Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tegloma Convention in Chicago this weekend





Tegloma International federation is meeting in Chicago this weekend for the annual international convention. As a member of the Board of Tegloma Federation, I pray and hope this convention would be devoted to exploring ideas that would increase the relevance of Tegloma in the lives of the people it represents and that of the Sierra Leone populace in general.

My particular hope is that Tegloma starts devoting the majority of the income we generate towards expanding charitable causes in Sierra Leone. As a board member representing the great state of Minnesota and my home districts of Kailahun and Kenema,I have set myself the following goals, and would work assiduously to ensure that they are transmitted to the general membership.
1. The expansion of the scholarship program in the interior of the country: I believe that this expansion should be both geographical and numerical
2. Initiation of a clothing drive to benefit amputees in Sierra Leone: Growing up in Sierra Leone, we all have first hand experience regarding the difficulty of the jobless to put decent shirts on their backs. Just imagine the case of those who are both jobless and physically disadvantaged. A program for amputees would be in order and would show the human side of Tegloma.
3. Development of a program to assist farmers with simple tools like shovels, spades, hoes and wheelbarrows, and so on. I am advantaged to come from a region of the country where the indigenes, through hard work, are basically self sufficient. My people survive at a subsistence level however, and the provision of farming materials would go a long way to alleviate some of the obstacles they encounter in their day to day operations.
4. Providing school supplies for rural students: Pens and notebooks cost very little to us here in the United states and elsewhere in the diaspora, but access to these simple educational tools mean the difference between a life of illiteracy and the acquisition of basic education back home.

As a non profit an apolitical association that is geared towards the betterment of our people. It is now time to transcend rhetoric and limited ventures and pay serious attention to the progress of our localities. We all help our relatives back home, and commend those who have already instituted programs that have an impact outside their families. It is however time to be a serious NGO that would rival any other charitable NGO of foreign origin. We have the acumen, opportunity and financial means to substantially impact lives back home in Sierra Leone if only we can pool together whatever surplus resources we can garner. I hope to see all my Tegloma Siblings in Chicago and pray for a successful convention.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The swift boaters are out

In November 2008, the American people will decide who will be the leader of this great country for the next four years. The choice is between an old war hawk, who believes that freedom should be spread around the world by force of arms and that America should continue down the path of unilateralism that has steadily eroded the nation's respect around the world and a young charismatic senator who believes in multilateral dialogue, economic progress and believes that the war on terror should be a global battle.

The last seven years has been particularly tough in America. The Bush administration has over these years adopted a mono focal outlook that has been almost based on Iraq, almost to the exclusion of everything else. The war in Iraq was waged on the premise of eliminating weapons of mass destruction and the emancipation of the Iraqi people from the clutches of the purportedly evil and murderous dictator Saddam Hussein Al Takriti. The war was launched, Saddam was toppled and eventually killed and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found. The administration then shifted the goal to elections in Iraq. The Iraqi people defied all odds and voted for their own government. Still the American occupation continues with now the talk of victory and a model of democracy, regardless of the fact that all the initial goals of the invasion were achieved.

Many American tax payers, facing massive gas price increases, lack of access to affordable healthcare, creeping inflation, the subprime mortgage crisis, the outsourcing of well paying jobs, a steady decline in the value of the dollar, a growing budget deficit , and a growing Iraq war bill, are fed up with the negative trend of things and came out in huge numbers to vote for the democrats in the election primaries, which ultimately led to the election of Senator Barack Obama as the Democratic party nominee.

Now that the Republicans are aware that their brand is stale, they have again started the same dirty tactics they used in the last election to smear the image of Senator John Kerry, belittling his stature and war record and successfully painting him as a flip flopper. Senator Obama and those around him should be aware of these tactics.

In the past days, a rogue and intellectually dishonest Harvard scholar came out with a book about Obama that was full of bold faced lies and despiccable half truths, with the aim of painting him as a muslim, un-American and unpatriotic. Over the weekend one of the most respected pastors in this country invited Obama and McCain to speak on a range of religious and moral issues. The real reason of this sham was to use it as an opportunity for Obama to reveal himself as a person whose views conflicted with that of the christian right. While Obama was busy answering irrelevant questions that had little to do with the growing economic pains confronting the American people, John McCain who was supposed to be incommunicado so that he could not hear the questions, was in his motorcade with full access to the transmission, and we have only his word and those of the swift boaters around him, that he was not listening. When he came on though, he had all the answers right wing so called christian conservatives wanted to hear.

Senator Obama's team should be on the lookout and be prepared to respond expediently to theses falsities, otherwise they will gradually paint him as a non-religious, unpatriotic liberal, and given the fickle nature of public opinion in this country, such labels have a tendency to stick around and be believed.