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Dec-08-2010 01:54printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

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

African children

(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:

Finally WikiLeaks releases documents on US ‘Secret Somalia Operations’ - It was an off-hand compliment during a January 2007 dinner meeting between Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, plus staff, and then-U.S. Central Commander boss General John Abizaid. But Al Nayhan’s jocular praise, as reported in WikiLeaks’ trove of leaked diplomatic cables, is a rare admission that the United States played a central role in the disastrous December 2006 Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, a move that ultimately emboldened the very Islamic extremists the U.S. and Ethiopia had hoped to squash. http://www.medeshivalley.com/2010/12/wikileaked-cable-confirms-us-secret.html

Lead Poisoning in Nigeria “Unprecedented” - Lead poisoning usually causes life-long debilitating illness, not immediate death. Yet in the state of Zamfara, a poor, arid region in northern Nigeria, lead poisoning has killed more than 400 children in the past six months. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/12/02/lead-poisoning-nigeria-unprecedented

Haiti is still waiting for reconstruction to begin - Nearly a year after a massive Jan. 12 earthquake shook Haiti to the core and devastated Port-au-Prince poverty, disease and exposure continue to plague hundreds of thousands of survivors waiting for large-scale reconstruction efforts to begin. More than 1 million people are still living in tents, writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and the intractable nature of the crisis demonstrates "the limitations of aid." http://www.smartbrief.com/news/un_wire/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=D5AAD2B1-2E05-4462-8882-A150744F8913©id=DAB0977E-C257-4565-82C8-10DA0B0C6496&brief=un_wire&sb_code=rss&&campaign=rss

Human Rights Watch report on Burundi highlights election flaws - Human Rights Watch recently released a new report on Burundi, the first in-depth look at the country since the debacle of elections this summer. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2010/1202/Human-Rights-Watch-report-on-Burundi-highlights-election-flaws?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+feeds/world+(Christian+Science+Monitor+|+World)

Families of Kenya violence witnesses threatened: ICC - The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Friday families of witnesses due to testify against alleged masterminds of Kenya's post-election violence had been the targets of new threats. http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/families-of-kenya-violence-witnesses-threatened-icc-1.913414

Women activists say changes to law and funding needed to fight gender violence - Women activists are calling on the government of southern Sudan to allocate more resources to address gender based violence (GBV) which they say has increased in the region. http://www.sudantribune.com/Women-activists-say-changes-to-law,37155

Death told for Uganda’s mystery disease rises to 38 - The death toll for Uganda's mysterious disease has risen to 38 people. The Uganda Health Ministry announced that preliminary results from tests done at the Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL), Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), USAID, CDC Atlanta and WHO on specimens obtained from patients are negative for Ebola, Marburg, Congo Crimean Fever, Rift Valley and Typhoid. Further tests are being run to identify the cause of the illness. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101118/13-killed-new-disease-uganda

Ivorian media fuel anti-French hostility - Reporters Without Borders deplores the fact that a climate of hostility towards the French news media is being encouraged by Côte d’Ivoire’s state-owned radio and TV stations and certain privately-owned newspapers in Abidjan that support President Laurent Gbagbo, such asLe Temps and Notre Voie. http://en.rsf.org/cote-d-ivoire-ivorian-media-fuel-anti-french-05-12-2010,38965.html

Some men in Lakes state not encouraging women to register for referendum: official - The Lakes state Advisor for Gender and Human Right Affairs in the government of Ms. Adak Costa Mapuor is concerned that men are discouraging women from voting in south Sudan’s referendum on independence has improved throughout the states eight counties. http://www.sudantribune.com/Some-men-in-Lakes-state-not,37175

Tanzania: Pregnant Mothers Walk 7km to clinic - "Do you think a pregnant mother with labour pain can walk seven kilometers to a dispensary for delivery? That is the dilemma; there is no public transport in our village. So why can't we run to the local midwives for help instead...you cannot carry a pregnant mother with labor pain on a motorcycle or bicycle, it is just too risky". http://allafrica.com/stories/201012061160.html

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Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's 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: alysha.atma@gmail.com




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