Monday, February 9, 2009

8 February 2009


  • Cameroon = An Amnesty International Report is citing abuses, including executions, of journalists and dissidents. Police have enforced policies preventing people from exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. In February 2008, at least 100 people were killed. (AI, AT)
  • Kenya = The Ember Project was highlighted by Chicago Public Radio: you can listen to the interview here. This is a project that supports grandparents raising their AIDS-orphaned extended family. Sounds like a great grassroots conceived and driven project … check ‘em out here.
  • Madagascar = Thousands of residents of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city, participated in weekend protests of the government in anticipation of a general strike. The protestors are calling for the resignation of President Marc Ravalomanana in favor of Antananarivo’s mayor, Andry Rajoelina. (AT)
  • Nigeria = Kidnappers shot 11 year old Oduayo Awonusi who was trying to save her 9 year old brother Emmanuel from being kidnapped. This girl’s father is an executive for Royal Dutch Shell oil company. The kidnappings in Nigeria are part of a campaign which has successfully targeted the oil industry, in protest of land use in the Niger Delta. (AT, BBC)
  • Somaliland = Somaliland, a break-away province of Somalia, is not internationally recognized and so does not receive any foreign aid. This has led to an increase in men’s depression and an increase in men’s chewing khat (a narcotic) … igniting a huge increase of the number of women in the labor force—primarily as market vendors. This has in turn led to debates about Islam’s analysis of women working outside the home. For various views on this, you can listen here. (WVR)
  • Uganda = Uganda is outlawing pornography. This is good for women’s rights advocates … and perhaps a cause of concern for freedom of speech, as this is the first time internet providers are in the firing line in Uganda. Bummer. The terminology states that, “pornography in any form is prohibited and a person who produces or participates in the production or trafficking or publishing or broadcasting in any way” is liable. I like prohibiting porn, personally … it’s easier to regulate all the activities involved with it (i.e. trafficking of persons) when it is unequivocally illegal. This could be a slippery slope to restrictions on internet use in Uganda, though. Thoughts? Opinions? (AT)


  • Iran = Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureat, discusses the dangers she faces in Iran … and why she won’t leave her homeland despite the threats against her. You can listen to her interview with Amy Goodman here.
  • Palestine = The Obama administration is continuing the Bush policy of non-recognition of the democratically-elected Hamas government in Gaza. In fact, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton recently said that the US, “will not in any way negotiate with or recognize Hamas, until they renounce violence, recognize Israel, and agree to abide by … prior agreements.” (DN, AJ)
    • Clinton is NOT, however, asking Israel to renounce violence, recognize Palestine or agree to abide by prior agreements. The facts support Palestinians’ allegations of human rights abuses by Israeli troops (see prior posts), so why are we not basing our policies on the facts? Not cool. (DN)


  • Angelique Kidjo, a Grammy-winning Beninese singer, was featured in the most recent World Vision Report. I have had the opportunity to see her live, and her energy is contagious; she is a fantastic performer as well as a social advocate. She dropped out of law school to be a musician, because she saw music as a more effective means of advocacy than law (can’t really blame her there). She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and sang at the first 4664 Concert for Mandela in South Africa. She’s just fabulous.
  • Hamad Nikpay, an Iranian artist, released a new album entitled, “All is Calm.” He fuses Persian melodies with Flamenco beats; it’s both chill and funky … in a good way. You can check him out here.
  • Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation is a recently published book by Professor Saree Makdisi of UCLA. He discusses the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the importance of language in framing the conflict. It’s really good, thought-provoking stuff for those of us who daily hear the word “settlement” as opposed to “colony.” To listen to an interview with Prof Makdisi about his book on KPFA Berkeley radio, click here.


  • Iran = The Guardian Weekly podcast, dated 2/2/09 provides a great—and brief—history of the 1979 Revolution; it’s from minute 9 to approximately minute 14 of the podcast. You can listen here.

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