saving darfur

May 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm (africa, democratic republic of congo)

i have always wondered how and why were so many people in the WEst to invested and engaged in saving Darfur.  While the war in the Congo doesnt happen in the media.


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US has Mandela on terrorist list

May 1, 2008 at 7:05 pm (africa)

U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list

WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation “embarrassing,” and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and ’80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country’s ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit.

Because of this, Rice told a Senate committee recently, her department has to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the USA.

“This is a country with which we now have excellent relations, South Africa, but it’s frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela,” Rice said.

Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, is pushing a bill that would remove current and former ANC leaders from the watch lists. Supporters hope to get it passed before Mandela’s 90th birthday July 18.

“What an indignity,” Berman said. “The ANC set an important example: It successfully made the change from armed struggle to peace. We should celebrate the transformation.”

In 1990, Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison for crimes committed during the struggle against Apartheid, a repressive regime that subjugated black South Africans. In 1994, he was elected South Africa’s first black president.

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., called ANC members’ inclusion on watch lists a “bureaucratic snafu” and pledged to fix the problem.

Members of other groups deemed a terrorist threat, such as Hamas, also are on the watch lists.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says “common sense” suggests Mandela should be removed. He says the issue “raises a troubling and difficult debate about what groups are considered terrorists and which are not.”

When ANC members apply for visas to the USA, they are flagged for questioning and need a waiver to be allowed in the country. In 2002, former ANC chairman Tokyo Sexwale was denied a visa. In 2007, Barbara Masekela, South Africa’s ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2006, was denied a visa to visit her ailing cousin and didn’t get a waiver until after the cousin had died, Berman’s legislation says.

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goodnight aime cesaire

April 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm (africa, anti-oppression, anti-racism, democratic republic of congo, poetry)

Aime Cesaire is dead/  His movement: negritude  was the philosophic and poetic expression of black self-love and self-pride.  And he was one of the messenger across continents maintaining our as blacks cultural discourse among the diaspora and Africa.  Cultural workers sucha as Aime throughout the centuries, especially in the post-slavery twentieth century created languages and fed communities throughout.  He was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, born in the Carribbean-Martinique, and wrote about the Congo and Lumumba.

His writing gave me my first glimpses of Blackness and even though I disagree with some of articulations and interpretations of Black identity, i am grateful for the language the images the voice of a fierce Romanticism of the Black experience.

So goodnight.

check out The Root

and below: the Associate Press

Martinique poet Aime Cesaire dies at 94
From Associated Press

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) — Aime Cesaire, a poet honored
throughout the French-speaking world and a crusader for West Indian
rights, has died at 94.

Cesaire died Thursday after at a Fort-de-France hospital where he was
being treated for heart problems and other ailments, said government
spokeswoman Marie Michele Darsieres.

He was one of the most celebrated cultural figures in the Caribbean
and was revered in his native Martinique, which sent him to France’s
parliament for nearly half a century and repeatedly elected him mayor
of the capital.

Cesaire helped found the “Black Student” journal in Paris in the
1930s that launched the idea of “negritude,” urging blacks to
cultivate pride in their heritage. His 1950 “Discourse on
Colonialism” became a classic of French political literature.

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Cesaire “imbued the
French language with his liberty and his revolt.”

“He made (the French language) beat to the rhythm of his spells, his
cries, his appeals to overcome oppression, invoking the soul of
subjugated peoples to urge the living to raise themselves up,” she

His best known works included the essay “Negro I am, Negro I Will
Remain” and the poem “Notes From a Return to the Native Land.”

Cesaire was born June 26, 1913, in Basse-Pointe, Martinique and moved
to France for high school and university studies. He graduated from
one of the country’s most elite institutes, the Ecole Normale

Cesaire returned to Martinique during World War II and taught at a
high school in Fort-de-France, where he served as mayor from 1945 to
2001, except for a blip in 1983-84.

Even political rivals paid him homage.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy successfully led a campaign last
year to change the name of Martinique’s airport in honor of Cesaire,
despite the poet’s refusal to meet him in the run-up to the 2007
French elections. Cesaire endorsed Sarkozy’s Socialist rival,
Segolene Royal.

Cesaire complained that Sarkozy had endorsed a 2005 French bill
citing the “positive role” of colonialism. Cesaire spoke ardently
against the measure’s language, and it was later removed after
complaints from former French colonies and France’s overseas

“I remain faithful to my beliefs and remain inflexibly
anti-colonialist, ” Cesaire said in a statement at the time.

Sarkozy on Thursday praised Cesaire as “a great poet” and a “great humanist.”

“As a free and independent spirit, throughout his whole life he
embodied the fight for the recognition of his identity and the
richness of his African roots,” Sarkozy said. “Through his universal
call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and
responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed

Royal called him “an eminent symbol of a mixed-race France” and urged
that he be buried in the Pantheon, where French heroes from Victor
to Marie and Pierre Curie are interred.

“A great voice has died out, that of a man of conviction, of
creation, of testimony, who awakened consciousness throughout his
life, blasted apart hypocrisies, brought hope to all who were
humiliated, and was a tireless fighter for human dignity,” Royal said.

Cesaire was the honorary president of her support committee during
the presidential campaign.

Cesaire was affiliated with the French Communist Party early in his
career but became disillusioned in the 1950s and founded the
Martinique Progressive Party in 1958. He later allied with the
Socialist Party in France’s National Assembly, where he served from
1946-1956 and 1958-1993.

Associated Press writer Angela Doland in Paris, France, contributed
to this report.

You can compromise on strategy and tactics, but not on principles.” (Barack Obama)

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post ideal

July 19, 2007 at 7:10 am (africa, anti-oppression, middle east)

people around the world had dreams for israel.  a place where refugees would find a home just as jews had been able to find a home after the holocaust.  and now there is another genocide and the reaction from the israeli government is dismal dismissive hypocritical.  how do these sudanese refugees damage israeli security?  threaten israeli security?  and what does this article mean to ‘cater’ to the needs of the refugees?  i know that this could be framed as a minor issue…but when is genocide a minor issue?  especially to israel?  but maybe i am thinking of the ideals of a nation and not its policy.  and no nation follows its ideals.  it is all advertising and window dressing.  i have experienced israeli racism firsthand.

and i cant help to wonder if israel is also selling arms to sudan.  i know that israel has sold weapons to other heinous african conflicts.  ahhhh….israel.  the land that believes it invented the falafel.

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sudanese refugees kicked out of israel

July 18, 2007 at 9:34 am (africa, middle east)

Separately, dozens of Sudanese refugees in Israel demonstrated near Mr. Olmert’s office on Sunday, protesting plans to house them in a prison camp before returning them to Egypt. About 1,200 Sudanese refugees, including 300 from the war-torn Darfur region, have crossed into Israel illegally from Egypt. The Israeli government plans to house hundreds of the refugees, including children, in what it calls a “hospitality facility” on the grounds of the Ketziot prison in the Negev, pending deportation.

The issue of the Sudanese refugees has become an emotional one in Israel, with local student and social activist groups helping to cater to their needs. The protesters held signs saying “No to expulsion” and “Refugees are not criminals,” and they urged Mr. Olmert to annul a government decision to send them back to Egypt.\

new york times

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made in america in somalia

April 30, 2007 at 9:45 pm (africa, ethiopia)

A huge campaign must be launched to press western governments to end this slaughter, which is almost entirely the work of those in control of the country. The European Union warned a month ago that war crimes might have been committed in an assault on the capital last month – in which the EU could be complicit because of its large-scale support for those accused of the crimes. Human Rights Watch has documented how Kenya and Ethiopia had turned this region into Africa’s own version of Guantánamo Bay, replete with kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, secret prisons and large numbers of “disappeared”: a project that carries the Made in America label. Allowing free rein to such comprehensive lawlessness is a stain on all those who might have, at a minimum, curtailed it.

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the next oil wars

March 1, 2007 at 3:31 am (africa)

On Feb. 7 George Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, a new Pentagon command which will, under the pretext of the so-called “Global War On Terror”, plan and execute its oil and resource wars on the African continent.  What does this mean to African Americans?  And to Africans?  BAR consults Prexy Nesbitt, an architect of the anti-apartheid struggles of the 70s and 80s.

Africa – Where the Next US Oil Wars Will Be

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

 “It’s about the oil. And the diamonds. And the coltan. But mostly about the oil.”

The Pentagon does not admit that a ring of permanent US military bases is operating or under construction throughout Africa.  But nobody doubts the American military buildup on the African continent is well underway.  From oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, US admirals and generals have been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials.  They’ve conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets.

Their new bases are not bases at all, according to US military officials.  They are instead “forward staging depots”, and “seaborne truck stops” for the equipment which American land forces need to operate on the African continent.  They are “protected anchorages” and offshore “lily pads”  from which they intend to fight the next round of oil and resource wars, and lock down Africa’s oil and mineral wealth for decades to come.

BAR caught up with Chicago’s Prexy Nesbitt, one of the architects of the US anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and ‘80s.  We asked Dr. Nesbitt about the importance to Africans and African Americans of George Bush’s Feb. 7 announcement of AFRICOM, the new Pentagon command for the African continent.

“It means a tremendous amount to Africans, because African people, from working people to university elites all follow very closely everything that the US government does wherever it does it in the world.  …More and more African Americans in the US are following carefully what’s the US is doing in Africa, but not enough… What we’re seeing (is) …a US military penetration of the African continent and that this penetration is…motivated by the US quest…for new sources of oil and other minerals.”

In other words, it’s about the oil.  And the diamonds, and the uranium, and the coltan.  But mostly about the oil.  West Africa alone sits atop 15% of the world’s oil, and by 2015 is projected to supply a up to a quarter of US domestic consumption.  Most oil from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East winds up in Europe, Japan, China or India.  Increasingly it’s African oil that keeps the US running.

“West Africa alone sits atop 15% of the world’s oil, and by 2015 is projected to supply a up to a quarter of US domestic consumption.

A foretaste of American plans for African people and resources in the new century can be seen in Eastern Nigeria.  US and multinational oil companies like Shell, BP, and Chevron, which once named a tanker after its board member Condoleezza Rice, have ruthlessly plundered the Niger delta for a generation.  Where once there were poor but self-sufficient people with rich farmland and fisheries, there is now an unfolding ecological collapse of horrifying dimensions in which the land, air and water are increasingly unable to sustain human life, but the region’s people have no place else to go. oilspill_ruined_landscape

Twenty percent of Nigerian children die before the age of 5, according to the World Bank.  Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil have been extracted from the Niger Delta, according to Amnesty International in 2005.  But its inhabitants

    “…remain among the most deprived oil communities in the world – 70 per cent live on less than US$1 a day. In spite of its windfall gains, as global oil prices have more than doubled in the last two years, the Nigerian government has failed to provide services, infrastructure or jobs in the region.”

In a typical gesture of disregard for local black lives and livelihoods, the natural gas which sits atop many oil deposits but is more expensive to capture and process than petroleum is simply burned off or flared at African wellheads.  Throughout the 1990s it is estimated that 29 million cubic feet per day of Nigerian natural gas was disposed of in this manner.  Many of the flares, according to local Niger delta residents, have burned continuously for more than twenty years, creating a toxic climate of acid fogs and rains, depositing layers of soot and chemicals that stunt or kill ocean and riverine fish and livestock, and poison the few surviving crops.  For this reason, flaring at oil wells has long been outlawed in the US.  But many African communities near the mouth of one of the planet’s largest rivers are now entirely dependent on water trucked in from outside.

According to Dr. Nesbitt:

    “Years ago people from the then American Committee on Africa brought back slide footage which showed…people living in oil mud slime fields, drinking water that’s made up of oil slime.  It was just [an] extraordinarily frightening situation…  As far as we know not much has changed [in about 15 years] except that [now] there is a movement for justice taking place.  But the United States military command has indicated, has partnered up really, with the Obasanjo government…to try to control that justice movement.  Some very explicit comments have been made by US military people; they will be prepared militarily to move into that arena…securing that oil source for the United States”

delta_rebels Local Africans are demanding respect and a share in what is after all, their oil.  They are now routinely, viciously suppressed in eastern Nigeria, in Equatorial Guinea and elsewhere, by African troops trained and equipped with American tax dollars.  When resistance continues, as it certainly will, America is preparing to up the ante with more American equipment, with military and civilian advisers, with bombs, bullets and if need be, with American bodies.  That’s what AFRICOM is about, and what it will be doing in the new century.

Empire in Africa: A Business Opportunity For Black Americans?

Doug Lyons, an African American columnist at the Orlando Sun-Sentinel is one of those ugly black Americans who see, in the ratcheting up of merciless exploitation of humanity’s motherland, great career and business opportunities for a few black henchmen and women.

    “AFRICOM shouldn’t be shunned as another appendage of our nation’s military industrial complex, even though it is. It also offers a unique opportunity for black America.

    “There’s potential for those individuals who have interest in African and African-American heritages to become more knowledgeable about Africa, and its links to the United States.

    “That knowledge should lead to better cultural understanding and greater business opportunities for blacks on both sides of the Atlantic, in addition to expanded opportunities for African-Americans in world trade and the diplomatic corps.

    “…imagine the possibilities. The vehicle is about to be put in place, and for a select few, the chance will come to make even more black history. “

“AFRICOM will indeed open new vistas for a handful of qualified black Americans in the corporate, military and intelligence establishments.”

The imaginative need look no further than GoodWorks International, the business consulting firm founded by former Atlanta mayor, UN ambassador and colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Andrew Young.  GoodWorks is making black history indeed, along with buckets of cash from clients like Barrick Gold, a Bush-connected operation whose andy_n_nigeriansCongolese mines help fuel a bloody civil war with 5 million dead and counting so far.  Young’s firm enjoys intimate and lucrative connections with the shadowy Maurice Templesman, a prominent figure in the trade of African blood diamonds for decades.  It’s the registered lobbyist for the Nigerian government in Washington, and implicated in at least one money laundering scheme for Nigeria’s president Obasanjo, in addition to fronting for various multinational oil and mineral companies on the African continent.

    “There’s an increasing number of…a class of African Americans who…feel no sense of responsibility, no shame, no ties to the continent, who are incapable of playing any kind of role.  I think we see that with Condoleezza Rice.  We see it even more clearly in some of the other appointments which have been recently made, like for example the new assistant secretary of state for Africa.  She seems…an individual to be very concerned about given her past, and her military background, with regard to what type of role she will play in the system.  So we see African Americans often emerging as functionaries of the system, the gendarmes, if you will, of the system for the recolonization of Africa both by corporate and military establishment in the United States.”

Nesbitt seems to agree with Doug Lyons, in a twisted sort of way. AFRICOM will indeed open new vistas for a handful of qualified black Americans in the corporate, military and intelligence establishments.  Andy and Condi were first, but they may not be the last.  There are plenty more African gold mines, oil tankers and mass graves waiting to be named after black Americans.

We asked Dr. Nesbitt what the Congressional Black Caucus and ordinary Americans here ought to be doing to stall imminent US military intervention on the African continent.kids_carrying_water_2004_nigerdelta

   “We need a stronger voice from the Congressional Black Caucus.  It needs to become much more enraged about these developments and help to politicize and educate the masses of the black American community across the country so that we don’t let this constant history of the United States [allow them to feel] that they need not worry about any ramifications…from the population that is most concerned… those of us in the African diaspora in the US.  I think we are at a very important passage point with regard to the relationships of the African American community in general with the continent of Africa.

    “Africa is a part of the world that has immense resources and immense riches.  But…the history has been nothing but the capitalist system sucking Africa dry of those riches.  I think that the particular challenge facing Americans – Americans who care about other human beings, who care about the planet – is what steps will they take to help African people stop this continual rape and plunder of the African continent.”

George Bush, Big Oil, Andy Young and the Pentagon are already implementing their plan for Africa.  It looks like Nigeria, the classic case of a rich country full of poor people.  It looks a lot like the impoverished, poisoned, festering wasteland of the Niger delta, where they’ve had a free hand for decades.  And when Africans resist, as they surely will, the backup plan is to declare Africans who want to control their own resources “terrorists”, and through AFRICOM, deploy US military might to lock down Africans and African resources.  It’s time for black America and the Congressional Black Caucus to take Dr. Nesbitt’s advice, and come up with a couple of our own plans to end more than five hundred years of Western pillage of Africa, and to keep AFRICOM and the US military off the African continent.

BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon can be contacted at Bruce.Dixon (at)

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US accused of using Ethiopia to launch air strikes on Somalia

February 28, 2007 at 8:37 am (africa, ethiopia)

US accused of using Ethiopia to launch air strikes on Somalia

Xan Rice, East Africa correspondent
Saturday February 24, 2007
The Guardian

The US military secretly used landing strips in eastern Ethiopia to launch air strikes on suspected Islamists in Somalia last month, it was reported yesterday.Quoting anonymous army officials, the New York Times also claimed that the US diverted spy satellites to provide intelligence to Ethiopian troops as they swept across the country to drive the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) out of the capital, Mogadishu.

If true, the report would confirm rumours of close planning between the two countries before and during the war. Both administrations deny this was the case. The account also raises questions about the relationship between Washington and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, whose record on human rights has come under severe scrutiny.

Until now, the US has refused to provide specifics on its operations in Somalia, other than to confirm that it launched two strikes aimed at alleged “al-Qaida affiliated” members of the SCIC in the far south of the country.According to the NYT, which said military officials considered the Somalia operations a much-needed counter terrorism success, two AC-130 gunships landed at a small airstrip in eastern Ethiopia on January 6. One of the planes launched a strike on a suspected Islamist convoy the following day. A second strike followed two weeks later. No “high-value targets” – the term US officials use to describe al-Qaida members – were killed in either attack.

Initially it was suspected that the planes had flown from Djibouti, where the US has a large military base. But Djibouti’s president later condemned the US attacks, and denied the planes took off from there.

Bereket Simon, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said the US planes had not used landing strips in Ethiopia. But analysts said the report appeared to back up hitherto unconfirmed accounts.

Richard Cornwell, senior research fellow at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, said that a visit by General John Abizaid, then head of the US central command, to Addis Ababa in December, probably paved the way for the operation.

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the african palestinian connection

February 8, 2007 at 9:34 am (africa, palestine)

I have asked the members of the community if they experienced racism within larger Palestinian society. Some of the older members of the community talked to me about how issues of skin color would come up when a darker African Palestinian would try to marry a lighter Palestinian woman. As one older member of the community told me: “I know they wanted to say no because of my skin color but their daughter, whose is now my wife, was insistent that as Muslims they had no right to deny me.” For younger generations within the community there have been enough marriages between Palestinians of African descent and the larger community to make this less of an issue.

As an American Muslim who has spent more than a decade organizing or living on Chicago’s South Side, I can’t help but feel that the larger Palestinian American community has not celebrated the African part of our identity in the way that we should. Failing to do this has prevented segments of the Palestinian community from making more of a connection to the African American legacy and its struggles against institutionalized racism and white supremacy. Making that connection is imperative, particularly during opportune moments like Black History Month. Most African Americans residing in urban communities only interact with Palestinians through the presence of liquor stores or other exploitative businesses and a growing number of community activists have emerged as increasingly resentful of their presence. By embracing and celebrating their own African heritage during Black History Month, Palestinian and other Arab Muslims may grow to make more meaningful connections to the larger African American community, its rich legacy and its on-going struggles.

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The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa

February 8, 2007 at 9:30 am (africa, anti-racism, islam)

Islam came to Africa with traders and the “religious experts”that travelled with them. Its route was trans-Sahara, running through tropical Africa, North Africa and the Mediterranean to Europe, and across the Red Sea into Arabia and the Middle East. As early as the 8th century, Islam had converted a number of nationalities, for instance the Berbers, who became Muslims and became traders like the Arabs. These new Muslims plied their trade down to Niger and Ghana; a similar role was played by Hausa and Yoruba tribes in West Africa. Arab and Persian traders reached East Africa and settled there as local aristocrats, taking local black wives and giving rise to cultures called variously Shirazi, Zeilawi (Arab plus Somali and Afar) and Swahili (Arab andBantu).

Some thought that Islam was better suited to the African mind because the African mind was not suitable for sophisticated metaphysics; since Islam is sensual and materialistic it is easily accepted by the African mind. Some of us might find that insulting but advocates of Islam in Africa have said it. Be that as it may, Islam didn’t stop slavery that had begun in 200 BC and Islam struggled in vain against it. A companion of the Prophet (pbuh) Abdur Rehman bin Awf freed 30,000 slaves at his death-bed. The Prophet (pbuh) himself set an example when he purchased Abyssinian Bilal ibn Rabah and set him free. Sudan, which means `place of the blacks’ – and applied to a larger region in those days – became the slave-rich region for Muslim traders after the conquest of Egypt in 639 AD. Modern Kenya and Tanzania were trawled by them, the region being called Zanj, which gave rise to the other name for slave: zangi . African slaves abounded in medieval Baghdad and Damascus and their presence was so widespread that it gave rise to a sexually “defensive” male Arab mentality revealed in AThousand and One Nights .

The black slave permeated Muslim life to the extent that kings began siring children on black women and giving rise to “slave dynasties” and an entire Mamluke empire was established by them. In1882 a Muslim Arab slaver in Africa admitted that fifty per cent of his”catch” died while travelling in chains from the interior of Africa to the coast. Dr Livingstone in Africa calculated that each slave that went to the Arab-Islamic world was actually ten slaves to start with. Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun noted that all of North Africa then ruled by Muslims was filled with black slaves, captured mostly by fellow-African Berbers who had converted to Islam. What the entrepôt of Muslim Egypt did to all parts of Africa could be compared in its savagery to what the Belgians did to Congo later on. Egypt exported them to all parts of the world, including Europe. Mecca itself became a market, and if you went for hajj in those days, you brought back a slave or two.

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