Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31st - International Day of the Disappeared

photo info

(via B92 blog) SARAJEVO -- The International Committee of the Red Cross data shows that 15,655 people are still listed as missing from the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), based in Bosnia, said on the occasion of International Day of Disappeared marked this Sunday, that 40,000 people are estimated to have disappeared in the wars in former Yugoslavia, 30,000 of those in Bosnia.

This organization also said that its data showed there are between 8,000 and 10,000 unsolved cases there, and 12,000-14,000 in the region.

"On International Day of Disappeared it is important to stress that the problem of the missing, and the human suffering accompanying, it is a universal problem of human rights," said ICMP chief Catherine Bomberger.

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Quiet on the Whelville Front

Mariachi setting in Ljubljana

Sorry I haven't been posting much. There really just hasn't been a heck of a lot going on. Or maybe I haven't been thinking much about the things that have been going on.

I've been working a little and putting more time into driving since I STILL am shaky on the whole enterprise. These days, I am actually eager for my lessons (The Captain has now taken the helm as my instructor), and I can see my goals coming slowly but surely into view. This time, I am gonna stick with it until I get there.

I recently had a new (but good) friend come to visit me from Berlin and it got me thinking about a lot of things. We had a lot of good and interesting (and sometimes hilarious!) chats and we really just connected. One day, we were in a cafe and a couple in hilariously awful outfits strolled up, and she and I just looked at each other and started cracking up laughing. It was wonderful. I don't have that connection with any of my friends here. That's the good stuff, the stuff that I hope will come in time....

Since my friend and I are both Americans who are living the expat life at the moment, talks and thoughts did tend to focus on that. While some expats are here in Europe with a definite expiration date, a clear feeling that they want to live in America, yearly trips back home. I don't have that feeling, I don't have that urge. I even mentioned to my friend that I think that when I have kids, I'd like to send them to Ghana on a regular basis so they can learn the language and be familiar with family and culture. She asked how it would work being "tricultural" and I told her that I think I'd just cut the American part out a bit; meaning I probably just wouldn't be taking them or sending them to America much. I was trying to think about why. Am I denying some part of myself? Am I harboring some sort of chauvinistic animosity towards the US? I don't think it is any of that. I think I am fairhanded toward the country, it has definite plusses and minuses as any other. It's definitely a neat place, it's the country with places that I know best. It's the country where , when I speak, I am best understood. I will always be plenty American and pass that along to any kids I might have, since that is what I am and the only thing I can honestly bring to the table culture-wise. I guess there is some idea that I could equip any children I might have with things that would help them combat that Non-Belonging feeling that I've grappled with so much. Maybe Non-Belonging is sometimes just part of the human condition?

I haven't formed any one real coherent thought to express what I am thinking, what might be the reason, but here are a couple thoughts:

One idea surrounds around the fact that, as a black person, I kinda feel more or less uncomfortable everywhere.

I miss my family and friends, but they are not necessarily centrally-located in one American city or anything.

I do miss shopping and cultural events and bookstores and certain foods, but I am unsure whether that all is worth building a life around.

There is also the fact, that I don't think I was very successful at America. I am not sitting on top of the world here in Slovenia, but I think I am doing considerably better.

So, I don't know what the truth of the matter is -- probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Do you have similar or divergent thoughts about your expat experience? Hey Mom!! You are an expat, any thoughts? Do share!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moving Up

On a slightly off note, I just wanted to congratulate my lovely Aunt Genevieve who was recently named Ghana's new ambassador to France.

As they say in Ghana, ayekooooooooooooooooooo! (means something like "well done", but better).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Speaking In Tongues

A friend turned me in to this New York Public Library lecture by one of my favorite writers Zadie Smith, on the topic of speaking in many ways and having many voices in your ear. It is complex and thoughtful, moving from Shakespeare to Little Wayne to Obama to Pygmalion to Eliza Doolittle.

Listen if you have a moment.