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Eric Shackle Writes: The World's Oldest Blogger

Eric Shackle introduces us to Randall Butisingh, a poet and philosopher, who lives in Florida but was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), 96 years ago. Randall is probably the world's oldest blogger, succeeding the much-loved Spanish great-grandmother Maria Amelia Lopez Solino,
who died on May 20, aged 97.

" I am not a professed Muslim," Butisingh wrote last year. "I was raised as
a Christian from birth by Hindu parents and grew up in the Christian Church,
in a village which was predominantly Afro-Guyanese. But eventually I
separated from the church as I saw it as exclusive and divisive and I wanted
to be involved in all mankind.... I am at present living in the home of my
son-in-law and daughter, who are Muslims."

Butisingh was born on December 1, 1912. He grew up in Buxton, East Coast
Demerara, where he received his primary education. In 1927 he passed the
school leaving examination and became a pupil teacher at the age of 15. So
began a 45-year career as a teacher, with a few short breaks, until he
retired in 1972.

Eager to learn more about him, I sent an email to Butisingh, who

"I was happy to hear from you and for getting the news that I am probably
the oldest blogger in the world.

"As regard my health I am in fairly good shape after surviving a serious
illness at the age of 91. I can do most things for myself like showering,
dressing, preparing my breakfast, etc. I can walk, unsupported by a stick.
At present, the only pill I am taking is the aspirin (low strength) to help
with my circulation. My blood pressure is stable -- 140 over 70.

"I have 7 children, 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. My oldest
great-grandaughter is 21. They all live in the USA, except for 1 daughter
and a grandson who live in Guyana, my homeland. I live in Florida, the
Sunshine State in the USA, with a daughter and her husband who is a

Here's a list of just some of his literary work:

* Three books of poems: Loves Light, Wild Flowers and Loves Balm.
* A book of thoughts: Flashes of Light.
* Articles and letters to newspapers on education, morality and other
* Paper: Hindi in Guyana.
* Thesis: The Role of the School in the Estate Community.
* Translation of a biography of Mahatma Gandhi from Hindi to English.

The American Poetry Association has recognized Butisingh as a Poet of Merit.

In his late seventies he learned to read Arabic script and can still read
from the Holy Quran and recite a few of the Suras (chapters) from memory.
He can also read Urdu, a sister language of Hindi, written in the Persian

At 89, he began learning to play the recorder, and last year was studying
Spanish and documenting his life story, dating back to the outbreak of World
War I in 1914.

An Indian blogger, Anki Bajaj,
wrote this tribute:

"Butisingh's blogs are versatile and different from others including Buxton
(his home town), economics, politics, environment, history, philosophy,
poetry, psychology, religion and so on.

"Butisingh has never visited India as he does not like travelling, however
he is updated with the history and culture of the country. He is a fond of

The venerable blogger does his own typing. He once wrote:

"Gold and silver have I none, but such as I have, give I unto thee. If my
messages can touch only one heart, I know I have not lived in vain."

You can read the new World's Oldest Blogger's thoughts by clicking on
Randall Butisingh's Weblog http://randallbutisingh.wordpress.com/

Thousands of Spanish-speaking bloggers around the world are mourning the
death on May 20 of the previous holder of the "World's Oldest Blogger"

"A Spanish grandmother who billed herself as the 'world's oldest internet
blogger' has died at the age of 97," says a BBC report:

"Maria Amelia Lopez only began blogging from her seaside home in Galicia two
years ago.

"But her postings on international affairs, Spanish politics and old age
quickly turned her into a celebrity, attracting followers around the world."

Maria Amelia's blog attracted worlwide media attention, which resulted in
more than 1.5 million hits.
As a lifelong leftist, she often mentioned her support for Galicias's
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Eventually the
politician met the famous blogger, to her great delight.

Hundreds of messages of condolence (in Spanish) are pouring in to Maria
Amelia's website http://amis95.blogspot.com/index.html

In one of her last postings in February she said: "When I'm on the Internet,
I forget about my illness. The distraction is good for you -- being able to
communicate with people. It wakes up the brain, and gives you great

Her grandson Daniel has left one final post, thanking readers for their

"[There were] 880 days when her blog made her happy... the support she
needed to enjoy her last days of life," he wrote.

"When somebody leaves after 97 years, living with joy from the beginning to
the end, we can't be sad.

"Wherever you are, grandmother, you will read these comments, all of them
without doubt. She will laugh at some, will learn with others, she might get
annoyed at the specific 'language' used in some ... but she will be happy
reading all of them."

Like Maria Amelia, Randall Butisingh is also liberal-minded and sometimes
writes about politics.
On November 30, 2008, Butisingh's blog
was headlined "Mumbai to Obama: End Bush's War on Terror".

US President Barack Obama said recently "I have Muslim members of my family.
I have lived in Muslim countries."

Will he meet Butinsingh when he next visits Florida?


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