About The Cartographer of Memory

Title: The Cartographers of Memory
Author: Boluwatife Afolabi
Publisher: SankofaMag
Year: 2017
Source: @thereadclub ( they have something exciting coming up)

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An anthology of poems that confronts the horrid things we do to ourselves and others. Main themes are love, grief and violence. Despite the best efforts of my English teachers, I am still not good at understanding poetry and I had to read some of them twice.

This form of writing is unique in that the writer can portray their imagination in real and abstract illustration but can still manage to bring relevant truths to light. It however demands discerning thought on the part of the reader.

This picture takes me back to the time I spent with two kind souls @ghaniyah_adetayo and Barakah. They spoilt me with food, treats and more when i needed it the most and gave me some of the best moments this year. Thank you both very much. May Allah grant you the very best of what you seek. They provided the props.

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I am not a chef by any standard but when a recipe pops into my mind ,I will make some art with it. ( May spare a bite or two for you if I am in a generous mood.)

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This spaghetti, dodo(fried plantain) and pepper sauce was packed for office lunch. Believe me, it was delightfully tasty. There has to be a natural band around my stomach that prevents me from eating large portions. I like to think this keeps me in better health. Some of my less kind friends call me a chicken as a result. May Allah forgive them. I still love them though.

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Have you read this book?
What are your thoughts about poetry? Any particular works that have shaped you?
What do you like to include in your book photos? Stationery, food,coffee, marbletops, nature?
Looking forward to your replies.

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Oumissa
Lagos, Nigeria
Thur, 21 Dec 2017

Review: Paper Trails by Pete Dexter

Title: Paper Trails

Author: Peter Dexter

Year: 2007

Publisher: HarperCollinsPublisher

Source: @aeesha_t

This collection of stories is a compilation of the author’s newspaper columns in the 70s and 80s. Some of the stories give an interesting insight into his childhood, wife, child and pets. Others explore ordinary American lives of the time. He presents evil nature of man in a non-judgemental way, as something we all are capable of. Race, law, education,journalism, healthcare and other vital societal issues are also discussed in a way that puts the human first.

Dexter’s writing is so vivid and compelling. It was an illuminating read. Even though it took some time to settle into it, it became a pageturner towards the end.

A Choice ,A Right

“My major concern is the approval of Hijab so that every person coming behind me will be able to use it for the call to bar (ceremony).” Amasa Firdaus- Premium Times Much vitriol has been directed at her for standing up for her rights protected by the Nigerian constitution. For this, Amasa Firdaus, a law graduate of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria was denied entry into the Call to bar ceremony. It is ironic that a country with a significant Muslim population still has Islamophobia. However this is in a wider background of rife religious intolerance with secularity being used as a smokescreen often used to discriminate against other religions. In addition, it is another example of disregard for the rights of women. While the support of Muslim leaders is appreciated, more needs to be done, especially by those in the top echelons of the legal profession. The ignorance being displayed by some Muslims when such matters arise highlights the problems facing our religious education. It would have been great if the other Muslim barristers stood with Firdaus. It was indeed difficult and would have taken lots of courage but might have brought about swift resolution. One also wonders why this was kept in obscurity until now. The much-touted clamour for unity should be for matters like this and not to accept innovations in our Deen.

US Army National Guard officer Saudat Al-Maroof-Bakare faced a similar struggle and she secured her rights. Women in different fields like Ginella Massa, Ibtihaj Muhammed, Kadra Muhamed, Amal Chammout, Sultan Tafadar and Raffia Arshad have shown that the hijab does not diminish professional ability. Firdaus also brings to mind all the men and women who fought slavery, segregation and other forms of discrimination…. all of which were legal at the time. She is following in the footsteps of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Doss whose sacrifice have helped countless others after them. Like them, she will be criticized and insulted and told to let it go, asked why she chose that line of action and will be left to bear the consequences. Like them, I hope she goes down in history as a change maker. Like many Nigerian Muslim women who observe the hijab, I have faced many instances of anti-hijab sentiment and policies. I will share a couple of them. During my general practice rotation in medical school, we were posted to private hospitals. When I showed up at mine, I was told in a derisive tone that ‘this’ (the HR lady pointed at my hijab) will not be allowed. I told her ‘this’ is called a hijab and is part of my identity. It had never disturbed my training. I was hurt, disturbed and felt like I had to choose between my faith and my medical education both of which were very important to me. At the time, I was a volunteer at an international organization here in Nigeria. Prior to that I had lived in the UK and in both settings had never been told to remove my hijab for work, school, services or any other reason. My choice was respected and accepted. To make the situation even more incongrous, a non-Muslim relative of mine owned an excellent hospital and some of the nurses wore hijab with their uniform. I went back to school with my colleague (who was not wearing a hijab). I made enquiries about the marks for the rotation so I could plan how to make a passing grade if I had to forfeit it. After I explained how important my hijab was, she was supportive and I appreciated her for this. Most importantly, my family, like Firdaus’s were on my side throughout the episode. I did not expect the reaction of my lecturers. They made an announcement in class that any discrimination faced by any of us should be reported and such hospitals would subsequently be excluded from the rotation. My colleague and I were then posted to other hospitals. I ended up under the tutelage of a medical director who made the experience memorable and beneficial to my career. My colleague also enjoyed her new place. Contrary to what many of the social media comments say, there are numerous Muslim women who practice medicine with their hijabs including surgeons who wear sterile hijabs with their scrubs in theatre.

Recently at NYSC camp, an official tried to humiliate me by pointing derisively at my hijab and saying in front of hundreds of fellow corps members that she was not going to accept this dressing at parades. I smiled and did not engage her because I knew she was wrong. Thankfully, many Muslim women wore their hijab and completed the compulsory youth service orientation with no incident. I tell my story because Firdaus needs to know she is not alone. Her actions have shown the enormous task we have as Nigerians to eschew hatred and intolerance. Peaceful coexistence can work and is what we need to achieve development.

To those who still think she was wrong, I ask that you watch the movie Hacksaw Ridge and google Pfc Desmond Doss, the Conscientious Objector. #istandwithAmasa #AmasaFirdaus

LINKS

Interview with Amasa Firdaus: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/252618-hijab-controversy-affected-law-graduate-amasa-firdaus-speaks.html

Nigerian-born US soldier with a similar experience. http://legendlens.com/fridausa-amasa-vs-nigeria-law-school-nigeria-lawyer-shares-wifes-experiences-in-us-military-training-school/

Opinion by Ashraf Akintola: http://legendlens.com/fridausa-amasa-vs-nigeria-law-school-is-she-the-only-one-by-ashraf-akintola/ Analysis of Nigerian laws allowing Hijab: http://legendlens.com/prohibition-of-the-use-of-hijab-veil-in-some-public-institutions-what-is-the-position-of-the-law-by-o-g-chukkol/

UN Petition: https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-stop-the-religious-bias-against-hijab-in-the-nigerian-law-profession?recruiter=210341501&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=share_page&utm_medium=whatsapp

A critical look at neo-colonialism in the profession. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/its-been-50-years-since-britain-left-why-are-so-many-african-judges-still-wearing-wigs/2017/09/14/6dc03b50-7ea6-40f8-9481-7f034498a790_story.html BBC article http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-42371525 Nigerian Bar Association President: http://www.lawyard.ng/justiceforfirdaus-argument-over-hijab-needless-we-will-address-it-nba-president/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork#JusticeForFirdaus

Al-Jazeera article http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/nigerian-law-graduate-denied-call-bar-hijab-171216084329791.html

My January 2018 TBR

I want to read them all but I have only an ebook of Men without Women by Haruki Murakami.

I am expecting the first three from a special person. She has been an amazing soul from the first day I met her. I can’t wait for our kids to play together. Don’t worry, you would get to know her in my subsequent blog posts.

Okay so far I hope number 2 arrives so I can join @theguywiththebook in his group read. I hope @sumaiyya.books would be there too.

That leaves me with Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas and I Am Never Talking to White People About Race. Hope to get all of these books before the month runs out. (being a booklover is so capital intensive!)

This seven came out of a very long list of amazing books i made with help from @hassanah_t and @bookminimalist

I guess I have to take them small small.

I will be writing about how each of these books have been on my mind for a while now. Some of them made the @goodreads list of 2017 best books. I look forward to reading all of them.

Now tell me, what is special about these books to you you interested in a co-read?
Feel free to share and comment.

-Oumissa

Book Review: 1222 by Anne Holt

A train crashes and derails following a storm in the Norwegian mountains.
The passengers find refuge in a hotel close by. As the hours turn into days, a couple of them turn up dead.
A wheelchair-bound former detective has to contribute her skills and intuition to get to the root of the matter.
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First Scandinavian read. Brought back memories of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

The translation was obvious from the first few pages. The sentences were strung together differently. It still retained enough dark humour , sarcasm and emotion to make the mystery and suspense easier to bear.

In small sections, the author veers off for fleeting insights about family, politics, disability, religion and sexuality.

Like the storm , the book seemed to be going on forever but eventually picks up pace and culminates in a haha! moment.

However, the ending after the ending left no clues, no answer , no closure! So confusing.

Fun fact- the author is a former Minister of Norway.

Kindly share your experiences with this book.

Review : SMD November Tijaarah Tea

The last edition held a lot of promise and did not disappoint. The ambience of the venue created a relaxing yet focused mood for participants.

First up was an interactive session by Sis Fatimah Aiyegbajeje about the conduct of business according to the Shariah (Islamic Law). Several interesting topics were addressed. The good grasp and delivery of the speaker made it difficult to wrap up. She left everyone better poised to make their business comply more with halal principles.

And then it was time for tea! The rich taste of the hibiscus blend and the soft cake with sweet toppings kept palates busy for several minutes.

Next up was the highly charged talk on e-commerce by the guru Gbemmy Oyekan-Fasasi. In her characteristic vibrant way, she demonstrated how to navigate the online marketing maze many entrepreneurs struggle with. Her session left everyone present with renewed drive towards giving IT a bigger role in running an enterprise.

Lunch was the steaming hot Nigerian delicacy of Amala and ewedu. It was delicious and made without artificial seasoning. Culinary expert and convener of the tea, shared more valuable tips.

The last session was chaired by Mr Happy of CitiNG who patiently emphasised the importance of having a website. For many Nigerian start-ups, owning one is often difficult due to the problems of high cost, lack of flexibility, design hitches among others. Thus a company providing solutions in this area is welcome.

Alongside the sessions was new addition to the programme. @haniesyogurt, @teefahsensemble @smd all had their beautiful products on display at the Souq.

It was a great delight to meet the phenomenal @kifayahmompreneur , and a blessing to reconnect with friends who are lovely sisters contributing their quota to society. It is hoped that more Muslimah-owned businesses are strengthened with this initiative in future.

Oumissa