On Feb. 12, 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 4.49 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 630,500 refugees in neighboring countries. The IDP population had nearly doubled in the previous year alone, mainly as a result of clashes and armed attacks. This week I spoke to Swiss Congolese historian and activist Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko about recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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.
The Congo crisis is now one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies in the world and the most underreported. An average of 5,500 people a day flee violence and insecurity, even more than in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Unlike Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, however, the Congo wars are undeclared and there’s no front line. There are instead many wars over many concentrations of resource wealth in this immensely resource-rich country, especially in the eastern provinces.
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.
Venezuela Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez recently tweeted that the “U.S. State Department deployed its ambassadors in the region to attack Venezuela. We come with renewed vigor to defeat them at the OAS.” So said, so done. Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway spewed the U.S. false narrative regarding Venezuela in our local newspapers. U.S. ambassadors in a number of other Caribbean countries did the same. It was a coordinated attempt to mislead the people of Guyana and the region about what is really happening in Venezuela.
The death of Fidel Castro, for those of us living in the belly of the beast, has meant being forced to endure non-stop lies and hypocrisy from the mass media about Fidel. According to our “free press,” Fidel was a “brutal dictator” who would not allow “democratic” elections like we have here. Two words put the lie to the story that U.S.-style elections bring justice and prosperity: Donald Trump.
Last week the U.S. helped its Saudi pals bomb another hospital and school in Yemen. Don’t imagine that its intentions are any more humanitarian in Burundi just because they’re not selling fighter bomber jets and guided bombs to their pal Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president for life. Kagame is intent on bringing down President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government in Burundi, as Saudi sheikhs are intent on bringing down the Houthi government in Yemen.
Republican Newt Gingrich, long known for his fascistic views, recently declared that “Western Civilization is in a war.” Truth be told, he is on solid ground. Indeed, Western Civilization is in a war, a war that has been raging since its inception. It has been at war with itself and with the entire non-European world for centuries. Long before anyone heard of Jihadists, Al-Qaeda and ISIL, Western Civilization was at war.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee questioned Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, President Obama’s nominee to become the next four-star general commanding AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command. Most of the discussion focused on the conflict in Libya, where territory is now controlled by seven different forces. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
The California Democratic Primary is Tuesday, June 7. Whatever “The Movement” means to you, if you care about human decency and international human rights, we need a Sanders victory and a Clinton repudiation in California on June 7 – and beyond. I admire and support Sen. Sanders for his courageous challenge to the American Israel Political Action Committee, his support for human rights and fair treatment for the Palestinian people, and his open challenge to Hillary Clinton on Israel and Palestine.
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.
It was in early Iraq where the largest African slave rebellions occurred. Here, well over a millennium ago, were gathered tens of thousands of East African slave laborers called Zanj. Conscious of their large numbers and oppressive working conditions, the Zanj rebelled, inflicting defeat after defeat upon the Arab armies sent to suppress their revolt.
Loretta Lynch, Obama’s nominee for attorney general, has cited her service as special counsel to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda as a credential, unlike her controversial 2012 settlement with the HSBC bank after the bank admitted to facilitating money-laundering by Mexican drug cartels. Critics of the International Criminal Court and the dominant narrative about the Rwandan massacres dispute the account.
Officer Akers sexually harassed the entire unit – most of which is New Afrikan – by conducting a striptease in which we were ordered to “squat and cough and spread your buttocks open,” solely for the sadomasochistic pleasure of Officer Akers. Let me explain that I am in Red Onion State Prison (ROSP), I protested, and in return for my protest I was put in “five-point restraints,” stark naked into a totally empty cell, just concrete and steel.
For the youth, excluded from the American economy by inferior, substandard education; targeted by the malevolence of the fake drug war and mass incarceration; stopped and frisked for Walking While Black, were given front-row seats to the national security state at Ferguson after a friend was murdered by police in their streets. Ferguson may prove a wake-up call. A call for youth to build social, radical, revolutionary movements for change.
Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.
Slain 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25. The funeral was a local and national event with thousands in attendance. Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9 while he walked through the streets of his neighborhood. His brutal death from six gunshot wounds fired at close range sparked immediate mass demonstrations in Ferguson that have continued for over two weeks.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan all share borders. Each of these three countries is now engulfed in tribal or religious sectarian violence, and Uganda, a longtime U.S. military partner, has troops in both the Central African Republic and South Sudan. U.S. Special Forces have been on the ground with Ugandan troops in both countries since 2011.