A question for abolitionists

Over the years, I have come to the position that prisons should be abolished however I have always wondered what to do with administrators and politicians who through acts of omission or Commission, lead to death or destitution among the population.

I saw this question and wondered what most of you here you support abolition think


I should write about architecture

I am doing capitalism badly. I have been running this blog for so many years but I hardly ever write about architecture, except to share buildings that I like instead of making all the visitors to this humble blog that we are architects, love architecture and practice architecture :).

But I have other interests. You see I am an African and Africa interests me. And so today I want to remember an African killed by the military dictatorship of Abacha. Ken Saro-Wiwa’s final summation to the military court is a brilliant and short oration. It is the conviction of a man about to die for what he believes in that I found so moving. It reminds me of Castro’s History will absolve me.

My lord,

We all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated. I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory.

I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the Company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the Company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.

On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and those who assist them. Any nation which can do to the weak and disadvantaged what the Nigerian nation has done to the Ogoni, loses a claim to independence and to freedom from outside influence. I am not one of those who shy away from protesting injustice and oppression, arguing that they are expected in a military regime. The military do not act alone. They are supported by a gaggle of politicians, lawyers, judges, academics and businessmen, all of them hiding under the claim that they are only doing their duty, men and women too afraid to wash their pants of urine. We all stand on trial, my lord, for by our actions we have denigrated our Country and jeapardized the future of our children. As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honour justice, freedom, and hard work. I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by generations yet unborn. Some have already cast themselves in the role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual.

I predict that the denouncement of the riddle of the Niger delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favoured will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.

In my innocence of the false charges I face Here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: ‘All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor.’ Come the day.

–Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa

This post has no title

I said somewhere I am reading Zola’s the earth. It’s such a work!

Somewhere he writes

Is misfortune ever at an end? This universal suffrage, now, it don’t bring meat to the pot, does it? The land tax weighs us down, they keep on taking our children to fight. It’s not a bit of use having revolutions, it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other, and a peasant always remains a peasant.

And for some reason, this would almost reflect the situation of the poor in Kenya. First, the concern of most people is food. I would call it the politics of food. In place of land tax, I would name the many varied taxes the thieving government imposes on the working classes. And maybe, one would almost conclude elections don’t help us. The poor almost always remain poor.

Concerning inheritance

Should a rich parent share out their wealth to the progeny when they are still alive or should they sell it and enjoy the proceeds while they still live and let the children fend for themselves?

This is the question presented to us in The Earth by Emile Zola when the Fouans decide to partition the land they own to their children; two sons and a daughter. The elder sister, Le Grande, widowed and mean, advices the younger brother intent on dividing his land to his children not to do it that he will shortly become a beggar. The brother at this point in time is not able to till the land and would not want to see it lie fallow for he has lived all his life working the land. For Le Grande, strangers would rather take the land than she partition it out to her children.

What’s your take?

And a bonus question, are children owed an inheritance from the labour of their parents? All of it or are parents at liberty to dispose of their assets as they see fit?

On consent

When I started this blog, I think 7 years ago, I wasn’t sure it would last this long. I wasn’t even sure what I would write after the first few blog posts, but here we are. I hope all you who drop by find something useful, interesting, pleasurable or thought provoking as a take away.

And critics like Brian who are charitable in their disagreement. You make this a worthwhile venture. And all of you who make this blog great through your interactions, thank you.

But I digress.

There is a case in UK about consent between a man and his ailing wife and the comments of the judge is already raising heat.

On the same theme, three court of appeal judges have forced on a debate on Kenyans regarding the age of consent. One of the matters raised is the about lowering the age of consent from 18 to 16 and the issue of disproportionate punishment meted on boys for having sex with their agemates who later sometimes end up being treated as sex offenders.

What are your thoughts on either of the two matters.