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Apr-18-2010 23:11printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

New weekly update on the breaking stories in the African nations.

African faces

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Unseen, unheard; no one should be the bearer of these two words. Unfortunately, Africa is often in the forefront of this association.

Our common humanity should change this; we should never look away because it is too distant. Our commitment to one another, to human rights, and the ability to learn should always keep us connected no matter the severity and complexity of problems.

Important insights from last week, not to be missed:

Somalia’s Al-Shabab bans “Christian” School bells - Islamist militants’ al-Shabab have banned teachers using bells to signal the end of class in the town of Jowhar, 90km (56 miles) north of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab said the bells sounded too much like Christian church bells. Somalia's al-Shabab bans 'Christian' school bells - BBC

Tanzania gives citizenship to 162,000 Burundi refugees - The UN has praised Tanzania for granting citizenship to some 162,000 refugees who fled Burundi 38 years ago. "It's the most generous naturalization of refugees anywhere," said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. Tanzania gives citizenship to 162,000 Burundi refugees - BBC

Conflict Minerals: Stories from the mouth of the mine - Conflict minerals contributed to one of Congo's deadliest conflicts. In November 2009, Enough Project consultant Sasha Lezhnev traveled to Congo to investigate the conflict minerals supply chain, beginning at the mouth of the mine. This is his story. CONFLICT MINERALS: STORIES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE MINE - Enough!

Survey Finds One-Quarter of Africans Fear Religious Conflict - More than half the population in Nigeria and Rwanda fear future bloodshed along religious lines - so says new research from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. But it says on the whole Christians and Muslims across Africa view one another favorably. Survey Finds One-Quarter of Africans Fear Religious Conflict - Voice of Africa News

Rwanda Editor Says Suspension of Paper Politically Motivated - The editor of Rwanda’s Umuvugizi independent newspaper said the suspension of his paper is politically motivated.

Rwanda’s Media High Council earlier this week suspended Umuvugizi and Umuseso for six months on the grounds the two weeklies violated Rwanda’s media laws and incited public order. Rwanda Editor Says Suspension of Paper Politically Motivated - Voice of Africa News

Nawal El Saadawi: Egypt’s radical feminist - 'I am becoming more radical with age," says Nawal El Saadawi, laughing. "I have noticed that writers, when they are old, become milder. But for me it is the opposite. Age makes me more angry." Nawal El Saadawi: Egypt's radical feminist - Guardian UK

Senegal: Boys in Many Quranic Schools Suffer Severe Abuse - (Dakar) - Tens of thousands of children at residential Quranic schools in Senegal are subjected to slavery-like conditions and severely abused, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged the Senegalese authorities to regulate all Quranic schools and take immediate and concerted action to hold accountable teachers who violate Senegalese laws against forced begging and child abuse. Senegal: Boys in Many Quranic Schools Suffer Severe Abuse - Human Rights Watch

Libya frees “insulting” dissident Jamal al-Haggi - A court in Libya has freed a dissident who faced 15 years in jail for complaining he was tortured in prison. Libya frees 'insulting' dissident Jamal al-Haggi - BBC

Uganda: Government Pushes ahead with Repressive Media Law - The proposed media law is a monster, says Dr George Lugalambi, chair of a coalition fighting to preserve press freedom in Uganda. Publishers and journalists would have to apply annually for a license, which could be revoked at will in the interests of "national security, stability and unity," or if coverage was deemed to be "economic sabotage." Uganda: Government Pushes Ahead With Repressive Media Law - Joshua Kyalimpa

Sierra Leone: Anti-Corruption campaign nabs top officials - The crusade against corruption seems to be gathering momentum in this West African country, with the arrest and prosecution of senior government officials, including cabinet ministers. Sierra Leone: Anti-Corruption Campaign Nabs Top Officials Fofana Lansana -


Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the belegured people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at:

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Alysha Atma April 20, 2010 9:21 am (Pacific time)

Thank you so much Marcus!! Africa is a beautiful place with great, strong, beautiful people. I hope that one day I can look upon a peaceful continent and write about the beauty and strides of such a tremendous place, that has much to teach us.

Marcus April 19, 2010 9:54 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for this great report Ms. Atma. It is something I am seeing each week now and highly meaningful, bless you, the people of Africa need so much!

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