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Archive for November 27th, 2011

It behooves BLACKS to re-claim their rightful and dignified place in history, or else, the race will remain irrelevant

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2011

During the 1960s Black America was vibrant, sagacious, intolerant, circumspect and self-respectful, the positive attributes were endless.

Today, we find it acceptable to be referred to as the n-word as if it is some sort of badge of honor to be worn; we sit by saying nothing while drugs, misogyny, saggin pants, crime and violence are marketed and promoted as a way of life… as if it is all synonymous with being Black.

For the past 30 years, an element of ruin has taken over Black America while the silent majority sits back, watches and allows the community’s annihilation to endure…uninterrupted.

The time has come for the silent majority to wake up, stand up, and help clean up a mess created by proponents of a self-destructive mind-set… the mindset of the very definition of a “n**ga.”

It behooves BLACKS to re-claim their rightful and dignified place in history, or else, the race will remain irrelevant, presented as inferior, useless beings only taking up valuable space… in the pages of ancient history. The silent majority must take a look in the mirror and say: “Let it begin with me! And let me rest not until I have helped my community once again stand as a strong, viable, united, and honorable people.”

Black America must understand the game that has been played on the group
and ACCEPT that the n-word-n**ger or n**ga-is the lifeline that feeds the on-going systemic destruction.

Some believe that there are more important or prevalent issues occurring in the black community than to be worried about the use of the n-word. But what if the CAUSE of all of those highly-significant and more pressing issues tied directly back to a “smaller, seemingly less important” factor?

You are being asked to join with the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. and allow the voices of the silent majority to be heard-loud and clear FOR ONCE-by signing the petition to denounce use of the n-word by anyone of color.

Then, pass the message on to others asking them to do the same.  Take a stand on this issue and click on the link below to sign this petition.



prevalent issues, n word, look in the mirror, silent majority, and badge of honor.

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Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Syria on the UN agenda

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2011

by api

“Norway has, together with key Arab and European countries, taken the initiative to bring the grave situation in Syria before the UN General Assembly,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Last Tuesday evening, the UN Third Committee adopted a resolution on the situation in Syria by an overwhelming majority. The resolution strongly condemns the Syrian authorities’ continued use of violence against their population and supports the Arab League’s efforts to find a solution to the unacceptable situation in the country.

The UN resolution calls on the Syrian authorities to implement the Arab League’s Plan of Action without further delay, and at the same time to cooperate fully and effectively with the independent international commission of inquiry dispatched by the Human Rights Council.

“This resolution is extremely important, given the deadlocked situation in the UN Security Council and the increasingly alarming situation in Syria. I would like to urge President Assad once again to step aside, and I expect to see the regime now enter into genuine dialogue with the opposition on democratic reforms,” stated Foreign Minister Støre.

122 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 13 voted against and 41 abstained. With the exception of Syria, all Arab states voted in favour of the resolution.


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Peter displaced by the LRA from Ezo village in South: “These LRA rebels are more than monster killers”

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2011

by api


Peter Maido displaced by the LRA from Ezo village in South Sudan

GULU,  – The latest wave of LRA violence in South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has left hundreds of civilians affected. Peter Maido, an aid worker with the Justice and Peace Commission in Tombora, in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, fled his village of Ezo after surviving recent LRA attacks in the area.

“We are seeing what nobody has ever experienced in his/her life. These LRA rebels are more than monster killers. I can’t even go to my village because the rebels are roaming everywhere and killing whoever they come across; they are roaming in groups of five to 10 people.

“The killings are so intense but you cannot know when they happen because the area is so remote with no roads. Sometimes we get reports of killings after a week.

“The situation has gone very silent because it’s not a priority for government. We struggled for our freedom as South Sudanese but why are we being left alone with no protection?

“The government gets serious when it come to issues of Abyei, Kordofan and Darfur, but why not the LRA problem?

“There is no civilian protection, there is no one to rescue children and women abducted by the LRA. The South Sudan army say their work is to only protect the borders but not following and fighting the LRA.

“Youths are fed up, they are forming paramilitary groups armed with spears, bows and arrows to defend themselves but this is dangerous [because] everybody will get armed escalating violence.

“Last year government promised to provide five million South Sudan pounds [US$1.9m] to support these paramilitary groups but nothing has been done so far.

“People have fled villages and are living in IDP camps where conditions are deplorable. In Ezo alone there are 13 camps; three camps have been set up specifically for people fleeing DRC and CAR.

“Information from abductees says LRA leader Joseph Kony was in Bitima [a town in northern DRC close to the border with South Sudan], a few months ago, but of late he is somewhere in CAR.  

“The reason why the LRA are concentrating in these areas is because of the thick vegetation with plenty of wild food like fruits, yams and the cover it provides for their hiding.

“Some of the LRA groups make periodic movements to Wau and Raja [in South Sudan] towards Darfur to trade with nomadic tribes. Normally when they return from these places, they become very strong because of the ammunition and food they have acquired.

“People have nothing to do, you can’t farm but only wake up every morning, sit and wait for what the day will bring.

“The relief being provided is very little, people are surviving out of the mercy of God.

“The only way out of this problem is for government to fight the LRA like we did in the liberation struggle so that people return to their villages.

“All the LRA rebels, including their commanders, should be flushed out of the area and apprehended to bring everlasting peace for us.”


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A newly launched “fistula hotline”, a free phone number for women who suffer from this debilitating condition that is seldom spoken about to help many

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2011

by api

SIERRA LEONE: Fistula hotline launched

Nurses, Zainab Blell and Mabel Kaitemoh, answer calls at the Fistula Hotline

FREETOWN, 22 November 2011 (IRIN) – Nurse Zainab Blell’s mobile phone has been ringing all morning at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, a clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. After explaining to countless callers that this is a hospital line, Blell gets a genuine request for help and tries to get more details. “When did you give birth? When did you start having a problem?”
The woman on the phone is in a remote Sierra Leonean town. She says her sister leaks urine uncontrollably, and suffers from rashes and peeling skin on her inner thighs.

Blell is one of three nurses answering calls on a newly launched “fistula hotline”, a free phone number for women who suffer from this debilitating condition that is seldom spoken about.

Fistula, also known as vesico-vaginal fistula or VVF, is a hole in the birth canal that leaves women with chronic incontinence, and often a stillborn baby. It is usually caused by several days of obstructed labour. It affects an estimated two million women in developing countries; and 50,000-100,000 women worldwide each year.
Low awareness

The fistula hotline, which is run by the centre, is the result of a public-private partnership between the Gloag Foundation, USAID, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and telecommunications company Airtel.

In the last month more than 8,000 calls have been received, but so far just 0.1 percent have been about cases of fistula.
The Aberdeen Women’s Centre provides the only comprehensive fistula repair service in the country. Despite the small number of calls concerning the condition, Jude Holden, the centre’s Country Director, is pleased with the result. “We have received 90 cases since the hotline opened, and this is a great success,” she told IRIN.

Shortly after the hotline opened in October, radio messages were broadcast in the local Krio language and in English, describing fistula and telling anyone who thinks they are affected to call 555.

“There is very little awareness of fistula and why it happens. Women are stigmatized and often blamed for their condition. Because of this we found it difficult to get women with fistula to the centre for treatment.”

Fistula occur most often in young women (15 to 30 years old), most of whom come from rural areas with poor access to healthcare, according to a 2005 Ministry of Health survey.

Why rates so high

In Sierra Leone, some estimates put fistula prevalence at a similar rate to maternal mortality – one in eight women – but there is little research to back up these estimates.
Free healthcare services for lactating mothers and pregnant women were launched in 2010, but the maternal health infrastructure is inadequate and the Ministry of Health is struggling to implement the policy. Only 137 trained midwives practice in the country, and there are just 16 emergency obstetric facilities.

Photo: Felicity Thompson/IRIN
Kadiatu Ngegba, with her daughter, Naomi

During and after Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war, widespread rape trauma was a major cause of fistula, according to Sarah Walker, VVF programme manager at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre. Most of the resultant traumatic fistula cases have been dealt with, she said, and the problem now stems mainly from poor ante-natal care and a high level of teenage pregnancy.

“Most of the [women with fistula] are uneducated farmers… They don’t have access to any sort of healthcare, pre-natal or post-natal. We see it a lot in young girls, mostly because their bodies are not developed yet, and so when they’re in labour the child gets stuck in the pelvis,” said Walker.

In Njala town in the Southern Moyamba district, Kadiatu Ngegba’s husband heard the radio advert and called the number. Ngegba, now aged 24, developed a fistula when she was just 15 years old, after being in labour for two days before a doctor came to perform a caesarean section.
“My baby died,” Ngegba says. “After the operation, the doctor pulled out the catheter and I was covered in urine.”

When she got home, Ngegba’s first husband abandoned her and she was sent to live with relatives. “I was really unhappy. Everyone made fun of me. I wanted to go back to school but because of this problem I had, I couldn’t.”

Ngegba had fistula repair surgery in 2006, but when she gave birth to her second child without a caesarean, the fistula reappeared.


Experts say prevention, rather than treatment, is the key to ending fistula. This means providing women with family planning, ante-natal care, skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care, according to the UNFPA Campaign to End Fistula.

“We need a preventative as well as a therapeutic approach,” Sas Kargbo, Director of Reproductive Health at Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health, told IRIN, adding that the free phone line is an important step to finding the women and treating the problem.
Sierra Leone is currently finalizing a strategic plan to tackle fistula and will appoint a focal person by the start of 2012.

At the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, almost 10 years after developing her first fistula, Ngegba waits for surgery. She smiles and hugs Naomi, her two-year-old daughter. “When I get well,” she says, “my husband will send me back to finish school.”

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Fear of the LRA has forced people from their homes in Sudan

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2011

by api

Fear of the LRA has forced people from their homes in Sudan

NAIROBI,  – The Lord’s Resistance Army was one of several armed groups to emerge in northern Uganda in the late 1980s with the aim of overthrowing the government of Yoweri Museveni, who himself came to power at the head of a rebellion in 1986.

The group quickly gained international notoriety because of its professed aim of installing a new government based on the Ten Commandments – which still feature in the group’s official emblem – and because of the brutality of its tactics, such as abducting children to serve in its fighting ranks and as “wives” for commanders. The young recruits were also forced to carry out murders and mutilations, notably  of those who tried to escape or who were otherwise deemed “disloyal”.

The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, a self-styled prophet who is wanted, with other senior leaders, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

While the group maintained it was championing the interests of the Acholi people of northern Uganda, the region suffered considerably because of its attacks and abductions as well as alleged abuses by the Ugandan army and allied militia, especially soon after Museveni took power.

Massive displacement also resulted from a government counter-insurgency policy of forcing well over a million civilians into “protected villages”, where protection was in fact very limited and humanitarian conditions dire. The policy entrenched the sense of marginalization felt by the Acholi.

Where is the LRA now?

Having been pushed out of its original strongholds from the late 1990s into southern Sudan, the LRA no longer has an active presence in northern Uganda. It now operates in the newly independent republic of South Sudan, especially in the Equatoria states and in Western Bahr el-Ghazal; in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Haut and Bas Uélé districts; and in the eastern Central African Republic, where most of the group’s senior leaders and fighters are now thought to be.

How big is the LRA?

Military pressure and massive defections spurred by a Ugandan amnesty have greatly reduced the LRA’s numbers to the low hundreds, scattered in units of five to 10 across three countries. Its continuing attacks on civilians are widely thought to be aimed at mere survival rather than motivated by any clear political agenda.

What is the LRA’s humanitarian impact?

Immense. “The conflict in northern Uganda is the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today,” Jan Egeland, then UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said in November 2003, decrying the lack of international and government assistance to civilians.

In northern Uganda, people have now mostly left the protected villages for their homes, but face enormous challenges in rebuilding “normal” lives as efforts to develop the region’s basic infrastructure have had limited success.

Across the three countries where its fighters are now active, an estimated 440,000 civilians have fled their homes in fear of being killed, mutilated, abducted or raped. This has kept them away from their fields, greatly affecting food security. LRA activity, and the remoteness and inaccessibility of the affected regions, have also prevented adequate humanitarian access to civilian populations in need.

After a botched joint assault on an LRA base in northern DRC in December 2008, the group launched a series of raids that left at least 700 dead. More recently, between January and August 2011, the LRA has conducted 254 attacks, resulting in 126 deaths and 368 abductions.

How has the LRA lasted so long?

The Ugandan government has pointed to the difficulties involved in fighting a guerrilla insurgency in harsh terrain, the support the LRA enjoyed (and, according to South Sudan, continues to enjoy) from Khartoum, and the presence of so many children among the group’s ranks as reasons for its failure to eradicate it.

But in northern Uganda, there is a widespread sense that efforts towards both military and negotiated resolutions have been half-hearted, that senior military personnel profited from the conflict, which national political considerations also helped to prolong.

Credence is lent to this argument by a 2004 paper by the International Crisis Group, which said the war allowed Museveni “to maintain an unreformed and corrupt army as a key pillar of the regime [and] gives him the arguments with which to resist mounting international pressure to reduce defence spending drastically. It also gives him pretexts to maintain the political status quo by denying the opposition a power base and curtailing freedom of expression and association in the name of ‘the war against terrorism’.”

What about peace talks…?

The LRA did enter into negotiations with the Ugandan government or intermediaries (notably Acholi religious leaders) on several occasions, most recently in 2006, following intensified military pressure and a cut in support from the Sudanese government. These talks resulted in the finalizing of a peace accord in 2008. But at the last minute Kony refused to sign, citing fears that he would be handed over to the ICC. Religious leaders in South Sudan and Uganda have recently called for negotiations to resume, but there has been no indication of Kony’s – or Museveni’s – willingness to take part. According to the International Crisis Group, “there is no prospect of a negotiated end to the LRA problem”.

However, one product of negotiations has borne considerable fruit: more than 26,000 members of the LRA and other armed groups availed themselves of the Uganda Amnesty Act and some of them are now working with the Ugandan army to track their former comrades.

…and joint military action?

After the debacle of 2008’s Operation Lightning Thunder, joint military operations, usually Ugandan-led and with US logistical support, have continued in all countries with an LRA presence. A Joint Information Operations Centre has been established in the northern DRC town of Dungu, with the participation of the UN stabilization force in DRC, MONUSCO.

Despite some tactical successes, the LRA’s threat to civilians has not been diminished by these military operations, while cooperation among the states involved has not always been strong: in recent months the DRC has called for all foreign troops fighting the LRA to leave, claiming the group was no longer active on its soil. Uganda’s engagement has also been scaled down recently as a result of the LRA no longer threatening its security.

Meanwhile, over the past 18 months, the African Union has appeared to take the LRA threat and the need for a coordinated response more seriously. But it has yet to appoint a promised special envoy or make significant headway in forming an announced Regional Intervention Force. Necessary funding for the force has not been forthcoming.

What next?

The recent US deployment of 100 military advisers to support the armies in the three affected countries – as part of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act – has led to renewed hopes in some quarters that the LRA might soon be neutralized. But several factors weigh against the group’s imminent demise: its scattered presence over a vast area, the difficult terrain, the lack of coordination between the affected countries and their limited military capacity and political will, as well as a tendency, especially in DRC, to play down the threat posed by the group.

Alongside this military objective, another key priority is to address and mitigate the humanitarian consequences of the LRA’s presence. “[The] response urgently needs scaling up,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a 4 November report to the Security Council.


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