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Black Woman Thinks...Religion, Politics, Race, Atheism and more...

Black Woman Thinks: A UK-born black woman shares her views on religion, politics, race, atheism and much more. Join in, share your views.

Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:18:56 +0000


The Trayvon Martin Case - My Thoughts

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 00:32:00 +0000

I, as someone living across the pond from the USA, watched the news this late evening with empathy for the family grieving the death of their son. The news hounds and legal eagles jostled for air time  and in the melee a couple of sentences jumped out at me. The next paragraphs gives some context:Speaking at a press conference, Angela Corey, the Florida State Attorney, said Zimmerman had voluntarily turned himself in, and was now in custody.Saying that the decision to charge him was not taken lightly, she went on: “Today we filed an information charging George Zimmerman with murder in the second degree. It is the search for justice for Trayvon that has brought us to this moment.”Miss Corey said she had spoken to Trayvon’s “sweet parents” moments before the press conference began to tell them about the charges.She added that she had first discussed the case with his mother, Sabrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin, who she described as “constitutional victims,” when she took over the case three weeks ago."The first thing we did was pray with them. We did not promise them anything," she said. Excuse me?Forget the patronising 'sweet parents' comment. For a moment. Forget that justice (whatever that means and in various forms) is very difficult to obtain if you happen to be in the wrong 'category'. By pass the fact that this juncture has arisen purely because people mobilised and highlighted that a young black man was killed on the street.The Florida State Attorney, no less, who had been allocated the case only 3 weeks ago decided that in her wisdom the first thing she needed to do with the family was.....pray. You could not make it up.They prayed together and so what a great way to show how you connect with the family, show your determination to obtain truth and detailed analysis of the death of this young man. You stand and do something so utterly based on a collection of 'whoppers' (as we say in the UK) and the family will go away feeling that you are doing the very best job possible.Well I'm not convinced. Why someone in such a powerful position would feel the need to state, in a 'secular country' that prior to meeting with the family of the deceased they all prayed together.Is it me or do you see why I am spitting feathers about this? How could this happen? The young man is dead, the system has failed him and his family and only due to immense pressure do the powers that be decide to placate the dissenters/protesters and do what some say they should have done in the first place.'We did not promise them anything'. Of course you didn't. You couldn't. Nor should you do something so utterly pointless and dumb as to pray with them.[...]

Why We Believe in Gods

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 23:30:00 +0000

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'Atheists of Color' - an easy to use list of people and groups

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 21:10:00 +0000

A little late but a more than worthy blog post here. Greta Christina is a very interesting atheist blogger who I have written about here on a few occasions.She has very kindly added my name and this blog to the list. has kindly agreed to the list being copied. Please pay her a visit and leave a comment.INDIVIDUALSMina Ahadi, founder of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims (Zentralrat der Ex-Muslime) and the International Committee against StoningAyaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel and Nomad, activist, politician, founder of the AHA FoundationNorm Allen, author of African American Humanism andBlack Secular Humanist Thought, editor-in-chief of Human Prospect: A Neo-Humanist Perspective, secretary of Paul Kurtz's Institute for Science and Human Values, former head of African Americans for HumanismApanage21, bloggerMaggie Ardiente, director of development and communications, American Humanist Association; editor of Humanist Network News (AHA's weekly e-zine)Homa Arjomand, coordinator of the International Campaign Against Shari'a Court in CanadaHector Avalos, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Iowa State University, speaker/ debater, author of The End of Biblical Studies, Strangers in Our Own Land: Religion in U.S. Latina/o Literature, Se puede saber si Dios existe? [Can One Know if God Exists?], and moreDonald Barbera, author of Black But Not Baptist: Nonbelief and Freethought in the Black CommunityDan Barker, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, author of several books, including Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists and The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without GodJamila Bey, atheist comedian and journalistNaima Cabelle, atheist activist and member ofWashington Area Secular HumanistsIan Cromwell, musician and blogger, The Crommunist ManifestoDr. Narendra Dabholkar, founder, Maharashta Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samitee (Superstition Eradication Committee)Sanal Edamaruku, author and paranormal investigator, founder-president of Rationalist International, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, creator of The Great Tantra ChallengeAfshin Ellian, columnist for Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad and Elsevier; blogger; poet; law professor at University of LeidenMike Estes, Atheist Coalition of San Diego; public speakerReginald Finley, founder of Infidel Guy radio showMercedesDiane Griffin, blogger/ activistDebbie Goddard, campus outreach coordinator at theCenter for Inquiry, speaker, head of African Americans for HumanismJacques L. Hamel, Scientific Affairs Officer with United Nations, international science and technology policy expertZee Harrison, blogger, Black Woman ThinksMark Hatcher, founder of Secular Students at Howard UniversitySabri Husibi, speaker, Tulsa Atheist GroupSikivu Hutchinson, writer and editor, author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America, editor of, Senior Fellow for theInstitute for Humanist StudiesLeo Igwe, International Humanist and Ethical Union, NigeriaDavid Ince, a.k.a. Caribatheist, blogger, No Religion Know ReasonJeansTake, video bloggerMcKinley Jones, president, Black American Free Thought Association (BAF/TA)S.T.Joshi, literary critic, novelist; author of God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrongand more; editor of Atheism: A Reader and moreAlix Jules, chair of diversity committee on the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition for ReasonKenan Malik, writer, lecturer, blogger, and BBC Radio broadcaster, author of Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy, Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate, and moreDerrick Alaiyo McMahon, gay/ feminist/atheist blogger, The Anti-Intellect BlogHemant M[...]

Evolution: A Simple Explanation

Fri, 13 May 2011 18:26:00 +0000

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Quote of the Week:

Sat, 02 Apr 2011 18:32:00 +0000

"The true-believer syndrome merits study by science. What is it that compels a person, past all reason, to believe the unbelievable. How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day he still clings to it — indeed, clings to it all the harder?… No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie."

~ M. Lamar Keene, Allen Spraggett, and William V. Rauscher

Star Size Comparison

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 11:54:00 +0000

Food for thought.

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'I am Stardust!'

Sat, 05 Mar 2011 12:32:00 +0000

A woman who is a friend decided at the age of about 13 or so to start going to church. She 'gave' herself to Christ and received encouragement and praise from her relatives and peers. Her devotion to 'God' was so intense that she even spent a year in a theology college in Scandinavia, taught young children about the love of god and all things Christian.
Her life moved on with the normal ups and downs that people experience and some poignant tragedies, divorce, premature death, etc. Her faith was almost intact and her 'rebel-mindedness' started her thinking about life, the purpose of life and why and how we are here.
We worked together for a short period and then lost touch. Our lives collided again and we took the same journey living in another continent, trying new things and lifestyles, wanting to get away from being a 'wage-slave'. This woman is the craziest, wackiest, bravest woman I know. We would talk about any and everything without fear of judgement or put downs from each other, oh except once when she unceremoniously told me at high volume to 'fuck off' out of her house!! (We got over that one!! - and the rest!)

My dear friend is now a non-believer. She is going through it as I write and she has given me permission to write about it here, to share it with you. She is crying, distraught, depressed at the number of people she has 'converted' to Christianity over the years. Her part in their indoctrination is causing her immense grief. She has come to the decision that this idea of a god or gods is bogus and should have no place in the rational, reasonable, wonderful and magnificent world that we live in. 'I am stardust' she said. Astonished at the thought. 'I am stardust. We are stardust'. Her words. We are all connected, we are all one and that makes the world more exciting and amazing than any botched, badly written, cobbled-together story in any of the so called 'great religions'. Science has helped us to discover only a minute part of all there is to know. What has religion helped us to know in comparison?

My friend is in pain and I am doing my best to support her on this journey as she has been hit by a mega-truth: we humans have been conned into focusing on the life after the only one we know. We have created rules which have prevented us from being true to ourselves. We have focused on rules like: you must cover your head, mustn't wear trousers as a woman, mustn't eat pork, must not eat red meat on Good Friday, must not wear jewellery, must cross yourself in a particular way after saying prayers or before eating, must wash parts of your body 5 times per day, must not eat prawns, must not eat cows, must face a particular direction whilst praying, must give 10% of your earnings to the religious institution you attend - and the list goes on. I'm sure you can think of at least 10 more.

Humans have hampered their own development.

My friend has begun to free her self from the shackles of faith and to use her own words, ' I am free. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. Do you know before I would go to church and come home depressed? Now I know I have responsibility for myself and it makes complete sense that we are born and then we die and that is it. I feel at peace and am annoyed that it has taken me so long to reach this point.'

My response: 'But at least you got there. So many people won't.'

A Freethinker: Annie Besant

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 00:05:00 +0000

I chanced upon Annie Besant after returning from spending a typical Caribbean Christmas with friends and family.Annie Besant was an incredibly interesting woman, brave and intelligent at a time where women were devalued. Here is a quote from a book she wrote 'My Path to Atheism' (1885, 3rd edition):"The first essay on the "Deity of Jesus of Nazareth" was written just before I left the Church of England,and marks the point where I broke finally with Christianity. I thought then, and think still, that to cling to the name of Christian after one has ceased to be the thing is  neither bold nor straightforward, and surely the name ought, in all fairness, to belong to those historical bodies who have made it their own during many hundred years. A Christianity without a Divine Christ appears to me to resemble a republican army marching under a royal banner it misleads both friends and foes. Believing that in giving up the deity of Christ I renounced Christianity, I place this essay as the starting-point of my travels outside the Christian pale. The essays that follow it deal with some of the leading Christian dogmas, and are printed in the order in which they were  written. But in the gradual thought-development they really precede the essay on the "Deity of Christ". Most inquirers who begin to study by themselves, before they have read any heretical works, or heard any heretical controversies, will have been awakened to thought by the discrepancies and inconsistencies of the Bible itself. A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the groundwork of heresy. Many who think they read their Bibles never read them at all. They go through a chapter every day as a matter of duty, and forget what is said in Matthew before they read what is  said in John ; hence they never mark the contradictions and never see the discrepancies. But those who study the Bible are in a fair way to become heretics.It was the careful compilation of a harmony of the last chapters of the four Gospels a harmony intended for devotional use that gave the first blow to my own faith ; although I put the doubt away and refused even to look at the  question again, yet the effect remained the tiny seed, which was slowly to germinate and to grow up, later, into the full-blown flower of Atheism."[...]

Black Atheist: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 00:38:00 +0000

Instead of watching the televangelists just take a  few minutes to listen to this wonderful educator.
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The Wikileaks Story: Have the Worms Turned?

Fri, 03 Dec 2010 22:09:00 +0000

I have pondered on the Wikileaks story and haven't quite made up my mind as to the motivation, aims and objectives of Julian Assange - not yet, not completely.

The nub of it seems to be:
World powers are a cabal, various factions with Cosa Nostra-type behaviours and values who rule, and do so with impunity.

Yet it is disturbing to watch the distraction techniques being used by people who are a part of the cabal, overtly or covertly, who act as mouthpieces and apologists for those in power.
We have been fooled into believing that democracy is what we all have and should aspire to. That people like Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Tony Blair, David Miliband, the Clintons, Karzai, Harper, Putin, Merkel and the rest of them, have our best interests at heart. They don't. It doesn't work like that. The scenes have been set to look different but they are all the same.

I have been fascinated by how MSNBC, ABC and the other television news media have been reporting the Wikileaks story. No surprise that it is 'Julian Assange - The Rapist', instead of  'Wikileaks opens a can of worms about corrupt, murderous governments around the world...' It stinks so badly that it would be funny if it wasn't so grave. I listened to the news presenters foaming that these leaks would cost so many lives of brave servicemen and women and diplomatic personnel around the world.
I imagine the loved ones of those who have been killed - fighting for a system which has killed millions of people around the world, decimated communities, arrested progress, engaged in and forced others to engage in - and how they must feel now they know the deaths were part of a great big con, used as cannon fodder, of low value in the whole scheme of things.

What do we do with this information? Well it would be good if we could all think about what is being presented to us and why. Hidden agendas operate all around and we should not believe anything we are told just because it is in front of us. We should take back control of our lives and realise that labels are irrelevant: black, white, old, young, left, right, LGBT or any other tag, we are considered as little more than rats running hither and thither: work, pay taxes, consume and then die.
Makes me think about how the religious myths have been promoted for the same reason - control.

I don't buy it.
So, what do you think? Have the worms turned?

Quote of the Week: George Orwell

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 21:33:00 +0000

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. "
           ~ George Orwell

Very apt. Wikileaks

A Right Royal Farce

Tue, 16 Nov 2010 20:26:00 +0000

Just in case you haven't yet been sledge-hammered by the British media - Kate and William will get married next year.
'Who?' I hear you ask. Tut-tut.
William, the son of Charles Windsor who is the son of the present queen of the UK, is marrying a 'commoner' and the sycophantic media are rubbing their hands in glee at the inevitable increase in profits, clamour for advertising space and airtime, the pundits blah-blahing for hours on irrelevancies e.g. types of thread being used to sew her wedding gown, the presents received from impoverished countries and so it will go on.
All nicely timed to distract the masses from the dire financial (fleecing?)/ situation of the country. We'll wave and smile and be encouraged to have street parties (yes, you mark my words, it will happen) and on that specially created bank holiday we'll sit with our little flags and bunting for hours on end as we admire the enormous event which we have paid for.
Dumb. That's what we are. With buzz words and phrases: austerity measures, tightening belts, recession, job losses and so on yet it is totally reasonable for the British people to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a wedding. 'Yeah, but they make a lovely couple...'

Godless and Black

Sun, 31 Oct 2010 14:39:00 +0000

If you are a believer you may not be aware that black atheists exist or even 'People of Colour' who do not  believe in god/s. As such we can feel isolated and cut off from the mainstream religious communities that provide emotional support when life gets tough.
As atheist (a- without, theist- god) I am so aware of the position I have found myself in as I make no bones about my non-belief. It is not something that I hide nor boast about. I don't see myself as especially clever, not even a great conversationalist but I let people know when necessary that I don't buy into any of it.
This has created some difficult situations, broken friendships, stilted conversations and excluded me from religious ceremonies, to some extent. In the main, the religious pity me as if I had done something deliberately to ensure I would never receive their 'truth'. Some have jumped back in shock that someone could be so stupid as to not believe in god. Whatever the reaction, however many prayers have been said, I am a staunch, firm believer that this life is for now and the so called heaven and hell is right here now. When we die we die. Full stop. There is no proof of anything else.
My life is richer, freer and I take life as it comes without expecting help from 'on high'.
The title of this post is 'Godless and Black' and a blog of the same name is one I would recommend you to visit, if you haven't already done so. The writer is fascinating and makes so many excellent points and is a seasoned writer. Visit him and let him know what you think. Godless and Black
We are not alone. More people are waking up to the fact that the religious texts are not infallible. Black people have lost so much in the name of a myth and yet we don't change course.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." In other words, don't fight against your oppressors, don't seek justice here on earth, just be meek and mild, keep praising whilst people take inhumane liberties against you and your generations to come. The only coffers that will be fattened do not belong to you.

Quote of the Week: Arthur C. Clarke

Sat, 16 Oct 2010 08:39:00 +0000

"Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses."

~ Arthur C. Clarke

Ella Fitzgerald - 'Summertime'

Mon, 20 Sep 2010 13:06:00 +0000

Changing the subject completely: Here's something to soothe and mesmerise simultaneously. I love Ella's voice, she makes it all seem so effortless. She allows the song to just be. The musicians hold back without overkill.
 Just. Beautiful.

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The Pope arrives in the UK...

Wed, 15 Sep 2010 21:32:00 +0000

He arrives in the UK on 16th September 2010 on a state visit paid for, in the main, by UK taxpayers. Why isn't the British public up in arms about a criminal being lauded and paraded on a state visit?I cannot write about this charade any better than Christopher Hitchens, so here is an extract from a piece he wrote in 'Slate' entitled: 'A Call for Earthly Justice: Holding the Catholic Church accountable for it's crimes':"As if almost timed to coincide with its publication, and with the impending arrival of Ratzinger on British soil, the recent disclosures of the putrid state of the church in Belgium have thrown the whole scandal into an even sharper relief. Consider: The now-resigned bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, stands revealed by his own eventual confession as being guilty of incest as well as rape, having regularly "abused" his male nephew between the ages of 5 and 18. The man's superior as head of the Belgian church, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, has been caught on tape urging the victim to keep quiet. A subsequent official report, commissioned by the country's secular authorities, has established that this level of morality was the rule throughout the hierarchy, with the church taking it upon itself to "forgive" the rapists and to lean upon their victims. Very belatedly, a few months ago, the Belgian police finally rose from their notorious torpor and raided some ecclesiastical offices in search of evidence that was being concealed. Joseph Ratzinger, who had not thus far found a voice in which to mention the doings of his Belgian underlings, promptly emitted a squeal of protest—at the intervention of the law..."We should all rise together as one voice and remove these criminals from their positions of power.I believe most people here are parents or guardians of children.Imagine that you had placed your child into the care of these men and then years later you were told by your adult child that they had been sexually abused by these paedophiles for 5, 10, 15 years.Tell me how would you feel? Would you say 'it was God's will'?Would you be happy to know that Ratzinger was fully aware of these criminal, violent acts yet silenced your child and moved the paedophile priest to another parish where he could and did commit those same crimes against hundreds of other children?We have been so brainwashed to the point where these things won't concern most of the faithful too much as  they flock to see 'The Holy Father', spend their hard-earned money, walk miles, stand for hours, buy the tacky, junk souvenirs and return home having done their bit for 'God'.You couldn't make it up.[...]

My First Contract

Thu, 09 Sep 2010 23:10:00 +0000

I signed my first contract today and I am pleased! I have also employed one member of staff and am sifting through the 48 others who have applied for positions in my company.
One thing has surprised me: People seem not to know how to complete CV's correctly, to complete an application form, I am shocked. The education system here seems split between the haves and the have nots.

A few of them submitted CV's and when I asked them to complete the detailed application form suddenly referees who were either friends or relatives suddenly didn't appear on the form.
So many people said they were 'obedient' or 'docile' - honestly, I'm not making it up! How sad that they see those traits as being positive in the job market. But we seem to be breeding clones who just do as they are told, which is necessary to an extent, but...
I don't want people like that around me. Some staff members will have far more skills, experience and abilities in certain areas than I have and I want employees to feel that they can contribute to and benefit from sharing knowledge as the business grows. I cannot pay a great deal of money to start but equally I refuse to pay people the minimum wage. Not really great for business but how can I feel good about paying people peanuts and expecting them to work and feed themselves and their families?

Anyway, it is early days. My marketing strategy is progressing well and although I have kept my expenditure to a minimum things seem to be going tickety-boo. So far.

My only real problem now is lack of sleep. It is affecting me more than I realised. I awoke this morning after only 4 hours sleep and lay prone on the bed thinking,  'I cannot physically move'. It took me over an hour to be able to muster the strength to release myself from the duvet and then stand - with my eyes closed throughout. All the while repeatedly muttering 'This is crazy!' It's this business.

I promise myself at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night now. Mmmm....

I'm Starting a Business...

Tue, 31 Aug 2010 23:37:00 +0000

...and it is making me lose sleep. It's like an obsession. Each moment I spend doing something else seems like a complete waste of time.
I'll wash up and think, have a bath and think - I'm writing this now at after midnight in the UK and I really need to go to bed, having woken up at 6am I need my sleep.
The last few weeks have been great though. My procrastinating ways have been placed firmly in the past. I have a passion and it is to make this seed of an idea grow into something worthwhile.

I did take time out over the weekend to attend a wedding in the country - a lovely wedding, the groom is one of the nicest people I know and his new wife seems equally lovely. The celebration was marred a little by the sexual innuendos and unwelcome hands on my body (read: molestation) by 2 very sad brothers. You know the type: still live at home with elderly parents, no discernible means of income and completely distraught that they have done so little with their lives. Unwashed (reeked) and orange-brown teeth. And because no money, hung around people poncing the next glass of their favourite tipple.
 I'm not a violent person but it did cross my mind to give each of these morons a sharp left hook but then I had images of the wedding being spoiled, the police officers (who had seen maybe 4 'people of colour' in their whole lives) dragging this black woman in handcuffs and me locked up thinking how to explain it to the white judge in the morning - with the moron brothers in intensive care on drips.
No, not a good idea.

Yet I felt violated and weak. I failed to deal with the situation. I spent over 5 hours in their company and it was a nightmare. They used their drunkenness as a mask for their inadequacies and I didn't deal with it well. I left the wedding early saying I would be back and retreated to a safe haven.

I raced back to London away from the stale beer, 'eejats' and sheep and threw myself onto my nice clean comfortable bed, ecstatic to be home and then I had a long hot bubble bath and got back to business.

Wow, I never intended to share all that with you! Just to tell you that I'm recovering and focusing on my business.
It is exciting and challenging and I feel great having to wrack my brains again. More people should try it...

10 More Dead...

Mon, 09 Aug 2010 16:35:00 +0000

(image) You may or may not be aware of the alleged missionaries killed in Afghanistan recently. Read more HERE.
It brings to the fore a part of the reason for the occupation/crusade in the region by Western forces.
International Assistance Mission has said the doctors shot to death by the Taliban were there for humanitarian reasons, to provide eye care for people who lived in remote, almost inaccessible regions of the country. Yet I am not completely convinced.
What I am convinced about is just how stupid, yes I have to use that word, stupid we are that of all the things in the world we could be doing, experiencing,  discovering, enjoying - we kill each other for imaginary entities. It is so crazy to think of people killing each other because one thought Peter Pan was real and another Paddington the Bear! Yet that is what has happened.
The 10 people killed are a tragic illustration that we need to wake up from this mind-fog that has had a strangle-hold on our thinking for thousands of years. It sometimes makes me weary as I see it all around me.

I listened to an audio book the other day, a mp3 of pure excellence from a man who wrote clearly, succinctly and I was enthralled. Within the first couple of minutes I was hooked, paused the recording and switched off everything in the place that could ring, whistle or make any other noise to disturb me. I ran back to repose on my couch, making myself extremely comfortable in the process. Around chapter 3, the 'god stuff' came churning out. I was in shock. I felt as if I had been slapped with a wet rag! This was from a man who had travelled, lectured on critical thinking, started and sold businesses around the world, written award winning books (this was my first encounter) and there he was dropping in 'praise god', 'thank god', 'oh, I prayed so hard'.

It is insiduous. Gets into almost every nook and cranny, distorts thinking, makes people do crazy things and arrests development. It makes some people a lot of money, it relieves a larger majority of a lot of money. It is clever as it extracts money in small dribs and drabs and also in a big chunk. It makes people feel guilty, obsessed about sex, worried about death, worried about life. It makes people participate in meaningless ceremonies which encourage them to spend money: christenings, church weddings, church funerals.
It encourages dangerous practices: penile mutilation on young helpless male babies, exorcisms, female genital mutilations.

It is encourages people to believe absolute rubbish and then kill others because of it and so 10 more dead.

When will we wake up?

Child Abuse (7)

Sat, 24 Jul 2010 07:02:00 +0000

My Grandmother and Jim Reeves

Thu, 01 Jul 2010 20:28:00 +0000

As a teenager I made the epic journey from coldest England to a strange land where my parents were born in the Caribbean. A place I heard much about but couldn't quite grasp what my parents loved and hated about the place they left.My maternal grandmother wouldn't come to England and I was brave enough to want to venture across a gulf of water on a plane to stay for 3 weeks.The first thing I noticed about my grandmother was she was very slim and exceedingly tall for an elderly woman. She gripped my arm like a vice and touched my face, hair, neck, stroked my back with her free hand. No rushing - she took her time. She looked stern. After what seemed like an age, her face broke into a smile and with tears running down her face she kissed me, wet soppy kisses everywhere! People who were stood around her home in the semi-darkness, watched and then clapped as she assaulted me with her kisses! This place is weird! These people are weird!She was proud that I travelled so far to see her - the first child from her baby who had been born in England. We sat around in the yard with these people who had come to see this visitor from 'Hinglan'. The night creatures sounded too loud. The air was cool and fresh but very warm to me, even as it got darker.After bathing and creaming myself I got ready for bed. I was very tired and disorientated and my grandmother and she checked my bed for the umpteenth time, plumping it, smoothing it, making it 'just so'. Suddenly I heard a big noise, a screechy sound under the bed. Suffice to say I was hysterical that I was expected to sleep in a room with nasty bugs making a racket.My grandmother, insisted that the noise was from a creature outside the room. I looked at her as if she suddenly had a severe hearing problem as that noise was coming from under the bed. I was screaming out loud at the thought of being so tired and then having to sleep in a bed with some human-eating creature under it. The next thing I knew she threw herself onto the bed and howled - with laughter- she was holding her sides and rocking, making this big noise, whilst I'm stood there wondering what the hell was going on! Just as I thought she had calmed down and her shoulder shaking slowed down as she eased herself upright, she would look at me again and keel right back to where she was on the bed. Very strange people, I thought.She wiped her eyes with her scarf and explained through smaller laughing sounds that she had never seen anything so funny in her life and I had come all that way to bring her a good joke.So that was within a few minutes of meeting her. My grandmother.She was a devout Christian who regularly gave any money the family sent over to the church. (Headed by a man who lived in a huge mansion on a hill with incredible views and several of the latest luxury cars- some other time.) We used to sit in the shade of the mango tree and I was eating fresh juicy mangos that she had picked and collected for my arrival. The chickens would run around the yard, the breeze would blow and on a Sunday the residents on the other side of the valley (a 4 mile walk away) would move their room-sized speaker boxes outside their house, plug in and play: Jim Reeves. Yes, Jim Reeves.My grandmother would be preparing for church in her pristine white, highly starched and pressed clothes and as she prepared would sing along. So now, atheist that I am, each time I hear Jim Reeves I get a little misty eyed. Isn't that weird?[...]

Quote of the Week

Sat, 26 Jun 2010 20:23:00 +0000

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true."

Friedrich Nietzsche

In Living Memory

Tue, 22 Jun 2010 15:34:00 +0000

Whilst away some place across the big pond I received some news that a man I had worked with for many years had died. I was shocked and was thousands of miles away and wasn't due back for 2 weeks. Fortunately, the funeral was held on Friday and I managed to get my jet-lagged self to the various venues.The deceased man and I had previously worked with a group of people who will forever be a big part of my life. Have you ever been amongst a group of people who were as different as chalk and cheese and yet somehow gelled as one big family, there for the highs and lows of life?Here is an example of how close and loved people felt: one man had to retire from his work due to ill health. Let's call him Ahmed. He was the kind of person who would bore you to tears in meetings, the kind who wouldn't shut up and always turned a brief point into a 20 minute monologue! Ahmed was not one to take a hint that he had extended his speaking time and so verbal sledge hammers were employed to spare the ears of the meeting attendees. I had been away for many years and due to the recent death I was back in the fold again. Ahmed, I was told, even though he lived many miles away from his old workplace still found time/a reason to visit each week. He cared so much for the people, the job the warmth of these disparate people that he had to be in contact with them. I commented on it to an older Nigerian woman who was viewed with refeverence by all and she said, in a very soft voice, 'He's always welcome'. My heart melted. I understood why I was there, why I, myself, checked in with everyone now and again with the people who helped me to grow up. Who allowed me to be myself and showed real love and patience as I did so.I recall a line manager saying to me that he cared about people there as if they were family, including me 'because we have a saying in Yoruba which means: he's a bastard, but he's our bastard'. Tolerance was mandatory. So was empathy, understanding and love. It seems very strange writing that about a workplace. Somewhere you are meant to go to check in and cash out. As a result of this experience I now find it almost impossible to be employed and prefer to work for myself. My only reason for leaving was due to luurrvve! (A long story - trust me!)The man who died was the kind of person who always made you smile. A cheeky chappy who was married to a lovely woman and they had 2 lovely children together plus he had 2 older children who were close and loved by them both. Let's call him Andrew. He had an eye for the ladies but that was it, just an eye. He made jokes about the size of your bottom, or the swinging of hips or the cinched waist of a 'fine looking woman' in the office and never was there a murmur of 'sexual harrassment' - the women gave it right back and sometimes harder than he did! I know sexual harrassment is something that can have damaging consequences on people in the work place and I am not diminishing the pain it can cause, but in that place of work people were free to be themselves and if anyone stepped over the line a little private chat did the trick.This in an environment which was like the United Nations - a multitude of races and cultures. Where organised lunches would see people bringing in fufu, barabrith, rice and peas and chicken, stuffed paratha, jolloffe rice, gulab jamun and pasta, amongst other dishes. Food from around the globe, made by the staff.Andrew became ill at work and was sent to a hospital which, apparently[...]

Jesus don't like all that stuff...

Sun, 20 Jun 2010 14:01:00 +0000

My experience.
On the train, packed like sardines in a tin. A young black woman talking into her mobile phone at high volume.

'Nah, well I told him that I can't see him anymore cos I gotta another love that I love more than him.'
'Yeah, he didn't wanna understand that because of my love for Jesus I gotta break it off.'
'Yeah, well the Pastor told me that Jesus takes care of everything in his own time and that I should
make sure that I am only serving Jesus in the right way.'
I know. I know. I love him and all dat and he makes me feel good, Girl! He knows all the moves!! [laughs] But I gotta stop all that behaviour cos Jesus don't like all that stuff.'

Child Abuse (6)

Sat, 19 Jun 2010 11:46:00 +0000