Questions & Answers

  • asked in Media 29th Nov '18:

    Why are there people attracted to fake news?.

    Andre Sheppy replied 13th Dec '18:

    The matter of fake news and those who are most drawn and susceptible to it, is merely a scapegoat for the individual's own sense of purpose, his desires, and a means to validate and justify his access, and possession of the devices which allow him access to such 'fake news.' It is like an addiction to a substance, which with repeated use and exposure to it, reinforces the user's need for it.

    For example: an adolescent was heard saying that the account of events which have transpired is more reliably broadcasted by social media, such as Facebook, than what he reads in the print and televised media. With the scrutiny, regulations, legal ramifications and media professionalism at stake, not to mention editors in chief to sieve through a story, that youth must have been averse or unexposed to research assignments as a student and as a grown-up, for him not to appreciate the art of verification of information. It is such persons who often plagiarize, and become impostors.

    Fortunately for such persons, fake news provides a "platform of comfort," where getting the facts "twisted" is the accepted norm and as suggested, possibly the desired one too, and might even consider it to be amusing. However, as human beings we all need some form of cerebral exercise for our brains to continue to sustain the rest of our bodies. So if one is unable to digest wholesome food, he may have to feed on junk or pre- or semi-digested food to survive. Fake news might not be as "healthy" as its factual counterpart, but some people are just fine with it.

    It is written in the Book of Proverbs, that you ought not to try to correct a fool lest he despises you for it, so I said nothing to the lad as he praised his Facebook-sourced news. And remember, it is not what you do not know which makes you a fool, it is why you don't, which does.

    Dec 2018

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  • asked in Humanities 28th Aug '17:

    In the ongoing discussion between atheists and believers at large. Is it fair to claim that atheists view believers to be of lower intellect?.

    Andre Sheppy replied 4th Sep '17:

    To ask whether or not atheists consider believers in God or gods to be of lower intellect, is as fair a question as any. Intelligence is what sets us, as humans, apart from other animals, plants and machines, including computers. In the case of plants and lower animals, senses almost exclusively lead them to action or change of action. However, the senses don't lead or control the actions of humans, they merely help to guide our actions.

    A few months ago, I heard a former Christian on a radio interview offering an explanation for his conversion to atheism. The revelation came to him after he tried to introduce the concept of Jesus Christ to a primitive people who live in a remote part of the world. He said his mission hit a stumbling block, when they asked him, without any preconception of religion, if he had ever met Jesus before, or anybody who have. These simple people would only accept what they or another had seen, and wisely so. Wisdom might be simpler and "lighter" than what most of us make it out to be; and it seems most burdensome when declared in the context of arrogance, bigotry, dogma and narrow-mindedness, which are impediments to intelligence. Such rigid mindsets and frameworks are demonstrated by both atheist and believer, and if one is not careful, one might forget that one's stance is a choice that we choose to make, even without the need for sense-based input or evidence; intelligence at work.

    I suspect that the decisive and current factor which divides the believers from atheists is the relevance of Holy Scriptures and what they offer and mean. Another major issue is the stereotypes which go with being either believer or non-believer, including baptisms, dress and demeanour. Some people reject such stereotypes so much so, that they oppose the structures that support such stereotypes, while others welcome and see such stereotypes as befitting of their association with them. I consider stereotype as a burden to intelligence, but it is also an evolutionary force, and socio-ecological environment might favour a professed believer or a professed atheist even when being either doesn't make a real difference, whether in intelligence or otherwise. A stalemate is on the horizon.

    To break the stalemate, though, we can return to the meaning and relevance of "intelligence," not on an inter-species or inter-personal level, but on a personal basis. Intelligence is representative of one's ability and desire to learn on his or her own, and to subsequently apply what is learnt, whether in action or pondering. The material to be learnt are provided or inspired by our environment, those who co-occupy that environment, and self, and our relationships with these. The purpose of maximising one's intelligence should not be to demean another's, but to be better than your former self, and in so doing make for a better inclusion in whatever sphere one is a part of. Sometimes this involves crossing over in either direction, for as 1921 Noble Prize Laureate in Physics, Albert Einstein stated, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results;" and often you would hear atheists intimate where religion had failed them. While some would consider such a failure as something new having learnt, others' lost faith in God, is left irredeemable.

    I suspect nineteen century inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison, would be one of the former as he quoted on his many failures in improving on the light bulb, "I've not failed 1,000 times, I have successfully discovered 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb." Strangely, Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." Again, I suspect what the teachers meant was that Mr Edison was "determined" in enough to persevere in the face of ridicule, but wise enough to progressively change the limiting factor each time that he failed.

    I once asked a university lecturer in sociology, who had included both Einstein's and Edison's quotes in his presentation, on what he thought about those who persist in playing numbers games, such as the lottery, with a view to "succeed" eventually. He placed them in the category of Albert Einstein's quote about the insane. I guess he would not say that about the "few" who have won big jackpots. Again, it is a matter of choice, and life is full of things of futility, and yet we all partake, and enjoy one of these "futile" things or another, even when the odds are against us in "succeeding" or benefitting as we would want; to each, his own.

    However, a very recently concluded massive study revealed that a compromise in religious faith was directly linked to a compromise in general societal morals, atheists being at the bottom of the moral scale. It was former President of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt, who said "to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."

    Personally, I prefer to eat "it" all up, even when I know some will come out as drought or faecal matter, especially those healthy high fiber parts, such as the vegetables and the wholegrain. If atheists want to live by "food supplements" alone, not contend with failures, go with the ever-changing trends rather than commands, testimonies and promises made by people who neither they or anyone they know have seen, then they can go right ahead. Who knows, perhaps the same God who they don't believe in, might take them on His side, as we watch for and eventually fight the "false" church, clergy and Christ and believers in them. Atheists shall be menaces, not only to their social environs but also to the enemy; just please don't destroy yourselves and God's anointed in doing so.

    Peace be unto us.

    Andre Sheppy
    Sept 2017

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  • Andre Sheppy

    Andre Sheppy asked in Humanities 2nd Aug '17:

    Why do you think Jesus Christ, on his own insistence, "needed" to get baptized, considering why baptism is traditionally asked of those who wish to be a part of the Christian faith?
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  • asked in Media 11th Jul '17:

    How do you regard the Latin American legacy of Dr. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State?.

    Andre Sheppy replied 24th Jul '17:

    There is commonly used expression in the land of my birth, which says, "he who feels it, knows it." Therefore, there was a sense of dislocation for me in reference to Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, his relationship with Latin American politics, and how favourable such a relationship, probably, was, and will be perceived in the future. I am not Latin American and I was barely on this Earth during Dr. Kissinger's tenure. However, there are some universal forces which drive us as human beings, the acknowledgement of which, allows us to identify with each other regardless of our differences in the dimensions of time, space and mind. It is these forces, together with some basic complementary research on the facts about the man, himself, which I shall rely on. Sadly, as many would have realised, and will continue to realise, human bias and hidden motives are included amongst those said forces and interpretation of information garnered; and Dr Kissinger and I, are not exceptions in this regard.

    Wikipedia, a most quick and easy source of information, tells us that Dr. Henry Kissinger was U.S. Secretary of State between the late 1960's through to the late 1970's. He was selected as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate during that time, although not without some controversy. He is Jewish and was a fluent speaker of German and English as result of being born in pre-World War 2 Germany, and living in the United States since his early teenage years. He was drafted into the U.S. army, and got in some of the action. He became a holder of pre-graduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees. He survived both politically and with his health intact. I must say of Dr Kissinger, "well done!"

    Dr. Kissinger's role in Latin American politics, especially Chile's and Argentina's, was long before the World Wide Web and the platform it provides in terms of access and dissemination of happenings, and the reverberating discussions, and backlash where applicable, towards them; in other words, the world was less engaged back then. So, to put it in a more familiar context, its quite similar to what obtains in war-torn Syria, with its political and warring factions, the heavy-handed , but strained governmental rule of President General Assad, and which is further complicated by the involvement of powerful external political and military forces, some of which, themselves, have strained relationships with each other, namely Russia and the United States. Syria has become a play ground, a real messy and bloody one.

    Allow me to swing the pendulum back, but pass the 1970's and a few centuries before, when the Europeans "discovered" the "New World" of the Americas and the Caribbean, led by the Spanish, then followed by the others. The Spanish Conquistadores, as they were called, largely left merely a legacy of language ( Espanol), religion (Roman Catholicism), and rule and plunder, but inadequately in the areas of provisions and protection, from the parent country (Spain). Apparently, Spain was perhaps too complacent, or was too much interested in the pleasure of the spoils of its colonies, and not enough with the nurturing and fortification of such colonies, much like an absentee father, or inseminator, if you prefer. This is perhaps why Spain lost so much of its colonies to the British and the French. Inhospitable terrain, and the dangers that come with it, such as deadly vector-borne diseases and animals, might have been what kept South America, almost entirely Spanish-speaking, and out of the grasps of others. Notwithstanding, the continent was still left bereft of the political input that the British, French and Dutch colonies received. This political vacuum and other logistics, such as the relative proximity and terrestrial connection to the United States, made South America an attractive point of interest for certain extra-continental influences and groups of people in the post-World War 2/ Cold War era, some of which the U.S. was clearly uncomfortable with, especially the powerful and communist states of Soviet Union, and those who were either loyal or sympathetic to them. This is where Dr Kissinger enters, and continues the fight against those who posed the greatest threat to the security and budding world dominance of the United States.

    Those among us who either hold or aspire to hold political power, not excluding political 'dictators,' often seek to continue to do so via the most efficient and influential means. Unfortunately, even in democracies, the popular electoral vote isn't always the most efficient and influential in determining political power. Hence, the politician has emerged as a product of evolution in such a political environment, and has become what he is. As currently incarcerated Jamaican reggae artist, Buju Banton, in his track, Guns and Bombs, sings, "politics and tricks can hardly be blamed, just like the vampires, they (have) became." I still consider Buju Banton to be a political prisoner, this in the fair and free U.S.A. Anyways, back to the top of the food chain. Loyalty and support are given desirable traits to any political movement, and become even more critical and appreciated in a political setting where the holders of power remain and became so under questionable circumstances. Whose support could have been more prized by the South American dictatorships of General Pinochet of Chile and those that coincided in Argentina, than the expressed support of the United States? Dr Kissinger was the man given this job and indeed, was the man for it.

    As the United States was learning in Vietnam, wars are hard to fight and brutal, regardless of the outcome. Being a third party was just as good or, perhaps, even better that direct involvement of troops, and so it was in Latin America. With a mix of a fair proportion of Jewish immigrants from Germany and its surroundings, some indigenous Amerindians and Spanish descendants, being divided into an emerging communist/ socialist movement, a dictatorship regime and feeble a moderate middle, the U.S chose to suppress the expansion of communist ideologies by supporting their most formidable political opponents, which happened to be dictatorships. At the same time, this could have served to help to secure the Jewish immigrant populations, and their interests. Dr Kissinger, through his endorsement of such dictatorships, though preventing similar shocks such the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam and Korea, allowed the carnage of political opponents to these regimes, and their supporters, even if they were just passive ones.

    Someone's legacy can either be bitter and despicable or sweet and memorable. To earn and maintain a state of legacy, one often has to be a part of something that will be everlasting or close to it. This something usually has to be bigger than any one man can behold, yet has the potential to be everything to anyone and everyone, which only a hypocrite once made aware, would deny. The significance of a person in this legacy, must inherently represent a lesson taught or message delivered, or be the vessel by which that lesson or message is delivered, it must have been enlightening In the context of Dr. Kissinger's obligations, his role in Latin American politics was not fully illuminated, and was unedifying, unremarkable and expected of him. As Bob Marley, whom I consider to be more of a legacy than Dr. Kissinger, sang, "who the cap fit, let them where it," and "if night should turn to day, a lot of people would run away." We cannot be completely be sure as to which cap Dr. Kissinger was truly wearing, perhaps because of how "dark" that time was.

    Andre Sheppy
    July 2017

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  • asked in Media 17th May '16:

    What civil rights issue/s do you believe remain to be most pressing to be addressed?.

    Andre Sheppy replied 24th May '16:

    We are constantly being bombarded by human rights transgressions, from all over the world, of varying magnitudes, involving all sorts of people, and just when we think we have seen it all, then comes the emergence of "new" groups, or re-emergence of dormant ones, claiming and requiring equal rights and justice. We are a far cry from the symbols of the Garden of Eden, such as man and woman, and the two shall become one, and the Earth and that which is in and about it being theirs to rule. Perhaps, the recapture of this Utopian image of us as human beings who belong here, is the unspoken aim of civil rights.

    It would have been ridiculous of me, and perhaps insulting and arrogant, to posit either a singular or a group of civil rights as being of paramount importance. I often advise persons who have been unsuccessfully searching for a missing item of value, that the best position from which to look, is from the ground, because with a dominant force such as gravity, chances are that, that is where they will find it. Likewise, for a "true" answer to the above-asked question, I will have to "get down;" so might also the readers of the result of this search, with me.

    This forum and others like it, are good, for they allow "it" all to come together. The "it" to which I refer is knowledge and understanding. Experts in their respective fields, even in recent times, have long bemoaned the high incidence of divorce of the two, which could be due to a lack of coordinative efforts among other things. However, such is the nature of "the couple", regardless of its components and regardless of its context. There will certainly be conflicts and conflicts of interests so as long as two persons or things are to be acknowledged or differentiated as two distinct subjects, and not one.

    A similar challenge rests with the topic of civil rights. Although civil rights seek to make one citizen's basic rights to be equal to any other's, this is often not appreciated by all involved, and hence the need for the establishment and a vibrant and consistent thrust to support these rights. As in the natural sciences, these forces which support civil rights have to be equal to or surpass those which pose challenges to, and oppose them, for them to persist. Some of these challenges are intrinsically rooted in some basic and indelible traits of human beings, namely the diversity of the our needs and the diversity of our philosophies relating to those needs. Such complexities make it exponentially more difficult, if not nearly impossible, to determine which civil rights are most crucial for the people of this planet to nurture and preserve. So, again, which is the most indispensable of them all?

    A great man was once asked by his followers, which of them will be the greatest in succeeding him. The great man, using himself as an example, declared that the greatest of them will be the one who serves them most greatly. Their master would eventually be executed for that which he served whole-heartedly, which was the indomitable force of truth, which in turn served them, the followers, and all of mankind even until the end of time, as it had done from the beginning; so it is, with determining which is the most chief of all civil rights. It is the one that is most servient and so ubiquitous, that it might not seem to be readily identifiable as being a civil right. It is this tendency to be overlooked which should make it more pertinent for us to summon up the effort to keep this primary civil right, whatever it is, under incessant watch; its like being the toddler in a big, busy family.

    A universal issue which underlies civil rights, is that of entitlement. This begs the question as to whether a civil right should be given, earned or simply had. The philosophy behind civil rights would, or rather should, dictate that civil rights are what one just has, without qualifications, which would've been discriminatory. Yet, our senses, which we were born with to help us to survive and make life more meaningful, need to discriminate between colours, sounds, odours, tastes and sensation, and help to determine which are harmful, non-harmful and "good." Like our God-given senses, so too must the civil right of prime focus, be. Its existence must be one that is purposed for discrimination, but not birthed by it. Also, the entitlement to this civil right must be so much so, that it must be that it cannot be taken away except by the One who has given it; remember everyone would have received it, and because no-one would have given himself this right, the One would be the Divine. Although the senses can be lost through injury incurred from another man's intentional actions, they will quite likely be diminished through disease or old-age. This civil right must be one that would , instead of being susceptible to a "thief," be one that you would have to give away in order to lose; for such would be strength of one's entitlement to it. However, whether disease comes from our doings through bodily abuses or from the God that we serve is unknown to me, but a large proportion of diseases nowadays is considered to be preventable; such is our power over retaining or losing this civil right.

    The civil right which cannot be forcibly taken away, yet can be willingly given away, must pertain to the "purity" or "real" dignity of one's being. Essentially, only the truth or that which is a part of, or borne out of it can be pure. The most practical and fundamental application of the truth is using it to distinguish and choose between doing right from wrong. So when a bitter spouse blinds his wife in an acid attack in Pakistan, it's true that the sense of sight was taken away from her by her man (or is it beast?), but it was his forfeiture of this civil right which led to it. If this right of all civil rights is all under the control of freewill, then why would we need to protect it, and from what? What about the blind spouse's right to justice? Wouldn't this eclipse the attention being paid to the sense of right from wrong?

    The reasons for one to wish to prohibit another's right to enjoy and exercise his or her civil rights might either be to affirm one's power, or just plain malicious, or both. Power is increasingly becoming a prized possession in the hierarchy of needs for the good, the bad and the indifferent. Rarely, though, you see one pursuing power with everything that he or she has because of the inefficiency and risk of self-depletion, or even self-destruction, in doing so. It was this faulty approach which helped to lead to the demise of Adolf Hitler's increasing conquest of Europe with his thinly spread army. Likewise, it has been noticed that the persistence of highly pathogenic viruses with high kill rates, such as Ebola, is more likely to be at risk of running out of living hosts and often face more intense responses from medical authorities, much to its own detriment. Evolutionary principles, such as natural selection, would favour the more modern approach of the "soft power" displayed by China and other East and Southern Asian countries in the form of trade and commercial ventures. Similarly, there has been a shift from the "obvious" abuse of others' civil rights, which is more resource-consuming and less sustainable and fulfilling, to one that involves "consent," just like how fully consensual sex, with less or no barriers, makes it easier for a virus to be transmitted on the premise of new life (from possible conception) rather than that of death, as with Ebola. The problem is that, consent, and its associated mechanisms and conditions are not always pure and true, often having dubious influences, and negative and hidden repercussions. So what protection and restitution is there for the "sweat-shop" Chinese labourer, who has "agreed" to ridiculous wages and work conditions, or the faithful and "obedient" wife and HIV victim of an irresponsible adulterous husband in Somalia? However, if the analogy to light pervading darkness holds true, then it is just for one brave and just person, someone in the mix of things, to make and express the "right" decision, exercising that one civil right of choosing to do the right thing.

    The Laws of Thermodynamics suggest that a system and its components will take on a state that requires the least energy to maintain. Darkness requires less energy than any other state of illumination, and if we reflect on that same analogy then it will always take a more than the average effort, to do the right thing. When we take a look on the heroes of times past, those who were not hung on a tree or succumbed to some other form of execution or assassination, were spared only by the grace of God; unfortunately, these tragic results and struggles are what "more than average" often turns out to mean. As the adages state, the good must suffer for the bad, and one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. These are examples of shared consequences, which although is inevitable, it is not necessarily unjust. A more unjust scenario is where the good is not allowed to suffer for the virtue and promulgation of further good. It would always seem appropriate, even in the name of justice, for wrongful actions against an individual by another, to be rewarded with equitable punishment. Therefore, together with social phenomena such as diffused responsibility, peer pressure and other forms of group think, our justice systems, which seem to take the silver rule rather than the golden rule stance, might be complicit in the threat against the civil right which allows us to choose to do "right." Evil begets evil, and a major way to combat this spread of evil, is to make it "easier" and honourable for the good to suffer for the bad, so that we can win over and save some of those undecided and untainted apples. More good decisions and acts from more good citizens could be just the provision of sufficient energy that is needed to break the darkness forever.

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  • asked in Media 4th Sep '14:

    The profession of news gathering, do you predict that big brother around the world will limit or even criminalize the profession in an effort to maintain control.

    Andre Sheppy replied 29th Sep '14:

    There is an overarching perception that the heads of governments always have something to hide, and that it is incumbent of journalism to find it out. After all, if whatever the government does at any level or in any area of its services to those whom it serves, is legal or moral, it should not have reservations about it being known and scrutinized by the public, the very same one that it serves. This is where journalism, in its zest to unearth any and every thing, and a versatility that is made possible by split-second global interconnectivity and technology, seem to pose a threat to "big brother" governments, who would prefer to be the ones doing the covering and uncovering. Actually, it is believed by some people that some of these big brother governments have major stakes in some major news organisations, because let's face it, there is power in being a primary and dominant source of news. This might be the preferred means by "big brothers" to maintain control in societies in which democracy is projected as being well established, such as the United States of America. Press restrictions are for countries that are just "warming up" to democracy, such as Russia.

    However, events such as "Wiki leaks" via Edward Snowden, now a U.S. fugitive, and phone-hackings done by the now defunct British "News Of The World", owned by Mr Rupert Murdoch, occasionally emerge. If any one, including Edward Snowden or the journalist who exposed the British phone hacking scandal, dared to state the contents of these events without disclosing the evidence, he would be labelled as schizophrenic or malicious, and would sought to be "neutralised" in one way or the other. Who would have imagined the U.S's National Security Agency (NSA) phone tapping the phones of it's "allies" like that of German premier, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and of other major European heads of state? Who would have thought that a news corporation would corrupt its host country's politics and hack into a murdered British schoolgirl's phone for the sake of news gathering?

    There are distinctions to be made between the two above-mentioned news-related events. For one, the saga with Edward Snowden offers some endorsement for unhindered news gathering and dissemination. On the other hand, Rupert Murdoch's News of The World, shows how indiscreet and ravenous news gatherers can be. This distinction underscores the major concerns of the said question, and begs for another; how far is too far for both "the big brother" governments, and for the news gatherer, and how do we get to an appropriate compromise?

    Another distinction that needs to be made between the Edward Snowden and Rupert Murdoch scenarios, is that Edward Snowden was seen as mere minnows but one who seemed to have little to nothing to lose. Rupert Murdoch, conversely, heads a powerful and wealthy news empire that is so well established, that he only has everything to gain. Obviously, Edward Snowden was more threatening, for he is the one on the run from the U.S Judiciary and National Security, which purport to be harmonious in their intent. Rupert Murdoch has hardly been scratched by his scandal. He also represents a more "palatable" figure to "the establishment" because he would have been able to negotiate with the U.S government had he been in Snowden's position, and probably would have done so and "benefitted" in the "interest of national security."

    Big brother governments, just as their more paternalistic counterparts more towards the east, should have the right and responsibility to be just as vigilant in protecting their borders, their citizens, their "allies", and their national interests. The institution of journalism is well positioned, equipped and is sufficiently professional and reputable to inform, or in some cases, warn the public about that which has happened, is happening and is possible or likely to happen. This presents itself, and has done so, as the grounds for a useful partnership between journalism and governments for the common good. However, "good" is not always common, and interests which maintain the responsibility and relevance of journalism are not always shared by governments; for journalism, it is often popularity ratings given to them by its consumers, the people. Oftentimes, though, these ratings are improved by establishment busting and scandals which involve governmental institutions and personnel. On the other hand, for governments, the interest lies ultimately in the votes of the same people, which too, are popularity sensitive.

    This might appear to make the public, the same people who consume the newscasts and newspapers, and who vote in or out democratically elected governments, the ultimate master, and winner in the partnership and/or opposition between government and journalism, but not if what is being seen or heard is not as what it seems. News is what is fed to us and its interpretation can be prejudiced depending on how it is reported. News can either be presented in such a way so as to be burdensome to its recipient, or conversely, engendering false hope.

    The people, the masters and the basis of this question of big brother versus news gathering, can be deceived by either. The efficiency of such possible deception may be minimised by being more sceptical and dissecting of the news we are presented with, especially those which are of high volume and velocity. We must also resist the temptation to, and counter those who, reflexively "spread" news. Big brother governments have to face it, we, the people, are all news gatherers, and an Edward Snowden, who deliberated his ultimate action for years, can only be prevent for so long, and no more.

    A leading authority on truth, stated that "nothing is new under the sun." The deception, hypocrisy and denial that are both in the news rooms and on political platforms, cause them both to portray otherwise to this truth. Notwithstanding this and other imperfections of both, they must strive to be perfect, not only in accuracy and reliability, but in intention and spirit. The one sure truth right now is that, with all that's going in the world, seen or unseen by us, this is the day that the Lord has made.

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  • asked in Media 1st Apr '14:

    Don't you think it is about time Cuba and USA ended their issues?. Other than the Cuban lobby, what is standing in the way, to have normal relations between these two countries?.

    Andre Sheppy replied 28th Apr '14:

    How fresh and relevant is the Cuba/USA conflict ?

    At this time, Cuba and USA can do well without getting into each other's face, much less mind. The laws of man, nature and God still considers separation as a just measure where appropriate.

    The U.S loathes, or at least distrusts, countries which do not seek to be like it. It also does not fancy those countries which endeavour to be like it, politically or financially without adopting its ideology, or at least without consulting with it or making it an integral part of the process. In other words, the U.S desires to be seen as the gold standard, the one that everyone wants a piece of, when in fact, it is it who wants a piece of all the others. However, the U.S' true intention is often hidden under the deceptive cover of fair exchange; "you show me yours, and I will show you mine, and I might even allow you to touch it."

    Consider Cuba to be a virgin who had come of age. Consider the U.S.A as one who had resources, or gifts, if you will. Such gifts included a pace-setting Hollywood, rapidly growing mechanical and tecnological industries, the best music the world had to offer, a promise for a better or, at least a fairer, chance of a more "secure" life, and the military capabilty to defend its, and infiltrate others', borders.

    Say that the U.S.A had an interest in getting intimate with Cuba, but Cuba did not seem to be sufficiently impressed with the gifts that the U.S had to offer. This, by the way, is the modus operandi of most of the animal kingdom in seeking or seducing a mate. What the U.S, subsequently, tried to do, is what some animals, including humans, do when tokens of intimacy are rejected; they attempt to rape.

    This rape attempt in the early 1960's had failed, but if the U.S had succeeded, it could have claimed justification of its action in the name of war, the Cold War. For the record, the context of rape in its literal sense is not justified, and is prosecutable, by international law. The law, however, does not seem to have the support and will that it requires to prevent such atrocities. Furthermore, as with domestic cases of rape, burden of proof, especially when contempt exists between the alleged victim and perpetrator, is very difficult. These laws and conventions have failed miserably in recent decades, possibly, and arguably, because it is a man's world, and one who is of European descent.

    Cuba has since moved on, and so has the U.S.A. The U.S, under the guise of desiring to "free" the inhabitants of Cuba from its government's communist regime, has been exercising trade embargos on Cuba ever since, when, really, it is the hurt of rejection that has driven this action. The hurt of the perpetrator is a preposterous concept, which has been constructed by his own self-defence mechanisms. It is also a means of reminding Cuba what it has been missing out on. This play of power, as rape or attempted rape victims would know, can be distracting from the original crime, and used to prejudice the victim's allegation. However, Cuba has not given into either the US economic pressure or its psychological pressure. Cuba is a true survivor, and can boast a former president who has outlived several U.S presidents, and has seen them come and go. Legacies such as the one that Fidel Castro has left for Cuba, are those that often last a lifetime, because the masses will always cherish a David and Goliath moment.

    It is for Cuba to forgive the US for its transgressions, but not to forget. It is for the U.S.A to apologise. Apologising, though, is so unlike the U.S. Furthermore, unless there is a risk of losing an election because of a failure to apologise, apologising can cost a ruling party a U.S general election. After all, "the free and brave do not apologise." There are also legal issues to consider. Culpability could leave the U.S open to civil actions such as reparations requests. It would be self-destructive for a rapist, after moving on and starting "a new life," to admit to be so. If any one thinks that I am now becoming overly sympathetic to the U.S.A, or have been so to Cuba, then consider both the perpetrator of the rape attempt (the U.S) and the victim (Cuba) as both males. This is not to say that rape of men is worse than rape of women, but it has been proven that the rape of individuals of various segments of the demography are impacted differently. 

    Homophobic or not, I cannot see Cuba and the U.S.A rubbing shoulders as if nothing happened. They are two countries which are just too different form each other, or perhaps "too alike." It could be therapeutic for the U.S to come out with the truth about its relations with Cuba, but it probably would use the interest of its national security as an excuse not to do so. Also, where does it say that each and every country has to interact or trade with each other, including with the U.S?

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