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PeaceMaker

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The year 1994 was a seriously auspicious year in my modest and miserable life. I use "miserable" here in the sense that whilst I am priviledged in so many ways, I have been rendered unlucky in different ways. In particular? The death of my best friend and brother: Samuel.D.Bensah.

That being said, whilst I was living my life in 1994, enjoying my one-week encounter with Dutch people; members of the opposite sex, whilst dressed smartly in a suit representing Argentina -- all this at the (annual) The Hague International Model United Nations -- an unspeakable crime was being cooked up in the land that is known fondly as "the Land of the Thousand Hills": Rwanda.

The following entries, as it were, are reports/essays/ruminations that were percolating in my small brain in 1994. From my ambition to be a translator for the United Nations, to the Xfiles, and a history essay on Colonisation, it would take me as late as 1998, when studying Political Science at Vesalius College that I uncovered, first by way of a BBC Panorama programme on the 1994 genocide -- shown in December 1998 -- and further private readings of the genocide on sites like Human Rights Watch, that I would be brought face-to-face with the full horrors of the events that would ensue on April 7, 1994, when the genocide was officially "launched".

I had a dream (even if at French class...) ] The Xfiles...Ghost in the Machine ] The Xfiles...Ice ] 1994 History essay on colonisation ] 1994 Genocide in Rwanda ]

I had a dream in 1995, at my French class... to work as a translator for the UN...

Mon avenir

La raison principale pour laquelle j'ai decidé d'étudier les langues est parce que je crois que mon point fort est les langues. Je ne suis pas expert dans les langues bien sur, mais je crois que les langues sont de bonnes voies d'avenir. C'est ainsi la raison pour laquelle j'ai décidé de suivre des cours universitaires en traduction à ISTI. En fait, ISTI se trouve près du Bois de la Cambre en Bruxelles et ça represente l'Institut Superieur de Traducteurs et Interpretes (de la communauté francaise).

En fait, j'espère travailler dans une organisation internationale - notamment, les Nations Unies. Je crois que la raison derrière ce choix est parce que je suis fort passionné aux activites de L'ONU, et je crois que c'est peut-être a cause du "Model United Nations" - les Nations Unies simulé auxquelles j'ai assisté avec 15 autres étudiants, il y a un an cette semaine exactement. J'ai aussi constaté que depuis ce temps la, j'ai eu un gout croissant pour les activités de l'ONU qui semblent me fasciner. En fait, les débouchés d'être traducteur ou interprète sont divers: on peut travailler soit dans des bureaux de traduction ou dans une école secondaire, soit dans une organisation internationale comme L'Union Europeene, le Parlement Européen, l'OTAN ou les Nations Unies.

En outre, je crois que la chose qui rend l'art de la traduction très fascinant et excitant, est le fait que en faisant la traduction, on étudie beaucoup plus de choses sur la vie, sur d'autres sujets - comme le droit, l'économie, l'histoire, la philosophie, la psychologie; la liste est interminable. Je crois que ça entraine une meilleure perspective de la vie moderne et donne aussi une meilleure idée sur des cultures diverses.

En fait, c’est une situation très ironique pour moi je crois parce que quand j’étais plus jeune et je regardais des nouvelles sur la politique et tout ça, je disais à mon frère que la politique - ça ne m’interessait pas du tout et que tout ce que les politiciens savent faire sont montrer sur un podium et faire des propositions idéalistiques qu’ils ne savent pas résoudre. Mais, c’est ironique que c’est exactement la même chose que nous faisons au “Model United Nations”- le Nations Unies simulé - l’année dernière! J’ai réalisé que si je suis accepté pour travailler a l’ONU - après l’université bien sur - je devrais traduire beaucoup des documents dont la majorité s’agisse de documents politiques, techniques ou légals.

En fait, ça c’est tous ce que j’aspire à faire quand je passe mes examens ; je devrais render compte du fait que il s’agit de mon avenir où les examens sont concerné !!

ekbensah II/2411995/frnchjmc.doc/word6.0


X-Files:BBC2-22:00-3 November 1994

Scully and Mulder investigate a case whereby a computer,designed by a certain Brad Wilzcek, goes beserk and develops a mind of its own, killing 2 people: Scully's ex-partner and another dude whom I'll explain to you later on. Problem? Artificial Intelligence integrated within an adaptive network, with video-camera recording, &tc. Incidentally,the COS (Computer Operating System) tapped Scully's computer and phone lines. Mulder came up wit the analogy that it needed to self-preserve itself once it heard that one of the company memb- ers had decided to close the whole system down. According to Mulder,the prima ry instinct of all sensual devices is self-preservation. This is what he guesses the computer was trying to do by killing 2 people - one by electrocu- tion and the other, Mulder's partner by a lift drop of 30 to 0 floors. YES! I'm talking REAL FAST lift drop! Ghastly!

Mulder: "And you talk about MORALITY! You're afraid of the govt yet you know
that the computer might kill again!"
BradWL: " The lesser of two evils huh?!"

Finally, Wilzcek compromises with Mulder by conceding to create a virus which will confuse the computer and destroy it's 'thinking' capabilities. However, it doesn't die. Fabulously incredible! Virus was proliferated through a disk- ette which was inserted into a standalone computer linked to the 3/4 screens which the computer was fitted with.

Conclusion: After virus spreads and computer shuts down, security guard who was under the payroll of the Defense Intelligence Agency(?) was asked to confine the machine to the shredder after its disassemblement. His final words on the "dead" COS screen are of mysterious nature:

"By God I'm gonna figure you out if I can..."

Emmanuel.k.Bensah II - The X-File


X-Files (10 November 94 - BBC2: 22:00-22:45)

Mulder and Scully go to the Antarctica (Ice Cape?) with a pilot (who gets killed), a biologist, a taxidermist(?) and a scientist/doctor, to try and investigate why a group working at the Ice Cape centre get killed. Problem? A worm that crawls under human skin, producing a black spot on the skin resembling "Bubonic Plague" symptom. Incidentally, worm is about 2000 yrs old under the ice and lives in ammonia (NH4 I think?); once inside a host body, it makes the host violent and aggressive to the point of killing one another{7 seconds playing onBEL-RTL N.Cherry&...}. This seems to be the only logical explanation as to how the group died.

Furthermore, the dog had it, bit the pilot, who then became aggressive. When worm was taken out of him, he died. Fortunately, dog was put in a cage until Scully (taxidermist-woman + scientist/doctor) came up with a solution after a skin-crawling observation.It was an observation which demonstratively showed that if 2 worms meet in a host body, they eventually kill each other.

Unfortunately for the woman, she contracts this bizarre infection and so 2nd worm is put in her through the ear(like dog); eventually, both of them come back to normal. Unfortunately for Mulder too, he gets suspected of having it (after biologist is found dead) and so is confined in a dark room till Scully checks him out (and V.Versa). Incidentally, last words by a member of the gro- up before dying: "WE ARE NOT WHO WE ARE...WE ARE NOT WHO WE REALLY ARE..."

Conclusion: The Army torch up the place; however, Mulder is still convinced that the worms are still there since their presence coincided with the time that a meteor crashed there 2000 yrs earlier! It just goes to prove that we, in effect ARE NOT ALONE...

Emmanuel.k.Bensah II - The X-Phile


History essay on colonialism, or *how not to write a history essay* ! I mean, check the vocabulary--pl--ease!...

How and Why do historians disagree on the importance of colonial nationalism as a factor causing the end of Britain's empire?

If ever there is a topic which has caused so much controversy among historians, it must be the topic of decolonization and the British Empire. Decolonization was a rapid process, as has been marked by many historians, but yet the reasons behind this rapid process have yet to be fully answered. Some historians come up with different interpretations as to why it took place, failing to acknowledge the research of other earlier historian's views.

Many schools of thought have been instituted in order to explain the rapid 'disintegration of Britain's imperial system after 1945'1. It was in the 1950s that it 'became apparent that something more far-reaching was taking place than a mere change of constitutional forms from 'Empire' to 'Commonwealth'2; according to John Darwin, it was at this time that the 'end of {British} empire formally came about. Some historians have looked as far back as the days of the early empire, long before the First World War of 1914, to try and detect the grains of decay that were sprouting out ready to bloom. Other historians have also clung onto the idea that it was because of profound changes within the British society and the British economy after 1945; others too have formulated a syllogism that the "break-up of British world power was little more than an incidental by-product of the rise of the super-powers"3. However, it seems as if probably, the most "forceful and persuasive" (according to Darwin) historians have been the ones that have stubbornly declared that colonial rule was demolished in the colonies themselves: by the ineluctable and expediental rise of colonial nationalism.

The historical label of "colonial nationalism" was not a period in history whereby colonial nationalism just occurred, and therefore, cannot be attributed to one particular period in time. Before I venture to expound on my ideas, I feel that it is necessary to explain what 'colonial nationalism' really is.

'Colonial nationalism' was the belief held that subjects in colonies who were being controlled from the centre, had the right to practise self-determination. However, one reason why many historians disagree on the importance of colonial nationalism as a contributory factor to the downfall of the British Empire, is that over the years, methods in researching into the past have advanced, especially with the advent of modern technology and computers, and so, historians have been able to look and probe into topics in great depth and also from a different perspective, thus coming out with different interpretations. These interpretations have usually been found under shools of thought- such as has been instituted by Darwin.

Darwin, for example, feels that there is "no single cause...sufficient " enough "to explain the break-up of the British Imperial system". He feels that the causes of the end of the empire "cannot be found at only one level of politics, whether domestic, international or colonial". In fact, he does not feel that colonial nationalism played a preponderant role in the break-up; it was, he feels, more a breakdown of international relations which included "Sterling crises and the renunciation of a strategic role east of Suez - once the playground of British sea power..." Holland, an English historian, also supports the premiss of the breakdown of international relations and the Suez crisis; he states that the Suez crisis was "probably the most decisive event in British foreign policy during the 1950s" In fact, he and Darwin's views are in conjunction with each other in light of the Suez crisis being a subsidiary factor to the breakdown of the empire; however, Holland feels taht it played a much more prominent role in the empire's decline and so, he strengthens his line of argument with substantial information concerning the Suez crisis.

The Suez crisis, Holland believed, was the "turning point" for it brought to light the incapabilities of the British government to deal with its foreign issues. "It can broadly, if crudely, be argued.."he states, "that the crisis concerned the UK's ability to operate as a world power whose claims to that status{as world power} were uniquely geared to its role in the underdeveloped world..." According to Holland, it was Nasser, who seeing an opportunity to portray himself as "a representative of the thwarted aspirations of under-developed countries (thus making further American machinations against him rather difficult...)" wanted to the "exploit the vacuum" which opened by aiming a crippling and final blow at British prestige in the region" As one sees from this syllogism, different historians have different views about the breakdown of the empire; so far I have mentioned Darwin's theory who feels that the decline of the empire was a nexus of several factors - not necessarily colonial nationalism, whereas Holland hardly mentions colonial nationalism as playing an important factor , but rather, sees the Suez crisis as a much more preponderant factor in Britain's decline.

In fact, to premise that the breakdown of Britain's empire was a nexus of several factors is a putative but inconclusive statement; for quite clearly, "the force majeure of international politics powerfully affected the stability of Britain's post-war empire and threatened its cohesion"4 According to Darwin, it is not "clear that progress towards self-government in British colonies was to any significant degree the result of external pressure by a superpower" He goes on to syllogize that "international factors undoubtedly played a vital, if indirect role and certainly undermined the stratagems of British leaders." Why Darwin disagrees on colonial nationalism being a prominent factor is because with Darwin, he has established three schools of thought whereby school A states that decolonisation came about owing to political change; school B states that economic change was a contributory factor and thirdly, school C states that ideological change was to blame. Furthermore, affiliated to these schools of thought are what Darwin classifies as metropolitan and peripheral theories . The metropolitan theory suggests that "empire was given up either because it was felt to be too burdensome or because it no longer served any economic or strategic purpose" as opposed to the peripheral theory which deals with external, outside influences such as the breakdown of international politics and foreign affairs between Britain, America and Egypt(such as in the Suez crisis) and the force of colonial pressures. Furthermore, Darwin sees the peripheral theory as also being "the stage where a variety of influences , some local, some remote in origin, combined to effect to political changes, that together, brought about the demolition of the British Empire."

Ansprenger, a German historian, however feels strongly that colonial nationalism played a crucial role in the decline of the empire for he believes in the theory of underdevelopment - that the subjects inside the colonies were viewed on as inferior - or rather less superior , and consequently, they felt they were being oppressed; naturally, this gave rise to colonial nationalism. A popular belief that was held by many of the colonialists - according to Ansprenger, was the idea that "Africans were an inferior link in the chain of nature created for slavery" Nevertheless, contrary to Ansprenger's views, Fieldhouse - a British historian- feels that it is not true. He does not entirely disagree on the theory of colonial nationalism, but he says it was a factor. Fieldhouse's theory , in effect conflicts with that of Ansprenger's because Fieldhouse is tryin to hold the argument that " the most commonly held and dangerous myth connected with the modern empires is that they were great machines deliberately constructed by Europe to exploit dependent peoples by extracting economic and fiscal profit from them". In other words, he feels that the colonies were not really exploited, so why would there have been any need for the subjects to demand their right of self-determination because of this so-called 'exploitation'. In fact, Fieldhouse gives a more revisionist approach by saying that "nationalism in the sense of hostility to alien rule, certainly existed from the beginning, and was expressed in strong, initial resistance to effective occupation by Europeans and later in major rebellions"

In conclusion, the reason why Fieldhouse disagrees on colonial nationalism being a prominent factor in the decline of the British Empire is because of his strong belief that nationalism was an inevitable force which was running through the veins of colonial history. Therefore, for one to premise that it was a preponderant or even prominent factor is false, because it was inevitable that it would happen; there were rather, certain other factors affecting the decline of the British Empire - such as the breakdown of international relations between UK and America, and also the Suez crisis - which was a major turning point in Britain's relations between other member states, especially America, and ,last but not least, the inevitable advent and rise of nationalism. In fact, "the ideology of anti-colonialism influenced the whole conception of natural interests" and "this, as in other ways,...was a conjunction of political change in the colony and the shifts in the wider, global scene that proved a deadly anti-colonial combination"5

Footnotes: Darwin,John - The End of British Empire.
1470-80wrds
ekbensah/nationlm/winwrite/81194-301094


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