With Aicha This photo is of an amazing Afro-American woman named Barbara Jordan. She was born in the US in 1936 and died of the aftermath of pneumonia 1996. Ms Jordan was an intellectual; a lawyer, educator and politician, a leader of the Civil Rights movement. She was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate and also the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States Representatives. What a role model, what a great woman who kept on struggling though she had poor health! She got MS (multiple sclerosis – a neurological disease that affects for example the muscles in the body) and later on, leukaemia. I found this great woman as I was searching for a quote about the human brain, to continue my series about the human body. Here is the quote: ”Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brainpower.” I need to wrap my mind around this quote for a while, do you feel the same? Sometimes when I read something it makes me stop and ponder for a while. I can feel that there is something for me in that text, but I’m not sure what that can be so therefore I need some time to let it sink in. What is so interesting with quotes of this kind is that we can interpret them in different ways. We don’t have to limit ourselves with only one interpretation, we can go further and deeper as long as we wish. Your heritage doesn’t decide the shape of your brain, neither does your faith or culture. We are created in a certain way, with the same brain functions as everybody else. What can divide us is if our brains have been damaged in some way, but otherwise we have got the same prerequisites. What can divide us mentally is how we use our brains. If we have been taught from the very beginning to listen and obey without a question our brains haven’t developed as much. We use our brains mostly to try to remember all the rules we have been taught, but we don’t explore our true capacity and that is mostly out of fear. For the one who has been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment with open-minded people you explore your creativeness in all areas you come in contact with. This narrative has of course a lot of shades. Nothing is ever just one or the other and I for one don’t like to make things easy for myself. That is why I want to explore this thread. In every context you get different results of the upbringing, some are your estimated result and others a surprise (or shock). If a parent wishes all the kids to become obedient, trained people whose minds are like the minds of trained soldiers, it must be a disappointment to get a kid who is creative and questions the rules. The opposite is bad enough for a creative parent to get a child who has no creativity at all. That child can easily become the ruler of the family. Have you heard about Walt Disney, the creator of the cartoons Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and others? Walt Disney was born in USA in 1901, the fourth child in a family of five kids. Walt’s life was hard, he was an artist but his father didn’t approve of that. Walt learned to work hard from a very young age and he wasn’t allowed to draw or make music for his father. Walt’s father thought that being some kind of artist was only a waste of money and time. Walt couldn’t help himself, he just had to draw anyway but he always had to be careful not to be caught by his father. If Walt was caught sneaking away from work and instead indulge in his passion, the father would give him a severe beating. Walt Disney’s father was extremely strict. Even his wife was afraid of him so she never went between him and the children to defend them. The situation in the Disney home was so hard so one of Walt’s older brothers even chose to go to war instead of staying home. This was during the First World War in Europe and a lot of American soldiers volunteered to fight there. Walt was too young at the moment, but two years after he falsified his ID and managed to go to war too. Walt Disney came back to the US as an adult and began to work with his passion – drawing. He worked hard, had his fortune as well as misfortune, but finally he managed to build up first his own company and later on his dream – Disneyworld. Walt Disney had a mind of his own and nothing could stop him. He was creative, drawing and music were his forte, but he was also very inventive. At the time when he made his first cartoons they were black and white but a creative mind as his got bored after a while and wanted to create something new. Walt Disney was the first one who made coloured cartoons which was a huge success. In the old days it wasn’t possible to make movies with speech, instead you could first see what the actors did and after that the audience saw a square with the lines. In the cinemas there were piano players who created the right mood for the film with their music. Walt Disney found this very old fashioned so he thought about the problem until he found a solution. Mickey Mouse, a mouse like character that became very popular was the first of Walt Disney’s drawn characters that got a voice. The newspapers all over America wrote in their headlines: MICKEY MOUSE CAN SPEAK! People gathered in huge crowds outside the cinemas hoping to get inside to see this amazing invention – a film with spoken lines. Nowadays Disneyland and the movie making is a multi-billion dollar business, all thanks to a disobedient boy in the early 1900. I have told about the human brain before, but for those of you who have missed it, I will tell you a little about it – but this time I will focus on the difference between the male and female brains. For those of you who like to watch videos on Youtube I can recommend a very funny one. It is an American pastor who is holding a lecture about the differences between male and female brains – not at all as boring and scientific as you might believe. The video is so funny and I have seen it several times and enjoyed it every time. The video is called ”A tale of two brains” and as I mentioned before you will find it on Youtube. Watch it alone or with your friends, don’t sit in an Internet café to watch it because people will think you are a bit nuts when you are laughing loud at something they can’t see. If you never have considered how men’s versus women’s brains are working, I guarantee you will get a wake-up call now and your life will changed forever. We often speak about the differences between men and women, how they speak, think and act, but we mostly place one cliché on the top of the other. This pastor, Mark Gungor, is speaking about a serious subject in a fun way, a way that makes you think while you are laugh and the thoughts will stay with you afterwards. That is actually the best kind of humour; you get amused and inspired at the same time. If we look at the differences between male and female brains from a scientific point of view we will see that the differences are based on the way we think. We have the same basic ”equipment” so to say, but there are many more connections between the left and right brain half in a female brain than in a male. We use to say that men can only focus on one thing at the time, like there is something wrong with men because of that, but men are actually created that way. If we would look at the connections between the two brain halves like a traffic situation, we could say that men have a main road and women several motor ways. Male brains appear to be wired front to back, with few connections bridging the two hemispheres. In females, the pathways crisscrossed between left and right. These differences might explain why men, in general, tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, whereas women are more equipped for multitasking, say the researchers in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A 2015 study at Tel Aviv University used an interesting and very thorough approach to compare the structure of male and female brains. Researchers looked at MRI scans of more than 1,400 people. While some activities were more common in women and others in men, 98% of those studied didn’t fit a clear-cut gender profile. Overall, the findings suggest that “human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories”. We end up by stating that there are no easy answers, nothing is black and white, right or wrong. Science, as well as philosophy can be compared with an onion, when you peel it you find layer after layer. There is no use comparing male and female brains, more than in a scientific approach, because we are created differently for a purpose. Go back in your mind to the beginning of humanity when we didn’t have supermarkets, computers, fridges or cars to mention some examples. If you know some of the evaluation of humanity you will understand why we are created differently, and instead of accusing each other for being nothing like the other, we should be amazed of the wisdom behind the creation. I began this article by telling about Barbara Jordan and what she said about power – that we should only focus on brainpower. What a strong word – brainpower – and what inspiration it gives us if we really focus on that instead of all the things that disturb us from reaching our goals. Watching TV series about a fake world with drama and intrigues doesn’t require any brainpower. Gossiping with friends, gaming on Internet, strolling around on the streets without a goal doesn’t require any brainpower. What really requires brainpower is a true will to do the best of your life, to be the best version of you. What that version can be is up to you, I can only inspire you to try to find it. I will end this article by telling a little more about Walt Disney and his movies. 3pm is a magical point on Christmas Eve and a lot of Swedish households decide when to eat Christmas Dinner – before or after Donald Duck. We watch good old Disney short films on TV, the same movies every year. We have been brought up with Disney since childhood, it is carved in to our brains almost. Strange but lovely tradition, so for my Christian readers I wish to say: Merry Christmas!]]>
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By Mafugi Ceesay The Gambian diplomatic mission in Lebanon is working on repatriating at least 45 Gambians in that country, majority of whom are ladies,...
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