Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Migrants in Qatar

As Qatar experiences a construction boom and looks forward to hosting the 2022 World Cup, migrant workers from India, Pakistan and across South east Asia and Africa are working in the shadows and behind the scenes building the gleaming skyscrapers across the Persian Gulf in Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. Despite their hours of labour, the migrants are often given open ended contracts, cheated by companies that originally hired them, denied access to lawyers and legal protection within the countries they work or loose their papers and means of identity. Video below is compliaments of Al Jazeera. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Democracy and Corruption

Two articles take a look at how selling Democracy to the poor citizens living with corrupt governments may not be a God's send but a joke and even a mistake without the need to critique what Democracy is and how it relates to the country it is expected to grow in. The second article focuses on the corruption that breeds violence among citizens with South Sudan as a warning to Liberia's future petroleum prospects. The first article comes from the Liberian newspaper: New Democrat and the second form Liberian Observer. Enjoy

Liberia: Selling Democracy As an Endangered Demon to the Poor

Throughout his earthly sojourn, versatile Liberian journalist Tom Kamara, who died Friday while undergoing medical treatment in Brussels, remained an uncompromising campaigner for social justice at home and everywhere.
This unimpeachable trademark can be seen and acknowledged unquestionably by both his admirers and detractors in this last analysis of the situation in Liberia written by the man, whom his contemporaries often called "Tom" while his co-employees and workers referred to him as "Uncle Tom":
One of Pakistan's most respected charity heads, in an interview with the BBC, said most Pakistanis would prefer military rule over a network of corrupt civilian politicians that take turns in ruling the country with fat bank accounts abroad. For the poor, he said, democracy has meant nothing for them, only the incubation of poverty.
Prevailing developments in Liberia suggest the same trend. Because of the growing disconnect between politicians and the poor, as the Vision 2030 recently suggested, democracy--the freedom to periodically elect one's own thieves and plunderers, amongst other democratic values--is fast becoming an endangered demon to the poor.
This mistrust in democracy serves as one of the growing reasons for the relevance of Mr. George Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). The poor see their children hanging on crawling vehicles, running behind Mr. Weah, as their chance to material wellbeing once he gets the presidency. And one of the reasons for the fanatical loyalty Mr. Charles Taylor commands even as he prepares for a long jail term as the rest of the world demands is that under him, a few saw their material conditions enhanced.
This enhancement of their material conditions was at the expense of others in the forms of murders, looting, etc. But they would care less, since they saw what they considered a better life under Taylor. The wife of the feared Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) commander was filled with nostalgia in an interview with foreign journalists as the verdict against Mr. Taylor came down. She had a better life under Taylor, she said, since the prices of commodities were cheap or for the taking, since her husband was an ATU commander who had in his hands the power to administer death or allow someone to live.

A Dreaded Lesson for Liberia

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South Sudan, Africa’s newest independent nation, is a nation that has been through so much over the past decades, but with independence, and bountiful oil deposits, it was also seen as a nation with a lot of promise. But that promise, while challenged on many fronts, is facing its greatest threat from within—from perniciously corrupt officials, who the people have entrusted with the business of running the nation’s affairs
After over three decades of civil war in which the predominately Christian South fought for autonomy from the largely Muslim North, leaving at least 2.5 million people dead, and many peace negotiations in between, the South finally reached a peace agreement with the North, which lead to a referendum for independence in January 2011. An overwhelming number of South Sudanese, over 98.83%, voted for self-suffrage from the North. And on July 9th, as the world watched, South Sudan declared its independence with great fanfare and hope for a better future for its people.
But all that hope is being asphyxiated in what will probably go down as the most despicable corruption scandal in the annals of the world. In the face of continuing tension between the South and North over the sharing of oil revenues (80% of Sudan’s oil deposit is believed to be located in the South), which has led to a temporary halt in oil export, the country has been rocked by news of the massive pillaging of the country’s oil revenues, in the tune of US$4 billion, by current and former officials of the government.
“An estimated $4-billion are unaccounted for or, simply put, stolen by current and former officials, as well as corrupt individuals with close ties to government officials,” President Salva Kiir said in a letter to his officials.
Desperate to feed the country’s poverty-stricken population of 8 million people, one-fifth of who suffers from chronic hunger, and with child malnutrition rates reaching 21%, South Sudan’s President sent the letter to 75 current and former officials pleading with them to return the country’s money and promising that those who return their stolen cash would be granted amnesty.
“Many people in South Sudan are suffering and yet some government officials simply care about themselves. We fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people,” President Kiir lamented in the letter.

Monday, 4 June 2012

News From Motherland: Africa

News From the Motherland: West Africa and the North 4 June 2012Now with clickable articles :)
This is the first of the new news series News From the Motherland 

The green dotted lines shows how far Tuareg peoples live across the Sahara. French colonialists attempted to create a homeland for the Tuareg prior to the first Tuareg Rebellion in 1963 again the Malian Govt but the French knew such an attempt would be unrealistic and unstable. 
In less than a week some unimaginable events have been happening in several African countries. Two plane  crashes in Ghana and Nigeria. Clashes between rebels at Tripoli International Airport in Libya. Malians from Timbuktu and other cities of Northern Mali are now Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) in their own country now live in refugee camps in the Malian capital Bamoko. The Taureg Revolution which began as a challenge to the Malian government over neglect and lack of rights has now been transformed in European/American media as a threat of an Islamic state in Northern Mali. Historically, Muslims and Islam in Mali have been known for being relaxed and influenced by the religious and cultural diversity of its adherents as is common with most West African Muslims in neighboring and further away West African countries such as Cote d' Ivoire, Niger, Chad, Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, the two Guineas, The Gambia and so on. Even with Boko Haram in Nigeria, Nigerian Muslims do not follow nor belief in the strict so called Sharia law type interpretation and applications of Islam in everyday life. For those curious to read more into how religion came synonymous with war please read the link to the Myth of War and Religion. As history and recent events show rebels in any African country are never good for anyone not the supporters, non political citizens or leaders. Is this Neo Colonialism creeping across Africa?

Effects of Colonialism on Africa's past and present

Myth of War and Religion 

Northern Mali: An Islamic State?

Clashes erupt at at Tripoli Airport in Libya

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou: "It was Not Necessary TO Kill Gaddafi"

Is France the Curse of Africa?

Prince of Poets

I love poetry but I can't write it. ITs one of the hardest forms of writing. Enjoy the above video/lyrics. Its the Prince of Poet by Iraqi-Candian Journalist/Hip Hop Artist the Narcycist. One of the commentators for the  original song gave me the challenge of creating my own video with the lyrics of the song. As a result, the video became a tribute if you can call it that to the revolutions in North Africa and Middle East enjoy.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Catching hell all over

Three stories from three different regions of the world on the stress and tensions facing everyday people. After relistening to an interview with Laura Nader on Orientalism and Edward Said's legacy towards post colonial studies, it reminded me of the media's role in painting or writing the world. Said continuously reminded the world that the Palestinians still have not received justice despite most peoples being well aware of the long lasting Palestinian-Israeli conflict. A combination of news stories on Houla Massacre in Syria, the continual instability in Libya brought on by armed rebels who refuse to lower the guns and the Travyon Martin Case led me to comply the three stories below. Enjoy the read.

Multiculturalism and anti Islamic movements in Europe

Media's Portrayal of Black Youth contributes to Racial tensions

Blaming the Victim