Kinshasa Symphony (2010) -CONGO A documentary by German directors Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer, “Kinshasa Symphony” shows how people living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world have managed to forge one of the most complex systems of human cooperation ever invented: a symphony orchestra. It is a film about the Congo, about the people of Kinshasa and about music.
This is one of the best movie that I have seen this year. I was able to see the movie through Alliance Franqaise de Chicago on March 17, 2012.
This movie was about culture, people, a passion for music, and just an amazing skill to utilize resources.
This movie made me realize that I wish I knew another language. It is never to late for me to learn. I just have to figure out when I am going to do it.
I thought that I would share this for the week. I look forward to your comments.
Please click on the image for the preview.
“Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
how I keep from going under”
Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5
On morning while at work, my supervisor asked me to come into his office to discuss something. After going through the daily morning pleasantries, his demeanor then changed and he went on to accuse me of something I didn’t do. He stated that he knew I had done it because it “sounded” like me.
I need to go back a few months and days before this to set the stage. We have an employee in our unit who can only be described as a “dog-fucker”. He is extremely lazy. Here’s the paradox. He spends more time and energy trying to get out of doing his work, than he would expend if he just did his job. My supervisor assigned another employee, a Black co-worker to mentor this dog-fucker. It’s important to note that this mentor and I are the only two Black employees in this unit. When my supervisor told me of his plan, I advised him that this plan wouldn’t work and gave him my reasons why. About three weeks later, the Black employee emailed the dog-fucker and supervisor stating he was no longer going to mentor him. There were some serious issues and the Black co-worker rightly determined that the dog-fucker was setting the stage to go off on medical stress leave and lay a complaint of workplace harassment against him as the basis of his stress.
This is what led to my meeting with the supervisor. He was of the opinion that this Black employee wouldn’t have written that email, in such a way and withdraw from the mentoring the dog-fucker, without first speaking to him. Therefore he knew that I was the one who had actually written the email because it was something I would do and the contents of the email “sounded just like you”. The truth is I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I only knew about the email after it was sent. I asked my supervisor if he had spoken to the Black employee and asked if I had written the email or had advised him on what to write or had anything to do with it at all. He answered that he had and the Black employee had informed him that I had nothing at all to do with it.
After a heated discussion where I proved that I had nothing to do with the drafting of the email, my supervisor then stated that maybe I had inadvertently influenced the Black employee by my opposition to the mentoring program. I explained that I had no discussion with any of the employees in the unit about my opinion of the mentoring program, as this would have undermined his efforts. I then asked if any of the employees had informed him that I had expressed my opposition to the program to them or to anyone else and he stated no one had. So I rejected this theory.
My next question to my supervisor was if he believed that this Black employee hadn’t written the email or was influenced by someone else, there were five other co-workers in the office (all white), so was he going to interrogate them also to get to the truth of the matter? He stated he was not… that he was only concerned if I had anything to do with the drafting of the email. WTF!! I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. I told him that because I was Black and the mentor was Black, didn’t mean that I had any influence on him and whatever he decides to do.
Well… then the shit really hit the fan!
Let me briefly summarize what then took place. My supervisor contacted the manager of our unit, as well as Human Resources and the Union and falsely claimed that I had accused him of racial discrimination and harassment. They then instituted the workplace harassment policy… on my behalf… although the policy clearly states that if I wanted to make such an accusation, I would have to do it myself in writing to a manager not a party to the allegations… which I didn’t do. The next day, my supervisor then brought me into his office and read a prepared statement that I had made an allegation of racial discrimination and harassment against him and to let him know what he could do to resolve this issue.
I was stunned but refused to play his game. I informed him that in no way did I make any such allegations. Further, I was aware of the policy that such allegations would have to be made in writing by myself to his manager and this was a clear conflict of interest, breach of our workplace harassment policy, as well as an abuse of process for him to bring me into his office to discuss this. I told him I knew he was only doing this “to cover his ass”, because if I wanted to make this an issue of racial harassment and discrimination… due to the way he went about dealing with this issue, first by accusing me of something I didn’t do, then stating that I was the only one being investigated in regards to an issue involving another Black employee… I would have a legitimate case against him.
I refused to get involved in this workplace harassment
sham procedure. I informed him and subsequently our manager, that this wasn’t a racial issue, which would have let him off the hook in my opinion. This was clearly a case of my supervisor exercising poor judgment, making a bad decision and when the mentoring program failed, instead of taking responsibility for it, he was looking to use me as a scapegoat for its failure. It was an issue of a lack of honesty and integrity on his part, which was further demonstrated in his violation and abuse of the workplace harassment policy to discredit me.
A few months after this incident while on parental leave, I was contacted at home by a co-worker who informed me that there was a rumor going around that my supervisor had contacted our Union and told them that he had brought me into his office to “call me out” on something I had done and I responded by playing the “race card”. Once I returned to work, I contacted the Union and those who were identified to me as spreading this rumor. I didn’t get into the details of what had occurred, but I made these points known:
- If my supervisor had stated that I had played the “race card” in any dealing he had with me, then he is a liar. He is the one who “played the race card”.
- If I do something wrong, I always admit and take responsibility for my error, so I never have to “play the race card” to avoid any repercussions.
- I am intellectually and ethically superior to my supervisor, so I would never have to “play the race card” to gain any advantage over him.
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question.
Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed, incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!
This week I was musing about two historical colonial and imperiliastic atrocities which reminded me of the death of Chilean deomocratically-elected president, Salvador Allende (1973) and that of the first and democratically-elected PM of DRC, Patrice Lumumba (1961). Both leaders were toppled and killed by CIA.
Allende was killed by CIA just because he introduced what was known as Chileanization of the economy of his country. This meant: he had to empower Chileans to run their economy. By doing so, he was taking a morsel from the hands of foreigners especially American companies. To stop this, CIA brought one of its Americas school graduate Gen. Augusto Pinochet who ruined the country for many decades.
Another casualty of CIA machinations geared by greedy and exploitation of poor countries was Lumumba who was replaced by CIA agent Joseph Desire Mobutu, who, just like Pinochet, ruined DRC for decades. The involvement of CIA in the toppling of two leaders remained top secret for almost three decades. Many people did not know, and would not think, that CIA committed such sacrilegious acts on the democratic elected governments. Ironically, nobody would believe that the US could topple democratic governments and install dictatorial and kleptocratic regimes as it happened in two incedent above. This raised the question as to whether the US fights for democracy or it just uses democracy as pretext and cover to secure its hidden interests.
Along with Allende and Lumumba was Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, who was overthrown in 1954 by CIA just because he wanted to buy back the land that was owned by an American company so as to give it back to his landless citizens. Albenz was replaced by Carlos Castillo who also ruined the country. American United Fruit Company (UFCO) owned vast tracts of land which was not cultivated. UFCO used to undervalue its land so as to pay low tax, something our current investors do. Therefore, when president Albenz wanted to buy the same uncultivated land, UFCO found that it’d suffer a big loss. So, it demanded more money than the value it had declared. When Albenz held his horses, CIA decided to dispose him to save an American Company.
The above three incidents remind me to write this as prediction of what is going to happen to Africa, shall currently myopic regime press on with their so-called investment geared by globalization. I can see Africa heading for the so-called economic coalition path with neo-colonialism based on economic exploitation. I am trying to apply history to show how it sometimes repeats itself especially, when those supposed to understand it well fail to do so. Africa, since independence, has been repeating the same mistakes. Our economies still depend on our former colonial masters. Black colonial masters have always been in power to serve white colonial masters. We’re but small and poor banana republics producing what we can’t consume and consuming what we don’t produce like hens. Who could believe that US used to give Mobutu over $1Bn annually to end up in imperialistic and parasitic banks in Switzerland? When it came to Mobutu, the US did not want any litany on democracy of accountability. Many American created dictators came and left without being reprimanded by the “champion” of democracy! Corrupt and kleptocratic regimes are in power in many African countries and US does not preach any democracy to them. Instead of singing democracy, the US is singing free trade and globalization.
Given that the era of dictatorship is gone, currently, the same imperilialist powers are using the so-called democratically elected leaders to ruin and exploit poor countries. In 1995-2005 Tanzania was under Benjamin Mkapa who did everything to see to it that he robbed all public investment. Mkapa offered all profitable firms to investers at a throwaway price. Since then, the country has been cascading to abject poverty despite producing gold in tons. This is but a single example which tells us that if Africa is to go on with the ongoing diabolic investment, chances are that landless Africans will resort into fighting for freedom afresh.
It is sad though to note that many African regimes have been singing the song of investment and globalization without any scientific, fair and safe preparations or measures in place. Many mineral and energy companies are landing multibillion investments in Africa without paying tax or investing in human development. It recently came to light that some corrupt government officials in Tanzania stashed over $ 300,000,000 in Swiss banks. All this money was deposited to the banks by corrupt foreign investors. What is evident in many African countries is the rise of antagonism between poor citizenry and foreign companies, which have much influence in the upper echelons of power due to the kickbacks they give to venal rulers. Human rights and the environment are gravely abused and the champion of democracy is just watching silently!
I am not trying to avoid sounding like a Luddite especially for those who would wrongly think I’m against investment. Omnishambolic and exploitative investment “no”… “yes” to fair and reasonable investment. Without taking a leaf from the above incidents, Africa is going to cascade even more into neo-colonialism. While rich countries are using their companies to rake billions of dollars from Africa in order to invest in their people. African greedy rulers are selling their people with their resources. We are not allowed even to subsidize our poor farmers or offer social services, especially welfare, as it is in rich countries. They don’t allow us to do this fearing that the prices of our produce will rise and therefore making it hard for rich countries to buy them at low and exploitative prices, as it has been going on since time immemorial.
I want to thank you for your comment’s. Let’s continue to grow and learn.
I want to introduce another film today. This can offer just one perspective on African Diaspora in South Africa. I personally couldn’t have made the journey without the support of the producers of the movie called, Blacks Without Borders. Thank you to Stafford & Judith Bailey.
I had several questions about South Africa and they put me in contact with other African Diaspora who are in the country or were in the country. My comments, questions, concerned, and pitfalls that I should avoid were answered.
I am still in contact with many of the people in the movie. They often call or write me just to see if I doing well or if I need anything. Many of them live in Johannesburg, South Africa, but I have been blessed to meet a few of them face to face in Cape Town, South Africa.
Please enjoy the movie (click on the image).
As stated in the earlier post, this is another viewpoint, but what I hope we can all do, no matter where you are from or who are, is to network with one another. We are all going to have different views, opinions, and aspirations, but I hope that we can elevate each other.
I invite everyone to connect.