Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Revealing Book and a Condemning but Cooked Review

In  the book publishing world, reviews say a lot about the way a written work is perceived by readers. So when a case arises when a work is hardly a day old and gets a review that is ten months old, it raises red flags. Why the sudden appearance of the review that has a complete disconnect to the book? And above all, why a bad review that is connected to a previous bad review about the author's work?

That is the case with the book Cameroon: France's Failed Puppet System in Africa. A cryptic situation, one can only conclude because there are no clear answers to it. But one thing for sure is the fact that Cameroon: France's Failed Puppet System in Africa opens the chapter of a hidden truth that has governed the post-colonial relationship between France and its former colonies and territories in Africa, especially Cameroon, a hidden truth that the masters and puppeteers of the mafia governing Franco-African relationship over the past six decades would prefer to conceal from the rest of the world that has a conscience, a questioning mind, a demanding voice, an indomitable spirit and  a sense of justice.

At the end of the day, we cannot help but wonder if there is a connection between the powers that be in the whole affair---I mean the forces in Elysee in France, the retailer and the puppets in Cameroon.

Janvier Tchouteu 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

16 Cancer Causing Foods You Probably Eat Every Day (Culled from Kelley's Kitchen )

veggie_tableIt’s probably not something you think about every day, whether or not the foods you are eating could contain carcinogens, but with almost 1.5 million people diagnosed with some type of cancer just last year, perhaps it’s time to look at what is in our foods that could be causing such a huge number of new cancer patients. Here is a list of the top 10 foods that you most likely consume every day that may contain carcinogens or be suspected of causing cancer.
1. Microwave Popcorn
popcorn_thumbThose little bags of popcorn are so convenient to just stick in the microwave, you wouldn’t think for a minute that they could be dangerous to your health, but they are.
First, let’s talk about the bag itself. According to Wikipedia, conventional microwave popcorn bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid ( PFOA). This is a toxin you can find in Teflon also. According to a recent study at the University of California, PFOA is linked to infertility in women. Numerous studies in lab animals and humans show that exposure to PFOA significantly increases the risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers. You can read more about this substance and the above mentioned studies at
Now, let’s talk about the contents. Although every manufacturer uses slightly different ingredients, most of them use soybean oil (a GMO product) as well as various preservatives such as propyl gallate, a chemical that is causes stomach problems and skin rashes. Now they don’t actually say they are using GMO corn kernels, but that’s because the government says they don’t have to. Even if they don’t use GMO corn, you can bet they aren’t using organic corn!
Also, applied to the popcorn itself, is a chemical called diacetyl. Use of this chemical caused Conagra Foods to remove it from their brand of popcorn, ACT, because it was causing lung diseases in the workers at their factory.
The American people are becoming more aware of their diets and are looking into the foods that they are eating. They want to know what’s in them, and how they are prepared, and what those additives and chemicals mean to their health. Americans want to eat healthier, but sometimes it’s a matter of not knowing what to eat instead. We are all creatures of habit and it’s easy to just pick up the same things we are used to eating. Here is a list of healthy food substitutes you can use to replace those dangerous cancer causing foods you have become accustomed to.
Instead of Microwave Popcorn
It’s easy to make your popcorn the old fashioned way! Use a pan with a little salt and coconut oil. Or use your own brown paper bag, add some popcorn, fold it over tightly and make your own homemade microwave popcorn minus all those dangerous chemicals. If possible you could buy an air popper, which pops your popcorn with hot air only, no oils needed.
2. Soda Pop
Perhaps you heard about the recent study that was published in May in the American Journal of Nutrition? It found that people who consumed more than one soda per day had a higher risk of stroke than people who did not drink sodas.
Loaded with sugar, sodas are an empty source of calories that cause weight gain and contribute to the nationwide epidemic of obesity. Drinking large amounts of this rapidly digested sugar causes your blood sugar to spike which can lead to both inflammation and insulin resistance. Soda is often the root cause of gastro-esophageal reflux disease, which is when the contents of the stomach leak into the esophagus causing not only pain but an actual burning of the esophagus from stomach acid.
Although sodas are not a direct cause of ulcers, they are known to irritate and make those with ulcers have more pain. Sodas also contain artificial colorings and food chemicals like derivative 4-methylimidazole (4-MI); no wonder soda pop has been shown to cause cancer.
Instead of Soda Pop
Are you ready to kick the soda pop habit? There are many great alternatives to drinking soda that are both healthy and will save you a fortune once you kick the habit. First, make your own flavored water. Simply add slices of your favorite organic fruits to a pitcher of water (add ice as you prefer) and there you have it! Try cucumbers, mint, oranges, watermelon, peaches, or limes. The possibilities are almost endless.
You can also drink green tea. Studies show that green tea can protect you from kidney stones, heart disease, and several types of cancer as well as being high in antioxidants. Green tea is available in many flavors and can be drunk hot or cold.
Here’s one to please the kiddies, Jeltzer. These are easy to make, simply mix 100 percent pure, organic fruit juice with seltzer water for a flavorful “soda” that is completely natural and tastes as good as, or better than, store bought sodas.
3. Canned Tomatoes
CANNED TOMOTOESActually, most canned foods are a concern because of what the can is lined with. The lining of almost all canned foods are made with a chemical called bisphenol-A, or BPA.
A study published in May of 2013 by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences showed that BPA actually affects the way genes work inside the brain of rats. Even the FDA agrees that there is a problem with BPA as it is supporting efforts to either replace or at the very least, to minimize the amounts found in canned foods. You know it must be bad when even the very lax FDA is concerned!
Tomatoes are exceptionally dangerous due to their high acidity, which seems to cause BPA to leech from the lining of the can into the tomatoes themselves. The level of BPA can be so high in fact; you should seriously consider not feeding them to children. Due to FDA laws, there are no standards for labeling BPA so simply because a can does not say it has it does not mean that it does not contain BPA. Be safe and avoid cans. Cook fresh or buy glass bottles.
Instead of Canned Tomatoes
There are other options to using those canned tomatoes that contain dangerous preservatives. There are numerous brands that sell diced or whole tomatoes in glass bottles. Of course, buying fresh, organic produce and making your own homemade sauce is always your best option.
4. Processed Meats
meatWhat exactly are processed meats? This is a long list that includes, but is not limited to, sausages, hot dogs, bacon, most lunch meats like bologna or pimento loaf.
Researchers who wrote in the journal of BMC Medicine said that the excessive salts and chemicals that are used when making processed meats are damaging to your health. The study showed that 1 in every 17 people who were involved in the study died and those who ate 160 grams or more of processed meats increased their risk of early death as much as 44 percent within 12 years as opposed to those who ate 20 grams or less. This study involved people from 10 European countries and went on for almost 13 years.
All these processed meats contain numerous chemicals and preservatives, including sodium nitrates, which make them, look appealing and fresh but are well known carcinogens. Smoking meats seem to be particularly bad as the meat picks up tar from the smoking process. Yes, tar, the same deadly ingredient that cigarette smoke contains.
Instead of Processed Meats
Processed meats such as chopped ham, salami, and most lunch meats are easily replaced with just a little forethought. Try going the veggie route when you can. Some of your best options, however, will come from your own home cooked meals. Use some of your left over chicken from Sunday for chicken sandwiches on Monday. Fish also makes great sandwiches or added to salads. It just takes a little creativity and forethought to make healthy lunch sandwiches.
Just one 20g serving of protein a day can slash the risk of a stroke by 20 per cent - and fish is particularly beneficial, say scientists
5. Farmed Salmon

Although fish sounds like one of the healthiest foods possible, farmed salmon is one you should avoid. Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of the salmon consumed in the USA is farm raised.
These fish are fed unnatural diets and are contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides, and other known carcinogens. They live in very crowded conditions which results in these fish having 30 times the number of sea lice than wild salmon. (Doesn’t that sound appetizing?) Farmed salmon are fed chemicals to make their meat that reddish pink color that should occur naturally but doesn’t because of the diet of chicken litter that they are fed.
Also, due to their diet, they have less of the healthy omega-3 that we think we are getting when we consume fish. Studies have also shown that farmed salmon contain high levels of PCB’s, mercury, and cancer causing dioxins. Avoid farmed salmon and buy it canned or look for labels in your market that state the fish you are buying is wild sockeye salmon.
Instead of Farmed Salmon
It’s a known fact that farmed salmon are nowhere near as healthy for you as wild salmon.
Farmed salmon are fed chemicals to make their meat that reddish pink color that should occur naturally but doesn’t because of the diet of chicken litter that they are fed. Also, due to their diet, they have less of the healthy omega-3 that we think we are getting when we consume fish. Studies have also shown that farmed salmon contain high levels of PCB’s, mercury, and cancer causing dioxins.
With more than 80 percent of the salmon on the market today being farmed salmon it’s becoming more and more difficult to find wild salmon, not to mention more expensive. When looking for salmon in your supermarket, the fastest way to find wild salmon is to look at the price. If you find one filet that is smaller than the others but double the price, it’s wild. Also, most salmon in your market should be clearly marked as wild, if it is. Also, look for a label that says Alaskan salmon as opposed to North Western salmon. You might also want to consider eating more canned salmon. For some reason, farmed salmon does not hold up to the canning process, so most of the salmon that is canned should be wild.
6. Potato Chips
CHIPSYes, we know, potato chips are cheap, great tasting, quick snack, however, the negative effects they have on your body may not be worth the little bit of pleasure you derive from these crispy snacks.
Potato chips are high in both fat and calories, which are sure to bring on weight gain. A study done in the New England Journal of medicine found that eating just 1 once of potato chips per day caused an average 2 pound weight gain in one year. Besides being full of trans-fats which can cause high cholesterol in most people, they have excessive sodium levels which, for many people, cause high blood pressure.
Potato chips have artificial flavors, numerous preservatives, and colors as well, which is something else your body doesn’t need. Potato chips are fried in high temperatures to make them crispy but this also causes them to make a material called acrylamide, a known carcinogen that is also found in cigarettes.
It’s hard to say no to your kids demands for chips sometimes, therefore, as a sneaky alternative, buy them baked potato chips or tortilla chips which are at least lower in both fat and calories. Air popped popcorn and whole wheat pretzels are another healthier option. Or try baked apple chips or banana chips which are dehydrated. Both are crispy and are far healthier than regular potato chips.
Instead of Potato Chips or French Fries
Although your kids probably won’t be happy about it, there are not many healthy substitutes for potato chips since it involves frying. If you must, in order to keep your kids happy, you can thinly slice your potatoes and fry them in either olive oil or coconut oil. Although still fried, at least these are homemade and do not contain the excess salt nor the added chemicals that processed chips have. You can also try baking thin slices of potatoes or sweet potatoes as a healthy alternative. You can also cut finger sized pieces of potatoes or sweet potatoes, drizzle them with olive oil and bake for potatoes that taste as good as French fries.
7. Hydrogenated oils
vegetable-oilsLet’s start from the point that all hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils.
Vegetable oils cannot be extracted naturally like butter is, vegetable oils must be chemically removed from their source, and then they are changed to be more acceptable to consumers. They are frequently deodorized and colored to look appealing.
All vegetable oils contain high levels of Omega–6 fatty acids. An excess of Omega- 6 fatty acids cause health problems, such as heart disease and in increase in various cancers, especially skin cancer. You need a good balance of both Omega 3 and Omega 6. Try to get plenty of Omega 3 every day. You can do this in the form of supplements and grass fed meats, also fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are a very good source of Omega 3.
Hydrogenated oils are used to preserve processed foods and keep them looking appealing for a long as possible. Hydrogenated oils influence our cell membranes’ structure and flexibility, which is linked to cancer.
Instead of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
There are several great alternatives to those dangerous hydrogenated vegetable oils. First choice is olive oil. Be sure to buy extra virgin as this is the most natural type (less processed) of olive oil available. Coconut oil is another good choice as it has medium chain fatty acids that are much easier to digest then the ones found in butter and other oils.
If you are interested in going as oil free as possible, you can try using applesauce when baking. It can generally be replaced, measure for measure, in any recipe that calls for oil. This isn’t recommended for frying, of course.
Another good alternative is yogurt. Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. Use yogurt that is made from low or nonfat milk. Organic or raw yogurt is always your best choice when you can find it. Like applesauce, you can use it in baking recipes that call for oil.
8. Foods that are highly salted, pickled, or smoked
Foods that are cured by use of nitrates or nitrites act as preservatives as well as adding color to the meat. Although nitrates do not cause cancer in and of themselves, under certain conditions these chemicals change once they are inside the body into N-nitroso composites. It’s this N-nitroso that is associated with a greater increase the risk of developing cancers.
Smoking foods such as meat or nuts causes these food items to absorb considerable amounts of the tar that smoke produces. Tar is a known carcinogen. Meats such as bacon, sausage, bologna, and salami are high in fat and salt. Pickled foods are also very high in salts.
There is overwhelming evidence that eating these types of foods greatly increases the risk of colorectal cancer and higher rates of stomach cancer. The rates of stomach cancer are much greater in places such as Japan where a traditional diet contains many foods that are highly salted, and/or smoked.
9. Highly processed white flours
white flourMost of you have already heard by now that white flour is not a good thing, but you most likely have no idea just how bad it really is for your health. Refining grains destroys its natural nutrients. Mills are no longer content with waiting for their flour to whiten with time; mills now bleach flour with a chemical called chlorine gas.
The EPA states that chlorine gas is a dangerous irritant that is not safe to inhale and in large quantities can be lethal. White flour lurks in many processed foods. White processed flour has a very high glycemic rate which quickly raises the blood sugar level and insulin levels, which can be a direct cause of diabetes, not to mention it is believed that it spreads cancer cells by feeding the cells directly.
Cancerous tumors feed mostly on the sugars in your bloodstream. By avoiding refined grains such as white flour, you can avoid, or at the very least, starve tumors.
Instead of White Flour
White processed flour has a very high glycemic rate which quickly raises the blood sugar level and insulin levels, which can be a direct cause of diabetes, not to mention it is believed that it spreads cancer cells by feeding the cells directly. Cancerous tumors feed mostly on the sugars in your bloodstream. By avoiding refined grains such as white flour, you can avoid, or at the very least, starve tumors.
When it comes to flour, you no longer need be stuck with just one option. There are several other types of flour that are full of health benefits.
Almond flour is grain free yet still contains proteins and health fats. Just be sure to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer after opening as it can spoil, unlike white flour.
Quinoa flour is another good choice. This flour gives you complete protein and all the essential amino acids. This is one choice you can make yourself. Buy organic quinoa, bake it in the oven at 225 degrees for 10 minutes, and then grind.
Barley flour is available almost everywhere. Be sure the package states that it’s organic, whole grain barley for the healthiest choice.
10. GMO’s
gmo_cornGenetically modified organisms, more commonly called GMO’s, are foods that have been modified by chemicals and grown with chemicals.
In a study done by Dr. Pusztai at the Rowett Institute in Scotland, rats were fed GMO foods, especially potatoes. ALL rats showed damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous cell growths, along with smaller brains and livers, in just the first 10 days of the project. American consumers believe that the FDA has approved these GMO foods and this is simply not the case.
The FDA has NO testing procedures for GMO foods, NONE. The only human study ever published showed that those foreign genes that are present in GM food transfer to the DNA in the bacteria in our digestive systems. We, the American consumer, are the guinea pig (or rat) in this case. Unfortunately, almost all grains, including soybeans, wheat, and corn, have been grown via GMO’s.
GMO’s do not have to be listed on food labels, so read carefully and look for labels that state the food is GMO free.
Instead of GMO’s
As of this writing, the major crops that are almost exclusively GMO are corn, canola, soy, and cotton. There are others such as yellow squash, zucchini, and Hawaiian papaya. Be aware that, by law, companies don’t have to list that their product is, or that it contains, GMO products, or in the case of dairy and meat, that the animal was fed GMO. The only way to be certain that your food is not GMO, nor contains GMO, is to look for labels that say organic or “contains no GMO”. If it doesn’t say those things, then think twice about buying it.
11. Refined Sugars
sugar_02Refined sugars are not only known to spike insulin levels, but also to be the most preferable food for cancer cells, thus promoting their growth.
Cancers seem to have a sweet tooth. This is a known fact that has been around for many years. The Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, back in 1931, first discovered that tumors and cancers both use sugars to “feed” themselves and/or to increase in size. In order to proliferate, cancer cells seem to prefer feeding on fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS); the reason is that HFCS is being metabolized by cancer cells most quickly and easily.
Now it is clear why high-fructose corn syrup is considered the worst offender. And since cakes, pies, cookies, sodas, juices, sauces, cereals, and many other extremely popular, mostly processed, food items are loaded with refined sugars and HFCS in particular, this helps explain why cancer rates are on the rise these days.
12. Artificial Sweeteners
aspert_thumbMost people use artificial sweeteners to either lose weight or because they are diabetic and must avoid sugar. The main problem in all this is that there are numerous studies that show people who consume artificial sweeteners on a regular basis, such as in sodas, or coffee sweeteners, actually gain weight. It also does little or nothing to help those with diabetes.
In fact, artificial sweeteners actually make it even more difficult to control their blood sugar levels and worsen conditions that are related to diabetes such as cataracts and gastro paresis. Sometimes aspartame has been found to cause convulsions, which some people will mistake for an insulin reaction.
Not to mention that artificial sweeteners inhibit your body’s ability to monitor its daily calorie consumption and make the body crave even more sweets. Well, we’ve already discussed how refined sugars can cause cancer.
There is mounting evidence that the chemicals that make up these sweeteners, especially aspartame, break down in the body into a deadly toxin called DKP. When your stomach processes this chemical, it in turn produces chemicals that can cause cancer, especially brain tumors.
Instead of Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners
In order to proliferate, cancer cells seem to prefer feeding on fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS); the reason is that HFCS is being metabolized by cancer cells most quickly and easily. Now it is clear why high-fructose corn syrup is considered the worst offender. And since cakes, pies, cookies, sodas, juices, sauces, cereals, and many other extremely popular, mostly processed, food items are loaded with refined sugars and HFCS in particular, this helps explain why cancer rates are on the rise these days.
There are many alternatives to using white, table sugar. Honey is the one most people think of right off. Be sure you are buying raw or unprocessed honey for the best health benefits. You can also use molasses. Molasses is loaded with vitamins and probably has the best source of nutrition among all sugar substitutes. Maple syrup is another good option. Not pancake syrup, but real maple syrup from trees. It’s more expensive but well worth the money nutrition wise. If you are looking for a low calorie option, try Stevia. This is from the leaves of a plant grown in South America and is generally sold everywhere.
13. Diet Anything
diet-coke-planeDiet foods, including frozen foods, or prepackaged foods labeled as “diet” or “low fat”, including diet sodas, generally contain aspartame, which is a chemical, artificial sweetener that we talk about in detail above. There are numerous studies showing that aspartame causes many diseases and sicknesses such as cancers, birth defects, and heart problems.
All “diet” food is chemically processed and made from super refined ingredients, excessive sodium levels, as well as artificial colors and flavors to make it taste good. Don’t ever forget, artificial anything is NOT real food! Although the FDA says that all these added chemicals are safe to eat, you might want to take their advice with a grain of salt. After all, don’t they also tell you that sugar and vegetable oils are safe to eat? (Not to mention GMO’s and fast food!)
There have been many studies that show that these additives, for some people, can actually be addicting. They feed that “feel good” part in your brain, similar to cocaine! Well, that actually makes sense because if you become addicted to these foods, the companies making them are certain to score a lot of money, aren’t they?
Be smart and eat nature’s own, natural “diet” food; fruits and vegetables! (Organic, of course!)
Instead of Diet Foods
There really is only one good alternative to “diet” foods. Eat fresh, organic, raw, all natural foods from nature. That is truly the best “diet” around, isn’t it? The one Mother Nature intended?
If there is no list of ingredients on what you are eating, then you know you are truly eating healthy.
fat free14. Alcohol
wineAn American study that followed the diet and lifestyles of more than 200,000 women for almost 14 years found that postmenopausal women who drank one drink per day or less had an almost 30 percent increase in breast cancer rates compared to women who did not drink at all.
Alcohol use is the second leading cause of cancer, right behind tobacco use. While a moderate or low consumption of alcohol can be healthy and lead to a reduced risk of heart disease, excessive drinking is known to cause heart failure, stroke, and sudden death. In 2007, experts working for the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer looked at the scientific evidence regarding cancer and alcohol use from 27 different studies. They found sufficient evidence to state that excessive alcohol use is the main cause of mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, mouth, rectum, and female breast cancers.
Don’t fret! You can still enjoy that glass of wine with dinner, but, for your health’s sake, no more than one!
15. Red Meat
SteakFor those of you, who love your T-bone steak, calm down. There is evidence that shows that red meat is actually a good thing in your diet, in small, infrequent amounts, Grass fed beef contains conjugated linoleic acid that actually fights against certain cancers.
However, in a study done over a 10 year period, eating red meat every day, even a small amount, such as that quarter pound hamburger you like to enjoy at lunch, increased a man’s risk of dying from cancer by 22 percent and a woman’s chance by 20 percent. A separate research study has shown that eating a lot of red meat increased the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
Red meat seems particularly dangerous when talking about colon cancer. A study done in the US followed almost 150,000 people between the ages of 50 and 74. This study showed that the long term consumption of red meat significantly increased the amount of colon cancer found in the subjects studied. On the other hand, the long term consumption of fish and poultry appeared to be protective in nature.
Enjoy that T-bone, but not every night, perhaps not even every week. Save those steaks for a once in while treat and be sure you are consuming grass fed, organic beef for your best health.
16. Non-organic fruits
fruitFruits that are non-organic are contaminated with some very dangerous pesticides such as atrazine, thiodicarb, and organophosphates, as well as high nitrogen fertilizers.
Atrazine is banned in European countries but still used here. This is a weed killer that causes severe problems in humans, especially in our reproductive capabilities.
A 2009 study found that when pregnant women drank water contaminated with atrazine, their babies had reduced body weights. Were you aware that the sewage from cities in the USA (nicely called bio solids) is used in the fields of farms in the USA as a form of fertilizer? You will never find organic food being cultivated in composted human sewage waste!
Conventional foods are also subjected to an enormous amount of these types’ chemicals as well as hormones, to make the fruit and veggies grow bigger. Apples are probably the worst offenders with pesticides showing on more than 98 per cent of all apples tested. Fruits with a 90 per cent positive rate of pesticide residue included oranges, strawberries, and grapes.
Washing fruit does not remove 100 per cent of the residue. Pesticides are toxic chemicals to insects as well as human beings.
Instead of the Typical “Dirty” Produce
Almost all produce sold in the USA is contaminated in some way with pesticides and dangerous fertilizers that even washing does not remove. Did you know that when monkeys are offered a regular banana and an organic banana, even if they look exactly the same, they will always choose the organic banana? Perhaps we should take a cue from our monkey friends and always, always choose produce that says organically grown.

Published by Naturalon, March 9, 2014.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ukraine: Exposing the Myth, Rejecting Nationalism, Embracing Patriotism and Founding "The New Ukraine"

After more than a year of a new regime in power in Kiev, and after a period of refusing to acknowledge the fact that power changed hands in February 2014 illegally or  after evading the questions about the nature of the current regime's initial illegitimacy, we find today that the media, especially in the West,  has finally accepted that there was a coup in Ukraine that deposed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.  The Germans like to say that 'there are always two sides to a story or point of view'---Dialectic. And since the powers that be now agree that there was a coup, we cannot dismiss the feelings or position of those who voted for the person who was deposed. The people of Rovno, Chernihiv and Sumy would have reacted exactly like the people of Crimea and the Donbas if their native sons (Kravchuk, Kuchma and Yuschenko respectively) had been deposed as heads of state by their opponents.  Taking from Dostoyevsky’s quote that  "If God does not exist, everything is permitted",  I may add that “ If there is no respect of the rule of law and legitimacy, then anything can be expected.” The rebellions in the Donbas and the anarchism of  Ukraine's extreme right that spearheaded the coup testify to that.

I consider myself a free thinker and as someone who has been following  the developments in the lands of the ex-USSR since the 1980s. Why? Perhaps because I found the landmass and people curiously intriguing; Perhaps because I liked Russian literature---Pasternak, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Turgenev, Bulgakov, Chekhov, Gogol, Tolstoy etc.--- perhaps because I like the 'narodnie pyesni' etc; and/or perhaps because I studied there, Belarus mostly, and wrote about the place. The two Soviet leaders I really admired were Lenin and Gorbachev, especially for the genuineness of their souls. Lenin made mistakes, especially in his reaction when under duress, but he admitted to them, and so is Gorbachev.  Lenin  is the one who first made it possible for standard Ukrainian, then a localized mushrooming language, to be taught in the entire territory of what is Ukraine today;  he expanded Ukraine, adding most of what at the time was the Russian speaking, but mostly ethnically Ukrainian  Southeast (Novorossiya in Czraist times) to Ukraine; he reeled against Great Russian chauvinism; let Finland, the Baltics and Poland go and was horrified by Stalin's heavy-handedness in crushing the opposition in Stalin's native Georgia.  So, basically, Lenin's intention was good, so is Gorbachev's, a Cossack(half Zaporozhian and half Don) whose Siberian wife traces her ancestral home in Chernihiv. Gorbachev deplores the direction the guys in Kiev are taking Ukraine, just like me.

In Cameroon, the people say that "If you allow yourself to become a banana, monkeys will eat you up in no time." That is what the heads of state, past and present, allowed Ukraine to become, and that is why a potentially great country in the heart of Europe is the mess it is today.  Ukraine is the most mentally messed up country in Europe and they cannot be entirely blamed for it. History is responsible.  In Gogol's 'Taras Bulba', the Zaporozhian Cossacks (the forebears of Southern and eastern Ukrainians) fighting the Poles who at the time lorded the lands of much of present day Ukraine, could not wrap their minds around the nature of their people (Ukrainian or Rus elites) they found in Kiev and the center who were acting Polish, or those of the West who had abandoned the Orthodox faith and picked up Catholicism (Uniate), like the Poles. I spoke with a Polish guy here in the USA (He hates Russia and blames it for all of Poland's troubled history), who portrays Poland as a victim. 

     “Russia took Eastern Poland and gave it to Ukraine and Belarus  during the Second World War." He said. (He meant what is today Western Ukraine).
      “Those were Rus lands, I replied."
     " Lviv, Ivano- Frankist, Dubno etc. were built by Poland, and Poles were the majority there,” he added.
     “The occupying Poles lived in the cities, while the natives lived in the countryside. That has been the case throughout history in every occupation. Occupiers live in the city and the natives in the countryside. Besides, Poland is the one that first invaded Russia in 1605.” I told him.
       He was quite.
      "And Poland took the Rus lands; what are today Belarus and Ukraine (Ruthenia), and then went on to  lord it over these territories for  centuries. “ I added.
      “If we didn't take Ukraine, the Tartars or Russia would have.” He retorted.
     “If Russia had, it would have treated it as a part of Rus (the former Kievan Rus) recovered, as a brother reunited; and some of the people in Ukraine and Belarus today would not be thinking today that they are not a part of the Rus family,”  I told him.
       Later that day, he came back to me and said in a contemplative manner, "I think Poland made a mistake back then. We should have made Ukraine an equal member of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. We should have allowed them into the Szlachta. We shouldn't have imposed on them."
     He meant the imposition of the Polish language, culture, religion etc on what is today Ukraine and Belarus, which the Ukraine elite under Polish occupation picked up and which transformed the dialects spoken in what is Ukraine today.  It was a mistake all right. But it is too late. Today, Ukrainians are having a hard time determining for sure who they are. They got messed up by history and strangely enough, many of them are looking for salvation from the outsiders who messed them up in the past.”

As a free soul and free thinker, I wouldn't be comfortable in today's Ukraine. I also wouldn't be comfortable in Putin's Russia and never got along well with the authorities in Lukashenko's Belarus. But I grudgingly accept the fact that Putin and Lukashenko are fully for the interest of those countries.
      Are the guys in Kiev fully for Ukraine's interest?
     Ukraine's interest involves reconciliation within. The thief Yanukovych understood that more than the lying and bloody Poroshenko and co. The other thieves (Yuschenko, Kuchma and Kravchuk) also understood that in varying degrees. And this thing of politicians from the Center of Ukraine tapping on the rabid nationalism of  Western Ukraine in order to get to power is Ukraine's biggest curse, because it ties their hands from engaging in a genuine manner with their brethren in the South and East of Ukraine.  And truth be told, the most tolerant and least xenophobic Ukrainians are those from Eastern and Southern Ukraine, the people who are being repressed in Ukraine today because they still view Russia  and Russians as their brothers and because they speak Russian (even though the majority here are ethnic  Ukrainians).

The division in Ukraine today is mirrored between two brothers from Chernikiv, one of whom is married to a Russian and lives in Russia, sees no reason why the government in Kiev and its supporters  consider Russia  and Russians as enemies, while the other lives abroad in Western Europe and wants Ukraine to have nothing to do with Russia. The pan-Slavic  brother  is  from the ancient Severian tribe that Ukrainians in Chernihiv come from as well as Russians right across the border, meaning that they share the same DNA. In a way, he at least understands, like many ethnic Russians do, that Ukrainians and Russians are the same people of Rus, that they are brothers, despite their divided history. 

A wrongly held view is that because of  Russification, many Ukrainians cannot say that their first language is standard Ukrainian.  The  first written work that is considered standard Ukrainian was the Eneida of 1798, written by Kotliarevsky.  Yes, it was mostly from the Middle Dnieprian dialect spoken in Poltava, Kiev and Cherkassy, with sprinklings from the Slobodan dialect and steppe dialect spoken by the Zaporozhian Cossacks.  Taras Shevchenko polished this new language, but even so, it was still localized and used mostly by the intelligentsia (which in the days of Polish rule spoke mostly Polish) that was also literate in Russian. Back then, more than 80% of the population was illiterate and spoke their dialects of Ukrainian(broadly the northern, southeastern and southwestern dialects). Schooling in the 1800s across the Russian Empire meant learning in Russian, a state language which was widespread especially in the urban areas, or in Ukrainian, a new language intended for use for the peoples once under Polish control. The Bolsheviks even promoted Ukrainization from 1921-1932, a period of rapid schooling (where literacy rate crossed 80%), but the majority of those who became literate during this period picked up standard Russian over standard Ukrainian as a matter of choice. True the Ukrainian language was discouraged from 1933-1957.But it is obvious  the vast majority of East and South Ukraine never used standard Ukrainian in their history(delineation), but spoke their local dialects that has evolved into Surzhik today. As a matter of fact, the local dialects of Eastern and Southern Ukraine are closer to standard Ukrainian more than the local dialects of the Northern and Western Ukraine, even though the people of Eastern and Southern are historically Russian speakers, most of whom in their history never used standard Ukrainian in their day to day lives  or  at school. 

The point is, to move forward, Ukraine needs to embrace its dual identity. French legendary leader Charles De Gaulle once wrote that “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first." 

The hope should be that the truce brings about a somber realization to all the parties involved in the conflict  that Ukraine needs more patriotism and less nationalism.  In a patriotic Ukraine, embracing all Ukrainians  and their identities, and taking into account all the aspirations, interests and concerns of all the regions of the country is the right thing to do.The New Ukraine cannot be founded based on the narrow views of one side or the suppression  of the Eastern and Southern portions of the country.

Janvier Chouteu-Chando, author of “The Union Moujik”