"The body is the harp of the soul. It is yours to bring forth from it sweet music or confused sounds" Kahlil Gibran

Friday, April 29, 2011

My thoughts against a royal wedding...

A typical classroom in Gambia.  Taken by me as I visited on trek with my NGO.
Somewhere in a vault with glass cases, in a castle that stands as a remembrance to the world as the height of imperialism, is a bunch of ornate golden silverware referred to as the crown jewels.  I have seen this absurd spectacle complete with a massive golden royal punch bowl. 
I watched a few minutes of the royal wedding.  The TV was in a hollowed out shack across from my work.  I ordered a small bread and egg sandwich for a whopping 23 dalasi (75cents) and as it was being made on a dirty gas burner I thought of the golden punch bowl and what a disconnect with reality this spectacle represents!
And say you were to sell that punch bowl.  Well no one ever would because of its history and tradition.  But with the price of gold, if you were you could fund teachers and food programs that could boost the welfare of 100,000 kids in Africa at least.  I live in a country where the adult literacy rate is 40%, it is maybe 1/5 of that in the villages.  I live in a country where people have trouble affording food and there is a time consistently called “the Hungry Season.” Most of my friends are surviving off no vegetables, coos, and onion sauce because there is not enough water for a garden.   You get the idea that this is an impoverished country.
Our country also happens to be a former British colony.  Slavery as a foundation, this land was looted and plundered of people and wealth, and now it is forced to learn English and has practically been abandoned by the first world.  So here are my thoughts on a royal wedding, you cannot embrace the only the parts you like about the past and throw the others away.  The royal wedding stands as a symbol of tradition, but only the tradition that can be locked away like a golden punch bowl and presented as royalty at opportune times.  But the counties that were invaded and imperialized are not saved or cherished they are thrown away. 
So please royal family, sell your punch bowl to balance the damage you have done to cultures and peoples around the world, in the name of humility and progress.  Get married, but donate the multi-millions of your family fortunes to balance out the ancient serfdom on which those fortunes were founded.  This may only mean you drive BMW instead of a Rolls Royce, or the dress costs less but is still as beautiful.  Because if you really want to embrace tradition and the past in a true light, you can’t just have a beautiful spectacle, you would need to invite some of the small naked children from across my street to run up and down the aisles of Westminster Abby kicking trash as they would soccer balls.  


  1. Thank God someone shares my opinions. I mean 32 million dollars, thats what it cost, thats what it cost to get married, that was the cost for that fancy dress, and that delicious cake, and that complete ceremony, huh. On the other hand, 32 million dollars, could help around ten thousand families survive, yes that money would give ten thousand families hope, that money would give ten thousand families a chance to dream, because while the so called 'Royals' lie in Buckingham Palace, and eat cake, a child out there burns under the scorching sun. These children have no dreams, these children have no hope in life, and tell me, tell is a child born in London, who has every luxury available to him better than a child born in Sudan, is he. Has that child done something amazing, that he landed in London, has he? I watched the ceremony, and believe me it cut me open, watching that so called tradition of the Royals, put the dagger through my chest, and I wondered what in God's name am I doing in a selfish self centered, world like this, and I truly wish, I wasn't a part of it.

  2. and do you really think that it will make a long term difference?...Yes,maybe in the short term it may fill a few bellies, educate a few hundred kids but what happens to the millions of poor children who will be born next year, or the year after?
    This is Africa. Ask Mr Geldof what happened to the funds raise by Band Aid?How much was syphoned off by corruption?
    I don't know the answer. Ask the widows in Rwanda, or the orphans of AIDS victims?Find out why genital mutilation is still practiced on young girls in most countries?
    I know one thing. All of the monet spent on the Royal Wedding would barely make a dent in the long term problems that Africa suffers from.
    Dont blame the white man.
    Black politicians have a lot to answer for.

  3. please read the text. I said invest in "teaching" and food programs. There is no Malthusian crisis of population, when you educate people there will be less children when you develop a country as proven by every developed country. I did not say give it out, I said invest. And life is not always about numbers, it's about symbolism sometimes. The act of self denial in large public setting acts as a catalyst to the billions who watch. I was more upset that day that there are people watching this who could never hope to achieve that level of sheer extravagance. And genital mutilation is practiced because of cultural tradition and lack of education! Under these guild lines, 30 million pounds well invested in education would help more people than you could ever imagine. Maybe it would also help educate people like you in the real reasons that FGM is practiced, and that ignoring genocide to watch pointless TV is more at the heart of the sorrow for widows in Rwanda than giving away well invested education and food money. I am sorry your ignorance in citing the "black politician" and the "white man" is blinding you.

  4. If you want to see real opulence and daily extravagence (with its worldwide ramifications) the value of which could indeed feed some hungry mouths I suggest you visit the Vatican! You'll notice a few $2000 suits being worn by the no-doubt pious officials you'll see all around, apart from the treasures.

    You strike me as a very bolshie young man, but your hearts in the right place, and in twenty years you'll be a bit more realistic about the world we live in. Africa's problem is African politicians both high and low. There is everywhere a culture of using position for personal gain and ruthlessly discrediting rivals by any means. Even well-intentioned Presidents (locally is a case in point) achieve so little because of incompetant post-holders and challenges for their place. And they can't or won't retire gracefully because the job is hopelessly unfinished.