Friday, May 19, 2006

Good comments and the ontology of ill-health

Nice to see a healthy debate off of my last post. There's definitely something afoot with Nigeria - a passion for change that perhaps has never been so strong or in such capable budding hands and minds. Its great to hear that people are planning things in their homeplace. We need to distinguish as strongly and clearly as possible ethnic reductionism and tribalism from care for one's native locale. Its perfectly human and decent to want one's place of origin to improve above all other places, and doesn't signify tribal prejudice at all. When it comes to development, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba need to drop out: there is just this place with these unfortunate circumstances, and this place, and this place, and this place.

Meanwhile, for those who think Nigeria is buggered up, try looking at the sorry state of the UK just now. The Labour government is in one holy mess, mainly based around clueless immigration policies. The Home Office appears to be in utter confusion, not knowing how many illegal immigrants are here, how many have left, what to do with foreigners in UK prisons etc etc. The origin of the problem is that global liquidity (of money, assets, persons, images, symbols) and the erosion of barriers (the enlargement of Europe for eg) increase migrational flows, while failure to develop in the non-West create strong push factors.

At a time of falling birth rates/an ageing population, immigrants doing the dirty work is attractive (the Home Office found out yesterday it was employing, through a contractor, five Nigerian illegals as cleaners!). On the other hand, there are all kinds of backlashes against this: fear of mono-ethnic dissolution and miscegentation, fear of tax-payers money/housing etc being diverted to the immigrants, collapse of the distinctions between asylum seekers, economic and political migrants.

The West is perhaps only now coming to realise that it has just not being giving the Global South what it needs. Live Aid/Geldofism is a sticking plaster conscience-salve that scratches the surface of the surface of the problem. What is really needed is deep structural macro-economic change, beginning in Europe with the wholesale reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (the EU continues to dump agricultural products on Sub-Saharan Africa, at the same time as discouraging local African subsidies). All this has to change for Africa to play a larger role in global agribusiness, create labour-intensive employment opportunities and so on. Of course this will hit European farmers, and Europeans in general, hard, and does raise food security issues (not that food security stops massive western imports of food stuffs right now). The same goes for US agricultural policy and its enormous support for American farmers. Its such a difficult issue from here it appears intractable, but change does have to come through reform of subsidies and tarrif structures, via strong armed interventions via the WTO. The IMF and the World Bank need to reform drastically to play a role in this as well.

The sad upshot of not facing this issue is that people who fall ill while visiting the UK are now starting to be refused treatment, witness the tragic case of the Nigerian lady who died at the weekend from heart failure. The West is heading for crisis, the UK (especially the south) has run out of water (30% of water in the UK leaks away out of 150 year old pipes). There is absurd talk of pulling icebergs up the Thames as remedy. The Euro is under threat due to a collapsing dollar. Its all quite millenial and apocalyptic. The push to transform Nigeria therefore has absolutely global signifance. Migrational flows need to arrested and the brain drain reversed. This can happen if all Nigerians abroad focus intently on what they can offer, and start offering it. Nigeria can pull back migrants, as well as act as an attractor for other Africans to migrate to Nigeria, get training, experience and then return. The next goverment in Nigeria has to focus massively on education (especially public-sector education), rather than handing out private university licenses to their (especially religious) friends.

Meanwhile, I've just spent two days in hospital, having all manner of tests (no malaria, no HIV, no liver/kidney malfunction etc). Nothing is wrong with any part of my body apparently, but I still feel like death warmed up - shivering, no energy, brain-on-pause-staring-into-space. The trouble is, Western allopathic medicine follows the route of looking for general patterns rather than specific causes. This makes it highly effective for mass treatment, but inadequate for specific or unusual cases. The tropical diseases bod doubts I ever had malaria (my symptoms were apparently not strong enough) - which leaves me doubting him as well as doubting the lab testing facilities in Nigeria, leaving me in a no-humans-land of confusion and mild despair. I do not fit the gastro-enterologist or the tropical disease expert's diagnostic pattern-language. I tell them I still feel crap, they frown and tell me its probably post-infectious fatigue syndrome (ie they haven't a fucking clue). On the way home from the hospital just now, my heart was beating like crazy just climbing the steps of the Tube, I had to cling on from not fainting. The hypochondriac in me was thinking heart attack.

My experience leaves me to think that illness is difficult for we humans to handle pyschologically. If one is ill and doesn't know what it is (and neither do the 'experts') one can get into a kind of in-body-claustrophbia, wishing one was not stuck in this sick cell of a body and yet being stuck in it. If the other is ill, we have an unconscious/semi-conscious revulsion which is based on the primal fear of the same happening to us. It takes huge amounts of mental and spiritual strength to rouse oneself from these dual prangs of woe.

But I shall be well. Everything that is, will pass, so spaketh Guatama Siddartha. We all suffer from terminal illness; its just that some are clinically labelled as such, and others are given the spiritual relief of being able to delay this prospect for a while. None of this is particularly negative - its the source of our joy of living, of life, of being-with-others we love or might just start to love.

Peace to all. Don't worry about me. I will return. As will Nigeria.


the real grace,  11:31 am  

good you are geeting better, however, grace both yourself and aihammed delot are impersonators. I am the real grace.

Nkem 12:07 pm  

Jeremy, fair points, but please don't call people "illegals". A human being cannot be illegal, but an act can be illegal. You might as well say they were three-fifths of a man, but I'm sure you wouldn't say such.

j 12:08 pm  

Good comments and hope you get well soon.

Anonymous,  12:30 pm  

Hmmm....symptoms with no apparent illness - have you consulted your babalawo?


Jeremy 1:15 pm  

Hi Nkem. No offence was intended - I was simply shortening the phrase "illegal immigrants" earlier on in the paragraph to avoid repetition. The law needs to become more flexible in this respect - as is being considered with latinos in America. We all can agree that those who work hard and contribute to the society they live in should in time be given citizenship.

American legal history is full of examples of flexibility in the face of popular pressure (read The Mystery of Capital for examples on land reform). The time is ripe for similar such demonstrations/protests by illegal immigrants and their supporters in the UK. Apart from a tiny percent of fraudsters, Nigerians are revitalising the UK economy. Nigerians without status cleaning London offices in the middle of the night deserve to be rewarded with citizenship.

the flying monkeys 1:30 pm  

Nkem, I totally agree, Jeremy probably never gave it a second thought.

Its the Newspapers - the so-called bastions of journalism. They are nothing more than politically correct propagandists. They give us news they want us to hear, leave out what they don't agree with, and slant stories to fit their intent. Thay are also so leftist.

The issue newspapers pussyfoot around is that of illegal aliens.

What is it about "illegal" people don't understand?

Never call them illegal aliens despite the fact that, by definition, that is exactly what some could be. Not spacemen. But citizens of one country, illegally crossing the border of another country. Illegal alien in the second country.

Jeremy, get better soon you.

There's definitely something afoot with Nigeria.

grace,  1:40 pm  

Once again. Stop using my name. Your actions invoke the same feelings I would get if I were sitting comfortably talking with a group of people, and some asshole man kept on throwing paper at me or imitating my voice.

It isn't funny anymore, and borders on harassment. Respect that.

grace,  1:55 pm  

Ignore my last post. Just a rant.

grace,  2:05 pm  

grace, I am not finding this funny anymore. Why not start your own blog?

the real grace,  2:10 pm  

does this mean we are 3 grace's? gracious me!

Anonymous,  2:14 pm  

Jeremy can you not restrict access to this blog, for only registered user's? The whole point of your post is being lost by "the war of the graces", which can be very frustrating.

My Talking Beginnings 2:46 pm  

Hello Jeremy,
I have come across your blog quite by accident and find it fascinating. Whilst all your entries are well written and thought out i can't help but point out your seeming gravitation towards your British side, relinquishing your so-called yoruba heritage; contrary to your profile details. Is this paranoia?
P.s Get well soon!

Nkem 3:04 pm  

Obokun, there are only three British daily newspapers which can arguably claim to be leftist: the Guardian, the Independent, and the Daily Mirror. Daily Mirror is a popular red-top, so it'll be difficult to for them to be leftist and reflect their viewers opinions.

Any newspaper, especially the ones that have influence have to be careful of the language they use. Incendiary headlines cause people to lose their lives. The Screws of the World's paedophile naming campaign, where mobs attacked innocent people. It is not politically correct propaganda to express yourself responsibly.

People are so quick to condemn illegal immigration, and I am confident that it is those who have a choice as to where they live who do so. Allowing only skilled workers into the country is a load of nonsense. Many of the people who do the menial job are skilled workers. If they could come into the country legally, they wouldn't choose to be here legally.

If there's a pogrom against illegal immigrant workers, I shudder to think what would happen to this country's institutions. The House of Commons for one will stay dirty and unclean. Everyone knows that the so-called black economy can never be fully eradicated, because it is an important part of most economies. But obviously, nobody will take a stance for this position.

the flying monkeys 3:14 pm  

Thank you Nkem but your most recent comment may appear to negate the position you appeared to take in your post Wingers and monkeys of today.

The irony is: your point in Wingers and monkeys may come across as being just a wee bit racist?

But I believe no such thing was intended on your part!

All in all, fair post and interesting comment.

St Antonym 3:28 pm  

Holy Christ on a bike. What's going on here?

Jeremy, comment #3 up there's not me. It's an impostor of some sort, somebody's idea of a funny joke.

(You can tell, right away, from the syntax that it's not me).

Anyhow, I'm going to stop commenting here for a while buddy, so if you see anyone claiming to be "st antonym" (they might find a way to improve the picture quality which, for now, gives the game away), be assured that it's not me.

Jeremy 3:45 pm  

Please my fellow commentators, can you stop imitating other people. It might have been a bit funny for the first time, but now its just irritating and puerile. Thanks

german vegan,  1:00 am  

Hello, I'm a vegan, and your symptoms sound like B12 deficiency, what is your current strategy to include this nutrient?

If you got no particular one, get some Solgar B12s 1000 micrograms and take two for a month, don't worry about the high dose since it needs to be this high given the absorption technicalities relating to B12. Later, when (and if you indeed have B12 deficiency) your stores a filled up a bit again, a weekly integration of 2000 MG's is enough, as actually only 10-14 will be absorbed into the blood stream.

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