In Akan symbolism there is a design of crossed crocodiles, two joined crocodiles that share the same stomach. You can find the description at the Akan Cultural Symbols Project by scrolling down the page of Akan Political Beliefs. I have always been particularly fond of this as a symbol for the competing interests of constituents in a democracy. FUNTUMFUNAFU DENKYEM FUNAFU – JOINED CROCODILES Symbol of UNITY IN DIVERSITY, DEMOCRACY, and UNITY OF PURPOSE The symbol is also referred to as odenkyem mmemu – Siamese twin crocodiles joined at the stomach. From the proverb: Funtumfunafu, denkyemmfunafu, won afuru bomu nso wodidi a na worefom efiri se aduane ne de ye di no mene twitwi mu. Literal translation: Two headed crocodiles fight over food that goes to a common stomach because each relishes the food in its throat. This symbol, in essence, depicts the Akan notions about the inherent difficulties of reconciling individual and group interests in a democratic system.
Democracy and democratic institutions are profoundly important, though there are lots of different ways it can work. Democracy is how we establish equality of opportunity. Without democratic participation and controls, business, markets and capitalism are simply organized crime.
I have a home in Ghana where I hope to retire, but currently have a job I like, live in and am a citizen of the US. I am part of some start up small businesses in Ghana, and with another family member have several small farms, growing cocoa, chickens, sometimes pigs, and a variety of vegetables. We take pride in paying people well who work for us, and try to help create opportunities. People being people, sometimes that works better than others.
I have followed events and US Africa relations for a number of decades now. I am old enough that I observed the rivalries and proxy wars of the cold war in Africa, when the US and Russia poured “military assistance” onto the continent, and the death and devastation that created. Friends and I used to joke about applying to Reagan and Bush 1 for military assistance to help us in our petty arguments with each other. It appeared all you needed to get military assistance was to call your enemy a Communist (now replaced by Terrorist.) AFRICOM seems designed to make it all happen again, only this time it could be far more devastating. I decided this time I would record what I see, what I learn, and what I think, hence the focus on AFRICOM in this blog. I comment on what I observe and how it fits in the history I have seen. I have a lot of other interests as well, and they are likely to show up here from time to time.
You can reach me at crossedcrocodiles [the usual at] gmail [dot] com.
This blog started out as Crossed Crocodiles on blogspot. I have moved the archives here to wordpress.
SEARCHING & AFRICAN BLOGS:
Search for topics covered in this blog using the search box at the top of the right sidebar. For those looking for AFRICOM posts on this blog, I started posting about AFRICOM the month it was formally announced, February 2007. Clicking on a tag or category in WordPress will give you access to all wordpress blogs who have posted on the topic. To search for a category, or any keyword or topic in this blog (or any wordpress blog) use a URL as follows. To go systematically through any of the categories, use the following URL, putting the category word at the end: http://crossedcrocodiles.wordpress.com/category/____________/
So for the category africom, use the following URL:
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On this, or any webpage, you can use the keys control-f to look for a specific word or phrase on a webpage. This may be useful when going through blog archives.
Here are some general suggestions finding African blogs. Pambazuka News has a review of African blogs that comes out approximately weekly.
Look at the blogs mentioned. Check their blogrolls. Check the comments for links back to the commenters’ blogs.
Global Voices Online where you have the choice to look by country, topic, author, or you can search.
Use the blog searches, google blog search, ask.com blog search etc. Or use bloglines, technorati, wordpress, or others. Search for names or topic words that may be specific to certain countries or regions, or add the name of a country or region to your search words. Good hunting and good luck.