Friday, 26 August 2016

MINE by J. KAHELE BLOG TOUR




Welcome to my tour stop of Mine by J Kahele.  The tour runs from August 22-26 and you can follow the tour here.



ABOUT THE BOOK



A simple trip to the attorneys turns into a life changing moment for 22-year-old Jenna Kramer when she encounters Andrew Carington for the first time. Their desire for each other is so deep that an affair ensues quickly. But Jenna's abusive and controlling husband Senator Benjamin Kramer will never give her up and soon Jenna finds herself plummeting into dangerous grounds.






TRAILER LINK


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE1M2Hk-tcQ


EXCERPT




Breathe… Close your eyes… Escape…



Fighting back the tears, I swallow a small breath, trying so hard to stay still, to be quiet. I have made him angry again, and I need to give him time to calm down.



I cannot see him, but I hear him behind me, breathlessly panting.



He is close, very close—too close.



I hear the soft sounds of his socks brushing against the wood floor. I hear the click of the lock, then the creak of the door, opening, then closing. Relief washes over me; he is gone, and it is over.



Breathing in and out once again, I press my eyes shut, welcoming darkness, my best of friends. The pain will soon fade, and I will find comfort in the one place where only I can go…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



I am a proud mother of three daughters who are my absolute complete existence. I write to relieve the scattered thoughts that stream through my mind, constantly. My biggest downfall is that I am a huge procrastinator, which makes my life at times hectic!










Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW: TERRORISM SEEKS TO DEFINE US (AMINA'S STORY CONTINUES.)

A VIEW FROM MY WINDOW: TERRORISM SEEKS TO DEFINE US (AMINA'S STORY CONTINUES.)

Terrorism is on track to define the world we live in today. And today does not simply refer to this particular day or that particular hour, but quite nearly a generation now if not more.



Tune into your radio - it's ISIS in the middle East. Switch on your television , it's all about some draconian regime in Syria. Plug into the internet, it's wars and rumors of wars in Africa: Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia. Each situation tapping into the inherent fears of mankind, coalescing our moments into one perpetual shudder of fright.
In a way Nobel laureate Toni Morrison (taking her out of context), was echoing the invasive nature of fear in her book "Song of Solomon" when she wrote:
 
        "What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?
                          Toni Morrison (1931 - )



May be for us this could be transposed: What difference do it make if they are 'winning the war against Boko Haram or not --- especially when we still have over 200 of our girls being held hostage; especially also, when the army has 'killed' the Boko Haram Leader, Abubakar Shekaru many times over, but every now and then the man seems to conveniently resurrect elsewhere.

Think about this for a moment: Just last week Boko Haram, through CNN and all the major international media houses, transmitted a video showing the girls still in captivity. That Boko Haram could produce that video showing that some of the Chibok girls are still alive may, I admit, be an indication that the group's strength has indeed been degraded by the long 'onslaught ' on it by the Nigerian army. Indeed this is what the army would have us believe.



On the other hand, the reason for that video may really be all too sinister; It may simply be -- another weapon to inflict fear on Nigerians and remind Northerners that they (Boko Haram) were still out there and could strike anytime. Indeed news filtering from the Chibok Area today August 23rd 2016, indicates that Boko Haram has struck again and abducted some more villagers.

While this is a national fear, and I believe that after the outrage that followed the airing of that video last week, parents within that territory must have returned to their shells even more wary and frightened. For me however, there is a personal fear : My fear is of a deeper nature, centred around a story that made local and international headlines two days after the Boko Haram video hit the media.

  The headline says: "AMINA: I MISS MY BOKO HARAM HUSBAND".
To put this in perspective, Amina Ali Nkeki is the only girl as far as we know that has escaped from the Boko Haram stronghold in the Sambisa forests.

For me that headline immediately sent alarm bells screaming. First let me say this: I empathize with Amina. As a parent myself, I feel for her deeply as any normal parent would. I can only imagine the mental trauma she is going through beneath the facade of superficial tranquility.



As one who had in my own very early adult years, spent years aways from family who were caught up in a war zone -- not a word from them-- the media and grapevine awash with stories of one man's dehumanizing treatment of men, women and children-- stories and images of rape, torture, amputations, all on compact discs -- the agony of not knowing whether they were alive or not and me being powerless to help. As one who experienced these too, I can say, yes indeed, I do relate to what young Amina is going through emotionally and psychologically.

It is for this reason that my heart sinks that we, here in Nigeria, collectively lean too easily on the shoulders of a simplicity that's hard to understand. Let me situate this properly. After some 2 years in captivity, Nigeria's Army declared one day that they had rescued one of the 'Chibok girls' taken hostage by Boko Haram . The circumstances of that discovery or rescue were shrouded in some kind of mystery. The discovery/rescue came at a time when labour was about to embark on a national strike as the cost of petrol jumped out of the reach of the masses. And Civil Society Organizations danced rigorous reasoning in the hallways me media blitz. Amina and her Boko Haram husband became stars. And then all went quiet.

Herein lie my worries: While superficially we believe everything is now alright for Amina, my heart tells me there are deeper issues tugging at the young woman's inner core.



For her, the trauma of her experience in captivity did not end with gaining freedom, rather that trauma is living with her every day. The evidence is in a living , breathing, baby-- one she has to support, and care for -- one who reminds her consciously , unconsciously and subliminally about the distressing experience she went through in the Sambisa Forests or wherever it was Boko Haram took the abductees to .




For Amina to have said these words : "I want you to know that I'm still thinking about you , and just because we are separated doesn't mean I have forgotten about you." ( Courtesy CNN) , clearly indicate there are deep seated 'inflammable' emotions that could spark a conflagration if not handled properly. Amina's quiet proclamation is an emotional scream for help. She is a young woman who needs complete, exhaustive, medico- psychological evaluation and support.

Amina's quiet proclamation is an indication that her reintegration back into society has not turned out as she had hoped for.

For those of us that think a little differently from the way others think, this is exactly where the danger lies. If at this stage, at this point in her life Amina is quietly longing for what was, and not looking forward to what brilliant possibilities lie ahead of her despite all that she's gone through, this carries a certain scary message and leaves behind a medically disturbing sign-- anhedonia.

The implication of this is terrifying. The questions that arise from this premise are not simply frightening, but very frightening:


 Could Amina be at that point in her life where she is extremely susceptible to the radicalization? Is she at that stage in her life when psychological infantilism is taking over and she is beginning to feel an emptiness inside and a certain desire to cling to her 'husband' -- that man who was once in the group of her captors?

Is she at that point in her life when the sane society that we live in is about to lose her because we do not remotely understand the depths and intricacies of her emotions and situation? For God's sake she belonged to sane society once! We cannot all pretend all is well and exploit her in our media shows without crying out with her for the help she needs.



 We all cannot afford to sit and watch while we lose her to the other side. She has passed on the message to us. It is our duty to help her and help any of the others who may one day escape from their captors. Amina needs a careful, supportive medical and psychological help. It's the least sane society can do for her. May her cries be on all of our consciences.


And while we think about this, may we also remember these words from Baroness Margaret Thatcher:

            "We must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the           oxygen of publicity on which they depend."
                      Margaret Thatcher (1925 -2013 )
                       British prime minister.
                     Speech to the American Bar Association, London

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

MUSIC AFRICA BEACH SPLASH 2015-- HUGE SUCCESS OR GRAND SLAM 5?

MUSIC AFRICA BEACH SPLASH 2015-- HUGE SUCCESS OR GRAND SLAM 5?


When the chips are down and you're looking for a little soothing of the soul, or a firing-up of the spirit, music wins it every day, any day. And when you've got huge stars like Kiss Daniels in the groove and Victoria kimani getting it down, thrilling your crowd , you know you've got a grand slam in your hands.
KISS DANIELS:
This 2013 graduate of Agro-meteorology from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta took the audience by the scruff of the neck and Chaka Beach went wild. His 'afro-pop' brand of music appealed to both young and old. The crowd loved him and it did not matter one bit to them that he hit the stage later than scheduled. Kiss Daniels delivered. The crowd wanted more.



 Although Kiss Daniel (real name: Adinugbe Oluwatobiloba Daniel ) lost his dad on May 9th 2015, the MABS 2015 December 20th show simply provided a channel for the young music star to break out of 'mourning drive' and hit the entertainment super highway with an action packed performance of his hit track "L'aye" . His super charged performance remains one the big 'take-aways' of the Music Africa Beach Splash 2015 .























VICTORIA KIMANI:


Vivacious Victoria Kimani. The American born Kenyan thrilled the MABS 2015 crowd in this segment with her seductive dance jam, 'SWEET CHOCOLATE'.






Victoria Kimani an amazing singer-songwriter, shuttles frequently between Nigeria (where she spent part of her childhood) and Kenya. Victoria's parents who are evangelists spent a few years in Nigeria where she attended secondary school. She started out in the church choir before opting to do popular music.






Today Victoria Kimani is signed on to Chocolate City, a label under the Chocolate City Group chaired by one of Nigeria's richest Hakeem Belo-Osagie who recently dropped off the Forbes Africa 50 rich list, no thanks to Nigeria's dwindling economic fortunes.
Victoria Kimani rocked at MABS 2015.






   

Saturday, 13 August 2016

THE SCANDALS OF RIO 2016

"There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about "

                                Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
As sports lovers round the world prepare for the big race between the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt and his friend and compatriot Yohan Blake, as well as the thrilling soccer encounters yet to come, the walls of the Olympic village have been rocked by one scandal after the other.






No, not scandals like Serena Williams imploding in Rio with a 'record' 37 unforced errors and 5 double faults in a single match but crazy scandals that keep the gossip mills turning ceaselessly. The pre-event scandal brought on by WADA against (especially Russian athletes) and all dirty athletes as a matter of fact, served as a mere appetizer -- a sampling of more scandalous menu a la carte.

THE GREEK - CYPRIOT AFFAIR:
Even before the official kick off of Rio 2016, (a very colourful event by all standards), the event centre was rocked by 'the Greek-Cypriot Scandal'.



Two weightlifters , one Greek and the other Cypriot, (from two Nations with strong historical ties ) made modern day history when they were sent out of Rio for testing positive to banned substances. Although the Greek weightlifter's name has been kept away from the public, the Cypriot was named as Antonis Martasidas .

KENYA'S OLYMPIC NIGHTMARE:
Perhaps the most intriguing of these scandals is the allegation that Team Kenya's Track Manager , Major Michael Rotich is operating some sharp underhand business on the sidelines collecting a 10,000 pounds Sterling fee to offer protection to athletes by giving them advance warning of impending doping tests. In a swift reaction Athletics Kenya sternly criticized the National Olympics Committee over this nightmare. But a question that bothers even more deeply is this :


Is Major Rotich wired up so deeply within WADA that he would have access to that information, and in time enough to be able to reach his 'clients' who also would be able to take action that could affect the outcome of the results? This is not just a big question but any reasonable answer to it would require some rigorous investigation.

THE BOXING UPPERCUTS

Boxing as a sport has so far enjoyed modest attention in Rio 2016, but nothing like a series of these uppercuts from 'team scandal'. A day before the official opening ceremony of Rio 2016, Irish boxer Michael Orielly was asked out of the games. He failed a dope test.


But here is the biggest scandal of all. Two African boxers (Morrocan, Hassan Saada and Namibian, Jonas Junis) hit the bare floor at the Bangui Prison Complex on rape allegations. Now this is not where we want our athletes to be -- as Africans this is definitely not where we want them to be. It also raises huge questions on the quality of information and psycho-social preparation given these athletes. Are they aware that any form of non-consensual sexual act is considered to be 'Rape' in Brazil. This implies that a forceful kissing, or forcefully offering money for any form of sexual gratification is technically viewed as Rape in Brazil.



It's still 8 days to the final whistle in Rio, but would these be the only servings of scandal on our meal plates for the rest of 2016? Maybe Moliere's thoughts on scandals should rest with us awhile.

  "It is a public scandal that gives offense, and it is no in to sin in secret"
       Moliere 1622-1673

Thursday, 4 August 2016

RIO 2016: THE MEANDERING ROAD TO ' SAMBA TOWN'

RIO 2016: THE MEANDERING ROAD TO ' SAMBA CITY'



As the world tees up for arguably the biggest sporting fiesta this year -- RIO 2016, every participating Nation is hoping its athletes would create magic and deliver some world class performances that would place their Nation on the map of Olympic winners.
But for many, the Road To Rio has been anything but straight :


NIGERIA:


The Nigerian Olympics team left for the Rio amidst claims of unavailability of funds to fly to team to Rio. This claim was quickly rebutted by the NOC, only another claim to resurface that Mikel Obi had supported to team with a donation of $30,000. Again, the NOC rebutted this quickly. Then again, young Mikel Obi ended up being the captain of the entire Olympic Team (27 athletes in 8 events) which had Olympic veterans like Table Tennis star Funke Oshonaike , who will be competing in her 6th Olympic. and sprint-star like Blessing Okagbare her second.
And then the team from Nigeria finally departed for RIO with the President of the Nigerian Wrestling federation declaring that the Nation should not expect any medals from the wrestling team, since members of the team were not allowed to travel with their training partners .



They left without their allowances. But of course we know Nigeria is a unique country: Soon after the kick-off of the games on the 5th of August 2016, a high powered delegation, from either the Sports Ministry or the legislature would hit Rio taking along every possible appendage (wives, girlfriends, children) , ostensibly to deliver athletes' allowances and support the team, a jamboree that's likely to cost the Nation far more than the meagre stipends the athletes are entitled to. Interestingly the team left with NO CONDOMS. Nigeria's Olympic soccer Team (rumors had it ) however, could not leave their base in the US for RIO on Tuesday 2nd August 2016 because their flight fares had not been paid.



INDIA :
Team India seems to be the most feted delegation on its way to RIO 216 this year. With high powered support from Indians across the spectrum, and equally high powered government support, Team India left for Rio on a high. Luckily for Team India, the government increased the daily allowance for each Team member from $50 to $ 100, the highest ever for Team India.





USA:

Top of the cherry tree, enjoying  the ripest , juiciest pickings is TEAM USA. No doubt athletes have to go through grueling training and competitions just to be part of team USA but with a $10,000 pocket money awaiting each athlete who makes the track and field category, and $ 5,000 for each gymnast who makes the team, many athletes are more than willing to risk breaking a limb or a vertebra just to make the team.



But team USA has even bigger incentives to go for medals. Gold medalists look forward to a pretty pot of $25,000 to take home, Silver medalists - $15,000 and Bronze medalists $ 10,000. This is a bigger incentive to perform than the Presidential handshake which athletes from some other countries are likely to get for all their efforts . The biggest incentive however is the prospect of millions of dollars in endorsement deals from top brands in America.



Azerbaijan: This Asian country which was annexed by the USSR for long periods of its existence doles out about the highest bonus to any of its athletes who wins a medal at the Olympics. The government awards a crazy $510,000 dollars to gold medalists, $225,000 for silver medalists and $ 130,000 for bronze medalists.


CHINA:



Team China may likely be the best prepared team from Asia having hit their Esporte Club Pinheiros, Sao Paulo Training camp since 22nd July, 2016 with a team strength of 411 consisting of athletes, coaches, supporting staff and officials.
The Chinese delegation will present athletes in 16 sporting areas. But getting to Rio was not free of internal frights either:


About a week before the contingent headed for Sao Paulo, China's star swimmer and world champion, Ning Zetao had a brush with the officials over the signing of a personal sponsorship deal with a dairy brand which was a rival to the National Teams dairy brand sponsors. Officials did not reveal how the matter was resolved but Ning said : "I feel honoured to be part of China's Olympic delegation..." during the unveiling of Team China on Monday 18th July in Beijing.
Although the prospect of million dollar endorsement is not as high for Team China as it is for Team USA, nonetheless Gold medalists from Team China also have a handsome $31,400 to pocket for their troubles.



RUSSIA:
Team Russia has had perhaps the biggest headaches preceding RIO 2016 with the ban of its athletes based on doping allegations. The saga went from threat of a total ban, a partial ban and finally settled on a selective ban. Finally IOC decided that only athletes who could prove they were clean would be allowed to participate.



Today Team Russia's 387 strong contingent has been pruned down to 270 in the biggest doping related sanctions in the history of the Olympics. The team is still awaiting final clearance to head for Rio. Inspite of this however, Russian gold medal prospects still look forward to a heart-gladdening $130,000 pocket comfort for all their headaches.




The Real Thrill of Rio 2016 may however be the record breaking 450,000 condoms that will make their appearance in Rio [350,000 male and 100,000 female condoms] each seeking to offer pleasure and protection to at least one of the 10,500 'sex-machines' ( approximately 42 condoms per athlete), scheduled to grace the 33 venues in Rio with their performance. Interestingly, these condoms (produced in Australia by Starpharm Holdings and Ansell Ltd.) have been designed to offer protection against the dreaded ZIKA virus.



With 17 days of intense sports activity and competition at high levels, and a background thought in each athletes mind that he/she's got at least 2 condoms to utilize per day in the carnival capital of the world, with an amazing number of cooooool Samba dames and 'swaggalicious' Samba boys to hook up with, RIO 2016 is bound to produce excitement , histories and records breakers beyond the very limited field of vision of on-field spectators and big screen audiences .

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