The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

As A Muslim Feminist February 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 9:17 am

Solidarity with our Muslim feminist sisters.

Freedom from the Forbidden

Image 1 feminismI have been a feminist ever since I began to engage with patriarchy as a conscious human being. That was also the same time when I realized that I was not the only woman struggling for space to breathe in a misogynistic world that strives to suck out every spirit of being from women, from people of color, from “minorities.” This started in my late teenage years when I began noting gendered double standards in the way that the community I was being raised in dealt with issues of gender and sexuality. I grew tired of it to the point where I have been wanting to scream ever since. And it’s been over a decade. But the reasons are too multifaceted to be attributed to misogyny alone. And the only things that have kept me sane and given me reasons to be enthusiastic about this world and women’s and gendered…

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Dust: A Review April 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 7:49 am

Here's the thing...

Dust Yvonne Owuor’s debut novel is not an easy book, by any means. The prologue is one of the pebbles whose splash causes the ripple of narrative. But one doesn’t realize this when reading it, and the repetitive account of Odidi running tired me, as I’m sure it did him. Even when you get past it, it still takes some time before things really start moving. It was almost a relief to abandon it for lighter reads, which I’ll admit I did a few times before committing.

But nothing good comes easy. As the different threads came together I was – in awe, I guess. I stopped reading out of fellow feeling (buy Kenya build Kenya) and became genuinely wrapped up in the story and the need for resolution. This is not a smoothly-flowing, straightforward story, like Americanah, or We Need New Names. Things happen, but in the middle of densely…

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Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor?? November 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 10:07 am

Plants 1: Humans 0

Doug's Darkworld

The abandoned town of Pripyat, the Chernobyl reactor in the background.

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical…

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Pope Francis Supports Crackdown on US Nuns April 16, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 1:07 pm

Sisters for social justice.


February 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 8:11 am

Kenya Stockholm Blog

The country is a safe playground of Western imperialism

Last week, a chorus of warnings by major imperialist powers about dire “consequences” for Kenya depending on the outcome of the March 4th elections, saturated both local and internal media. Leading the orchestra was the United States and Britain whose stern warnings (apparently against a Jubilee victory) were quickly echoed by France and Switzerland. In Kenya, the popular view currently being peddled with abandon through mainstream and social media is that Kenya will lose colossally in trade and diplomatic relations with its traditional Western allies depending on how Kenyans vote on 4th March.

While the lamentable disadvantages occasioned by a Jubilee victory are irrefutable, meek silence seem to dominate on the nature and degree of losses both American and European imperialism is likely to suffer in the event of a diplomatic imbroglio with Kenya for whatever reason. As a matter of…

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February 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 10:38 am

Angelo Opi-aiya Izama

ImageIn Luo folklore, two feuding brothers, Gipir and Labong, quarreled and split ways. Labong had been was forced to risk his life and replace a spear belonging to his brother Gipir he had in the heat of passion thrown at an elephant. In revenge when Gipir’s daughter accidentally swallowed some beads belonging to him, he had his brother slice her open. The bond broken Gipir crossed the Nile westwards to form the Luo of west Nile, the Alur, Jonam and others in the Congo. The other remained in present day Acholi land.

The beautiful savannah still remains as a testament to this medley of oral history, geography and identity. Once swarmed teeming with elephants, that the Luo believe beat the path for their migration southwards, the savannah at Murchison Falls National park today spots drilling rigs that tower above everything else. The French company Total is exploring here. Despite its…

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January 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sophie Alal @ 4:02 am

Thank you.

Jackee Budesta Batanda

Photo by MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images

Now that 2012 has come to a close, I can say that it has been an interesting year for Uganda, with the country experiencing some of the greatest highs and lows in its history. The country just buried a young woman member of parliament from the ruling party, Hon. Cerinah Nebandah from the Butaleja District in Eastern Uganda, who died under mysterious circumstances. Her suspected poisoning has strongly divided the nation. The official government autopsy report claims she died from a drug and alcohol overdose, but her family and legislators have rejected the findings. The debate, however, does bring to the fore the alcohol and drug problem in Uganda, which society has failed to acknowledge as a deeply entrenched problem among young people. What I see, above all, is the loss of one of Uganda’s most vibrant young politicians. For many young people, the 24-year-old…

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