Archive for the ‘Sklaverei’ Category

Afrika: Noch keine wahre Unabhängigket

Dienstag, Mai 17th, 2011

“Africa‘s predatory elites

An interview with historian Ibrahima Thioub conducted by Philippe Bernard

Do you consider African independence a reality?

Formally, the states gained international sovereignty in 1960. But this judicial change did not mean the end of colonization in the sense of economic exploitation coupled with domination by another culture. After 1945, the colonial relationship could no longer be sustained because African participation in the Second World War had radically transformed it: Africans learned that equality was possible, as other colonized territories claimed their emancipation.

Why did France still hang on in spite of this?

France managed to negotiate the best possible withdrawal for itself. It transferred power to segments of the nationalist movement most likely to preserve the colonial link. It eliminated the most radical segments by bloody repression, as in Cameroon, or by polical manoeuvers, as in the Ivory Coast or Senegal. You emphasize the new attitude of the combattants and the union struggles after the war. Were the tools for these conflicts passed down by the colonizers themselves?

Yes, and this is one of the great problems of decolonization. The repressed reappropriate the discourse of the colonizer to turn it against him, to construct their own identity and legitimize their struggle. To assert their unity, they define themselves by the simplest element: the colour of their skin, or negritude so dear to Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor. In so doing so, they do not throw off the system, but lock themselves into the trap of an identity which I call “colour.” For skin colour is the factor on which was based not only the colonial order but also the slave trade. Reducing Africans to this physical factor symbolizing their alleged brutality had the effect of putting them outside history.

How has this trap worked?

The nationalists have reappropriated this identity and have reversed it to demonstrate that Africa has a civilization and a history of blackness. But the acceptance of this colour definition prevents people from seeing that Africans form groups with very different interests, more or less corresponding to colonial power. Up till now, this racial view has produced perverse effects: when a killer is African and black, it is difficult to prosecute him as long as the judges are white, even if this would be in the interest of the victims who may be black.

You dispute the version of the slave trade which descibes it as the looting of Africans by the whites. Why?

The “colour” view of Africa leads to a false view of slavery. The slave trade was not limited to the sale of blacks to whites in the African ports. It includes the way that the slaves were “collected” in the interior of the continent and brought to the coast. The Atlantic system was a global organization, which brought together European companies and African elites, in a partnership with shared interests, albeit unequal. The elites used the slave trade to redefine the power relationships in the continent.

How is the responsibility of the African elites related to the histories of independence?

In every African town I am struck by the coexistence of a large number of de luxe 4 x 4s with a kind of transport going back to Neolithic times—- women’s heads. This means that the elite, through extreme violence inflicted on the people, are expropriating the country’s ressources, exporting them, and spending the proceeds obtained in this way in buying foreign goods with no social utility except as symbols of their ability to inflict violence. They are ruining the country by commandeering the work of their subordinates who are reduced to poverty. The response of the most dynamic of these people is flight, the boat to Europe.

This is not slavery…

What is the difference? In the past, European companies brought similar useless and destructive goods to Africa, like glass beads, alcohol and arms. They gave them to the elites who organized the collection of slaves. Even then looting gave the elites access to imported consumer goods. Today, the system has perfected itself since the slaves deliver themselves: they are the emigrés.

How does this parallel shed light on the question of the independence of African states?

If you want to understand the system of the slave trade, look at the current behaviour of the African elites. Why are our health and education systems so delapidated? Because the elites don’t care; they don’t educate their children in them; they prefer to send them to the North. Their predatory system is ruining the countryside and forcing the people into exile. It has reached the point that if you sent a boat into any African port and announced that you were looking for slaves for Europe, the boat would fill up immediately. It is true this system works to the benefit of the multinationals, but it would not exist without the African elites. In the period of the slave trade, alcohol and rifles bought from the Europeans allowed the elites to keep their power. Now it is 4 x 4s and Kalachnikovs.

Many essays explain Africa’s misfortunes in terms of the slave trade and make much of Africans’ resistance to colonization. Do you think this is wrong?

The slave trade and colonization certainly ruined Africa. The Africans who were victimized by it put up a ferocious resistance. The arguments which unified Africans by their skin colour were necessary to fight colonialism. Now they serve only to mask the reality of our submission to the Western countries.

Today, Africa is coveted by other powers (China, India, Brazil, etc.) with no colonial ties. Can this new context bring about a new emancipation?

In the days of the Cold War, African leaders were already playing the West against communism to get as much as they could. Today, they can bet on China, India, Iran, against the former colonial powers, but they keep their predatory culture. For the African people, nothing changes. As long as our elites are content to increase the partners to whom they supply raw materials, but do not develop production, they are reproducing the system which brought Africa to its knees.

Why has France such difficulty letting go the reins of its former colonies?

Colonization founded an empire which included the mainland France. In 1960, France believed that only Africa had to be decolonized when the French and their mentality also needed to be. Remember what Nicolas Sarkozy said in Dakar in 2007! He expounded on “the African” as if he was still in the capital of French West Africa! The streets in Paris still bear the names of the colonizers. The French do not know it, but we do! The image of colonial Africa has never been deconstructed in France. It serves the interests of the supporters of Françafrique. It sustains very contradictory relationships with the people of the former colonies who do not understand the French attitude, particularly as regards immigration.

Isn’t it a contradiction to claim independence and the right to emigrate?

You cannot have repressed by violence people who asked for nothing, allowed capital and French citizens easy settlement in these countries and then, one fine day, decide that France is only for the French of France. You must accept the consequences of the history of France and her very particular relations with her colonies. The slogan France for the French has a corollary: for the French in France.

How is this history the basis today for the right to immigrate?

But capital and people continue to circulate freely from the North to the South! Why are most of the banks in Senegal branches of French banks when the Senegalese do not have the right to go to work in France? Why is it considered scandalous to question the free circulation of goods, when the closing of frontiers to people is seen as normal?

The development strategies adopted by the states at the time of independence have failed. Why?

The idea was accepted that an all-powerful State based on a single party would ensure development. They would catch up with Europe in 2000! With reference to an all-powerful colonial state, they made a fetish out of the state. This proved to be totally inefficient because the group which took over the state used its power to accumulate wealth while stifling private enterprise. By the end of the 1970s the system was a wreck. The mainland France had delegated financial support to the IMF and the World Bank which discredited the states and promised development through the market system. This produced even more serious catastrophes than the state had.

Can’t the emergence of civil societies be called a victory?

With the austerity imposed in the 1990s, it was difficult to continue to stifle public space. The abandonment of farming subsidies led to a rural exodus and the overpopulated towns became contexts for opposition. Societies were “NGO’d” to supply public services. These organizations organized civil society, but they were appropriated by the elites. The groups which diverted money from the state are now monopolizing the NGOs’ resources to finance useless conferences and fleets of 4 x 4s, the symbols of the neo-colonization of Africa and active agents of the deterioration of its environment.

Anti-establishment movements exist…

Some intellectuals are radically confronting the functioning of states, but this is to better negotiate their own position. From one day to the next, they become ministers of the power which they vilified the day before. The idea that you get resources not by work but simply by taking a political position is deeply rooted. Within their limitations, the real struggles in civil society are the work of trade unions, and community-based associations which target the specific conditions of life. Helped by the press and artists, they are always the ones to demonstrate, to protest, to challenge more.

Still, in fifty years, the freedom of expression and freedom of the press have made enormous progress …

In many countries they have succeeded in constructing an independent press, thanks to the physical courage of certain journalists. These people are so devoted to the freedom of the press and the airwaves that they protest against every threat of regression. It will be more and more difficult to turn the clock back.

What directions do you propose for a real independence?

The priority is, through education, to break with the logic which leads us to overvalue all products coming from abroad, including diplomas, and to turn our back on production. Africa is the only continent where the majority of the population do not want to stay. This situation is linked to the choice of the African elites, who, at the time of the slave trade, destroyed crafts and metalworking, preferring to buy iron from Europe, suppressing and selling those who could have assured production. This scorn for local production is still obvious. When the Senegalese president Adboulaye Wade received the Khalif of the Murids, he did not offer him shoes made in Senegal, but a picture made in Iran, his chief of protocol making a point of this in front of the cameras.

Isn’t the people’s vitality a huge asset?

We have all the resources we need to bring ourselves through. Go to any market at 5 in the morning and you will see hundreds of women sweating blood and tears to feed their families. No one can teach us anything about physical courage. Our problem is this group which has militarized African societies, starting with the Atlantic slave trade in connivance with the European companies, to instill this predatory culture. Breaking down this culture is a huge project.

Will this happen through the unity of the continent?

Contrary to what is claimed, the colonizer did not divide us, he unified us, but in territories cut up to satisfy only his interest: the exportation of goods through the ports. In our time, we must construct new territorial boundaries shaped by our needs. The problem is that the people who want to destroy Africa are united, while those who want to build it are not. As soon as we try to come together, they divide us into Tidjanis and Murids, into Muslims and Christians, into Diolas and Sereres. . . We are brought back to our identity as “Blacks.” These are the traps which I am fighting against. As long as we remain fragmented, the way to our future will stay blocked.

About Ibrahim Thioub

Ibrahim Thioub, 54, is a Senegalese professor of history at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. Specializing in the slave trade, slavery, and decolonization, he was one of the authors of L’Afrique de Sarkozy, un déni d’histoire (Karthala, 2008). He is currently working at the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study. M. Thioub took part in the debate on Africa organized by Le Monde on April 20. A video of this can be found on”


(Quelle: AfricaFiles.)

Zentralafrikanische Republik: Vermutlich zu wenig Öl…

Donnerstag, Mai 5th, 2011


Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, IDMC Demand UN Security Council, Government of CAR, Donors Take Action

May 4, New York City – Children in the Central African Republic (CAR) are being abducted, recruited into armed groups and denied access to humanitarian assistance, according to a report released today by the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict (Watchlist) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). These violations, as well as attacks against schools and hospitals, have continued despite the fact that the UN Security Council identified them among the forbidden ‘six grave violations’ committed against children during times of conflict. These six grave violations are the basis of the Council’s protection of children during war.

The report, An Uncertain Future? Children and Armed Conflict in the Central African Republic, finds that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is still present and active in CAR, where it is abducting children. Abducted children are raped, used as sex slaves and forced to attack villages and kill others, including other children.

In the report, Watchlist and IDMC outline detailed policy recommendations and demand that the government of CAR, the UN Security Council and donors including the US and the EU, take specific actions to help children affected by armed conflict in CAR.

“Children are being abused and their rights are being ignored by the LRA, other rebel groups, and even by the government of CAR. The international humanitarian community at large is also failing them in their inability to monitor and address the situation properly,” says Eva Smets, Director of Watchlist. “We must protect and provide adequate support for these children.”

In January 2011, Watchlist and IDMC conducted a field mission during which a researcher held one-on-one interviews with former child soldiers, internally displaced children and their families, community leaders and teachers, security forces, and members of village self-defense militias.

“This report outlines the situation in CAR from the victims’ perspective,” says Laura Perez, Country Analyst for IDMC and researcher for the report. “We learned directly from the children and their families what is actually happening and how it’s affecting them.”

Specifically, Watchlist and IDMC found the following:
• Abduction: Not only is the LRA abducting children, using them as slaves and
soldiers, but those children who manage to escape from the LRA experience great difficulties returning to their families. They rarely receive much-needed assistance, such as psychosocial care, to heal from these traumatic events. These children also suffer an arduous journey home that often takes them as long as the time they actually spent in captivity.

• Recruitment: The absence of a functioning army has forced local communities to form self-defense militias to protect themselves from criminal gangs and foreign armed groups like the LRA. These self-defense militias admit to recruiting children as young as 12. The rebel group the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) is also recruiting children.

In addition, there are significant problems in the long-term reintegration of the children recently released by the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD). Without support programs allowing them to earn a living, these children are at risk of returning to armed groups.

• Denial of Humanitarian Access: Between restrictions placed on certain areas by the government of CAR, and the activities of the rebel group CPJP and the LRA, humanitarian assistance organizations and UN agencies are unable to access two conflict areas in the country. This means that no assessment of needs is being made and no assistance provided to the children living in these areas.

Smets says that it is a crucial time to work to remedy the situation. “The recent re- election of President Bozizé offers a unique opportunity for the children of CAR to reclaim their future,” says Smets. “If President Bozizé and his government are able to consolidate the peace process and mark a real end to the armed conflict in CAR, there is real potential for socio-economic development and stability. But, in order for this to happen, the international community must respond now and commit the necessary resources to help children affected by armed conflict in CAR.”

An Uncertain Future? lists specific policy recommendations for improving the protection of children in CAR and for strengthening the humanitarian response to their needs, including demanding that:

• The government of CAR:
o Instruct self-defense militias to leave their children at home;
o Train, equip and deploy troops to communities that have had to rely on self-defense militias to protect themselves;
o Negotiate a cease-fire agreement with the rebel group CPJP in order to restore humanitarian access to displaced communities living in zones controlled by the rebel group

• The UN Security Council:
o Encourage the government of CAR to do all of the above; and
o Request that the UN Country Team in CAR negotiate an action plan with CPJP to release all children from its ranks.

• The US government and the European Union:
o Urgently release funds to assist children formerly abducted by the LRA who are now in need of psychosocial assistance.

“What we want are more programs in CAR. We want people to respond,” says Perez. “The reason why CAR doesn’t have the same degree of humanitarian assistance as DRC is because CAR doesn’t get the same international attention. We want to raise the profile of the situation in CAR and the horrific conditions children face there.

For a full list of findings and recommendations, please request an embargoed version of the report.

# # #

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, established in 2001, is an international network of non-governmental organizations striving to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. As a global network, Watchlist builds partnerships among local, national and international NGOs, enhancing mutual capacities and strengths. Working together, we strategically collect and disseminate information on violations against children in conflicts to influence key decision-makers to create and implement programs and policies that effectively protect children.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) ( was established by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in 1998, upon the request of the United Nations. It is a leading source of information and analysis on internal displacement caused by conflict and violence worldwide.”


(Quelle: The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.)

Nachrichten-Überblick 22.07.2010

Donnerstag, Juli 22nd, 2010

[22.07.2010 – 09:59]


* BRD: “I’m not a pirate – I’m a fisherman”

Zehn Jungen und Männern aus Somalia soll wegen Angriffs auf den Seeverkehr sowie versuchten erpresserischen Menschenraubs vor dem Landgericht Hamburg der erste Piratenprozess seit 400 Jahren gemacht werden.


* HAITI: Wiederaufbau in Eigenregie als einzige Chance

It appears that Haiti’s “15 minutes of fame” are up. With few exceptions, the journalists who flooded the zone following the earthquake are nowhere to be seen. And the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s harsh criticism of the rebuilding effort six months after the earthquake is a sign that patience is wearing thin. Meanwhile, the lives of Haitians on the ground are still appalling — over a million in tent cities and squatter villages, rain flooding their streets, rape on the rise, too many basic services not restored.


* MALAYSIA: Debate on Sex Education Rises with Teen Pregnancies

The prospect of motherhood filled 17-year-old Fatimah’s heart with dread.


* BOTSWANA: Wasser ist kein Menschenrecht

San bushmen in Botswana have lost a court case to allow them to re-open a vital waterhole in the centre of the Kalahari desert. Diamonds were found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, traditional home to the bushmen, in the 1980s – and the government asked them to leave.


* COSTA RICA: Die USA bringen sich in ihrem “Hinterhof” in Stellung

With votes secured from the official National Liberation Party (PLN), the Libertarian Movement, and Justo Orozco, the evangelical congressman from the Costa Rican Renovation party, on July 1st, the Costa Rican Congress authorized the entry into that country of 46 warships from the U.S. Navy, 200 helicopters and combat aircraft and 7,000 Marines.


* AFRIKA: “Marktwirtschaft” zerstört kleinbäuerliche Landwirtschaft

As evidenced by USAID administrator Rajiv Shah’s recent speech to the US Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the US and the Green Revolution’s ‘solutions’ for African agriculture remain more of the same, rooted in a corporate-funded, GMO-oriented and market-based system designed entirely in the interests of Western business. While US development aid fasts becomes simply ‘an investment subsidised by US taxpayers with high returns for US corporations’, African farmers’ groups such as COPAGEN, LEISA and PELUM continue to organise in defence of self-determination and genetic biodiversity, writes Richard Jonasse.


* GROSSBRITANNIEN: Vor dem Irak-Krieg wurden Märchen erzählt

Britische Geheimdienstchefin bestätigt, dass Saddam Hussein keine Bedrohung darstellte und mit den Anschlägen vom 11.9. nichts zu tun hatte.


* GLOBAL: Tödlicher Staub – der globale Handel mit Asbest

A global network of lobby groups has spent nearly $100 million since the mid-1980s to preserve the international market for asbestos, a known carcinogen that’s taken millions of lives and is banned or restricted in 52 countries, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found in a nine-month investigation.


* ISRAEL: Neues Raketenabwehrsystem erfolgreich getestet

“Iron Dome” soll Raketen-Angriffe aus Gaza und dem Südlibanon abwehren. Kritiker bemängeln die Reichweite.


* MALAYSIA: Indigene Frauen Vergewaltigungsopfer der Holfäller-Mafia

A new report has exposed an ‘environment of violence’ against tribeswomen in Borneo. According to the report, released by a coalition of Malaysian human rights groups called the Penan Support Group, there have been repeated cases of rape and sexual assault against Penan women by the loggers who are destroying the tribe’s forests.


* MONGOLEI: Ist die Kultur der NomadInnen am Ende?

Herders leave the steppe after losing a fifth of their livestock. Now foreign firms are to exploit Mongolia’s vast resources.


* PAZIFIK: Kleine Inselstaaten drängen zur Eile bei Klimafinanzierung

Die Vereinten Nationen haben in diesem Jahr zwar eine hochkarätige Gruppe für die Finanzierung der Maßnahmen zur Bekämpfung und Anpassung des Klimawandels ins Leben gerufen. Doch die kleinen unmittelbar von der Erderwärmung bedrohten Inselstaaten im Pazifik fürchten, dass ihnen auch mit einem solchen Gremium die notwendigen Gelder nicht rechtzeitig zufließen werden.


* BRD: Tod und Verwundung treffen Bundeswehr

Auf ihrem Internet-Portal kündigt die Bundeswehr am 20. Juli 2010 ein Arbeitspapier zum “Umgang mit Verwundung, Tod und Trauer im Einsatz” an, dass “Mitte August” von Bundeswehrangehörigen im Intranet der Bundeswehr eingesehen werden kann.


* REPUBLIK SÜDAFRIKA: Militärpolizei zum Schutz der MigrantInnen

South Africa’s military joined police on Tuesday to patrol a Johannesburg township after assaults on foreign migrants injured at least 11 and increased concerns of a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks.


* EU: “Kleiner Kreis entscheidet über die Zukunft der Landwirtschaft in Europa”

Das Europäische Patentamt muss eine Grundsatzentscheidung über die Patentierbarkeit von Pflanzen treffen.


* NIGERIA: Ölquelle von ExxonMobil leck…

Fishermen in Ibeno, Southern Akwa Ibom, said they have reported the discharge of liquid suspected to be crude oil at the Qua Iboe oil fields in the Atlantic Ocean. Chief Inyang Ekong, the Secretary of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom.
Ekong said that some fishermen noticed the discharge near the offshore oil production platforms operated by Mobil Producing Nigeria, an affiliate of the U.S. oil firm, ExxonMobil.


* KANADA: Regierung verabschiedet sich leise von der Biodiversitäts-Konvention

The spirit of international negotiations in Montreal on a draft protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of natural resources were marred by Canada’s insistence on a decentralised approach to ABS, Peigi Wilson, a Métis lawyer present at the meeting in support of the Quebec Native Women.



[Update: 12:14]

* BURKINA FASO / NIGER: Grenzfrage soll friedlich entschieden werden

The West African countries of Burkina Faso and Niger have submitted a dispute over their common border to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) as part of a wider agreement by the two States to resolve the situation peacefully.


* USA: Bald nanotechnologisch veränderte Lebensmittel?

Nanotechnology involves the ability to control matter at the scale of a nanometer—one billionth of a meter. The world market for products that contain nanomaterials is expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2015.


* BOLIVIEN: Neue Verfassung

Letztes Rahmengesetz verabschiedet: Verfassungsreform kann umgesetzt werden. Blockaden der Opposition blieben ohne Wirkung.


* MEXIKO: US-Bank Wachovia hilft bei Drogengeldwäsche

The bank, now a unit of Wells Fargo, leads a list of firms that have moved dirty money for Mexico’s narcotics cartels–helping a $39 billion trade that has killed more than 22,000 people since 2006.


* SOMALIA: Der “Krieg gegen den Terror” bedroht nicht nur Uganda

The U.S. war against Somalia expands outwards and “has now blown back to Uganda,” the U.S. ally that, “along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, is America’s most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa.” Ethiopia and Kenya prepare to join Uganda in an offensive against the Somali resistance, to save America’s puppet mini-state in Mogadishu.


* BRASILIEN: Hat sich die Landlosenbewegung von Lula kaufen lassen?

Tagelang herrschte Verwirrung auf allen Seiten rund um den parlamentarischen Untersuchungsausschuss zur öffentlichen Finanzierung der Landlosenbewegung MST. Für die Regierung war die Arbeit des Ausschusses mit dem Stichtag 17. Juli beendet. Nicht so für die Opposition, die mit einem überraschenden Schachzug in letzter Minute die Verlängerung des Ausschusses um weitere sechs Monate durchsetzte. Mitten im Wahlkampf um die Nachfolge von Präsident Lula da Silva könnte die regierende Arbeiterpartei PT damit ein Problem bekommen. Der Ausschuss war Ende letzten Jahres auf Drängen der Opposition eingerichtet worden, um die öffentliche Finanzierung des MST durch die Regierung zu untersuchen.


* GAZA: Wer hat das Licht ausgemacht?

The Gaza Strip presently experiences 8-12 hours of scheduled power outages per day, which disrupt the normal functioning of humanitarian infrastructure, including health and education institutions and water and sewage systems, as well as the agricultural sector. The power outages also take a toll in human lives of people killed or injured by using generators, which are brought into Gaza through the tunnels, are of poor quality, and are not always used according to safety instructions. How was this shortage created and what can be done to resolve it?

Weiterlesen… (PDF)

* KASCHMIR: Brutale Gewalt durch indische Truppen

Indian troops and police have killed fifteen people in Kashmir since June, sparking widespread protests. The Indian government has imposed a strict military curfew in the area as well as a media gag order on local journalists. The international community has remained silent on the human rights abuses in Kashmir.


* GLOBAL: Krieg gegen die Erde

If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil — and just know that you’re not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades.


* USA: Krieg gegen den Terror kostet bislang 1 Billion US-Dollar

A Congressional Research Service report on the costs of America’s assorted wars has put the global war on terror since September 11, 2001 at over $1 trillion, making it the second most expensive military action in American history, adjusting for inflation.


* BRD: Gegen höhere Schutzstandards beim Asylrecht

Deutschland blockiert aus Sorge vor einer vermeintlichen «Sogwirkung» den Aufbau eines europäischen Asylsystems. Dies machte Innenstaatssekretär Ole Schröder am Donnerstag auf einem EU-Justiz- und Innenministertreffens in Brüssel klar. (…) Die von der EU-Kommission vorgeschlagenen höheren Rechtsschutzstandards würden die deutsche Praxis der Schnellabschiebungen an Flughäfen aber «aushöhlen», sagte der CDU-Politiker.


* JORDANIEN: Stimmungsmache gegen PalästinenserInnen

Robert Fisk: Why Jordan is occupied by Palestinians
A powerful group of ex-army leaders say their country is being overrun – and they blame King Abdullah.


* GLOBAL: Menschen hungern, weil zu wenig Nahrung produziert wird! – Ach, wirklich?

2008, the world witnessed an unprecedented food crisis. Food prices skyrocketed, and staple food disappeared from the market shelves. The resulting tremors were felt across the globe, with some 37 countries facing food riots.
Was the food crisis an outcome of the drought in Australia? Or was it because wheat production had fallen? Or was it because quite a sizable area under foodgrains had been diverted for biofuel production? The world had debated these options, but what emerged clearly was that much of it was triggered because of speculation in the futures trade. In fact, it was much worse than what was earlier anticipated.


* NAHER / MITTLERER OSTEN: Run auf die Atomkraft (und damit auf Atomwaffen)

“Saudi Arabia’s decision last week to sign a nuclear cooperation pact with France marks a major step forward for a pan-Arab drive toward nuclear power,” reports UPI. “All told, 13 Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, have announced plans — or dusted off old plans — to build nuclear power stations since 2006. All say they have no intention of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. But there is concern that once they’ve mastered the technology they’ll seek to counter Iran’s alleged push to acquire such weapons by doing so themselves.”


* KAMBODSCHA: SexarbeiterInnen werden illegal festgenommen und inhaftiert

Die kambodschanische Regierung soll umgehend Maßnahmen einleiten, um die Gewalt gegen SexarbeiterInnen zu beenden sowie die Regierungseinrichtungen schließen, in denen die Betroffenen illegal inhaftiert und missbraucht wurden, so Human Rights Watch.


* BRD: Schützenhilfe für die Atomindustrie

Die Ärzteorganisation IPPNW kritisiert die heute von der Universität Mainz der Presse vorgestellte Studie “Kinder und Kernkraft” (KuK-Studie) zu angeborenen Fehlbildungen in der Umgebung von Atomkraftwerken als argumentative Schützenhilfe zu Gunsten der Atomindustrie. Die Mainzer Studie hat aufgrund geringer Fallzahlen eine zu geringe statistische Nachweisstärke (power), um einen Effekt in ähnlicher Größenordnung wie in der vorangegangenen Studie zu Kinderkrebs um Atomkraftwerke (KiKK-Studie) nachzuweisen.


* LIBANON: Frauen-Hilfsschiff will Gaza-Blockade durchbrechen

The ‘Maryam’, an all-female Lebanese aid ship, currently docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli, is getting ready to set sail for Gaza in the next few days. The ship, which aims to break Israel’s siege on the Palestinian territory, will carry about 50 aid workers, including some U.S. nuns keen to deliver aid to the long-suffering women and children of Gaza.



[Update: 14:17]

* AFGHANISTAN: Kein Zutrauen ins Parlament

Afghans Disillusioned with Candidate Choice. Most current parliamentarians plan to stand again, despite widespread public mistrust and disappointment.


* GLOBAL: Funktioniert das Wirtschaftssystem ohne Wachstum?

Is De-Growth Compatible with Capitalism? A serious campaign in favor of “de-growth” has been going on for some time and has made important contributions. This movement has opened new avenues for debate and analysis on technology, credit, education and other important areas. It’s an effort that needs support and attention, and we must applaud their initiators and promoters for their boldness and dedication.


* ECUADOR:: Regierungskritische Positionen der Indigenen Völker

On July 5, I sat down with Marlon Santi, President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), in his office in Quito. We discussed the increasing contradictions between the demands of the indigenous movement, on the one hand, around water rights and anti-mining resistance, and the positions of the government of Rafael Correa, on the other, which has labelled indigenous resistance to large-scale mining and oil exploitation as “terrorism and sabotage.”


* DACH: Antimuslimische Ressentiments

Die westliche Zivilisation wird in deutschsprachigen Zeitungen von Leuten wie Broder und Sarazin verteidigt, als ob SIE wieder vor Wien ständen. Die barbarischen Seiten des Westens werden beim Islam-Bashing gerne und schnell unter den Teppich gekehrt. Die deutsche Integrationspolitik schrumpft über die Symbolpolitik à la Islamkonferenz auf religiöse Fragen zusammen, Aspekte von sozialer Ungleichheit werden ausgeklammert.


* USA: Kritik an Obamas Gesetz zur Finanzmarktreform

“In den USA ist die größte Finanzmarktreform seit der Weltwirtschaftskrise in den 30er Jahren beschlossen worden”, schreibt die taz. Klingt groß, heißt wenig: die US-Finanz-Gesetzgebung ist seit Ende der 1960er Jahre eine Geschichte der De-Regulierung. Selbst diesmal konnte die Finanzlobby wichtige Regeln abschwächen – wie die taz an anderer Stelle kritisch berichtet.
Die US-Reform wird häufig als Erfolg der Politik bewertet – aber selbst angesichts der dramatischen Krise konnte die Finanzbranche durch massive Lobbyarbeit das “Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill” an wichtigen Stellen verwässern. So gibt es zahlreiche kritische Einschätzungen.


* INDONESIEN: Weltbank finanziert zerstörerische Nickel-Mine

An international civil society coalition today condemned the World Bank for approving support for a destructive nickel mine that would displace Indigenous Peoples, destroy vast areas of intact tropical forest, and threaten rivers and the ocean with sediment and toxic chemicals.


* USA: Historiker warnt vor dem plötzlichen Zusammenbruch des “US-Imperiums”

Der Harvard-Professor und erfolgreiche Autor Niall Ferguson eröffnete am Montag das Festival der Ideen 2010 des Aspen-Institutes mit der ernst gemeinten Warnung, wegen seiner ständig steigenden Verschuldung werde ein plötzlicher Zusammenbruch des “US-Imperiums” immer wahrscheinlicher.
“Ich denke, dass dieses Problem sehr bald eintritt,” sagte Ferguson. “Damit meine ich innerhalb der
nächsten zwei Jahre, weil sich die Situation finanziell und in anderer Hinsicht immer mehr dem Chaos nähert. Wir haben gerade in Griechenland erlebt, was geschieht, wenn der Kapitalmarkt das Vertrauen in die Finanzpolitik eines Landes verliert.” Ferguson erinnerte daran, dass Imperien – wie die ehemalige Sowjetunion und das römische Reich – ganz schnell kollabieren können und der Wendepunkt häufig dann eintritt, wenn die Zinsen für die Schulden eines Imperiums höher werden als seine Verteidigungsausgaben.


* INDIEN: Diplomatische Verrenkungen beim Atomwaffensprerrvertrag

The recently concluded Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon) has renewed the call for the universalisation of the treaty. The NPT RevCon has asked India along with Pakistan and Israel – the three non-signatory states to the NPT- to unilaterally disarm and join the treaty as Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS). However, India possesses nuclear weapons.


* RUSSLAND: Umweltschützer verhindern Wald-Rodung

Die russischen UmweltschützerInnen, die zu Dutzenden, teilweise sogar mit 300 Personen die Rodungsarbeiten in der Nähe des Moskauer Flughafens Scheremetjewo behindert haben, haben die Rodungen – vorerst – verhindert.


* GUATEMALA: Königsgrab der Maya entdeckt

Luftdicht verschlossene Grabkammer konservierte prächtige Grabbeigaben und Knochen. Ein bisher unbekanntes Königsgrab der Maya haben ArchäologInnen in der Maya-Stadt El Zotz im Dschungel Guatemalas entdeckt. Es enthielt ungewöhnlich gut erhaltene, 1.600 Jahre alte Schnitzereien, Keramiken und Stoffe sowie die Knochen von einem Erwachsenen und sechs möglicherweise geopferten Kindern. Das prächtig ausgestattete Grab gehört wahrscheinlich einem Herrscher, möglicherweise dem Gründer einer Dynastie der präklassischen Maya.


* GROSSBRITANNIEN: Kriegsdienstverweigernder Soldat aus Haft entlassen

Joe Glenton, the soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan and who spoke out against the war, was released from military prison.


* VIETNAM: Einbürgerung von Flüchtlingen aus Kambodscha

Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt – Mit einem Festakt hat die vietnamesische Regierung 287 ehemalige Flüchtlinge aus Kambodscha eingebürgert. UNHCR begrüßt diesen Schritt außerordentlich. Vietnam gibt dadurch ein wichtiges Signal, die Staatenlosigkeit für insgesamt mehr als 2.300 ehemalige Flüchtlinge aus Kambodscha endgültig ad acta zu legen. Die meisten Kambodschaner waren 1975 vor Pol Pots blutigem Regime nach Vietnam geflohen.


* KIRGISIEN: “Millionär werden, das ist Demokratie!”

In Kirgistan trägt die Marktwirtschaft ganz eigene Züge: Nach dem Ende der “Sozialistischen Sowjetrepublik” wurden Fettschwanzschafe, Wallnussbäume und Spitzmorcheln privatisiert. Seitdem greifen viele Kirgisen uralte Nomadentraditionen wieder auf: Sie pendeln auf dem Pferd zwischen Wäldern, Wiesen und Hochalmen und leben im Sommer in Jurten. Das klingt romantisch, doch die meisten Kirgisen müssen heute ums Überleben kämpfen oder erinnern sich wehmütig an die Sowjetzeit mit ihren großen Betrieben und festen Arbeitsplätzen. Andere sind weniger nostalgisch: „Jetzt kann jeder Millionär werden, das ist Demokratie“, lobt ausgerechnet die bettelarme Gulnara, deren Familie allein vom Erlös gesammelter Nüsse lebt.


* AFGHANISTAN: Unendliche Besatzung?

The international foreign ministers conference held in Kabul Tuesday formally endorsed President Hamid Karzai’s proposed 2014 target for Afghan forces to assume the lead responsibility for the country’s security, while acknowledging that the foreign occupation will continue indefinitely.


* BRD: Niebels Zaudern im Kampf gegen AIDS

Der Entwicklungshilfeminister gefährdet die internationale Aids-Hilfe. Deutschland könnte als drittgrößter Geldgeber bald ausfallen. Ein fatales Signal, meint H. Albrecht.


* ZENTRALAFRIKANISCHE REPUBLIK: Friedensprozess gerät ins Stocken

A Sudanese led rebel faction in the Central African Republic has engaged the armies of the Central African Republic (CAR) over a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process- under a peace agreement signed ahead of national elections in CAR, military and rebel sources said.


* USA: Die Wiederkehr der Sklaverei

For the first time, the U.S. government acknowledges modern-day slavery in the United States.
One-hundred-and-fifty years after the abolition of slavery, the State Department has acknowledged that people in the United States continue to be bought and sold as property. The department’s 2010 “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report, a global review of human trafficking and civic and legal responses to it, lists the United States for the first time among the nations that harbor modern-day slavery.


Haiti: Frankreich zahlt (nicht) Entschädigung für Kolonialverbrechen

Freitag, Juli 16th, 2010

“France (Not) to Repay Debt to Haiti

A prank website is bringing France’s colonial crimes into the spotlight

by Brooke Jarvis

Yesterday was Bastille Day, the day that France celebrates liberty, equality, and fraternity, the famous ideals of the French Revolution. In the spirit of the day, a statement claiming to be from France’s foreign ministry announced that France would repay its former colony, Haiti, for the millions of francs it was charged to compensate the colonial power for the slaves it lost when Haiti achieved its independence.

In a video displayed on the spoof website, a spokesperson claiming to be from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs announces that France will repay Haiti the € 17 billion “Independence Debt.”

It turns out that the statement is a fake. But it could have been true—at least, that was the implicit message of the news release, which appeared on a website designed to look like that of the French foreign ministry. The release, purported to be from the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European affairs, framed the decision as a bold and principled move and a way for France “to celebrate the cherished values of our republic.” It promised that “the 90 million gold francs, which Haiti paid France from 1825 until 1947, will be reimbursed in a yearly budget over the course of 50 years. Economic advisors working with the Ministry have calculated that the total sum amounts to € 17 billion including adjustments for inflation and a minimal interest rate of 5 percent per annum.”

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January, France, Haiti’s former colonizer, was quick to lead the call for developed nations to forgive Haiti’s debt from past loans. Yet it made no mention of its own role in the creation of that debt.

While the fake news release—a common tactic of the prankster activists the Yes Men, but not yet traced to a particular group—doesn’t seem to have fooled any major news outlets, it did bring the debt (and its contradiction with France’s public stance) into the spotlight. The Foreign Ministry has responded by vehemently denying the release and is reported to be considering legal action.

Pranksters Fixing the World.
An interview with Andy Bichlbaum, one of The Yes Men, an infamously daring and creative duo of anti-corporate pranksters.

Years after Haiti achieved freedom from France—in a dramatic slave uprising that defeated Napoleon in 1804—France threatened to re-invade and demanded to be paid for the slaves it had lost. Though the payment was eventually reduced from 150 million francs to 60 million, it was still much more than the new nation could afford. Haiti took out loans from other creditors, including the United States and Germany, and finally paid off the reparations debt (plus interest) in 1947.

But for Haiti, spending more than its first century of existence in extreme debt was devastating. By 1900, 80 percent of Haiti’s national budget was being spent on servicing the French debt, according to historian Alex von Tunzelmann, who wrote that the so-called Independence Debt “did not signify the beginning of freedom, but the end of hope,” trapping Haiti in a debt spiral that has continued to the this day.

Many Haitians believe the debt they were forced to take on was illegal, and now think of it as France’s debt to them. In 2003, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide sent France a bill for more than $21 billion. France has ignored the claim.

Still, as when the Yes Men briefly convinced the world that the Dow Chemical Company was planning to pay restitution to the victims of the Bhopal chemical explosion, or published a false edition of The New York Times with the headline, “Iraq War Ends,” this is the kind of news that captures headlines not because it’s true, but because there are so many people who wish that it were.

Brooke Jarvis wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Brooke is YES! Magazine’s web editor.


(Quelle: YES! Magazine.)



Haiti reparation hoax riles France: A statement

Australien: Wie blöd – Sahraui-Flüchtlingsfrau ist gar keine Sklavin…

Dienstag, Juni 29th, 2010

Western Sahara
Culture – Arts | Society

Sahrawi refugee to court: “I’m not a slave”

Fetim Salam Hamdi with one of her four children

Fetim Salam Hamdi with one of her four children

© NSCWS/afrol News

Sahrawi refugee Fetim Salam Hamdi has been portrayed as a slave in a poorly translated documentary film. But Ms Hamdi insists she is a free woman and now goes to court to stop the film’s screaning.

The Australian documentary film “Stolen”, shot in the Algeria-based refugee camps housing over 100,000 Sahrawi refugees last year, portrays the Ms Hamdi as a slave. Ms Hamdi herself claims to have been shocked as she first saw the result of the filming, alleging massive manipulation in scenes and translations.

This week, “Stolen” will be screened at the Norwegian Short Film Festival unless Ms Hamdi and her lawyer, Andreas Galtung, are not successful in getting a court order to stop the screening. They claim the screening is “an offence of her dignity.”

“It is an offence to Fetim to be presented as a slave. The proofs clearly document that there is clear manipulation in the film material, and it is sad that the Short Film Festival does not show consideration for her by stopping today’s screening”, stated Mr Galtung today.

Ms Hamdi is the mother of four children, and a kindergarten teacher in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria. In “Stolen”, however, she is said to have been kidnapped by her present “slave owner” and put to hard forced work. Several statements from Ms Hamdi, the “slave owner” and her family members are presented as “proof” she is held as slave.

But all these statements in Arabic turn out to be wrongly translated. When the film had its premiere in Australia last year, also translators from ‘Al Jazeera’, working for Australian TV, reacted to the totally wrong English subtitles of the Arabic dialect used in the refugee camps. A certified translator that the filmmakers claim to have used, has himself heavily criticised the subtitles, and has stated that his corrections had not been used in the film.

In one of the central scenes, Ms Hamdi’s own sister and mother said “It is not true” and “she [Fetim] was not kidnapped”, to the questions from the filmmaker whether the main character was stolen as a child. But in the subtitles from the same scene, the women are quoted that Ms Hamdi was kidnapped and is controlled by the woman portrayed as a slave owner. None of the interviews in the movie support the claims from the filmmakers that Ms Hamdi had been “stolen”.

According to Ms Hamdi’s supporters, almost all the scenes in which the main character is shown, “have been deliberately subtitled erroneously.” On two occasions in the film, the audience is given the impression that Ms Hamdi is ordered to carry out work, “but in both cases the subtitles are pure fantasy,” her supporters say.

“The worst thing is that the lies do not only affect Fetim and her family, but also stigmatising the entire people. The Sahrawi people have gone through extreme ordeals, and it is sad that when they finally get some attention, it is based on a scam. The short film festival has an ethical responsibility, and it is a scandal that they knowingly accept giving legitimacy to a propaganda movie”, comments Jørn Sund-Henriksen of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.

Not only Ms Hamdi is portrayed in a “disrespectful” way, the Committee holds. “The movie makers have also abused the rest of her family, such as her 15 year old daughter. The toughest treatment, was perhaps given to the claimed slave owner, who with use of consistently erroneous subtitles, and the moviemakers’ narration, is accused of kidnapping. No proof is given,” it adds.

The Sahrawi people of Western Sahara traditionally kept slaves, but during Spanish colonial rule, this tradition was mostly done away with. The Polisario government ruling in the refugee camps claims to have rooted out the last remnants of this slaveholding tradition among the Sahrawis.

(Quelle: afrol News.)

Brasilien: UN-Experte fordert effektive Anti-Sklaverei-Gesetzgebung

Montag, Juni 7th, 2010


By Ricky Zamora

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Gulnara Shahinian, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery has called Brazil to strengthen efforts to close legal loopholes which effectively undermine incentives to discontinue the practice of slavery or forced labor in the nation’s rural areas.

During a recent visit to Brazil, Shahinian found that while the country has made efforts to abolish the practice of slavery or forced labor, the laws contain legal loopholes which some violators exploit, effectively allowing them to escapes criminal prosecution.

While civil penalties have been enforced, Shahinian found that ‘criminal penalties are more difficult to carry out due to jurisdictional conflicts and delays in the judicial system resulting in the lapsing of the statute of limitations.’ She also noted that ‘although forced labor is considered a serious crime, first-time offenders might only face house arrest or community service.’ Any incentive to discontinue such practices is effectively void.

During her visit, Shahinian met with many victims of forced labor in both rural and urban areas. In Brazil’s rural areas, forced labor is usually practiced in the cattle ranching and sugar can industries. There, the victims are typically males over the age of 15. In urban areas, on the other hand, forced labor is usually found in the garment industry and the victims include both males and females including many under the age of 15.

Shahinian reports that regardless of whether the forced labor occurs in rural or urban areas, the victims all endure the same working and living conditions and threats. Victims are forced to work long hours, with little or no pay, and are threatened with or subjected to physical, psychological, and sometimes sexual violence.

While in Brazil, the Rapporteur also met and held talks with local Government authorities, international organizations, and private sector and non-governmental organizations. She expressed her concerns over the effects of the legal loopholes and urged for the adoption of schemes that would counteract these loopholes. The largest and most basic concern is that those most vulnerable to forced labor can enjoy basic rights such as the right to food, water, and education.

Shahinian emphasized that ‘the strongest message that the Brazilian Government can send to Brazilians to show that the crime of slavery will not go unpunished is to pass the constitutional amendment which would allow for the expropriation of land where forced labor is used.’ She added that the passage of such an amendment ‘will show that Brazil is indeed strongly committed to fighting slavery.’

For more information, please see:

Latin American Herald Tribune – UN Official: Slavery Continues in Brazil Despite Government Efforts – 01 June 2010

NewKerala – Brazil: UN Urges Efforts to Fight Slavery – 30 May 2010

UN News Centre – Brazil: UN Rights Expert Urges Stepped Up Efforts to Fight Slavery – 29 May 2010″

(Quelle: Impunity Watch.)