Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Unorganized, Thoughtful, and Deeply Shallow Expeditions and Diaries of Louis & Mark

There once was a young man from Usual. His name was Francis. Francis spent his childhood learning about how to be a usual. In the community of Usual, the residents live just a usual life with usual clothes, usual houses, usual yards, they even have a usual accent. Francis, in the meantime, was in the process of living a "usual" lifestyle. However, Francis seemed to think that something just didn't seem right about what he was learning. In fact, one day he was lost in his thoughts on Normal Mountain, when someone familiar came and sat down next to him. Francis had seen this person before, but he couldn't quite figure out who it was. After a short time, the man finally broke the silence. He introduced himself as Champ of Character, and told Francis about how he grew up in Usual and had been taught how to live a usual life and he just knew there had to be something more than this to life. So he learned about the land of Character, where he learned you could live your life to the fullest and how one could make a greater impact on the world.
Francis was speechless. He ended up talking with Champ for hours about this land out of the ordinary where you didn't have to be usual where he didn't have to be told how to live his life.
So Francis traveled back to the land of Character with Champ, and while they traveled, he could just imagine this vast, extraordinary land where his dreams were free to prosper.
Finally, Francis can see the entrance in the distance to this land of Character, but he begins to get nervous. What if they only let people into Character if they are already powerful beings? What if the only ones let in are the ones who are extraordinary? These thoughts haunted Francis so bad, that he was to the point where he just wanted to turn back to the land of Usual where he could let his dreams die and live in envy of those who could be fortunate to live in Character.
However, when he looked up, Francis saw the beautiful, massive gateway that led into the land of Character. Above the golden gateway was etched a phrase that said, "There are no extraordinary people, just ordinary people who do extraordinary things." Francis thought of this quote everyday for the rest of his life in Character, and he reminded himself that he could do whatever he wanted to do.


Hello, this is a segment by Louis & Mark. This is the very first passage of a weekly series that will take place. In this series, we will say some funny stories, have intellectual discussions about the world around us, and motivate others on how to live a great life.
I hope that upon reading this, you will be excited about each week's installment.
-Mark

Why Not America?


I am often presented with a fairly discombobulated question; a question that fails to offer one the opportunity of approaching it with a simple answer. This question is often the derivative of an ill-minded attempt to disarm a man of his thorough, yet vague, intentions. It is simple in stature, and complex in meaning.

It is as follows: "Why do you want to help Africa, and not America?"

This question contains the verb "help." The word help simply means to offer aid and assistance to.

Here comes the complexity:

Before one can be presented with such a question, he or she must have a publicly-acknowledged desire to help people; in this case, the people of Africa as a whole.
The continent of Africa is made up of 54 countries. Many of these 54 countries, such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Sudan, have been torn and battered due to years of conflict. The many irrelevant reasons for a decent number of these conflicts may be traced through the histories and beginnings of the settlement of the regions. Take Rwanda for an example:
Rwanda, many hundreds of years ago, was populated by the Twa people. That is, until the Bantu-speaking Hutu people supplanted them. Soon after, the Tutsi people, another Bantu group, immigrated into the area. The three groups began to disperse into smaller states, and over time, their area increased. Eventually, the Tutsi had organized themselves into a hierarchy, ruled by the Mwami, or king. All people of Rwanda were to pay tribute to him. At this time, distinctions and borders between the groups were permeable.
Things began to change for the people of Rwanda during the Colonial Era. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the German Empire and the Belgians were each given a sum of land. Each nation was given part of Rwanda. Soon enough, the Germans took control. During this time, the Germans divided the people of Rwanda by using irrelevant distinctions. In doing so, their assumptions allowed them to favor the Tutsis. They decided that the Tutsi people should form the superior ruling class, and the Hutu people should be the underclass. This is the change that sparked the beginning of the hostility between the two groups.
At the most undesirable time, the Belgians gained control by accepting the League of Nations Mandate of 1923. Their rule brought solidification to the division of the Hutus and the Tutsis. Thus the Tutsi people were but in charge and considered the superior group.
Soon after, many reforms took place in the territory. From then on, racial tensions rose and increased. In turn, this led to violent declarations of independence, civil war, and genocide.
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 was sparked by racial tensions and pure, evil hatred. It is believed that the Hutu militia, Interahamwe, assassinated President Juvenal Habyarimana and blamed it on the Tutsi rebels, just so they could have an excuse to begin slaughtering and murdering innocent Tutsi people and their Hutu collaborators. The result of this intolerable act of pure evil was the destruction of a countless amount of human being's lives. Well over 800,000 human beings were slaughtered (it is even believed that the number could have exceeded far over 1 million). That is more than 6 men, women and children murdered every minute of every hour of every day. 500,000 women were brutally raped and sexually assaulted. 80,000 people were orphaned; and 50,000 are presently homeless due to the genocide. All of this, and much more, occurred within a period of 100 days.

Complex histories such as the one of Rwanda can contain the reasoning for the occurrences of many of the conflicts that scar Africa's surface.
Neighbors turned against neighbors, and friends against friends in Rwanda. The two "groups" weren't even different. The only difference worth mentioning is their division throughout the Era of Colonization. This division was only made because a group of obsessed "scientists" measured noses. It makes no sense.

Back to the question:

I don't know about you, but I see nothing of the sort in America's history. No genocide. The hatred isn't displayed in the same manner; it isn't even as great and widespread. Africa, overall, has a history of violence that is unheard of in America today. We, as Americans, witness atrocities, yes; but are they as violent as the ones witnessed in Africa? I'm afraid not.
In America, we have discrimination, poverty, and the genocide of unborn babies. These are well worth acting on. However, our government is more equipped to combat poverty than the destabilized governments in Africa. Acts of evil, such as murdering babies, are intolerable. But who is going to arrest or kill the culprits? The justice system is different in America, because we actually have one. We can't pick up a rifle and start shooting, like Cobus Claassens effectively does in Africa. The governments in Africa are often the ones committing the crimes. The scale of violence and atrocities committed throughout the whole continent is immense, especially compared to the United States. We don't see our government attacking it's people. We don't see full scale genocide on our soil. We couldn't imagine seeing 2 million American citizens being murdered and slaughtered in 3 months....or at all. Methods such as rape, decapitation, throwing the elderly onto rocks, capturing children and turning them into monsters, grenade-ing full church sanctuaries, slicing wombs and clubbing infants, and randomly chopping fleeing civilians, aren't heard of here, or anywhere near us. Most Americans seem to block out the unimaginable scenes of extreme poverty, disease, and violence that unfold throughout Africa every day. A majority of African people have no voice. The West is the only force able to change their situations, and they fail to listen. They fail to act. WE fail to act. The world said, "Never again." Unbelievable.

Don't get me wrong. I will do what I can to help anyone. I have a heart for all people. I am writing this because many Americans often question one's desire to help people in other nations, especially if that person's complete focus is on that nation's people, rather than on the people of America. And that is a euphemism. No, not all Americans do this, but many do, and, unfortunately, I have personally experienced it. I believe in helping all people.

That is my answer.


(This is a segment by Louis & Mark. This is the very first passage of a weekly series that will take place. In this series, we will say some funny stories, have intellectual discussions about the world around us, and motivate others on how to live a great life.
I hope that upon reading this, you will be excited about each week's installment.)
-Louis.