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Archive for December 26th, 2008

Jesus, Obama and Ronaldo?

Posted by African Press International on December 26, 2008

Why Jesus would have been named Obama or Ronaldo


This is the season when as the younger folk would put it, we celebrate the birth of that dude Jesus Christ. But what if Christ was born today instead, somewhere in Africa, what would be different?

One of, or all of, several things would have happened.

First, and very ironically, it would be easier to accept the idea of a virgin birth today than hundreds of years ago. This is because with the advancement of knowledge, we know that, indeed, a few mammals do have virgin births.

We would have headlines claiming that Jesus was either a genetically modified baby, a test tube baby or a strange IVF baby. So, it could be a story of advanced science.

Secondly, it would be presented as a con. Cynics would laugh at the idea of a Virgin Mary, the wife of a carpenter called Joseph, having a child without any sexual contact, but through the command of God.

If Joseph and Mary were based in Thika, I can well imagine headlines like Thika con couple claim miracle baby, and Fraud of the year; couple claim God is babys father!

But the Born-Again crowd would be batting for the miracle baby Jesus and thousands of people would be coming from all over the world to see the baby.

Now, if Joseph were truly modern, he would do the sensible thing set up a stall and charge people to view the Son of God. The Government would, naturally, be concerned about the popularity of Jesus, and eager to stop word going round that he would set up a New Order.

To make matters worse, the Opposition leader and local MP will have gone to the area to try and claim some credit for the godly birth.

Because we no longer accept that anyone from the tribe of parties to a conflict can be an independent investigator, a commission of gynaecologists and lawyers from the Commonwealth would be set up to find out the truth of the virgin birth, and establish if there had been any political mischief.

The third related possibility is that he would definitely not have been called Jesus.

Strictly, December 25 is not Jesuss exact birthday, so if he had been born a few months earlier and in Kenya he would have been named Kofi Annan, after the role the former Ghanaian-born UN Secretary-General played in brokering the political deal to end the post-election violence that opened 2008.

If we stick to the December 25 date, however, then there is absolutely no doubt that Jesus would have been named Obama after the US president-elect Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected to the position.

Though Obama has a special place in the current nationalist narrative in Kenya because his father was Kenyan, Jesus would still have been named Obama whatever African country he had been born in because of the continents obsession with his rise. If not, then he would have been named after a footballer like Manchester Uniteds Ronaldo.

The fourth possibility would have been that the birth of Jesus would have gone unnoticed. There would have been no news about it. This is because neither of Jesuss parents would be celebs, and therefore their child (even if he wasnt born in a manger) wouldnt deserve attention in our celebrity-drunk media.

Whichever way Jesuss birth might have played, the one thing that would have been very different is the storyline. For while many accept the idea of Christ, one of the things our age doesnt entertain is that which is probably least controversial about Jesus the notion that he was born to be The Saviour.

Freedom, democracy, progress, and most of the values that have shaped our world are based on the idea that you get rewarded for doing good and working at something, and punished for laziness and doing evil.

You pray and perform good works in the eyes of God, then you are blessed and get a ticket to Heaven. You work hard and honestly, you get promoted to a higher salary and bigger pay cheque. You snooze, you lose.

Of course, things dont always work this way, as people will still get jobs because of their tribe, or who their parents and uncles are. But even the guy who gives a job out on ethnic basis, will still claim that he gave it out on merit.

That Christ would have been born to be Christ, and didnt have to work at it, just wouldnt have washed. So the 21st Century Christ wouldnt have been born to the calling; he would have had it thrown unto his lap by either history or circumstance, or he would have made his bones through his own industry.

To jump ahead of ourselves, one thing that would also have changed is the events at Jesus crucifixion. The thief would have received a last-minute pardon, but we shall return to that another day.


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The Somali pirates will now face Chinese ships – China has despatched warships to Somalia’s coastal line

Posted by African Press International on December 26, 2008

Chinese ships head to Somalia


Three Chinese naval vessels left for Somalia on Friday to help tackle piracy in a sign of the country’s rising global clout, and Japan said it may soon follow suit.

The destroyers Haikou and Wuhan, two of China’s navy’s most sophisticated warships, set sail from the southern resort island of Hainan along with a supply vessel, the official Xinhua news agency said. The three ships have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops, Xinhua said.

“We have made special preparations to deal with pirates, even though these waters are not familiar to us,” it quoted mission commander Rear-Admiral Du Jingcheng as saying.

The crack forces are expected to give the fleet an edge in seeing off the pirates, with one of the soldiers able to “handle several enemies with (his) bare hands,” Xinhua said.

“Our primary target is not striking them but dispelling them,” Du said. “If the pirates make direct threats against the warships or the vessels we escort, the fleet will take counter measures.”

A surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the Somali gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransom and prompted foreign warships to the area.

Now Japan is considering sending its ships too, which could prove a legal and diplomatic headache for Tokyo, whose military activities overseas are tightly restricted by its post-World War Two pacifist constitution.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso ordered Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada to press ahead with talks on how the armed forces could act against the pirates, the government’s top spokesman told reporters.

“He ordered the defence minister to speed up considerations so that we can act quickly,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told reporters.

The naval dispatch would be the first by Japan to the region. Japan’s military has not engaged in combat since World War Two though Japanese forces have been in Iraq to help in the country’s reconstruction.

Any Japanese mission also raises the possibility that Japan may end up working with China to deal with the pirates, a country where memories of the Japanese army’s brutal 1931-1945 invasion and partial occupation still run deep.

While China’s growing wealth and influence have seen it involved in a number of peacekeeping operations around the world, it has traditionally kept troops close to home, reflecting a doctrine of non-interference in other nations’ affairs.

But the Somalia mission is an opportunity for China to take a greater role in global security without raising hackles from neighbours, many of whom, including Japan, have long-festering territorial disputes with Beijing.

“The general sense is China is now a regional power, and in the economic domain has become a major player with rising economic strength,” said Wu Ray-kuo, managing director of political risk at Taipei’s Fu-Jen University.

“There is also responsibility that comes with it, responsibility not only in the area of financial matters but also in other areas like politics and security.”

Still, the presence of Chinese warships in foreign waters is sure to fan unease in some quarters overseas.

Beijing’s opaque but quickening military build-up has contributed to a sense of unease in parts of Asia, especially Taiwan, the self-ruled island China claims as its own and has vowed to bring under mainland control, by force if necessary.

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