Ambassador for Humanity?: Nigeria, Boko Haram & Fantasies of Benevolent Intervention

Xavier's Blog

central-accord-opens-in-coloful-styleIt’s no surprise that imperial states think of themselves as having a monopoly on humanitarianism. In the words of President Obama, the United States has for decades been “an anchor of global stability.” Even filmmakers buy into this charade. Recently Steven Spielberg, in one of his less known departures into the world of science fiction, honored President Obama for his humanitarianism at an event organized by the Shoah Foundation. Obama was recognized as an “Ambassador for Humanity” whose “interest in expanding justice and opportunity for all is remarkably evident.” It’s easy to laugh at fantasies of this kind but when national leaders attempt to act on them they should be examined more seriously. Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls and US policymakers and the “free press” have exploded into a fit of pro-interventionist hysteria. It’s hard to escape media reports about the ruthless cruelty of Boko…

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All I wanted was to be rich and famous.

Funny for Nothing

What is the toughest question you’ve ever been asked?

For me, “Fries – large or medium?” and “Are you out of your mind?” are top contenders. But they aren’t the toughest questions I’ve ever been asked – not by a long shot.

No, the undoubted winner is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I like to call this question the ‘How It All Began’ question. I’ll explain.

Imagine this: You’re three years old and your parents have guests over. You’re busy playing with your ‘Barney-the-dinosaur’ soft toy. All of a sudden, there’s a lull in the conversation. Nobody knows what to say, so all eyes slowly turn towards you. You’re too young and innocent to know that you are the next victim. “Aww, what a sweet child,” one lady croons. She looks straight at you and asks, “So, what do you want to be when you…

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Please don’t cheer for my son

that cynking feeling

Please don’t cheer for my son.

I am reminding myself as much as I am asking this of you. I’m just as guilty as you are.  I have to stop myself from breaking into a happy dance. While I’m touched that you share my enthusiasm for his progress, I must kindly request that you stop demonstrating it.

Please don’t cheer for my son.

I think we can both be forgiven. It’s hard to resist the impulse to say, “Oh, how adorable!” when we see a child doing something grown-up like. Yet, our words and actions aren’t helping my son to learn and grow.

So please don’t cheer for my son.

Think about. If the clerk at the register says “hello” as you check out, would you heartily respond “Good job!”? When your friend says, “Goodbye!” as she leaves, do you clap for her? If I say, “Thank you” when you’ve…

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I was small.

rarasaur

At just 4 years old, my aunt nearly let me drown in a pool roughly the size of the Sahara desert.  I was surrounded by nothingness, no one, explosions, heat, and quicksand that took the unwieldy riveting shape of chlorined water.  I was sucked straight to the center of the earth and pulled out with only seconds to spare.

Years later, my aunt would defend herself– explaining that I was in a hot tub when my arm floaties popped from the heat, and that I barely went under for a moment.

It’s possible.

I tend to remember things from the perspective of the moment, though the clarity lessens as my memories age.

Still, filters and wrinkles aside, I can recount to you every little step of my life.

I learned how unusual my memory was only a few days after turning 17 years old.  I was cross-legged on the floor…

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Pen on Paper #2

Sitting there she hoped it wouldn’t come over her again. Constantly she felt everyone’s worries, the worlds problems building up inside of her but there wasn’t anything she could do about it. The world was so big and she so small.
“Someone else will take of it” they always say. But have they?
The thoughts crowded her mind despite all the other more important thoughts that should have been surfacing to her brain, rather than this.
She turned it over and over constantly in her head.

if I forget about it, surely it will go away

She knew it wouldn’t.
Because it never did.

She wished she could erase everything about it from her mind, she could see her happiness on the other side of this wall that she had built with the problems of the world. And she knew it was a barrier that could never break.

But sometimes the wall felt so fragile. Like it could snap so easily and she could almost touch the beauty lying on the other side.

It mocked her because she never she could never really grasp it.