Editor's Desk

STAND UP, DON’T STAY DOWN

Arnold Toynbee, English historian and historical philosopher, (1889-1975), once said that “Civilization is a movement, not a condition; it is a voyage, not a harbor”, this wise saying further confirms the fact that, there will always be changes in our world but the crux of the matter is, we all owe the responsibilities to determine the kind of change we want. In the 1400s while Europe was still in the diseased Dark Ages China flourished as one of the world’s leading civilizations with advanced technology and expansive naval exploration. The Ming Dynasty’s capital city of Nanjing was the largest in the world, with the world’s longest city wall, able to house 3,000 soldiers. Yet the centralized, monolithic Chinese civilization lacked the competitive decentralization of Europe. From 1500 Europe’s autonomous cities, nations, and corporations increased exploration and colonization for money and power, while at the same time China closed itself off in a fragile bubble.

The Chinese soon realized their folly and since 1978, they began to make major reforms to their economy and today in 2012, the American economy that is generally regarded as the worlds’ biggest was recently bailed out of financial woods by China, without a doubt, China is back as super powers. Survive is simply for the fittest, a very good boxer could be knocked down in the first round and come back into the match to win the bout.. A proverb in my place when translated literarily says that when someone is been pursued by a masquerade, the person should endure and keep running because as he or she is getting tired so is the masquerade pursing is also getting tired, in a little the chase and race will be over.

So if the Chinese could bounce back why can’t Africa? We also at some point were world leaders. Constantin Francois de Chassebceuf, comte de Volney, who is simply known as C.F. Volney, was a French philosopher, historian, orientalist and politician. In late 1782 he embarked on a voyage to the East and reached Ottoman Egypt where he spent nearly seven months. Thereafter, he lived for nearly two years in Greater Syria in what is today Lebanon and Israel/Palestine in order to learn Arabic. He returned to France in 1785 where he spent the next two years compiling his notes and writing on his Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, which was published in 1787, and Considérations sur la guerre des Turcs et de la Russie in 1788. I had the privilege of browsing through these works recently and stumbled at a statement that I consider very intriguing and a food for thought; “And this race of Blacks who nowadays are slaves and the objects of our scorn is the very one to which we owe our arts, our sciences and even the use of spoken word, and finally recollect that it is in the midst of the people claiming to be the greatest influence of liberty and humanity that the most barbarous of enslavement has been sanctioned, and the question raised whether Black men have brains of the same quality as those of white men”. However, to my mind, from our general disposition we seem to be content with all the patronizing encouragements that our economies are growing when in the reality if we take ‘the bulls by the horns’, Africa could return as world leaders once again. Until recently I thought I was the person most informed musically in our home but going by my recent discussions with my children it seem to me that I need to review and upgrade my knowledge of music or I may soon lose my coveted job as the family’s music consultant to one of the kids.

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