Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Obviously my mind has been on the things back home of late. Not really anything in particular; just the general situation.
In side scrolling video games, i.e. Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog,(hang in there with me even if you're not a gamer -- there is a point to this that has little to do with digital escapism) most levels have at least one place at which a jump seems impossible. You look at the space and either:

(a) it seems like it should be easy, so you get completely derailed with the fact that your incompetent character is being so lazy and disagreeable; because it's obvious that he (we don't get angry at female characters) just doesn't want to make the jump, and therefore keeps failing.
(b) the jump seems so impossible, it must be a manufacturer ploy to take up your time; there probably isn't any more of the game after that jump. So you save your comments for the infamous "they" who make everything in this world impossible for the sheer joy of seeing you feel miserable.

Well, (here's the relevant part) African politics. Sometimes I hover near that gap between who we all could be, looking over the manuals of mythologies and cultural archetypes, studying the way my people think in conversations, articles, and novels, questioning the place of spirituality in it all. It looks like we should be able to make it work. After all this time, after all the pain, tears and bloodshed, after independence and advancement, the affirmation of the rights we have as people, the develpment of education...sometimes, at the pinnacle, I'll see a breakthrough, have something to talk about in a country where the only portraits of Africa starving children, genocide, political unrest and aids, and, let's not forget, "the animals". A little while ago I saw a documentary on TV where these two journalists who live and work out of eastern and southern Africa were trying to bring out other portraits, not an array of beauty or redemption, but a complex album showing the lives of people beyond what news could ever captures. The man directing the program smiled, a chesire cat to Alice smile. I think he then asked about the wildlife. Or the starving kids, or aids. I can't remember which, but it was something we've all seen and heard about before. It was our gap and we had fallen short once again.
The sigh goes across the oceans' chaotic surface and through the airwaves between the Voice of America and the BBC, a squished dark current carrying our hopes, and our impediments wherever the weather will take them, to whomever will listen to them. I can still hear it. I think I always will. But the other side just seems so far...

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