Tag Archives: Kenya

In the Library “Dreams from my Father … A story of Race and Inheritance by Barack H. Obama


The #1 New York Times Best Seller by Barack Obama

Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.
Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.
Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity

Dreams from My Father … A Story of Race and Inheritance 

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

11 yr old to police: rape is a crime


Kaia* was eleven years old when she was assaulted and raped on the way to school. A teacher took her to the hospital, but the police demanded bribes for even taking down a statement.
So Kaia did something incredibly brave. She sued the police for failing to protect her. What’s even more incredible is what happened next.
In Kenya where Kaia lives, a woman or girl is raped every 30 minutes. Police there routinely turn a blind eye, further isolating terrified young survivors and reinforcing the notion that rape is ok.
Kaia and ten other young survivors challenged that. On the day of the case, ignoring threats to their safety and a blockade from court security, they marched from their shelter to the courthouse, chanting “Haki yangu” — Kiswahili for “I demand my rights.” And then the judge issued his ruling: The girls had won!
The amazing advocates and human rights lawyers that worked with Kaia are ready to bring similar lawsuits against police forces across Africa and beyond, but they need funding to do it. We won’t process pledges  until we reach our goal, but if just 30,000 of us pledge a small amount now, we can repeat this game-changing victory in other countries, remind police that rape is a crime, and take a powerful step forward against the global war on women:
Click to pledge what you can — we’ll process your contribution only if we hit our goal of 30,000 donors:

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $2
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $4
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $8
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $10
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $20

When Kaia’s story began, she looked set to become just another of the countless victims of child rape ignored by the police. But Kenyan child rights advocate Mercy Chidi and Canadian human rights lawyer Fiona Sampson joined forces to challenge this injustice in the courts.
The plan was hatched in Kenya by a group of colleagues from Canada,  Kenya, Malawi and Ghana — it seemed like a long shot to sue the police  force for failing to act, but they stuck with it and took risks… and  made legal history. The work has just begun: like any win, it takes  time, effort and money to make sure the ruling sticks, and to use it as a springboard to wipe out violence against women.
If we raise enough, here’s how we could turn a huge victory for Kenya into a win for countries across Africa and even the rest of  the world:

  • help fund more cases like this, across Africa and around the world
  • use hard-hitting campaign strategies to make sure these groundbreaking judgments are enforced
  • push for massive, effective public education campaigns that strike at the root of sexual violence and help erase it for good
  • respond to more campaign opportunities like this case — with super smart strategies that turn the tide in the war on women.

Click to pledge what you can to start this important work right away — we won’t process any contributions unless we hit our goal of 30,000 donors:

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $2
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $4
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $8
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $10
YES, I’LL PLEDGE $20

As citizens, we often appeal to political leaders and other officials to get serious about protecting women’s rights. It’s important to keep doing that, but when they fail to hear their consciences, we need to appeal to their interests, and take them to court. That sends a powerful message: not only that there are new consequences for their crimes, but that the era of unchallenged misogyny in the culture of our societies is coming to end.
With hope,
Ricken, Maria Paz, Emma, Oli, Nick, Allison, Luca and the rest of the Avaaz team
* Kaia is a pseudonym, but her story is real. She is not pictured here.

PS – To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.
MORE INFORMATION:
In Kenya, a Victory for girls and rights (The New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/opinion/global/in-kenya-a-victory-for-girls-and-rights.html Canadians force Kenyan police to answer for ‘inexcusably’ neglecting reports of sexual abuse against girls (National Post) http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/31/kenyan-police-forced-to-answer-for-neglecting-reports-of-sexual-abuse/ Chance meeting led to justice for rape victims (Toronto Star) http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/06/13/chance_meeting_led_to_justice_for_rape_victims_porter.html African women the worst off – report (iOl News) http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/african-women-the-worst-off-report-1.1537277#.UcqVaOthpFR Africa: Violence Against Women Is Epidemic (AllAfrica) http://allafrica.com/stories/201307160410.html India’s Rape Crisis Undermines the Country (The Daily Beast) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/07/india-s-rape-crisis-undermines-the-country.html Malawi country report (UNICEF) http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/malawi.html

Dear Avaaz friends,


In just 2 days time, African leaders could kill off a great institution, leaving the world a more dangerous place.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity. But leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences.

I know that together we can change this. But we have to join hands and call on the voices of reason at the African Union (AU) – Nigeria and South Africa – to speak out and ensure that the persecuted are protected by the ICC. Join me by adding your name to the petition now and share it with everyone — when we have hit 1 million our petition will be delivered straight into the AU conference hall where Africa’s leaders are meeting in Addis Ababa.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_africa_icc/?biEWLbb&v=30043

In my years of work, life and travel, the fight for justice has been a long and arduous one. I have seen the very worst in Darfur and Rwanda, but also the very best with the reconciliation in South Africa. During this journey, I have seen great gains made that protect the weak from the strong and give us all hope. The ICC is one of these beacons of hope.

This threat to the ICC started precisely because the court was doing its job. It charged Kenya’s Deputy President for killing people who rallied against him during an election and Sudan’s President for murdering women and children in Darfur. Now Kenya and Sudan are lobbying all of Africa to pull out of the court and destroy its chance of success.

But in Darfur, Congo, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya, the ICC has played a key role in bringing hope to those terrified by the armies, militias and madmen that have waged war against the innocent. It’s a light in the darkness that cannot be allowed to go out.

The main argument by some leaders with a guilty conscience is that the ICC is a Western witch-hunt as most of the investigations have happened in Africa. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. This was an institution that was created by 20 African countries, 5 of the court’s 18 judges are African and the chief prosecutor is African.

Friday is a key judgement day. 
Will our African leaders stand on the side of justice or injustice? With survivors and fallen victims or with tyrants and oppressors? This is the moment to choose. Join me in calling on African leaders to stand on the side of justice and support the International Criminal Court:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_africa_icc/?biEWLbb&v=30043

I’ve seen some of the brightest moments in human history, moments where we together brought hope to so many. This is our chance to do that again, together.

With hope and appreciation for this community,

In 2 days, African leaders could vote to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, crippling one of the world’s best hopes for confronting genocide and crimes against humanity. I know together we can stop this. Join me in urging the voices of reason within the African Union to stand up for justice and accountability — let’s protect this great institution:

Desmond Tutu

More information:

Botswana Supports International Criminal Court (Voice of America)
http://www.voanews.com/content/botswana-supports-international-criminal-court/1764960.html

130 Groups Across Africa Call for Countries to Back ICC (Human Rights Watch)
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/07/130-groups-across-africa-call-countries-back-icc

Kenya pushing for African split from International Criminal Court (Irish Times)
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/kenya-pushing-for-african-split-from-international-criminal-court-1.1549427

Annan defends International Criminal Court (News 24)
http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Annan-defends-International-Criminal-Court-20131007

Africa to debate ICC role amid growing opposition (Yahoo News)
http://news.yahoo.com/africa-debate-icc-role-amid-growing-opposition-103053710.html

Dozens of Women and Children Perish in Ethnic Clash in Kenya


 

At least 52 people have died in a serious ethnic attack in Kenya on Tuesday. AFP notes that most of the victims were women and children. The original toll of 48 casualties reported on Tuesday was raised to 52 after four more people perished from sustained injuries on Wednesday.

The tragedy was sparked by the long rivalry between Pokomo and Ormo people in a remote corner of Kenya near the Tana River district. Police chief Joseph Kitur said that 31 women perished, along with 11 children and six adult men. Kitur also told reporters that 34 of the victims were hacked to death and 14 were burnt.

The attack occurred in a rural corner of southeast Kenya, about 185 miles away from the capital of Nairobi. The New York Times notes that the gruesome incident was staged by numerous members of an armed militia from the Pokomo group who entered the Ormo village and began to slash residents before setting many of the homes on fire.

One member of Parliament, Danson Mungatana, thought the attacks were probably a backlash after an Ormo cattle raid that occurred last week. Battles for water and land resources between the two groups in this part of Kenya are reportedly very common. Another clash between the two groups back in 2001 caused around 130 deaths. The Pokomo reportedly practice subsistence farming, while the Ormo tend towards a pastoral livelihood. The Kenya Red Cross was at the scene and reported that they sent seven people to the hospital with severe injuries.

The most tragic aspect of the current episode is the high number of children lost in the conflict, along with women and unsuspecting male village members. Both the AFP and the New York Times note that this most recent attack is a reminder of the post-election ethnic violence of 2007, when there were contested election results between two candidates from different ethnic backgrounds, which pitted populations against each other, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths.

In January, the International Criminal Court charged four Kenyan officials with crimes related to the post-election deaths. The next set of elections are planned for next year, according to UPI. The most recent violence has sparked discomfort and is an unsettling reminder that elections could also pose more danger for Kenyans next year.