issues

A TWIST TO JOSEPH KONY

Before you spread the word, take time to think first. How many times have you been fed a pitiful image about Africa that prompted you to suddenly become a temporary social media activist? You can’t remember? How many times have you watched a documentary framing an issue that speaks to a crisis in Africa, and you shed a tear and were moved to repost the video to your FB timeline, or even shared it inbox to raise awareness on the matter? Countless I imagine. I love this age we live in. One thing happens five time-zones away and we are inundated with reports of it in less than 5 minutes. We are buried in the innards of the information monster and we seem to be oblivious to its numbing effects on us.

So constantly we are faced with the reality of dual living; the social media avatars we present, and the real us strutting the corridors of life and sucking up to the demands of bread and water. Armed with Blackberrys, Android devices, iPhones, pads, and pods, along with the power platforms of Facebook, Twitter, and the likes, we suddenly assume the active global citizen that lends it voice to almost every passing concern. We like, share, comment, spool, anything that gets our attention and quickly move on to the next big thing. We have so perfected the art of using emoticons that we even literally believe that a ‘lol’ means the user is bursting out in actual laughter.

There seems to be only one thing that is consistent, and that is the desire to belong to something bigger than us.  But as for actually getting involved in something bigger, we stand in apparent contradiction to our avatars. Sad innit? A while ago I wrote a blog post on the treadmill dynamic and why social media activity is like going somewhere but walking on a treadmill. We engage in so much visible activity but no tangible impact. As soon as I saw the Joseph Kony video earlier this week, I knew that suddenly we will have many social activist rekindling their passion for social justice. However, by the weekend, I expect that their profile pictures would have return to more real images of friends, parties, idols, etc.
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issues

A VISUAL STORY OF SUDAN

Having been enamored by the use of graphics for a while now, I have consistently sought to find more stories told by pictures. With the ongoing referendum in Sudan, BBC today gave me a fresh perspective to the kind of challenges that country faces, issues that I could only have understood through hard gathering of facts. In just one viewing, I could immediately comprehend why the Southern Sudanese need some form of independence if  their development (several ethnic groupings in the South) is going to be guaranteed. The immoral and gaping disparities in the levels of development between the North and the South is inarguably unconscionable.

I share the graphics here so you can tell the story yourself. These maps reveal Sudan’s shocking divisions. Thanks to BBC for this great representations. Place your cursor above each image for a small description.

Geography and States of Sudan.

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issues

TOP STUDENTS DON’T WANT TO TEACH (Updated)

I do not necessarily believe that the best students make the best teachers. But there are some qualities about being an outstanding student that also qualifies one for the amiable profession of teaching, and these include discipline and commitment. The capacity to focus on one thing and stay the course with excellence in view is of great value to the ability to impart knowledge and facilitate the learning process. But really, it seems that the labor of the mind under the midnight oil is mostly motivated by the potential to earn big, and earn pretty big after college.  Much of what is on the mind of the average student is how to escape the hold of poverty. So coming out and ending up a teacher is not exactly a satisfying thought. This is a growing problem in many developed countries, with widening income differences and increasing poverty levels. But how severe this is in least developed and developing countries. The students in these poor countries are told and taught that education is a means through which they escape poverty. Now it is getting rather difficult to convince students in a country like Nigeria to take up a teaching profession after getting a degree. So we end up having the perceived “organizational rejects” as teachers, lacking any iota of motivation to stay in the classroom. Continue reading

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