Monday, June 29, 2009

Bunge & Michael Jackson:Misplaced Relevance?

I am trying to imagine what is going through the minds of close relatives of late Michael Jackson right now. I have experienced death in my own family and I know how it feels. Regardless of how each one of us felt about Michael Jackson’s “craziness”, he was human first and foremost. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, etc to someone.

Undoubtedly Michael Jackson was famous. He was gifted. He was entertaining. He had also visited Tanzania. Nevertheless, is any of the above reasons, especially his visitation to Tanzania, compelling enough for the Speaker of the National Assembly to officially recognize Michael Jackson’s death? I am trying to think of any positive impact that Michael Jackson’s visitation to Tanzania had to the overall socioeconomic progress, but I can’t find any.

I come across ordinary Americans quite often that are clueless about Tanzania. Obviously, there are Americans who know more about Tanzania and who have given their sweat to the country through volunteer work, etc. I wonder if, three weeks ago, Michael Jackson recalled anything about Tanzania.

My point is that to the majority of Americans, Tanzania is irrelevant. They could not even locate where Tanzania is on the map. As such, for Bunge to make “big events” in America, especially those that are of relevance to the internal America is equivalent to sucking up. Huko ni kujigonga.

Let’s flip the coin a bit. Didn’t Hasheem Thabeet become the first Tanzanian ever to be drafted to play in the NBA the same week?

While the death of Michael Jackson has this “global impact” connotation to it, I strongly believe it was utterly ridiculous of the Bunge to highlight Michael Jackson’s death while ignoring Hasheem Thabeet’s draft to the NBA.

The reality is this: Hasheem’s participation in the NBA is more relevant to the lives of many Tanzanians, as it will have a lasting impact on the lives of many Tanzanians than Michael Jackson’s visitation to Tanzania or his death. Ordinarily, Mr. Speaker would have been expected to know that.

I discuss Tanzanian politics and politicians on this blog, but I have never fully understood how politicians in Tanzania think. They must be a very special breed. A very weird type.

Photo credit: Michuzi


Wayne Duke said...

I could not agree with you more. Americans (and perhaps many other people around the globe)seem to fix their minds on the strange and macabre. Case in point - OJ Simpson, and many others who seem to "tie up" the news in the US while the world continues to spin on - with continuing crisis in Zim, Sudan, DR Congo, Myanmar, Iran, Irag, Afganistan, etc.., ad infinitum.
I, too, think the Thabeet notoriety could serve Tanzania well. especially if he chooses to become a goodwill ambassador for tourism, etc.., for Tz. if the bunge were really wanting to serve TZ in a meaningful way, they might think about approaching Thabeet and asking him to serve his homeland by being a spokesman of good will. In a few days the clamor over Michael Jackson will be replaced by some new "news de jour" and the world will spin along while people suffer in poverty and die needless deaths due to conflict, hunger and other preventable causes. "Lord give us eyes that we might see" the needs around us and the heart to respond in a right and noble way. (and I might add - the wisdom to discern the trivial from the important)
Mzee Mzima (mzungu)

Anonymous said...

Huyu dogo ataleta maendeleo mengi sana Tanzania,kwasasa bado wengi hawajamjua. I bet some of wabunge doesn't know who this young man is,we can only wish him well. Ukiangalia taarifa nyingi niwakati hawa masuper stars caught up in some things. Thabeet will be our hero according to what he will bring to the table. Good luck son.