and offered to translate.

he explained to us, then, that the nomads were angry because they thought i was using the camera to curse the camels, or to poison their milk. they were incensed because the camels are their lives and livelihood, and they were unsure as to the effects of this tool i was pointing at them. the translator (bless him!) explained that i was just a simple foreigner who knows not of their ways and that the camera was harmless and that i was only taking pictures to show people in my home. they were still angry, at this point, and still threatening to stone us, so we asked him to ask them if we can exchange money for the photos. i was expecting further struggle and negotiation, but they accepted the 10 birr instantly, and allowed us to go.
which makes me think that maybe they knew what they were doing all along! hustlas!

seriously, though, after the fear and shock had worn off, i felt awful because i had become one of those insensitive tourists who marches all up into people's space and causes chaos with my inane need to "capture the authenticity" of my surroundings, or some such thing.
since then, i've been careful to ask permission whenever i want to capture an image. it was a rude awakening, i must say. but i have learned my lesson! getting stoned has taken on a whole new meaning, yo.

Currently listening :
Dusty Foot Philosopher

By K'naan

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


Exams! Finished! Finally!

This was over two weeks ago, but I haven't had internet access for ages (*waves sarcastically to Ethionet*), so this is the first chance I've gotten to write, or check my mail, or anything else. I have to admit, I have been suffering from serious internet withdrawal. I even got the damn shakes!

Anyway, I arrived in Addis Ababa a little over two weeks ago (one of the many places my nomadic family calls home), and for the first week, I did absolutely nothing. Except watch a whole hell of a lot of television and sleep which I think everyone is entitled to do on the first week of vacation. During this week, I discovered, rather alarmingly, how easy it is to get addicted to nonsensical reality shows on MTV (8th and Ocean--follows the misadventures of 8 hot models trying to make it in Miami!! My Sweet Sixteen--follows the misadventures of disgustingly wealthy children who throw crude, lavish birthday parties that cost enough to feed, clothe, and provide medication for a small country!! Laguna Beach--follows the misadventures of 8 hot, non-model, disgustingly wealthy children whose combined allowances are equivalent to the cost of feeding a small country and who...um...live near a beach!!!). I also discovered that Tyra Banks really likes to take off her make up and show us "the real [her]", and that Oprah is getting on my last frayed nerve. But that's another entry for another time.

Once I finally got out of the house and choked on the fresh air, I began taking walks with my mother every morning around our area of town. The city is growing at such an incredible rate because so many people from abroad have come home to invest. In five years, Addis will look completely different. It's always exciting being somewhere where things are happening, where people are building, where you can see real growth. But what strikes me most about this country, is the people. The people are incredibly beautiful, inside and out (however cheesy that may sound). It's well known that Ethiopia is the only African country that was never colonized. What I had never noticed before, however, is how the nature of the people here reflects this fact. The legacy of colonialism is not restricted to our socio-economic-political systems, but it remains within us. Although each country's story is different, colonialism has had a significant impact on the spirit of the people that were colonized, and on their descendants. Some 40 years later, my generation is still battling the legacy of colonialism, sometimes overwhelmed by how to deal with the remnants of years of foreign rule that successfully divided and conquered our people. Coming from Rwanda, where this legacy eventually resulted in the horrific events of 1994, the effects of colonialism are very real, and have essentially succeeded in destroying a people that were once united by a common history and vision. Colonialists not only ensured that we knew and accepted that we were lesser beings than they, but they also ensured our society was divided such that--within our own people--we developed superiority and inferiority complexes that have lasted for generations. As with many other African states, the people have not lost their pride and sense of self, despite all of this. Our spirits, however, have been shattered to a certain extent. The people of Ethiopia, on the other hand, have never considered themselves inferior to anyone. When the Italians invaded in the 1920s, they fought back with everything they had and ran them out. When the Italians successfully took power in the 1936, sending Emperor Selassie into exile, resistance was immediate and continuous for five years. Those who led the resistance movement are referred to as Patriots, and they continuously battled Italian rule losing thousands of people in the process until they had returned the Emporer to power in 1941. Today, those patriots are buried in the graveyard of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, which was built by Emporer Selassie, and in which he himself is buried. The spirit of these people, the spirit of resistance has contributed to an Ethiopian self-image that is incredibly proud and unwavering, and--quite frankly--awe-inspiring.

This past weekend, my family went on a museum tour that was essentially a crash course in Ethiopian history, which is so rich and so well documented. This tour wound up at the University Museum, which is located at the Institute for Ethiopian Studies at the University of Addis Ababa. The building itself is the former palace of Haile Selassie who donated the building to the University in the 1950s, and as we were taking the tour, we turned the corner and were suddenly in his bedroom. I don't know how to accurately describe what it felt to be standing there. The room itself is very simple, with a bed, chair, desk, wardrobe, and a small statute of the Lion of Judah in the corner. There was nothing incredible or out of the ordinary about the room. But it was nevertheless, an incredible experience.

I know that Selassie made many mistakes during his reign, particularly in the latter years. He was, like any other, flawed and his leadership had its shortcomings. During his reign, parts of this country were engulfed in famine for many years, for example. But the man was, for the most part, a great leader. An inspiration not only to Ethiopians, but to all Africans. I stood for a long time at his desk, staring at his writing pad, and noting the remnants of ink from the inkwell, and imagining him sitting there, writing the speech he gave to the League of Nations in Geneva in 1936, following Italys invasion. And even though it was historically inaccurate, I also allowed myself to imagine him sitting at that desk, composing the legendary war speech, which he made to the United Nations in 1963. The sources of my admiration for Selassie as a man and as a leader are not only the words of those speeches, but the spirit contained therein. And this spirit of courage and resistance and pride is not contained to this one man. Rather, he was a reflection and a product of the rich heritage and defiant spirit of the Ethiopian people. This is their legacy. And I stood there in awe, speechless for the first time in ages, as one would be in the presence of greatness.

I know that right now, African people continue to battle the legacy of colonialism, and we are forever trying to forge an identity that is not tainted by this history. I'm sure we'll get there someday. And when we do, we'll be able to produce great, fearless leaders (not rulers), who will be a reflection of their people.

Excerpt from Haile Selassie I's address to the United Nations in 1963 on Peace:

That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another
inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman
bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

Currently listening : Exodus
By Bob Marley and the Wailers

Thursday, June 8, 2006

5 days and counting...

things i plan to do when i'm FINALLY done exams

1. finally read something that has nothing to do with the violation of human rights or political/social/economic opression.

2. go to the beach!! (it's supposed to be winter, but there's been a freakish change in weather which has left cape town warm and *gasp* not windy!)

3. do my hair (my locs are currently threatening to go on strike and just fall of my head if i don't do something but quick)

4. write proper emails to people that are still waiting for a reply (*waves sheepishly*)

5. write a proper blog entry (it's about damn time, i know)

6. give myself a pedicure

6. manage to do yoga for over 10 minutes without a) falling asleep b)losing interest/focus c) falling asleep again

7. get rid of all the clutter in both my physical space in mental space

8. dance!

9. sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

10. meditate, without...see #6

and not necessarily in that order!

Currently listening :
Natty Dread

By Bob Marley & the Wailers


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


"so, how do you feel? being a womanand a human rights lawyer who [presumably] wants to marry a man?" this was the rather awkwardly phrased and random question I got a few days ago from my neighbor as we walked to campus. we had just been embroiled in a discussion about the implementation of human rights on our great continent, which, I suppose prompted him to ask the above question. I didnt quite know how to answer, primarily because I wasnt sure what the questions wasexactly. was he asking how I felt being a woman? being a woman lawyer? being a lawyer that wants to get married? being a woman who happens to be a lawyer who wants to get married? being a lawyer who happens to be a woman who wants to get married? being a woman lawyer who happens to want to get married?

naturally, I reacted exactly in this manner querying his line of questioning; seeking clarification; requiring specifics before I answered any or all of the above. he attempted to clarify by mentioning that, well, what with the great obstacle that is the black male ego, how do I well expect to successfully marry and pursue this profession at the same time. so rather than taking the questioning personally and becoming defensive about this issue, which I am SO TIRED OF DISCUSSING, I decided to take the pragmatic and diplomatic approach, and replied that I would imagine that like anyone elseI would try to separate my professional self from my blah blah personal self, and thereby deal with issues at home blah blah differently than I would with issues at work blah blah. truth be told, I did not want to have this conversation again. I just wanted to ask him to please shut the hell up and discuss something else far more relevant. I could see where it was leading, and I wasnt interested in defending my career/life choice(s) to another male (or female) who was just going to conclude that I'ma just end up alone and miserable, anyway. this is not an issue I enjoy arguing about, but I have found that people enjoy bringing it up just to see how far they can push me. just so they can get me heated and defensive and on the attack, so that they can look at me pointedly (shaking their heads ever so slightly with pity) and say to themselves "see! point made". but theres nothing to get defensive about. In fact, I don't see why either has to be mutually exclusive. I smiled at the brother as I said this, pointing out that whatever he was asking seemed to be based on misconceptions he harbored either about me personally, or my profession, or women in general. and as i concluded an argument I thought was very eloquent, and not defensive in the least, he said, "see, thats what I'm talking about. that kind of argumentative nature".

I think what affected me most about this exchange was the forum in which it was being held. when I decided to leave work and pursue this degree, it was with the rather naïve hope that it would bring me in contact with people from all over the world whose minds were open, who were seeking knowledge, and who would be open to debate and discussion about every/any damn thing. I thought I had left behind preconceived, archaic notions of what a woman should be and how she should act in order to get a husband (the alternative, I suppose, being a fate worse than death), but I wind up living right next door to them and being confronted by them at practically every turn. and while I'm ready to stand by whatever choices Ive made, I'm getting rather tired of constantly defending them.

the thing is, like many of the women in my age group and with a similar background, my parents raised my sisters and i to be totally self-sufficient. they decided that the biggest gift they could give us was that of education, and through both their words and actions, set a standard for us that we're constantly striving to maintain. i think that in the process, however, i never gave any thought to the fact that people would consider my knowledge and my skills a liability. and sometimes it's pretty hard to face.

on the other hand, i know without question how blessed i am to have had these opportunities in the first place. and what i need to do is give thanks every day that unlike so many women my age all over the world, I have this opportunity to make the most of myself and to pursue my dreams with the full support of my family and those who love me. nevertheless, it gets rather tiresome having to explain oneself every damn time.

anyway, i suppose this is the real world and as such i will be met my a myriad of reactions regarding whatever choices i make in my life. sigh. I dont know. this is just a rambling, inconclusive entry because it's what's on my mind at this point in time. just needed to get this off my chest and out of my head.

Currently listening : The Breakthrough By Mary J. Blige

Release date: 20 December, 2005

Saturday, April 29, 2006

no game

ok, this blogging thing isn't quite working out as i had originally planned, but i'm determined to keep trying. there's just so little time in the day! anyway, so long. it's been crazy busy with school--as usual, but i've been trying not to be one-dimensional and get myself out there and hang out and do stuffs!! and even though 2006 is officially the year of remaining ridiculously single (i.e, no more drama), i thought i'd let y'all in on my mis-adventures on the menz scene in cape town thus far. mind you, the views expressed in this email do not reflect the views of ALL the lovely ladies residing in cape town. this is just one negrita's point of view. thus far.

a. contestant number 1: guy who works at coffee shop

opening line: hey, you. come here.
me: what!?
him: come here i want to talk to you.
me: *staring in shock cuz the only person that tells me to "come here" in such a manner is my mama. and that's when i'm in trouble. and also when i was three*
him: [eventually comes over since i'm clearly not moving]. what's ur name?
me: [makes something up]
him: can i have ur number, maybe i can come see you?

DUDE! who ARE you? why on earth would i give u my number when that's all you've got? can you try a little harder? apparently not. so i didn't give him my number and he got all pissed off like i had just stood him up for a date. like, really really angry. crazy.

b. contestant number 2: the bartender
opening line: you have a secret admirer over there that wants to know where your from.
me: [looks around and sees no cuties, so sadly says]...rwanda. where is he?
him: i can't tell you
me: [ten minutes later, delayed reaction due to copious amounts of wine, i realize that HE is the secret admirer]
him: what's ur number?
me: [damn, no free drink?] first, what's my name?
him: i dunno. [doesn't even look embarassed]

nice. doesn't even care to know my name. i wonder how he was going to enter my number in the phone..."chick from the other time with the gin and tonic and the ample bosom". sigh. anyway, i got free drinks eventually and he made me laugh. nevertheless.

c. contestant number 3: guy dining in restaurant
this guy was awesome cuz he's hit on me TWICE without knowing it.
opening line: [grabs a seat from the adjacent table and brings it over to our table. both times, we are clearly in conversation and eating and not wanting to talk to anyone]
you know, i'm so sick of sitting with those guys...i just want to have a chance to talk to beautiful, intelligent women, you know? girls that have something to say.

please note: this line was used BOTH TIMES. ha ha haaaaa. wicked.

so the second time when he asks my name, i pretend to be really hurt and say "i can't believe you don't remember? don't u remember ANYTHING from last week?" and he just stares, cuz he totally doesn't remember that he's already been blown off by this particular group of ladies because he's done this routine THAT many times. now he has to come up with original lines so he looks nervous and scared. then starts talking about a book he's reading that he saw on oprah. niiiice. anyway, he got no numbers, DESPITE the sensitive-oprah thing. but i gave him points for being drunk enough to leave his lighter behind, which i promptly stole. the best thing about this guy was that when he didn't luck out with one girl, he'd move right on to the next. then when nothing worked, he began to talk about the difference in our cup sizes. class-ay!

d. contestant number 4--: the rest of them (ranging from business suit fellow to poet at open mic nite to dude shopping for nice shoes [bonus point!])
him: wassup baby/ma/lady/sweetie
me: [looks around] are u talking to me?
him: yeah. maybe i can come see you sometime? what's ur number?

again: WHO ARE YOU??? [please see the analysis of contestant number one]

please note that all the above have taken place all over the city, not just on campus, and these are men of all ages, types and sizes. the one thing they have in common, is no.game. i mean, at least send me a drink or something! or comment on the weather! or...something!

the thing is, i've seen it work on women all over the place, so i guess they don't have to step up their game, since it's working for them. but it saddens me that true gentlemen no longer exist. sigh. i am now listening to maxwell, so that all hope is not lost!

and that ends my commentary for today. and now, back to the ever-exhausting world of human rights. i shall become a recluse and a hermit until exams. but, apparently, i'm not missing much out there, so it's all good!


Currently listening:
By: Maxwell
Release date: 21 August, 2001


Friday, April 21, 2006

chasing justice

i remember four years ago, standing in line, waiting to get my law degree and wondering what wisdom i had gained, after all. i remember thinking that if i had to sum it up in one line, i would say that i have learned that the law has little to do with justice. it was definitely a reality check for someone who had gone into this field driven by the motivation to help those who could not help themselves...to bring justice to those that did not have the tools to go searching for it themselves....i was fueled especially by the aftermath of the Genocide in my distant home. fueled by faces of of those that did and did not survive--especially the women and children whose eyes told stories most were unable to express in any other way. i knew they would never be able to feel retribution..and that no one would be able to bring back those who were killed physically as well as internally. and so i set of--rather naively--in an attempt to find away to bring justice to these people.

five years later, i'm more realisitic than optimistic.i'm trying not to lose hope, which is why i'm still pursuing the ever elusive justice through international human rights law. but the more i study, the more i emerse myself in the intricacies and complexities of this area of the law, the more confused and lost i get. like with anything else, there are highs and lows, and there are days when something happens that makes me want to give it all up...and then days like this, when i feel like this uphill struggle will somehow, someday, eventually yield something.

i'm doing research right now on extradition and immunity for heads of state who have committed massive human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity. in most cases, immunity affords them protection from being prosecuted for acts committed during their time in office.but things started to change after the Pinochet case. although, in the end, the politrickin usurped the justice--the whole incident was still a step forward. and maybe if tiny steps continue to be made, there'll be a time when we'll be able to pull ex-dictators out of their beach villas and make them accountable for destroying the humanity of their people. until then, it's all about the small victories.


Monday, April 3, 2006

break-ups to make-ups

Procrastination and I have been in a serious, semi-committed relationship for years, now. We were casual friends in high school, but things really got going in my first year of University. Ahh, we had some good times back then! Were now very comfortable with our relationship, very used to each other. With Procrastination, I don't have to pretend; I don't have to look cute; I can exert minimal to low effort, and everythings cool! No drama here, y'all. We just kickin it (tm Love Jones).

I have to admit that I have wandered at times, flirting with Ambition, Drive, and (ooh) Work Ethic. But those were just flings, I was gon' get right back! And I did. I am realizing though as I get older and allegedly wiser, that the relationship isn't quite what it used to be. I mean, I'm having a good time and everything, but--truth be told--I dont think I want to be in this thing for the rest of my life. I mean, I'm getting older, and I really can't continue like this. I need stability! And I've noticed that since I am currently attempting to finish my Masters in one year, I have precious little time for Procrastination. In fact, any time we spend together these days results in subsequent anxiety attacks and unproductivity (sic) of ridiculous proportions. And I can't afford that! It's holding me back, really. And while I've always known that; and while people have warned me about it time and time again (hi, mom!), I think it is finally time that I did something about this. I have to move on. It's for my own good. Plus, I've kind of had my eye on Discipline over there for a while (*winks and waves*) and I'm thinking of introducing myself.

And so, I decided to end it with Procrastination, once and for all. I tried to do it this morning, you see. Woke up at 7am and glanced over at the pretty multi-coloured study schedule I had made last night (Discipline passed by for a few minutes), but then Procrastination hit the snooze button on the alarm (it IS Sunday, after all) and we hung out all day, slept in a little, had a really good breakfast, cleaned an already clean kitchen, arranged my music collection, made countless cups of tea while studying, and then--just as I was about to go through with it, Procrastination suggested that I should write a blog entry since it appeared as though I had a lot on my mind. But, I swear, y'all, I'ma end it right after I finish this last sentence...and maybe have a cup of tea (you know, to clear my mind)ooh, I also have to do the dishes. but, right after that!

Currently reading :
The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart By Alice Walker

Release date: 03 October, 2000

Sunday, March 26, 2006

open letter

my first blog entry! yay! well, yay for me. it's taken me a while to get this started. anyway, the first entry ain't deep...it stems from a recurring incident that has been getting on my last nerve since my Big Move to Cape Town (note to self: think of new title for "Big Move"):

Dear wanker bastards who park outside my window for no gotdamn reason,

I get it. I understand that perhaps you've had a long day and you've been working like crazy and since today was a public holiday and all, you feel the need to get yo' drink on. hell, you feel the need to get yo' drink on and listen to some good music and perhaps if you ingest enough beer,you just might get yo' dance on. But tomorrow? I have to go to class, I got stuff to do, I got cases to get through, I generally have to be brilliant. And I don't know how I'ma do any of that if you keep parking outside my window and playing your stupidly loud "music" until my windows are shaking. Why don't you go to your room? A bar? The club? Outside someone else's window? I'm sitting here trying to focus all my energies on not opening this door, going out there and smacking each one of you upside the head. Or is there just one of you? I can't see to well as I peer through the window making frustrated exaggerated gestures in the hopes thatsince you're only 2 meters awayyou'll see me and get the hint and lower the volume ever so slightly. But you ain't tryin to hear any of that. You're just determined to ruin my night. I suppose I deserve this. I mean, I'm the one who read the brochure and thought that a cottage-style post-grad residence filled with brilliant, mature students would be the suitable environment in which to live. I even chose one far away from the madness of campus...but I suppose I didn't consider the fact that even brilliant, mature students like to get piss drunk and play the same really, painfully bad music at maximum volumage (sic) EVERY NIGHT. I have tried to be patient. I have tried to smile pretty and ask you nicely to consider those of us whose work doesn't stop at 5pm and who have to grapple with reading 300 pages of material a night. But you haven't listened. In fact, by deciding to park your car directly outside my window, you're mocking me. You're mocking me andin factcalling me on. It's a'ite. I mean, I'll bring it if you need it to be brung. In fact, I'm fittin to do that very thing right now. I just had to write this to you first, because I have a feeling once I get out there, I'll be rather incoherent and you won't be able to hear me from the noise of the whole world of hurt I'ma put on your asses.