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"Think of these three things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account"--Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Blogging Redux: The Good, the Bad, and the Cautionary

Originally uploaded by ekbensah.
Two recent items in the news have conspired to take me back to the post I wrote about the blogger who was being threatened by a reader to reveal all about his past as a so-called alcoholic and lover-of-sex . I re-call that regular reader Sissoula, of lessisapossibility blog-fame called it a “dangerous business”—and rightly so. She also wondered whether all the naughty stuff that I had written about my ex, in fact: “everything you've posted just a google search away from your colleagues, friends, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends... Aren't you concerned about this?)”.

To this, my visceral response would be “no.” I am not a criminal, and I really have nothing to hide. Free speech is all well and good as long as it doesn’t offend, and as far as I conceive of the information I have divulged, it has not sought to offend, and it is not about to any time soon.

All that being said, Jan Pronk, UN man, being expelled from Sudan for comments he wrote on his blog about the Sudan crisis is a gentle and explicit reminder about divulging all. I cannot help but wonder, though, about this UN diplomat. In diplomacy, you just have to be diplomatic, no? I know some might find it hard to believe this, but last time I looked, that’s what I understood.

Then again, in the interest of mankind, sometimes, it's important to go that extra mile.

The blog from which I caught this interesting article is by a broadcast journalist student in the UK, called Adam Westbrook. Go check his blog out some time; it’s a very eclectic mix of issues he is concerned about in Africa, as well as issues around journalism and media (ethics), and then some. His post about Jan Pronk was incisive and, as ever, in his capacity as a journalist, he just had to go and find an angle, which he very adeptly did.

It was this: “What he’s produced is the most detailed eye witness account of poorly covered negotiations that exists. If it suceeds,[sic] the deal could become a blueprint for other nations, and writings like Jan Pronk’s will be vital to understanding it.”

I couldn’t agree more, for I believe that as history is so vital for the understanding of issues on conflict resolution, this would also be a useful and critical way of obtaining what historians call primary source material, which is first-hand.

Speaking of history, the second article that caught my interest last week was that of an item in the UK-based Daily Telegraph about the necessity to retain accounts of blogger’s days for posterity:

In 2206 people could be reading about your every move today – the proposed fulfilment of One Day in History, a mass "blog" by the British people to give a snapshot of life on Oct 17, 2006.

The History Matters campaign, which is headed by the National Trust and English Heritage, is asking everyone with internet access to write an account of their day. All 2,000 computers in the easyCafé network will be set to as a homepage.

The results will be preserved in electronic and print form by the British Library.The aim is to provide future generations with a huge database of information from all sections of society, to show how we lived and, in particular, what we thought about our heritage.

Don’t you just love the Brits?

God, I miss Radio Four.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So We Have a New UN Secretary-General...Is the World Worried?

I find it rather cute that it would be a South Korean that will take on the North Koreans at the UN for having launched their bomb, bringing back memories to contemporaries of the fifties and aficionados of diplomatic history the quasi inter-necine conflict between North and South Korea in 1950. This same conflict ironically saw the using of the Uniting for Peace Resolution that threw power, in the event of a deadlocked Security Council, to the much-vilified General Assembly.

I have opined elsewhere that in March 2003, international public opinion was -- appropriately in a manner much akin to the Ides of March -- stabbed in the back, when UK premier Tony Blair pulled off the greatest act of mendacity and sophistry by claiming Iraq could launch weapons in 45 minutes.

He would defy calls for resignation, and obtain by a slim vote of Parliament, carte blanche to join the US in its filibustering adventure, leaving 3 years-plus later, many dead Iraqis in its wake. That Saddam Hussein was captured in a hole was practically the sole vindication of the UK-US filibustering

But I digress.

Numerous challenges face the the new UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will be visiting one of the permanent members of the Security Council, China, from 27 to 28 October at the invitation of the Chinese government.

An article in the latest UK-based Prospect magazine entitled The Decline of Kofi, is not just acerbic and incisive, but rather odd, coming from a veteran former UN employee of 20years experience. His consistent castigation of Annan prompts personal speculation that he might just have an agenda. Check this:

"Annan brought a new dimension to the function of secretary-general. Rather than doing little but doing it well, in the absence of anything to do in the political arena, he did nothing but did it very well. The little that could have been done as regards management was left undone. "

Even for a Ghanaian like myself, I admit Annan made more than very serious blunders, such as in Rwanda, when he was under-secretary-general, and in a position to have been more proactive, despite American refusal to call Rwanda "genocide". I have a whole BBC Panorama tape, recorded in 1998 from BBC1, to celebrate human rights day (9 December) and highlight the egregious strategy deployed by the UN in Rwanda

Coupled with Rwanda, which I consider his biggest faux pas are some questions surrounding how his 34-yr-old son was able to use Annan's diplomatic status to bring a Mercedes into Ghana - duty-free. I understand he eventually had to pay for it...

"Annan's problems were compounded by the wheeling and dealing of his son Kojo. Kofi had been given diplomatic status in Ghana, which exempted him from duties and income tax, and had contributed a quarter of the cost towards the purchase of a luxury Mercedes for Kojo. An outcry followed when the British press discovered that the car had been imported duty-free in Kofi's name, forcing young Kojo to reimburse some US$6,000 to Ghanaian customs".

In any event, Ban Ki-Moon looks sufficiently pliable...for the Americans. Then again, that he is being invited by the Chinese might provide equally sufficient mental pabulum that he is probably not as acquiescent as he might look;-)

I, for one, shall be watching the new UN incumbency very carefully...

Happy UN-Day! (albeit one day late!)

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Goodwill Hunting...


It appears I’m on a bit of a goodwill crusade this morning. I hope it’s not going to be the case of EK’s Final Repose?;-)


It’s a colleague’s birthday today, and I offered lunch for her; secondly, I provided an ear for a temp cleaner, who is more qualified than the cleaning and tidying up she has been contracted to do for the month.


As luck would have it, a friend-cum-acquaintance who has just landed a job as manager in the same industry as this temp is in, is keen to speak to her. I gave him her number. Initially, I was so darn attracted to this young lady: she’s cute; dynamic; smart and a bit of a looker. I decided to transform any potential lust into doing something positive—and it sure feels good. She’s not cut out for this cleaning and tidying up, and in talking to her, though she had accepted the situation stoically, she was keen to move on to better things.


Thirdly, I have facilitated an exchange between a colleague of mine, and an emerging friend who was dismayed for not having been invited to a press conference we organised yesterday. I brought some degree of reconciliation, and so each should be talking to each other…


Finally, I followed up on a concern an intern here was having; and he was glad for the concern.


Oh, and I bought a huge loaf of bread for my taxi-man.


I am most definitely no angel—please—but I don’t know why there are period like this when one just feels like doing “good”, and then some.


Ofcourse, it’s all perception, but the philosopher tell us that even doing good is a selfish act, because it makes us feel better.


That’s probably right. What do you think?

Enjoy your day!;-)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Celebrating Fenix (our pet dog)'s Birthday

Fenix is Three! Yay!
Originally uploaded by ekbensah.
Yes. Fenix is three human years. He turned that age on 3rd October, which would no longer make him a 21dog years!! Whyever one human year is equivalent to 7 dog years I cannot quite understand. Why didn't God decide to give man's best friend nine lives like their proverbial enemies--the cats?

Suffice to say, I had no clue as to how we could let Fenix celebrate his birthday, so I checked out Yahoo Answers. These were some of the suggestions:;_ylt=AjRkmeSC7UR8Z2LJ03l5hkTsy6IX?qid=20061003094713AAvsBUw

I ended up taking as many pictures ofhim as I could, including this particular one, which I liked for the flash refracting on the flowers on the terrace, and throwing lite on our dear Fenix who was enjoying what he enjoys doing most--eating!

His special meal was some vegetable dog food, comprising, erm, veggies, with meat, and some home-made rice, with corned beef all mixed up.

Remind me never to bother about presentation, cos you can expect that he, being the smart dog that he os, ate the dog food, and only a TEENY WEENY bit of rice. At least he got some pictures of him, and he did feel special!

Thought for the Day--ReDux

Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny."
--Frank Outlaw 

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