The media frenzy stirred up by the KONY 2012 campaign brought worldwide awareness to war criminal Joseph Kony, the head of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). While the majority of people enthusiastically follows this laudable cause, others have voiced concern that beneath it may lie a carefully thought out agenda that uses reverse psychology to justify a military intervention in Uganda.
Kony definitely deserves both the demonization that he gets and punishment for his crimes against humanity, but stopping one bad guy is not going to make the underlying causes of civil conflict magically disappear — in the worst case scenario, he’ll simply be replaced by another bad guy. Critics such as The Vigilant Citizen elaborate on the causes of uproar in many African countries, which in fact have more to do with the consequences of colonialism than with the actions of Kony per se.
Referring to Keen (2007) and Rieff’s (2003) reasoning, the public needs to keep in mind that governments oftentimes engage in military intervention disguised as humanitarian response to gain access or control over natural resources or geographically strategic areas. Uganda has substantial natural resources, including sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt, and largely untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas. The 2006 CARMA report has shown that crisis and response have been emphasised where the potential political and economic gains from a crisis were more strategic (e.g. the chance to promote stability within, and better relations with, affected regions — usually trading partners in terms of oil and arms). Maybe in this particular case it’s just a coincidence…
This post is neither endorsing nor dismissing the KONY 2012 campaign, it’s simply meant as a reminder to practice independent thinking. Rather than blindly following a social movement or an elite’s agenda, make it a habit to question conventional wisdom, especially that which you get from the media. Truth is more than just one side of the story; it’s worthwhile to get your information from multiple sources. Last but not least, don’t let your view of Africa get skewed by the media, it’s not all barbaric conflict and starving children.
[see picture of Kampala, Uganda]
The world has lost one of its greatest visionaries - Steve Jobs, an unconventional entrepreneur who inspired and motivated people, turned setbacks into success, and made the best of life until the very last day.
After all, the Buddhist vegetarian who enriched our lives with the notorious Apple devices and some of the best animated films of all time, had figured out what life is all about. As he put it in his 2005 Stanford Commencement address, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
He lived each day as if it was his last, knowing that, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
His death is a great reminder that all the money in the world can’t buy us a long, healthy life. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me” - and it is what should matter to all of us. So, let’s do it the Steve Jobs way - today is the perfect day to start doing everything you can to make your dreams come true.
What a House from 1902 Taught Me about Coming to Terms with Imperfection
In early 2010, I moved into a house that is going to be 110 years old next year. It’s a gorgeous building – soft green with antique ornaments, located perfectly in an artsy, lively neighborhood.
As soon as you enter the front door, what you won’t find is an even space. All floors, walls and ceilings are crooked to the point where it’s quite an act to properly set up furnitures or hang a picture on the wall. It took me ages in despair to renovate it and even now, there’s still some stuff that isn’t quite ready yet.
The more time I spent on turning the place into a comfortable home – my personal sanctuary, so to speak – the more I’ve grown to love even its imperfections. This house is never going to be 100 per cent flawless unless maybe you’d rip it apart and rebuild it from scratch. Yet, I am determined to make it live up to its full potential, but at some point I had to accept its limitations and love it anyway.
Now my focus is on all the great things that this place has to offer – I really, really love living here. And it shows, people love hanging out at my place because, to quote their words, “it has a holiday feel to it.” That’s actually what I was going for: every room looks different and was influenced by my extensive travels around the world, like for instance, my Italian café styled kitchen or the coast of Colombia inspired bathroom.
My home is a “perfect” example that nothing human-made, or human-designed is, or can be, absolutely perfect. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s ok. It’s what makes life interesting. After all, we might be better off thinking in terms of “making things better” rather than “making things perfect” because so many ideas and dreams don’t get realized when we are always waiting for the perfect set of conditions to make a move. As a matter of fact, it is like the great David J. Schwartz says, “An only fair idea acted upon, and developed, is 100 per cent better than a terrific idea that dies because it isn’t followed up.” Instead of waiting until everything is perfect, anticipate obstacles and tackle them when they arise. This way “imperfection” isn’t keeping you from taking action, and as a byproduct you gain more confidence and serenity.
Take comfort in the fact that nothing and nobody is perfect – and remember that “nothing comes merely by thinking about it.” Believe in yourself. Know that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to – be a go-getter!
Photo by Glogster
This year, no song got stuck in my head like The Airborne Toxic Event’s “Changing (Bombastic Version)”. The song and video are simple but pretty cool nonetheless. Love these guys!