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May-09-2011 13:23printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

Weekly updates from the African nations.

Faces of children in Malawi
Faces of children in Malawi courtesy:

(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:

Somali Child Soldiers - Aged eight and upwards, these young kids from the ruined city of Awil salah Osman in Somalia are helpers of the Somali army – which is fully funded and supported by the U.S. government. (PHOTOS)

Journalists beaten by Police in Central Tunis - Reporter Abdelfattah Belaid was brutally attacked in Tunis today by police officers who pursued him into the headquarters of his newspaper, the French-language daily La Presse, after spotting him taking pictures of them dispersing protesters in the street outside. He was the second journalist to be beaten by police in Tunis in the past 24 hours.,40245.html

Malawi: Felix Limbani – Empowering Malawi’s Youth - While still in his teens, Felix Limbani decided to help establish what he called "a platform where young people's voices could be heard" in his native Malawi, where those aged 10-29 make up roughly 60 percent of the population.

A Deadly Mother’s Day Secret - We email, text and call each other from our Blackberry and iPhone regularly. We would have been Facebook friends if we had our own Facebook pages. And surely we would tweet each other if we became twitterers. But underlying all these dizzying 21st century communication tools is one of the saddest secrets in the world involving mothers and daughters. Innocently, inadvertently, we are using communication products that are powered by minerals (conflict minerals) that are fueling the highest rates of sexual violence in the world in a place called the Congo.

Congolese boy recovers Childhood, Step by Step - It is 10:30 in the morning, recess time for the hundreds of children who attend the 15 Avril refugee camp school in Bétou in north-eastern Republic of the Congo. Kids of all ages are running in the dirt in a sea of laughter and cries. In the middle of this boisterous crowd, a little boy is chasing a teenager about twice his size. He can't catch him, and finally decides to throw a rock at his schoolmate's back.

Lives of Mothers, Children at Stake in US Budget Debate - Budget-conscious America should not risk global advances in reducing child and maternal mortality or related U.S. interests, prominent experts argue in Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers report, released today.

Martin Ennals Award: Courageous Advocacy in Uganda - The decision to give the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders to a Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocate highlights the difficulty and danger advocates for LGBT rights face in many countries of Africa, Human Rights Watch said today.

Mothers in the Path of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda - This Mother’s Day as we celebrate the wonderful women we call “Mom,” take a moment to remember the mothers whose children have been taken from them by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Press Freedom in Africa in 2010 - Eastern Africa was the hottest zone of the continent in 2010 with countries like Eritrea (the largest journalists’ prison in Africa), Somalia, where the belligerents of the unrelenting civil war, seems to have opted for a new strategy of terror consisting in kidnapping, destruction or confiscation of the media. Uganda also suddenly plunged into chaos with heavy losses of human lives (3 journalists killed) and many cases of arrests, threats and intimidation; the same applies to Burundi where the situation changed dramatically, thus provoking the angry reaction of human rights activists.

Immigration Law Means Sick may be Deported - French doctors are worried that a proposed immigration law will stop foreigners receiving vital medical treatment. The bill, which a key committee is discussing Wednesday, would scrap a provision that since 1998 has allowed immigrants temporary residency for medical treatment in France.


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:

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