President Kikwete : Don’t kick the Maasai off their own land for Lion&Leopard kills


a repost

We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot more lions and leopards. The evictions are to begin immediately.
Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost one million Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again urgently.
President Kikwete may not care about us, but he’s shown he’ll respond to global pressure — to all of you! If you send messages to Tanzanian embassies across the globe, Kikwete will hear a barrage of reports that his latest land grab is reverberating around the world. This is our only chance to get him to back down from destroying our way of life.
Click below to send a urgent message demanding they stop the eviction:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_maasai_sam/?biEWLbb&v=23733
Then share the email below with others so we can reach millions around the world calling on Kikwete to save our land.
With hope and determination,
The Maasai elders of Ngorongoro District


Dear friends,


Within hours, Tanzania’s President Kikwete could start evicting tens of thousands of the Maasai from our land so hunters can come and kill leopards and lions. Last time Avaaz raised the alarm, the President shelved the plan. Global pressure can stop him again. Click to help us urgently: 

Sign the petition

We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards. The evictions are to begin immediately.
Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost one million Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again, urgently.
President Kikwete may not care about us, but he’s shown he’ll respond to global pressure — to all of you! We may only have hours. Please stand with us to protect our land, our people and our world’s most majestic animals, and tell everyone before it is too late. This is our last hope:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_maasai_loc/?cl=2678683482&v=23733
Our people have lived off the land in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries. Our communities respect our fellow animals and protect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. But the government has for years sought to profit by giving rich princes and kings from the Middle East access to our land to kill. In 2009, when they tried to clear our land to make way for these hunting sprees, we resisted, and hundreds of us were arrested and beaten. Last year, rich princes shot at birds in trees from helicopters. This killing goes against everything in our culture.
Now the government has announced it will clear a huge swath of our land to make way for what it claims will be a wildlife corridor, but many suspect it’s just a ruse to give a foreign hunting corporation and the rich tourists it caters to easier access to shoot at majestic animals.  The government claims this new arrangement is some sort of accommodation, but its effect on our people’s way of life will be disastrous. There are thousands of us who could have our lives uprooted, losing our homes, the land on which our animals graze, or both.
President Kikwete knows this deal would be controversial with Tanzania’s tourists – a critical source of national income – and does not want a big PR disaster. If we can urgently generate even more global outrage than we did before, and get the media writing about it, we know it can make him think twice. Stand with us now to call on Kikwete to stop the sell off:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_maasai_loc/?cl=2678683482&v=23733
This land grab could spell the end for the Maasai in this part of Tanzania, and many of our community have said they would rather die than be forced from their homes. On behalf of our people and the animals who graze in these lands, please stand with us to change the mind of our President.
With hope and determination,
The Maasai elders of Ngorongoro District
SOURCES
The Guardian: Maasai fury as plan to lure Arabian Gulf tourists threatens their ancestral land http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/30/maasai-game-hunting-tanzania
allAfrica: Land Grab Could Spell ‘The End of the Maasai’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201303290873.html
IPP Media: Maasai villagers frustrate efforts to vacate for Ortelo http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/?l=52669
The Guardian: Tanzania denies plan to evict Maasai for royal hunting ground http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/15/tanzania-evict-maasai-uae-royals
The Guardian: “Tourism is a curse to us” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/06/masai-tribesman-tanzania-tourism
New Internationalist Magazine: “Hunted down” http://www.newint.org/columns/currents/2009/12/01/tanzania/
Society for Threatened People: Briefing on the eviction of the Loliondo Maasai http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/session12/TZ/STP-SocietyThreatenedPeople-eng.pdf
FEMACT: Report by 16 human rights investigators & media on violence in Loliondo http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/58956/print

U.S. Cuba Relations …. A New Era


By

United States And Cuba Begin Normalizing Relations In Historic Agreement

In an announcement that hardly anyone saw coming, President Obama today declared that the United States will begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba for the first time in half a century. Decades of isolation have not yielded any improvement in promoting democracy in Cuba, and there is no good reason to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Along with this historic change in U.S. foreign policy, Cuba has returned Alan Gross to American soil. Gross was an American contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) who spent five years in Cuban jail: his crime was working to increase Internet access and connectivity in small communities on the island. “What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country,” Gross said at a news conference this afternoon.

Cuba will also release more than 50 political prisoners and a key U.S. intelligence asset held for nearly 20 years in exchange for the United States releasing several Cuban spies.

Here are some other key details of the agreement:

1. The two counties will re-open diplomatic ties. The United States will re-establish an embassy in Havana, travel restrictions will be loosened, and the embargo on economic goods will be eased. Congressional action, however, is required to fully lift the economic embargo between the two countries.

2. Pope Francis helped to facilitate the deal.

The Pope was “directly involved in the talks “, according to Obama administration officials, appealing to both countries and hosting a key meeting at the Vatican this fall. He released a statement congratulating both parties on the agreement.

3. The American public supports this move. Polls have consistently found that a majority of Americans, Cuban Americans, and even Republicans support normalization of relations with Cuba.

4. Economic impacts for Cubans could be significant. The island nation has been isolated from much of the world for a long time. Under the new agreement, Americans will be able to send $6000 more a year to people in Cuba (Cubans, on average, earn just $17 a month). And more Americans will be about to travel to Cuba — and return with up to $400 worth of goods for personal use. That includes — you guessed it — up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars.

Not everyone is cheering the agreement. But those opposing the deal, led by Sen. Marco Rubio, are offering arguments rooted in hypocrisy. Rubio has vowed to “make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt,” and states that the “new policy is based on an illusion, on a lie.” But this outcry contradicts his own faith in the power of free market economies to introduce Cubans to an American-style economy and spread freedom as Republicans usually argue it would.

BOTTOM LINE: An historic agreement between the United States and Cuba and brokered by the Pope has freed American political prisoners and will chart a new course in relations between the two countries. The era of isolation did not help spread democracy or improve human rights; a new approach that values diplomatic engagement and the empowerment of Cuban civil society is the right way to go.