Monday, August 6, 2007

Personal Musings

It's been some time since I updated you on my travels to South Africa 2010 and the World Cup Final on July 11, 2010.

It's been a good and bad journey so far.
The good has been the wealth of knowledge I've gained about Africa, its people and the wonderful game of football.

The bad has been the unbelieveable task I face of getting to SA 2010.

It's not impossible. Nothing is. But I find the going tough these days and I'm racking my brain for new and better ways of acheiving my goals.

I truly believe I have some solid plans in place. What I'm not so sure about is how to implement them.

Anyways, there's been talk of going back to school, volunteering in Kenya, fund-raising, grant-writing and writing a book.

All solid plans. Now I have to pull the trigger. On something.

I think the most solid plan is my journey to Ghana and the 2008 African Cup of Nations. I see no reason why I can't go. I'm saving the money, I'm determined to do some real first-hand reporting and I'm excited by the possibilities.

Beyond that, the best I can do is learn about the continent and its rich, sometimes pained history.

I recently picked up a book titled, 'King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa' by Adam Hochschild. It deals with Belgium's rule of the Congo at the turn of the 20th century. Here's a description from the book itself:

'In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo--too long forgotten--onto the conscience of the West.'

Sounds amazing and terrifying.

So that's a quick update. Still writing, still reading, still planning a trip in January. Still trying to figure this all out.

If anyone has suggestions, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!
I need all the help I can get.


BS96 said...

Wow - I just noticed that the guy next to me at work has this book on his desk.

He just got back from Africa a few weeks ago.

In any case, glad to see you've got your shots lined up for your trip out there.

Now pull the trigger!

Brad said...

No suggestions for now but I wanted to say thank you for this blog. I love African football and being in Canada it is very difficult to follow, so your blog is a breath of fresh air and a way for me to keep connected with the great game in Africa. Keep up the good work.

estoverao said...

Check out "Exterminate All the Brutes" by Sven Lindqvist. It's an intellectual history tracing the origins of European genocide written as a traveler's narrative during the author's journey through Africa with a laptop computer and a copy of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" which is where he gets the title.

Also, to truly understand African soccer your trip to Ghana is a must. The 'Black Stars' were dominant in the era of Nkrumah.