Thursday, July 30, 2015


By Kenneth Moeng

Lorna Jean Edmond
Sundry Minds

Bloom so bright and kind in the morning like Athens

Through the day, silk into a colour of scent

Like rain from the milky sky upon these giggles

As sundry minds ponder the next drop.
Like rhymes romantically sort, #SUSI2015’s birth mark was made , in what you might call ‘The embodiment of mental prowess’. The words structured the short evening. These words were discovered by Lorna Jean Edmonds while browsing the University’s website in preparation of SUSI2015 welcome dinner.  She later asked me; “ Kenneth, I don’t know what you were thinking when you wrote these words, they do make you wanna shed a tear…”, Before I knew it Dr. Yusuf Kalyango had already asked me to make a closing remark for the evening. It's not always that I present to a hall full of professors and get asked to do a closing remark and perhaps another poem. Well, as the saying goes… “ Just Do It”, and I did it.

Huyen Nguyen
I did this poem the first day I got to Athens and Huyen Nguyen was the first to listen and record them as she interviewed us during the first video shoots.

Now, right at this dinner my #SUSI2015 journey could have ended and I would have gone home still a happy men. The welcome dinner ceremony at Nelson Hall was more than appealing, it was insightful. Maurice Natanson from the book ‘Phenomenology, Role, and Reason’ says “ The discovery of order is nothing less than the establishment of cultural word” (P.137). It couldn’t have been said any better. Words are in our design the replica of our DNA structure, whether soft or destructive.
Charles T. Brown and Charles Van Riper denotes from their book, ‘Speech and Man', that.. “Francois Villion, the thief-poet of France, cried out in metaphor, (500 years ago )… “Ou cont le beiges d’ansan?”(P.31), (where are the snows of yesteryear). It is in words like these that resemble storing of happiness for replay the next day. I still remember the mood at the hall, brittled a bit.
The dictates of reason on word subjectivity, fall far apart from good words uttered by man, though equally inherent on this man, these words are in themselves, infinite than the man who thinks of himself a giant and God, born insecure, but still acts himself a fool. 
Kenneth N Waltz shares this sentiment from the book ‘Man the State and War’, that we expect world peace to forever rest in pieces of thoughts in men called leaders, while the world is ruled by force by the same man knowing that the effect of MIGHT is WORD .  As we build and mend bridges where we go, we should be mindful of the WORD(s) we say. Let your word in site, fight the dark sights of man. Thats why I firmly believe that allegiance to common thinking is uncommon to unknown knowns by self, which do not add value to the one next to you. Our ability to teach see and concur the world, is in understanding the fragments of our untapped abilities to command, suggest, infer and subconsciously mould the world without knowing reason! The world we see is not build by wars or economies, its build by minds to WORDS, minds with matter that travel boundaries of unseen influence, and man assumes environmental behaviors by a stroke of a blink.
My Quote:
So this is Goodbye then, so long my friends so long, if you and I end up being swallowed by fear of our own countries, know that we would have allowed it and if my patriotism befits the taste of our fellow countrymen, know that the society has judged your gestures but cannot take away your efforts however invaluably perceived. Our collective efforts are the desires of the world and together we can make a difference.  


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ITS HARD TO SAY GOOD BYE ( I am an American Poem )

By kenneth Moeng 

Kenneth Cutrite Moeng
I came across this picture ( Credited here) to define this next poem to leave it with you and a list of music to enjoy: Thank you to everyone at Scrippsiij, our Athens journey is ending, so long.
I am an American…Poem

Tolerance – Dark Passion (Pt.1) V2

On this land, tears of joy incite fears of misery
Impeding ideals of eternal life for any wish
I have cried so long as I lost my voice along this way
As the voices so far away are a like a sacred birth of devotion in me
How come then that an affliction of my tongue befits the might of my voice and my savior’s rescue
Is it then that the inapt gift of my being is depriving my clammy mouth for I can only sway?

You ask what i see
I tell you amongst the rocks of my backyard’s paintings
I see a woman like my mother with you on her back
Walking an endless and tried road with zeal
We have traversed these long roads to the deep wells and without
But chose my blue skies away from the clouds without rain
In my America, terrors of mankind blossom in docile state of mind
In my America, my mind is the home of my material optimism
I am an American
We come Anxious and Blow air for vigor
This vigor, our grace
Shaking the mysteries and unfazed with sadness
Amidst us is glory and beneath us is an occasion
Could it, is it, but, maybe it is not what is not
A proud smiley happy people amidst opportunities
Then what is it not if it is not what it is, for what it is, is what is My America


List of Songs to Enjoy with Pleasure
John Legend My Selection

Maroon 5 USP Selection

MY Selection:If you are missing someone home

Ketty Perry- Firework

Bruce, Chi Trun,Jolly,Govinda,George,Kenneth,Uma Shankar,Patricio

A pen or a bullet?

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior

On the 20th of July, 2015, Professor Brook Beshah, Director of the leadership Center, introduced a topic on International Conflict and Peace Journalism in a class of 16 SUSI 2015 scholars. His first question was “What is more powerful? A pen or a bullet”. I remember a number of hands shot up and immediately the class was divided into three camps.; those who believed the bullet was more powerful, those who believed the pen is and those on the fence. I was more on the fence but bent towards  those who believed  the pen was  mightier.
But if after the class I was still on the fence, a visit to the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Center not only brought me down the fence but converted and water immersion baptized me into a firm believer that a pen is mightier than a bullet.
English novelist Edward George Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873) is credited to have coined this proverb. In the original quote he says “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.” Of course the proverb has been modified to meet the current battlefield trends and hence the use of bullet instead of sword.
In a layman’s language the proverb simply means, words, negotiations, diplomacy, are more powerful than military interventions or violent solutions. By extension, and in Dr. King Junior's philosophy, non violent means should always be given a priority.

I am happy that the proverb does qualify the statement with the use of the word “more”. In other words Lytton admits that a bullet is powerful, but argues  that a pen is “more” powerful.
I  have to admit, however, that not all the times will words work. There are sections of our society whose DNA is not wired to understand, words, diplomacy, or negotiations. For example take ISIS, Al Shabab or Al qaeda. No matter how much you talk about words, all they understand is a gun, bomb and executions. I also do understand that a bullet has in many times ended very difficult battles or repressive regimes. Take for example in 1945. It only took strategic  dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the second world.

In 1994 it took a bullet to end the Rwandan Genocide But the questions is at what cost? Usually it is women who bear the brunt of war.

Usual victims of  the bullet
According to UNICEF,  children, women and girls in particular experience conflict and displacement  in different ways from men because of  the gender divisions of role and responsibilities. The saddest part is that this particular section of a population pay a price for wars that they don’t even understand. Anyways, I digress, back to the subject matter.

I studied ideologies of Martin Luther King Junior only because I was expected to in  both Primary and Secondary Schools. But since the visit to the Centre, I scrambled for anything that could make me understand this enigmatic and selfless man who even though predicting his own violent death, did not shy away from solving the predicament of the Blacks, and oppressed in general, through peaceful means. I viewed a number of videos from Youtube and to say I got goosebumps hearing the man speak, is an understatement. He believed in what he said, he was passionate about his cause and believed in the goodness of humanity. As a result he moved people to action with his words.

Inside the Martin Luther King Junior Centre in Atlanta
Yes a bullet took his short life. He was only 39, but his words have reverberated over the past decades and have seen many of the causes he fought for come to fruition.  The passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1968 can be fairly attributed to some of the campaigns led by this fearless leader. Four decades from that moving "I have a dream speech" at capital hill on August 28 1963, America had a first black president. This is not say the world's problems or the problems he peacefully protested against are over, far from it. But his words still ring true as they did when spoke them over 50 years ago.

Now going back to the bullet, how many times have we read, heard or event praised the bullet that took the lives of Ghandi, John F Kennedy, Thomas Sankala, John Chilembwe, Che Guvara and of course Martin Luther King Junior just to mention a few?. Perhaps it is indeed true taking into account an old African proverb, that is often times said in jest but its underlying truth remains relevant, that sometimes it takes a mosquito to land on your scrotum to realise there are always non violent means to solve a problem.

MY BOOK ABSTRACT TITLED ( A masturbātus Nation,)

 By Kenneth Moeng


An instinct is an attribute of a true imagination that resembles itself as true though not qualified and unknowingly knowing itself to be true in a situation of instant thinking, which requires a decision without effect. In a sense, our actions and effects or characters we possess, are those that have been assembled from smaller parts of thoughts overtime emanating from idle thoughts, the thoughts of doing something and deciding to imagine something and doing it virtually to a degree of selflessness to satisfying oneself. So you don’t forget, this then means that instinct is the only spiritually fitting matter that we possess that access both the physical and the spirit and for this, we always in charge of our boredom and loneliness by speaking and discussing with our instinct like it’s our sub consciousness. It then comes to mind then that, the things we imagine controls and allows our physical to perform deeds beyond our conscience and imagination, hence a saying that those who bathe in the streets at the glare of the passerby’s has themselves thinking about this image. It is my esteemed believe that my nation is masturbating by imagination and deed every moment, with a queue from prophets and presidents.

Military & Media Discussion | National & State Politics

by Kenneth Moeng

Andy Alexander,
'Andy Alexander, former Washington Post Ombudsman and Cox News Washington Bureau, ponders over a stand point where during the war with Vietnam, reporters were not able to provide information as it happened in the battle fields'. While these reports came through, a lot was left behind for example, covering the effect of war on children, women, families or villages were often destroyed in entirety. 
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” (or “the one”). 
Jim Mitchell, aligns this discussion correctly and often reminds us that due to our scholarly discussion, there are things we must not misconstrue to be the position of Wright Patterson Air Force Base but his applied personal comments and will make the difference in opinion and fact. The military has been able to work closely with the media by building trust. The stand point is to provide acknowledgement or stand point of the military whatever that position is, with Minimum Delay. In our discussion, the military  has since learnt a lot so far by providing access to the media. 
Ethical Bounds
Jim Mitchell, Operations Chief-WPAFB
As reporters what we need to do is find one small good story and start from there says Jim. He goes on to say that the base is behind with agreeing to start using Facebook and Twitter, than waiting for the 6 O'clock news only for the military to do corrections from misquotes and rumors. It is my take that war has changed and media has changed but what has not changed is the new set of iReporting and Social Media frenzy that is always ahead with news for the mainstream to often come back for followups.
Question to Andy Alexander
Do you think there ever can be a State of emergency based civil disturbances, where one might argue that USA is Over Militarized, people get influence from Movies, Gun Proliferation is stalled, Police Brutality is high and psychotic Individuals go into churches or movie centres shoot people: What is the role of the military.
It is against the law for soldiers to go to the streets and protect civilians under federals law. If you are out of federal grounds you cannot be protected or go out and patrol the streets. The military unless under the order of the commander in chief, can they only go this route. Federal jurisdiction do not allow crossing state boundaries, at the same time, civil disturbance can only be mitigated for example to offer humanitarian support to free up first responders and so forth, but not to be involved as military to guard and do civil control.
The last 2 years when I did lectures in places like Russia, this movies with excessive guns for example do play on TV, but they do not go off to the streets and kill people like here in USA, even in Jerusalem or Tell Aviv that does not happen. There are lot of gun deaths in US compared to other countries.
A reporter will be sent and assigned to a military unit, the rough came when they limited the people to take photographs and others. But this created lots of issues, but lately its getting better. The idea is to report but with guidelines that are manageable, where a public affairs officer or unit goes with the soldiers, so that he/she can deal with whats going on and liaise with any reporter for what to report and not and more. 
Hence reporters are now able to be trained like in Fort Knox Kentucky) to be allowed to go with the amour crew before going to battle field. 

There are occasions when despite the popular imagery of the apparent invincibility of US technology, things go horribly wrong and American military personnel get killed. How does the US mainstream media and the military handle this.
Also there are a number of warmongers in a section of the mainstream media who think that bombing out a nation works better than any other solution. How do you deal with that 
Knowing the environment helps
Yes technology fails us sometimes and the only way to be informative is to confirm if something failed while still retaining military confidence.   Technology is against its own kind, for example to test a tank, you need to test it on another tank. We do so by taking oath or allegiance and hope that at the end of the day, that normal people who have a broader horizon and can find way around the confines of their lives, will find right or wrong and politics is often expected do the rest where federal law does not allow otherwise. But the military cannot make a political position and this is the basic logic that must go on.
We talked at length with Thomas and Andy on National and State Politics, below is the snap discussion.
Horse race journalism is political journalism of elections that resembles coverage of horse races because of the focus on polling data, public perception instead of candidate policy, and almost exclusive reporting on candidate differences rather than similarities. 
American National and State Politics Discussion 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Some thoughts on information, culture and development: the Alden Library

By Sara Namusoga

I am always eager to visit libraries because I believe they say a lot about a university, home, town, village or even church. They speak volumes about the values and the culture of the people. They appeal to the sense of being, and belonging and the knowledge of who one is. This quote from fiction writer Sidney Sheldon says it all: “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.” The Alden Library at Ohio University does exactly that.

Located on the Campus Green, the library is an imposing structure:  as you walk through the glass doors into this concrete solid building, you get the feeling that you are being invited to experience a world you have not seen before. The library is immense, not only in terms of size, but also in terms of resources. The 200-year old library boasts of over three million volumes, electronic resources and “world-renowned special collections,” according to the library website.

“Ours is a depository library,” Jessica Hagman, the librarian in charge of journalism, media and communication, tells us. A depository library is one that is designated by the state to receive and store documents and other kinds of information for safe custody and public access. So, you can imagine how immense the depositories here are, given that Alden describes its depositories as “200 years of shared history”. The depositories include copies of the student newspapers, local newspapers, records of births and deaths, and government proceedings, to mention but a few.

Among the library’s vast collections, what stood out for me was the Centre for International Collections located on the first floor. The centre has collections from Africa, South East Asia and South America. As I looked around, I noticed the plaques with the names of the countries with depositories in the library. It is during such moments that one’s nationalistic feelings are evoked as one proudly identifies with his or her country away from home. And so I was not surprised that my colleague from Botswana, Kenneth Moeng, dashed to take a photo next to the plaque that reads “Official Depository for Botswana Publications, designated by the Government of Botswana, June 1989”. He later tweeted, “I am impressed”. Anyone would be impressed. I envy him, or should I say I envy his country.

Uganda is missing, but I am not really surprised. I have the hope that one day, we too will have one of those plaques reading “Official Depository for the Uganda Publications, designated by the Government of Uganda, January 2021”! After all, we are on our way to becoming a middle-income country, a goal we hope to have achieved by 2040. Therefore we will need to start thinking about leaving our footprints in various places. Somehow. After all, “Libraries open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.” A library like Alden Library plays a key role in documenting culture and providing information to the community. I hope that one day, my Uganda will realise this and improve its documentation culture.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thoughts while waiting in line

by Andrea Miño V.

I stand in line waiting for my turn. Sleepy and confused, after a 3 hour fly and a 24 hour sleepless mark, I arrive to Miami International Airport. I have heard that Miami International airport is a huge airport and, therefore, a huge mess. As I wait in the endless line (about an hour and a half later) and get closer to the custom checkpoint I begin to “pick” the officer I want to be interviewed by. I don’t have many options but I look for friendliness or, at least, not a rude contact. A military-like scream breaks my concentration as one of the officers yells at a civilian who dared to advance in line without his previous authorization,  “STOP! I didn’t tell you to move”. We stand quietly. Definitely, I know which line not to go.

I recall that story as I wait in line, again, for security check on our way to Atlanta from Columbus. A list of direction fill the air like a mantra: “Take your shoes off, put your laptop by itself, each item in a separate tray”. The orders are straightforward. We all perform them in a ceremony like motion, some of us getting unnecessarily nervous. Trying to pick the right officer, trying not to miss the directions, trying to be aware and submissive, trying to not give a reason to argue, but why? An officer’s voice breaks my thoughts “I said, put the laptop by itself!”, he speaks loud. The person he is addressing to looks nervous and afraid, she freezes briefly not sure if she understood. Somebody else helps her. That’s it! The fear of doing something wrong and the possible consequences is what makes some of us sweat and breathe deeply as we approach these security points in the US.


Things have changed since 9/11, that’s for sure. In 2003, during Bush’s Administration, the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) was created. This branch of the US Homeland Security Department was the result of merging the duties of Customs Services and Border Patrol into a single and more effective unit. The Customs officer who checked my documents in Miami informed me about the unit and its security procedure as he took my fingerprints and a picture (I was able to “pick” a friendly Latino descendent as my Custom officer. He chatted about the CBP’s creation, his duties on the field, his work done in the Mexican border 5 years ago. During that time he learned spanish, and he was proud of his Mexican accent. I didn’t want to shatter his dreams but he sounded pretty caribbean to me).

As result of 9/11 the Patriot Act was signed, prioritizing homeland security's procedures and attacking civil liberties, with consequences that last until today. As result of 9/11 the fine line between privacy and security was crossed, and with it came a huge division, just as George W. Bush declared a war “between good and evil”. There was a difference between  “USA” and the “Others” which resulted in major inequalities and discrimination, racial profiling, religious targeting, and higher levels of deportation. In the process of protecting themselves we, the “Others”, feared and still fear the possible consequences of not being one of “US”.

My colleague from China comments, as we chat about security checkpoints, that after 9/11 “America lost its innocence”. I partially agree with her.

The anxiety we might feel from those military like procedures (without mentioning the invasive ones, like X-ray machines and extra body padding) comes from a vulnerability the US feels, the fear of being victims of an attack in their own territory again. There is no doubt the high impact such incident caused in the political and cultural set of mind in United States citizens and government. But I would personally consider that 9/11 magnified something that was there before, America had lost its innocence many decades ago, possibly centuries, and the outcome reads as a culture of fear.

I remember watching the news before 9/11 in United States. There was always something “scary” to watch at 5 o’clock news, something along the lines of: “....And when we come back! Something in your food might be killing you during your sleep. After the break we will tell you what it is”. It is not surprising that a satirical newspaper pointed out the terrorist attack as “American Life Turns Into Bad Jerry Bruckheimer Movie” since Hollywood had done its share to increase fear and paranoia, and still does.


After going through a security checkpoint on my way to Columbus a T-shirt logo calls my attention. I spot a person’s back with the logo of a commercial coffee shop, I recognized the mermaid that is part of it, but the name of the coffee shop has been replaced by the words “Guns and Coffee”.

It is worldwide known the current problems the US is facing regarding the right of guns ownership. During my three weeks stay in the United States 2 major events have been part of the news: a shooting in Tennessee killing 4 marines and a sailor, and a shooting in a Louisiana movie theater killing two women.

President Obama has voiced his frustration these days because of the impossibility of creating better guns legislation, but I wonder: Regulating or prohibiting guns access will solve the problem?  All I can think of is Sandra Bland stepping up to the fear she is supposed to feel towards the authority and denying to put her cigarette out. All I can think of is the police officer feeling fearful, anxious and angry. Another story that didn’t end well during the past weeks. Guns are a problem, but fearful people can be as dangerous as a loaded gun.

The culture of fear is permeating other areas of US society. Fears from the past have raised up stronger than ever. If during Post 9/11 the Middle Easterns took it hard, nowadays the African Americans are the fearful suspects and victims of fear as well, who will be next? Without having answers to my own questions I wonder, what would have happened if I misheard a cue in the security check, moved too fast or too slow, or just simply didn’t understand the language?, after all it is a foreign country airport with a foreign language. Fear is in the air and “we”, “us”, “the others” are breathing it all at the same time.

What are we sharing when we share a coke?

By Lin Yan

The answer is obvious, according to numerous commercials of Coca-Cola, we share happiness when we share a coke, the carbonated drink, the ultimate American invention, the epitome of global consumerism.  The first stop if you tour the museum of coke in downtown Atlanta is to see a long happiness commercial on big screen where hyper-happy people get proposed, get their surprise birthday party, get the dream house, get to see their loved ones, get to fall in love, and get to do feats at 30 thousand feet in the sky, all in the company of the happiness bottle, the coke, of course.

The land of happiness itself is actually a bit sorry looking, a small building with a gigantic coke bottle encased in dirty glass on the top.  When the pilgrims from all over the world come to the holy land of world’s number one soft drink, they get to hear the sugary welcome speech expertly delivered every five minutes, drink in all the happiness in the happiness commercial, rock in the chair while giggle themselves silly in the 4D theatre with coke bubbles showering in their face, taste coke of various degree of sugariness all over the world from fountain islands on sticky floor, get a tiny bottle of coke on the house, and pay for the key chains, glasses, bags, towers, shakers, clothes, stuffed animals, baseball bats, magnetic and non-magnetic stickers, and stationeries on sale in the brave new world, all plastered with an embarrassingly big Coca-Cola Logo.  All the happiness you can buy with money.

One is certainly happy when one can easily buy a coke to quench the thirst.   Yet the source of happiness may not be the signature taste or the promised better mood, but, more likely, the affordable price and the convenient availability.  Also, by drinking coke, one is not only having water, one is consuming a soft drink.  He (she) becomes a customer in the globalized market, a participant in the ritual of modern consumerism, and a certified citizen of the Coketopia. So what are we sharing when we share a coke? Certainly not happiness, if we are honest with ourselves.  The association between a coke and the feeling of happiness is created by Coca-Cola advertising, and it stays there.  What we are sharing when we share a coke in the real world, in all probability, is an assurance that we are still relevant in that global village crowded with American logos.

Yet, however strategically promoted as the universal utopian wonder drink and however much it aspires to be, coke is still lacking compared to Soma, the perfect pleasure drug popular in the paradise-engineering world of Huxley.  The taste itself takes some getting used to.  It has unnatural color however naturally induced.  And it is gassy. 

But, never mind, as the welcome speech commands, come and have a drink, after today, you will never be thirsty again.