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Feb. 6 is the international day for the abolition of all kinds of female genital mutilation and cutting. The practice of FGM/C in Africa and the Middle East is a thousand-year-old tradition consisting in cutting the clitoris of baby girls, teenagers and women with a razor blade or an ugly special knife. While the exact number of girls and women worldwide who have undergone FGM/C remains unknown, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have been subjected to the practice.
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
International journalist and freedom fighter correspondent Gerald Perriera speaks on world politics four years after the assassination of Qaddafi and two years after Chavez, covering Libya, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Venezuela, Guyana, Mali, Niger, France, the U.S. and more. “Libya is a failed state,” Perriera observes, since Qaddafi’s Jamahiriya was destroyed, with several factions and many militias “all doing their own thing.” Some 3 million Libyans who supported Qaddafi now live in exile. Libyans throughout the country demonstrated against the death sentence for Qaddafi’s son, Saif.
Eritrean born and Oakland raised visual artist Mahader Tesfai has been making a considerable amount of noise around the Town lately, first with his 80 piece installation at the Omi Gallery in downtown Oakland, then by becoming the artistic director of the Matatu Festival of Stories, which is happening next week. Mahader sat down wit’ me exclusively to talk about Black African art in the Tech Era coming out of Oakland.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney writes that this statement, found after Dedon Kamathi’s death earlier this month, is a “letter that Dedon wrote in the case of his demise during the trip that he and I took together to Syria while it was under attack from U.S. imperial forces. This letter, I believe, is critical to understand who Dedon was and how committed he was to his community. He was ready to give his life for his beliefs and for us.”
Dedon Kamathi, a former Black Panther and Central Committee member of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party, passed away at the end of August after suffering a stroke. I first spoke with Dedon way back in the 1980s when I was arranging to bring Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) to speak in my then hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. Dedon was one of the first revolutionary Black internationalists I was to get to know and work with, and his loss hit me hard.
The 38-minute short film “Hagereseb” is a rare cinematic treat, and it will be making its Bay Area debut during the San Francisco Black Film Festival on Saturday, June 13. It is not a foreign film but has the feeling of one because it is about two 10-year-old second generation Eritrean friends, who live in the Yesler Terrace housing project in Seattle, Washington, which was built in the ‘40s as the first integrated housing project in the U.S.
The scene should hugely embarrass all Israelis and supporters of Israel: tens of thousands of African immigrants demonstrating, demanding to be treated as human beings within a state that claimed to be created as a safe haven for immigrants. The lie is exposed for all to see. African refugees are striving to receive attention from the international community in hopes that it might help push Israelis to provide them the opportunity to live in peace within Israel.
“Former political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad recently penned an excellent essay breaking down what’s going on in Mali, Congo and the Middle East. He also challenged the type of stances many of us have taken with respect to these regions that are embroiled in conflict. To support his essay, we interviewed him so he can expand upon his analysis. In true form, Dhoruba pulled no punches. Peep what he has to say.”
Rising animosity toward African migrants in Israel has reached a boiling point. People were beaten on the streets, and their businesses were looted amid calls for the banning and deportations of Africans. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians have likened migrant workers and small businesspeople from Africa to a “cancer” on society. Outside a fire-bombed building where 18 people live, racists had painted, “Get out of the neighborhood.”
The international news has been inundated with urgent appeals on the famine in the Horn of Africa. Here in the U.S. not enough attention has been paid to it. While it is critical to support and contribute to famine relief, we believe it is equally important to understand the nature and political reality of the famine and what U.S. militarism and corporate land grab have to do with it.
For the past four years all aid agencies, including the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and U.N. relief agencies, have been blocked by the Ethiopian military from feeding starving people in Ogadenia. There are millions of starving people, maybe as many as 6 million, though no one can say for sure because no one is allowed into the region.
Ethiopian troops are in the oil rich, contested Sudanese Abyei region in accordance with a new U.N. Security Council resolution invoking sovereign nations’ “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations from genocide and mass atrocities if their own governments aren’t protecting them. But what about Ethiopia’s own genocide in the Ogaden Basin that the West is funding?
In 1987 I was a member of the first U.S. Peace Delegation to Libya to commemorate the first anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986. When I return next year, how many flowers will we need for all the graves of Libyan children killed in this latest massacre?
The historic city of Rome is known for breathtaking sights from the Vatican to the Coliseum and beyond. However, there are little known areas not far from the historic routes frequented by tourists, areas where large numbers of refugees from a number of African countries reside in poverty but with dignity.
Saint Calogero, an African priest, is the patron saint of the Sicilian town of Agrigento. But in the 21st century, African refugees who traverse the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea find Calogero’s city, indeed the entire country, unwelcoming, even hostile to them.
Cynthia McKinney, the outspoken former congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, recently got out of jail. Yeah. That’s right. Jail. It’s possible that you had no idea she was in jail. That’s because she was in detention for almost a week in Israel.