14 Killed in Sudanese Government Bombing of Darfur Village

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has condemned the Sudanese government for Sunday’s air raids against three villages in north Darfur that killed 14 civilians and injured several others. Antonov bombers targeted a market place, water installations, and a village school that was holding classes. Eleven people in the village of Shegeg Karo were killed, six of them children between the ages of five and eleven. The bombs also destroyed half of the village’s water supply.

Jen Marlowe is a filmmaker, writer and human rights activist. she is the Co-producer of the documentary film “Darfur Diaries: A Message From Home” and co-author of the book “Darfur Diaries: Stories Of Survival.”

She talks to Amy Goodman from DN.

Democracy Now! | 14 Killed in Sudanese Government Bombing of Darfur Village

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Le Soudan enfreint l’embargo. Est-ce une surprise?/ Sudan breaks the embargo. Is it a surprise?

According to “La Presse de Montréal ” (taken from the AFP), Sudan keeps breaking the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations. But knowing the tricks Sudan used in the past, which were shown in this blog, we aren’t really surprised with this report. And the presence of russian helicopters mentioned in this report was also addressed in other blogs too. For example: Publius Pundit.

Selon la Presse de Montréal (repris de l’AFP), le Soudan continue à enfreindre l’Embargo sur les armes imposé par l’ONU. Avec ce que nous avons déjà présenté comme tours de “passe-passe”que le Soudan est capable de faire on peut cyniquement ne pas être surpris de ce constat.

La Presse:

Agence France-Presse
Londres

L’organisation de défense des droits de l’homme Amnesty International a affirmé jeudi que le gouvernement soudanais continuait d’enfreindre l’embargo sur les armes imposé au Darfour par les Nations unies.

S’appuyant sur trois photographies prises selon elle en juillet à l’aéroport de Geneina, capitale du Darfour-ouest, l’association basée à Londres affirme que «le gouvernement soudanais continue à déployer des équipements militaires offensifs au Darfour malgré l’embargo de l’ONU sur les armes et les accords de paix».

Russian helicopterSelon Amnesty, une première photographie montre des soldats de l’armée soudanaise en train de décharger des conteneurs d’un Antonov, avion de fabrication russe, sur des camions militaires à l’aéroport de Geneina. Les deux autres montrent sur ce même aéroport des hélicoptères militaires (Mi-17 et Mi-24) fournis par la Russie en 2005 et 2006, selon Amnesty.

L’ONU a imposé un embargo sur la vente et la livraison d’armes au Darfour pour les organisations non-gouvernementales en juillet 2004, étendu en 2005 à toutes les parties au conflit.

Dans un rapport publié en mai, Amnesty avait déjà accusé le Soudan d’enfreindre cet embargo, affirmant que des armes fournies par la Chine et la Russie étaient utilisées au Darfour.

Le conflit qui sévit depuis plus de quatre ans au Darfour a fait 200 000 morts et deux millions de déplacés, selon l’ONU, des chiffres contestés par le Soudan, qui parle de 9000 morts.

Amnesty a appelé jeudi les Nations unies à «agir résolument pour s’assurer que l’embargo est effectivement respecté», plaidant notamment pour la présence «d’observateurs de l’ONU dans tous les ports du Soudan et du Darfour».

«La prolifération de petites armes et de véhicules militarisés au Darfour a entraîné des attaques de convois d’aide humanitaire et d’autres attaques dévastatrices contre les civils», a-t-elle également déploré, faisant référence à des rapports d’attaques dans le sud-Darfour.

Le Conseil de sécurité a voté le 31 juillet pour le déploiement au Darfour d’une force mixte ONU-UÀ de 26 000 hommes. Son déploiement total n’est toutefois pas attendu avant le milieu de l’année 2008.

«Si des armes continuent à affluer au Darfour et si les soldats de maintien de la paix n’ont pas le pouvoir de désarmer et de démobiliser tous les groupes armés d’opposition et la milice Janjawid, la capacité de la nouvelle force de paix à protéger les civils sera grandement entravée», a prévenu Amnesty.

La paix en vue au Darfour?/ Peace on sight in Darfur?

(Lien en anglais/link in english)

Voici une nouvelle du Guardian de Londres. La paix est en vue au Darfour…

Here is a news item from the London Guardian. Peace seems possible in Darfur:

Unseen by western hysteria, Darfur edges closer to peaceThe tribal leaders’ talks to end Sudan’s crisis are being driven by internal politics, not the intervention of the west

Jonathan Steele
Friday August 10, 2007
Guardian

Peace and some respite for Darfur’s displaced millions seem closer this week than they have for a long time. If forecasting politics were like the weather, one would call the prospects middling to fair. The breakthrough is due not so much to the latest UN resolution to create a larger foreign peacekeeping force as to the success of talks between the rival rebel groups. They seem to have agreed on a common platform to put to the Khartoum government in full-scale negotiations within the next few weeks.

The Darfur crisis has suffered from two problems. One is the exaggerated and sometimes almost hysterical tone in which it tends to be discussed. It is not “the greatest humanitarian disaster the world faces today”, as was claimed even by Britain’s usually cautious new prime minister last week. Iraq, where 8 million people need emergency aid, more than 3 million have fled from their homes in the last two years and about a thousand are dying of violence every month, is more grim. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, in spite of a fragile peace deal, as many as 1,200 people are estimated by humanitarian agencies to be dying every day. In Darfur, 2 million people have been displaced and up to 200,000 may have died.

This does not mean Darfur is not a huge tragedy, but that the situation there has changed. The problems of 2003 and 2004, when the Sudanese airforce was regularly bombing villages, are not the same now. Far more civilians are dying from Nato airstrikes in Afghanistan. Critics who demand that French or US planes shoot down Sudanese military aircraft should consider calling for a no-fly zone in Helmand province.

On the ground, most of the killing in Darfur today is between tribal groups rather than the government and rebels, as Jan Eliasson, the UN’s special envoy for Sudan, pointed out recently. Many of the obstacles facing relief agencies, who have vehicles stolen and convoys looted, come from rebels and bandits. None of this is surprising. In a region awash with weaponry, where war has destroyed the social fabric and the always precarious rural economy has been shattered, violence and lawlessness usually spread. The only surprise is that this fact is ignored in favour of a simplistic picture of a uniquely vicious government and totally innocent freedom fighters.

The other problem in Darfur’s coverage is the minimal attention given to the region’s politics. Blood seems to make better copy than blah. The weekend talks Eliasson held with the rebels were yet another case in point. They were barely reported in the world’s media, even though they are a potentially huge development. He and the African Union mediator, Salim Salim, managed to persuade the rebels to agree some common positions, though not yet a common delegation leader to represent them in talks with the government.

There are big issues left. One was the boycott by the volatile but influential non-Arab Fur leader, Abdul Wahid al Nur, who has been based in Paris since 2004 and refused to join the other rebels. Suleiman Jamous, another key leader, is in a UN hospital and fearful of arrest by the Sudanese authorities if he is discharged. The government ought to lift that threat immediately. If it is willing to reopen talks with the rebels, as it says and seems to mean, it cannot also intimidate or detain them. There has to be safe passage.

The last peace agreement of May 2006 broke down when Nur and another top leader refused at the last minute to sign. Since then, the rebel movements have split and are increasing their demands, which may make it harder for the government to concede. On the plus side, Eliasson and Salim are doing more to consult community leaders in the camps. They want compensation and better guarantees of security for the hundreds of thousands of displaced, complaining that the last peace deal was negotiated over their heads. They say the elite spent too much time on regional wealth and power sharing and not enough on the immediate human needs of the conflict’s victims.

There are massive problems ahead, even if new peace talks begin this autumn. The tripling of the African Union peace force with the addition of UN contingents, which the security council agreed last month, will not be completed for at least another year. In spite of the fanfare over the resolution’s passage, little will change until then.

In the meantime the relief agencies and the African Union’s existing troops should work with the government on pilot schemes to rebuild a few destroyed villages and protect displaced people as they return. Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, said in Darfur last month that he wanted to see the displaced going back voluntarily to their villages. He claimed large parts of the region were now safe.

Those claims should be tested. The African Union does not have enough manpower to patrol all of Darfur, nor will the beefed-up hybrid AU-UN force. But the African Union does have enough to protect some pilot projects. The displaced want to go back to start farming again. If the UN and the non-governmental agencies were to negotiate with the government and local rebel commanders for a small number of supervised returns under 24-hour armed protection, it could have a powerful effect. Confidence has collapsed in large parts of Darfur and will only return when people see results.

Beyond Darfur, other large issues are looming. The focus on the country’s western region has taken international attention away from the problems of the south, as the International Crisis Group recently pointed out. The two-year-old peace agreement in the longer and bloodier north-south civil war has started to totter. A major part of the deal was Khartoum’s promise of free national elections in 2009. It is not being implemented properly, with plans for a census and an electoral law falling behind schedule. The police continue to arrest journalists and opposition figures.

Here too, Sudan does not deserve the demonisation it is subject to from the Darfur lobby. It is no more authoritarian than Egypt, the west’s darling, or Libya, the emerging new favourite. Looking east, Ethiopia and Eritrea are equally undemocratic or worse. But, unlike those countries, the Sudanese regime has signed an internationally supervised agreement to permit multiparty politics and free elections for the first time since it came to power in a 1989 coup. It must be held to that.

j.steele@guardian.co.uk

Émission Amandla du 1er août 2007/ Amandla show from August 1st 2007

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant l’émission Amandla du 1er août 2007 sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez la télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

Émission entièrement en anglais.

Commentaires sur la revue de la BBC: “Focus on Africa” de juillet-septembre. Commentaires qui incluent l’opinion de Kenneth Kaunda, ancien président de Zambie, sur Mugabe. Aussi, la géopolitique de le Corne de l’Afrique.

Commentaires sur le journal sud-africain: Mail and Guardian: “Sudan looks south for peace”. Voir l’article en anglais, plus bas.

Commentaires sur l’article de le BBC: “Enjoying beers in the Algeria woods”. Voir l’article en anglais plus bas.

Les parlementaires Kenyan se donnent des salaires trop élevés. Commentaires sur le fait que les parlementaires Kenyan s’octroient un salaire de 91000 dollars US par ans!

Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo se rend à Bouaké . Commentaires.

Autres nouvelles de la Corne de l’Afrique.

Autres Nouvelles.

 

Here are the subjects that were addressed in the August 1st 2007 Amandla radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the show here (link valid for two months only).

Show entirely in english.

Commentaries on the BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine, july-september edition. Comments on the magazine that incudes views on Mugabe’s regime by former Zambia president, Kenneth Kaunda etc. Also, geopolitics in the Horn of Africa…

Commentaries on the South African newspaper: Mail and Guardian: “Sudan looks south for peace”. Here is the article (you can then listen to Doug’s comments on air):

Sudan looks south for peace
Jean-Jacques Cornish
31 July 2007 10:38
Said Alkhateeb, manager of the Strategic Studies Centre in Khartoum and a former general secretary of foreign relations for the ruling Sudanese National Congress party, travelled to Pretoria recently. Alkhateeb, who played a major role in negotiating the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) that ended the civil war between northern and southern Sudan, spoke to the Mail & Guardian about South Africa as a possible host and mediator in new talks between the Sudanese government and those Darfur rebel groups that refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) last year.

Has the South African government been asked to host and mediate the talks?
Informally, it has been approached, and a formal request will soon be made. The South African government knows the government of Sudan will welcome more involvement in monitoring the CPA and reviving the talks for Darfur.

Now that you are ac­cepting a hybrid force of African peacekeepers for Darfur financed and logistically supported by the United Nations, is every­thing up for grabs?
No, everything is not up for grabs. We will not be renegotiating the DPA. We have the building blocks for a more inclusive deal, but we do not want to alienate anyone who has already signed. We want to augment and add to the DPA, not replace it. Important points have been reached regarding personal compensation and control of the region. Most of the discontent in Darfur revolves around these two issues.

The Sudanese government has allowed UN troops to be deployed to monitor the CPA but has until recently refused to allow the deployment of UN troops in Darfur. Why?
The CPA is an agreement between two parties and they agreed to bring the UN in to deal particularly with the military and security arrangements. The mandate is very clear, and it was agreed before the parties put their signatures to the CPA. What the government of Sudan agreed to with the DPA is having AU peacekeeping forces. The US and the EU, who were there as facilitators, know this well. The government of Sudan sees no reason why this should change, because that would change the DPA itself. If people believe the AU cannot fulfil this role, they should gather around the table and change the agreement.

The UN Security Council envisages a peacekeeping force for Darfur of about 20 000. But it is clear that, at best, Africa can provide no more than 10 000 troops. Would you look favourably at a hybrid force in which the remainder are composed of troops from countries suitable to you?
The general agreement is that unless we cannot find peacekeeping personnel from within the AU we will not go elsewhere. We fully accept a hybrid force supervised by the AU and the UN. The peacekeeping troops will come from Africa. If practical considerations dictate it, the government of Sudan has indicated it will look elsewhere to solve the problem. If the political track moves quickly the whole process will be accelerated. The need for bringing in vast numbers of new forces will dwindle by the day. Provided a political solution is found, we will not need all that many people in Darfur.

When would the Sudanese government like to see the hybrid force on the ground?
Emotions regarding Sudanese sovereignty are still very strong. Politics generally are delaying things. The Sudanese government agreed to a hybrid force last September. Delays have been caused by misinterpretations of what exactly was agreed to. There is also uncertainty in the UN about funding something that is not entirely a UN operation. This all seems to have been cleared up now. The wheels can start turning. Timing is everything in matters like this. It is best for all involved that we proceed quickly

Comments on the BBC’s: “Enjoying beers in the Algeria woods”. Here is the article (you can then listen to Doug’s comments on air):

By Mary Harper
BBC News, Algiers
Kamal “Van Damme” has long dark hair, wild black eyes and a bare chest. He lives alone in the woods, high up in the Berber mountains of Algeria’s Kabylie region.

In an area occupied by armed Islamists, he runs a bar, selling cold beer to his customers.

Nicknamed after the Hollywood strongman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kamal has carved ingenious clearings out of the mountainside, each one almost completely hidden by thick bushes on all sides.

Into each clearing, he has put a rickety table and a few chairs, so that people can sit and drink in the middle of nature.

For the more adventurous, he has even constructed a platform at the top of a tree.

When I visited Kamal Van Damme’s bar, there were men lolling around in various stages of inebriation, green beer bottles scattered all over the place.

The atmosphere was completely relaxed.

“We’re drinking beer under the very beards of the Islamists,” one man joked.

Bizarre

I found it impossible to believe that we really were drinking “under the beards of the Islamists” until a couple of days later, when a military patrol was ambushed in full daylight just 400m away from the bar.

One soldier was killed and two others badly injured in the attack, blamed on Islamists hiding in the nearby forest.

Eyewitnesses reported that Kamal continued to serve beer during the attack, although most of his clients ran away as soon as they heard the gunshots and other explosions.

Bizarrely, it is in the land of the beer-drinking Berbers that Algeria’s Islamist insurgency is most active.

Attacks are frequent and principally directed at the military.

Recent incidents include the suicide bombing of an army barracks in Lakhdaria that killed more than 10 people and a midnight ambush on military positions in Yakouren.

In the first attack on civilians for some time, a bomb was thrown into an amusement arcade in Barika, leaving two children dead and several others with horrific injuries.

Hideouts

Parts of the Kabylie resemble a war zone. Near Yakouren, I saw convoys of military vehicles thundering by as columns of nervous-looking soldiers marched up into the mountains to hunt down the perpetrators of the recent attack.

Helicopters clattered above, strafing the mountainsides.

Forest fires, started by the military, engulfed the hills, consuming not only the hideouts of the militants but also the ancient olive trees belonging to the local population.

The Berbers have little sympathy for the Islamists, but they dislike the army even more.

One man, a beekeeper, explained how all of his beehives had been destroyed in one of the fires started by the army.

“When I asked the soldiers why they had burned my beehives, they said they would not have done so if I had told them where the militants were hiding,” he said.

“How can the army ask for my help when they have destroyed my livelihood?”

And the authorities are indeed asking the population for their help in fighting the insurgency, with daily television appeals requesting information about “the terrorists”.

Insecurity has been increasing in Algeria, and across North Africa, since the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) re-launched itself as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb at the beginning of this year.

Algeria’s Islamists have changed their tactics since joining the al-Qaeda franchise.

There are more suicide bombings, complete with slick internet videos of the young men who were prepared to die for their faith.

Co-ordinated attacks, such as the seven bombs that went off almost simultaneously in seven different locations in February, also bear the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

Despite the upsurge of Islamist activity, the government insists that what Algerians describe as “The Time of Terror” of the 1990s and early 2000s is now over.

“The Algerian government has perfect control over the security situation and terrorism is on the verge of being eradicated,” says Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem.

Traumatised

The reality on the ground, especially in the eastern Kabylie region, contradicts the prime minister’s statement.

Even in areas where security has returned, the population is traumatised.

Algeria’s most fertile region, the Mitidja valley, is like a land of ghosts with memories of the horrific massacres hanging like a dark cloud over the area.

People have still not returned to their hillside villages, preferring to stay in the towns by night, and working in their fields by day.

In other areas, such as Medea to the south of Algiers, people are starting to relax and enjoy themselves.

I visited this region during the weekend, and saw people swimming in the rivers, feeding monkeys and eating freshly roasted meat in restaurants that have only just re-opened after being burned down by the Islamists.

But none of this would be possible without the presence of the army.

Medea is the most heavily militarised zone in the country, and it is swarming with soldiers.

The horizon is dotted with sentry boxes and watchtowers, heavily armed soldiers crouch behind sandbags, hide behind trees and perch on rocks.

The place where life really does seem to be returning to normal is the capital city.

Algiers feels like a different country, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and the hustle and bustle of a fully functioning city.

But step outside the beautiful capital, with its white buildings crowded on hillsides overlooking the bay, and “The Time of Terror” is very much alive.

Either as fresh and bloody memories in people’s minds or as the ongoing insurgency led by militants intent on establishing an Islamic republic in Algeria.

Kenyan MPs give themselves high salaries. Comment on the fact that MPs in Kenya will have a salary reaching 91000 $US per year!

Cote d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo goes to Bouake. Comments.

Other news from the Horn of Africa.

Other news.

Arrêtez d’essayer de “sauver” l’Afrique/ Stop trying to ‘Save’ Africa

Voici un article écrit par Uzodinma Iweala (voir photo) dans la Washington Post, il y a une semaine mais qui vaut la peine d’être lu. “L’Afrique est un contient qui doit être sauvé de ses innombrables calamités”. Cette déclaration de certains Occidentaux soulève des questions de fond qu’Iweala nous présente ici.

Here is an article from Uzodinma Iweala (see picture) written in the Washington post a week ago but it is worth the read. “Africa is a continent that has to be saved from  countless calamities”. This declaration from the West brings fundamental questions that are raised by Iweala:

IwealaStop Trying To ‘Save’ Africa’
By Uzodinma Iweala
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Last fall, shortly after I returned from Nigeria , I was accosted by a perky blond college student whose blue eyes seemed to match the “African” beads around her wrists.

“Save Darfur!” she shouted from behind a table covered with pamphlets urging students to TAKE ACTION NOW! STOP GENOCIDE IN DARFUR!

My aversion to college kids jumping onto fashionable social causes nearly caused me to walk on, but her next shout stopped me.

“Don’t you want to help us save Africa?” she yelled.

It seems that these days, wracked by guilt at the humanitarian crisis it has created in the Middle East, the West has turned to Africa for redemption. Idealistic college students, celebrities such as Bob Geldof and politicians such as Tony Blair have all made bringing light to the dark continent their mission. They fly in for internships and fact-finding missions or to pick out children to adopt in much the same way my friends and I in New York take the subway to the pound to adopt stray dogs.

This is the West’s new image of itself: a sexy, politically active generation whose preferred means of spreading the word are magazine spreads with celebrities pictured in the foreground, forlorn Africans in the back. Never mind that the stars sent to bring succor to the natives often are, willingly, as emaciated as those they want to help.

Perhaps most interesting is the language used to describe the Africa being saved. For example, the Keep a Child Alive /” I am African” ad campaign features portraits of primarily white, Western celebrities with painted “tribal markings” on their faces above “I AM AFRICAN” in bold letters. Below, smaller print says, “help us stop the dying.”

Such campaigns, however well intentioned, promote the stereotype of Africa as a black hole of disease and death. News reports constantly focus on the continent’s corrupt leaders, warlords, “tribal” conflicts, child laborers, and women disfigured by abuse and genital mutilation. These descriptions run under headlines like “Can Bono Save Africa?” or “Will Brangelina Save Africa?” The relationship between the West and Africa is no longer based on openly racist beliefs, but such articles are reminiscent of reports from the heyday of European colonialism, when missionaries were sent to Africa to introduce us to education, Jesus Christ and “civilization.”

There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one’s cultural superiority. My mood is dampened every time I attend a benefit whose host runs through a litany of African disasters before presenting a (usually) wealthy, white person, who often proceeds to list the things he or she has done for the poor, starving Africans. Every time a well-meaning college student speaks of villagers dancing because they were so grateful for her help, I cringe. Every time a Hollywood director shoots a film about Africa that features a Western protagonist, I shake my head — because Africans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West’s fantasy of itself. And not only do such depictions tend to ignore the West’s prominent role in creating many of the unfortunate situations on the continent, they also ignore the incredible work Africans have done and continue to do to fix those problems.

Why do the media frequently refer to African countries as having been “granted independence from their colonial masters,” as opposed to having fought and shed blood for their freedom? Why do Angelina Jolie and Bono receive overwhelming attention for their work in Africa while Nwankwo Kanu or Dikembe Mutombo, Africans both, are hardly ever mentioned? How is it that a former mid-level U.S. diplomat receives more attention for his cowboy antics in Sudan than do the numerous African Union countries that have sent food and troops and spent countless hours trying to negotiate a settlement among all parties in that crisis?

Two years ago I worked in a camp for internally displaced people in Nigeria, survivors of an uprising that killed about 1,000 people and displaced 200,000. True to form, the Western media reported on the violence but not on the humanitarian work the state and local governments — without much international help — did for the survivors. Social workers spent their time and in many cases their own salaries to care for their compatriots. These are the people saving Africa, and others like them across the continent get no credit for their work.

Last month the Group of Eight industrialized nations and a host of celebrities met in Germany to discuss, among other things, how to save Africa. Before the next such summit, I hope people will realize Africa doesn’t want to be saved. Africa wants the world to acknowledge that through fair partnerships with other members of the global community, we ourselves are capable of unprecedented growth.

Uzodinma Iweala is the author of “Beasts of No Nation,” a novel about child soldiers.


The Chadian farmer who gave his land to Darfuri refugees/ Le fermier tchadien qui donnait ses terres aux réfugiés du Darfour

Voici une histoire qui nous présente Al-Hajj Saboor Arta Bakit, un fermier tchadien qui a décidé d’héberger 160 familles de réfugiés du Darfur sur ses terres. C’est un acte de générosité qui prend une ampleur particulière quand on sait que le nord du Tchad et le Darfour sont des régions où la guerre est devenue un élément du quotidien. À lire dans le Christian Science Monitor(en anglais).

The following story introduces us to Al-Hajj Saboor Arta Bakit, a Chadian farmer who gives aprt of his land to 160 refugee families from Darfur. An act of unselfishness rarely seen in that part of the world where wars in Northern Chad and Darfur have become part of everyday life. See the story in the Christian Science Monitor.

Émissions Amandla du 20 et du 27 juin 2007/ Amandla shows from June 20th and 27th 2007

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant les émissions Amandla du 20 et 27 juin dernier sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez les télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

Le 27 juin

Entrevue avec Béatrice Umutesi présentant son livre: “Fuir Umutesiou mourir au Zaïre. Le vécu d’une réfugiée rwandaise” – en français. Mme Umutesi est une ancienne réfugiée originaire du Rwanda qui s’enfuit au Zaïre suite au génocide rwandais. Elle travaillait comme coordonnatrice d’ONG avant de fuir au Zaïre. Elle découvre que le Front Patriotique Rwandais (FPR), mouvement de libération qui est aujourd’hui au pouvoir au Rwanda, aurait aussi perpétré des massacres contre les hutus pendant le génocide. La situation rwandaise a donc été plus confuse que ce qu’a bien voulu présenter la presse internationale. Paradoxalement, c’est le FPR que Mme Umutesi dut fuir. Elle quitte pour le Zaïre. Mais la guerre la rejoint avec des soldats du Rwanda qui traversent la frontière pour attaquer les camps de réfugiés. Mme Umutesi dut encore fuir marchant 2000 km dans la jungle congolaise pour trouver la paix.

Décès de Ousmane Sembène (photo plus bas) – en français et anglais. Icône du cinéma africain, né en Casamance (Sénégal). Revue de sa carrière et de sa vie. Il a écrit 5 romans, 5 recueils nouvelles et 14 films.

Les États-Unis cherchent une base pour l’AFRICOM – en anglais. Tel que présenté dans le blog, les pays d’Afrique du Nord refusent d’héberger l’AFRICOM sur leur territoire.

 

L’Union Européenne négocie une entente de libre-échange avec la CEDEAO (Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) – en anglais. Une telle entente lierait l’une des plus riches régions du monde avec l’une des plus pauvre. Les négociations ne se font donc surement pas sur une base “d’égal à égal”. L’Europe pourrait avoir un accès total au marché de la CEDEAO.

Comment le monde arabe ignore le Darfour – en anglais. Analyse d’un article paru dans le New Internationalist, intitulé “Salaam Darfur”, et qui critique le silence et même le déni du monde arabe devant les événements du Darfur. Cet article a été écrit par deux activiste arabes: Moataz El Fegiery et Ridwan Ziyada.

 

Le 20 juin

 

Émission entièrement en anglais.

Commentaires sur les discussions entre le Front Polisario et le Maroc sous les auspices des Nations Unies – en anglais. Les discussions se sont faites sous les regards d’observateurs Algériens et Mauritaniens. Elles se sont tenues à la suite d’une résolution de l’ONU datant d’avril 2007. Jusqu’à maintenant, rien n’a bougé, si ce n’est la décision de continuer les discussions en août 2007. Pendant ce temps, une génération de réfugiés vit toujours en Algérie, et beaucoup d’entre eux n’ont jamais vu le Sahara Occidental.

Découverte du pétrole au Ghana – en anglais. Le Ghana espère exploiter son pétrole sans tomber dans le piège de la mauvaise gestion de la ressource.

SIDA et développement en Afrique – en anglais. SIDA et développement ont mauvaise presse en Afrique. Le SIDA n’est pas qu’un enjeu de santé publique, il bloque le développement économique. Même dans un pays riche comme le Botswana, il peut faire des ravages.

Grèves générales en Afrique du Sud – en anglais. L’Afrique Du Sud entre dans sa 18ème-19ème journée de grève générale alors que les syndicats et le gouvernement n’arrivent pas à s’entendre. Des reportages provenant du terrain sont présentés.

Here are the subjects that were addressed in the June 20th and 27th Amandla radio shows on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the shows here (link valid for two months only).

June 27th

United States try to find an african base for AFRICOM – in english. Countries from Northern Africa don’t want the opening of the base. The subject was addressed in a previous post.

European Union wants to build a free trade deal with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) – in english. This agreement could link one of the wealthiest zone of the world with the poorest countries of the world. This deal might not be negotiated in equal terms. Europe could have total access to the ECOWAS countries…

Death of Ousmane Sembène (see picture) – in english and french. Born in Casamance Ousmane Sembène(Senegal), he was the first african film director to have an international recognition. Review of his career and his life. He wrote 5 novels, 5 short story book, and 14 films. He died on June 10th 2007.

How the arab world ignores Darfur – in english. Analysis of an article from the New Internationalist (“Salaam darfur”) who criticizes the heavy silence and denial from the Arab world regarding the events occuring in Darfur. It was written by two arabic human rights activists: Moataz El Fegiery and Ridwan Ziyada.

Interview with Béatrice Umutesi author of the book: “Surviving the slaughter. The ordeal of a Rwandan refugee in Zaïre” – in french. Mrs Umutesi is a former Rwandan refugee who fled the genocide and went to Zaïre (today called Democratic Republic of Congo). She worked for an NGO before fleeing to Zaïre. She discovered that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR), the liberation movement in Rwanda who’s now in power, also perpetrated mass murders against the Hutus during the genocide. The situation in Rwanda was therefore more complex than what the international medias depicted. Oddly enough, it’s the FPR Mrs Umutesi had to run from. She fled to Zaïre. But the war caught on her with Rwandan troops crossing the border and attacking refugee camps. She had to run into the jungle and walk 2000 km to find a safe place!

June 20th

Show entirely in english.

Comments on the talks between the Polisario and Morocco under United Nations’ auspices – in english. Talks were held between Morocco and Polisario front with observers from Algeria and Mauritania. They were held following a resolution from April 2007. So far, they lead to nothing concrete and they will continue in August 2007. Meanwhile, a generation of refugees still live in Algeria and most of them were born there and have never seen Western Sahara.

Oil found in Ghana – in english. Ghana hopes to exploit its oil without falling into mismanagement.

AIDS and development in Africa – in english. AIDS and development are treated negatively in Africa. AIDS isn’t just a health issue; it hinders economic development and social capabilities. Even in a rich african country like Botswana, it can be a really serious problem.

General strikes in South Africa – english. South Africa enters its 18-19th day of general strike as the unions and the government can’t find an agreement. Reports from the field are presented.

Voici un court vidéo d’Ousmane Sembène recevant “l’Akira Kurosawa” award au Festvial de film de SanFrancisco en 1993. Here is a short video of Ousmane Sembène receiving the Akira Kurosawa award at the 1993 San Francisco International Film Festival:

La Chine envoie des casques bleus au Soudan/ China sends U.N. peacekeepers in Sudan

(lien en anglais/ link in english)

Un dossier du Christian Science Monitor nous présente les enjeux de la présence chinoise en Afrique et met l’emphase sur l’envoi de 1809 casques bleus qui partiront pour le Soudan.

The Christian Science Monitor does a report on China’s presence in Africa. On of thearticle talks about the sending of 1809 chinese U.N. peacekeepers in Sudan:

It’s sending 1,809 UN peacekeepers and 300 volunteers in a new Chinese ‘peace corps’ program.

By Danna Harman | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
She named her baby daughter Siwei Liu, which means “be aware of danger.” The young Chinese mother had just passed the United Nations exams and knew she would soon be leaving China’s Hubei Province for places unknown and dangerous.

Less than six months later, Fang Liu, a lawyer with the Chinese police forces, packed her suitcase, waved farewell to her husband and baby daughter – and set off for South Sudan. “It was,” she says solemnly, “a very long way away.”

Ms. Liu, today a UN police observer, was joined by 435 other ­engineers, medics, and transport specialists, ­all of them part of China’s contribution to the 10,000-strong UN force charged with monitoring the peace agreement here until 2011.

The Sudan mission is the longest-ever peacekeeping mission the Chinese have joined to date – but not their only one.

Playing a far more active role in UN peacekeeping than ever before, 1,809 Chinese troops, police, military observers, and others are deployed worldwide. The majority – 1,273 – are here in Africa, building roads, setting up clinics, patrolling troubled villages – and generally trying to show that China wants to be considered part of the international community when it comes to doing the right thing by this continent.

The number of Chinese peacekeepers worldwide is much smaller than the number that Pakistan supplies the UN – currently 10,173 according to UN statistics – or India, which has sent 9,471 of its nationals to participate in most of the UN’s 15 current missions worldwide.

But, it’s more than South Africa (1,188 blue helmets) or Brazil (1,277) have in the field – and far more than the US, which, unlike 118 other countries, puts no boots on the ground. (The US does, however, provide the largest chunk of the funding for these missions – 26 percent of the total. China, in turn, provides 3 percent.)

Some of the words that typically come to mind in association with the budding China-Africa relationship are “trade,” “raw materials,” and “cheap goods.” “Weapons,” sometimes pops up, “neocolonialism” has its takers, too.

“Socially responsible,” however, does not typically make the Top 10 list.

But increasingly, China is both expanding and honing its aid to the continent, and also trying to draw more attention to its social commitment to the people of Africa.

Since 2000 China has canceled more than $10 billion in debt for 31 African countries and has given $5.5 billion in development aid, with a promise of a further $2.6 billion in 2007-08, according to estimates by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Beijing has overtaken the World Bank in lending to Africa: In 2005, China committed $8 billion in lending to Nigeria, Angola, and Mozambique alone – the same year the World Bank spent $2.3 billion in all of Africa.

In 2006, lending by China’s Exim Bank was $12.5 billion – and is set to rise by more than $5 billion in 2007, according to the EIU estimates.

The loans China offered Africa in 2006 were three times the total development aid given by rich countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and nearly 25 times the total stock of loans and export credits approved by the US Export-Import Bank for sub-Saharan Africa, points out Greg Mills, director of the Brenthurst Foundation, an economic think tank in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Not content with only making big gestures, China has also gotten involved with dozens upon dozens of smaller projects across the continent, touching the lives of everyday people.

During his February tour of the continent, Chinese President Hu Jintao opened a Chinese-built hospital in Cameroon, inaugurated a Chinese-funded malaria research and prevention center in Liberia, and launched a Chinese-language after-school program in Namibia, among others.

And in April, after a five-day visit to Sudan, Liu Guijin, the newly appointed Chinese special representative for Darfur, announced that his country was going to boost its humanitarian aid to Sudan, donating some $10 million worth of aid to the troubled region and sending in close to 300 Chinese military engineers to help strengthen the overtaxed African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Western donors, concerned that China is throwing around aid, investment, and business with no strings attached, have been calling on Beijing to abide by global standards when it comes to human rights and the environment. Last month, the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation on aid and investment.

“China has real interests there [in Africa] and will, of course, be engaged on the continent, as is the United States,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of African Affairs James Swan said in a February speech at Columbia University in New York. “US policy is not to curtail China’s involvement in Africa, but to seek cooperation where possible and continue efforts to nudge China toward becoming a responsible international stakeholder.”

Whether or not this largess has ulterior economic and strategic motives behind it, or whether it is propelled by nothing more than a desire to boost China’s international image, the bottom line is that it is welcome by many on the continent.

“The Chinese interest in Africa … their coming into our markets is the best thing that could have happened to us,” says small-business contractor Amare Kifle, during a recent meeting with a Chinese investor in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “We are tired of the condescending American style. True, the American government and American companies have done and do a lot here, but I always feel like they think they are doing us a favor … telling us how to do things and punishing us when we do it our own way.

“These Chinese are different,” he says. “They are about the bottom line and allow us to sort out our side of the business as we see fit. I want to have a business partner and do business. I don’t want to have a philosophical debate about Africa’s future.”

Indeed, China’s commitment to a hands-off approach is in stark contrast to the West, and some experts say the lengths to which China goes to be seen as a benevolent partner with Africa is unprecedented.

“China is the most self-conscious rising power in history and is desperate to be seen as a benign force as well as to learn from the mistakes of the existing major powers and previous rising powers,” says Andrew Small, a Brussels-based China expert at the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank. “It sees its modern national story as anticolonial – about surpassing the “century of humiliation” at the hands of the colonial powers – and still thinks of itself, in many ways, as a part of the developing world.”

Liu, who is in charge of the UN police force’s administrative personnel work, spends her days in a trailer office with four other peacekeepers keeping track of personnel sick days, home leaves, and other special requests.

Previous to this mission, Liu only left her home province once – to go on her honeymoon to Hong Kong.

Today, she shares a small apartment in Wau, Sudan, with six other UN personnel. They have no running water and no electricity.

She does her shopping in the market (the store owners know her and yell out ni hao ma – “How are you?” – when she passes by) and reads at night with the help of a Chinese government-issued rechargeable lamp.

She calls her husband and daughter once a week for three minutes and tries to also communicate throughe-mail, but it’s complicated, as her UN-issued computer keyboard does not have Chinese characters.

It is less exciting than she had hoped, she admits. The insecurity, heat, food, bug bites, and loneliness test her. And above all, she misses her baby Siwei, she says, showing off a picture of her now 2-year-old child.

But Liu nonetheless has a clear sense of why she is here.

“Peace is giving [the South Sudanese] a chance for development. I believe the future of Wau will be brighter,” she says, untangling her long dark hair, knotted by the hot afternoon wind. “We Chinese come from a different country, far away­, but we are in harmony with Africa.”

Maj. Mutacho Shadrock, a Kenyan commanding officer with the UN forces in Wau, says the Chinese peacekeepers “keep to themselves and the vast majority doesn’t speak English, even the commanding officers.” But, he adds, “They are good workers. They have repaired bridges and roads and are doing good work. And that is what is important.”

“I am hardly an apologist for China,” says Harry Broadman, an economic advisor on Africa at the World Bank. “But people tend to forget that China itself is a developing country that has had global leadership thrust upon it.

“People ascribe a lot of power and knowledge to them without understanding that they are climbing the learning curve themselves,” he says, adding that China wants to be seen as a force for good on the continent. “They want to give Africa a fair deal. I believe that.”

Liu is finishing her day in the office and going out to join some of the other Chinese peacekeepers for a table-tennis tournament at the engineering corps camp.

She is a terrific player, she says, and will probably win. “But it’s not just about winning, of course,” she says. “It’s about playing the game with – with …” Liu searches for the word in English, and then smiles, “with dignity.”

That, she says, is the way things are done in China.

How China aids Africa

Aid

• Last fall, China pledged to double its aid to Africa and provide $5 billion in loans and credits by 2009.

• China will also build 30 hospitals and 30 clinics as part of its $37.5 million package to help Africa fight malaria.

Development programs

• More than 11,000 professionals from Africa have received training in China since 2004.

• Last fall, China announced it would set up a $5 billion China-Africa development fund to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa.

• China also pledged to train 15,000 African professionals, double the number of Chinese government scholarships given annually to Africans to 4,000, and send 100 senior agricultural experts and 300 youth volunteers to Africa.

Debt relief

• From 2000-05, China waived $10 billion in bilateral debt owed by 31 African countries and extended zero-tariff treatment to selected imports.

• In January, China signed debt relief and aid agreements with Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

SOURCES: Reuters, AP, BBC, Xinhua, Council on Foreign Relations 

Émission Amandla du 13 juin 2007/ Amandla show from June 13th 2007

Voici les thèmes qui ont été abordés pendant l’émission Amandla du 13 juin dernier sur les ondes de CKUT 90.3FM (Montréal). Vous pouvez la télécharger ici (lien valide pour deux mois seulement).

Analyse des enjeux entourant l’entente entre le Soudan et les Nations Unies sur l’envoi d’une force d’interposition mixte des Nations-Unies et de l’Union Africaine – en français. Enjeux qui impliquent des intérêts américains instrumentalisant les ONG. Une dynamique géopolitique régionale place le Soudan au centre des préoccupations de ses voisins, notamment l’Éthiopie, mais aussi le monde arabe, en particulier, les pays du Golfe persique qui ont des intérêts économique visant le pétrole, mais aussi les ressources agricoles.

Projet minier impliquant de l’uranium au Malawi – en anglais. Commentaires sur un projet minier mené par l’entreprise Paladin au Nord du Malawi. Le sujet a été abordé ici, mais des éléments nouveaux sont dévoilés dans l’émission.

Présentation de l’artiste afro-péruvienne, Oru, dont le vrai nom est Monica Carillo – en anglais. Artiste que notre collaborateur Roberto a rencontré au Pérou. Vous pouvez entendre des extraits de sa musique pendant l’émission. Elle est aussi une activiste qui s’implique dans la communauté afro-américaine en amérique latine, notamment, les enfants. Elle est extrêmement critique envers les péruviens qui sont racistes envers les afro-péruviens. On peut aussi voir sa video ici.

Here are the subjects that were addressed in the June 13th Amandla radio show on CKUT 90.3 FM (Montreal). You can download the show here (link valid for two months only).

 

Analysis of the issues related to the dispatch of a mixed military force of United Nations and African Union troops – in french. The stakes involves American interests and the exploiting of NGOs. Regional and geopolitical dynamics put Sudan in the center of its neighbours’ concerns notably Ethiopia, but also the Arab countries, in particular the ones from the Persian gulf, who have economic interests in Sudan’s oil and agricultural resources.

Uranium mining in Malawi – in english. Comments on a uranium project by Paladin in Malawi. It was commented here, but new elements are explained in the show.

Presentation of the Afro-peruvian artist called Oru, real name Monica Carillo – in english. An afro-african artist in Peru met by our collaborator Roberto. You can here her music during the show. She is also an activist involved in the afro-american community in South America, especially children. She strongly criticized how Peruvian reacts and show racism toward other Peruvians of African descent. You can see a video of Monica Carillo here.

Ban Ki Moon trouve des causes environnementales à la crise du Darfour/Ban Ki Moon finds environmental causes to the Darfur crisis

(Liens en anglais/links in english)

Ban Ki Moon, secrétaire général de l’ONU, indique dans un article du Washington Post que la crise du Darfour a une origine dont l’une des causes est environnementale (voir plus bas).

Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, wrote an article in the Washington Post about the Darfur crisis. He specifically points to the environmental causes of the crisis:

Just over a week ago, leaders of the world’s industrialized nations met in Heiligendamm, Germany, for their annual summit. Our modest goal: to win a breakthrough on climate change. And we got it — an agreement to cutBan Ki Moon greenhouse gases by 50 percent before 2050. Especially gratifying for me is that the methods will be negotiated via the United Nations, better ensuring that our efforts will be mutually reinforcing.

This week, the global focus shifted. Tough but patient diplomacy produced another win, as yet modest in scope but large in humanitarian potential. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accepted a plan to deploy, at long last, a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. This agreement, too, is personally gratifying. I have made Darfur a top priority and have invested considerable effort, often far from public view, toward this goal.

Clearly, uncertainties remain. This deal, like others before it, could yet come undone. It could be several months before the first new troops arrive and longer before the full 23,000-member contingent is in place. Meanwhile, the fighting will probably go on, even if less intensely and despite our many calls for a cease-fire. Still, in a conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives during four years of diplomatic inertia, this is significant progress, especially considering that it has come in only five months.

It would be natural to view these as distinct developments. In fact, they are linked. Almost invariably, we discuss Darfur in a convenient military and political shorthand — an ethnic conflict pitting Arab militias against black rebels and farmers. Look to its roots, though, and you discover a more complex dynamic. Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.

Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail. According to U.N. statistics, average precipitation has declined some 40 percent since the early 1980s [our emphasis]. Scientists at first considered this to be an unfortunate quirk of nature. But subsequent investigation found that it coincided with a rise in temperatures of the Indian Ocean, disrupting seasonal monsoons. This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming.

It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers. A recent Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris describes how black farmers would welcome herders as they crisscrossed the land, grazing their camels and sharing wells. But once the rains stopped, farmers fenced their land for fear it would be ruined by the passing herds. For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out. By 2003, it evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today.

A U.N. peacekeeping force will help moderate the violence and keep humanitarian aid flowing, saving many lives. Yet that is only a first step, as I emphasized to my colleagues at the summit in Germany. Any peace in Darfur must be built on solutions that go to the root causes of the conflict. We can hope for the return of more than 2 million refugees. We can safeguard villages and help rebuild homes. But what to do about the essential dilemma — the fact that there’s no longer enough good land to go around?

A political solution is required. My special envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, and his A.U. counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, have worked out a road map, beginning with a political dialogue between rebel leaders and the government and culminating in formal negotiations for peace. The initial steps could be taken by this summer.

Ultimately, however, any real solution to Darfur’s troubles involves sustained economic development. Precisely what shape that might take is unclear. But we must begin thinking about it. New technologies can help, such as genetically modified grains that thrive in arid soils or new irrigation and water storage techniques. There must be money for new roads and communications infrastructure, not to mention health, education, sanitation and social reconstruction programs. The international community needs to help organize these efforts, teaming with the Sudanese government as well as the international aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations working so heroically on the ground.

The stakes go well beyond Darfur. Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist and one of my senior advisers, notes that the violence in Somalia grows from a similarly volatile mix of food and water insecurity. So do the troubles in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

There are many other parts of the world where such problems will arise, for which any solutions we find in Darfur will be relevant. We have made slow but steady progress in recent weeks. The people of Darfur have suffered too much, for too long. Now the real work begins.

Regarding the peacekeeping force, Daimnation states that Sudan doesn’t want non-african U.N. troops in its territory and we agree:

Restricting the UN element mainly to African armies will go a long way to ensuring its ineffectiveness…

And that may be why Sudan asks for an African Union involvement in the peacekeeping force.