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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Maasai Mara – The Greatest Wildlife Spectacle on Earth

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/masai-mara—the-greatest-wildlife-spectacle-on-earth.html?page=all

The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is witness to the most spectacular wildlife migration on earth. Wildlife photographer KALYAN VARMA captures the poetic beauty of the Mara in monotone.

By Kalyan Varma | Yahoo Lifestyle Entertainment – Tue 24 Jan, 2012 4:25 PM IST

(All photographs © KALYAN VARMA. Reproduced with exclusive permission)

© KALYAN VARMAA herd of African elephants under a dramatic sky makes for an imposing sight. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Black rhino in Maasai Mara. Africa has two species of rhinoceros — the White or Square-lipped Rhino and the Black or Hook-lipped Rhino. Both are highly endangered and protected in Africa, though many still fall to hunters. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are believed to possess aphrodisiac properties. The horn, which is in fact made of matted hair-like tissue, fetches insanely huge prices in the black markets of China and Southeast Asia. Rightly, conservationists believe that for the killing to stop, the buying must first be stopped. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

“The tree where man was born.” The continuity of the savanna, the great grassy plain of the Masai Mara, is broken by these hardy acacia trees. © KALYAN VARMA
© KALYAN VARMA

Three cheetah siblings, known locally as Honey’s Boys, bring down a wildebeest. The migration is eagerly awaited by lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, for it brings a treasure trove of food for them. Most wildebeest calve on the way to the Mara and the young ones become easy prey for opportunistic predators. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Cape Buffalo in Maasai Mara. Among the most impressive of herbivores, buffaloes are strong and formidable. They are known to be unpredictable and aggressive, often chasing away lions and other predators. Big game hunters of yore wrote that bullets ricocheted off the animal’s great horns. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMATwo zebra strike a pose in Maasai Mara, watched by an oxpecker, a bird that frequently follows grazing animals seeking out insects in their skin. Of the three species of zebra in Africa, this (the Plains Zebra) is the most common. The other two — the Grevy’s Zebra and the Mountain Zebra — are endangered. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMAElephants in the Maasai Mara. African elephants are larger than Asian elephants. There are two recognized species of African elephants — the African Bush Elephant shown here and the smaller African Forest Elephant, which is found in the rainforests of the Congo. © KALYAN VARMA 

© KALYAN VARMA

A giraffe stands in the shade of an acacia tree in the Maasai Mara. Giraffes, the tallest land animals (adult males are up to 20 feet tall), are among the residents of the Mara. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMAThe alpha male of the marsh pride, this African lion represents the majesty that has so often translated to myth and legend. Lions once ranged all over Africa and West Asia including India. Today, they are restricted to pockets in Africa and one subspecies is limited to a small sanctuary in Gujarat. Wild lions were mercilessly hunted across Africa and now remain relatively safe only in the great wildlife reserves. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA
A lone zebra stands out against a sea of wildebeest as the herd, which mixes freely, prepares for the crossing. Zebra and wildebeest usually coexist peacefully and will alert each other to the presence of predators. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

Wildebeest drink before they ready for the crossing. The river teems with crocodiles hungrily awaiting the passage of the herd. Many wildebeest and zebra fall prey to the waiting predators but most will make it and go on to the relative safety of the grasslands where the Circle of Life continues to be enacted. Other predators such as lions, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards will stalk the sick, the infirm and the unfortunate. © KALYAN VARMA
© KALYAN VARMA

The herd picks the narrowest bend in the swiftly flowing river to make the crossing. The cloud of dust kicked up by the hooves of so many zebra and wildebeest can be seen from many miles away. This is one of the most dramatic events of the Great Migration and has been ritually documented by filmmakers and wildlife photographers through the years. © KALYAN VARMA 

© KALYAN VARMA

A cryptically patterned sea of ungulate bodies kicks out of the water as a mixed herd of zebra and wildebeest successfully makes the crossing. The Migration is a recently relative phenomenon, dating back to the 1950s when wildebeest behavior showed a marked change following an outbreak of the rinderpest epidemic. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

A small band of zebras makes the crossing. At the end of the season, the herds will make a return journey, following a southeasterly trajectory from the Maasai Mara in Kenya back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. © KALYAN VARMA

© KALYAN VARMA

A close-up of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) shows its tough wrinkled hide, which earned it the moniker ‘pachyderm’ (Greek for “thick skin”). Unlike in Asian elephants, female Aftican elephants also bear tusks. Like Asian elephants, African elephants continue to be hunted by poachers who supply the illegal trade in ivory.  © KALYAN VARMA. Experience more wildlife images like these at Kalyan Varma’s website.

 

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Who Was Muammar Qaddafi? Libya’s Wealth Redistribution Project With an Introduction by Cynthia McKinney

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27327

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, October 27, 2011

Fourth of Four Installments on Libya: Who is Stealing the Wealth?

Once again, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya peels away the veneer of legitimacy and deception enveloping the U.S./NATO genocide currently taking place in Libya. In his first article, Nazemroaya makes it clear that there never was any evidence given to the United Nations or the International Criminal Court to warrant or justify United Nations Resolutions 1970 and 1973 or current U.S./NATO operations inside Libya.

In his second article detailing this very sad story, Nazemroaya exposes the relationships between the major Libyan protagonists/NATO collaborators and the U.S. Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy. Incredibly, when leading Members of Congress publicly proclaimed repeatedly that they did not know who the Libyan “rebel” NATO collaborators were, select so-called rebel leaders were political intimates with stakeholders at the National Endowment for Democracy.  Nazemroaya also exposes that, despite its Global War on Terror, the U.S. government actually financed Libyan terrorists and criminals wanted by INTERPOL.

In his third installment, Nazemroaya removes the U.S./NATO fig leaf that attempts to cover the cynical machinations of the pro-Israel Lobby and its objective of balkanizing African and Asian states, especially those whose populations are largely Muslim.  Nazemroaya makes the essential point: “An attempt to separate the merging point of an Arab and African identity is underway.” The Voice of America has exposed the psychological aspects of its brutal intervention and hints at the mindset of the U.S./NATO Libyan pawns; several stories suggest that the “new” Libya will turn more toward its Arab identity than its African identity. While Muammar Qaddafi drove home to all Libyans that Libya, as its geography dictates, is an African country, Nazemroaya shows how this fact is not a policy objective shared by the U.S., NATO, Israel, or their Libyan allies. 

Finally, in this last of the four-part series, Nazemroaya shows the ultimate perfidy of the U.S./NATO Libyan allies, especially Mahmoud Jibril, in the pre-emptive strike against the Jamahirya Wealth Redistribution Project.  

The Libyan people are now fighting the world’s most powerful militaries to save their Jamahirya.  

No matter how many times NATO-inspired media lie to their publics, the lies will never become the truth.  

Hauntingly, Nazemroaya ends by telling us that the Libyan National Transitional Council has already recognized the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the legitimate government of Syria.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, now reputed to be the leader of Al Qaeda and reportedly rewarded with U.S. citizenship after fighting for the C.I.A. in Bosnia, just called for the people of Algeria to oust their President.  

President Obama’s policy of flying drones and dropping bombs over Africa, and invading the Continent with U.S. troops, means that any country that resists an AFRICOM base, as Colonel Qaddafi’s wife tells us he did, or expects to exercise its right of self-determination, can expect the kind of treatment we are witnessing now in Libya. We, in the U.S., must resist these policies for ourselves and and on behalf of  the Africans who deserve better than this from the United States of America.

Cynthia McKinney, 25 October 2011.

Cynthia McKinney is a former U.S. Congresswoman who served in two different Georgia federal dictricts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2007 as a member of the U.S. Democratic Party. She was also the U.S. Green Party presidential candidate in 2008. While in the U.S. Congress she served in the U.S. Banking and Finance Committee, the U.S. National Security Committee (later renamed the U.S. Armed Services Committee), and the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee (later renamed the U.S. International Relations Committee). She also served in the U.S. International Relations subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. McKinney has conducted two fact-finding missions in Libya and also recently finished a nationwide speaking tour in the United States sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition about the NATO bombing campaign in Libya.


INSTALLMENTS I-III
 

Libya and the Big Lie: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars

– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-09-29
The war against Libya is built on fraud. The UN Security Council passed two resolutions against Libya on the basis of unproven claims that Qaddafi was killing his own people in Benghazi…

America’s Conquest of Africa: The Roles of France and Israel

– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Julien Teil – 2011-10-06
Terrorists not only fight for Washington on the ground, they also act as frontmen for regime change through so-called human rights organizations that promote democracy.

Israel and Libya: Preparing Africa for the “Clash of Civilizations”

Introduction by Cynthia McKinney
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-10-11
“An attempt to separate the merging point of an Arab and African identity is underway.”



WHO WAS MUAMMAR QADDAFI? LIBYA’S WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION PROJECT

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Colonel Muammar Qaddafi symbolizes many things to many different people around the world. Love or hate the Libyan leader, under his rule Libya transformed from one of the poorest countries on the face of the planet into the country with the highest standard of living in Africa. In the words of Professor Henri Habibi:

When Libya was granted its independence by the United Nations on December 24, 1951, it was described as one of the poorest and most backward nations of the world. The population at the time was not more than 1.5 million, was over 90% illiterate, and had no political experience or knowhow. There were no universities, and only a limited number of high schools which had been established seven years before independence. [1]

Qaddafi had many grand plans. He wanted to create a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to protect Africa and Latin America. He advocated for a gold dinar standard as the currency of Muslim countries. Many of his plans were also of a pan-African nature. This included the formation of a United States of Africa.

Qaddafi’s Pan-African Projects

Colonel Qaddafi started the Great Man-Made River, which consisted in a massive project to transform the Sahara Desert and reverse the desertification of Africa. The Great Man-Made River with its irrigation plans was also intended to support the agricultural sector in other parts of Africa. This project was a military target of NATO bombings. Without just cause, NATO’s bombing campaign was intent upon destroying the Great Man-Made River.

Qaddafi also envisioned independent pan-African financial institutions. The Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Foreign Bank were important players in setting up these institutions. Qaddafi, through the Libyan Foreign Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority, was instrumental in setting up Africa’s first satellite network, the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RASCOM), to reduce African dependence on external powers. [2]

His crowning achievement would have been the creation of the United States of Africa. The supranational entity would have been created through the African Investment Bank, the African Monetary Fund, and finally the African Central Bank. These institutions were all viewed with animosity by the European Union, United States, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank.

Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project

Qaddafi had a wealth redistribution project inside Libya. U.S. Congressional sources in a report to the U.S. Congress even acknowledge this. On February 18, 2011 one report states:

In March 2008, [Colonel Qaddafi] announced his intention to dissolve most government administrative bodies and institute a Wealth Distribution Program whereby state oil revenues would be distributed to citizens on a monthly basis for them to administer personally, in cooperation, and via local committees. Citing popular criticism of government performance in a long, wide ranging speech, [he] repeatedly stated that the traditional state would soon be “dead” in Libya and that direct rule by citizens would be accomplished through the distribution of oil revenues. [The military], foreign affairs, security, and oil production arrangements reportedly would remain national government responsibilities, while other bodies would be phased out. In early 2009, Libya’s Basic People’s Congresses considered variations of the proposals, and the General People’s Congress voted to delay implementation. [3]

Qaddafi wanted all the people of Libya to have direct access to the nation’s wealth. He was also aware of the deep rooted corruption that plagued the ranks of the Libyan government. This was one of the reasons why he wanted to apply a model of political anarchy in Libya through progressive steps. He was talking about both these project for a few years.

On the other hand, the Wealth Redistribution Project, along with the establishment of an anarchist political system, was viewed as a very serious threat by the U.S., the E.U., and a group of corrupt Libyan officials. If successful, the reforms could have created political unrest amongst many domestic populations around the world. Internally, many Libyan officials were working to delay the project. This included reaching out to external powers to intervene in Libya to stop Qaddafi and his projects.

Why Mahmoud Jibril Joined the Transitional Council

Amongst the Libyan officials that were heavily opposed to this project and viewed it with horror was Mahmoud Jibril. Jibril was put into place by Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi. Because of strong influence and advice from the U.S. and the E.U., Saif Al-Islam selected Jibril to transform the Libyan economy and impose a wave of neo-liberal economic reforms that would open the Libyan market.

Jibril became the head of two bodies in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the National Planning Council of Libya and National Economic Development Board of Libya. While the National Economic Development Board was a regular ministry, the National Planning Council would actually put Jibril in a government position above that of the Office of the General-Secretary of the People’s Committee of Libya (which is the equivalent of the post of a prime minister). Jibril actually became one of the forces that opened the doors of privatization and poverty in Libya.

About six months before the conflict erupted in Libya, Mahmoud Jibiril actually met with Bernard-Henri Lévy in Australia to discuss forming the Transitional Council and deposing Colonel Qaddafi. [4] He described Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project as “crazy” in minutes and documents from the National Economic Development Board of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. [5] Jibril strongly believed that the Libyan masses were not fit to govern themselves and that an elite should always control the fate and wealth of any nation. What Jibril wanted to do is downsize the Libyan government and layoff a large segment of the public sector, but in exchange increase government regulations in Libya. He would also always cite Singapore as the perfect example of a neo-liberal state. While in Singapore, which he regularly visited, it is likely that he also meet with Bernard-Henri Lévy.

When the problems erupted in Benghazi, Mahmoud Jibril immediately went to Cairo, Egypt. He told his colleagues that he would be back in Tripoli soon, but he had no intention of returning. In reality, he went to Cairo to meet the leaders of the Syrian National Council and Lévy. They were all waiting for him inside Cairo to coordinate the events in Libya and Syria. This is one of the reasons that the Transitional Council has recognized the Syrian National Council as the legitimate government of Syria.

Do Not Pity the Dead, Pity the Living!

Muammar Qaddafi is now dead. 

He was murdered in his hometown of Sirte. 

He stood his ground until the end like he said he would. 

The Transitional Council, which vowed to take him to court had him murdered. 

He even reminded the men who beat him, anally raped him, mocked him, and finally murdered him that they were not following the laws of Islam about respectful treatment of prisoners. NATO played a central role and oversaw the whole event. 

The murder was systematic, because after Qaddafi was murdered his son and several other Libyan leaders were killed too.

Colonel Qaddafi’s death marks a historic milestone for Libya. An old era has ended in Libya and a new chapter begins. 

Libya will not become a new paradise like the Transitional Council says. In many cases the living will envy the dead, because of men like Mahmoud Jibril, Ali Tarhouni, and Sliman Bouchuiguir.

Mahmoud Jibril is a mere opportunist. The man had no problems being a government official under the late Qaddafi. He never complained about human rights or a lack of democracy. He was the prime minister of the Transitional Council of Libya until a few days after the savage murder of Colonel Qaddafi. The opposition of Jibril to the late Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project and his elitist attitude are amongst the reasons he conspired against Qaddafi and helped form the Transitional Council.

Is this ex-regime official, who has always been an open supporter of the Arab dictators in the Persian Gulf, really a representative and champion of the people? How about his colleagues in the Transitional Council who negotiated oil contracts with NATO member states, even before they held any so-called government positions in the Transitional Council?

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montréal. He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He was on the ground in Libya for over two months and was also a Special Correspondent for Flashpoints, which is an investigative news program carried on numerous stations in the United States and based in Berkeley, California. Nazemroaya has been releasing these articles about Libya in conjunction with aired discussions (now archived) with Cynthia McKinney on Freedom Now, a show aired on Saturdays on KPFK, Los Angeles, California.

Notes

[1] Henri Pierre Habib, Politics and Government of Revolutionary Libya (Montmagny, Québec: Le Cercle de Livre de France Ltée, 1975), p.1.

[2] Regional African Satellite Communication Organization, “Launch of the Pan African Satellite,” July 26, 2010:
<http://www.rascom.org/info_detail2.php?langue_id=2&info_id=120&id_sr=0&id_r=32&id_gr=3>

[3] Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, February 18, 2011, p.22.

[4] Private discussions with Mahmoud Jiribil’s co-workers inside and outside of Libya.

[5] Internal private documents from the National Economic Development Board of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 

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Ancient Human Metropolis Found in Africa (cirka 200,000 Years Old)

Posted by Admin on September 30, 2011

http://viewzone2.com/adamscalendarx.html

Ancient Human Metropolis Found in Africa

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By Dan Eden for viewzone.They have always been there. People noticed them before. But no one could remember who made them — or why? Until just recently, no one even knew how many there were. Now they are everywhere — thousands — no, hundreds of thousands of them! And the story they tell is the most important story of humanity. But it’s one we might not be prepared to hear.Something amazing has been discovered in an area of South Africa, about 150 miles inland, west of the port of Maputo. It is the remains of a huge metropolis that measures, in conservative estimates, about 1500 square miles. It’s part of an even larger community that is about 10,000 square miles and appears to have been constructed — are you ready — from 160,000 to 200,000 BCE!

The image [top of page] is a close-up view of just a few hundred meters of the landscape taken from google-earth. The region is somewhat remote and the “circles” have often been encountered by local farmers who assumed they were made by some indigenous people in the past. But, oddly, no one ever bothered to inquire about who could have made them or how old they were.

This changed when researcher and author, Michael Tellinger, teamed up with Johan Heine, a local fireman and pilot who had been looking at these ruins from his years flying over the region. Heine had the unique advantage to see the number and extent of these strange stone foundations and knew that their significance was not being appreciated.

“When Johan first introduced me to the ancient stone ruins of southern Africa, I had no idea of the incredible discoveries we would make in the year or two that followed. The photographs, artifacts and evidence we have accumulated points unquestionably to a lost and never-before-seen civilization that predates all others — not by just a few hundred years, or a few thousand years… but many thousands of years. These discoveries are so staggering that they will not be easily digested by the mainstream historical and archaeological fraternity, as we have already experienced. It will require a complete paradigm shift in how we view our human history. “ — Tellinger

Where it was found

The area is significant for one striking thing — gold. “The thousands of ancient gold mines discovered over the past 500 years, points to a vanished civilization that lived and dug for gold in this part of the world for thousands of years,” says Tellinger. “And if this is in fact the cradle of humankind, we may be looking at the activities of the oldest civilization on Earth.”

To see the number and scope of these ruins, I suggest that you use google-earth and start with the following coordinates:Carolina — 25 55′ 53.28″ S / 30 16′ 13.13″ E
Badplaas — 25 47′ 33.45″ S / 30 40′ 38.76″ E
Waterval — 25 38′ 07.82″ S / 30 21′ 18.79″ E
Machadodorp — 25 39′ 22.42″ S / 30 17′ 03.25″ EThen perform a low flying search inside the area formed by this rectangle. Simply Amazing!

Did gold play some role in the dense population that once lived here? The site is just about 150 miles from an excellent port where maritime trade could have helped to support such a large population. But remember — we’re talking almost 200,000 years ago!

The individual ruins [see below] mostly consist of stone circles. Most have been buried in the sand and are only observable by satellite or aircraft. Some have been exposed when the changing climate has blown the sand away, revealing the walls and foundations.

“I see myself as a fairly open-minded chap but I will admit that it took me well over a year for the penny to drop, and for me to realise that we are actually dealing with the oldest structures ever built by humans on Earth.The main reason for this is that we have been taught that nothing of significance has ever come from southern Africa. That the powerful civilizations all emerged in Sumeria and Egypt and other places. We are told that until the settlement of the BANTU people from the north, which was supposed to have started sometime in the 12th century AD, this part of the world was filled by hunter gatherers and so-called Bushmen, who did not make any major contributions in technology or civilization.” — Tellinger

A Rich and Diverse HistoryWhen explorers first encountered these ruins, they assumed that they were cattle corals made by nomadic tribes, like the Bantu people, as they moved south and settled the land from around the 13th century. There was no previous historical record of any older civilization capable of building such a densly populated community. Little effort was made to investigate the site because the scope of the ruins was not fully known.Over the past 20 years, people like Cyril Hromnik, Richard Wade, Johan Heine and a handful of others have discovered that thesestone structures are not what the seem to be. In fact these are now believed to be the remains of ancient temples and astronomical observatories of lost ancient civilizations that stretch back for many thousands of years.

These circular ruins are spread over a huge area. They can only truly be appreciated from the air or through modern sattelite images. Many of them have almost completely eroded or have been covered by the movement of soil from farming and the weather. Some have survived well enough to reveal their great size [see above] with some originalwalls standing almost 5 feet high and over a meter wide in places.

Looking at the entire metropolis, it becomes obvious that this was a well planned community, developed by a highly evolved civilization. The number of ancient gold mines suggests the reason for the community being in this location. We find roads — some extending a hundred miles — that connected the community and terraced agriculture, closely resembling those found in the Inca settlements in Peru.

But one question begs for an answer — how could this be achieved by humans 200,000 years ago?

An example of what you will see on google-earth.

This is what you will see on google-earth at 25 37’40.90″S / 30 17’57.41E [A]. We are viewing the scene from an altitude of 357 meters.

This is not a “special” location — just one we picked at random, within the previously described area. It shows artifacts that are everywhere and we encourage you to search the area with this great internet technology.

The circular stone structures are obvious from this view, even though they may not be visible from ground level. Notice that there are many very long roads [B] that connect groups of the circular structures. If you zoom out and follow these “roads” they travel for many miles.

The fact that we can see these structures is mainly because natural erosion has blown away the dirt and debris that has covered them for thousands of years. Once exposed to the wind, the rocks are scoured clean and may appear deceptively new.

If you look closely at what first appears to be empty land [C], you will notice many faint circles, indicating that even more dwellings lurk below the surface. In reality, the entire area is packed full of these structures and connecting roads.

Why has no one notices these before?

How the Site was dated

Once the ruins were examined, the researchers were anxious to place the lost civilization in a historical perspective. The rocks were covered with a patina that looked very old but there were no items sufficient for carbon-14 dating. It was then that a chance discovery revealed the age of the site, and sent a chill down the spine of archaeologists and historians!

Dating the site:
Finding the remains of a large community, with as many as 200,000 people living and working together, was a major discovery in itself. But dating the site was a problem. The heavy patina on the rock walls suggested the structures were extremely old, but the science of dating patina is just being developed and is still controversial. Carbon-14 dating of such things as burnt wood introduces the possibility that the specimens could be from recent grass fires which are common in the area.The breakthrough came quite unexpectedly. As Tellinger describes it:

“Johan Heine discovered Adam’s Calendar in 2003, quite by accident. He was on route to find one of his pilots who crashed his plane on the edge of the cliff. Next to the crash site Johan noticed a very strange arrangement of large stones sticking out of the ground. While rescuing the injured pilot from about 20 metres down the side of the cliff, Johan walked over to the monoliths and immediately realised that they were aligned to the cardinal points of Earth — north, south, east and west. There were at least 3 monoliths aligned towards the sunrise, but on the west side of the aligned monoliths there was a mysterious hole in the ground — something was missing.After weeks and months of measuring and observations, Johan concluded that it was perfectly aligned with the rise and fall of the Sun. He determined the solstices and the equinoxes. But the mysterious hole in the ground remained a big puzzle. One day, while contemplating the reason for the hole, the local horse trail expert, Christo, came riding by. He quickly explained to Johan that there was a strange shaped stone which had been removed from the spot some time ago. Apparently it stood somewhere near the entrance to the nature reserve.

After an extensive search, Johan found the anthropomorphic (humanoid shape) stone. It was intact and proudly placed with a plaque stuck to it. It had been used by the Blue Swallow foundation to commemorate the opening of the Blue Swallow reserve in 1994. The irony is that it was removed from the most important ancient site found to date and mysteriously returned to the reserve — for slightly different reasons.

The exact location of the calendar is listed on www.makomati.com. The first calculations of the age of the calendar were made based on the rise of Orion, a constellation known for its three bright stars forming the “belt” of the mythical hunter.The Earth wobbles on its axis and so the stars and constellations change their angle of presentation in the night sky on a cyclical basis. This rotation, called the precession completes a cycle about every 26,000 years. By determining when the three stars of Orion’s belt were positioned flat (horizontal) against the horizon, we can estimate the time when the three stones in the calendar were in alignment with these conspicuous stars.

The first rough calculation was at least 25,000 years ago. But new and more precise measurements kept increasing the age. The next calculation was presented by a master archaeoastronomer who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of ridicule by the academic fraternity. His calculation was also based on the rise of Orion and suggested an age of at least 75,000 years. The most recent and most acurate calculation, done in June 2009, suggests an age of at least 160,000 years, based on the rise of Orion — flat on the horizon — but also on the erosion of dolerite stones found at the site.

Some pieces of the marker stones had been broken off and sat on the ground, exposed to natural erosion. When the pieces were put back together about 3 cm of stone had already been worn away. These calculation helped assess the age of the site by calculating the erosion rate of the dolerite.

Who made the metropolis? Why?
It would seem that humans have always valued gold. It is even mentioned in the Bible, describing the Garden of Eden’s rivers:Genesis 2:11 — The name of the first [river] is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.South Africa is known as the largest gold producing country of the world. The largest gold producing area of the world is Witwatersrand, the same region where the ancient metropolis is found. In fact nearby Johannesburg, one of the best known cities of South Africa, is also named “Egoli” which means the city of gold.

GOLD MINING — HOW LONG AGO?Is there evidence that mining took place, in southern Africa, during the Old Stone Age? Archaeological studies indicate that it indeed was so.Realizing that sites of abandoned ancient mines may indicate where gold could be found, South Africa’s leading mining corporation, the Anglo-American Corporation, in the 1970s engaged archaeologists to look for such ancient mines. Published reports (Optima) detail the discovery in Swaziland and other sites in South Africa of extensive mining areas with shafts to depths of fifty feet. Stone objects and charcoal remains established dates of 35,000, 46,000, and 60,000 B.C. for these sites. The archaeologists and anthropologists who joined in dating the finds believed that mining technology was used in south- ern Africa “during much of the period subsequent to 100,000 B.C.”

In September 1988, a team of international physicists came to South Africa to verify the age of human habitats in Swaziland and Zululand. The most modern techniques indicated an age of 80,000 to 115,000 years.

Regarding the most ancient gold mines of Monotapa in southern Zimbabwe, Zulu legends hold that they were worked by “artificially produced flesh and blood slaves created by the First People.” These slaves, the Zulu legends recount, “went into battle with the Ape-Man” when “the great war star appeared in the sky” (see Indaba My Children, by the Zulu medicine man Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa). [Genesis Revisited]

It seems highly probable that the ancient metropolis was established because of its proximity to the largest supply of gold on the planet. But why would ancient people work so hard to mine gold? You can’t eat it. It’s too soft to use for tool making. It isn’t really useful for anything except ornaments and its physical beauty is on a par with other metals like copper or silver. Exactly why was gold so important to early homo sapiens?

To explore the answer we need to look at the period of history in question — 160,000 to 200,000 years BCE — and learn what was happening on planet Earth.

What were humans like 160,000 years ago?Modern humans, homo sapiens, can trace our ancestry back through time to a point where our species evolved from other, more primitive, hominids. Scientists do not understand why this new type of human suddenlyappeared, or how the change happened, but we can trace our genes back to a single female that is known as “Mitochondrial Eve”.Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) [Right: An artist’s rendition] is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. Passed down from mother to offspring, all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in every living person is derived from this one female individual. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived at different times.

Mitochondrial Eve is believed to have lived between 150,000 to 250,000 years BP, probably in East Africa, in the region of Tanzania and areas to the immediate south and west. Scientists speculate that she lived in a population of between perhaps 4000 to 5000 females capable of producing offspring at any given time. If other females had offspring with the evolutionary changes to their DNA we have no record of their survival. It appears that we are all descendants of this one human female.

Mitochondrial Eve would have been roughly contemporary with humans whose fossils have been found in Ethiopia near the Omo River and at Hertho. Mitochondrial Eve lived significantly earlier than the out of Africa migration which might have occurred some 60,000 to 95,000 years ago.

[right] The region in Africa where one can find the greatest level of mitochondrial diversity (green) and the region anthropologists postulated the most ancient division in the human population began to occur (light brown). The ancient metropolis in located in this latter (brown) region which also corresponds to the estimated age when the genetic changes suddenly happened.

Could this be a coincidence?

Ancient Sumerian history describes the ancient metropolis and its inhabitants!I’ll be honest with you. This next part of the story is difficult to write. It’s so shocking that the average person will not want to believe it. If you are like me, you’ll want to do the research yourself, then allow some time for the facts to settle in your mind.We are often made to believe that the Egyptians — the Pharoahs and pyramids — are where our known history begins. The oldest dynasties go back some 3200 years BP. That’s a long time ago. But the Sumerian civilization, in what is now Iraq, is much older. What’s more, we have translated many of their history tablets, written in cuneiform and earlier scripts so we know a lot about their history and legends.

The seal image [above] depicts the legend of the “Great Flood” which consumed mankind. Many Sumerian legends are strikingly similar to Genesis. Like Genesis, the Sumerian legend,Atrahasis, tells the story of the creation of modern humans — not by a loving God — but by beings from another planet who needed “slave workers” to help them mine gold on their extra-planetary expedition!

I warned that this is difficult to believe, but please keep reading.

Who made the metropolis? Why?
This story, the Atrahasis, comes from an early Babylonian version of about 1700 BC, but it certainly dates back to Sumerian times. It combines familiar Sumerian motifs of the creation of mankind and the subsequent flood — just like Genesis.The story starts out with the “gods” — beings from a planet called Nibiru — digging ditches and mining for gold as part of an expeditionary team. Modern humans (homo sapiens) did not exist yet; only primitive hominids lived on Earth. There were two groups of “gods”, the worker class and the ruling class (i.e. officers). The worker gods had built the infrastructure as well as toiled in the gold mines and, after thousands of years, the work was apparently too much for them.The gods had to dig out the canals
Had to clear channels,
the lifelines of the land,
The gods dug out the Tigris river bed
And then they dug out the Euphrates.
 –(Dalley 9, Atrahasis)

After 3,600 years of this work, the gods finally begin to complain. They decide to go on strike, burning their tools and surrounding the chief god Enlil’s “dwelling” (his temple). Enlil’s vizier, Nusku, gets Enlil out of bed and alerts him to the angry mob outside. Enlil is scared. (His face is described as being “sallow as a tamarisk.”) The vizier Nusku advises Enlil to summon the other great gods, especially Anu (sky-god) and Enki (the clever god of the fresh waters). Anu advises Enlil to ascertain who is the ringleader of the rebellion. They send Nusku out to ask the mob of gods who is their leader. The mob answers, “Every single one of us gods has declared war!” (Dalley 12, Atrahasis).

Since the upper-class gods now see that the work of the lower-class gods “was too hard,” they decide to sacrifice one of the rebels for the good of all. They will take one god, kill him, and make mankind by mixing the god’s flesh and blood with clay:

Belit-ili the womb-goddess is present,
Let the womb-goddess create offspring,
And let man bear the load of the gods!
 (Dalley 14-15, Atrahasis)

After Enki instructs them on purification rituals for the first, seventh and fifteenth of every month, the gods slaughter Geshtu-e, “a god who had intelligence” (his name means “ear” or “wisdom”) and form mankind from his blood and some clay. After the birth goddess mixes the clay, all the gods troop by and spit on it. Then Enki and the womb-goddess take the clay into “the room of fate,” where The womb-goddesses were assembled.

He [Enki] trod the clay in her presence;
She kept reciting an incantation,
For Enki, staying in her presence, made her recite it.
When she had finished her incantation,
She pinched off fourteen pieces of clay,
And set seven pieces on the right,
Seven on the left.
Between them she put down a mud brick.
 (Dalley 16, Atrahasis)

The creation of man seems to be described as a type of cloning and what we would today consider in vitro fertilization.The result was a hybrid or “evolved human” with enhanced intellect who could perform the physical duties of the worker gods and also take care of the needs of all the gods.

We are told, in other texts, that the expedition came for gold and that great quantities were mined and shipped off the planet. The community in South Africa was called “Abzu” and was the prime location of the mining operation.

Since these events appear to coincide with the dates of “Mitochondrial Eve” (i.e. 150,000 to 250,000 BP) and appear to be located in the richest gold mining region on the planet (Abzu), some researchers are thinking that the Sumerian legends may, in fact, be based on historical events.

According to the same texts, once the mining expedition ended it was decided that the human population should be allowed to perish in a flood which was predicted by the atronomer of the “gods.” Apparently, the cyclical passage of the home planet of the gods, Nibiru, was going to bring it close enough to the orbit of Earth that its gravity would cause the oceans to rise and flood the land, putting an end to the hybrid species — homo sapiens.

According to the story, one of the “gods” had sympathy for a particular human, Zuisudra, and warned him to construct a boat to ride out the flood. This eventually became the basis for the story of Noah in the book of Genesis.

Did this really happen? The only other explanation is to imagine that the Sumerian legends, acknowledging life on other planets and human cloning, were extraordinary science-fiction. This in itself would be amazing. But we now have evidence that the mining city, Abzu, is real and that it existed in the same era as the sudden evolution of hominids to homo sapiens.

Just think about this for a while.

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Libya in Pictures: What the Mainstream Media Does Not Tell You

Posted by Admin on July 25, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25630

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Global Research, July 16, 2011

Global Research reports from Tripoli

Mirage fighters, F16 fighters, B-2 Stealth bombers, 15,000 NATO air sorties. the bombing of thousands of civilian targets…

NATO is said to be coming to the rescue of the Libyan people. That is what we are being told.

Western journalists have quite deliberately distorted what is happening inside Libya. They have upheld NATO as an instrument of peace and democratization.

They have endorsed an illegal and criminal war.

They are instruments of US-NATO propaganda.

Global Research’s Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya reporting from Tripoli refutes the media consensus which uphold’s NATO’s humanitarian mandate. He provides us with a review of the mass rallies directed against NATO including extensive photographic evidence.

Forward this article. Post it on Facebook. Spread the word.  

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, July 15, 2011

PHOTOMONTAGE

For complete report on GRTV with extensive photographic evidence

 

VIDEO: This is Libya: On the Ground Scenes

GRTV Report from Tripoli
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-07-16


TRIPOLI. July 15, 2011. 

 



Friday of July 1, 2011 like many other Fridays has seen huge rallies in Tripoli’s Green Square.

It’s very hard to get an accurate number of the mass of people that have attended these rallies. Estimates have placed the size of the July 1st rally in Green Square at one million people. 

(See the GRTV Video report by ANSWER with Cynthia McKinney and Ramsey Clark)

The rallies have been taking place almost weekly in Tripoli and other Libyan cities, including Sabha on July 8, 2011.

Western public opinion has been misinformed. People in Europe and North America are not even aware that these mass rallies have taken place. 

The rallies express the Libyan people’s firm opposition to NATO’s “humanitarian” intervention (“on behalf of the Libyan people”). 

The large majority of the population are opposed to the Benghazi-based Transitional Council. 

The rallies also indicate significant popular support for Colonel Qaddafi in contrast to the usual stereotype descriptions of the Western media.

The mainstream media has either casually dismissed the significance of these public gatherings directed against NATO intervention or has failed to even report them.

These rallies continue late into the night. 

The following are pictures of Libyans converging on Green Square on July 1, 2011.

These pictures also show that the mainstream media was present and aware of these rallies. 

So what is preventing them from reporting the truth?

Why are some of these journalists claiming that only a few thousand people attended?

It is important to note that the pictures were taken at the outset of the event.

Libyans headed throughout the day into the night towards Green Square. Highways and roads leading towards Green Square were packed.  At the height of the rally, the number of people was signifcantly larger than what is conveyed in the pictures.

 


PHOTOMONTAGE 

For complete report on GRTV with extensive photographic evidence

 

VIDEO: This is Libya: On the Ground Scenes

GRTV Report from Tripoli
– by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-07-16




1. Western journalists position themselves on rooftops

 

People move towards Green Square

 

Libya’s Children: The Victims of NATO bombings

Photographs: Copyright. Mahdi Darius Nazemoroaya, Global Research 2011

 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya reporting from Tripoli is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

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South Sudan capital sweeps up, cracks down before split

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/south-sudan-capital-sweeps-cracks-down-split-093517416.html

By Alexander Dziadosz | Reuters – Thu, Jul 7, 2011

JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) – Southern Sudanese in the country-in-waiting’s capital are sprucing up streets, confiscating black market guns and trying to impose order on frenetic traffic to make sure independence day goes smoothly on Saturday.

For many southerners, the split from the country’s north represents a moment of long-awaited triumph and fresh optimism after decades of brutal civil war and perceived marginalization.

It also brings a raft of challenges as the rickety boomtown of Juba receives scores of foreign dignitaries and the government tries to enforce its writ across a territory roughly the size of France wracked by internal rebellions and awash with guns.

Men and women with straw brushes are sweeping leaves and dust from the southern capital’s streets and men in paint-stained jumpsuits are whitewashing walls. Celebratory banners hang across the city.

“They’re doing a very good job. Visitors from all over the world will come and see that the town is very clean,” Kisereko Charles, a 51-year-old engineer, said in central Juba.

A red digital display in a nearby roundabout is counting down the seconds to independence. “Free at last,” one message on the display flashed.

North and south Sudan have warred over ideology, religion, ethnicity and oil for all but a few years since the country’s independence. An estimated 2 million people – most of them southerners – died in the conflict.

A 2005 peace deal that brought an end to the war promised southerners the chance to vote for independence. About 98 percent chose to split when the referendum was held in January.

“Vote for dignity,” one sign left over from the poll reads, displaying a facsimile of part of the ballot: an open hand with the word “secession” printed in Arabic and English.

SECURITY

South Sudan, with at least seven internal rebel militias according to a U.N. count, will begin life as an independent country in a region known for political turmoil that can erupt in terrible bloodshed.

Neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a devastating war in the late 1990s after Eritrea split away. Kenya exploded in violence after a disputed election in late 2007.

Suicide bombings ripped through Uganda‘s capital during the 2010 football World Cup. The militant group that claimed responsibility is based in Somalia, a country that has not had an effective central government for about two decades.

Analysts and aid workers say independence might encourage renegade militias in the new Republic of South Sudan to step up their challenge to a government the rebels say is corrupt and autocratic.

Interior Minister Gier Chouang Aloung, acknowledging security worries, told reporters that “enemies of the south” would not be allowed to spoil the celebrations.

Security forces were continuing a sweep-up of illegal guns and were registering people trying to buy new firearms, he said.

Authorities were issuing regular statements to discourage harassment and abuse of power among security forces.

Even celebratory gunfire would not be tolerated on July 9, he said.

“There will be no shooting. The only shooting will be the 21-gun salute,” Aloung said. “Any other shooting is illegal and it will be taken care of.”

Authorities have started cracking down on traffic, too. The former insurgents charged with policing Juba’s streets have been blocking the city’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxis, or “bodas,” from main roads.

“FIRST CLASS CITIZENS

The secession has been a temporary boon for the fruit and vegetable markets on the capital’s sprawling edges as southerners stock up on food ahead of the celebration.

“These days they are really buying,” said Gift Kadija, a 38-year-old vendor, who is from Uganda like many of the sellers there.

“They buy tomatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, rice, cooking oil for the celebrations. They are preparing.”

Hundreds of thousands of southerners have already returned home ahead of independence, and many more are streaming back. A flight from Khartoum last week was full of southerners carting bulging suitcases wrapped up with tape.

They were greeted in Juba by a one-room terminal crammed with passengers jostling to collect their bags. Arrival times of flights were jotted on a white marker board on the wall. Down the main road to town, pickup trucks packed with men flew South Sudan’s new flag and bullhorns blasted the new national anthem.

“We have chosen to be first class citizens,” one banner read.

“I’m very happy, very excited,” Edward Roji, a 48-year-old government worker standing near the banner, said. “I was born in this war, and I grew up in this war — over 40 years of war.”

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Egypt police clash with youths; over 1,000 hurt

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-police-fire-tear-gas-protesting-youths-082011998.html

By Patrick Werr and Yasmine Saleh | Reuters – Wed, Jun 29, 2011

CAIRO (Reuters) – Police in Cairo fired tear gas on Wednesday at hundreds of stone-throwing Egyptian youths after a night of clashes that injured more than 1,000 people, the worst violence in the capital in several weeks.

Nearly five months since a popular uprising toppled long-serving authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt‘s military rulers are struggling to keep order while a restless public is still impatient for reform.

The latest clashes began after families of people killed in the uprising that ousted Mubarak held an event in a Cairo suburb late on Tuesday in their honor.

Other bereaved relatives arrived to complain that names of their own dead were not mentioned at the ceremony. Fighting broke and moved toward the capital’s central Tahrir Square and the Interior Ministry, according to officials.

The Health Ministry said 1,036 people were injured, among them at least 40 policemen.

The ruling military council said in a statement on its Facebook page that the latest events “had no justification other than to shake Egypt’s safety and security in an organised plan that exploits the blood of the revolution’s martyrs and to sow division between the people and the security apparatus.”

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf told state TV he was monitoring developments and awaiting a full report on the clashes.

A security source quoted by the state news agency MENA said 40 people were arrested, including one U.S. and one British citizen, and were being questioned by military prosecutors.

Some said those involved were bent on battling police rather than protesting. To others, the violence seemed motivated by politics.

“The people are angry that the court cases against top officials keep getting delayed,” said Ahmed Abdel Hamid, 26, a bakery employee who was at the scene overnight, referring to senior political figures from the discredited Mubarak era.

By early afternoon, eight ambulances were in Tahrir, epicenter of the revolt that toppled Mubarak on February 11, and the police had left the square. Dozens of adolescent boys, shirts tied around their heads, blocked traffic from entering Tahrir, using stones and scrap metal.

Some drove mopeds in circles around the square making skids and angering bystanders. “Thugs, thugs… The square is controlled by thugs,” an old man chanted.

“I am here today because I heard about the violent treatment by the police of the protesters last night,” said Magdy Ibrahim, 28, an accountant at Egypt’s Banque du Caire.

TREATING WOUNDED

The clashes unnerved Egypt’s financial market, with equity traders blaming the violence for a 2 percent fall in the benchmark EGX30 index, its biggest drop since June 2.

First-aid workers treated people mostly for inhaling tear gas in overnight violence. A Reuters correspondent saw several people with minor wounds, including some with head cuts.

Mohsen Mourad, the deputy interior minister for Cairo, said the security forces did not enter Tahrir overnight and dealt only with 150-200 people who tried to break into the Interior Ministry and threw stones, damaging cars and police vehicles.

The Muslim Brotherhood‘s political party warned Egyptians that remnants of Mubarak’s rule could exploit violence to their ends. Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei called on the ruling military council to quickly clarify the facts surrounding the violence and to take measures to halt it.

U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns, visiting Cairo, said he hoped an investigation into the clashes would be “fair and thorough.”

Young men lit car tyres in the street near the ministry on Wednesday, sending black plumes of smoke into the air.

“There is lack of information about what happened and the details are not clear. But the certain thing is that Egyptians are in a state of tension and the reason behind this is that officials are taking time to put Mubarak and officials on trial,” said political analyst Hassan Nafaa.

Sporadic clashes, some of them between Muslims and the Christian minority, have posed a challenge to a government trying to restore order after many police deserted the streets during the uprising against Mubarak. In early May, 12 people were killed and 52 wounded in sectarian clashes and the burning of a church in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood.

A hospital in central Cairo’s Munira neighborhood received two civilians and 41 policemen with wounds, bruises and tear gas inhalation, MENA said. All were discharged except one civilian with a bullet wound and a policeman with concussion, it said.

Former interior minister Habib al-Adli has been sentenced to jail for corruption but he and other officials are still being tried on charges related to killing protesters. Police vehicles were stoned by protesters at Sunday’s hearing.

The former president, now hospitalized, has also been charged with the killing of protesters and could face the death penalty. Mubarak’s trial starts on August 3.

(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed and Sherine El Madany; Writing by Edmund Blair and Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Peter Graff)

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Continuing Colonialism: World Bank Funds Mining in Africa

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://www.truth-out.org/continuing-colonialism-world-bank-funds-mining-africa68756

Thursday 24 March 2011

by: Cyril Mychalejko   |  Toward Freedom | Report

The private finance sector arm of the World Bank Group announced last month that it would invest $300 million to promote mining in Africa.

“Mining is a critically important yet challenging sector and [the International Finance Corporation] IFC has a role to play in supporting responsible companies that will bring jobs, related infrastructure and government revenues to Africa,” said Andrew Gunther, IFC’s Senior Manager of Infrastructure and Natural Resources in Africa and Latin America.

Dr. Aaron Tesfaye, a professor of International Political Economy and African Politics at William Paterson University, said he is not surprised by the announcement because of the economic and security implications mining and strategic metals have for industrialized nations.

“Much has been written about China’s voracious appetite for Africa’s mineral resources as it attempts to become a global industrial power. I think the World Bank‘s investment is a precursor of larger investments on projects, as big and emerging powers engage in the new scramble for Africa,” said Tesfaye.

While the IFC claims to promote poverty reduction through sustainable development in developing countries, it has been criticized because the mining projects it has funded have a track record of causing human rights abuses and massive environmental damage.

“This is bad news for Africans, at least those who aren’t members of the business and political elite,” said Jamie Kneen, Communications Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.

According to a 2006 report published by a group of NGO’s that includeEARTHWORKS and Oxfam International, “Mining does not have a good record of contributing to sustainable development or poverty reduction. The World Bank’s own research has indicated that mineral extraction is neither necessary nor sufficient for sustained economic growth, and that it has not helped developing nations escape from poverty.”

Kneen also voiced concerns over human rights, labor rights and environmental sustainability. Sakura Saunders, an anti-mining activist and editor of ProtestBarrick.net, also pointed out the mining industry’s horrendous history.

“The extractive industry is not only correlated with high rates of militarism and corruption, but it is also an industry that is inextricably linked to externalized environmental and social costs,” said Saunders. “Additionally, these industries traditionally provide very little revenues in terms of royalties and taxes to their host countries.”

The EARTHWORKS and Oxfam report, which focused on gold mining, also pointed out that, “These vast industrial operations often irreversibly alter landscapes, displace communities, contaminate drinking water, harm workers, and destroy pristine ecosystems or farm lands.”

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In January 2006, the IFC awarded Newmont Mining Corporation a loan of $125 million to develop an open-pit gold mine in Ghana. According to the IFC, Newmont’s Ahafo gold mine served as a model for “responsible mining and community development.” The IFC-Newmont development model ended up displacing over 10,000 people, many of whom were subsistence farmers, while in October 2009 the company was responsible for a cyanide spill which poisoned local water supplies and killed scores of fish. As a result it was ordered to pay $5 million in “compensation”. EARTHWORKS, which has been working with local communities against the project through its No Dirty Gold campaign, also noted that: “Security forces associated with the mine have also been implicated in human rights abuses…have beaten and arrested protesters who were demonstrating over unfair Newmont practices. On one occasion protesting workers were shot. Some residents who were displaced have been assaulted by security forces for allegedly trespassing on company property.”

Saunders’ criticism of paltry royalties and taxes provided to host countries is also supported by a report released in 2009 by the Tax Justice Network for Africa, ActionAid, Southern Africa Resource Watch, Third World Network Africa and Christian Aid, titled “Breaking the Curse: How Transparent Taxation and Fair Taxes can Turn Africa’s Mineral Wealth into Development.”

The report stated, “Mining companies operating in Africa are granted too many tax subsidies and concessions [and] there is a high incidence of tax avoidance by mining companies conditioned by such measures as secret mining contracts, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and various ‘creative’ accounting mechanisms.”

The report also blamed the World Bank for pushing mining reforms on the continent during the early 1990’s that called for deregulation and tax subsidies to attract foreign investment, policies that either created or reinforced these corrupt and harmful conditions plaguing communities across Africa. The report calls for reforms that include more transparency from the mining industry and the creation of a new accounting system and oversight board.

But MiningWatch’s Kneen questions whether such policies are attainable, or even advantageous. “Whether a reasonable tax structure could even be implemented in the face of pressure from the industry and the [World] Bank, it’s not clear how that money would be used for social investment, compensation, and environmental protection and rehabilitation in the absence of competent agencies to do this. It seems obvious that the independent institutional and governance capacity cannot be created once the extraction is underway – technical capacity can be created but it cannot escape corruption or the more insidious regulatory capture that afflicts even developed countries like Canada.”

What all of this amounts to is the continuation of colonialism’s brutal legacy through a corporate neocolonialism carried out by transnational mining companies with the aid of international financial institutions working at the behest of developed nations.

“In the division of labor in the international economy, Africa has been relegated to a plantation economy. The primary reason still is the intrusion and present consequences of colonialism resulting in lop-sided development,” said William Paterson’s Tesfaye. “Today this is evidenced by a highly developed mineral extracting/commodity producing sector for export and a large peasant based rural subsistence economy. It is true of course, that Africans employed in the mineral extraction sector do earn better wages. But neither this minuscule industrial labor force nor the gelatinous and peripheral African bourgeoisie have been able to connect with the larger African population to determine the trajectory of the state and its economy. Thus the colonial model is not a way out for Africa.”

Kneen offered a similar analysis. He said, “The colonial underdevelopment of Africa, transformed into a post-independence model of corporate exploitation – for the most part no longer directly run by rich countries – has deprived Africans of not only the capital and resources they need to undertake their own development (fertile land, timber, fish, fresh water), but the democratic and participatory processes by which this could be done.”

The underdevelopment of Africa – democratic, social and economic – is not an accident, but rather a strategy to maintain domination over a region rich in resources and cheap labor.

This helps explain why, as Kneen points out, “Investors, governments, and the multilateral institutions don’t just tolerate corruption and repression, they eagerly support it.”

Cyril Mychalejko is an editor at www.UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin America.

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

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Libya unrest: India readying evacuation plan, 1 Indian killed in accident

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2011

The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Muammar Al Gaddafi

http://in.news.yahoo.com/libya-unrest-india-readying-evacuation-plan-1-indian-20110222-062153-441.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Tue, Feb 22, 2011 7:51 PM IST

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) With the protests in Libya cascading, the Indian government is is readying a contingency plan to evacuate its nationals residing in the violence-torn country, even as an Indian was killed in a road accident in the North African country.

An Indian was killed and two others injured in a road accident Feb 19, the Indian embassy in Tripoli said, while stressing that the death was not due to due to gunfire in the wake of protests.

Murugaiah, a contract worker from Tamil Nadu, reportedly succumbed to his injuries Monday.

The other Indian nationals are still in the hospital and recuperating, the Indian embassy said, adding that it was in regular touch with the Medical Center.

The story of Murugaiah’s death being a result of firing appears to be incorrect, the embassy said while alluding to some media reports.

India’s ambassador to Libya Manimekalai told CNN-IBN that the government will help in bringing back the body of the deceased, but added that certain procedures will have to be followed. She denied reports of Indians being trapped in a mosque.

New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the developments in the violence-torn North African country.

‘The situation is being closely-monitored by the external affairs ministry and we are in constant touch with the ambassador there. I am happy to inform that all Indians are safe in Libya,’ External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna told reporters outside parliament.

Krishna added that the Indian mission in Libya was in constant touch with Indian citizens there and ‘whatever needs to be done, will be done’.

‘We don’t differentiate between mazdoors and non-mazdoors (labourers and non-labourers). Every Indian is precious to us,’ he said when asked about the help being provided to workers there.

The external affairs ministry is coordinating with other ministries and is ready to fly in planes or send a ship with medical teams to help around 18,000 Indians living in that country if the situation takes a turn for the worse, informed sources said.

Krishna is also understood to have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and briefed him on steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians in Libya.

Sources, however, added that the government had no immediate plans of evacuation and was monitoring the situation closely.

There was a marathon internal meeting on the situation in the North Africa-West region, with Rajeev Shahare, joint secretary in charge of the region, reviewing measures for the safety of Indians and fine-tuning potential contingency plans.

‘Saw on Stratfor that Turkish Air flight to evacuate their citizens from Benghazi denied permission to land. Returned to Turkey…Please understand that we have 18000 Indians there. It is not a question of evacuating a few hundred people…Situation Room numbers: +91-11-23015300, 23012113, 23018179. Email:controlroom@mea.gov.in’, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao tweeted.

The Indian government has also set up a committee to monitor the situation in Libya and prepare plans to meet any eventuality in the wake of the unprecedented protest against the four-decade old Muammar Gaddafi regime in that country.

‘The committee would comprise the foreign secretary and overseas Indian affairs secretary among others. This committee would be planning to meet any eventuality,’ Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said here Monday.

Libyan Ambassador to India Ali al-Essawi had also reportedly resigned in protest against the Muammar Gaddafi government’s violent crackdown on demonstrators rooting for a change to his four-decade old rule.

The Libyan envoy has called on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to be fair and honest to protect the Libyan people.

With the popular unrest spreading in the Arab world, the external affairs ministry has set up a round-the-clock situation room to assist Indians in in the Middle Eastern and North African regions, home to an over 5-million strong Indian diaspora.

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Kenya and Uganda

Posted by Admin on January 30, 2011

“Analyse the factors behind the success or failure of the consolidation of democratic institutions in Kenya and Uganda.”

 

Introduction:

This paper examines the factors that have contributed to the success or failure of the consolidation of democratic institutions in Kenya and Uganda. The post-independence period of these two countries is the starting point for this study. In arriving at its conclusion that attempts at consolidation of democracy in these two countries have been abortive overall, this paper lists factors, both peculiar to these countries and those endemic in the larger context of African society as inhibitors of democracy. If the reign of dictators in these countries, most notably of Daniel arap Moi in Kenya and Milton Obote and later Idi Amin in Uganda were undoubtedly great factors in stalling democracy, this paper sees this phenomenon as only a symptom of the disease that has afflicted Africa –its near incompatibility with democracy. The factors that have brought about this situation are mentioned in the concluding part of this paper.

It needs mention that the scope of this paper precludes the need for a detailed examination of the chronology of events[1], because of which only events concerning the thesis topic are listed. Only actions concerning mostly Moi’s and Amin’s regimes are detailed in this paper.

 

Summary:

In the assessment of this paper, the most important outwardly factor to have acted as the stumbling block to democracy in these countries has been its dictators. Kenya’s rendezvous with democracy was also severely blunted by pathological corruption, as a result of which the country has been swinging between authoritarianism for most part of its post-independence existence, and some democracy. Kenya was placed on the road to democracy after independence, by its founding father, Jomo Kenyatta who had given the country a sample of democracy, but his successor, Daniel arap Moi chose the opposite route, and took the country toward totalitarian, one party rule. When multiparty elections did come, they were flawed. The end of his long rule paved the way for more democracy, but this was also severely affected not so much by despotic rule, as much as by corruption and compulsions of coalition politics.

 

In Uganda’s case, the role of two consecutive dictators, Milton Obote and Idi Amin were enough to keep democratic institutions in shackles for most part of its post-colonial history. The excesses of their establishment were the antithesis of any democratic attribute. If the Obote regime was going all out to kill democracy, then that of Idi Amin was brutal and abominable even by African standards. There has been some movement towards democracy in Uganda in the last two decades and in Kenya in the last few years, but this has not been in conditions that were different from those that fostered autocracy. There exists some democracy as of now on paper, but it is a fragile one, and the system can slide into its anarchic past at the slightest provocation.

 

Such brittleness of democratic institutions in these countries has been the outcome of the inward, critical reason for the stunted growth of democracy –the inability of the African political and social system to adapt this form of governance, which has been explored in the concluding part of this paper.

 

Kenya: Kenya’s tryst with democracy was full of difficulties, as a result of the fact that it was never based on serious intent. Arap Moi’s stranglehold over the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party he inherited from Kenyatta was complete. An attempted coup in 1982 was the perfect pretext for him to stifle democracy. His victory speech announced the justification for the continuance of single party rule:

There had to be a party giving people everywhere a sense of belonging and an arena of unity. The party was also to serve as an institution which the government and the people had in common — so that philosophies, policies and aspirations all sprang from the grass-roots of society. It was further visualized that the party, as a political instrument, must be appropriately involved in sustaining the countrywide momentum of nationalistic forces and feelings . . . (Ogot & Ochieng, 1995, p. 203)

 

Moi’s penchant for tyrannical rule got strengthened over time; the first multiparty elections[2] held in 1992 came about three decades after independence, and were marred by a lack of consensus or a pact among the parties. This fact made the elections a farce and rendered the opposition impotent. Coming as they did in the backdrop of increased international pressures over its human rights record and abysmally poor living conditions caused by corrupt governance, the elections of 1992 were a charade. Although they were multiparty elections held under the watchful eyes of international donors, they were won by the ruling party with skulduggery and the complicity of a pliant Election Commission and judiciary. Even after attaining a majority in parliament, the KANU led by Moi persistently refused to carry out constitutional reforms aimed at more democracy implying transparency in public administration. His term in office was marked by acts such as hounding opposition figures and the media, denying them the right of association and the carrying out of frequent arrests. The KANU’s unwillingness to relinquish power made them carry out much political stealth during the elections. (Harbeson, 1999, pp. 49-51)

 

This was a great slump in the democratic credentials of a party that had for most part of the “father of independence”, Kenyatta’s presidency, been a fairly neat example of democracy in Africa. From the time of independence in 1963 till his death in 1978, Kenyatta had nurtured a polity that had been surprisingly open to opposition parties. Although the KANU held monopoly of power on the national political scene since at least 1969 and the political system was based on patronage, Kenya was not a one-party monocracy. During his presidency, elections had been held regularly. Also, in a system that was at great variance with that in most other African regimes, for most part, the press was allowed to function without fear of political reprisal. There was liberty for the people to practise any religion, the Church and trade unions were allowed to voice their say, and civil liberty was being enforced by those in the legal profession and the judiciary. As Moi’s rule progressed, civil liberties starting taking a backseat, and power now started flowing into and getting consolidated into select ethnic communities. (Throup & Hornsby, 1998, p. 26)

 

Daniel arap Moi ran the government like a personal fiefdom, with extremely high levels of corruption[3] wreaking havoc in the daily lives of people. While corruption had been a bane of Kenyan society from Kenyatta’s time, accountability, a prerequisite of democracy, plummeted to new levels during Moi’s time. The treasury was virtually emptied during this time in innumerable scandals. The Goldenberg scandal was only the most famous of these, by which billions of Kenyan shillings were emptied from government coffers by fraudulent means. (Wright, 1998, p. 108) This resulted in strictures from Kenya’s donors and the World Bank culminating in suspension of vital aid, but even this did not alter the basic fabric of governance. (Lundahl, 2001, p. 99) This is where lay the problem –the inherent venality in the Kenyan society that some see as a takeoff from the colonial times, in which the colonisers used every method possible to deplete the exchequer. (Versi, 1996, p. 6)

 

Yet another factor of critical importance to arrest graduation to democracy was that Kenya’s opposition leaders were more mired in tribalism and had greater loyalty to their kinship, and were less clear about the system they wanted to put in place in the event of Moi’s defeat. Their cohesiveness was pre-empted by ethnic loyalty, which was always at the core of African society. It was never difficult for the seasoned Moi to exploit these inherent divisions. (Bates, 1999, p. 91)

 

Kenya also has some internalised and deep-rooted social factors that have made transition to democracy difficult. If the political factors listed above were direct and concrete factors that stalled the progress of democratic forces, social divisions such as ethnicity, location, education, income and gender lie at the heart of the society. This historic lopsidedness has made the assumption of more powers by some of such groups easy, while confining others into oblivion. Among these factors, perhaps the most important are “[e]thnic hostilities (which) reflect a weakness inherent in Kenya’s civic culture; (and) primordial fears and mistrust permeate society.” (Miller & Yeager, 1984, p. 74) This last factor has been the most important, larger reason for the lack of consolidation of democratic forces in Africa, of which these two countries are only a part. A presentation of this fact has been made in the last part of this paper.

 

Returning to Moi, finally, when the time came for him to hand over the reins of power, the administration that succeeded him, led by Mwai Kibaki, has been mired in coalition constraints; this administration, which came to office amid high promise and expectations, got entangled in corruption in much the same manner as its predecessor, (Kabukuru, 2006) to the extent of attracting censure from international donors if the system did not change. (Versi, 2005, p. 13) The crux of the power struggle has revolved round his attempt to acquire more power by bypassing his coalition partners, even while the entrenched system remains basically unchanged. (Wrong, 2005, p. 22) It has always been difficult for democracy to take root and flourish in such conditions.

 

 

Uganda: As was the case with Kenya, in Uganda, too, highly fragmented tribal and ethnic loyalties produced a splintered polity that could be exploited at will by the men in power. Right at the time of independence, major differences between the country’s most prosperous region that had the most powerful ethnic group, Buganda, and the rest of the country erupted and threatened to split the nation apart. Using their bargaining power, the Buganda had obtained a special status under the constitution of 1962, the nation’s first. Early into his term in office, the country’s first Prime Minister, Milton Obote was confronted with serious differences with the Buganda. After attempts at reconciling these and other various factions, Obote went on the offensive, and by 1966 had had the constitution annulled. When the Buganda protested this act and rose in rebellion by seeking foreign aid for separatism, the Obote government decided to take this state head on.  Declaring a state of national emergency, he ordered an Army crackdown on the Buganda stronghold, the tribal chief’s palace on Mengo Hill. Even as the Buganda chieftain, the Kabaka fled and the threat from this province receded, the Prime Minister seized this initiative to accumulate absolute power, starting with making himself president. This was the start of his autocratic regime; soon, what started as a measure to control internal dissent became an instrument of absolute power. A new constitution was promulgated in 1967, ostensibly to abolish the four dominant kingdoms and create a new government of unity, but was misused to gain total control. (Ofcansky, 1996, pp. 39-41)

 

Once he had been overthrown in a coup led by Idi Amin, his once trusted aide, what followed was a virtual bloodbath that was to soak the entire country, and mark a terrible chapter in its history. Amin first accused Tanzania of backing Obote, and chose this as a reason for rounding up alleged supporters of the deposed ruler. He next targeted officers of a failed coup, butchering several of them arbitrarily; one of his first acts was to proclaim himself ‘president for life’. Among his long list of perverse acts that were undemocratic was the suppression of the Catholic Church, on grounds that it was taking part in subversive activities; he even had the Anglican archbishop of Uganda murdered.  Such egregious acts continued with impunity till he was overthrown in 1979. (E.Jessup, 1998, p. 24) These were not before he had foreign journalists killed for attempting to cover the war with Tanzania, (Hachten, 1992, p. 42) and ordered the mass deportation of Indian businessmen who earned the cream of the economy. (Sowell, 1996, p. 321)

 

In Uganda, too, like in Kenya, society was deeply fractured along ethnic and tribal affiliations. Moreover, it was a country that had been built almost entirely on the strength of its agricultural sector. Industrialisation was almost totally absent, which meant that not only was dependence on this ancient system of production attracting more tribal loyalties, there was a total absence of any form of industrial bourgeoisie. This made organisation of the masses against tyranny ever more difficult. Thus, affiliations were more on the social rather than labour-oriented lines. This led to a solidification of the forces of concentration of power. This inhibited the spread of democracy to the grassroots level. With the advent of the colonisers, the geographical imbalance of power that was tilted in favour of Buganda was further aggravated in the form of animosity between the Catholic and Protestant and Christian and Muslim. (Hansen & Twaddle, 1988, p. 29)

 

In this milieu, the growth and consolidation of democratic institutions has always been next to impossible, as the present incumbent, Yoweri Museveni has been discovering. Despite not being given to the despotism of the earlier dictators, he has been having a difficult time keeping the country together due to insurrection from the sectarian Christian movement, the Lord’s Resistance Army, whose frequent attacks, and his government’s involvement in the civil war in Sudan  (P.Scherrer, 2002, p. 56) have weakened the graduation to democracy.

 

Conclusion: It is generally easy to point the difficulty in establishing democracy on a handful of dictators that ruled these two countries. While prima facie it is true that these men were responsible for this process as shown in this paper, a deeper understanding needs to be made of the conditions which enabled these men to assume absolute power and unleash such highly dictatorial regimes in these countries.

 

Discerning analysts and commentators have pointed out to systemic problems lying at the heart of African society as being the chief impediments to the fertilisation of democracy. This has been analysed thread bare with amazing clarity by Smith Hempstone (1995). The nub of this highly perspicacious analysis is that the genus of democracy was never present in Africa. This was a continent that had been blissfully insulated from all major events that shook the world –the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, explorations and political revolutions. The manure necessary for the sapling of democracy to sprout –openness, innovation and enterprise, was alien to African society. The institutional units that comprised society were the tribes, absolute and unquestioning obedience to whose leaders were the highest hallmarks of sacrosanct piety. All the dictators produced by Africa, Kenya and Uganda included, were people who made the best of this core of African life and society. The idea of accountability, rule of law and checks and balances were unknown to Africa. In a society that was light years away from the consciousness of nationhood, the parliamentary institutions that Britain put in place turned out to be seeds planted in an arid area. It is only natural that the only yield this continent threw up was dictators, the modern day avatar of tribal chiefs. (Hempstone, 1995) A Moi and an Idi Amin were the manifestations of this highly entrenched malaise that Africa has lived with. The democracy that has been seen in the last two decades has sprung out of the same conditions; hence, it should not be surprising if it breaks up on account of a consolidation of these primeval forces.

This being the core reason for the failure of democracy in Africa, it is not possible to understand or explain how Kenya or Uganda could have been exempt from this nature of governance in Africa. This, in the real and holistic sense, has been Africa’s story, and sums up the fulcrum of factors behind the failure of the consolidation of democratic institutions in Kenya and Uganda.

Written By Ravindra G Rao

 

References

 

 

Bates, R. H., (1999), 5 “The Economic Bases of Democratization”, in State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa, Joseph, R., (Ed.), (pp. 83-93), Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO.

 

E.Jessup, J., (1998), An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

 

Hachten, W., (1992), 4 “African Censorship and American Correspondents” in Africa’s Media Image, Hawk, B. G., (Ed.), (pp. 38-47), Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT.

 

Hansen, H. B. & Twaddle, M., (Eds.), (1988), Uganda Now: Between Decay & Development, James Currey, London.

 

Harbeson, J. W., (1999), 3 “Rethinking Democratic Transitions: Lessons from Eastern and Southern Africa”, in State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa, Joseph, R. (Ed.), (pp. 39-54), Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO.

 

Hempstone, S., (1995, Winter), “Kenya: A Tarnished Jewel”, The National Interest, 50+. Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/

 

Kabukuru, W., (2006, March), “Kenya: Has Kibaki Delivered? on 27 December 2002, Kenyans Elected a New Government, Headed by President Mwai Kibaki, Amidst Euphoria and Optimism. Three Years on, What Is the Score? Has Kibaki’s Government Fulfilled Its Electoral Promises? or Has It Been More of the Same? from Nairobi, Wanjohi Kabukuru Takes an Indepth Look”, New African 10+, Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/

 

Lundahl, M., (Ed.), (2001), From Crisis to Growth in Africa?. London: Routledge. Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=107366356

 

Miller, N., & Yeager, R. (1984). The Quest for Prosperity The Quest for Prosperity, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Ofcansky, T. P., (1996), Uganda: Tarnished Pearl of Africa, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Ogot, B. A., & Ochieng, W. R., (1995), Decolonization & Independence in Kenya, 1940-93, James Currey, London.

 

P.Scherrer, C., (2002), Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa : Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War, Praeger, Westport, CT.

 

Sowell, T., (1996), Migrations and Cultures: A World View, BasicBooks, New York.

 

Throup, D. W., & Hornsby, C., (1998), Multi-Party Politics in Kenya: The Kenyatta & Moi States & the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election, James Currey, Oxford.

 

Versi, A., (1996, February) “The Culture of Sleaze”, African Business, 6. Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/

 

Versi, A., (2005, March), “The Burr of Corruption”, African Business, 13. Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/

 

Wright, S. (Ed.), (1998), African Foreign Policies, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Wrong, M., (2005, September 5), “World View: African Voters Are Naive about Their Constitutions. Ruthless, Corrupt Elites Will Not Suddenly Start Sharing Power Just Because a Legal Document Says They Must” New Statesman, Vol. 134, p. 22. Retrieved May 20, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/


[1] For a more structured chronology of events about Kenya, the following links from BBC are a good reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1026884.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1069166.stm

A chronological history of Uganda is very well documented on the sites of the US Library of Congress. This site is particularly important for this study:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/ugtoc.html and http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ug0017)

[2] A good article for the run-up to these elections can be found on http://www.accord.org.za/ct/2002-4/CT4_2002_pg28-35.pdf

[3] The all-pervasiveness of this malaise has been well documented in a World Bank study authored by Anwar Shah in the report “Corruption and Decentralized Public Governance”. This report is aimed essentially at trying to find out if decentralization is a panacea to endemic corruption; yet, it gives a good account of this subject as a whole. Critical issues relating to corruption in Kenya find some mention in this report. It can be accessed on http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2006/01/13/000016406_20060113145401/Rendered/PDF/wps3824.pdf

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NORTHERN IRELAND AND OTHER CASES OF ETHNIC CONFLICT

Posted by Admin on January 30, 2011

“Is the notion of a deeply divided society the right template for comparing Northern Ireland with other cases of ethnic conflict?”

Table of contents:

Part I: Outline;

Part II: Limitation of this study:

Part III: Key words;

Part IV: General discussion;

Part V: Conclusion.

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Part I:

Outline:

The central argument of this paper revolves around the native-settler discourse of ethnic conflicts. Obviously, no conflict, ethnic or other, can happen in a vacuum and without a reason. Keeping this in mind, this paper presents the basic reasons for which major ethnic conflicts have been taking place around the world today. It presents a brief background to the ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland, mainly to understand that this is a case of a deeply divided society, for this is necessary to form the basis of the thesis topic. The next component of this paper is a presentation of the core background to some other leading ethnic conflicts around the world. The conflicts taken up in this section are South Africa, Israel/Palestine and Sri Lanka.  This is done with the intention of underscoring the essential nature of these conflicts –while being ethnic in nature, all these have happened out of a deeply divided society brought about by these ethnic aspects. More importantly, a brief explanation of the other conflicts taken up for this study is provided in view of the fact that this is meant to be a comparative paper, in which these are used as the frame of reference. The section on the background to these other conflicts is brief and is not a historical, blow-by-blow account, as it is meant to just enable an understanding of the roots of the ethnic nature of these conflicts. Then, this paper traverses into another of its central arguments –the element of territory in these conflicts. Since it is implied in this thesis statement that a) Northern Ireland’s is an ethnic conflict, and b) that other cases of ethnic conflict are a product of a deeply divided society, this paper does not explore a popular perspective on this conflict, which is whether the conflict in Northern Ireland can be classified as an ethnic one. In the concluding part, it sums up its understanding of the paper. It avoids reference to some commonly used interpretations of ethnic conflicts.

 

Part II:

Limitation of this study:

One area of incompleteness of this study is that while there are several ethnic conflicts raging on in the world at this point of time, this paper, due to the paucity of space allotted to it, makes a comparison of only a select list of these to the conflict in Northern Ireland. An inclusion of some of the other leading ethnic conflicts, such as those of the Basque region of Spain, Corsica, East Timor, Cyprus and some in Africa to name a few, would have made this paper more comprehensive.

:

Part III:

Key words:

Ethnic conflict, society, Natives, settler, commonality, land, catholic, protestant, whites, blacks, slavery, Jews, Arabs, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Palestine, Sri Lanka, persecution, Diaspora, homeland, Holy Land, Sinhalese, Tamil.

 

Part IV:

General discussion:

The ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland:

A reading of the history of Northern Ireland points to the clear fact that it is indeed a case that can be fitted into the template of a deeply divided society:  the conflict dates to almost five centuries, to the reign of Henry VIII. This Tudor monarch’s newfound zeal, the result of his break from Rome, was to make him target his neighbour, whose catholic nature he viewed as a challenge to English expansionism. It was basically a sectarian conflict, in that attempts were made by the English monarchs, led by Henry VIII and followed up later by Edward VI and Elizabeth I, to supplant the existing catholic religion with its brand of Christianity, Protestantism. Naturally, the essentially Gaelic population resented these efforts at forced Anglicanism. When these original inhabitants refused to be forcibly converted to the new religion, the English persecuted them by outlawing some of their cherished religious practices, and alienated them by developing a condescending attitude towards the followers of the scurrilously termed ‘popery’. (Finnegan, 1983, pp. 9, 10) The depths of this division took a turn for the worse following a policy of forced ‘plantation’, or augmentation of the population of the Settlers by successive English monarchs. The most notable example of this attempt to change the ethno-demographic character of the province was the one by James I, king of both the English and the Scots, to settle in about 150,000 protestant Presbyterians from Scotland into Ulster in Northern Ireland. This was a direct effort at undermining the local catholic population –the language and religious affiliation of the new Settlers were markedly different from those of the Natives. In the later part of that century, Oliver Cromwell, too, enforced this policy by rewarding these Settlers with grants of vast areas of land in Northern Ireland. The crux of the problem could be crystallised into the efforts of the native catholic population to get the Protestants out of their country, and the recalcitrance of the Settlers to stay on. (Morris-Hale, 1997, p. 95) Thus, in this sense, it qualifies as a problem of a deeply divided society.

The next section explores the similarity in the nature of this problem with some other cases of ethnic conflict in different regions of the world.

The ethnic conflict in South Africa:  Like its counterpart in Northern Ireland, the ethnic conflict in South Africa, too, is deeply rooted in the divisions of society. The origins of the ethnic conflict of this country can be traced to 1717, when the number of slaves who had been employed by the Dutch East India Company, the VOC in local parlance, was a mere 2000. That year, the company’s directors in Amsterdam asked the local administrative council of Cape if slavery was required for the company for economic reasons. Only one of the council members wanted an abolition of slavery. From here, the increase in the number of slaves working for the Settlers was dramatic –in 75 years, the number of black slaves had grown twelve-fold. This system was to get perpetrated with greater crudity and oppressiveness in the later decades and centuries: “By the mid-1700s the colony had over 650 slave owners, but more than half owned six or fewer slaves. Yet slave owning was widespread enough to promote a dependency on slave labor rather than the development of intensive settlement and agriculture. This dependency lasted into the nineteenth century and encouraged a mentality among White Settlers that certain work and occupations were “beneath” them.” (Beck, 2000, pp. 28, 29) This was to not only leave a seemingly unbridgeable gap in society between the Natives and the Settlers who came to be called Boers, it was also the forerunner to the institution of apartheid, (Pomeroy, 1986, p. 4) an abhorrent practice which came to define standards of human cruelty and oppression. This again is a clear case of a deeply divided society.

Israeli –Palestine conflict:  One of the most violent conflicts of the 20th century, the one between Israel and Palestine, is a premier example of a conflict of ethnicity and nationality being a result of a deeply divided society.

Israel was born in such circumstances that its raison d’etre was detested by its Arab neighbours. The Jews, who had been persecuted for centuries by the Christian masses of Europe in possibly every conceivable manner from being blamed for natural disasters to being degraded publicly for belonging to that religion to being tortured in gas chambers, had finally reached such a precarious stage of their existence by the time World War II ended, that they were left with no alternative to carving out a homeland for themselves. The formation of a separate Jewish nation, they believed, was the only guarantee of their very survival. That homeland had to be the biblical land of Israel, or none else, given the primacy of this nation to their history and culture; unfortunately for them, this was now Palestine, into which Arabs had been ossified for a full 13 centuries, ever since the birth of their own religion, Islam. The declaration of Israeli independence on May 14, 1948, was the culmination of a nearly 19-century old cherished dream of a motherland, and achieved after a lot of bickering in the United Nations. In this declaration, they made clear that for the Jews to become a cohesive nation for the first time in their history out of the reassembly of their people from their Diaspora, there was only one possibility: the existence of the new immigrants at the exclusion of the native population! The following words in the declaration sums up the belligerent Jewish attitude, overlooking the fact that the Holy Land was in Arab possession for all these centuries:

“…WE, THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL, REPRESENTING THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN PALESTINE AND THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT OF THE WORLD, MET TOGETHER IN SOLEMN ASSEMBLY TODAY, THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE FOR PALESTINE, AND BY VIRTUE OF THE NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS, HEREBY PROCLAIM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE JEWISH STATE IN PALESTINE, TO BE CALLED ISRAEL.” (Dunner, 1950, pp 3-18 and 87-94)

Naturally, this was at direct loggerheads with the native population, which saw this as an intrusion into their very existence. A strange situation had developed, by which two nationalities were trying to compete for existence and survival on the same piece of land to the mutual elimination of each other. Both the cause and result of this was the inculcation of deep-seated animosities, which continue to this day.

The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka:  The Sri Lankan or Ceylonese ethnic conflict dates to the early part of the previous century. It was fed and exacerbated by a threat perception felt by the land-owning and economically well ensconced, western-educated, mostly Sinhalese native elite on account of the assertiveness of the plantation workers of Indian origin following the departure of the colonial power, Britain. As explained by Perera (1998), although the land mass left behind by the colonizers was nowhere near what it was when it was first occupied, “…the post-colonial rulers of Ceylon, (the Sinhalese elite)… were not ready to accept the plantation workers of southern Indian origin, classifying them as “Indian Tamils” and reaffirmed that they were a foreign population…[w]ithin two years, the United National Party government of 1948 deprived the plantation workers of southern Indian origin of both their citizenship and voting rights. They had already participated in the socialist-led struggles for independence in the 1940s and their voting pattern had helped many socialist candidates win in the 1947 elections. If anti-colonial struggles had brought these plantation workers into Ceylonese politics and the “national” space, the post-colonial state denied these. As the planters had attempted, the post-colonial rulers of Ceylon also resorted to apartheid…” (Perera, 1998, pp. 102, 103) Further proof of the deep division of the society along ethnic lines is the fact that the Tamils have been living in Sri Lanka for ages, and have been in a majority in at least four northern districts. It is these four districts that the Tamils claim as their ‘traditional homeland’, the Tamil ‘Ealam’, for the reason that there was hardly a presence of the Sinhalese in these areas till independence. (Kearney & Miller, 1987, pp. 91-94)

 

Some researchers, such as Mitchell (2000), have taken the view that while these conflicts taken up for this study (with the exception of Sri Lanka) are essentially ethnic, what marks these out is the fact that they have a strong sub-element of native-settler conflict. Elaborating, he theorises that this is a case in which animosities and attitudes have hardened since the settler has stayed back, and has sought to coexist with the native population. This, according to Mitchell, is as strong a common factor as is the element of ethnicity in the cases he takes up. This is different from cases such as Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand, in which the Natives were all but extirpated. This aspect of the native-settler coexistence, no matter how tumultuous it may have been, is the main commonality among these conflicts. All cases of ethnic conflict in which the Settlers have stayed back have an indispensable element –land issues. In most cases, land has been pivotal to the affairs of the ethnic conflict, because the Natives have been relegated to inferior lands. Another feeling that has run through the colonisers is the feeling of superiority to the Natives, irrespective of whether the Settlers belonged to the same race as the Natives or not. This is the feeling that the Irish war of independence failed to correct. (Mitchell, 2000, pp. 1 and 2) In all the cases of ethnic conflict taken up here, the Settlers have arrived with the aim of betterment, with varying degrees. It is natural that the bone of contention had to be land, since it was natural resources that were the means for a betterment of life. This is the basis for which dispute over territory has been an integral part of these conflicts.

Conclusion: In all these societies taken for this study, the extent of deep divisions in society can be gauged from the fact that irrespective of the point of time of the country’s history at which these conflicts have started, these conflicts have come to be the defining moments of these nations –the ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland may not be as old as the country itself, but nearly five centuries have failed to erase these divisions. In the case of South Africa, apartheid and ethnic conflict have been present almost from the time the white minority came to dominate the country; as for Israel, the warring parties have had to contend with ethnic conflict quite literally from day one of the birth and existence of a Jewish nation. In Sri Lanka, the feeling of ‘them and us’ has been persisting from the time the Tamils settled there, and all it took was the spark of the departure of the colonists to ignite it and make it a full-scale conflagration.

These conflicts have different sub-dimensions that mark them out from each other. For instance, if the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Israel are essentially predicated along nationalist and religious lines, that in South Africa is centred round the colour of the skin, while the conflict in Sri Lanka is ethno-linguistic in character. Yet, the overriding common factor has been the deep divisions between the Natives and the Settlers. Whatever the nature of these elements of conflict, these have at best been sub-components of the conflict, whose main theme is undoubtedly the deep divisions in society. It is exactly these divisions that have not only caused the conflict in the first place, they have nurtured and sustained them.

In fact, so deep are the divisions of the mind that even as late as 1994, when the official obituary was written for apartheid in South Africa,  “…emotionally far too many whites, even liberal whites, still regard(ed) themselves as superior to blacks and far too many of them only accepted the changes that came in 1994 because they could see no alternative rather than because they actively believed in a non-racial society.” (Arnold, 2000, p. 11) It can be said without much fear of contradiction that the same attitude could possibly be prevailing in the other societies taken up here. In sum, it can be fittingly argued that the notion of a deeply divided society is the basis on which all ethnic conflicts of this study have taken place; there is little in Northern Ireland to suggest any radical departure from this norm.

Written By Ravindra G Rao

References

 

 

Arnold, G., 2000, The New South Africa, Macmillan, Basingstoke.

 

Beck, R. B., 2000, The History of South Africa, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

 

Dunner, J., 1950, The Republic of Israel: Its History and Its Promise, Whittlesey House, New York.

 

Finnegan, R. B., 1983, The Challenge of Conflict and Change The Challenge of Conflict and Change, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Kearney, R. N., & Miller, B. D., 1987, Internal Migration in Sri Lanka and Its Social Consequences, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

 

Mitchell, T. G., 2000, Native vs. Settler: Ethnic Conflict in Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

 

Morris-Hale, W., 1997, Conflict and Harmony in Multi-Ethnic Societies: An International Perspective, Peter Lang, New York.

 

Perera, N., 1998, Society and Space: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Postcolonial Identity in Sri Lanka, Perseus, Boulder, CO.

 

Pomeroy, W. J., 1986, Apartheid, Imperialism, and African Freedom (1st ed.), International Publishers Co., New York.

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India Preps for an Energy Grab

Posted by Admin on November 25, 2010

native Platinum nugget, locality Kondyor mine,...

Plutonium Nugget

Written by Dave Forest
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 16:35
We’ve heard a lot the last year or two about the race to secure natural resources between Asian nations like China, Japan and Korea. 

Get ready for that space to grow more crowded. India is jumping into the fray.

Indian gas utility GAIL India and state-owned petroleum explorer Oil India both said this week they will consider their first-ever overseas debt sales. The issuances would allow foreign investors to buy into these companies, using dollar-denominated instruments.

The stated purpose for this new capital: M&A. Oil India says it is “actively studying” petroleum assets in Australia, South America and Africa.

I’ve talked about how India needs to get aggressive with foreign coal assets. Now it appears they are expanding the search into other energy arenas.

This even includes uranium. It emerged this week that Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has offered Uranium Corporation of India a role in developing the massive Elkon U deposits in Yakutia.

If India does enter the race for energy assets in earnest, it’s going to make a tight space even tighter. Keep watching the signs.

Here’s to the other Asian superpower.

Dave Forest
dforest@piercepoints.com
www.piercepoints.com
Copyright 2009 Resource Publishers Inc.

 

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