Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Pluto and Ceres the cool planets

The Ancient Death Star? Bright Lights on Ceres has excited scientists, astronomers and ordinary people who have been following space probe Dawn's arrival and study of the dwarf planet in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. 

Beyond the chaos of Earth, this year has been great for two other peaceful small planets in deep space. Ceres, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has been getting an up close and personal visit from the space probe Dawn. Dawn was originally launched 8 years ago by NASA's New Horizon program and its ongoing unmanned space exploration of new planets both near and far outside our solar system. There's been many spectacular shots taken by he Hubble Telescope throughout the world that has ignited NASA, the BRICS and the world's interest in exploring new, alien planets.

NASA Dawn Mission to the Asteroid Belt

Ceres is just the latest planet in a long list of the big nine actually eight planets of the solar system to be visited by humans via a space probe. Ceres was first spotted by telescope in 1801 by Italian priest and astronomer Guiseppe Piazzi. Ceres was already old and had existed long before the 19th century. Ceres was granted planet status and for a time was counted as the five planet of the sun. Despite the joys of being "discovered" by Piazzi, Ceres was soon downgraded to an asteroid. For nearly 130 years, Ceres remind a forgotten asteroid until 2006. In that year the ninth planet from the sun, Pluto was also downgraded to a dwarf planet. As insulting as it would be Pluto if the small planet could speak for itself, The more famous planet's status downgrade didn't go over well with millions of humans. Many had grown up with Pluto as the 9th planet and wouldn't stand for the political correct dwarf planet title. What's even more interesting is the fact that Pluto has remained a mystery for most earthlings. It was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 an American astronomer who was searching for the legendary Planet X or what was considered the unknown planets beyond Neptune. Tombaugh's ashes are traveling on board the LORRI space probe in homage to him. On July 15, LORRI will zip pass Pluto taking brilliant pictures of the tiny planet up close for the world to see for the first time.

Sneak Peek of Pluto: Here is what the Space Probe Lorri has captured of Pluto as it rendezvous briefly with the dwarf planet on July 14th or 15th. 

Unfortunately, the probe won't be able to orbit around planet for any long term study. It will be speeding too fast and clocking a lot of mileage for the next destination to one of the small icy planets outside Pluto. Pluto is in a part of the region of space known as the Kuiper Belt region named after Gerard Kuiper who studied and spotted the region. The Oort Cloud borders it and is named after Jan Oort. The Kuiper Belt region is one of the darkest and further regions away from the sun. It is the origins of the asteroids, comets and where most of the current planets owes its creation. In short, the Kuiper Belt is the Genesis of the solar system and in the beginning it may have aided in giving birth to the molecular cloud that created our solar system. That's why Pluto and its largest moon Charon, its 4 known moons Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra are all important. They have been surviving way out on the edge beyond Ceres' neighborhood and Earth's vantage point.

Pale Blue Dot: Perhaps the most famous image of space second to the Pillars of Creation by the Hubble Telescope. Photographed by Voyager I in 1990, Earth can be seen in the shadow of Saturn's rings some 3.7 billions of miles away from Voyager. 

Renowned scientist Carl Sagan paid homage to this image and humanity's place in the larger universe in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. The Pale Blue Dot is part of Voyager 1's Family Portraits of planets. Sagan was also part of the Voyager mission team. A Golden Record with the sounds and images of Earth was attached to Voyager I in hopes that an advanced civilization would come across Voyager in the near or distant future.

Journey to the Edge of the Universe National Geographic 

Real life Interstellar travel

The space probe Voyager 1 (launched in 1977) who took the pale blue dot photo, dodged Pluto since it was too tiny to see  much in the same way Ceres' size has been a bust for it at certain points in universal (space wise) history. Voyager 1 was the first space probe to leave the solar system and reach interstellar space and is still in operation at 37 years. Eventually its generators will expire and the probe will no longer communicate directly with. However it will continue to travel through space for years through silence and vast cosmos. Until than, Voyager will remind in contact with Earth through NASA's Deep Space Network. Voyager 1 had reached the heliosphere by 2007, the sun's encompassing region around the solar system and heliopause to break into interstellar region in 2013. Earth still communicates with Voyager via radio signals. As for the probes that went before Pioneer 10 and 11, they are somewhere in the Oort Cloud heading towards Taurus constellation.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Denmark Vessey and the two men from Charleston

More on Denmark Vessey and the uprising that could've been. Vessey was on the verge of launching a large Slave Revolt inspired by the Haitian Revolution at the same Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston that was the scene of a gruesome terrorist attack last Wednesday. Vessey didn't forgive white Americans for the brutal treatment and denial of humanity to African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina or the wider United States.

Nat Turner Slave Rebellion 

Haitian Dominicans, ethnic cleansing and the Dominican Republic

Haiti and Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea neighboring Cuba, Jamaica and the Caribbean Antilles.

To say Haiti and the Dominican Republic are linked intimately would be an understatement. Both countries share the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Dominican and Haitian history is tied together, cultures may differ but their experiences in grander Latin American events and relations with the world's superpower are same. The island is one body. 
The Dominican Republic is Spanish speaking, often identifies with the wider Spanish speaking or hispanohablantes countries in Latin America. Haiti is Creole speaking (Hatian Creole is the largest French/African based Creole language in the world) like its Antilles cousins in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Haitians have had to fight two superpowers and its neighbors' ignorance at the long struggle to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with. Haiti was mute on neighboring DR's independence from Spain. In the early 19th century, Haiti became the first and perhaps the only black Caribbean empire. Led by the revolutionary turned self proclaimed Emperor Jean Jacque Dessalines, the Haitian Empire was set up to keep a strong hold on Haiti's future from foreign rule. The Haitian Empire conquered the Dominican Republic which eventually gained its own independence from Haiti in 1849. The Dominicans never forgive the Haitians for conquering and ruling over them. A second Haitian Emperor Faustin I, attempted to reconquer the Dominicans but failed. Haiti in the 19th century was weather than the Dominican Republic. Today its the opposite. 

Black in Latin American Haiti and Dominican Republic Roots of division

The Dominican Republic's reputation as a Caribbean tourist destination, a political stable, economically ok and high living standards has attracted hundreds of thousands of Haitians to work and live across the DR for over a century. Generations of migrant children including children with illegal parents  have been born in the Dominican Republic and speaking Spanish. Haiti for them is a foreign land. They grow up hearing stories about "back home" from their parents or grandparents but many who live way from the border may have never been there. People have and will continue to crisscross the border between the countries for years. Haitians born in the Dominican Republic have not been able to escape the racism, the othering and feeling out of place in their own country that their parents/grandparents experience. Haitian Dominicans are discriminated against by their own countrymen. They are treated as foreigners who will never fit into Dominican society or be Dominican. Haitian Dominicans are not stateless per say. But they are not protected by their government as citizens entirely. Many have been harassed by local police or deported by immigration police. Unlike other citizens, Haitian Dominicans have been stripped or denied citizenship for being related to an illegal family member (illegal and even legal) based on a 1929 constitutional clause. The government went to extreme by essentially denaturalization hundreds of Haitian Dominicans under banner of cracking down on illegal immigration on June 18th. Some Dominicans were deported across the border into Haiti while other families and people scrambled to reapply to permanent residence or fight the Dominican courts for their citizenship to be respected and protected. The Haitian Diaspora in Miami protested the DR government along with other Haitian communities across the United States. Haitians in neighboring countries have are calling out the Dominician Republic as well for creating another Haitian Tragedy. Given the constant pushing and shove of the Haitian Dominicians by the government it seems it .

The DR as with other Latin American elites/governments have a long history of pushing Blanqueamiento, white beauty standards that don't reflect the majority population. Even going further to downplay or deny its African roots even when the roots and people are in their faces. Keep in mind that the majority of Dominican people themselves have African ancestry and many are Mulatos and could be considered Afro-Latinos as is the case in most Caribbean countries and neighboring Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

A rebelious history
Haiti has been treated by some Latin American and Western countries as an analmoy. Not only is linguistically different from its neighbors, but Haiti has always been sure its idenitity as African people who have resisted and rebeled against American interventions and installation of friendly pro U.S. puppet governments throughout the country's history. Beginning with Haitian Revolution and independence, Haiti was not allowed to breathe to be a strong independent Black Republic or country. Haitian treasury was literally bled for over a hundreds by the defeated French colonialist regime for the carnal sin of gaining their freedom and showing the . American and European governments feared and still fears Haiti's rebelious personality would stand as a symbol of African resistance and empowerment. The Dominician Republic is seen as .

Monday, 22 June 2015

Church massacre American terrorist threat

On Wednesday night June 17, nine innocent people lost their lives in Charleston, North Carolina, United States. In a place of that is considered holy ground and regarded as a place that is supposed to be safe from the violence and chaos in the wider world, terrorism struck. The massacre of nine during prayer service at the nearly 200 year old Mother Emmanuel Church founded by legendary revolutionary Denmark Vessey in Charleston has stunned the United Stated and tongue tied even Mayor of Charleston who has been working since Wednesday night to keep the calm throughout the town. Among the 9 people gone was a mother of two sons, Pastor Clementa C. Pinkey who was also the South Carolina state senator. The shooting by an equally young, 21 year old white American gunman Dylan Roof is now a hate crime. Although in most countries any church massacre would be terrorist attack. It occurred in the detailed definition of a terrorist attack. The attack has horrified the Carolinas and the wider United States. In a country infamous around the world for its long history of gun violence, Americans are now rechecking the ease of gun access and US cultural fascination with guns. The attack goes deeper than guns. It is hatred and racism it's horrific forms.

Liberation Radio: Racist Massacre-Spawn of an Empire of Violence

History of violence

The Carolinas and larger Southern United States has a centuries long history of violence and terrorism against African Americans that predates the war on terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security recently admitted that white and neo nazi organizations, other domestic terrorists are more of an immediate terrorist threat to the United States than ISIS. The Ku Klux Klan is one of the oldest terror organizations in the US (founded in 1865) that has murdered African American women, men and children for 130+ years on small but deadly scale. The KKK affiliates and neo nazis  around the South have burned churches, bombed children in Sunday schools, lynched hundreds of innocent and assaulted people. In the 1920s, the terror organization even managed to march down Washington DC's main the national mall without the then President Herbert Hoover batting an eye. The affiliates have taken responsibility for their terrorism shamelessly. Prior to the 1970s, most police based in the South and the Northern United States turned a blind eye and their backs to white terrorist attacks on African Americans. In the Deep South, many governors, police officers and the democratic politics as were members of Kkk and its affiliates. Their membership were often kept under wraps. The attacks even extended to Jews and white American human rights activists and lawyers who fought for a genuine justice, peace and real equality across the South and the wider United States. The KKK is smaller today than it's height the 1920s when it claimed to have some 20, 000 members.

A grounds view of the massive Ku Klux Klan march in front of Congress in 1925 prior to the Great Depression. This was part of a publicity stunt to show off the terror group's strength. World War I and its aftermath had fostered growing nationalism that went beyond patriotism into the realms of fascism and racist teachings that was tolerated well into the 1950s in United States and Europe. 

Liberation theology and resistance

A Revolution that horrified Europe and America, Haitians rose up against and the French colonialists and slave holders across the country and successfully defeated Napoleon's Army with the help of reinforcements from Africa.

Historical churches across the South particularly Emmanuel AME Church have serve as a refuge and a place of resistance against mainstream White American society's political, economic and social attacks against African Americans. Culture and community strength was protected and thrived in close knit African America.  The church and resistance plays a huge role as a light in the dark history of American racism. One of the most outspoken American pastors in the United States. Since the 15th century when Europeans sailed up and down the African coast, Europe has disregarded Africa as not only a strange Other but as a place outside of humanity. African Diaspora in the Americas for most of the 500 years they have survived the hell of slavery and the holocaust have been regarded as non humans. In the same vain as indigenous people, African Americans and their Brazilian and Caribbean cousins have been pushed to the bottom of society. For each time a Denmark Vessey and Nat Turner fought against white society and racist juridical system, African Americans were and are still punished disproportionately and backed into corners. African Americans and their cousins have fought back nonstop. By fighting back not just praying and fasting for some church goers but armed resistance which is necessary when non violent methods fail against nonstop violence from mainstream society and the state. Brazil had jihads (struggle not holy war) against slavery and brutality in Bahia, Brazil home to one of the largest African cultural centers in the Americas outside the motherland. Jamaica and many Caribbean countries also launched uprisings and attacks against slaving colonialists and on slave ships between Africa and Americas. The Haitian Revolution has been an inspiration for many African militants and freedom fighters although it is shamefully not taught in schools as it should. For African resistance there was no time to be weary or scared when life depended on survival at all cost. To exist is resistance for Africa and her children. It is a motto that is lived daily. 

America's preaching of Democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human rights to the rest of the world is seen as outright hypocrisy by African Americans. The rest of the world has experienced the hypocrisy firsthand and understand it fully.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Camp of the Saints foreshadowing the migration crisis

 The Camp of Saints or Le Camp des Saints, by French author Jean Raspail (who is still living and is an avid traveler himself) is an apocalyptic, dystopian novel about uncontrolled Third World migration to Europe causing the downfall of Western Civilization published in 1973. It is currently a bestseller in France across a few Western countries. Written some 42 years ago, The Camp of Saints' alarmist story paints a picture of France and Europe that Raspail saw as being permanently transformed by new, diverse but different and unique cultures from the Global South ie the Third World. In this case, the new immigrants do not assimilate into mainstream French culture and society. Perhaps Raspail foresaw the current migration crisis in Mediterranean, Africa and Italy. Or perhaps he was loudly expressing his fears and anxiety of a then monoculture France and Europe (Greco-Roman culture) being transformed into a non European multiethnic region brought on by globalization, historical human migration, climate change and international economy.

Author Jean Raspail on Camp of the Saints and immigration

TV Program Ce Soir ou Jamais with English Subtitles 2011

At the time Raspail penned his novel, the world was being introduced to the free market capitalism and neoliberalism pushed by Milton Freedman, Leo Strauss, the Chicago Boys and IMF and World Bank as the cure all for failing economies and financial prosperity. It caused many people to migrate out of frustration from rural areas to cities in their home countries. Overtime, people risked life and limbs to migrate to the North. The world was changing in the early 1970s in terms of technology and economic concepts. Forty years later Raspail is witnessing what he envisioned in his novel on a growing scale. It is no longer an overwhelming thought for him. Having been interviewed by the French media throughout the years, his views haven't changed with the passing of time. Raspail's visions has became a gospel for the more conservative and anti-immigrant organizations ie PEGIDA or supporters of the Front Nationale. Both organizations' screams and fears of uncontrolled immigration to Europe has overtaken Raspail's dystopian warnings. He fears for the future as it relates to immigration in Western countries.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The end of US hegemony, the BRICS are here

As it has been said multiple times before, China and Russia along with the rest of the BRICS countries are working closer together. The recent launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has given China in particular a special boast to its international image. It is seen as the go get it country across Africa and in Asia not to mention the Americas. The AIIB is meant to rival the likes of IMF or World Bank. At 57 founding members, it has not only attracted a Pan Asian countries but also Western countries ie Germany, Australia and even Israel. The United States is still holding out on possibly joining the AIIB. The U.S. has a long history of being weary of China's soft foreign policy approach to the world which emphasises infrastructure, economic and financial development without the additional strings attracted ie switching a whole government to a Democratic bases or swalling the neoliberal pill to jumpstart a non capitalist economy. Chinese foreign policy remains hands off in internal governmental affairs of its friends and allies. Despite ignoring the internal politics of its allies, Chinese weapons and military expertise has been flowing into the internal conflicts and rebel movements of its staunch allies: Sudan. On the other end, Chinese investment in road construction and transports in African/Asian countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Pakistan has cemented these respective countries' pro-China defenses at the UN.

About Russia and trade

Meanwhile, Russia is also making its rounds across Asia and budding up to some African leaders and even Western leaders among them Alexis Tsipras, needing help with an economically strained Greece. The United States continues to grind its teeth over China and Russia's success in balancing their economies and having friends in high places to aid in their international prestige. China is technically the world's largest economy. The Chinese economy over took the U.S. in late 2014 but the U.S. still insists that it is the world's hegemonic economy and that the world couldn't survive without it. China and Russia along with India and South Africa are not slowing down in their diplomatic outreach and economic partnerships. Cultural exchanges are occurring between the BRICS. The Silk Road has been revived as a modern day trade route and economic link meant to boost both Central Asia and Middle East alongside China and India's ebbing but stable economies. The AIIB is appealing to many countries and serves as an inspiration for many regional investment banks ie a Pan African bank for Africa and Mercosur, the regional financial group for South America.

To Space with gravitas and technological innovations

The art of Space: The Legendary Pillars of Creation as seen by Hubble in 1995 enhanced some 10 years later

India is determined to be the next technological hub of innovation and has attempted to jump start local technological innovations by local entrepreneurs. China has launched and is currently working on producing locally made next generation phones, medical machines, search engines, 4D televisions and other high definition machines to rival and overtake the United States' current dominance in the innovative technology fields. It's been done by before. Chinese manufacturers continue to compete with their Japanese neighbors to build larger and better bullet trains which Japan has been known going back 50 years. Russia is simultaneously improving its head start in space technology and travel by keeping a near annual astronaut team orbiting Earth at the International Space Station. The United States may have landed men on the moon and is considering launching NASA made flying "saucers" to test new energy efficient rockets and other solar powered space probes to far distance planets. However, Russian Space Agency still edges out NASA when it comes to manned missions to ISS and has kept up with new technologies for space exploration. All of which are locally made in Russia including the rockets that send American and other international astronauts to the ISS. The ISS is regarded as Russian domain. Nevertheless, Russia and the United States will be working together (if a round of political tennis doesn't get in the way) in building a new international space station in 2024. The U.S. is renewing interest among the American public in space travel and exploration. China and India are slowly getting into space exploration as well. Both countries sent probes to Mars in 2014 and are building up their respective, infant space agencies and plan to send astronauts into space in the near future. All countries are looking at Mars as the next neighbor to send humans too. Now the United Arab Emirates is also racing to join the growing list of countries sending probes and manned missions to Mars and space.

Afrisynergy News analyzes the recent military and economic tag between the U.S., China and Russia over the recent lightening pace building of a military base in the Spartly Islands and China's regional arm flexing in Asia its backyard. Enjoy.

Afrisynergy News: A U.S. That is in Trouble in Economically and Military 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Monday, 1 June 2015

Qatar World Cup human cost

Qatar is famous for being one of the richest nations in the world thanks to its oil wealth and its strategic location. It has developed economically and infrastructurally over the last 20 years along with the rest of the Persian Gulf countries UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Doha has begun to resemble a mini Dubai but without the fast pace life and glitz and glam. Qatar is home to Al Jazeera 24/7 news network and enjoys good relations with the United States. Qatar was also one of the main Gulf monarchies to jump with the international community chorus in bombing Libya to remove Gaddafi and support the rebels despite Gaddafi's prophetic warning about the chaos that would be unleashed if he removed from power. Qatar has been playing devil's advocate. The Qataris (the government) have been supporting the United States and Saudi Arabia against ISIS and rebel groups seeking to overthrow the corrupt gulf monarchies. At the same time it has allowed Wahhabi and takfiri brand of Islam to flourish inside its own borders and has promoted wahhabism to other parts of the Levant and North Africa.

Doha, capital of Qatar. This is how Qatar wants the world to see. A place for the rich, a home away from home for expats and wealthy migrants. Nevermind the reality of ordinary people and migrant workers' problems beyond the gleaming towers.

Modern day slavery and hell 

Also like other Gulf countries, Qatar relies on a large foreign population of migrant workers from Nepal, India-Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, elsewhere to build its gleaming new cities. Hundreds of migrant workers have been contracted to build many new cities and stadiums which some sports journalists see as wasteful in time for the 2022 World Cup. Many people are terrified of the scorching heat during the summer months of the world cup if Qatar is cleared after this scandal to continue hosting it. Hundreds of migrant workers have died in the heat during construction work and from dehydration. Many migrant workers living and working in Qatar and United Arab Emirates often face slavery conditions. Crammed like sardines into working camp dormitories only meant for ten people at the most, healthcare is difficult to come by, often isolated from the local population, barred from legal aid and access to assistance from attorneys and lawyers, their passports are confiscated from by contact men under locally based contractors from the migrants' homelands at the airport which makes traveling and escaping slave labor conditions in impossible. Many workers do not receive their salaries from weeks to months on it. Many workers are often in debt from previous loans back home and some trafficked. Both male and female workers are abused often verbally, physically and sexually. Out of frustration many workers demand to return home only after realizing that the abuse and modern day slavery is not worth loosing their humanity, dignity and sanity for money.

Forced Labour to bring the World Cup to Qatar

Fear reigns supreme

The fear of facing jail time and possible life threatening harm, has made many migrant workers' fearful of publicly protesting for their rights or creating a larger national wide movement for migrant workers' protection and economic rights.