It’s been a long time since I blogged any international events, but this one was enough to shock me out of my reverie.

Some African Union (AU) member states want to unite the entire continent – a United States of Africa, if you will.


Many Africans regard this as an unrealistic, if noble, dream. Sceptics point to decades of wars, coups and massacres that often sprang from ethnic and religious fault lines on a continent artificially carved up by former colonial rulers.

You could also argue uniting the continent would remove those artificial lines created by arbitrary colonial division, and reduce the chance for ethnic and religious conflict. But only if the united ‘states’ of Africa are not the states as we know them now.

If the same states remained the resulting union would only be as peaceful as the other continental union if it followed their same pattern – radical integration deterring conflict. In the case of the European Union, economic integration has worked. In Africa there’s not a lot of economy to share around and prosper in, so they might have to go with what the EU has shied away from, political integration.

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi is one of the main proponents of the idea.

Vale EU

In my lecture on European Political Issues, the lecturer put up this image by Turkish artist Burak Delier, and then asked 12 people to describe the image using no more than three words.

After the first volunteer had to have it pointed out that “racist, terrorism, Muslim” was probably not the vibe the Turkish artist was going for, we were subjected to a bit of long-windedness. Terms like disestablishmentarianism, and supercalafraj – okay, they weren’t thrown about, but everyone was trying for those big, impressive words.

My favourite was ‘bandaid assimilation’. My favourite that is, apart from my own bit of three word self-congratulation.

Where the veil?

Unfortunately, I knew both the levels would be lost and my brilliance not recognised simply by saying the words, but neither could I write it out for people. Not surprisingly, “Where, that’s W-H, where the veil. Question mark”, also lost them.


Football Theater

In football news, Liverpool got up over Chelsea on the weekend. Take that you overpaid stooges! That brings the Reds to within five points of second-placed Chelsea on the Premier League ladder. Arsenal, one point behind Liverpool, also beat league leaders Manchester United, making for a good weekend of top four action.

In Australia, the Queensland Roar failed to make the finals after drawing 1-1 with Sydney on Saturday night. While finishing fifth isn’t so bad, they really did disappoint this year, outplaying most of their opponents but exercising some kind of fanatical incompetence when presented with an abundance of scoring opportunities. With former Australian head coach Frank Farina at the helm, perhaps they can look forward to some improvement next season.

And in the world of metrosexuality, David Beckham has been lured to play in the United States for $US250 million over five years. The Real Madrid president basically said Beckham was going to the LA Galaxy because nobody else wanted him. I tend to agree. He’s been dropped from the England team and he hasn’t exactly been starring for Real Madrid. He’s going to the US because he’s not the great player he once was. That he can go there to retire on almost $US1 million a week is a better deal than he could have ever hoped to find anywhere else.


Blogging has been particular slack to start off the New Year, but that’s because I’ve been keeping myself extremely busy – and away from the computer.

That’s not entirely true, I’ve been on the computer, only without internet access at home. The free student dial-up allocation of 150mb never lasts through the month, but I managed to blow it out of the water in a record-breaking three days this time.

Now I almost feel like I’m caught up on everything I need to do! I’ve enrolled in what should be the last five classes of my university life, which I’ll show at the bottom of the post.

I’ve organised our unit so efficiently that everything – except one rogue filing box – has an allocated spot. It’s a whole new world without obstacles, where every room in the house can be traversed effortlessly. Not a hop, skip or a jump to be seen. I was going to say it was an unnatural environment and that I was out of my comfort zone, but I think it may only be the latter of those statements that is false. It is unnatural, but something I’ve found myself disturbingly comfortable with. The organisation may have whet the appetite of an obsessive compulsive personality lurking within.

As part of that cleanup I borrowed my parent’s vacuum cleaner, the merits of which have been discussed before. My brother managed to break it before moving south at Christmas, but a new belt only set me back $9 and a few minutes to fit it. On returning the vacuum cleaner I also managed to fix my parent’s in-sinkerator with the very technical know-how that is the ‘reset’ button. Need a handyman to do those ridiculously simple jobs around the house? I’m your guy.

We signed a new lease in November last year (previously discussed in detail), the terms of which included getting an air-conditioner and replacing the carpet with an as-yet-undecided alternative. Today, only two months later and after much nagging of the real estate agent, the property owner’s cousin came by to measure for the flooring and the air conditioner. I buttered him up with some plunger coffee and a bit of conversation, and we might even have some AC by next week. Bonus!

Next week I’ll start going to rugby training for the first time in almost four years. I haven’t played rugby because I’ve continually decided against committing myself to training twice a week, but I can’t resist any longer. My body is tired after one night back on night-fill at Coles, so it will be interesting to see how I cope with fitness work, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. It’s probably a result of my complaining for the last three years that I’d rather be playing rugby, but my wife’s Christmas present to me was Queensland Red’s membership for the both of us this year. With their first game in just three weeks, we’ll be there for all the action. Without the injured Chris Latham they’ll have an even harder time winning than they have in the recent past

That looks like a fairly comprehensive run down of what’s been going on, so that just leaves my list of classes for this year.