Canada through the eyes of an immigrant

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New York Times Not Happy about DR Congo TP Mazembe

Many Congolese in Kinshasa and Montreal were celebrating TP Mazembe’s success in Abu Dhabi though some newspapers around the globe were very critical of the club and its president. 

The New York Times wrote a piece about TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the team that has surpassed all expectations by reaching the Club World Cup competition in Abu Dhabi. In the article; “TP Mazembe surprises the World, Not Itself” Jack Bell criticises Moise Katumbi Chapwe, the governor of Katanga, TP Mazembe’s province as an ambitious politician who is a big spender of his own money that he earns through questionable mining ventures. Katumbi who is also TP Mazembe’s owner is described as a Congolese Jew who is capricious and cares only about winning. For the writer of the article, it seems like Katumbi should use his money on something else and not on football because TP Mazembe will go into oblivion as soon as their owner disappear; it is therefore a waste of resources and everybody’s time (especially the reporter’s).       
This is what is wrong with the Western media; thinking that Africa is doomed and nothing good comes from that continent. Africans are always underdogs in the eyes of many European and American journalists. Though TP Mazembe lost against Internazionale in the finals, it looked like the western press felt happy and relieved because the status quo was maintained.

Also on Malawi Current News (Montreal):

Congo Streets: Better than Cirque du Soleil in Montreal

Mazembe and the Unity of DR Congo

Refugees, Explosions and Montreal Fireworks



Friday, December 17, 2010

Congo Streets: Better than Cirque du Soleil in Montreal

Africans are very talented but simply lack the means of development. Growing in African countries I saw all types of acrobatics.One day while walking in Zambia, I remember seeing an acrobatic man licking his backbone to prove that he could curl his entire body like a tire. This is just of the many talented men and women from the African continent looking for a way to breakthrough in art, but sadly the people around these artists are busy looking for money to feed themselves and their own families before spending it on some street performer.
Acrobats in Lake Kivu, DR Congo
Montreal's Cirque du Soleil for years has been respected for its colourful and artistic shows around the world. Montreal has been the home of Cirque du Soleil for many years and has therefore contributed a lot to the company's success. If Cirque began in Congo Kinshasa, it could have been dead by now due to many factors including wars, insecurity, famine etc. I went to watch a few of their shows and in some instances I was impressed at what the human body can do!  As their latest show, Quidam opens tomorrow in Montreal, I think of the potential that Africa has. 
Also Read:

AIDS patients not welcome in Montreal and Canada

Mazembe and the Unity of DR Congo

Watch a street acrobat who might like to join Cirque du Soleil

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mazembe and the Unity of DR Congo

When hockey is on in Montreal, everything else is secondary.It is coomon knowledge that Canadians like ice hockey especially if they grew up in a place where the weather is cold.
It is not a secret that Africans love football. Though the (un)Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by war and  poverty for decades, soccer has always been uniting and bonding. When the national Congolese football team plays in Africa, every citizen is behind them, even though they are from different tribes. In a way football has the power dig out and display the good in people and bury the bad feelings, even momentarily. It is calming to  think that at the moment that TP Mazembe will be playing in the final in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi; soldiers, rebels and even the president of the Congo will be glued to their televisions.

Not many from Lubumbashi thought that a glorious day like this would come for Tout Puissant Mazembe, the Almighty soccer club from D.R Congo. For years, the only trophies Mazembe could win was either regional or national.

Also Read on this blog:
Montreal, Lubumbashi Club World Cup and Mazembe

AIDS patients not welcome in Montreal and Canada

 Cote d'Ivoire Tribal Wars and Canada

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cote d'Ivoire Tribal Wars and Canada

According to the country's Election Body, Lassane Ouatarra is the outright winner of last month' elections. Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivoirian president for the last 7 years refuses and wants to hold on to power.
The divisions in Cote d'Ivoire between Laurent Gbabo and Lassane Ouattara reminds me of what I see everyday here in Montreal Canada. In reality, the division is between Christians from the south and Moslems from the Northern parts of Cote d'Ivoire. Apart from religious differences, there are also tribal and ethnic lines that separates the two 'presidents'.
A similar situation has developed  in Canada between the French and English. It seems that they will never agree to live in peace. The difference though is that here Canadians will  rarely use violence or guns to demonstrate the allegiance to their origins.

Africa Oh Africa!

Montreal, Lubumbashi Club World Cup and Mazembe

Montreal is quiet and cold, while not many in the city are thinking about soccer, they are probably thinking about Wednesday's Montreal Canadiens game.
On the other hand, Lubumbashi in D.R Congo is probably the happiest and loudest city in Africa at this  moment. This is because TP Mazembe reached the final of the soccer Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Tout-Puissant or Almighty Mazembe is the team that eliminated the American champions Pachuca and the Brazilians Intercional in the Club World  Cup in Abu Dhabi. Many considered them as underdogs because of their history and their performance in the past.  Surprisingly, by Tuesday evening, the Internet was abuzz from stories praising them on renowned websites like ESPN, the Washington Post, CNN and of course CBC.  During the days leading to the Final on the 18th of this month, they will be named by many more.
 This is a great achievement because having lived in Lubumbashi, I know how life must have been for some Mazembe players.   Lubumbashi has experienced some hard times especially under the authoritarian rule of Mobutu Sese Seko. Tribal wars, famine and violence is what many of those players have seen while growing up in the 80s and 90s. Reaching the final of the Champions League on the African and now on the World stage shows that TP Mazembe is really Almighty and can stand any kind of pressure even from the Italian favourites; Internazionale.

poster 10 x (AT)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Refugees, Explosions and Montreal Fireworks

For some refugees, the sound of fireworks is a nightmare.
Every Saturdays nights in December in Montreal all eyes and ears turn to the Old Port, where Telus is sponsoring an event called "Fire on Ice"; a pyromusical show that takes you to another dimension.  Hundreds of Montrealers and tourists alike are attracted to see the magic of fireworks with music under the cold breeze of winter. For many, fireworks are beautiful, breathtaking and impressive. When growing up around them, you come to view them as magical with a fairytale element to them. Hollywood and Disney movies influence many children while growing up to accept them as legitimate entertainment.    On the other hand, when you grow up around bombs, grenades and explosions, fireworks represent nothing magical or nothing to be desired. For many refugees, the noise  from fireworks explosions lead to  memories of pissing in your pants due to fear, looking for an escape, or sometimes even  making their heart beat faster or as one told me; ' having an imminent apocalyptic fear.'   

Thursday, December 9, 2010

AIDS patients not welcome in Montreal and Canada

Around the city of Montreal you will find billboards with strong messages against stereotyping and discrimating those with HIV or AIDS. This is an opportune time as Montreal and the World were celebrating World AIDS Day on the 1st of December. These billboards are ironic because those asylum seekers from Africa suffering from Aids are not allowed in Montreal.  The discrimination is already underway as we are talking. As a refugee, before coming to Canada, you have to undergo a costly medical check-up to ensure that you are healthy and ‘fit for immigration’. I still remember a family who were found with the HIV virus and were therefore refused the opportunity to immigrate. They are still in a Tanzanian refugee with one if their children dead. On the other hand, a Canadian with HIV/AIDS can go anywhere he/she wants. This is survival of the fittest.

 Is this reasonable?

poster 10xATyahoo. ca

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Montreal snowstorms and refugees

Montreal was a mess late Monday afternoon as the city was hit by the first major snowstorm this season. While driving on Highway 40 East, I heard the announcer on the Radio proudly saying that the traffic jam started from the Sources in the west all the way to Anjou! Other highways were experiencing the same troubles.
A Congolese family from a Mozambican refugee Camp were spending their first evening in Montreal. According to them, this was their first evening of ‘peace and quiet’ after living in war torn areas and refugee camps for more than 10 years. The 3 youngest children were born in refugee camps. When I asked them what they thought of snow, the young children responded almost in unison:  "snow is like white corn flour only cold and with a taste of water.”  As I was driving them from the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Montreal Airport, the announcer  on the radio was talking about the current accusations  of corruption in the provincial government, the debate on high tuition fees in universities, construction companies having close ties to the Government owing money from taxes etc. As I was listening to all this information, the refugee family members were simply happy to be safe in a country where they will not be fearing for their lives as they did back in the camps.  Snowing or not, they will safer than they were last week.

You like winter and snow? 


Email me: poster10x(AT)yahoo.  ca