Helen Epstein’s new book, “Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda, and the War on Terror,” is dense with detailed and fascinating accounts of events in Ugandan history and politics and those of neighboring nations. I’m familiar with much of it, but there’s also much I hadn’t known, some I disagree with, and elaborations or different interpretations of what I’ve previously read or been told.
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.
We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
Yeewket Admas is Amharic meaning knowledge horizons. With knowledge, we can expand our horizons and improve our world. Library Information Foundation for Ethiopia is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide good quality books to Ethiopians to help them develop a culture of reading and self-improvement. We have opened or assisted the opening of 22 libraries in Ethiopia. We humbly ask for your charitable contributions to help further our goal.
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.
Fifty years ago, on June 16, 1966, in Greenwood, Mississippi, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chair Kwame Ture, then known as Stokely Carmichael, addressed a crowd of youthful demonstrators and the media covering the militant March Against Fear and forcefully re-echoed our millennial and generational demand for “Black Power.”
“Lambadina,” an international love story originating in Ethiopia before moving to the U.S., will be screened on opening night of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, Thursday, June 16, 6-9 p.m., at the Coppola Theater at San Francisco State University. The story is about childhood love, family, friendship, commitment, sincerity and history. Come check out this beautiful feature length film and meet the filmmaker, Messay Getahun, as well as check him out in this exclusive Q&A.
Kenia Serrano is a member of the Cuban National Assembly, as well as the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People. We sat down with her to discuss the normalization of diplomatic relations, Cuban-developed medical technologies that the U.S. has been denying its residents because of the blockade, the release of the Cuban 5 and the security of our beloved Black Liberation Army political exile Assata Shakur.
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.
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.
Two hundred delegates from African governments and institutions met in Kigali, Rwanda, yesterday for a symposium on “democratization and development.” Hailemariam Desalegn and Rwandan President Paul Kagame both spoke of the primacy of state power and African agency in development. Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho spoke to KPFA’s Ann Garrison about what was wrong with this picture.
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.
Ever since I have known Elita Tewelde, she has been a Pan African organizer in one way, shape or form, teaching Africans born in the Americas about our brothas and sistas from the continent, and vice versa. She recently took a group of young Black male bucket drummers from the hood to Senegal, West Africa. She filmed the whole experience and is fundraising to get the documentary, “Drum Beat Journey,” made.
As thanksgiving approaches, many of us are receiving messages that reflect on what we should be thankful for. Coming on the heels of the grand jury decision on Michael Brown, it is obvious some of us may not be feeling particularly blessed and thankful, living in a system that threatens our boys – our lives. Like all families across this nation that mix generations of American kids with immigrant parents and grandparents, the story is mixed and at times complicated.
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.
The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy is based in both Juba and Kampala, the capitals of South Sudan and Uganda. In a statement published in the New York City-based Black Star News, they called South Sudan’s President Kiir and Uganda’s President Museveni an unholy alliance and called on the international community not to let Museveni destroy South Sudan.
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.
This season we have lost two pillars of our San Francisco Bay Area community, Samuel Fredericks and Upesi Mtambuzi. Cedar Walton, pianist, also made his transition this year, along with Donald Duck Bailey, drummer, both men beautiful human beings. Upesi, Samuel, Cedar and Donald all brightened our world. Their unique hues and shapes and sounds will be missed ... that last live jam.