Sunday, January 28, 2007

My World Of Inconvenience

Aha, at long last winter finally shows up and with this exhibitionist attitude that is throwing off casual winter enthusiasts like myself. We have been thumped by intense snow for a good two weeks now. This long forgotten daily routine of shoveling drive ways and side walks and scraping snow off cars is back on our “to do” list. Days like these remind me why I should move to an apartment building, condo or a house with a garage and a very narrow drive way.

I feel mysterious when my identity confuses people, most especially East Africans. On so many occasions, I have easily been mistaken for an Ethiopian or a Somali. I can’t recall how many times I have waived off Ethiopians passing off greetings to me in Amharic or Somalis trying to engage me into a meaningful conversation in their language. Anyways, two days ago I ran into an old Eritrean friend/roommate from the Ryerson University days, at the Hamilton Sheraton Hotel where she works as a Reservation Manageress. I do recall with utter clarity the enmity Shreddah had towards me for a while and then a later change of heart to a sweet, warm hearted and generous girl…unbelievable. Apparently, she had thought I was Ethiopian masquerading as a Rwandese until when she had a glimpse of my passport, flight tickets, and other contributory clues!!!! It beats my feeble mind, why people of similar backgrounds i.e. common social-cultural values owing to historical antecedents, could harbor such deep resentment against each other? Well, as a Rwandan, I am in no better position to judge them.

Some time back, blogger Dennis Matanda wrote an article on how loan sharks use these agencies for unscrupulous loan dealings. I must have commented that these are mafia organized agencies bent at exploiting the unsuspecting clients by conspiring to unlawfully cause them to pay interest at a criminal rate. Dennis, to follow up on your post is a Windsor judge who has allowed a class action suit against Money Mart and its parent company, Dollar Financial Group to proceed towards trial. The plaintiffs argue that short term pay day loans end up costing borrowers interest rates that are criminally high. The judge has agreed with this charge and finds that the defendants have a case to answer. The catch here is that if the plaintiffs win this case, disgruntled Rwandese and Ugandans broken by unfair interest rates on pay day loans, will be able to reference this case in their own law suits against these thieving companies. Amen.

Talking of courts, another interesting lawsuit to watch for has been okayed to proceed by a judge in New York, USA. In my opinion, copyright laws are getting out of control because of their complexity. If you own a XM Satellite radio the future of your free lunch is getting uncertain, that is if record companies win this law suit filed against XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. The charge sheet alleges that XM directly infringes on record companies’ “exclusive distribution rights” by letting listeners record songs onto their receivers. I am afraid of the slippery slope effect, if these record companies win this case. Today its XM Satellite Radio, who knows tomorrow it maybe FM radio stations by implication or that dude providing you with that free software that helps record audio from your computer sound card – streaming internet audio, MIDI et al. or even You Tube. Scary notion, eh?

That reminds me, I have failed to keep a promise I made in one of my posts ages back. My inshutis Laurette and Bella (Italian word for beautiful) had been working on a project that would assist You Tube fanatics like myself to download You Tube videos onto their PCs in a format compatible with most DVD players. Needless to say, my computer stars have failed on numerous occasions. Hey, I can’t fault them for not trying and to that I applaud your efforts pretty ladies. Btw gals, my Bottoms Up offer is still open let’s fill ‘em up sometime next week. However, “agitators” like Kadama and Nyakahuma, please visit with YouTube X and follow instructions there. Thanks for your reminders though.

Okay, so the Chinese blow up a satellite and try to pretend nothing happened, yet indirectly sending a message to Washington. Big deal? Come to think about it; figuring out how to neutralize a satellite far away in the sky is one thing, deliberately blowing it up is another. The genesis of all this commenced when Bush thwarted Chinese protests in the UN against an arms race in space by quipping that there is no such a thing as arms race in space and then going on (in contradiction) to smooth talk his Canadian conservative counterparts into a space protection plan or something close to militarization of the space to protect North America. When the Chinese decided to pull the rug under Bush’s flimsy feet, he cries foul loudly. We used to call such reactions from the Americans “hysterical hypocrisy.” We all know that the Russians and Americans have tested satellite eliminations and have capabilities to so. Equally important is that these satellites were installed for military and spying purposes including the GPS satellites. It is only natural that China, in her own national interests, would want to neutralize such military advantages in case of an armed confrontation. The message to Bush; The arms race in space is a reality. Please, get back to the round table and talk it out.

These Washington bullies are at it again. Remember when they cornered the world with that poisoning slogan “you are either with us or with them” whilst starting an illegal war in Iraq? I believe that if you declare war on a sovereign country you are signing onto the benefits of the profit and loss account of that war and occupation. Recently, a pathetic delegation from Washington was in Ottawa urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to disregard the standards and guidelines of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board and accept more refugees from Iraq mostly Christian Iraqis. My question is, why doesn't USA absorb them into their refugee system (they are part of the profit and loss account of that war); why only Christian Iraqis (it seems like persecution in Iraq has no boundaries or religion); and by not taking them is USA indirectly saying that these refugees would not have a safe haven in the “land of the free?” Unless USA meets the full costs of absorption into our system, we should leave Bush and his supporters to learn a lesson in consensus building 101 before starting another meaningless war.

Perhaps blogger Omar Basawad was right, Americans badly need a fresh start probably from a person that is free from power drunkenness. Somebody who will have universal health care high on a priority list, somebody that recogonizes the fact that health care is a right for every american not just the rich or those with health insurance. First, they have to take those blindfolds off to pick the "chafu" from the rice. Right?

I am out. Thanks for your patience reading my endless yada, yada.