Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I've always steered clear of turning BLEURGH into a platform to promote my political or religious viewpoints. However, I have been vocal about my opinion of human rights atrocities (especially pertaining to women's rights) in the past, and will endeavour to remain somewhat objective in this post. I attended a private screening of 'Those Who Said No' courtesy of JUSTICE yesterday, and stayed for the Q&A, which was hosted at Linklaters LLP. 'Those Who Said No' is an independent film by Nima Sarvestani, which documents the accounts of survivors of the Iranian massacre of the '80s as they testify at the People's Tribunal in The Hague in 2013.
Blazer : H&M | Dress : House of Fraser | Belt : Marks&Spencer
I am an avid viewer of BravoTV's 'Shahs of Sunset' and (prior to this event) had only a vague understanding of the extent of 'The Bloody Decade' in Iran. However, I was soon adequately informed about the oppressive government of 1980's Iran, which cemented its power by persecuting and wrongfully imprisoning Marxist revolutionaries, liberal activists and innocent people who protested for change. Those Who Said No is a powerful documentary, highlighting the bitter reality of the families and victims whose unwavering determination to bring the perpetrators of the Iranian regime and massacres, to justice, resulted in the scale and severity of the atrocities of the former regime being brought to light. The victims of unwarranted detention shared their accounts of inhumane and degrading torture they witnessed in graphic detail, leaving some members of the audience in tears. Heartbreaking images of 'coffins', where individuals were forced to sit in a small cubicle for 14/15 hour a day, blindfolded, with nothing but propaganda media audible. This sensory deprivation was intended to brainwash those incarcerated and create a factory of supporters; silencing their views, individuality and right to freedom. Aside from atonement and punishment, the victims were able to fire up the machinery of justice by 'exposing historical truth', after 25+ years of silence.  
House of Parliament, Westminster (London)
The documentary cleverly juxtaposes the testimonies in the Iran Tribunal with personal narratives and investigative footage of Nima and one survivor's search for justice in the interim, having been plagued by these atrocities for decades. Footage of an Iranian woman trailing the barren land (exposed as a mass gravesite) detailing the emotions of the community of mourning mothers whose sons and loved ones were cruelly murdered and secretly buried at night only to be discovered upon digging the raw soil with their bare hands and catching glimpses of their attire or distinct limbs riled a few audience members and left me raw with retributive rage. Before the credits, the post script notified a dumbfounded audience that the UN are yet to take action having been issued with the findings of The Hague Court of Justice since 2013. Neither have the perpetrators been prosecuted. In fact, those named and shamed in the public inquiry were found to now hold strong positions of authority in political, legal and democratic seats in Iran to date. 
Private Screening and Q&A of 'Those Who Said No'
It is clear that the actions of that anti-democratic regime was oppressive and inhumane, and should be brought to justice. I cannot begin to understand what it must feel like for the victims who suffered in the hands of such barbarians and can not only continue to live their lives, but are brave enough to share their accounts and enlighten millions of the massacre and gave injustice that occured. One cannot turn on the TV of late without being bombarded with anti-'Islamist' propaganda. I am no religious scholar, neither is this the platform to discuss, persecute or promote a religion above another. On the contrary, I (without sounding like an oyibo on social trial who lists the non-caucasian acquaintances on his/her Facebook friend list) surround myself with individuals of all faiths, and find it culturally enriching and thought-provoking to intellectually debate the differences, similarities, limitations, etc of each faith and motivate one another to pursue their calling respectively. Something that has been coined by philosophers as 'interfaith'. 
I had to bite my tongue and nib my pen one too many times when drafting this post, all too aware of the consequences of 'free speech' stifled in the hands of narrow-minded oppressors a la Charlie Hebdo. The Hague and the opportunity to share their stories with the world provided a cathartic form of therapy for the victims and challenged my perception of justice.
One must be aware that the establishments are made up of the arsonists as well as the fire brigade.


Those Who Said No

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I was kindly sent a digital copy of 'Witchcraft Couture' to read and review, and also a hardcopy for one lucky BLEURGH reader to win (terms of giveaway below). Don't be dissuaded by the title, the novel is littered with religious, spiritual and philosophical nuances; from the mention of Saul's epiphany enroute to Damascus, to 'Lucifer Ltd' repossession bailiffs in Oscar's hallucination. Katarina West does an incredible job of penning the demise of a once-maverick fashion designer, Oscar Federico Pelligrini, and the repercussions of his plight for perfection and his "fear of the blank paper" (Chapter 2). She cleverly details the transition of a troubled artist's rise to fame and fall from grace, all the while mimicking his psyche through the diction, structure and style of writing in a diary format. In typical BLEURGH Review fashion, I pin-pointed 3 noteworthy themes for your attention in the book, and will discuss them below for your reading pleasure. 

Shirt : BHS | Skirt : H&M

Shortcuts - I completely related to Oscar because I am just realigning myself on the right track to achieve my goals. "In...shortcut[s] lies a moral risk, because the only way to obtain sustainable prosperity is through hard work" (Chapter 12).  Sometimes in life, we lack the motivation to carry on because we're so set on the end goal, that we are failing to properly equip ourselves with the tools needed to succeed. "Talent is not a question of fortune...but a state of mind" (Chapter 18).  Witchcraft Couture teaches that in order for one to truly succeed, one must be "ready to strive for perfection" and "work hard to be exceptional" (Chapter 18)So quit trying to find the shortcut in life, and get down to basics; hard work, perseverance and faith. 
Gossip Girl themed #BloggersLoveLFW Event, Hoxton
Modelling - Countless career and management coaches have praised the awesome power of modelling pioneers in your field as the route to success. They fail to account for the fact everyone's journey is unique. When asked what's his secret to success? Oscar mockingly credits "goat's milk" before hailing the awesome power of magic as the root of his success. The true secret to success is there is no secret! Remember that "misfortunes, never come singly" (Chapter 16), so as quick as a fickle feather rises, so also does it descend for its lack of depth to sustain its flight. Quit coveting the life of your idol and realise they too are human, and had to endure their fair share of social ridicule or tumultuous climb up the ladder like you inevitably will.
Ribbon : Chanel | Watch : Guess | Boots : New Look | Headband : Topshop
Self-deprecation - A few Lents past, I sacrificed self-deprecation and felt liberated as I no longer viewed myself through flawed worldly eyes, but saw my potential and intangible beauty instead. Pop culture worships at the feet of pleasure, which enriches oneself at the expense of self-exploitation. Oscar is infamous Psychologist Sigmund Freud's perfect guinea pig, choosing to deal with his problems by employing a range of defence mechanisms (repression, denial, projection, displacement, etc); in his plight for perfection, he flees from the expectation of his peers by seeking validation from his emotionally absent mother or the toxic contents of a bottle too many. Oscar's desires for earthly pleasures desensitised and inevitably deprived him of core values and basic needs. We must be careful not to flood our thoughts with wants, so we don't lack out true needs. Choose to "focus...not on doubting yourself [and] there's no limit to how far you can go" (Chapter 4).
"Something in my talent, something bright and mighty"..."collapsed under its own heaviness, like a dying star" Witchcraft Couture

write about your dream and the sacrifices and/or shortcuts you've made/taken to achieve it in the comment box below & also be sure to follow on Bloglovin' and/or Twitter. Winner will be chosen at random.

Witchcraft Couture

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We live in a man's world, so it was only right growing up to be fed the mantra that silence was golden. Job 13 v 5 advises that "if only you would be altogether silent...that would be wisdom", but that didn't seem to sit right with my spirit growing up. I saw injustice all around in the form of bullying at school, and discrimination on a larger scale in University (most especially post-graduate studies), and found myself struggling to marry the Proverbs' advice of silent wisdom with the yearning within me to speak out against injustice. So on I churned in my pursuit of a purpose advocating against social injustice, and out my anger boiled against the ignorance of those around me who failed to share this mindset for challenging inequality, corruption and deceit. 
Hat : ASOS | Dress : Henry Holland | Chelsea Boots : Dorothy Perkins
I've been branded naive and idealistic for speaking out against social injustice. I've always known it was the right/Godly thing to do, but battling years of social training that to speak out was foolish had me in a tizz. Until I stumbled upon Dr Martin Luther King Jr's "In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends", and it hit me. Looking back to my troubled years as a bullied teen, I cannot recollect who bullied per se or even how it happened, just the effect it had on me and how my supposed 'friends' at the time failed to defend me. Dr MLK Jr was right, and I refuse to stand beside cowards and accept injustice as status quo. Instead, I will "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute" Proverbs 31 v 8
This time last year, I was in Nigeria advicating against gender based violence and speaking on behalf of marginalised rural women, and I've never felt more alive. I attended an event recently where a practicing commercial Barrister was slating non-public school scholarship applicants who chimed the routine aspiration of becoming human rights' barristers, and it struck me as odd that a man who prided himself for building a name for himself from such humble beginnings could turn around and mock his roots. I have a post coming up about dinner-table-debates, but my family often engage in political discussions about the root cause of social inequality (especially in Nigeria), and why corruption, the fight for power, and the greed of a few is bleeding the economy dry. Without engaging you all in the inner workings of such conversations, I just wanted to shed light on my understanding that it is the actions of such ignorant men that lead and had led us into the current state of society. 
Knitted Cape : Primark | Bag : ZARA | Watch : Michael Kors
Society now lacks a conscience. So I implore you all to critically assess your understanding and actions towards equality. My faith teaches me to actively pursue wisdom and understanding so I can develop useful life skills. I remember my Business Studies teacher once advised us to stop watching the news, and I thought it ludicrous! Years later, I did, and noted I was happier but at the expense of my lost touch with reality, and social awareness. Remaining socially aware aids self-awareness, so it's critical to remain one step ahead by constantly reading, learning and speaking up. "Silence is the residue of fear" Clint Smith - TED Talk. I understand it's easier to remain in your comfort zone and shy away from public scrutiny in case you get a point wrong politically, but I want to motivate you to speak up even about the little things, and in doing so, you will regain the volume in your voice.
Read Critically ~ Write Consciously ~ Speak Clearly ~ Tell Your Truth

Is Silence Golden?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I can't scroll down my Instagram feed these days without running into endless 'bae' flicks and pics. Whether its self-timed, selfie-stick'd usies or carefully stationed candids *side eye*, the e-world can't seem to get enough of instafamous couples these days. And its only set to get worse in the lead up to Valentine's Day this weekend. Flowers, gifts, romantic dinners and getaways will be plastered online in a bid to parade 'genuine' sentiments of endearment to others, showcasing that one's love is evidently real. Sometimes, I can't help but croon along to Tina Turner when glancing at these pics, asking "what's love got to do with it?"
Shirt : Marks & Spencer | Leather Skirt : H&M | Jumper : Forever 21
I've already taken a stance against plastering my love and affection for baes, boos and who-have-you's online, but I can't help but reiterate the point as VDay draws near. I understand that it is our desire to be intimate and to be loved by another, but apparently love is not our only emotional need. As a former Psychology student, I feel it only right to draw your attention to findings that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. If I feel loved by bae, I feel secure in bae's presence & that in turn, enhances my sense of significance. That might explain the need to let all know, but reel it in! I'm not bitter; far from it. I enjoy PDA, but don't appreciate the facade some are putting on, in a bid to garner more likes and followers on social media accounts. Not to mention how it drowns life prior to, and besides that lived with bae.
A good friend of mine alluded to the thesis that bae was an acronym meaning 'before anyone else' (the jury is still out on its accuracy). On that basis, it makes sense why every picture from the moment you're official to the day you walk down the aisle (or sign divorce papers after hiring me as your counsel *lol*) is either a selfie or an usie with bae *yawn*.  Again, my psychology degree prompts me to overstate the well-known value of physical touch as a means of communicating love to bae. However, having been the friend who's been resurrected following a break-up, I can't help but poke flaws in this setup. I, for one, know how addictive social media is. So I see why a doubled like quota on couple pics with bae can lead one to post more. Whats the harm? Especially as you honestly love bae, and want to spend more time with bae, and show the world just how much bae really means to you, and...bae bae bae! Ah! Abeg...HUSH!
Necklace : Diva (Abuja) | Chelsea Boots : Dorothy Perkins
I've seen girls go from social butterflies cruising with friends, to candlelit recluses only venturing out when bae is glued to the hip, posting up nonsensical hand shots over the meal table. How about you relish the time you actually spend with bae, instead of spending half the meal finding good light to capture that perfect moment? The key ingredient is giving bae quality time is giving your undivided attention, instead of just being in close proximity with one another. New age couples have forgotten the value of dating and courtship; creating the sense of togetherness pursuing a common interest which help communicate care, and genuine joy in each other's company. Again, I will state that I am not 100% against putting up pics of bae; I just think a balance needs to be struck. I blame social media and certain celebs for the 'rise of bae', as I have come to term it, but perhaps it's time we put our smartphones and selfie sticks down & really just indulged in couple time & quit overselling the #BaeLife.
"Love...does not boast" 1 Corinthians 13:4


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Went to watch Disney's 'Into The Woods' a few weeks back, and was struck by just how much the plot resonated with me. I think Disney have struck gold with their new take on unhappily ever after and the Princess Charmings that are encroaching on old misogynist classics. The movie is themed around the wish of certain characters, and their plight to fulfil it by journeying 'Into the Woods'.
Coat : Littlewoods | Jumper : Primark | DIY Ripped Jeans | Bag : Christmas Gift (Mum)
Expectation - "Our deepest fear is coming & going and nobody knowing" Word for Today (2/2/15). Thankfully, I surround myself with driven, hardworking individuals. It's great motivation, but the downside of that is the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve our heart's desires. Wishes and expectations are ok, but when they actually impede your ability to appreciate or enjoy the daily pleasures of life? That's a problem. Much like the characters in 'Into the Woods', I and my friends fell victim to pining after one wish, blinding ourselves to the value of the journey there. This results in you missing out on key lessons and beating yourself up when you trip up at minor obstacles. What I've learned is to lap it all up; the good and the bad. It all serves a purpose, leading you to that goal/dream/wish. Don't miss out on the tidbits that could make great chapters in your life story. "Sometimes the things you most wish are not to be touched" Wicked  Witch - Into The Woods.
Everyday Alchemy: Contemporary Scultrure @ Tate Modern Art Gallery, London
Post-Expectation - I recently tweeted lyrics from the chorus of Pussy Cat Dolls' song, When I Grow Up; "Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it". 'Into The Woods' chronicles the tales of Disney characters post-Happily Ever After. I'm not sure if Disney is wholly to blame for a generation of dreamers pining after sole goals, but there's something to be said about the utter shock that struck the audience upon finding out Prince not-so-Charming's flaw, or the sluggard of a father the Baker became. "The prettier the flower, the farther from the path" Little Red Riding Hood - Into the Woods. In a bid not to spill any further tea, I must say, it was refreshing to watch a Disney flick where the resolution wasn't so ironed out, and there was realism to the lives of the characters after their wishes were fulfilled. I have lived this first-hand. You dream, you get, then what? You live! Life is a series of chapters and hurdles that must be overcome to get to the next stage; childhood to adulthood to parenthood, to Lord knows what else.
Sterling Silver Necklace : Turkish Market (Antalya) | Watch : Guess | Boots : Dorothy Perkins
"He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how" Word for Today (4/2/15). As true as this is, we must learn to equally prepare and live for the 'how' as we do the 'why'. Purpose can be so blinding that we commit all else to chance, which serves no purpose but to stunt our progress, and diminish our achievements. "The harder to get, the better to have" Rapunzel's Prince Charming - Into the Woods. I've spoken time and time again about the value of the journey, but 'Into the Woods' reopened my eyes to the understanding that the value is limitless, and doesn't diminish post-wish. "Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor" Cinderella - Into the Woods. Yes, you've set a goal and achieved it, but what has that taught you and what will you use it to do? Gratify yourself? Shelf it? Return to your former self? Or serve others with it? 
"To get what you want, better see that you keep what you have" Baker's Wife - Into the Woods

Into The Woods

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I won’t lie, I’m not an open book. In fact, I have been likened to an onion in the past; the process of revelation is several layers deep. Just last week, in an endeavour to open up to someone I tweeted “Sharing is overrated. Conclusions drawn. Judgment made. Advice doled. Redundant #BLEURGH”.  However, after watching ‘Thanks for Sharing’ over the weekend, I can surely see its benefits.
Coat : Warehouse Exclusive | Crop Top : New Look | Skirt : DIY Ankara
Thanks for Sharing chronicles the life of 3 men undergoing the 12-step recover process for their sex addiction (nymphomania). Being of African descent, I must apologise for my lack of knowledge or awareness of addictions and their effect. It is somewhat stigmatised in my culture as a product of sin/temptation/ the devil; nothing that cannot be overcome through divine intervention/rituals (dependent on your belief). However, my eyes have become all the more exposed to nymphomania and the griping effects it has on its victims after unpreparedly watching ‘Don Jon’ on the plane ride home from Nigeria last spring. I was stunned at the dependency the addict felt to the cathartic release derived from pornographic or explicit material, and was troubled by the hours wasted on sexual gratification as a result.

Much like ‘Thanks for Sharing’, ‘Matters of the Heart’ is a play about 6 characters leading very different lives, but brought together by one issue; love. Both productions may have very different subject matters, but what bonds the two is their depiction of the benefits of sharing. In ‘Thanks for Sharing’, group meetings for recovering addicts is portrayed as an open forum for mutual support for addicts at different stages of recovery to motivate, console and just share their journey with one another. In ‘Matters of the Heart’, sharing is a lot more organic, with girly catch-ups at work and male bonding at the bar, being the forums for divulging intimate details of their love lives to one another. Singles share their plight to find The One with struggling married wives who’ve lost the spark, and it is the unity in their shared woes that love is an ongoing battle that strikes me.
Necklace : Primark | Heels : Red Herring (Debenhams)
We are all fighting our personal battles, and it is always advised to open up to another for advice, care, love, and support, etc. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. I’ve never really understood it. In fact, I’ve fought a one-woman-war against it. It might have something to do with me striving to knock down the image that women are weak or emotional creatures? But as I’ve matured, I have found that strength is relatively defined, and the emotional nature of womanhood is not actually a bad thing. In my bid to fight off this image of dependency, I became so bogged down in my issues that my problems were always resolved through a subjective lens. Yes, I reach the end goal eventually, but perhaps it would have been quicker and less painful, had I chosen to share my woes with another who’d grant an objective approach and offer a forum of solace and support for me to lean on instead. I am in no way fixed, and neither were the addicts in the movie who may (or may not have – I am REALLY trying not to give away any spoiler alerts in case you wanted to watch it yourself) have relapsed, but I am learning to see the benefits of opening up and reaping the rewards of emotional intimacy with a trusted party (be it family, friends, or partner).
"Life is a journey you never have to take alone" Thanks for Sharing. BLEURGH!

Thanks for Sharing

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