Posted in Health Matters*, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

How Safe Are We From Ebola in The United States?

I don’t know about y’all; but I’m a little more anxious about the U.S. Ebola situation as the days progress..Can’t lie I wasn’t thrilled to hear about the two American Ebola patients arriving on U.S. soil this summer..Even more unsettling was the first case of Ebola that showed up in Dallas this week..Dissemination of factual news/information can reduce hype, anxiety and reduce the spread of a disease like Ebola..IF it gets to that point..As with so many life instances a little knowledge can save our lives and provide us with peace of mind..So here are the facts I’ve picked up about Ebola>>

Is it possible for this disease to spread in the United States? Of course it is..Anyone who says it isn’t possible just isn’t being honest(or doesn’t know any better)..However, more than just the odds indicate it will probably not become a pandemic in the U.S. There ARE reasons ebola has spread so quickly in Western Africa…Life there is very different than life here..Culture, hygiene practices, customs(including washing the dead before burial; which btw has been a leading method for ebola to spread..) & the fact most can’t afford hospital care..All of that together perpetuated the rapid spread of the virus>>

Ebola Fast Facts

Ebola is not brand new..The first human outbreaks occurred in 1976..The virus is named after the Ebola River, where it was first recognized. There are 5 different strains ..All but one of the strains can cause illness in humans & animals(the 5th strain only affects animals)

Ebola is extremely infectious but NOT extremely contagious..An infinitesimillay small amount can cause illness..Because it isn’t transmitted via air, it is only considered moderately contagious

Humans can be infected by other humans IF they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons..Humans can also be exposed to the virus, by butchering infects animals…

Typically, symptoms appear 8 to 10 days after exposure, but incubation period can span 2 to 21 days…

Ebola is NOT transmissible if someone is asymptomatic or once one has recovered..BUT, the virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months…

According to the World Health Organization: The fatality rate can be up to 90%.

Posted in ^Political, ^^Thought Provoking^^

>Reasons Why Just a Hashtag@ Bring Back Our Girls Won’t End the Nigerian Situation>

I’m feeling some type of way about the abduction of the school girls in Nigeria..Much of what I’ve read from our American newspapers has been sugar-coated and/or the bigger picture left unrevealed..What IF such antics become common place in the world? How would WE feel if it were our children snatched ( & boldly threatened to be sold into slavery) for a so-called cause? What is the real cause behind these abductions? Is it political? Religious? And what are the consequences that could filter world-wide if the Nigerian government negotiates with Boko Haram? I happened upon an article from a Nigerian historian , writer and author that is the best analysis of the entire situation>>

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Boko Haram: six reasons why the Nigerian militant group is so powerful. Written by Max Siollun

Not long ago, few Nigerians had heard of Boko Haram. Now, the whole world is talking about the extremist group that kidnaps school girls and bombs cities. How did it become so formidable?

Six years ago, most Nigerians had not even heard of Boko Haram. Now the whole world is talking about the extremist group that has kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in the north of the country. Founded in 2002, how did it rise to become such a threat to national security in such a short period of time?

1. Political connections

It would be naive to think that this kidnap happened in a vacuum, or that the Boko Haram has no connection to the powers that be in Nigeria’s Game of Thrones-style politics. Spikes in violence and insecurity took place on a suspiciously recurring basis in the 12-18 months preceding Nigerian presidential elections: the next election is scheduled for 2015.

This tends to be the time that politicians allegedly deploy armed militia to harass, intimidate, or even assassinate their rivals.

In 2012, a senior member, Kabiru Sokoto, was found in a state governor’s house after escaping from police captivity. The year before, a Nigerian senator was arrested on suspicion of aiding the group after claims that he telephoned a militant more than 70 times in one month.

The extremist group is also automatically linked to all kidnappings, violence, and assassinations committed in northern Nigeria – even acts of armed banditry and political assassinations are attributed to it, whether the group claims responsibility for them or not, adding to its reputation and aura.

2. Imbalance between north and south

Seemingly disconnected historical events over the past 60-70 years started the slide into poverty and inequality that eventually led to the formation of Boko Haram. Before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, British colonial authorities ruled the north (where most Muslims live) and south of Nigeria (where most Christians live) separately. Western schools started by Christian missionaries flourished in the south, but Muslim leaders were reluctant to allow Christian mission schools to open in the north.

The long-term result is a massive economic and educational imbalance between the north and south which persists today. In many southern states more than 90% of women are literate. The corresponding percentage is below 5% in some states in the far north. Less than 10% of Nigerian university applicants (pdf) come from the 12 Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria (where Boko Haram’s insurgency rages). Boko Haram draws its members from the legions of uneducated, unemployed, poor and disenchanted young northern men.

3. Sharia law

An overlooked catalyst for Boko Haram’s evolution occurred in 2000 when Ahmed Yerima, the governor of Zamfara state in Nigeria’s north-west, extended the jurisdiction of Muslim sharia law to criminal cases, prescribing punishments such as stoning for adultery, amputation for theft and flogging for drinking alcohol. This became a super-charged political issue in the north, as sharia was popular among Muslims who hoped it would lead to a social and moral revival. Eight other states in northern Nigeria also enacted sharia in full and Boko Haram’s then leader, Mohammed Yusuf, anticipated it would also be implemented in his home state of Borno. They became disaffected and increasingly hostile to the government when Borno did not implement sharia in full.

4. Government crackdown

When Boko Haram clashed with police in 2009, the government responded with a military iron fist. Security forces destroyed Boko Haram’s mosque, killed hundreds of its members, and arrested, then summarily executed, its leader Yusuf and his father-in-law. The routing of Yusuf and his followers radicalised Boko Haram even more by eliminating the conciliatory faction within the group, and paving the way for its takeover by its most implacable faction led by Yusuf’s deputy, Abubakar Shekau.

5. Nigeria’s complicated ethnic and religious mix

Sensitive ethno-regional issues make it difficult to fight Boko Haram. A massive elephant in the room is that the vast majority of the army’s fighting troops have historically been recruited from ethnic groups in northern Nigeria. Such ethnic groups include the Kanuri – to which most Boko Haram members belong. Unleashing the army on militants means soldiers may be ordered to commit fratricide against communities they come from, who they are not hostile to, and leaves the army vulnerable to infiltration.

Also, an attack by Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan (a Christian from the south) on a northern Islamic group with unrestrained force in the year before a presidential election, would surely result in lost votes amid accusations of being heavy handed with people of another faith.

6. Military limitations

The Chibok schoolgirls are unlikely to be rescued in a spectacular military raid. The Nigerian army is trained for conventional warfare and peacekeeping operations. Elaborate hostage rescues are not its forte. It is having to make ad hoc adaptations to train cadets to carry out counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.

Military offensives can only buy temporary breathing space for politicians to devise permanent solutions to the problem posed by Boko Haram. Some in the military establishment acknowledge that the military alone cannot eliminate the group. Nigeria’s former chief of defence, staff General Martin Luther Agwai (who commanded the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur), said: “You can never solve any of these problems with military solutions… It is a political issue; it is a social issue; it is an economic issue, and until these issues are addressed, the military can never give you a solution.”

A likely outcome to the current stand-off is that the government will negotiate an unwieldy deal with Boko Haram that will see the girls released in instalments.

This would not be unprecedented as the Nigerian government has a history of paying off or reaching uncomfortable opaque compromises with its opponents. When militants waged an armed insurgency in the oil-producing areas of southern Nigeria to protest against economic exploitation, the government ended it by granting amnesty and cash stipends to the militants in exchange for them giving up violence. This has created a “money and amnesty for guns” precedent. Muslim leaders from northern Nigeria have urged the government to similarly negotiate with Boko Haram and to grant it amnesty. With more money and more guns, the group might become more powerful still.

Max Siollun is a Nigerian historian, writer, and author of the book Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture 1966-1976. Follow him on Twitter @maxsiollun**

>> Hopefully reading all of the above will give a bit of background about the situation..My heartstrings have been pulled since first hearing of this incident..My pen(& thoughts) are my weapon against injustice..A friend(originally from Sierra Leone) locally released a statement to urge “all” to lift our voices regarding this situation. This isn’t just Nigeria’s war on terrorists; it is the world’s fight also!

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

We Raise Our Voices on the

Abduction of School Girls in Nigeria

From: The Ivory Club of Tampa Bay

Martin Williams, President

Our “mission is to educate the public regarding the history and current affairs of African family values through cultural, educational and social activities. We provide educational scholarships and forums to increase understanding between Africa and America.”

The Ivory Club raises its voice in condemning sectarian group, Boko Haram, and the kidnappers of two hundred plus school age girls in Nigeria. We raise our voice demanding the immediate release of these children and their safe return to their families.

We appeal to all other African organizations in the US to raise your voices and be heard, condemning Boko Haram’s atrocities with these young school girls, and call for their immediate safe return.

We raise our voices in prayers with the rest of the world that the families and friends of these innocent children find comfort within themselves, as the rest of the world demand an end to their brutal captivity.

We raise our voices, calling on the Nigerian Government to use its power, and to fully cooperate with other countries that are willing to offer assistance for the safe release of these abducted school girls.

We raise our voices to all who care about the wellbeing of these young girls and support the use of social media as a means to apply pressure and continue to demand the immediate release and return of these young innocent victims to their family and friends.

The Ivory Club, an organization of African Professionals in the Tampa Bay area, encourages all to join forces at protests, marches, demonstrations and other such events to help bring an end to the wicked abduction of these innocent school girls in Nigeria.

We believe very strongly in African family values and family ties, and will raise our voices against any actions that disrupt and cause the breakdown of this cultural trait.

#BringBackOurGirls

http://www.theivorycluboftampa.org

Posted in @Cultural, Black History

ASALH*Association for the Study of African-American Life and HISTORY*Black History Month Salute

Little known Black History fact is that ASALH still exists..It IS a totally different organization from NACCP..Although the founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, was involved in both organizations..Did you know that Woodson’s dream was that there would NOT always be a need for a Negro History Week(the father of Black History Month)? Well, if you didn’t know please don’t feel too bad. I didn’t know either! As I’ve said before Black History Month is still mandatory; for all Americans can stand to learn more. Including moi>>

ASALH was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson..Its mission is to create and disseminate knowledge about Black History, to be, in short, the nexus between the Ivory Tower and the global public..The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History was created in direct response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of African – Americans..Much of which HAS either been purposely left OUT of History books or diluted down to just the accomplishments of a few..I used to ask why?? These days though I don’t waste time asking why anymore..There is far too much I(we) can read offline or online to discover the accomplishments and achievements Blacks have had since the beginning of civilization..And it is? ALOT. In my hearts of hearts I feel it is mandatory this information is readily available..It is highly necessary for Black youth to know they’ve got much to be proud of ..I’ve no problem in admitting that is my primary reason for promoting Black History Month. Hell, I’m still learning at 50 years of age(and not shamed to admit it) All I dream of now is a day when our history is so well imbedded in American History; that racism rightfully DIES. Black folks built much of what is now America! It takes more than big cojones to try to snuff that history out..

I had the opportunity to attend an event yesterday hosted by ASALH..It was an awesome! story ‘sung’ of the history and journey of songs created by Blacks here in America..From spirituals which then graduated in later years to Gospel and Blues and Jazz and R & B and etc etc …What an emotional and moving hour it was! I learned after that ASALH has a calendar of year-long events and programs..We’ve got a local chapter of ASALH that is very active..I also learned that the National chapter is alive and well..They’re bring our story to life! And I wanted to bring it here to share with you..Anyways, until I write/read y’all again stay blessed and surrounded by love. 4ever Sincere , Berna(the 1 & Only)

ASALHbiglogo

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Feb. 6th Salute to Black History*Freed U.S. slaves depart New York on journey to FREEtown , Sierra Leone(in West Africa)

* February 6, 1820…Freed U. S. Slaves depart on journey to Africa*

The first organized immigration of freed slaves to Africa from the United States departs New York harbor on a journey to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The immigration was largely the work of the American Colonization Society, a U.S. organization founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to return freed American slaves to Africa. However, the expedition was also partially funded by the U.S. CONGRESS, which in 1819 had appropriated $100,000 to be used in returning displaced Africans, illegally brought to the United States after the abolishment of the slave trade in 1808, to Africa.

The program was modeled after British’s efforts to resettle freed slaves in Africa following England’s abolishment of the slave trade in 1772. In 1787, the British government settled 300 former slaves and 70 white prostitutes on the Sierra Leone peninsula in West Africa. Within two years, most members of this settlement had died from disease or warfare with the local Temne people. However, in 1792, a second attempt was made when 1,100 freed slaves, mostly individuals who had supported Britain during the American Revolution and were unhappy with their postwar resettlement in Canada, established Freetown under the leadership of British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.

During the next few decades, thousands of freed slaves came from Canada, the West Indies, and other parts of West Africa to the Sierra Leone Colony, and in 1820 the first freed slaves from the United States arrived at Sierra Leone. In 1821, the AMERICAN Colonization Society founded the colony of LIBERIA south of Sierra Leone as a homeland for freed U.S. slaves outside of British jurisdiction.

Most Americans of African descent were not enthusiastic to abandon their homes in the United States for the West African coast. The American Colonization Society also came under attack from American abolitionists, who charged that the removal of freed slaves from the United States strengthened the institution of slavery. However, between 1822 and the American Civil War, some 15,000 African Americans settled in Liberia, which was granted independence by the United States in 1847 under pressure from Great Britain. Liberia was granted official U.S. diplomatic recognition in 1862. It was the first independent democratic republic in African history.

>>Article from History.com>>

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Black History Fact*First Documented African American

Africans arrived in North America more than a century before the Mayflower arrived..The first documented African to arrive was Juan Garrido. He was NOT a slave & he was born in West Africa around 1480..He moved to Portugal as a young man, converted to Christianity ,and then changed his name to Juan Garrido(it means handsome John) He remained in Spain for about seven years and he joined the earliest conquistadors to the New World..He wound up in Hispaniola(which is the island that Haiti & Dominican Republic reside) as part of a Spanish expedition..He was involved in the invasion of Puerto Rico, Cuba & Mexico..After settling in Mexico City, including getting married(& had 3 children) , he continued to serve with Spanish forces for more than 30 years. In 1513, he was part of an expedition to Florida chasing the Fountain of Youth with de Leon..It was upon entering Florida he became the first documented African to arrive in this country. Garrido claims to have been the FIRST to plant and harvest wheat in the New World*

In 1538, Garrido provided testimony on his 30 years of service as a conquistador:

I, Juan Garrido, black in color, resident of this city [Mexico], appear before Your Mercy and state that I am in need of providing evidence to the perpetuity of the king [a perpetuad rey], a report on how I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of this New Spain, from the time when the Marqués del Valle [Cortés] entered it; and in his company I was present at all the invasions and conquests and pacifications which were carried out, always with the said Marqués, all of which I did at my own expense without being given either salary or allotment of natives [repartimiento de indios] or anything else. As I am married and a resident of this city, where I have always lived; and also as I went with the Marqués del Valle to discover the islands which are in that part of the southern sea [the Pacific] where there was much hunger and privation; and also as I went to discover and pacify the islands of San Juan de Buriquén de Puerto Rico; and also as I went on the pacification and conquest of the island of Cuba with the adelantado Diego Velázquez; in all these ways for thirty years have I served and continue to serve Your Majesty–for these reasons stated above do I petition Your Mercy. And also because I was the first to have the inspiration to sow maize here in New Spain and to see if it took; I did this and experimented at my own expense

Posted in @Cultural, Things That Make U Say Hmmmm@, ^^Thought Provoking^^

“`Why I am BLACK..Not African-American“`

English: African American History
English: African American History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer: Please read what I’m saying before assuming what I’m saying. I’m not saying I am not in love with my African roots nor am I saying I don’t love that I was born American. I love that both of those things are FACTUAL. Understand also that we all have opinions N are entitled to them. When we don’t agree its perfectly fine to agree 2 disagree. I wrote what I’m going to share in   response  to a very well written piece(from a blogger on this site)  on this very topic. It is a controversial topic yet not one that I fear opening for dialogue. So feel free to read with an open mind & ears N lets rap..

*Whats in a name? Some might ask that question but I don’t. Lets see if I can properly express how I feel about being “labeled” either Black or African-American.
What is IT with our country having to label folks anyway?!? Shouldn’t it be a personal choice? Why can’t we put OTHER as I’ve seen “others” allowed to do? Others that don’t exactly fit to a T the multiple choice slots on all the forms WE have to fill out in this lifetime…What about the situations folks that are White yet from Africa fall into? Are THEY African-American when they become American citizens? I actually meant a guy that fit that case scenario; he was a coworker . Awesome guy and we had conversation after conversation over this exact subject matter. Interesting to say the least!

Personally? I identify with my BLACKness before any other title/label I hold. When my feet hit the floor in the morning & I look in the mirror the 1st thing I see N know I am is BLACK. N I loveeeeee that I was created in the image of Jesus.(another topic for another time..) There is nothing else I’d rather have been created as..God makes NO mistakes. But I digress..

Some in the generations behind me feel that its oldskool to want to be labeled as Black. I figure we’re all entitled to our opinion..and I’m open to dialogue with anyone who can properly argue their points. But at the beginning and end of the day aren’t we all still..Black? A point those in favor of the African – American label make is that to NOT use the term is to deny our tie to the motherland. Africa…Hmmmm. Really??? I’d like to take a poll to see how many Blacks a/k/a African-Americans truly know a thing about their roots! Where they hail from in Africa? Where there ancestors first landed in America? How they acquired their birth surname…was it acquired from their slave master? Should the name @ African-American be carried by folks who have NO clue where they come from? Must I be labeled with the term African-American to be a PROUD Black Sista? I think NOT. And who is the infamous “they” that gets to determine how I’m going to be labeled anyway? Shouldn’t I have a VOTE in what I’m going to be labeled? In my life journey I’ve gone from Negro to Afro-American to BLACK to African-American..heck its surprising I’m NOT confused my own dang self about my..identity! And yet we sit back N wonder why generations behind us are out of touch with who they ARE.

I am BLACK. I am American. Period. Exclamation point. When 1st I wake I’m a BLACK woman/daughter/sister/mother..in that order. Every single day of my 49 yr old life. That is who I am. Regardless of who feels they have the right to “label” me it won’t change who I am. And I sincerely hope that is how more folks , BLACK folks, begin to look at it. And NOT let such topics further divide US…I love people. All people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. I just happen to be part of a bloodline of the very 1st line of people on Earth. How could one not be extremely proud about that?**

>In summation when WE(or anyone actually..) let “others” define who WE are & then re-define(or place a title on..) over N over N over again ..it is NO small wonder some  in my generation and many in those behind my generation..have lost sight of WHO they are. Or least that is the way I see it.<

Wishing all that read this love, joy and peace. Stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 N only)