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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.
The end of the unipolar, U.S.-led global order is most dramatically signified by the U.S. loss of its proxy war with Russia in Syria. For the past year and a half, a much quieter struggle has been playing out in the tiny East African nation of Burundi. The U.S. and E.U. nations have repeatedly demanded that Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza step down, but Russia and China have stood up for Burundi, as for Syria, on the U.N. Security Council. Despite its small size, Burundi is, like Syria, very geostrategically situated.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred about U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, and particularly Honduras, during this week’s debate in Miami, Florida. In other debates, they have discussed the Middle East, Libya, Egypt, Russia, China and North Korea, but not Sub-Saharan Africa, aside from a few statements as to whether or not the U.S. should have intervened in Rwanda 22 years ago. KPFA’s Ann Garrison reports.
Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, known to the African world as “Dr. Ben,” believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it. Perhaps it was because he believed that if his people knew their collective root, their ancient greatness, they would fight for their freedom and achieve it. Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.
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.
Maafa 2014 - The waves were as tall as mountains or perhaps redwood trees –their gigantic footprints in the sand left many pilgrims flat on their backs wet from head to toe. In 19 years, I’d never seen waves as tall as those that Sunday morning. Many thanks to all who came and made the commemoration a huge success. It was great to have co-founder, Minister Donald Paul Miller, back in the circle.
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.
Veronica Blair has one of those superhero sounding names, and when you find out what her and her friends are into, it may be kind of fitting. Veronica is one of few Black circus artists that I know of in the Bay Area who takes it upon herself to organize events and push the knowledge of our people’s history of involvement in the art form.
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.
When discussing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., especially his “I Have a Dream Speech,” what is often missed is his concern for global justice, particularly in Africa. While Dr. King’s outspokenness about the Vietnam War toward the end of his life has been well documented and discussed, his views about the need to support anti-colonialism and anti-Apartheid in Africa is less so.
Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia said: “I have heard of that idea (that I am the reincarnation of Jesus Christ). I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated (originated) from a deity (God).”
Afrikan history is world history. World history is human history. And the Black Woman Is God. “The Black Woman Is God” exhibit is a continuation of great Afrikan thought, not solely an outstanding new work of collective and individual art. The closing reception is Thursday, May 30, 6 p.m., in the Sargent Johnson Gallery, African-American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., San Francisco
Pro-Israel forces inside the U.S. are willing to use their money to buy political influence and protection for Israel across the political spectrum. I do believe that much of the suffering could be alleviated if we would put sufficient energy and resources behind putting out in public view how the pro-Israel lobby misdirects U.S. and European policies and prevents pro-peace and justice politicians from ever having the opportunity to put those values, along with our basic human dignity, permanently on the table for public debate. - Cynthia McKinney
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
Ralph Poynter, the husband of Lynne Stewart, spoke at the National Lawyers Guild convention last month. As his speaking time was running out, well before the culmination of his remarks, he called upon convention delegates to stand as a commitment of support for Lynne’s struggle for justice and freedom. Guild members responded with a prolonged and thunderous standing ovation.
The images emerging from the current siege of Bani Walid are gruesome. NATO’s henchmen are attacking their own people with bombs and chemical weapons, injuring and killing scores of civilians. Women, children and old people lie maimed or dismembered on the side of the roads, many of them buried in the rubble. Ethnic cleansing of people with black skin is being carried out by Arab supremacists, but the Muslims of Bani Walid refuse to accept that people with black skin are to be hunted and killed.
The conclusion of a recent report of a Japanese parliamentary panel that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry “collusion” and thus was “man-made” is mirrored throughout the world. “Regulatory capture” is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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.”
Over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are currently engaged in a steadfast and open-ended hunger strike that launched on April 17, 2012, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. They are demanding an end to solitary confinement; access to family visits for all prisoners; and access to education and media. And they are demanding international solidarity.