Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw—

For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air—
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square—
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s
And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair—
But it’s useless to investigate—Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
It must have been Macavity!’—but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumb;
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place—MACAVITY WASN’T THERE !
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

Written by T S Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot was born on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri, the seventh and last child of Henry Ware Eliot, a brick manufacturer.

You know what?

May we all keep up and step up our efforts in trying to find the footprints of the Macavitys…as impossible as it may seem in the grand scheme of things.

THE SORT OF JUSTICE THE ICC CAN AND CANNOT DELIVER

Powerful searing review of Bosco’s Rough Justice: the ICC in a world of power politics.

By Sarah Nouwen

Sarah Nouwen is a lecturer in law at the University of Cambridge, Deputy Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law and fellow of Pembroke College. She is the author of Complementarity in the Line of Fire: The Catalysing Effect of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Excerpt: David Bosco’s Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics is not just fluently written and rich in original interview materials. It also makes an important argument: the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the world’s most powerful states has been one of mutual accommodation.

See full article here (http://jamesgstewart.com/the-sort-of-justice-the-icc-can-and-cannot-deliver/)

African Women in Power/Politics – AWJ Issue VIII

In this issue of the African Women’s Journal, dubbed African Women in Power/Politics, The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) seeks to explore both the individual and collective experiences of past, aspiring or current women in power/politics.

The articles speak to some of the persistent and structural as well as emerging obstacles and challenges women face as they wrestle with power, privilege and politics. Authors also present alternative strategies for ensuring visionary, transformative leadership. They stop and take stock and give room for personal journeys and reflections.

Whether women engage at local, national, regional or global levels, they continue to wrestle with power, make their voices heard and bring about lasting change which can be felt by the coming generations. We’ve heard a few of the stories and journeys here in this issue, but of course there are countless others whose stories have neither been told nor heard. May women continue to shape their own narratives and emerge with possibilities that respond to their realities.

Here’s to gender parity in our decision making spaces – including in our homes, and to transformational leadership.

A luta continua!

A snippet of the Journal:

Amina Mohammed shares her personally journey, from growing up in North-East Nigeria to her current position as special Advisor to Ban Ki Moon on Post-2015. She challenges us that it is not enough to simply have a seat at the table, but we must speak truth to the establishment and make that seat count for the countless who are not at the table. She reminds us that each of us must play our part, using our positions of power, small as they may be, to create a just and prosperous world where all people realize their rights and live with dignity and hope.

Annie Devenish takes a closer look at an eco-feminist and ultimately political movement; the Green Belt Movement, as well as the trailblazing woman at its forefront; Wangari Maathai. This case study provides an alternative model of leadership and participation; with women tapping into power through taking control of natural resources and articulating their struggles and concerns.

Bertha Rinjeu introduces us to a number of resilient women who find innovative ways around the threats, public shame and humiliation they face while on their political journeys. She touches on culture, patriarchy and strategies women employ to overcome obstacles placed in their paths to power.

Gavaza Maluleke looks at women fighting both a racist and sexist apartheid in South Africa – in particular focusing on the role of rural women, and the multiple ways in which women can participate and tap into power – both as individuals, and perhaps most importantly, as a collective.

Louisa Khabure delves into patriarchy, political violence and the increasingly monetized nature of campaigns. She presents the nature and extent of challenges women face when seeking political leadership and examines this within the context of a broader political culture in Kenya. She also proposes actions to remedy the ills of the political landscape.

Aminatta L. R. Ngum presents the case of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who ironically held the position of Minister of Family Welfare and the Advancement of Women’s Affairs in Rwanda and who was the first and only woman tried and convicted for the crime of genocide as well as rape as an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Nimmo Elmi takes a look at the case of women in Somalia relegated to the private sphere despite their active engagement prior to the civil war. Through Serah Kahiu and Sara Longwe‘s reflections of their own political journeys in Kenya and Zambia respectively, we come to understand that the personal is truly political.

Here’s a link to the Journal Issue (http://femnet.co/index.php/en/african-women-s-journal/item/340-african-women-in-power-politics-awj-issue-viii)

The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) is a membership-based pan-African Network set up in 1988 to advance African women’s development, equality and other human rights. Over the years FEMNET has played a central role in sharing information, experiences, ideas and strategies among African women’s NGOs in order to strengthen women’s capacity to participate effectively in the development processes on the continent. FEMNET has played a lead role in building the women’s movement in Africa and has ensured that African women voices are amplified and influence decisions made at national, regional and global levels, which have direct and indirect impact on their lives.

Sustainable Development Goals explained

A video for the generation shaping the world: explanation of what Sustainable Development Goals are, where they came from, and how we can help achieve them.

Video cross posted from UN DESA

Women’s Liberation and the African freedom struggle

BY THOMAS SANKARA
The question of women’s equality must be in the minds of all decision-makers, at all times, and in all the different phases of conceiving and executing plans for development. Conceiving a development project without the participation of women is like using only four fingers when you have ten. It’s an invitation to failure.

In the ministries responsible for education, we should take special care to assure that women’s access to education is a reality, for this reality constitutes a qualitative step toward emancipation. It is an obvious fact that wherever women have had access to education, their march to equality has been accelerated. Emerging from the darkness of ignorance allows women to take up and use the tools of knowledge in order to place themselves at the disposal of society. All ridiculous and backward concepts that hold that only education for males is important and profitable, and that educating women is an extravagance, must disappear in Burkina Faso.

Parents should accord the same attention to the progress of their daughters at school as they do to their sons, their pride and joy. Girls have proven they are the equals of boys at school, if not simply better. But above all they have the right to education in order to learn and know—to be free. In future literacy campaigns, the rate of participation by women must be raised to correspond with their numerical weight in the population. It would be too great an injustice to maintain such an important part of the population—half of it—in ignorance.

In the ministries responsible for labor and justice, texts should constantly be adapted to the transformation our society has been going through since August 4, 1983, so that equality between men and women is a tangible reality. The new labor code, now being drawn up and debated, should express how profoundly our people aspire to social justice. It should mark an important stage in the work of destroying the neocolonial state apparatus—a class apparatus fashioned and shaped by reactionary regimes to perpetuate the system that oppressed the popular masses, especially women.

How can we continue to accept that a woman doing the same job as a man should earn less? Can we accept the levirate* and dowries, which reduce our sisters and mothers to common commodities to be bartered for? There are so many things that medieval laws continue to impose on our people, on women. It is only just that, finally, justice be done….

As we go forward, our society should break from all those feudal conceptions that lead to ostracizing the unmarried woman, without realizing that this is merely another form of appropriation, which decrees each woman to be the property of a man. This is why young mothers are looked down upon as if they were the only ones responsible for their situation, whereas there is always a guilty man involved. This is how childless women are oppressed due to antiquated beliefs, when there is a scientific explanation for their infertility, which science can overcome.

In addition, society has imposed on women norms of beauty that violate the integrity of their bodies, such as female circumcision, scarring, the filing of teeth, and the piercing of lips and noses. Practicing these norms of beauty is of dubious value. In the case of female circumcision, it can even endanger a woman’s ability to have children and her love life. Other types of bodily mutilation, though less dangerous, such as the piercing of ears and tattoos, are no less an expression of women’s conditioning, imposed by society if a woman wants to find a husband. Comrade militants, you look after yourselves in order to win a husband. You pierce your ears and do violence to your body in order to be acceptable to men. You hurt yourselves so that men can hurt you even more! …

Comrades, no revolution—starting with our own—will triumph as long as women are not free. Our struggle, our revolution will be incomplete as long as we understand liberation to mean essentially that of men. After the liberation of the proletariat, there remains the liberation of women.

Comrades, every woman is the mother of a man. I would not presume, as a man and as a son, to give advice to a woman or to indicate which road she should take. This would be like giving advice to one’s own mother. But we know, too, that out of indulgence and affection, a mother listens to her son, despite his whims, his dreams, and his vanity. And this is what consoles me and makes it possible for me to address you here. This is why, comrades, we need you in order to achieve the genuine liberation of us all. I know you will always find the strength and the time to help us save our society.

Comrades, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt. I await and hope for the fertile eruption of the revolution through which they will transmit the strength and the rigorous justice issued from their oppressed wombs.

Comrades, forward to conquer the future.
The future is revolutionary.
The future belongs to those who struggle.
Homeland or death, we will win!


* The levirate is a marriage in which the widow weds a brother of the deceased, with varying degrees of compulsion.

This is an excerpt from Women’s Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle by Thomas Sankara. Sankara was the central leader of the popular democratic revolution in the West African country of Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) from 1983 to 1987. This excerpt is from a talk he gave to several thousand women commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8, 1987, in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital. Copyright © 1990 by Pathfinder Press.

Article Cross posted from The Militant

The leaders who ruined Africa, and the generation who can fix it

Before he hit eighteen, Fred Swaniker had lived in Ghana, Gambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. What he learned from a childhood across Africa was that while good leaders can’t make much of a difference in societies with strong institutions, in countries with weak structures, leaders could make or break a country. In this passionate TED talk, Swaniker looks at different generations of African leaders and imagines how to develop the leadership of the future.

Are you part of Generation 4?

Moving from early Pan-Africanism towards an African Renaissance

Like the famous mythical Sankofa bird symbol, Africans must look into their past to create their future; acknowledging our previous mistakes and learning from them but also celebrating our successes and building on them.

A focus on African Renaissance gives an opportunity to reflect on Africa’s self-reliance trajectory and the need to demystify, appropriate and popularize our history, our shared values, and our narrative about the state of Africa today, in honor of the generations that went before us and to inspire current and future generations.

Pan-Africanism at its inception was more than just a search for racial or geographic identity. Initially led and popularized by Africans in the Diaspora such as Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois, it was a clear rejection of the laughable fallacy that Africans did not have a history. It was also a strong refutation of the mindset that defined Africa and Africans from the perspective of the historical experience of slavery, colonialism and racial discrimination.  Rather it was the affirmation of the rich cultural heritage of African societies and the importance of achieving freedom and continental unity.

Since then the concept of Pan-Africanism has continued to evolve, measured by the challenges and aspirations of the African continent. During the independence period, this ideology enabled Africans to overcome domination and oppression by ending colonialism and apartheid in the continent. The possibility of rapid socio-economic transformation of the continent was another goal promoted from early days. As noted by Emperor Hailé Selassié during the launch of the OAU, “Unless the political liberty for which Africans have for long struggled is complemented and bolstered by a corresponding economic and social growth, the breath of life which sustains our freedom may flicker out.” This statement still rings true. [1]

Despite strong political mobilization for the liberation from oppression, Africa has failed to fulfill its full potential. It is well known that in the early 1960s, at the time of the establishment of the OAU, there was high optimism that the continent will perform well. Several African countries were at par or had even higher GDP rates than their counterparts in Asia. It is now common place to mention that, the GDP per capita of Ghana and South Korea were at the same level in 1960. Up until 1975, the fastest growing developing country in the world was Gabon. Botswana’s growth rate exceeded that of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand. Despite the optimism of the time, Africa failed to complete the transformation journey which Asia has to a large degree now traversed. While East Asia’s share in world global exports grew from 2.25 % to 17.8% over a period of 40 years (1970 to 2010), Africa’s share in world global exports drastically reduced from 4.99% to the current 3.33%. This led to Africa being called the ‘hopeless continent’, ‘a scar on the conscience of humanity’ and many other Hegelian fallacies.

As we entered the 21st century, Pan-Africanism reflected Africa’s conscious need for not only political independence, regional integration and the improvements of its living standards, but also the throwing of the shackles of economic bondage and democratic stagnation that had seen it reverse the short lived prosperity of the independence era. This meant devising a new economic positioning and new forms of partnership in which Africa, as an equal partner, would negotiate with the rest of the world, with fierce defense of its own defined priorities.  Without losing the key elements of unity, cultural heritage and freedom, the reinterpretation of Pan-Africanism in the form of an African Renaissance is very relevant. It is a new phase that requires popular participation and mobilization of the African people behind the goals of structural transformation and improved governance.  Indeed, Africa’s Renaissance can only be complete when the African voice will be heard and taken into account.

The relevance of the Pan-Africanism ideal, and its continuous attraction to intellectuals both on the continent and in the Diaspora, will be measured by the ability to adjust to new demands and new generations. Indeed, the ability to continue to provide inspiration and conviction to Africans across ages is the trade mark of Pan-Africanism. Thankfully, things have changed for the better since the turn of the century. Six out of the ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, there is a marked reduction in the number and size of conflicts in the continent, democratic governance and the respect of human dignity are on the rise. Africa is therefore ripe for change. It must seize this moment for re-strategizing.

The AU’s proclaimed vision is for ‘an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena’. Laudable in its aspirations, what guarantees do we have that it will not remain rhetoric? We must ask ourselves how we reach these goals.Agenda 2063 identifies the prerequisites for Africa’s sustained transformation in clear and unambiguous terms and offers a reinterpretation of the continent’s trajectory and claim the 21st century as Africa’s!

What might draw Africa back from achieving its objectives?

In pursuing any bold transformation, there are a few risks that must be appreciated and tackled head on. Current challenges facing any developing countries are very different from past two decades. These include addressing borderless problems such as the impact of climate change, creating jobs while building an educated and innovative workforce, tackling the scourge of disease, famine and conflicts, as well as ensuring that Africa’s vast natural resource wealth benefits its people. Economic inequality, expanding opportunities for all, reducing illiteracy and creating the enabling conditions for the growth development and protection of nascent local industries are just a few examples of a myriad of tasks that will certainly continue to drag Africa down in the world scales.

Towards an African Renaissance.

One thing is sure; Africa must act very differently, if it is going to take advantage of the current momentum. African leaders need a paradigm shift in their thinking. This transformation has already begun and it shows itself in diverse ways. For example, the perceptible change in the orientation of current African leaders from a dependence on external aid and external actors to an Afro-centric and internal support system.In an interview he granted in 1993, Issa Diallo questioned the rationale behind Africans expecting foreigners to build their countries for them[2]. An aid dependence mentality is slowly giving a space to a more assertive leadership.

Starting from the original OAU Charter, there already existed a myriad of resolutions, treaties, accords and inter-governmental agreements to sustain Africa’s ambitions. What is needed now is for African leaders to move their agenda forward. The advantages of regional integration were recognised by Africans through the Pan-African ideology long before others and even longer before the term ‘globalisation’ was coined. The OAU’s creation simply reflected this awareness. The benefits of regional cooperation – increased investment, sustainability, consolidation of economic and political reforms, increased global competitiveness, prevention of conflict- are accepted, but sometimes just that: accepted.

If Africa is going to own its narrative, it has to preserve its policy space and try out its own development approaches. Renaissance means ‘revival’ or ‘rebirth’ and in the context of its usage now, not only offers an opportunity to awaken the spirit of Africa in the 21st century, but also a rallying call to rid the continent of poverty, instability, corruption and neglect. This new mindset means the need to rethink the traditional models of growth and development. In conclusion, the spirit of African unity is alive. It still lives amongst Africans. As Patrice Lumumba said so long ago, ‘The day will come when History will speak… Africa will write its own history… It will be a history of glory and dignity. Long live Africa!![3]

[1] ECA, AU. 2013. Celebrating success: Africa’s voice over 50 Years 1963-2013. Speech of Emperor Haile Selassie during the inauguration of the OAU in 1963
[2] Interview with Issa Diallo in ‘The Courier’ Jan 1992. http://collections.infocollections.org/ukedu/uk/d/Jec131e/1.1.html
[3] Patrice Lumumba, 1961. Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba.http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/lumumba/1961/xx/letter.htm

By Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary Economic Commission for Africa

Article Cross Posted from the Executive Secretary’s Blog

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