Just a Series of Nights?

Hadn’t seen you

in ages

didn’t think I might

Glad it didn’t work

with my roommate

now to see you here, tonight

Realized it’s you

from afar, we said hi

danced all night

In your bed now

We read Naomi Klein

so tight

Just another night?

You built my couch

I bought you dinner

confessed our plights

I had your record

never listened, but said

it’s alright

Unsure about it

you stayed removed

Am I alright?

We saw that one film

danced in Detroit

amongst blight

Then we came together

Simultaneous feeling

Deff not trite

Then you said those two words,

Just friends

I’m not alright.

Thinking back to this weekend

First time I actually thought

I just might

Feelings developing, ones I tried to suppress

Was it love?

Not quite

Just a series of nights.

What Do Electric Vehicles, the Hiroshima Bomb, and an American-Sponsored Assassination Have In Common? Mining in the Congo.

Today marked the 57th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected president of what is now the “Democratic” Republic of the Congo. This assassination, which took place on January 17th, 1961, was partly sponsored by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and led to decades of political instability that carry on to this day.


 

After the firing squad shot and killed Lumumba,

patrice-lumumba-007

his body was dismembered and then dissolved with acid.

Photo of Patrice Lumumba, credit and date unknown.

 

The region now known as the DRC is home to an estimated $24 trillion worth of natural resources, including the highly useful metal, cobalt. Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries, providing an interface for lithium ions to pass through as they charge and recharge – essentially powering an electric vehicle. The Congo produced over 50% of the world’s cobalt in 2016. However, cobalt is just one of the resources within the Congo of which the rest of the world desperately needs.

In the late 1800s, it was rubber – used in Michelin’s (yes, like the Michelin Man) pneumatic tire that revolutionized automobiles. This invention led to an increased demand of rubber, sourced predominately from the Congo, where countless human rights violations were committed under the Belgian King Leopold II, who controlled the country at the time. It is referred to as the Congo Horrors, with estimates of over 10 million Congolese people being executed during that period. The USA was also the first country to recognize Leopold’s colonial takeover of the region. (source 1, 2).

Next, was the mining of uranium in the first half of the 1900s. The uranium mined in the Congo, which continues to poison young cobalt mine workers today, was used in the first and only atomic bomb ever used in war – the Hiroshima bomb.

Throughout the 20th century, cobalt was also being mined and sourced from the Congo to satisfy the US government’s need for the material in military and spacecraft applications, including bomber jets and space shuttles. (source)


 

Marcus-Bleasdale-Smartphone-Precious-Minerals-2.jpg

Photo of Cobalt Mining in the DRC – Photo Credit: Marcus Bleasdale


 

Today, cobalt mining continues in the country to satisfy the increasing global demand for the important metal. This comes at a time when democratic elections remain postponed under the dictator, Joseph Kabila. Some may not refer to him as a dictator, however, when a leader postpones democratic elections that is what they will be referred to here.

All of this is further complicated by the ongoing investigation into the corruption scandal involving the world’s largest mining company, Glencore. This corruption probe was fueled by the ICIJ’s Panama and Paradise paper leaks of corporate off-shore tax haven documents.

The leaks revealed that Glencore, which was founded by the infamous criminal Marc Rich, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office, was involved in corrupt business deals with a billionaire Israeli diamond tycoon, Dan Gertler. Gertler has since been issued sanctions by the US Department of Treasury for his role in the corruption scandal.

Further, the Trump Administration’s recent decision to not enforce conflict mineral provisions of the Dodd Frank Act could complicate an already messy situation. This is in addition to the administration’s pulling out of the Extraction Industry Transparency Initiative – a voluntary initiative for governments and extraction companies that sets guidelines for anti-corruption practices and transparency in reporting.


 

Taken together, all of this information should at least make you question the social sustainability of continued and expanded mining in the region. Building on the legacy of historical issues and violence is the risk of continued, or even worsened, political instability in a region that has not seen democracy since the US helped assassinate its first democratically-elected leader less than a year after being elected.

Also, if you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle – make sure to consider the product’s potential impact on violence and exploitation in the DRC. See if information is available on the source of cobalt used in the production of components, like batteries. Some companies, including Ford, Daimler, Honda, Volvo, Volkswagen, and BMW are making claims to monitor their supply chains for conflict-related minerals. Merely switching one vice (fossil fuels) for another (mining and exploitation) is not sustainable.

And lastly, Rest In Peace – Patrice Lumumba.

Do i drink 2 much>?

say you don’t have time

white wine, so divine

 

say you need your peace of mind

red wine, now I’ve lost mine

 

handle on the situation

breakdown, communication

 

with each glass

I watch it pass

 

losing patience

bitter cadence

 

what were you saying, again?

 

pour another glass

memory fadin’

 

 

 

 

Is That the Way You Want to be Loved?

Always thinking of the right thing to say

Rephrase, edit, spell it out another way

Cut and dry, direct, and to the bone

Kill the surprise; enlighten the unknown

Do you like the mystery?

How about the suspense?

I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with the contents

Perfectionism, applied to relationships

Neurotic expectations, inspired by

The Many Faces of Ghosting.

We matched on Tinder while I was living in the Bay Area. We were both interning at federal research agencies for the Summer. Interestingly enough, this person and I had actually grown up in adjacent towns, peripherally knowing one another through mutual friends.

A few dates ensued and I thought it was going great. I didn’t really have any expectation of where it was going, but I knew it was enjoyable in the moment. We went camping, saw live music; it was a warm, Summer fling.

A few weeks later, what followed was a complete dissociation and lack of response on their part. As I thought things were going well, with some naive, unrealistic expectations of future dates sprinkled on for good measure, I failed to see the cliff.

Was this even ghosting? Is there some textbook definition? Is it more about the act, or is it defined by the reception of said act?

Just a few months later the tables would turn as they texted me a week before Christmas asking if I was still living in the Bay Area. I guess such a question elucidates where that fling was going. If they never had realized I was also interning there temporarily, what else went over their head?

That short exchange cumulated into a mutual plan to get together over the Holiday break. They would be back in Michigan, where I was once again living. If you didn’t already guess, there was no rekindling; there wasn’t even a response.

Ghosted twice, by the same person, in less than six months. Was that a record? Well, to top it all off in truly dissociated, millennial fashion, I would go on to ghost another person just a few weeks later. Someone I had been talking to for a little over a month.

I would ghost them like I had been ghosted twice before.

I even tried to chalk it up to the fact that their toilet looked as if it had never been cleaned, like ever. And how could I continue on with someone whose toilet resembled those you see on a lime-remover TV ad where they scrub away grime with a magic eraser and you’re left wondering – “how the fuck did they get a toilet THAT dirty?”

Yet, I knew this was not the case. It was because I was a coward and emotionally unequipped to communicate my true feelings, or rather the lack thereof.

So, was it some sort of karmic feedback loop? The chicken or an egg type question.

To the other people who were ghosted by someone only to ghost another, what are your thoughts on all of this? Why is ghosting a thing? How was it that I was able to do the exact thing that had made me feel so shitty TWICE in recent memory? What does that say about me? What does that say about them?

For me, it was ghosting only to then be ghosted, then to ghost again. In this way, it sure feels like some sort of sick game. But unlike a game there were real consequences for all involved.

And it’s more than not hearing back from that person you casually had sex with after a few too many G&T’s. It represents a complete breakdown in human connection, respect, and communication. One that may be more common than we would care to admit.

In one poll, 50% of men and women had ghosted. Roughly the same amount had been ghosted themselves. Which brings me to the point of how this behavior became as common as owning a tablet.

When flipping a coin might be an accurate way to tell whether the person you are talking to has ghosted someone else, it makes it hard to build up trust in the formative period of dating.

What does that leave you with when you are trying to build trust in a relationship. If this date goes well, but then they notice the way you sometimes smack your lips together when you’re eating ramen, will they ever speak to you again? And what does this sort of thought process do to one’s self-esteem, or the ability to let go and be yourself?

Ghosting won’t only damage one’s self-esteem, though. The insidiously pervasive social technique also has damaging consequences for the one receiving the painful indifference. Social rejection, like that experienced through ghosting, produces neuro-chemical reactions that mimic the way the body deals with physical pain. So, by engaging in ghosting we are really engaging in harm, both to ourselves and to others.

Maybe it’s the presumption that this behavior is benign and that’s why we collectively engage in it. Even those who have not done it themselves surely have dated or been in some sort of relationship with someone who has.

So, it becomes this behavior that is normalized and then shipped off to others. Well, they may have ghosted their ex but what kind of person was their ex? Whatever the rationalization, I would bet the real reason for the behavior is much less defined, let alone understood.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post, to share my experience with ghosting and to challenge others to be more conscious in their communication and their dating.

We just began a new year, which technically means not a fucking thing, but it is symbolic. And we can choose to change these things about ourselves, these negative behaviors like ghosting.

We can obviously do this at any time, but when a new year comes it gives us a point in time to reflect back on, to see how we’ve changed and to consider how we might change in the future. So take advantage of this time to reflect on your behavior, and the ways in which you’d like to change it.

For me, that is addressing my history of ghosting head-on, and consciously acting in ways that foster honesty and openness in communication. Developing intimate relationships necessitates trust, and ghosting eats away at the ability to build trust, like how those magic erasers eat away at toilet grime on those sketchy TV commercials.

Ghosting; let’s not do it.

 

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What’s Up With That?

They asked me how many people I had been in love with.

It was an honest question, and one with a presumed answer larger than zero. Yet, that was my exact answer. Zero.

In my head I cued the pity-party and braced for that confused look and muffled expression. I wasn’t completely disappointed.

It was honest, though. I was speaking my truth, all the while knowing that this truth was not what I should say.

What should I even say? That word, should. What’s up with that?

Not having loved another person, to me, was not a lack of something but rather an abundance. It was an abundance of expectation, presumption, and an uncanny knack for knowing exactly which Jenga piece to pull from the stack to make it all fall down.

There’s definitely something about equating your success with your state of perceived independence to the point that you’ve convinced yourself that your achievements are all contingent upon that state of solitude.

Maybe it was this expectation of success, built on the presumption of independence, that had distanced me from love this whole time. Yet, this idea seemed incomplete. Why did I value success so much. If this success and independence was the goal, then what was this new feeling of yearning?