Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Apparently, I am a Democrat

Democrat - You believe that there should be a free
market which is reigned in by a modest state
beaurocracy. You think that capitalism has
some good things, but that those it helps
should be obliged to help out their fellow man
a little. Your historical role model is
Franklin Rosevelt.

Which political stereotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Hol... Merry Christmas!!

Considering that all my life I have said Merry Christmas, The Salon and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year. May all your wishes come true (at least the wise ones), and may you have a fruitful 2006!!!

For the hardcore "PC" people among you: Merry Christmahannakwanzakah!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This is just silly, but I am in a very silly mood right now. Here is my computer generated Japanese name:
My Japanese Name Is...
Shinichi Kato

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Where have I been in the world?

This is really cool. Here are all the countries I have visited. Hoping to make the list much longer befor I die!!: Congo-Kinshasa (of course) - USA (obviously - France - Senegal - South Africa - etc...

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Greyhound has issues!!!!!

I have to throw a fit at the quasi-monopoly US bus transporter, Greyhound. Just after I have bought my ticket to go to New York, from Richmond, Indiana, they decided unilaterally, to close the station in Richmond!!!! What's wrong with these people?? It is already not the easiest thing to do, travel in the United States on the roads, especially from the Midwest And now, they are removing a much needed last stop in Indiana before entering Ohio. Consequence, a whole bunch of people now have to find a ride to take them one hour away, to take their bus either in Indianapolis, or Dayton, OH. Someone please create a competitor to Greyhound!!!!!!!!!!! The hound is less than friendly!!!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Peace and Love?

Well, I am just recently done with a Peace and Justice conference that I, and my two colleagues Erin and Camilo put together for the Plowshares Peace Collaborative of our three Alma maters (Earlham, Goshen and Manchester Colleges). We had about 300 people!!! And all intelligent and thoughtful people that really considered the possibility of there being hope for a world where the ideals of peace and love rule!!! Is it really possible? I mean should we continue to have some hope? Is there a redeeming value in us crazy humans?? Well these people surely felt so, and they gave me a much needed boost in my own hope bank. Most of these people were ready to take on the challenge to think outside the militaristico-capitalist-thinktank box, to try to practically analyze, criticize, and bring solutions to the problems of our time, without shooting bullets, hording oil, proselytizing or destroying entire cultures and peoples. Are humans ready for that? Are humans built like that?

I don't know, but even my skeptic self has a pretty good feeling after this conference. I am far from being a pacifist. But if war can be avoided, why entertain its omnipresence? Why not work genuinely at reducing the number of wars and ennemies, instead of using them as a tool of foreing policy making? I wonder...

But regardless, the confernce kicked some major... oh hell I'll say it. It kicked some major ass!!!! I am quite proud, and I still cannot believe we put it together. A true learning experience in management, in planning and organization, but also in common sense and reality: with enough money, and the right people, (and for believers, some divine grace... whatever God it is from for you) you can do whatever you want. So back in Congo, and the rest of Africa, when we go back in the coming years, just wait: We'll move mountains!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

And life starts!

It is rather interesting to see through the beginings of a project that you care about deeply... This new gig of mine will definitely be fun.

In the mean time, I haven't had the chance (or the time) to write in my political/news blog, but I am working on organizaing my time around that. I should be receiving my laptop tomorrow (inchallah), and hopefully I will be able to balance that, with having a life... I wonder...

Pictures soon!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

They shall beat their swords into Plowshares...

Today is the first day of the best days of my life... in the short term anyway. I have been away from blogging because I had to spend a bit of time organizing my immediate future. Though I am still working on a lot of that, it is definitely true that part of it has been solved by this position that I have been offered a bit out of the blue, and that I started working on today. I am one of three students/recent grads from three Liberal Arts Colleges in Indiana, that are in charge of organizing the Plowshares Student Peace Conference, which will be held at Goshen College (the other 2 schools are Manchester College, and Earlham College, my alma mater). And we have received today the wonderful news that we have finalized the booking of our keynote speaker : Paul Rusesabagina (you know the guy that Don Cheadle plays in Hotel Rwanda). It is going to be an awesome conference, and I am definitely looking forward to it. And this new gig is much more fulfilling than my previous position at the AFL-CIO. I am now feeling much more invigorated to face the world.

The joint Grant/Organization that I work for, is called the Plowshares Project, it's awesome (with the expectable quirks), and I will let you visit their website, to understand what it is. There is also this page on the actual conference. Please check them out. My two alter-egos are awesome so far, and I see no reason for that to change. They are Erin Williams (Goshen College, Canadian) and Camilo Velasquez (Manchester College, Nicaraguan), and I am really enjoying my first days with them.

Other than that, I am back in force, and there are so many things I want to address. Check my blogs around, and you will see.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Thank God for friends

Well, I am carrying on life in the United States, with all the struggle that being a low-level participant in corporate America implies. This is a beautiful country for many things... except if you are black, with a Muslim name. I have about the craziest combination that can be imagined in the current environment.

In any case, to get me off my increasing depresion, and my sense of helplessness, and hopelessness, and despair, my very good friends from Earlham College came to pay me a visit last Saturday, and it was simply AWESOME! We all went to eat at this Ethipian restaurant, here in Columbus, called the "Blue Nile", and had the best meal I have had in a very long time. It was quite nice to have such an international group of people, and people were looking at us in surprise. There was Behar from Kosovo, Atiq from Afghanistan, Evelyn from Costa Rica, Tanyel from Cyprus/Australia, Joni from the US, and me from the Congo. I mean every continent!! That was an awesome time. We had ice cream after that, listen to salsa music, and had long discussions about life. They could not stay overnight, otherwise I would have taken them to a night-club to party the night out.

But more seriously, they reminded me that there were people who cared for me, and who were willing to come and cheer me up, and have a good time together, and that is simply priceless. I love you guys!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I am an uncle... again!

My dear mother, God bless her, has just left a voicemail on my phone to let me know that my brother Guy and his wife have just gotten a little baby girl !!! Hurray !!! I don't know her name yet, but I am working on that. She's my 18th nephew/niece... I have a prolific family, as you can see. I am ecstatic!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Humor: Why God created Eve

Why God Created Eve
- God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because men hate to ask for directions.

- God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote.

- God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when his seat wore out and would therefore need Eve to get one for him.

- God knew that Adam would never make a doctor's appointment for himself.

- God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.

- God knew that if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to handle childbearing.

- As "Keeper of the Garden," Adam would never remember where he put his tools. 3. The scripture account of creation indicates Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.

- As the Bible says, "It is not good for man to be alone!"
Aside from the insiduous homophobic undertones that the Liberal in me just had to pick up on, this was over all - in my oh, so humble opinion, a funny joke, from Joke-of-the-Day. Especially when you have seen couples here in the Midwest!

Monday, March 07, 2005

My Nerd score

I am nerdier than 56% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I couldn't believe that I was that nerdy. I need to denerdify myself. Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

I just love the USA !

the daily grind: Girls sued for delivering cookies OR I'll get you my pretties!! And your little cookies too!!
What won't we see in this country! Sometimes, it seems like things are even crazier here than back home... Maybe not, but they are getting there!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I am still alive... and still confused

Today, I realized that I haven't been keeping up with my personal blogging!!! Well, I have been kept quite busy with the news, on my other blog. This stuff is time consuming, you know? Anyway. So what's new in "White-man country" (USA)?

Well, nothing much. I gues that might be why I haven't blogged in a while. There is really not much to say. I am still trying to fight the goo fight. It's much harder to do, when you are also looking for a better job. By the way, if you know someone who needs a world-savy multilingual politics/international relations graduate, please let me know, okay?

What else? Oh, unfortunately, yesterdya, my housemate's father died. It was a rather sad affair. But in many ways, he must be better off, as he had Parkinson's, and had deteriorated quite a bit. R.I.P

Coporate America still blows. And when I am looking at the homefront, back in Africa, it's not looking any better. Scandals after scandals; if it's not sexual abuse, it'd corruption, or nepotism, or embesslements, or (something new) xenophobia. When is it going to stop? It's sometimes so frustrating. And the Africans here are not helping : They are soooooo closed minded sometimes, it drivs me crazy. I mean, I am definitely a bit out there, compared to most Africans. My level of open-ness might be a bit over-bearing for their ultra-conseravtive thinking, but come on!! All I am fighing for is a little bit of Justice, compassion, and tolerance for differences. Is that so much to ask?

These days, my pet peeve is inter-racial/inter-relegious marriage. If the two people want to get married, and they are willing to go through the grief that society will put on them, and it's what makes them happy, no on has presented to me a valid argument as to why they should not marry. Call me crazy !

Okay, I appologize for airing my frustration in such a stream of consciousness fashion. You should go check out my other blog. I will try to be more careful to keep this one up. I mean, living as an African expat in the US, it's worth writing about, right?...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Disparus en Irak - MIA in Iraq

Soutenez Florence Aubenas et Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi, Journaliste et traducteur de Liberation disparus en Irak.
Support Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi, Journalist and translator for Liberation, who dispeared in Iraq.

Please let someone know if you have information.
Priere informer quelqu'un si vous avez une quelconque information.

Dumb Laws of the United States

A bit of fun never hurts anyone. Here are the crazy laws still on the books in the United States.

From Artificial Blog:
Dumb Laws of the United States

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Study: Unlikely lobsters feel pain in boiling water - Feb 15, 2005 - Study: Unlikely lobsters�feel pain in boiling water - Feb 15, 2005

"Anyone who knows me remotely well, knows that I make it a point to be as cosmopolitan as it is humanly possible. But sometimes, in my time here in the US, there are things that just makes me laugh... in desperate agony. This is one of them. With all the drama and pain that goes on, in the planet - and in Africa and the Middle East in paricular, most of it a result (intended or not) of US and Western policies, the article above was on of THE MOST EMAILED articles on CNN!!!! Now, don't get me wrong, I feel for the animal world (though it does not stop me from eating them). But aren't people's priorities in the very very very wrong places? Maybe it's just me, but I believe a genocide in Darfur, the Tsunami, the War in Comgo, or the death of Rafiq Hariri are a bit more important... Call me crazy!"

Saturday, February 12, 2005

To My Republican Friends

Some Republicans have complained that Democrats are being sore losers, by calling them ignorant for their conservative beliefs. Our republican friends claim that we lost because we were out of touch with America's mainstream, and that our so called refusal to embrace God, and we couldn't stomach the loss, so we turn our anger gratuitously on them, launching a savage attack on their right to strongly hold their beliefs. Though I could definitely make an argument for Republicans being "sore winners" some times, all in all, I agree: ideally, we should not call people ignorant because of their beliefs - religious or otherwise, and I genuinely and sincerely try not to.

That said, as a black person, when people mistreat me in a restaurant because of my race, when I am refused the entrance of country clubs because of my race, when I can't date the woman I love because of my race, and an old white conservative tells me there is no more racism, that it's all in my mind, that I am just looking for ways to defame the country that his forefathers built, I call that ignorant (in the literal sense : people don't know what they are talking about). Plus we can argue exactly whose forefathers actually put in the sweat in building the country.

When, within the USA, the life of an American citizen becomes less valuable to the eyes of his own country's government because of his/her ancestry, and they are denied/restricted some of their constitutionally granted civil-rights (including the right to own guns, by the way!!!) - i.e:Arab Americans, African Americans, Latinos - I call that institutional bigotry.

When there are gay people beaten to death on the street because of their sexual orientation, in the name of so-called conservative principles of decency and Christianity, and they are not granted equal rights by the STATE, on the basis of the unilateral beliefs of one RELIGION, to me that is institutionalized religious bigotry. Unfortunately, it is the kind of things that - it seems to me, I may be wrong - the Republican party tends to support.

When the President of the United States cares LESS about the life of the VERY born people in Darfur, Somalia, Congo, Chiapas, etc than he cares about the "lives" of foetuses, I call that arrogant and reckless endangerment. This is the country that said ALL MEN - not all American men, but all men - ARE CREATED EQUAL! Liberals tend to understand that better, in my opinion. Republicans - it seems to me, I may be wrong - tend to make the call that an American life is more valuable to the World than other lives, because it belongs to some "shining city on a hill"...

The Republican party built itself on the principles of hard-work, and I respect that aspect of it very much, because hard-work is a value I also hold dear. But although not all Republicans are gun-totting bigotted racist WASPs, it is the pandering to the extreme right - and its corrolaries of racism and theocratic tendencies - that we have seen recently that concerns me. I know some people compared Bush to Hitler before, and it was excessive. Nevertheless, for those of us in the darker shades of the skin-color spectrum, we can't help but seeing that the ultra-conservatives power-houses tend to be white old men who do not always think of us as equals... and the current turn right seems awfully and dreadfully familiar... and that's what I fear.

See contrary to popular beliefs and myths, I am not a Liberal because I want Staline to take over the World, or "Communism to triumph". I am a Liberal - and by Liberal I just mean "on the left side of the political spectrum" - because I believe in tolerance, and in equality of rights regardless of races, genders, consensual adult lifestyles, religions or abilty. I am a Liberal because I believe in equal opportunity for all people, and the state's responsibility to guarantee it. I am a Liberal because I believe that those of us that could not fulfill the promises of opportunity should not be left to rot and die. I am a Liberal because I believe that a more equitable society will only come to fruition when justice and equity are taught to children as a higher values than dominance and survival of the fittest. I am a Liberal because I believe - that's the African in me - that the society as a whole is ultimately responsible for its members, and humanity is at its strongest when working, living, and growing as a social compact. I am a Liberal because I believe we need to ensure that this planet lasts for many generations to come. Finally I am Liberal because I believe that Freedom and Democracy are the aspirations of all people. I am a Liberal because I believe that though we have differences in opinions, our common humanity should and does matter more than everything else.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What can Africa learn from America

Club Afrika Blog : Lessons for African Governments

Above is an opinion piece by Jerry Okungu, on Club Afrika blog, reflecting on the lessons African government can draw from the rcent nomination process for Cabinet members here in the United States. It was a very insightful article, and my comment to it was follows:
I do not know how much I agree with what you said about Condi Rice, but I will definitely give you that there is a higher level of transparency, decorum, and a sense of purpose in he US government. Just how transparent they are might be in question sometimes, but it is definitely more open and principled than in DRCongo, or Rwanda, or CAR, or Cameroon. For having had the chance to attend Government meetings in my country (DRC), I know that the decorum shown after the fact (Press Conferences) are generally highly fictional, as they do not match what actually goes on indoors.

And that is problematic in an environment supposedly in charge of running the country. The levels of carelessness, self-absorption and egoticism in many of our leadership circles is quite appaling. So we do need to learn a sense of purpose in government.

But I take this chance to say that we must not make the mistake the US made of removing civics fron the education system. Because as much as there is decorum at the top, as much the general US population - outside of wartime - could care less about those values of purpose, decorum, and stately work, because the disconnect betwen Washington DC and the people is almost "taught" at school!!! We cannot, in Africa, afford that mistake. Being still in the formative stages of our countries, we must ensure that the next generations (my own, and the ones after mine) have a sense of duty, honor, and country. And I sharply disagree with the militaristic types who want to say that this can only be achieved by conscription: that just shows a lack of imagination.

So we the people have to learn duty, a more formal respect of country, continent and World. Our governments have to learn transparency, purpose, decorum, and the meaning of the word "civil SERVANT" - because right now what they often act like seems to be a bit more like "civil SERGEANT"! Finally, the US people can learn from us our oh! so African ability to overcome strife without losing our basic pinciples and values of charity, social networking, family.

Thank you for your insight.
Ali Mamina
The Salon of News and Thought

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Monday, January 24, 2005

Africa, sweet Africa

this is an audio post - click to play

This is what happens when I am given time to rehash all the experiences of prejudice I have experienced in the US, and of sheer ignorance. What's worse, is that people bathe comfortably in the bliss it allows them to have... It's sad.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My audio review of "Hotel Rwanda

this is an audio post - click to play

Then Go See HOTEL RWANDA!!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Rain in the Midwest

It has been raining non-stop on Columbus, OHIO for two days now. Some of the floods are quite impressive. For a second, I thought I was back in Kinshasa (my hometown, in the D.R. of Congo). Anyway, we are trying to get used to it again. THe weathr should be cool tomorrow (60 F)

I am learning to hate corporate America all over again. The amount of back-door office politics could shame the British House of Commons into oblivion! In any case, I am looking forward to this weekend like no other before!! For the first time in a long time, I think I am actually deprssed. I miss home, and I am tired of Americans asking me stupid questions about the movie Congo.

Speaking of movie, everybody should go see Hotel Rwanda, and rent Lumumba. They will teach you a lot about th Great Lakes Region in Africa, and maybe you will understand the news better, when it comes from there.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Reflecting on the 2004 Tsunami

By Ali M. Mamina
"I am alone in this world now, except for my father..." -Shihan, 7 years old(SRI LANKA)

It would be hard for anyone who lives in the West, and who watches Cable, to say that one has not been exposed to the utter devastation that was the result of the oceanic earthquake, off the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), and the resulting Tsunami. MSNBC, NWI, BBC, ITN, CNN, have been providing us ad nauseam, with images and accounts of the pain, the grief, the loss, generated by the disaster and its magnitude. Particularly CNN International's reporters are giving around the clock and compassionate reporting of the situation in the countries affected. At the time I am writting, the Tsunami disaster is claiming close to 156,000 deaths, and millions of devastated survivors, orphans, robbed of family members, robbed in many ways of their lives, and their livelihoods; this, in a portion of our blue planet that spans an entire Ocean, from Western Indonesia (Asia), to Somalia and Tanzania (Africa).

Yet, through it all, report after report, I could not help but notice the resolve and the will to live, displayed by the survivors in Asian countries - as we have had little reporting on the African countries hit. Despite displays of grief, and pain, and confused helplessness, the survivors in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand and othe places hit, display an ardent will to carry on... that is all they have left to do. These are people who often did not have much in the way of earthly possesions to begin with, but still they seem to hold a distant hope that life will regain its rightful place, amid the permeating and overwhelming sense of fateful death.

Of all the reports shown during the live coverage, and the special reports, and the likes, one story cannot seem to leave my head. It is not the most desperate account of loss, but it seems to correctly show the general state of aimless chaos that resulted from this catastrophe. It is the story of a little 7 year old boy from Sri Lanka, named Shihan (Jan. 5). Shihan was on a train with his mother and 2 sisters when the waves hit the coast, and smashed the train off the track. The little boy, fearing imminent death, clung for his life on the luggage railings in the train, and survived... his mother and siblings did not. Shihan was eventually saved, and reunited with his father. But it is not merely the story that was poignant. Hearing this little mild-mannered boy, with his sharp voice, recounting candidly, sadly, but confidently his ordeal was even more painful. The courage this boy displays really mirrors the magnitude of what hit him. >"I am alone in this world now," he says finally, "except for my father...". Seeing the eyes of this little, one cannot help but wonder about nature's cruelty. What did this boy do to deserve such sudden loss and pain, in such hard circumstances, at such a young age?

Selective Charity in the West?

Tails like Shihan's, and worse, are now everywhere, and on every channel. Though they hit specific countries, the killer waves of the angry ocean affected people all over the world. In all places, in Europe, Anerica, Asia, even in poor countries in Africa and South America, people of all walks of life are pledging their support in however benign way they can afford. This surge of generosity can arguably be attributed to the courageous work that reporters of CNN and all the majors international news network, who took it upon themselves, despite the toll it had on their own psyche, to be there from the get go, to create awareness of the sheer devastation that we were about to discover; their work should be recognised.

But some might also argue - and rightly so - that the generosity of the World, especially the West, is at least aided by the fact that the affected areas were tourist spots, filled with Westerners: Sweden, for instance, claims close to 3,500 missing people, and hundreds of deaths. One might recall that th initial response of Western countries to the disaster was described as stingy by Ian Egeland of the United Nations, and it is only after several internal and external pressure, that the United States dramatically incrased its financial participation in the relief effort. Victims of other catastrophic events around the World, though sympathetic to the survivors, do wonder where all this money, and all this good will, was, when they needed help in Somalia, Sudan, Darfur, Rwanda, Congo, and other places that account for close to 50,000,000 of "non-natural" deaths in the past 10 years only (with 1,000,000 in 3 months, in the Rwandan genocide of 1994). What is it that makes the richer countries' people dip deeper in their pockets, for humanity's sake? Must there be White people among the victims? Or maybe it's just a matter of media coverage? One can only venture a guess.

Yes, in this case, many Westerners died, and it must have been a factor. But we can also remember the great support drives for hunger relief in Ethiopia. Western help seems to have to do with the sheer magnitude, and the cause of the disaster. When it is a natural catastrophe - droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis - they tend to get a little more riled up for the cause. As for magnitude, the contrast between life before and after the tsunami is mind-bogglingg. Satelite images of the areas affected tell the story of entire communities wiped out from the face of the earth. People are already refering to a "Tsunami generation" of children. Even veteran UN Secretary General Kofi Annan could not reconcile himself with the painful reality of what he saw.

Common Humanity

Trying to understand why people respond differently in different - though similar - situations of pain, has been, and will probably always be a great challenge to the greatest minds. But if ever a good should come from such destruction as the one resulting from the Sumatra quake, maybe it is that people on the planet can advance further toward an acknowledgement of our common humanity. As my friend Kathleen, who has been following the developments in Asia with me, noted yesterday, many of the Western relief workers were able to see their own children, in the eyes of those children they came to help, despite the different skin color, features, wealth levels, education, religion, and language.

It is sad that it takes such catastrophes for people all over the world to recognize that there is th same level of humanity in all people that respond to the description of homo-sapiens - and incidentally, that means women too! That there are still White people who see black people as inferior boggles mind. That there are still Arabs who refer to Black people as A'bid (slave), and treat them as such, seems simply ludicrous! That the lightness or darkness of one's skin, regardless of where one comes from - Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, etc - could be determinant of whether one achieves his/her goals does not seem believeable in a 21st century where most of humanity - as a whole! - is faced with tremendously more important challenges such as disease, lack of education, hunger, and poverty.

It is hard for me to see the organizaing forces of this World - whether one calls them God, or Nature - playing games with humanity. But maybe these catastrophes are nature's angry and sadistic way to remind us that there is only one race: human! We cannot live in a time vacuum, because we are the product of our history; it is therefore normal that some injustices of the past, and the misconceptions that caused them, continue to affect our daily lives today, in 2005. However, it is my hope that humanity learns from its instinctual supportive response to disasters like this one, that the life of an Iraqi, a Palestinian, a Rwandan, a Congolese, a Philipino, an Indonesian, or a Sri Lankan, is every bit as valuable as that of a Frenchman, a Briton, a German, an Israeli, or an American. Just look at the eyes of the kids receiving the aid in the disaster areas; they are not seeing White people, or Black people, or South Asian people: they are simply seeing human beings extending to them the helping hand of love, and care.

My most sincere condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy. I come from a region in the World where loss is our daily bread... Grieve in peace, and then embrace life, as your loved ones would want you to. May they rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What is love?

I had a very interesting discussion today with my aunt Melanie, and we discussed the differences between the conception of love back home, and here in the USA.

It is very interesting to see how many young people back home emulate the stars on popular American shows in their pursuits, but then when it is actually time to be in the relationship, they revert to the very un-romantic attitudes of our traditions; especially young men.

Don't get me wrong, there are some of us who do believe in the whole romance spiel, and I happen to be one of them. But in male Congolese company, it is an aspect of me that I'd rather keep to myself, for fear of being labelled "Westerner", "White", or simply "Softy"!!! It's a little bit like the locker-room-jock kind of situation and "macho" attitude, but to the tenfold. It is not uncommon to hear comments like "Love is an excuse for wimps who can't get women... and for White people of course".

I was feeling hopelessly lost and desperate in the discussion (as I am myself a believer in romance), when I realized something: It's not that romantic love does not exist back home; it's just that the cultural system has not allowed it to flourish as much (Just like the church did in the West up to a century ago). It has become a non-issue for lack of interest, but it does not mean people stop feeling it: they just don't talk about it, because frankly they don't know how to, and they don't really care, as long as they get what they want.

Not that I have anything against having sex, but I do appreciate and cherish the idea of having a partner that not only shares her body with me, but also what we refer to as her "heart" (because we know that, technically, it's just a muscle, right?).., but seriously, why is it so hard for people to embrace their feelings, as well as their urges? Is one less of a man because he is weak-kneed when asking someone to marry them, or because one cries when he is heartbroken? Personally, I don't think so.

But then I had a second epiphany: I was mostly thinking about Men! In fact, women are a bit more in tune with their feelings back home too; in fact they are almost required to be, by the education they receive. So the notion of romantic love with chemistry, and butterflies, and longing, and the whole package, is easier to sell to them.

So then I came to the conclusion that my being an 'aspiring romantic' was not totally against my society and culture... My globally-oriented education simply gives me a few more tools to express it.

I feel a lot better now!!! I am not totally Westernized !!! That is really good news (no offense to the West, I do love you guys!).