History, the scriptures and our own personal lives are littered with heart wrenching examples of ingratitude from those that we sought to help and relief from misfortune, anguish and distress. Bitcoin emerged as the savior and benefactor of the free market economy following the chaos of the 2008 global financial crisis. The economic meltdown was recorded as the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929.
It was a clear demonstration of how, “control of fiat or conventional currencies by governments and the banking elites has led to world wars, depression, inflation, enormous government indebtedness and the rise of leviathan states that learned to print their way to power and riches,” surmises Jeffrey Tucker, economist and editorial director at the American Institute for Economic Research.
Bitcoin was created to challenge the conventional financial system and return ownership of money to the people, beyond the reach of banks and the state. The digital asset presents a radical approach to money and finance giving ordinary citizens business and investment opportunities in the emerging monetary system. In the face of such developments, it is a given that neither the banks nor the state was going to lay down and roll over when confronted with the disruptive power of the digital currency that threatened their world currency dominance.
Phindi Lukashe a local crypto observer says, “The IMF underestimated the impact of platforms such as Mpesa (services for the unbanked like My Zaka and Orange Money). When they ultimately woke up to the realization that these technologies were big money spinners, the horse had already bolted.
They have been fighting cryptocurrencies for some time now but its futile and you can tell they’ve adopted a strategy to contain cryptocurrencies rather than fight the technology. This is similar to what the music companies should’ve done with the internet when download sites first emerged. That way they could have contained and controlled this animal.”
Without trivializing the recent dramatic drop in the Bitcoin price, the worst performance in its 10 year history, one can discern that the current chorus of cynical crypto-bashers who are writing the presumptuous and delusional Bitcoin obituary are doing the government and banks bidding. The gloves have come off and government and the banks have taken the propaganda fight to Bitcoin, the leader of cryptocurrencies.
In addition, these institutions are lining up solutions to kick Bitcoin and its crypto family to the curb, challenging the fintech startups that are vying to take away their monopoly and world dominance. These developments have prompted British computer programmer and businessman (Founder of software company McAfee Associates) John McAfee to state that, “We are in a revolution against the waning power of governments and banks and their only weapon is sowing fear.”
However, the propaganda war against the prolific digital currency comes too little, too late, and Swedish politician and information technology entrepreneur, Rick Falkvinge states that, “Bitcoin will do to banks what email did to the postal industry.” Crypto enthusiast Tim Draper takes the argument further and declares that he is unfazed by the recent drop in the Bitcoin price, “The internet started the same way, it came in big waves and then it kind of came crushing down before bouncing back and triggering the dot-com boom that ultimately leveled out and enjoyed global adoption.”
Bitcoin is the first open-source, peer-to-peer, digital cryptocurrency that does not have any centralized server used for its issuing, transactions and storing. It uses a distributed network public database technology called blockchain, which requires an electronic signature and is supported by a proof-of-work protocol to provide the security and legitimacy of money transactions.
Bitcoin is both a store of value and a transactional currency which is issued by users with mining capabilities and is limited to 21 million coins. The new technology offers substantial opportunities for new entrants into the financial sector as it harnesses the power of technology and brings competition and innovation into the banking sector.
Although no definitive reason has been advanced for the recent dramatic fall of the Bitcoin price, prominent cryptocurrency analysts have said the recent hard fork and consolidation of the Bitcoin price could have been the two significant contributors to the fall. A fork (or sometimes hardfork), as it relates to blockchain technology, is a radical change to the protocol that makes previously invalid blocks/transactions valid (or vice-versa). This requires all nodes or users to upgrade to the latest version of the protocol software.
Tim Draper’s view is that Bitcoin is enduring a crypto bear market cycle following its meteoric rise in December and January earlier on. He says that despite being a highly volatile asset, it has proven that it is the hardest money ever created and has been the best performing asset class over the past 10 years. Draper who holds 40,000 Bitcoins he bought from a US Federal auction for US$600 apiece says historical analysis of Bitcoin gives perspective that the worlds best performing currency is resilient and merely going through a crypto winter from which it will rise and surpass fiat money.
Analysts predict that the ongoing infrastructure and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment system that is being put in place will ultimately make it easier to spend and invest using cryptocurrencies. This will bring the institutional buys to invest in digital currencies and drive currencies like Bitcoin into the mainstream. “Such developments will see Bitcoin triumph over fiat currencies because its finite supply will always be a better store of value over time,” they say.
Asked if he was thinking of selling his Bitcoin for fiat money in the face of Bitcoins dramatic fall and all the fearmongering and crypto-bashing that is currently ongoing, Tim Draper’s response was, “Why would I sell the future for the past?”
It is ironic that the very technology that has been created to save the world from the excesses of governments and banks is being vilified not only by those who benefit from the status quo but by also those who are robbed and abused by the current system. Draper says he wonders why all the noise is directed at Bitcoin when it isn’t the only technology that took such a dramatic knock recently and that other assets including Bitcoin have had even more dramatic falls in the past from which they recovered. The unapologetic crypto evangelist however says, “Bitcoin will rise again, and the global economy will inevitably transition to cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is here to stay!”
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.