New Year, same world

First off, best wishes for a full recovery to the family of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all of the others injured this weekend by the tragedy in Tucson, AZ. Also, condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed. I am one of those that believe firmly in gun control and while I acknowledge that the Constitution of the US supports the right to bear arms, context and rational application has to be applied to the world in which we now live.

After all, if we were to take the Constitution literally and not apply a modicum of common sense, well, women and minorities would have fewer rights than livestock today.

It was recently reported that four more American states, including Arizona, now allow guns in bars. Yes, in these four states anyone who is of legal majority can drink as much alcohol as their wallet allows and pack heat while doing it. Now, I will freely admit I’ve had a couple of bar fights in my younger days, so maybe I am looking at this from a different perspective. I have to wonder though, does anyone else see a problem with that combination? The ironies abound…

Starbucks new logo…like it or hate? And quite frankly, does anyone care? The only question I want answered is when are they going to offer Blue Mountain coffee as a regular option?

Elle Magazine is under some heat because of their January cover issue. In that issue, Bollywood actor and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is ‘whitewashed’ to appear a lot lighter than she actually is. In an age where skin bleaching is a hot button topic, and where the standards of beauty has shifted considerably from where it was in my youth (exclusively white, skinny, females, like a young Michelle Pfieffer) to the modern beauty ideals (more Beyonce and JLo, ) it’s a shame that this last remaining relic of a racist ideal is still being perpetrated by a mainstream magazine with a large following of young people. Click here to see the cover photo. I personally would love to get Vybz Cartel’s opinion on this…

It’s been one year since the earthquake that devastated Haiti and left over 200,000 people dead. To put that in some context; approximately 3,000 people died on 9-11. 40,000 people died in the heat wave that struck Europe in 2003.  1,400 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 16,000 died in Bhopal, India after their industrial accident. You add all of those other tragedies up, and it still represents a small fraction of the loss of life in Haiti a year ago.

The only other disaster in recent history that compares is the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on Boxing Day 2004. Being Jamaican, I am acutely aware that this disaster could have easily struck our island or affected it considerably.

I wish the best for the people of Haiti, I hope they rebuild stronger than ever and I applaud their indomitable spirit.

Sudan’s election is taking place this week. The main agenda topic is that the people of southern Sudan want to secede from the northern region. One of the more interesting things about this is the huge cultural divide; Northern Sudan is very Islamic and increasingly militant. The people of South Sudan long victimized by their neighbors to the North, want to reclaim what they say is their country. One interesting note on this- ‘Sudan’, etymologically in Arabic means ‘land of the black people’, which is how fairer-skinned Arabs called the lands of conquered black tribes under their power. This would seem to justify that the name ‘Sudan’ makes more sense in the black-populated South than in the Arab-occupied North.

Its another small step in rebuilding what is historically the most important continent on the planet.