Foreign Policy Analyst • GIS Mapping Specialist • Bookseller • Freelance Writer & Photographer


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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Protoje’s Powerful New Single - Blood Money

“Come take a look inna Jamaica, injustice in the place. If what you see nuh really faze you, then you ah di problem weh we face too.”- Protoje

Video Source: Protoje’s YouTube Channel |

If you are Jamaican or have any ties to the country, you’ll know that it has been a harrowing time for the nation recently. Despite its reputation, Jamaica has been anything but paradise in the past months as the tropical isle is once again being choked by the vice-like grip of crime and violence. Now, high levels of crime and violence are hardly a new phenomenon for the country. According to the United Nations, Jamaica had the highest murder rate globally in 2005 and it remains one of the highest today[1]

Violent elements of the nation’s history are seen in “Blood Money” with references to the Tivoli Incursion of 2010[2] and the long-standing institutionalized nature of corruption through patronage politics[3]. Historically, such political corruption has cost Jamaica approximately US$18 billion[4]. However, although high levels crime and violence are not new, this does not make them acceptable. Furthermore, crime and violence should not be allowed to spiral out of control unchallenged. As Protoje states, “If you build it pon crime then crime will haffi find you, and that’s how it’s been always. That nuh frustrate you like it do to me?”

It should be said that while violent crime levels in Jamaica were higher than others with a similar per capita profile, they were on the decline nationally until recently. Now, there is a different atmosphere in the air. The general lawlessness, not to mention the elevated abduction and murder of women and girls has struck a chord with the populace. The volatile situation has inspired small scale protests and widespread fear throughout the island. Moreover, while the situation in Jamaica is alarming; violence, political corruption and socioeconomic stratification are not solely Jamaican issues. As such, Protoje’s single “Blood Money” could not have come at a more appropriate time. Its articulate depiction of the current state of affairs in the country and call for change resonate with concerned Jamaicans, reggae aficionados and contemporary viewers of global politics alike.

Stormzy’s Stunning Debut Album – A Review of Gang Signs and Prayer

 Image Source:

Michael Omari a.k.a Stormzy a.k.a The Problem a.k.a Wicked Skengman, dropped his much-anticipated debut studio album “Gang Signs and Prayer” this past Friday to the excitement of grime fans everywhere. After a surprise performance with Ed Sheeran at the Brit Awards earlier in the week, there was a great buzz around Stormzy and this new album does not disappoint. “Gang Signs and Prayer” not only excellently captures the South London youth experience, but also takes the listener on a compelling journey as the album tackles issues of love, race, religion and urban culture at large.

A Delight for Both Bibliophiles and Music Lovers: Mitch Albom's The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto - A Review

Well, Mitch Albom has captured our hearts and imaginations once again. This time with his latest novel, "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto." Centred around the life of fictional pop star Frankie Presto and the transformative impact his music has on the lives of those around him, it is a wonderful novel for bibliophiles and music lovers alike.

Winter Staple | Jobedu Hoodies

Image Source: Mwahaki King Photography
For today, I am discussing the Jobedu clothing line that I learned about while I was in Jordan. I was studying Arabic at the University of Jordan in Amman when some friends told me about this quirky store in Jabal Weibdeh that sold fun and interesting clothes that embodied the city’s growing youth culture. I had complimented the T-Shirt that one of my friends was wearing at the time; a black shirt adorned with the phrase “Parental Advisory: Jordanian Content”, and the conversation flowed from there. A few days later, a group of us were walking down the white cobbled streets of Jabal Weibdeh heading towards the Jobedu store. The buildings around us were all a similar blend of limestone and cement with a view of Downtown Amman in the distance, but we managed to find the store with ease. Outside, the powerful afternoon sun illuminated the streets, casting its light on roadside Nescafe and Tea vendors; but it left the Jobedu store in shadow making it difficult to see what lay inside. I pushed open the glass door and as my eyes adjusted to the light, I was enthralled by the brightly coloured fabrics that lined the walls from the floor to the ceiling. 

MEJU: The Captivating Culinary Delight in Davis Square

A short walk down the hill from Tufts University, on the outskirts of Boston, quickly brings you into the bustling streets of Davis Square. There you will find the welcoming aroma of freshly brewed coffee, mingled with the sweet and spicy scent of enchiladas wafting up from the Painted Burro Mexican restaurant. Into this delightful mix of sights and sounds comes a Korean restaurant to rival any of the culinary competition on the block.

Aptly named "Meju" due to its prevalent use of the popular ingredient throughout its menu; the dishes that come out of this kitchen are so delectable they’ll have you planning your next visit before you've even finished the appetizer. Speaking of starters, Meju has a great selection ranging from traditional dumplings to scallion pancakes, spicy rice cakes and sweet potato fries. A personal favourite is the restaurant’s fusion take on Korean buns. These fluffy, feather-soft buns are dripping in bright orange sauce filled with succulent pork and delectable cream cheese and pickles.

The Future is Looking Bright: A Review of Protoje's Album, Ancient Future

Ancient Future Album Cover
Protoje's studio album, Ancient Future is an aptly named, searing look into Jamaica's history and what can be surmised about the nation's future based on the mistakes of the past. This message comes home starkly in the track “Criminal” with its reference to the murder of musical and social icon, Peter Tosh.

The sentiment is echoed in the collaborative single “Sudden Flight” with Jesse Royal and songstress Sevana, which highlights the dangers and hypocrisy of garrison politics[1].

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Trouble in Paradise: Natural Disaster Preparation in Jamaica: Looking at Flooding, Landslides and Human Vulnerability

The above poster was made by Mwahaki King for the GIS at Tufts University Poster Exhibition 2016 (GIS@Tufts) and has also been published on the GIS@Tufts website here:

The purpose of the project was to ascertain high risk areas and thus areas prioritisation in Jamaica during natural disasters; specifically landslides, flooding and hurricanes. High risk areas were determined primarily by weak housing infrastructure, access to hospitals and environmental factors such as the slope of the terrain and proximity to rivers.

The maps were made by Mwahaki King using ArcGIS software and the poster itself was produced using Microsoft Publisher.

Data Sources:

The accompanying paper can be found below, which further outlines Jamaica's environmental background, conclusions, recommendations and limitations of the project.

China Wind Farm Suitability Analysis

The above maps were made by Mwahaki King in May 2016, using raster data in ArcGIS. Mwahaki King performed by an unweighted and a weighted suitability analysis to determine optimal locations for a wind farm facility in China, north of Beijing. In both suitability analyses the suitability of a wind farm facility was dependent on the following criteria:

1. The site needed to be close to high wind areas
2. It must be close to existing power lines
3. It must be far from the The Great Wall of China so as not to disrupt tourism
4. It must be on fairly level land i.e. a low slope is preferable

In the unweighted suitability analysis, these criteria were assessed on a system of 1 - 5, with the lowest score and thus worst location having a score of 4 and the best location having a score of 20.

In the weighted analysis, these criteria were assessed by importance. Distance to high wind areas was deemed to be the most important and weighted at 50%. Second, was distance to power lines, weighted at 25%. Third, was distance from The Great Wall weighted at 12.5%. The final factor was slope, also weighted at 12.5%. This produced a grid of 1 - 5. One being the least ideal location for a wind farm facility and five being the best.

Data Sources:
Gfk (Tufts University GIS has a license for this data and these maps were made as a part of Tufts University GIS coursework)
National Renewable Energy Lab

Ozone Concentration, California

The above map was created by Mwahaki King on April 13, 2016, using ArcGIS Interpolation Tools to demonstrate ozone concentration in California and areas of concern. The most recent data available to the cartographer at the time of the map's creation was from the year 2007. The California data was provided by the California State GIS Department. The ozone dataset was provided by the California Air Resources Board and represents the concentration of ozone measured on September 6, 2007 between 3:00PM - 4:00PM in parts per million (ppm). 

From the ozone point samples (measurements), Mwahaki King produced a continuous surface predicting the value of ozone concentration for every location in the state of California. Often, it is not the actual values of a certain critical health risk that are of concern, but rather whether the values are above a certain toxic level. If this occurs, immediate action should be taken.

For this project, the critical threshold was determined to be any ozone value above 0.09ppm as this is California State's ambient air quality standard for hourly measurements. Any location with an ozone concentrate above 0.09 should be closely monitored.

Data Sources:
California Air Resources Board
California State GIS Department
ESRI Data Maps

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Suitable Farm Land, Groton MA

The above map was created by Mwahaki King in March 2016, using vector analysis in ArcGIS software to determine suitable farmland in Groton, Massachusetts.

The Suitability Criteria were as follows:
Farm Land must:
1. Have a minimum lot size of two acres
2. Not be on wetlands
3. Be land that is suitable for agricultural activities
4. Have prime farm land soil that is good for farming

The most recent data available to the cartographer at the time of the map's creation was from the year 2005.

Data Sources:

Households with a Computer, South Africa

The above map was created by Mwahaki King using ArcGIS software on February 24, 2016 to demonstrate the percentage of households in South Africa with a computer in the home, by municipality. The most recent data available to the cartographer at the time of the map's creation was from the year 2001.

Data Sources:
Statistics South Africa
US National Park Service

African-American Renters in Suffolk County, MA

The above map was created by Mwahaki King using ArcGIS software on February 23, 2016 to demonstrate the percentage of African-American renters in Suffolk County Massachusetts, in relation to total renter population. The most recent geographic, housing and ethnic data available to the cartographer at the time of the map's creation was from the year 2010.

Data Sources:
ESRI Data Maps

High Income Households, South Africa

The above map was created by Mwahaki King using ArcGIS software on February 24, 2016 to demonstrate the percentage of high income households in South Africa, by municipality. The most recent geographic and financial data available to the cartographer at the time of the map's creation was from the year 2001.

Data Sources:
Statistics South Africa
US National Park Service

Haiti Livelihood Zones

The above map was created by Mwahaki King on February 17, 2016, using ArcGis software and the most recent data at the time from FEWS NET Data Center regarding livelihood zones in Haiti. Livelihood zones are specific geographic regions of a country in which people share the same environmental conditions, similar income and access to food and marketplaces. Given these components of livelihood zones, they are an important tool non-profits and aid agencies when analysing food security in developing countries and areas to prioritise.

Data Sources: