Aster Fissehatsion (born 1951) is an Eritrean politician and an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience. She is the former wife of Ex Vice-President of Eritrea, Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo.
She joined Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in 1974 and became a leading figure in the struggle for independence in Eritrea. Following independence, she held the following positions: member of the Central Council of People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ); member of the National Assembly; Director of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; and Head of Personnel in the Anseba Zone.
In 1996, Fissehatsion was dismissed from her job for criticising the increasingly authoritarian government, but was reinstated in 1999. In May 2001, she was one of 15 senior party officials, later known as the G-15, who published an open letter calling for peaceful and democratic dialogue…; and calling on President Afewerki to adhere to correct parliamentary and governance procedures, hold internal party meetings, and keep the promises made by the PFDJ in respect of judicial reform.
She was detained in September 2001 for being part of the G-15.
The Stories That Europe Tells Itself About Its Colonial History
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie breaking it down…
“She said once she was shocked that her son while being taught Belgian history, was taught nothing about Congo. She said “They teach my son in school that he must help the poor Africans, but they don’t teach him about what Belgium did in Congo.” Of course, all countries are evasive about the past for which they feel ashamed, but I was shocked by what seemed to me not evasiveness but an erasure of history.
If her son doesn’t learn that the modern Congo State began a hundred years ago as the personal property of a Belgian king, who was desperate to get wealthy from ivory and rubber, if her son doesn’t learn that the hands of Congolese people were chopped off for not producing enough resources to meet the king’s greed, if her son doesn’t learn that the Belgian government later led Congo with a deliberate emphasis on not producing an educated class, so that Congolese could become clerks and mechanics but couldn’t go to university, if her son doesn’t learn that more recently, even thought it was the Americans who installed the Mobutu’s dictatorship, Belgium was a major force behind the scenes propping him off, if this young Belgian boy, knows nothing about these incidents, then, at some point, they would perhaps no longer have happened because the past after all is the past because we collectively acknowledged that it is so.
This young Belgian boy would grow up to see Africa only as a place that requires his aid, his help, his charity with no complications for him. A place that can help him show how compassionate he can be, and most of all, a place whose present has no connection to Europe.
It is not that Europe has denied its colonial history. Instead, Europe has developed a way of telling the story of its colonial history that ultimately seeks to erase that history”
Africa’s second female President and Southern Africa’s first, Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda is a fierce advocate for the rights of women, particularly marginalised rural women as well as the education of young girls. She was sworn in as President on Saturday in the nation’s capital, Lilongwe, following the death of President Bingu Wa Mutharika. She will govern until the next election, which is scheduled for 2014.
To a many people, a peaceful succession in Africa such as this one is impossible. Over the last week, the international news focus was on Bingu’s health and of course peppered with predictions of a power struggle in the country, and further predictions of an imploding Malawi. Once again, we show that African Democracy can and does work. Onward to prosperity, Malawi!
Colonialism: Sins of Europe in the
Scramble for Africa
Now that Africa is the hot topic of the hour, let’s actually get people caught up on the historical context
Warning: video is graphic [as colonialism itself was graphic… and not even that long ago!]
- Since the beginning of the conflicts of Darfur in 2003, over 400,000 Darfurian civilians have been killed, which means about 150 people lose their lives every day.
- 300,000 people have died directly from acts of violence in Darfur.
- 90% of the villages of Darfur’s targeted ethnic groups have been destroyed.
- 97% of these killings have been against innocent civilians and executed by militia groups instructed by the government.
- With every 1,000 births in Darfur, at least 150 die as a result of malnutrition. Also, 45% of children suffer from physical stunting as a result of lack of proper nutrition.
- 80% of those displaced are women and young girls who are consistently the victims of sexual violence and abducted into sexual slavery.
- Humanitarian refugee camps in Chad and Sudan are overcrowded, disease infested, and prone to attacks. Regardless of the treacherous conditions of the camps, about 20% of the Sudan population reside in a camp, with a majority of this percentage being young people.
- Around three million people have been displaced within Sudan.
- 250,000 people have fled Darfur, mainly to Chad where they are facing further violence.
- Despite an abundance of oil and other natural resources, the vast majority of Sudan’s people live in poverty, and its Government has been described as ‘the most repressive regime in the world’.
- On September 9th 2004, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Darfur conflict was genocide, and called it the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. This is the first time the United States has ever declared genocide while the genocide was still happening.
Credit: Ron Haviv, see all pictures from above here. Please also read the captions to each picture.
So, yeah, when KONY 2012 went viral, there were bunch of critical articles that pointed out that Ugandans have been running organizations that are much, much better at meeting Uganda’s present-day needs. And I compiled some of them as I was reading. But I’m sure this is missing many, many organizations, and this is more of a preliminary post than anything else.
All descriptions come from the groups’ wesbsites.
Concerned Children and Youth Organization (CCYA): In the aftermath of abduction, war, disease and poverty, we cultivate communities of resilient children and youth. Co-founded in 2001 by concerned individuals including Angelina Atyam, named a 1998 U.N. Human Rights Prize Winner, we invite you to become a new “we:” to practice reconciliation, rebuilding, reforesting so we may live into a more beautiful, hopeful peace.
Concerned Parents Association (CPA) Lira: Concerned Parents Association is a direct implementation agency of relief and development programs by working through grass root structures called Parent Support Groups (PSG) and Youth Groups that address the needs of communities in Northern Uganda. To date the organization has more than 500 active Parent Support Groups and more than 100 youth groups in that above districts in Northern Uganda.
Art For Children Uganda: Art for Children Uganda (ACU) is a nongovernmental organization that is committed to lift the voice of all children through creative means, especially art, that promotes creative participation and cultural awareness and develops creativity, critical thinking, self-expression, influence historical events, recreate and promote psychosocial healing. Using our theater for development approach, Art for children Uganda empowers children to break the silence on what affects them.
Friends of Orphans: Friends of Orphans (FRO) was founded and is administered by former child soldiers, orphans and abductees from Pader District, all of whom were and continue to be affected by the war in Northern Uganda. It is a fully registered non-for-profit NGO… FRO founder Ricky Anywar Richard and others conceived Friends of Orphans in 1999 whilst pursuing degrees at the University of Makerere. From their experiences as former abductees and orphans – many of whom lost immediate and extended family members, friends and neighbours and suffered displacement – led them to commit to the ongoing and unmet needs of their community displaced in IDP camps and resettlement communities.
Grassroots Uganda: Grassroots Uganda was started as a marketing tool to promote income generating activities for impoverished Ugandan women as a way of female empowerment. Grassroots Uganda provides the women with training, supplies, and a market for their products. 100 % of all profits paid to Grassroots Uganda goes back to the village which made the crafts.
Women of Kireka: An initiative to economically emancipate ninenteen internally displaced women in Kampala, Uganda. The women fled Uganda’s long-running rebel war against Joseph Kony in Northern Uganda to an IDP camp near the Kireka rock quarry. The project is designed to transition them from their current low-wage, dangerous occupation as rock crushers to a new life as jewelry designers and artisans.
Children’s Chance International: Committed to serve the disadvantaged Children, youth and women affected by war through reaching out to them, advocating for their rights and assisting them grow and develop fully.
What a motherfucking coincidence.
14 Jan 2009 “The Times” - -Heritage Oil announced details of a large oil discovery in Uganda yesterday, which the company claimed could be the largest onshore discovery in sub-Saharan Africa.
Heritage said that its latest discovery – Giraffe1 – in the Lake Albert region, could total at least 400 million barrels of oil.
However, Paul Atherton, chief financial officer, told The Times that the wider field it was developing, dubbed Buffalo-Giraffe, had several “billions of barrels of oil in place”, although it was unclear how much of this would be recoverable.
He said that the field, which is 9,000 square kilometers in size – or six times the size of Greater London – was unquestionably the largest onshore discovery made in sub-Saharan Africa in at least 20 years, possibly ever.
Mr Atherton said that of the 18 wells the company had drilled in the basin so far, all had produced oil. “Clearly the entire basin is full of oil,” he said. “It’s a world-class discovery, the most exciting new basin in Africa in decades.”
Previously, the largest onshore fields discovered in sub-Saharan Africa were at Rabi-Kounga in Gabon, where 900 million barrels were found in 1985, and at Kome in Chad, where 485 million barrels were found in 1977.
Mr Atherton said that it would take at least another three years to start commercial production. [this was posted in 2009, do the math] The crude could be exported by road or rail, he said, but analysts believe that the most practical solution would be to build an 806-mile pipeline to take it to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and then the Kenyan coast. The pipeline would need to be heated and designed to traverse swampy and mountainous land. It would cost an estimated $1.5 billion (£1 billion) to complete.
Heritage and its partner Tullow Oil, which also has a 50 per cent equity stake in the project, would need to demonstrate that the field could produce at least 400 million barrels of oil to justify the cost of building such a pipeline. Richard Griffith, an Evolution Securities analyst, said the latest discovery “thrashed” this commerciality threshold.
See Also - Uganda : Pressure Mounts To Make Public Oil Agreements:Uganda’s oil discovery is already attracting major players like Italian oil giant Eni Spa, U.S. Exxon Mobil, France’s Total and of recent the China National Offshore Oil Company. The country does not have the funds to finance the production of oil and instead signed agreements with oil giants spelling out how the revenue will be shared with investors willing to fund the production phase. The companies will build an oil refinery in Uganda and an oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean. This will enable the landlocked country to sell its estimated two billion barrels of crude oil internationally
Uganda’s oil contracts leaked - a bad deal made worse: The repeated claims by the Ugandan government and the oil companies that Uganda has received a very good deal and the best in the region are not only a fiction, but were reliant on the real terms of the contracts being kept secret. While the contracts will deliver vast profits to Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil, the contracts will prevent the Ugandan people from receiving their due benefits.
Oil extraction and the potential for domestic instability in Uganda: The paper identifies and discusses in detail three sources of domestic volatility that may arise as a result of oil development.
Uganda: Oil could cause war : The attacks are by armed gangs suspected to be rebels of the FDLR, LRA, and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). In the ongoing campaign in DR Congo, President Joseph Kabila is being criticised for failing to restore peace in this vital area.
There is not a single nation on this entire continent that has been around longer than the 19th century except 1.
Oh western imperialism you so funny.
The majority of African states are ARTIFICIAL which made it difficult for Africa to function as a independent autonomous body as it did in ancient times.
The Scramble for Africa had created many artificial states; Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of pan-Africanism would allow Africans to re-shape the political geography of Africa in their own, not others’ interests.
However to this day the majority of African leaders are not Pan-African.
Pan Africanism means death to Neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism is based upon the principle of breaking up former large united colonial territories into a number of small non-viable States which are incapable of independent development and must rely upon the former imperial power for defense and even internal security.
Dear Jason Russell,
After being bombarded with your KONY 2012 crusade, I have no choice but to respond to your highly inaccurate, offensive, and harmful propaganda. I realized I had to respond in hopes of stopping you before you cause more violence and deaths to the Acholi people (Northern Ugandans), the very people you are claiming to protect.
Firstly, I would like to question your timing of this KONY 2012 crusade in Uganda when most of the violence from Joseph Kony and the LRA (The Lord’s Resistance Army) has subsided in Uganda in the past 5 years. The LRA has moved onto neighboring countries like the DRC and Sudan. Why are you not urging action in the countries he is currently in? Why are you worried about Kony all of a sudden when Ugandans are not at this present moment?
This grossly illogical timing and statements on your website such as “Click here to buy your KONY 2012 products” makes me believe that the timing has more to do with your commercial interests than humanitarian interests. With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections and the waning interest in Invisible Children, it seems to be perfect timing to start a crusade. I also must add at this point how much it personally disgusts me the way in which you have commercialized a conflict in which thousands of people have died.
Secondly, I would like to address the highly inaccurate content of your video. Your video did not leave the viewer any more knowledgeable about the conflict in Uganda, but only emotionally assaulted. I could not help but notice how conveniently one-sided the “explanation” in your video was. There was absolutely no mention of the role of the Ugandan government and military in the conflict. Let alone the role of the U.S. government and military. The only information given is “KONY MUST BE STOPPED.”
I would like to inform you that stopping Kony would not end the conflict. (It is correctly pronounced “Kohn” by the way). This conflict is deeply embedded in Uganda’s history that neither starts nor ends with Kony. Therefore, your solution to the problem is flawed. There is no way to know the solution, without full knowledge of the problem itself. We must act on knowledge, not emotions.
Joseph Kony formed the LRA in retaliation to the brutality of President Museveni (from the south) committing mass atrocities on the Acholi people (from the north) when President Museveni came to power in 1986. This follows a long history of Ugandan politics that can be traced back to pre-colonial times. The conflict must be contextualized within this history. (If you want to have this proper knowledge, I suggest you start by working with scholars, not celebrities). President Museveni is still in power and in his reign of 26 years he has arguably killed as many, if not more Acholi people, than Joseph Kony. Why is President Museveni not demonized, let alone mentioned? I would like to give you more credit than just ignorance. I have three guesses. One is that Invisible Children has close ties with the Ugandan government and military, which it has been accused of many times. Second, is that you are willing to fight Kony, but not the U.S. Government, which openly supports President Museveni. Third, is that Invisible Children feels the need to reduce the conflict to better commercialize it.
This brings me to my third issue, the highly offensive nature of your video. Firstly, it is offensive to your viewer. The scene with your “explanation” of the conflict to your toddler son suggests that the viewers have the mental capacity of a toddler and can only handle information given in such a reductionist manner. I would like to think American teenagers and young adults (which is clearly your target audience) are smarter than your toddler son. I would hope that we are able to realize that it is not a “Star Wars” game with aliens and robots in some far off galaxy as your son suggests, but a real world conflict with real world people in Uganda. This is a real life conflict with real life consequences.
Secondly, and more importantly, it is offensive to Ugandans. The very name “Invisible Children” is offensive. You claim you make the invisible, visible. The statements, “We have seen these kids.” and “No one knew about these kids.” are part of your slogan. You seem to be strongly hinting that you somehow have validated and found these kids and their struggles.
Whether you see them or not, they were always there. Your having seen the kids does not validate their existence in any shape or form or bring it any more significance. You say “no one” knew about the kids. What about the kids themselves? What about the families of the kids who were killed and abducted? Are they “no one?” Are they not human?
These children are not invisible, you are making them invisible by silencing, dehumanizing, marketing, and invalidating them.
Last year I went to Gulu, Uganda, where Invisible Children is based, and interviewed over 50 locals. Every single person questioned Invisible Children’s legitimacy and intention. Every single person. If anything, it seemed the people saw Invisible Children as a bigger threat than Joseph Kony at the time. Why is it the very people you are trying to “help” feel more offense than relief with your aid?
“They come here to make money and use us.”
“It makes us feel terrible to be presented as being so stupid and helpless.”
These are direct quotes. This was the sentiment of the majority of the people that I interviewed in varying degrees. I definitely didn’t see or hear these voices or opinions in your video. If you are to be “saving” the Acholi people, the very least you can be doing is holding yourself accountable to them and actually listening to what they have to say.
This offensive, inaccurate misconstruction of Ugandans and its conflict makes me wonder what and whom this is really about. It seems that you feel very good about yourself being a savior, a Luke Skywalker of sorts, and same with the girl in your video who passionately states, “This is what defines us”. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder if Invisible Children is more about defining the American do-gooders (and making them feel good), rather than the Ugandans; profiteering the American military and corporations (which Invisible Children is officially and legally) than the conflict.
Lastly, I would like to address the harmful nature of your propaganda. I believe your actions will actually bring back the fighting in Northern Uganda. You are not asking for peace, but violence. The fighting has stopped in the past 5 years and the Acholi are finally enjoying some peace. You will be inviting the LRA and the fighting back into Uganda and disturbing this peace. The last time Invisible Children got politically involved and began lobbying it actually caused more violence and deaths. I beg you not to do it again.
If you open your eyes and see the actions of the Ugandan government and the U.S. government, you will see why. Why is it that suddenly in October of 2011 when there has been relative peace in Uganda for 4 years, President Obama decided to send troops into Uganda? Why is it that the U.S. military is so involved with AFRICOM, which has been pervading African countries, including Uganda? Why is it that U.S. has been traced to creating the very weapons that has been used in the violence? The U.S. is entering Uganda and other countries in Africa not to stop violence, but to create a new battlefield.
In your video you urge that the first course of action is that the Ugandan military needs American military and weapons. You are giving weapons to the very people who were killing the Acholi people in the first place. You are helping to open the grounds for America to make Uganda into a battlefield in which it can profit and gain power. Please recognize this is all part of a bigger military movement, not a humanitarian movement. This will cause deaths, not save lives. This will be doing more harm, than good.
You end your video with saying, “I will stop at nothing”. If nothing else, will you not stop for the lives of the Acholi people? Haven’t enough Acholi people suffered in the violence between the LRA and the Ugandan government? Our alliance should not be with the U.S. government or the Ugandan military or the LRA, but the Acholi people. There is a Ugandan saying that goes, “The grass will always suffer when two elephants fight.” Isn’t it time we let the grass grow?