Commentary: High on Ebola, low on chikungunya

EbolaSince the recent outbreak of chikungunya in the Caribbean, four people with close connections who arrived back to into the US from the Caribbean region were hospitalized immediately and diagnosed with the virus. In addition, a few medical center employees communicated that they have seen an increase of patients from the region admitted to their medical facilities. I am not a medical doctor, nor I do I play one on the television; however, based on the recent reports chikungunya has seen a significant up-tick. On the other hand, an impression is being portrayed that it is under control on these shores. What  long term-effect it has on people  is not  known at this time.

The leaders must address this issue openly and develop a solid plan before this potential storm, where soon US and other well-traveled countries by the Caribbean people will begin to put the medical drone in the region. The drone concept is geared to destroy anything in its path when launched. However, could you blame the US if they cut travel, and begin to set a high alert and other screening of passengers from the region?

The recent death of Thomas Duncan from Ebola at age 42, who arrived in the US, has created an intensive focus on foreign travelers from many poor and developing countries. Although many believed Thomas Duncan’s death while in US care would inevitably send a statement to others to not come, many people are now wondering what the color of medicine is after two dedicated Caucasian doctors who worked in Liberia contracted the virus and recovered. One of the silent tones in the Caribbean addressing chikungunya, I believe, is not the politics of the virus, which is often seen elsewhere, for the region it is all economics.

1797349_origHere is why: Most of the region’s economic engine is tourism, and if any indication like what has been taken place in Liberia, it could be worse than the economic collapse in 2008 that left many still sneezing. I begin to wonder if this is a reason reports of this increasing tide seem a bit hushed up to protect the tourism industry while many locals are suffering silently. Any business model during a turbulent time is not only to ready, but willing to tell about structural problems. This approach not only builds credibility, but also shows a level of leadership that is lacking today on several fronts.

This is not a call for a reduction of travel to and from the region, or high-level screening at airports — that would be premature at this point. On the other hand, when the local government is slow to educate people, this could be a tornado building. Therefore, questions must be asked. Along these blue waters there lies an undercurrent overflowing its banks at any time, and the long-term impact could cripple many lives, both medically and economically.

Managing these issues takes compassion and resources. Recently I saw a Facebook picture post of what appeared to be a sick person from the region who became more victimized as he was scorned from an appearance of what is believed to be the symptoms of the Ebola virus. Furthermore, when it is reported that few local doctors are contemplating refusing to report to work in the event of an outbreak due to the lack of medical supplies and other resources that is troubling.

In today’s society, where billions are being spent on wars and politicians re-election, it is hard to fathom that lack of resource and awareness, combined with scorn, can leave many more suffering. I hope elective officials, medical staff, and CARICOM step up its mandate to educate people and seek help through awareness, because the potential problems such as what is occurring in Liberia and other West African countries, where perception is more dangerous that an actual virus.

These islands are unique and sometimes that can be their own downfall because the uniqueness creates a form of isolation. It further limits collaboration, as all seem to be competing for piece of the visitors pie. Therefore, competition mutes concerns, while marketing becomes“them and not us mentality.”

This virus is not just an island thing, or in Third World countries as one of my less informed friends stated, he is going to stop eat chicken, and stop going to places where lots of chicken are found.

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Education is key: No, you cannot get it from eating chicken, or visiting places where chicken are in abundance. The name chikungunya derives from a word in Makonde language roughly meaning that which bends up reflecting the physique of a person disabled by the disease. Many reports have noted that it was first identified in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1952

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the first known autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Western Hemisphere occurred in October 2013 on the island of Saint Martin. By March 2014, travelers to other Caribbean islands carried it to: Dominica; the British territories Anguilla and British Virgin Islands; overseas departments of France — Guadeloupe, Martinique; and the constituent countries of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as other areas such as St Kitts and Nevis; the Dominican Republic; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

An estimated 3.6 billion persons in 124 countries are at risk worldwide, such as the many who are exposed to dengue fever. Large outbreaks have also been seen Indian Ocean islands, India and South-East Asia, according to the Infection, Genetic, and Evolution Journal. It has also reached Asia and Europe, and North America has seen a few cases recently in Florida.

The National Institute of Health, World Health Organization, Public Health Department, and Infectious Disease, noted that chikungunya is a viral disease that is rarely fatal. It is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The symptoms include high fever and headache with debilitating joint pains, swelling and stiffness of joints, muscular pain, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and rash that can last for several weeks. Normally within four to seven days as reported after been bitten, the symptoms appear. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on an infected person during the viraemic period. Today, there are no specific antiviral treatments or vaccines available. However, it also has been reported that commonly used medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, paracetamol, and aspirin. Although there have been reported deaths, the number of related deaths are extremely low compared to Ebola; however, one should not discount it as a storm that will pass soon.

These regions have to debunk that only certain medicine can cure this outbreak, while many studies have reported there are no known cures at this time for the symptoms. It is extremely important that people take serious preventive measures such as bite-proof long sleeves and trousers.  Purchasing  untested drugs in desperation from local street vendors might not be the best approach, especially for people with limited or no access to healthcare.  More information can be found published by many health organizations.

It can be extremely difficult to track down all mosquitoes and apply chemical spray on an entire region to cut concerns and especially in poor  and, rural areas with pool of slow-flowing water that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the lack of access to good health care only add to the problem.

Today many travelers are still waiting on a concrete government plan on how they are handling the issue in a coördinated effort. If there is one, please post.

Although some awareness has been posted, and the governments seem now to be taking steps to mitigate the potential problem, more needs to be done. Nevertheless, can we all be stratified? This is not to reduce  any attempts, as the lack of resources can make this a difficult task. Moreover, the chance of being robbed, shot or killed in some of these areas, is more than likely than contracting the virus.

Island PicAs the region continues to attract visitors, it is also important that these visitors receive a disclaimer of this undercurrent taking place. The leaders must make sure that all proactive measures are taken, and seek help and resources as needed, and stop putting on a good face on this issues with a relaxed attitude. I am still optimistic that all can come together and weather the storm. Moms and I have a ticket ready to land soon to take a break from the upcoming winter.

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Commentary: Our image, responsibility and missing chair

The Image: October 13 marked another Columbus Day in the US and some countries in the Caribbean. For many, especially in the Caribbean, Columbus remains an imaginary shadow such as the Santa Maria ship the Encyclopedia Britannica claimed ran aground and, has been missing since October 1492. Many still hope for a lighthouse that leads to a pot of economic gold and spice that was Columbus voyage. In his discovery in places such as Hispaniola in 1492 that is now divided between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Later, Jamaica in 1494 that already had Arawak Indian links to Guyana or Tainos people. Even that part of history remains a shadow as reported by the Gleaner.Fewer than 250 miles  from these shores, the black American experience continues to struggle to upgrade some old images. Dr Henry Gates’ documentary “Many Rivers to Cross” highlighted the African American experience from the transatlantic slave trade up to Obama’s presidency in 2008. Such as in the Caribbean, it was a dark, shameful, and barbaric treatment of blacks where many died.

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Sea 1Centuries later, it seems an engine-less boat is still docked in deep waters in search of a navigation system to re-archive black identity on their terms. However, that too has been a difficult task, as many hills and valleys are left to be crossed.Despite the contributions and achievements, both economically and socially, from technology, clothing and social issues like same-sex marriage, tolerance, and even political victories, one has to constantly debunk the monolithic shadow as if, 400 years later, everyone is still chained on the same ship. Even the underwater unknown shadow seems more important than the ones above struggling for formation, as reported when UNESCO urged Haiti to protect its underwater heritage where the Santa Maria allegedly sank.  

 Although many have begun successfully to emerge from the deep-sea chains, September 8, 2014, led many to believe perhaps a ship is still docked, and ready to be filled, after Ray Rice, a National Football League (NFL) player, violently attacking his fiancée on video came out. His behavior not only reminded us that the domestic violence shadow still lies off the ocean edges, it created a feeling that several outstanding warrants needed to be executed in some communities even without probable cause. In spite of this serious issue, what seems to become the norm is that television ratings, and new careers of pundits flourish as society becomes more divided while victims got lost in the channels, like the 1995 O.J. Simpson case.

These last few months we saw money, victims, race, and culture collide where structural covariates by the media, which suggested that only certain groups of people commit violence against women. Even SantaPicture 013-1 Maria, Nina and Pinta seem to have more credibility, as it seems a single criminal act is a reason to cast a wide net and group an entire community in what I call “canoe media.” This mentality creates a concurrent log that places one poor behavior as everyone’s charge.Instantaneously and sometimes prematurely, floodgates are opened that swiftly forecast cloudy downstream when a mug shot of a professional black athlete emerges. Although violations occur separately, it seems all must take a plea deal on the same docket.

Today, maintaining one’s relevance is more critical, especially for black fathers, who now must create the history they deserve. With limited opportunities and the burden of structural conditions, many cannot wait for Iyanla Vanzant to fix their lives in a 30-minute counseling session. The social isolation that is evolving, of which some is self-inflected cannot be ignored because one is different. Simply looking to leading NFL players’ statistics to pick role models and a reason to join every fantasy game with the latest gadgets to raise our youths has to be re-balanced. Responsibility nurtures curiosity and that will decide if such a simple word like “color” becomes an abstract like many of the diverse age 6-10 year-old boys who take over my front steps a few weekends on their skate boards.

Having more technical shrewdness is great, but too many are still educationally, and financially deficient and adding life’s complexities makes fatherhood a daunting task. As we lift our heads from the smart phone screens for a pause, many communities are still spinning on an unexplainable axis along criminal, racial, cultural, and other socio-economic issues that need an alertness beyond simple imagination.

When our society confronts its own spinning shadow, and not opening an archive to protect what is beneath the surface, the “selective history” that often emerges creates polarization, intolerance, and hate between different races. Strategically, or subconsciously negative vignettes work. When certain media consistently morph groups despite a variability, especially for young black men, who are pinned between their own  confusions, and begin to develop an ideology that only black men are abusers. Furthermore, only when rich and famous people are abused, arrested, or killed then society stops and takes notice, and that is troubling.

Our Responsibility: Acknowledging criminal behavior can be very uncomfortable. Moreover, to change these tides and the river from overflowing, the community has to change course. Blacks and crime is not a new piece of software that requires certain level of knowledge to interpret a hypothesis and correlation. During the first weekend in October 2014, in Washington, DC, over nine reported gun-related violent incidents occurred. It ranged from warrant executions, to the shooting of a child. Beneath these criminal acts, it reinforces a theory that emphasizes “It only affect them.” These occurrences are difficult to paddle through for the victims and the communities that are affected. However, how many have gone back upstream to help others?

Football_origShortly after Ray’s video posted, I attended a little league football game. As I watched, three co-captains aged 6-7 walked on to the field, including my son. As they greeted their opponent for the coin toss, I asked, “Who is responsible for his behavior on and off the field?” Brit Hume, a Fox Television host I seldom agree with, said it best. “The NFL is not responsible for the players’ behavior.” After many final whistles have blown, from little leagues to professional, I doubt those referees will remember all the players’ names. Whose responsibility it is to make sure self-inflected wounds, and strategically placed dark shadows are rejected?

Victims and advocates for many years have been missing  from the economical vessels. However, today with technology, cameras are bringing victims and perpetrators of domestic violence from behind closed doors off deck. Broadcasting what appears to be a one-sided coverage, and the lack of diversity in reporting these crimes, one would believe the meaning of domestic violence should be re-written to insert [Black men].

O.J.One of the legal definitions of domestic violence is: acts committed by [black men] in the context of an adult intimate relationship. It is a continuance of [black men] aggressive andScott P controlling behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, that one intimate partner does to another [in black men and poor communities]. This is not minimization. Anyone who victimized women must be held accountable. However, many Ray Rices are in our schools, mosques, synagogues and churches in disguise. I have mentioned this earlier in an opinion piece:  In order even the score each time a women is abused,  should pundits pull up another race, such as Scott Peterson, who also killed his seven and a half months pregnant wife with her only child when O.J.’s name is mentioned, to bring back emotions and divide to balance the media’s portrayal of a certain group?

What should be done to US female soccer star, Hope Solo, who remains on the active roster, and sponsors are still on board despite her domestic violence charge, while they fled Adrian Peterson? Is this a double standard, or just memory verse in some community? Selective media can be just as dangerous as the high tides on the sea. Within the past six months, about three members of our law enforcement community have been accused of rape. In Purvis, Mississippi, reported by AP in July 2014, Officer Burnett was accused of forcible rape and two counts of attempted capital murder. In Charlottesville, VA, a family still seeking  answers for their missing child who found later dead. This story of students missing is not a local issue, but many hearts have been broken in several regions.

thschIn addition, a recent report by Amy Cohen, Deborah Azrael, and Matthew Miller  for  Mother Jones  magazine discussed the rate of Mass school shooting  and that has  from a Harvard study since 2011. This contradicts the media reporting that mass shooting aren’t increasing.

Although blacks sold slaves during the transatlantic slave period, should all blacks still be in slavery? Alternatively, from Aruba to Trinidad, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, many gained independence from colonial rule, but despite the beautiful beaches, dependence roars like the oceans, while sixth and seventh generations of former slave owners are still reaping gold and spice. This is not a call 400 years later for locals to run to the hills and throw rocks as they once did for freedom. Moreover, reactivating colonial images of abuse only develops hate today.

Missing Chair: Many sports franchise globally like the NFL have a multi-billion dollar chair. They control where one sits and that comes with tremendous responsibility. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner has become America’s new target. However, despite the poor handling of the Ray Rice incident, it seems he has also magnified the negative portrayal and more missing chairs when he initially appointed three Caucasian women to develop a domestic violence program to help the NFL change its reputation.

For victims, an assault is simply that. It is not them vs. us. This is not a push of the racial replay button, but we hope he does not believe qualified black women are still unconscious. Who is best to develop a policy and a treatment modality for black victims? Over 90 percent of these crimes, especially murders, are black on black crimes, but that should not cut one from the chair. Floyd Mayweather recently pulled for a Washington, DC, council ceremonial resolution as his archive files for 2010 domestic violence emerged. For society and possibly to safeguard the community at large, reintegration is also important. October is victim awareness month, and not all violations should immediately be just desserts, isolation or incapacitation.

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Filling these empty chairs will send a strong message, especially in poor and developing communities, and one cannot be healed if he or she is not present and takes full responsibility. Where is Adrian Peterson’s chair for using a switch on his 4-year-old? Ben Roethlisberger’s alleged three charges. Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, former Miami Dolphins players, to address harassment, and bullying. Michael Sam, an openly gay player, to address homophobia, and add Barney Franks, a former openly gay congressman perhaps to create a tolerance policy. We can now add Michael Phelps for recent driving under the influence of alcohol because this can also lead to violence.

Violence affects white, black, rich, poor, gay, straight, Muslims, Jews, Christians or non-believers, and not always simply a cultural and socialization process. All violence should become a community health problem with a sense of urgency as dismantling ISIS, poverty, and Ebola and not a reason to give one segment of the community the feeling as if a ship has been docked somewhere on the coastline waiting to make another delivery elsewhere, and only now, it is much harder to reload.  Finally, I commend Russell Grant, quarterback from the Seattle Seahawks, who has taken on the responsibility and added a domestic violence chair. However, I hope his chair stands when the music stops. Regardless, we are talking and one less punch will be thrown.

Commentary: Today’s Reflections`

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Today it seems far too often, many of our elected leaders are more willing to spend billions of dollars fighting wars, dividing communities, promoting hate, polarization, and self-interest, while ignoring what is the cause of most conflicts and economic decay.

Our leaders should strive to develop communities, work together regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, and focus on equality and economic growth. In the end, many will have a brighter future and less appetite for violence. We should always find ways as it is imperative that our society mediate conflicts to decrease massive exodus of people seeking safety and economic balance globally.

Regardless, of one’s place: East or West, Europe, Asia, Caribbean, and/or [anywhere else] Race, Sex, Creed, Color, National Origin, Religious Belief, and Sexual Orientation; tolerance will be the key to success in this New World Economy. “We all cannot be the same. Life would be boring. Let us mute ignorance and intolerance and embrace your music, accent  and mines.”

The key to our success is simple good-governance and solid economic public policies to cut the gap between the haves vs. have-nots. Today, we have more victims of violent crimes and political turmoil almost everywhere. Despite a slight reduction in our prison  institution recently, many studies have shown that it grew tremendously in earlier years.

Prison Population Stats 2010

What is troubling, we are not only more divided as a nation, but several youths are becoming radicalized, and blaming other nations for their economic conditions, and being recruited easily to carrying-out barbaric  atrocities on humans.

These issues will become the norm for the next generation if society continues on this divided path as our media seems to be  looking  for quick solutions to these problems while applying  score cards, as if these issues  weekly.  In the end, not all conflicts will be solved by drone strikes alone.

Society has gotten to a point where a simple argument of not knowing the full-scale operations of a  threat that changes rapidly is a total failure regardless of one political views.  Some of our leaders tend to use these issues to further to divide and not using the unknowns as an opportunity to become educated, while fixing what they already knew.

 

Commentary: To serve and protect with a virus

Commentary: To serve and protect with a virus
Published on August 28, 2014
By Derrick Miller:Serve and PThe Outbreak: Since the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9, 2014,  Ferguson, Missouri, and despite a few editorials that describe the scope of the problem as if was an isolated incident, it has recalibrated several nerve cells.Why are we here again? August 9, was not a rare occurrence. It was the fourth killing of an unarmed black person by a white officer in five weeks. Many believed this was just another virus outbreak in another region. This is an ongoing question surrounding many police departments’ treatment of poor people, especially in black communities. Like the Ebola virus, many have sought to reverse a DNA code to cure an over 200-year affliction since slavery. Michael Brown’s death has revisited a hazardous dark chapter that consistently tests our invariability.

These toxic cells are racism, prejudice, economic deprivation, education inequality, polarization, among many other things that often unexpectedly surface. I hope, when the streets are cleared, these issues do not become dormant and life goes on as normal while many continue to struggle with: (1) protection vs. freedom; (2) correctional system; (3) police brutality; (4) tactics; (5) race; (6) culture; (7) abuse of authority; (8) demographics vs. representation; and (9) priority and government role.The lack of uniformity in several uneven communities only shows us the struggle between pluralism and elitism. One, police should help the people, and the people should help themselves and, two, the perception that they protect the rich, and suppress the poor create doubts.

The demonstrations that followed were not all infected by thugs or gangsters and only black people.Other races voiced their concerns of what appearedto be a public department with a closed system. Few people arrived with infected tissues in trying to disrupt good organs.However, the focus was to decide which lives are more valuable between blacks and whites, and stopping undiagnosed quarantine that has killed healthy cells.As the world watched, Ferguson law enforcement struggled to keep up order, handling of the protesters made front pages globally on tactics used — rubber bullets, tear gas and multiple arrests, including journalists.Sadly, the US is not alone facing scrutiny of police brutality and excessive use force that have devastated many lives.

In the Caribbean, across from the  white sand and blue waters, many of us visitors are struggling. However, racism tend to be muted as it is often between the haves vs. have-nots and concerns of limited accountability by government officials for the have-nots.Russia and Iran appeared concerned despite their poor records on dissenting views by its citizens. However, I am not implying one should use one’s own issues to call out others.Police Ebola: For decades, several poor communities are injected with a frustration virus.

Although few people might have been exposed and already processed, navigation such as a simple drive, or walk to one’s favourite candy store can be a reason to be quarantined. Even when an individual has not been exposed or engaged in any toxicity, consistently restrictive masks are issued. Furthermore, sometimes an meet in an unmarked quarantined space with law enforcement and any negative gesture out of frustration can dictate if one lives or dies simply refusing to accept a surgical mask.

police5One writer argued just do what you are told.  It is extremely important to comply with an officer’s order. However, for many young black men and other minorities in their reality, accepting a command often only reduces the amount of bullies from perhaps from ten to six, as a decision had already been made.

Even when authority has solid evidence, gaining compliance requires good tactics. For example, despite much-needed treatment to halt the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, the recent government approach after the world has taken notice only created more problems as reported.

Several predominantly black poor communities have been plagued with crime, cultural and socioeconomic issues and in need of an antibiotic. According to Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post, only 50 percent graduation rate in 2013 compared to 86 percent of the state and at least 60 percent had at least one suspension in Michael Brown’s high school. If these symptoms were found in predominately white schools, a vaccine would have been developed and or an operation with new blood transfusions. This issue requires investments and interactions.

Most of these officers do not live in the communities they serve, unable to relate and recognize a single black healthy cell. It seems only when an epidemic erupts doctors who sit in isolated gated communities tasked with decisions only took notice while the problem has been known for decades. These labs are only treating symptoms, and not the cause of the problems.

The lack of medicine or limited interjected ones often creates more delusions and long-term side effects. Although traces of cells need to be isolated and incapacitated, an entire community should not be treated as if all are infected.

S and PIt is problematic being viewed as the only affected people while knowing that more affluent towns have also been exposed but overlooked. These communities need an economic medication to prevent outbreaks, but priority seems to be invested equipment in anticipation of divide and turmoil.

The broken window theory that is based on zero tolerance and swift action solutions seems to have switched to everyone in the community and not the criminal elements. Not all medicine work for the Ebola virus and these community labs must seek new medicines.

Traces: Modern policing is not a new concept in our society. It has been around since the early 1800s, created in Great Britain. As a few scholars noted that it was used to keep slaves in check from running away from their masters. Maybe that mindset still exists in some departments today.

George Kelling and Mark More analysed the US evolution for a Department of Justice studies. The Political Era (1840s – 1930s). This was period where close ties between the police and politicians, and emphasis was on making politician happy. The Reform Era (1930s – 1970s) focused on arrest, and professional fighting crimes. Community Policing Era (1970 to present). This is where partnerships with the community and police agencies work together.

According to several studies, community policing has been successful when it is implemented correctly. However, in some areas this theory seems only to be on paper. Furthermore, it seems most of today’s operations are stuck in the two eras, like an apartheid system where one is free to move, but mentally trapped.

In a recent CNN panel, a Florida police chief stated that not all officers believe in community policing. This is not to say these officers do not uphold the law and should not be part of the institution. However, forcing officers inside communities to work with different racial and socio-economic background could be a call for more hands-up-don’t-shoot cases, as one easily defaulted back to training like muscle memory as to where he carries his or her weapon.

Police StandoffPerception vs. Reality: It is not an easy task being a police officer. Law enforcement wears multiple hats; they need as much support as we can afford them. Sometimes it seems they have more issues than policies to meet society’s demands in fighting crimes while balancing human rights. Even in cases where an officer is being out-gunned, the expectation society places on the officer often, puts law enforcement in a tight spot, balancing perceptions and reality.

Many of today’s police officers are extremely educated and become a social worker dealing with a domestic violence, child abuse issue, plotting a crime scene on computer models, to predicting trouble spots, while some cannot diffuse an incident without pulling a weapon.

Bureaucratization can create a set of norms that often lead to social problems. A system can be well organized, but hard to adjust to current and changing reality. How can several decades of them vs. us change in a few hours?

Ferguson prosecutor, Robert McCulloch came under fire for how he handled earlier criminal cases and perceived favouritism of law enforcement that led to mistrust in the community. He was elected several times and has a close ties to the police unit. Often when community policing fails, there are repeated called for tolerance, inclusion, resignation or be fired.

The department seems to have an operation stuck in the two previous political and reform eras. Many officers were making arrests, restricting media traffic during the protest were part of a few systematic issues.

However, not all white officers involved in killing of a black man are racist. Nevertheless, we cannot use disciplinary records as the only guide because behind closed-door people often grouped by their ideology. One can be anti-gay, blacks, white, Jews, women, immigrants, and still function on the job. Institutional racism is just as dangerous. Moreover, we cannot ignore few bad apples in disguise. For example, two officers tied to the Klux Klux Klan recently in Florida.

It seems our society have become immune to these shootings. What is more troubling if an individual confirmed as mentally disturbed is not able to comprehend the danger of approaching an officer with a deadly weapon, it can easily be justified. Society must make sure when it eliminates a virus it must be only when it threatens the life of an entire community and not because of its label.

During a CNN interview, a young man wrote two poems, one for the good police officers, and one for the bad ones. This is a sign of hope despite some bad viruses, there are still good cells  that still believes in public service, and just want to make it home to their families after each shift just like any average person.

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AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests…

peace Updated 11-29-2014:   Despite  decades of frustrations; destroying your  own community is never a solution to any social problems, because often the fundamental  core issues  often  burned in the created flames.

Commentary: World Cup Soccer, more than a game (Brazil)

More than a game: By D.R. Miller

World Cup Soccer

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Global Colours: Every four years, millions of fans gather in person at watch parties in public parks and bars to see the best of the best players face off for bragging rights until another four years. This remarkable event never seems to be far from controversy wherever it is being played. These controversies range from soccer or football, corruptions and the socio-economic responsibility it should take on in our society.

Despite the logistics, since the 2014 games begun, the Amazon colors have taken over our television, iPhones, smartphones, and iPads like a rainbow. However, beneath it all, local residents are crying for a new economic canvas to modernize and move poor people to better standard of living. They are the ones being left out of the prints. After the final whistle has blown, they too will be still asking economic referees for a penalty that was not given on a foul play.

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Credit Photo: Reuters

The poor socio-economic issues surrounding these games often erupt in protests. The games go on, but the turmoil lingers, blocks from where the games are being played. In the end, these issues never left, as they will re-emerge like the sea rushing back to the shores to recreate the sand paths that were eroded by rich footprints left the day before.

Football is a global game that originated in England, but later called soccer in the US. The game unites people. Relatively, it is not expensive to start a game. However, the gap between the rich and the poor is further than the locations where these games are being played, while the poverty is closer than the two goal posts.

Brazil protest

Photo: Credit Credit Forbes

The Brazilian local economy problems have been overlooked,” several protesters argued. It appears this colour is seldom beamed to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Brazilians are now under the microscope. The carefully orchestrated images that emerge from the sideline will have a lasting effect.

The World Cup is bigger than its location, despite heartaches, especially from the early departure by England, Italy and Australia. However, the stage is still where players and supporters use the event to highlight their countries, send statements, and reconnect with compatriots who are still club rivals. This is like a family reunion before they head back to business.

Most importantly, lifelong friendships are formed, even between countries without diplomatic ties and where cultural divides are rooted in political turmoil.

Yes! This is the real “World Champion Series,” and the true world champions are crowned after eight weeks.

The Economics: These games are being led under the International Association Federation of Football (FIFA). It is a billion-dollar industry, and throughout this region, the games are ubiquitous. Forbes magazine has reported that (FIFA) will generate about $4 billion in revenue. However, more needs to be done to promote social programs to cut poverty and not the appearance of forcing local economies to stretch their budgets to accommodate its demands.

In preparation of the 2014 World Cup, an estimated cost of up to US$11 billion was spent — while the Brazilian economy remains stagnant. However, the government has predicted that it will be a net positive for the overall economy, stemming from event-related services among several industries.

world cupWherever FIFA places its goal posts, it is always under the microscope. Recently published in a British magazine, the organization is being investigated on corruption and bribes related to the Qatar 2022 bid. Nevertheless, FIFA always manages to execute successful events. The game between the US and Portugal had one of the highest ratings, upward of 21 million. Imagine if these fans force FIFA to make sure some economic balance where it places the next goal posts.

FIFA’s operation is not much different from the American National Football League (NFL). Inside these games, recruitment is alive. This is where wealthy club managers scope every play, searching for the next star and the face of new marketing global campaigns.


BrazilBrazil is not alone in this new paradigm shift, as the media outlets would have liked us to believe. In the US, billions have also been spent on NFL stadiums and baseball parks, funded with taxpayers’ money. In some cases, poor neighbours are also uprooted; residents are priced out of the real estate market, and relocated for the perfect camera shots. Often these public investments are unsuccessful. The fans are gone and games are empty.

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YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Economic gentrification has taken place for over a decade in other areas like China, Caribbean and Europe.Sure, these new areas will attract visitors in the long-run, but one cannot ignore the fact that, a few blocks down the street, across from these new complexes lie drug-infested housing projects, prostitution, sexual violence, and even exploitation of children, as many wait for a foul ball to exit the stadiums to be noticed.

Brazil-WC2014 Brazil WC

The socio-economic argument that surrounds the World Cup is nothing new. In 2010, South Africa went through the same issues on how much its own government spent that could have been used to move people out of poverty.

Soccer, or football, has generated several global stars, and has moved families out of poverty. Some of their stories are similar to some players of the NFL, National Basketball Association (NBA), baseball and many other professional sports. In some areas, the millions generated from players who left slums (ghettos) seldom trickle down to communities where it all started.

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The other Brazil

Game Lessons: With success should come responsibility, and despite the Beautiful Game that has broken down barriers, some players still face discrimination. Some are called niggers, monkey and banana being used as symbol a games by some fans. Such as gentrification, our society has been increasingly shifting as it is becoming more diverse and that sometimes causes tension

FIFA should know how to combat these issues. It has been around since 1904 and now has over 300,000 clubs and over 240 million players around the world.

The game represents a much wider reach far beyond 90 minutes on the field. It is an extension of the communities, economics, discipline teamwork, acceptance, talent optimization and diplomacy, even between nations with political tensions.

As a young man, a soccer/football field and now “pitch” as it is called by some was critical to stay off the streets after school. Although not all young players became stars, the friendships gained, and lessons learned lasted a lifetime.

Often I join a few new fans at the local sport bars who seem intrigued with long pauses when they realize a few team’s starting 11 such as the French, Germans, the Italians have black players, and some are Muslims. It is more than a game and awareness is key. Thirty years later since I had to navigate drug and crime infested areas to reach a local field, I wondered if our own socio-economic polarization on this side of town has reduced some of our imagination. Perhaps our own major league should do more.

Many now are aware that the Iranians plays soccer and not everything is about nuclear weapons and tension with the Israelis. Even the Israelis have a solid team. On the Latin side of town, some players are of African descent, with similarities as an NFL player and they too are extremely rich and more famous.

(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Responsibility: FIFA is excellent at managing the global operation. However, as our society becomes more diverse, isolated by ideology and personal interests, it will need more than building stadiums. Equality, discrimination, and a platform for players to speak when issues threaten to reduce the next generation of players.

This 2014 World Cup has been a homecoming for many South American teams, and celebrations have been tremendous. However, there is a dark side that is lurking in some countries just north of these games off the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of children who have fled their countries where a few dominating stars call home.


Border kids(1)Most of these children without their parents are under age 10 and now in detention camps at the US border. Up to 90,000 came from Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala as reported. These young people fled to escape sexual violence and other inhumane treatment stemming from crime. No one will know the long-term physiological impact but it can be devastating, as studies have shown.  Some of the children I believe have left posters of favourite players in the game today. However, it seems their stories have gone unnoticed until the final whistle has been blown. These players have to step up, as most of the atrocities are a few blocks from their own stadiums.

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Italian star Mario Balotelli

The football organizations and its players cannot be the world police but with success and global appeal comes responsibility to speak in humanitarian crisis. Billions are being spent to create perfect pictures while others seek the next Latin star to fill their stadiums from ticket sales.

Sadly, some are outside the gated walls looking to take the dangerous trip north, while other pitches are filled with toxins and the goal posts are two empty containers with lead. Maybe revenue generated can be used to at least give awareness to this problem.

Recently, Italian star Mario Balotelli spoke up after he faced racial slurs from a few fans and more players have to do the same.
Extra Minutes: These extra minutes added to games can generate more revenue for FIFA. However, in a few weeks, the cameras will be gone; and well-dressed immigrant men and women from the television networks with few selected feel-good stories, while surrounded with security as if they are in a war zone, will leave town.

When the final whistle is blown, some of the players will have to pass through their poor towns and cities plagued with violence. Before FIFA canvasses the next venue, it should not only seek ways on how to increase its own balance sheet. It must make sure the community economic impact benefits all, regardless of colour, class, race, and socio-economic status, because the next 100 years can only be beautiful if it remains more than a game.