Friday, 1 February 2013

Nuggets of Wisdom: Man's Purpose on Earth

Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men.
—Albert Einstein

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Iran marks 34th anniversary of Islamic Revolution

Via Press TV
Special ceremonies are being held across Iran to mark the 34th anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime. The ceremonies kicked off all over the country on Thursday morning at 9:33 a.m. local time (0603 GMT), the time when the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, returned to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on February 1, 1979 after a 15-year exile in Paris. 
High-ranking Iranian officials and people from all walks of life came together at the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic in southern Tehran to renew their allegiance to the ideals of late Imam Khomeini. 

The day of Imam Khomeini's return to Iran marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Dawn, which culminates with the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution on February 10. Iranians have arranged different programs to celebrate the event by honoring Imam Khomeini's historic return and the memory of the revolution’s martyrs. On Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the mausoleum of the late Imam Khomeini to pay tribute to the founder of the Islamic Revolution. 
 The Iranian nation toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime 34 years ago, ending 2,500 years of monarchic rule in the country. The Islamic Revolution, under the guidance of Imam Khomeini, established a new political system based on Islamic values and democracy.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Dispatches from Juba: Lessons from a young city

Nicodemus Minde, Juba South Sudan
South Sudan is just one and half years old. The country is making significant strides in state building. The country is doing quite well despite its tender age. For a fragile rentier state, South Sudan has made significant progress in various fields. The capital city Juba is booming with commercial activities. Kenyans, Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somali businessmen are making their presence felt. Most of these people are engaged in the hotelier business, commercial apartment business, real estate, banking and insurance among others. 


Just like many fragile post war state, Sudan is on the process of rebuilding its broken and dilapidated infrastructure. The south of Sudan has for many years been neglected by the government of Khartoum, making the southerner secondary citizens in their own country. This largely contributed to the war for independence that culminated with the signing of the CPA in 2005 and a subsequent referendum that lead to their independence in 2011. The country lacked proper roads, proper social amenities, and many other essential faculties. But the government has put a concerted amount of effort in road construction, maintenance of existing structures and other social amenities such as hospitals, schools, health centers among other things.

The University of Juba

This university has suffered a great among of neglect. Upon my visit to the university, I was shocked by the dilapidation of the structures, the lack of adequate staff, lack of facilities, dust etc. But my spirits were lifted by the desire for learning among the students, the thirst in knowledge and struggle for an education. Students were all over queing to get their notes printed out, some to photocopy due to inadequacy of funds. That desire for knowledge was further highlighted to me when I spoke to them. They were ready to listen, learn, help and be helped. Though they couldn't say it to me, I knew that they wished for better facilities, better infrastructure, better shades to sit and read and relax. I saw it on there faces that they needed a better library where they could seat and read, a well equipped library where they can borrow books and quench the thirst of knowledge. I could see them sit in groups, discussing and debating on topical issues. 

I visted the university Vice Chancellor. We spoke and he highlighted his desire to transform and build the university. For a man who was eduacted outside, worked in a prestigious university in Namibia, the desire to come back home and rebuild his country was indicative of the country's desire for progress. He explained it to me that he faced mounting challenges but he faces them with courage and determination. These are inspiring stories that we learn from South Sudan. With the little they have they take them graciously and make meaning to it through desire and progress.