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Rosatom – Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation – has recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with a number of African nations to build nuclear power plants within their borders. I spoke to David Himbara, a professor of international development and African energy activist, about the likelihood of Rosatom actually building these nuclear plants. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa faces an extraordinary level of energy poverty.
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.
Why did the NBA All Star Game Weekend celebrate Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who is known to have launched invasions that cost millions of African lives, and to brutally repress his own people? His appearance inspired indignation and headlines in the Toronto press. Ann Garrison spoke with CIUT-Toronto Taylor Report host Phil Taylor to ask what he thought of this and how it happened.
Fighting has continued in South Sudan’s oil rich Upper Nile State despite the peace agreement signed on Aug. 26. Since December 2013, South Sudan’s brutal civil war has cost more thousands of lives than anyone can accurately estimate and displaced 2.25 million people. I spoke to Syracuse University Professor Dr. Horace Campbell about what it would take to demilitarize South Sudan and give peace a chance after so many years of war.
The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
The Burundian army has been engaged by troops near its northern border with Rwanda and this week Aljazeera reported that young men in Rwandan refugee camps are being recruited to join a rebel force to fight in Burundi. Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, speaking to The Voice of America, said that the Burundian government had asked the Rwandan government to prevent any action threatening Burundi’s security.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
Sunday, Oct. 12, marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.
From now on we are going to connect each and every city and nation that has significant numbers of members of the African Diaspora. We will begin to communicate on a regular basis and plan economic projects to employ more and more workers and build more and more wealth via entrepreneurship. These dots of people of African descent will become the envy of the world. Oh, how resilient we have been. Now we will not only survive but begin to thrive.
Africa’s elite and the elite internationally have concluded the African Development Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations and annual meeting under the theme: “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.” Over 3,500 delegates, seven African heads of state, the governor of the Central Bank of China and the U.S. deputy secretary of treasury were among the dignitaries. Beneath the confident calm, Africa is on edge, and the participants in Kigali were aware.
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
“Africa shining” is just as potent a mirage as “India shining”; the shine is restricted to the economic and political elite on both sides of the Indian Ocean. African leaders – both elected politicians and traditional chiefs share the responsibility for allowing the pillage of their continent in the name of economic growth and development.
Soldiers will begin training in March 2013 in order to prepare for a project that will send troops to as many as 35 African nations. Citing a growing threat from extremist groups, including those with ties to al-Qaeda, the Department of Defense is hoping to install American soldiers overseas in order to prepare local troops there for any future crises as tensions escalate.
It’s time for dialogue between Rwandan and Congolese people of like mind to finally end the 16-year war between our two armies and their various ancillary or surrogate militias. The vast majority of both of our people need democracy, political space, economic opportunity and a common share in their countries’ resource wealth.
In the midst of the Dallas Film Society’s International Film Festival in April, Southern Methodist University hosted the 38th African Literature Association Conference that feted celebrated international film director Jean Pierre Bekolo. Inspired by Spike Lee, Bekolo says Lee “gave me the vision that I could do this thing, that I could film from the perspective of Africa.”
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.
Recent events illustrate that the imperialist countries are committed to drastic changes in the political situation inside of Somalia. Over the last few months the Pentagon has stationed drones in Somalia, where attacks have been carried out on a daily basis resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in political crisis. The Independent National Electoral Commission announced that incumbent President Joseph Kabila is the winner, with 49 percent of the vote. But his leading challenger, Étienne Tshisekedi, rejected the results and declared that he now considers himself the nation’s president.
They had machetes and guns and all kinds of weapons and they ordered us to dig our own graves. Two young men came and negotiated for us; they wouldn’t give up until the militia just got tired of negotiating and left us alone and let us go. I was 14. I felt like I was going to get chopped up into pieces. I felt like I was going to be one of those people screaming for help with no hope of getting help. But good people came to our rescue. The truth will be turned on its head by having Paul Kagame, a genocide perpetrator, speak about genocide denial and genocide prevention.
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