Monday, October 30, 2006


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Grandiose Parlor Has Moved Here:

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Africa: A Dump Site for Global Toxic Waste?

The use of Africa as a dumping site for hazardous waste from industrialized nations is an old news. The issue resurfaced again some weeks ago in Ivory Coast.

Very few African blogs covered this, I could find just a handful on google search. This is one issue the African blogosphere flunked bigtime!

A recap of recent toxic garbage that found some cheap sites in Africa:

International agencies "have confirmed 400 tonnes of gasoline residue were dumped at between 10 and 14 sites in Abidjan on the 19 and 20 August."-- IRIN, (2006).

The same ship attempted to dump this waste in Amsterdam, a month earlier, according to the CNN.

"...Large quantities of obsolete computers, televisions, mobile phones, and other used electronic equipment exported from USA and Europe to Lagos, Nigeria for "re-use and repair" are ending up gathering dust in warehouses or being dumped and burned near residences in empty lots..." -- University of Texas (2005).

"Around 50 thousand tonnes of pesticides have ended up in Africa - 270 tonnes of which are stored in Mali, one of the continents poorest countries..." -- WWF, an independent conservation agency (2004).

"Two Italian ships will be sent to retrieve several tons of unspecified toxic waste left in Koko, a Nigerian port...Nigeria said hundreds of drums of toxic waste have been illegally shipped from Italy to Koko. The Italian company that shipped the waste said the delivery was authorized." -- New York Times (1988).

"During the Somali civil war hazardous waste was dumped in this
African nation by industrialized countries. The alleged
perpetrators were Italian and Swiss firms..." -- TED Case studies #64

Guernica Chemicals, a British company in South Africa received "thousands of tonnes of chemical waste in the 1980s and early 1990s from the United States and European companies, including American Cyanamid and Borden Chemicals, to be reprocessed. All that remains of the facility, since the South African government forced the company to stop operations in 1994, are rusty and corroded machinery." -- Afrol News

The Basel Convention, an internation treaty is "devoted to setting up a framework for controlling the 'transboundary' movements of hazardous wastes, that is, the movement of hazardous wastes across international frontiers"; however, Afghanistan, Haiti, United States of America have not ratified it. While the U.S isn't the sole source of toxic waste, its failure to ratify the treaty speaks volume to its orientation toward toxic waste traffiking.

Slate, an American online magazine states "in the United States the story has been largely relegated to tiny squibs in the "World Briefs" sections of newspapers - if it has been covered at all."

I wouldn't bother ranting any more, the excerpts listed above say it all: the admixture of poverty and ignorance is lethal!



Sunday, September 24, 2006

Help List African Newspapers in the Diaspora

Folks, fellow pundits/Bloggers: I need help compiling a list of newspapers that focus on African communities in the Diaspora. Please use this format:

1. Name(s) of newspaper/newsletter
2. Web address(s) (if any)
3. Community/city/state
4. Country

For example:
1. Name(s) of newspaper/newsletter: Mshale
2. Web address(s) (if any):
3. Community/city/state: Minnesota
4. Country: U.S.A



Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nigeria: Ibrahim Babangida is Psychotic!

I've just finished reading (and commenting to) the Black Star Journal post on Nigeria and Ibrahim Babangida, a former military dictator head of state.

In the post titled: "A cancer to return to the heart of Nigeria?", Brian, the author wonders if "the development of democracy in Nigeria so stunted that in a country of 130 million inhabitants, the only people qualified to seek the federal republic's highest office are ex-military dictators who raped and plundered the country?"

This is a question for all Nigerians eligible to vote should ask themselves. And I think may have already concluded that IBB is a joker. This is also a question many of Nigerians in the Diaspora have already discussed. The conclusion is the same.

Now that IBB has commenced his presidential drive to Aso rock again, and has boldly stated, unapologetically, that he cancelled the best and fairest election in history, I'm wont to ask why the media continues giving him any attention. To cancel a keenly contested and fair election is an extremely undemocratic act that only a pyschotic mind is capable of.

So in the absence of any evidence to counter the obvious, it is safe to state that IBB has clealy gone nuts! He is grossly deluded and suffers from grandiose delusions. And he belongs where his likes are - a psychiatric institution under heavy parenteral mediations - not on the media pages!



Friday, September 22, 2006

Gambians Elect New Leader

"I will develop the areas that vote for me, but if you don't vote for me, don't expect anything." - President Yahya Jammeh campaigning for presidential election 2006. voting starts today.

With campaign statements such as Jammeh's, I'll be surprised if he lost the election, why even bother with an election?

Related links: Q&A: Gambia vote:BBC.



Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sudan: Endgame in Darfur? Not Yet

It's not 'endgame' yet for Darfur per Molara Wood's blog posting. The African Union (A.U) peacekeeping tenure has been extended till the end of the year.

Many have mused, ranted and opined over the Darfur crisis, and there are certain patterns/themes to the commentaries: There is profound displeasure over the crisis and claims by some that the West hasn't done enough; some have labeled the crisis an Arab-African conflict; some have questioned the indifference of the Northern African and Middle Eastern nations over the killings and humanitarian crisis; and many have called for more actions from the blogosphere and general citizens. These will be the framework for this post.

Would this crisis have lingered this long if Sudan were in Central Europe or a next-door neighbor to United States? No. But it's always easy to put the blame on the West; too easy for that matter.

Take a look at the A.U, and its action so far in the crisis. What can 7,000 poorly supported peacekeepers do? And I don't want to hear the usual excuse of the A.U being a broke-ass. Being an ass I can live with, but not broke! There are 7,000 troops mainly from Nigeria and Rwanda. None from the Northern African nations!
"In October 2005, four Nigerian soldiers and two contractors were killed in an ambush. The very next day, 38 AU soldiers were taken hostage without a shot being fired..."
If the ever-flamboyant Gaddafi of Libya, who opposes a U.N peacekeeping force in Darfur, could give a fraction of the funds he uses to maintain his retinue of body-guards and attendants, and throw in a couple oil barrels to the AU peacekeeping effort, things will surely run better.

Then there is South Africa.
"At its birth, postapartheid South Africa was a beacon of hope for human rights movement and oppressed groups all around the world. The perception that South Africa was going to be a new and different kind of nation gave it a special status in the world. Today, barely a decade later, South Africa appears to be abandoning the principles that gave it power and is in danger of becoming just another ordinary, middleweight regional actor."
South Africa has become a middleweight, even regionally. Although it is the economic African powerhouse, this hasn't yet manifested in its financial commitment to the A.U. I must say Mr. Mbeki, though a fine gentleman, has failed woefully in his African foreign policies; in fact he has no initiatives. And this is particularly painful and selfish given the fact other African nations pulled their weight against apartheid regimes some decdes back. The point is, South Africa should be at the forefront of the fight against Darfur genocide and other human right fights on the continent.

If the west has been slow in reacting, then what would one say of China?
"Sudan is China's largest overseas oil project. China is Sudan's largest supplier of arms, according to a former Sudan government minister. Chinese-made tanks, fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades have intensified Sudan's two-decade-old north-south civil war..."
Anothers governemt official also notes that the Chinese are very nice don't have anything to do with any politics or problems. Despite China's lack of interest in the internal politics of their trading partners, I strongly believe that the A.U, particularly the nations that have established strong trading bonds with the Chineses, can force Beijing to postively influence Khartoum.

How? African nations could suspend all trade agreements with China for starters. Though a tough and painful decision with grave financial implications, but a necessary means if the A.U member nations believe in their mantra of being an "effective and efficient African Union for a new Africa" - which can only come through sacrifice and shifts in paradigms.

Though America may not be doing what it should have done long ago, the recent call for Sudan divestments (pdf file) is a step in the right direct.
"Most of the companies that are being targeted for divestment are in the oil and energy sector and have contributed heavily to government revenue that, in turn, funds the genocide..."
So if American citizens and some politicians are pushing Washington to take action against corporations that do business with Sudan, then Africans must be ready to do the same. Not b emaking silly statements like this:
"African security analysts blasted the West yesterday for ignoring conflicts on the continent, especially the continuing crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, to focus on the war on terror..."
Still on Africa; I'm wont to ask what role the media plays in raising the ante and generating public awareness of the crisis? If the findings of 2005 World Public Opinion survey is generalizable and projected to 2006, not much! Check this out:
"Awareness of the situation in Darfur is fairly low. Just over one-third of Africans interviewed (36%) say they have heard or read a great deal or a fair amount about the conflict in the Sudan region called Darfur."
This is a knock on the head for African mainstream media. It wouldn't be inappropriate if major newspapers on the continent have daily/weekly front-page features on the Darfur crisis. More action can be orchestrated on the blogosphere as well; particularly the Global Voice Online - the Harvard-Reuter sponsored non-profit global citizens' media project - could leverage its influence in the mainstream better. Winning the Grand Prize at the 2006 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism comes with greater responsibilty I think. For starters, a "free Hao-like" campaign won't be out of place.

Finally, I close with this excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle:
"It is morally reprehensible to seek the permission of the perpetrators to protect the victims of their crimes. Instead of seeking their consent, we should be neutralizing them.... In 1999, Europeans and Americans stopped a genocide-in-the-making in Kosovo despite the refusal of the United Nations to authorize the intervention"
And if you feel this is overly out of place and constitutes an infringement on Sudan's sovereignty, see the World Public Opinion site, again:
"While African support for intervention is much higher with UN authorization when it comes to severe human rights abuses such as genocide, Africans do not reject the idea of a country being able to intervene even when it does not have UN approval. In such cases, half (51%) say a country should have the right to intervene even without UN authorization, while three in ten (28%) disagree."
This is the opinion of Africans; maybe the time is right to pull off the gloves and start examining other strategies, a political/military solution is my preference, after all, we will be faced with another expiration in three months time, when the current lease of the AU peacekeepers expires in Darfur. Then that will the real endgame.