A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Mon 23 July 2012
Nubiart Diary - ‘Arab Spring’ Update
A different perspective on the Afrikan world
Submitted By: Kubara Zamani
‘ARAB SPRING’ QUARTERLY UPDATE
“It’s a game of poker
where they’re not playing aces
they are playing jokers”.
We have been around long enough and seen and spoken to enough real revolutionaries to be able to differentiate those political forces promoting something beneficial for Afrika (and thus the world) as oppose to the ragtag bunch of Islamists, wagonists, CIA operatives, deserters, informers, political ingenues and white belly rats pimping their wares under the banners of ‘democracy’, ‘patriotism’, ‘revolution’, ‘free / freedom’ or ‘liberation’.
What was labeled ‘The Arab Spring’ has now lasted over 18 months which is many seasons by anyone’s calendar. There has been no let up in the chaos and confusion spreading across Afrika. In the recent Libyan elections the National Forces Alliance, led by ex-interim PM Mahmoud Jibril, won 39 out of 80 seats reserved for political parties. The Muslim Brotherhood’s party has gained 17. Both parties will be augmented by independent candidates who make up the remainder of the 200-member General National Assembly.
In the run up to the election there were several protests by the anti-Afrikan Benghazi militias who burned down election offices and shot down a helicopter killing an election observer. This despite their pretext of deposing Col Muammar Gaddafi because they wanted to exercise ‘democracy’. There are still 8,000 political prisoners in Libya – a mix of ‘Gaddafi loyalists’, mercenaries, migrants and people who the trigger-happy militias took a dislike to. Of these 3,000 have been handed over to the central government while 5,000 have been held and tortured by the militias some for over a year. These are general round numbers but they represent the real destruction of individual lives, livelihoods and property for which the western backers, the Qataris and the House of Saud have taken no responsibility for whatsoever.
The most prominent prisoner is Col Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, who is being held by the notorious Zintan brigade. ICC lawyers were also held for a time on claims they were passing messages and planning to get him to be tried by the ICC where there is no death penalty. Meanwhile, Libya’s former Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem was found floating in the River Danube in Vienna at the end of April. As they say in all the best detective stories foul play has been ruled out.
The deposal / disposal of Col Gaddafi led to an influx of high-calibre weapons throughout the Sahel in the hands of anyone exercising a claim of revolutionary zeal, correcting injustice or protecting their family, property or town. The Tuaregs of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) got ‘played’ by the Islamist Ansar Dine, Mujao and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb before being disposed of across the entire northern half of Mali. The Tuaregs themselves have thus become major refugees of the rebellion they started to bring in their hoped for Azawad state. They didn’t think there could be anything worse than rule by the central government in Bamako but that harsh lesson in alliance-building will haunt them for many years. In towns such as the UNESCO site of Timbuktu the Islamists have instituted sharia law and set about destroying what they considered symbols of non-orthodox extremist Sunni Islam such as the Djingareyber Mosque, Christian churches and Sufi shrines. The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has launched a preliminary inquiry into alleged atrocities committed in rebel-held northern Mal following a request by the Malian government. Ms Bensouda said that she regarded the destruction of Muslim shrines in Timbuktu as a war crime.
The leading lights of the Malian army should all be considered for court-martial for failing to stop the advance, running the other way and staging a coup in the far south of the country thus distracting effort and energy away from a tragic loss to Afrikan history, literature, science and culture. Back in March they should have held as much ground as possible and called for back-up. It is going to be hard to retrieve the territory now the Islamists have embedded themselves. It is being left to volunteer militias such as Action des Jeunes pour Sauver le Nord (AJSN) to resist the desecrations, forced removals and arbitrary enforcement of punishments.
Malian President Dioncounda Traore is still in hospital in France after being attacked by protestors over lack of government action in May. His PM Cheikh Modibo Diarra has been abroad seeking support for intervention by ECOWAS, UN, the AU, anybody. However, there are still those who do not want foreign troops to intervene but just want the logistics and mandate to take action. Malian banks in the north lost £11bn through looting and the destruction of branches. More than 50 hotels have already shut down and the overall loss to the Malian economy is currently estimated at £2bn.
Over in Egypt US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met the new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and General Tantawi of SCAF. This is despite only two years ago the US saying they would never have any dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood. But then three years ago they and their G8 cohorts were all sunning themselves at Sharm-el-Sheikh and hailing the dictator Hosni Mubarak as their great hope for the entire MENA region as he was prepared to do a deal with the apartheid regime of Israel. Mr Mubarak and his Interior Minister, Habib al-Adly, were sentenced to life in prison for not stopping the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising. Mubarak was this week returned to prison after his health improved. Omar Suleiman, who headed the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) for 18 years under President Mubarak, passed away in a US hospital on Thursday. Gen Suleiman was appointed Egyptian vice-president on 29 January 2011 with SCAF’s backing. He was disqualified by the Higher Presidential Election Commission for the recent Presidential elections.
The effects of ‘the Arab Spring’ have escalated conflicts and instability in Nigeria, Eritrea, Somalia and Kenya. In Nigeria Boko Haram (who are now considered part of the Al-Qaeda network along with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine, Mujao and Somalia’s Al-Shabab) are running rampant assassinating religious and political leaders, destroying businesses, forced evictions, bombing churches, schools and police stations, and increasing communal strife across the entire northern and central parts of Nigeria.
Kenya has also seen several bombings of clubs, businesses and offices in what is considered retaliation for Al-Shabab losing ground throughout Somalia. The following were recently added to the US Treasury boycott list for aiding Al-Shabab: Col Tewolde Habte Negash, Eritrea Intelligence chief alleged to be the principal architect of Eritrea’s relationship with al-Shabab; Col Taeme Abraham Goitom, an Eritrean alleged to have formed an armed group now merged with al-Shabab; Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a Muslim cleric in Kenya accused of raising funds and recruits for al-Shabab; Suhayl Salim Abd-El-Rahman aka Abu-Faris, a Somali-based Sudanese accused of recruiting foreigners for al-Shabab; Omar Awadh Omar, a Kenyan in jail charged with planning the 2001 Kampala suicide attacks; and Abubaker Shariff Ahmed aka Makaburi, a Kenyan arrested in 2010 on suspicion of involvement in the bombing of a Nairobi bus terminal. While we rarely agree with the foreign or domestic policy of the US government we would advise the Eritreans that it is not good if the only time you find your name in the international media is on a terrorism watch list.
In all of this we have to look at the conspiratorial role played by nations such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, US, France and Britain. They have been engaging in their customary manipulation of the crises for their own malicious geo-political ends. The Qataris and Saudis are being used as the major conduits for funds, arms, technological logistics and smuggling special forces into areas to destabilise countries, engage in assassinations and neutralise any activists that represent the genuine will and interests of the people. This deflects attention from the corruption and repression inherent in the likes of the Saudi regime and exposes the hypocrisy of politicians and institutions. The Saudis are playing a double (or triple) game by also arming and funding the Islamists that western governments and the Israelis claim to be opposed to. It should be remembered that many of today’s Islamists came out of those Mujahedeen who were established and supported by western governments and secret services during the 1980s when they were seen as a buffer against pan-Afrikanism, communism, socialism and other progressive movements across Afrika and the Middle East. Recent weeks have seen the beatings and deportations from Israel of Sudanese, South Sudanese, Eritreans and Somali migrants as the settler regime brings in new anti-migrant (read anti-Afrikan) laws against non-Ashkenazi or non-Sephardic Jews.
We also have to look at the disgraceful bias, false reporting and bloodlust coverage of media outlets many of which have become little more than cheerleaders for regime change, assassinations, economic impoverishment and cultural destruction. We will not give publicity to the individual reporters but they have been much feted and garlanded with prizes over the last year so their names and their scurrilous broadcasts are there in the archives and excerpts are often repeated for those who need lessons in a lack of objectivity. When Al-Jazeera was set up it claimed it would be an alternative source of quality journalism and it would not give undue prominence to the opinions of western politicians, financiers and analysts where the news agenda did not warrant it. There have been ongoing criticisms of the quality of their coverage of the situation in Darfur. However, with the onset of ‘The Arab Spring’ their standards have slipped even further to equal the usual outpourings of the western-biased media. Despite the denials they are incapable of presenting news independent of their Qatari paymasters. We are eternally grateful to the Creator that because of our history of principled independent political analysis we at Nubiart Diary / Afrikan Quest are not and have never been considered by those politicians, media outlets and commentators to be part of their ‘International Community’ mafia.
FORTHCOMING NUBIART PROFILES
NUBIART: Focus on arts, business, education, health, political developments and the media.
~ ‘ICON GIVE THANK’ & ‘ICON EYE’ - Sun Araw & M Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos [FRKWYS – Out Now] Over the last three decades The Congos have been a trio, a duo, solo, in abeyance, backing vocalists and now the last seven years have seen them firing on all cylinders as a quartet - Cedric Myton, ‘Congo Ashanti’ Roy Johnson, Watty Burnett and Kenroy Fyffe - with a regular consistent album output of classy spiritual roots. FRKWYS musician-producers Sun Araw and M Geddes Gengras met up with The Congos along with their crew which includes Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, Likkle David, Sixteen and Congo Ashanti Roy’s son, Negus. Having released what is considered by many the greatest reggae album ever recorded, ‘Heart of the Congos’ in 1977, The Congos had never tried to recapture the vibe of the soundscape backing that was provided for them by Lee Perry at the Black Ark. With ‘Icon Give Thank’ they never match that subliminal perfection but they get very close especially on tracks such as ‘Happy Song’, ‘Jungle’ and ‘Thanks and Praise’. ‘Icon Eye’, is a feature-length DVD documenting time spent living and recording with The Congos in Portmore, Jamaica.
NUBIART LIBRARY – JULY MEDIA
We will only review books we have read and DVDs we have seen and that are available at reasonable prices online or in shops or libraries. However, given the nature and current state of Afrikan publishing and production there may be books and films on this list that are worth the extra effort to track down.
~ ‘WHEN BOUNDARIES BECOME BORDERS: THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARY-MAKING IN SOUTHERN SUDAN’S FRONTIER ZONES’ - Douglas H Johnson [Rift Valley Institute. ISBN-13: 978-1907431029]
- ‘THE KAFIA KINGI ENCLAVE: PEOPLE, POLITICS AND HISTORY IN THE NORTH-SOUTH BOUNDARY OF WESTERN SUDAN’ - Edward Thomas [Rift Valley Institute. ISBN-13: 978-1907431043]
These two books in the Rift Valley Institute’s Contested Borderlands series were published at the end of 2010 in the run up to the South Sudan vote and subsequent independence in 2011. They therefore set out in detail the previous two centuries of migrations, shifting alliances, Islamic incursions and European adventurism in the region which has the longest and most contentious border in East Afrika.
‘When Boundaries Become Borders’, examined the potential impact of the new boundary on the peoples of the borderlands and developments at the local level. In a comprehensive survey of archival sources and current research, the study summarises the history and present situation of the communities each side of the north-south boundary and the existing international borders of Southern Sudan using case studies of 10 of the borderland flashpoints. Claims are based on territories that have seen slave-raiding, pastoralism, war clearances, mechanisation, resource speculation and switching of allegiances as micro-nations vie for an advantage on marginal piece of land facing extreme degradation through overuse.
Disputes are over the issuing of dominant and secondary rights and the use of different ‘maps’ – traditional, 1905, 1956, 1965, 1972 and 1983 - and written descriptions of borders some of which are vegetal landmarks which no longer exist or were never adequately described in the first place. Migrants often give riverbeds as their homes even though they were dry sometimes and flowing others.
Mechanised agriculture has had a disruptive effect on borderlands, jeopardising the environment and impoverishing inhabitants. This meant the area open to pastoralists shrank forcing them to work for landowners or migrate to cities or abroad.
While the battles and disputes in the South Kordofan area around Abyei rightly gets a high profile given the importance of its oil to the economies of both Sudan and South Sudan other contested areas are less known. The Ilemi Triangle, for instance, has been occupied by Kenyan troops for decades without any sign of a pull-out. Sudanese issues are often simplistically painted as Muslims versus Christians there are some Dinka who are Muslims. There has also been a history of in-fighting between Arab pastoralists – Habbaniya, Hawazma, Misseriya and Rizeigat of South Darfur and Southern Kordofan.
Since the start of the Sudanese government’s genocidal onslaught against the people of Darfur a decade ago analysts have always passed off the situation with the single sentence about the Darfuris being Afrikans despite their adoption of the Muslim faith. ‘The Kafia Kingi Enclave: People, Politics and History in the North-South Boundary of Western Sudan’ goes as in depth about the migrations, changing alliances and political duplicity and manipulation in the region as any document we have read about the situation. “War and displacement are the means by which the area has been incorporated into the modern world.” (p15).
Darfur was not incorporated into Sudan until 1916. Kafia Kingi - also called Hofrat en-Nahas (copper pit or copper mine in Arabic) - is the key meeting point between Darfur and the South Sudan region of Western Bahr al-Ghazal. This mineral-rich area is currently under the administration of South Darfur, but is due to be returned to South Sudan under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Less than 15,000 people now live in the actual enclave after the British brutally cleared the area and set up a buffer zone between ‘Muslim North’ and ‘Christian South’ in the 1930s. The Sudanese government turned most of the area into the Radom Biosphere Reserve. The Governor of South Darfur threatened to ‘sell his camels and buy guns’ if the central Sudanese government followed through on the agreed restoration and this has slowed the rightful return of the area to South Sudan.
Halfway through reading this book we lost count of how many times people from the enclave and the neighbouring districts have switched sides between the British, Turks, Egyptians, the Mahdi, local chiefs, sheikhs, bandits, pastoralists, evangelists, the Sudanese government, Sudan African National Union’s Anyanya army, the SPLM and local militias such as Al-Tom Al-Nur’s of the Sudan Socialist Union. Income in recent times has been generated by predation, migration and drug cultivation.
Muslim patriarchs transformed matrilineal African societies. The book explains the negative origins of the term ‘Fertit’ which was once a catch-all word for the Western Bahr al-Ghazal groups that were not Dinka, Arab, Luo or Furl. The term has been partially ‘reclaimed’ by several groups across the Sudanese geo-political area. Fertit can be Muslim, Catholic and Afrikan Traditionalists.
The comprehensive glossaries and bibliographies in both books can lead on to many more valuable areas of research about the history, micro-nations, politics, religion, environment and economics of one of the most crucial regions on the Afrikan continent. If like us you prefer the real deal you can buy hard copies of both these books or you can download free copies from the ‘Publications’ section of the Rift Valley Institute website:
~ BLACK HISTORY WALKS PRESENTS AFRICAN ANIMATIONS FORUM. Cartoons that could not fit into African Superheroes day plus Q and A, a black history quiz and interviews with directors / producers. On Sun 5 Aug at 3.30-5,30pm at Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street, London, SW1V 3AT. Web: www.blackhistorywalks.com
~ THIRD ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF YORUBA ARTS. Celebrating, the rich, vibrant and colourful arts and culture of the Yoruba’s - from the West Afrikan, Caribbean and Latin American communities in the UK. Cultural performances, live bands and delicious Afrikan food. On Sat 28 July at 11am-9pm at Clissold Park, Hackney, London, N16 9HJ. Adm: Free. Web: www.foya.org.uk
~ ALKEBU-LAN REVIVALIST MOVEMENT PRESENTS MONTH OF MOSIAH OPENING CEREMONY Mosiah is 31 days of observance and celebration of the life and legacy of the Most Eminent Prophet & King His Excellency Marcus Mosiah Garvey. In 1998, The Alkebu-Lan Revivalist Movement renamed & designated the 8th month of the year as Mosiah, coinciding with the birth month of the prophet & the UNIA-ACL’s International Convention of The Afrikan People of The World. We celebrate Mosiah not just for historical significance but to ignite the spirit, mission and vision of this outstanding leader, in the hearts and minds of Afrikan people everywhere so that we may as the prophet said, ‘Rise you mighty race - you can accomplish what you will!’ Garvey Lives! On Fri 3 Mosiah (Aug) at 7-10.30pm at Chestnut’s Community Centre, 280 St Ann’s Road, Tottenham, London, N15 5BN. Tel: 020 8539 2154 / 07908 814 152. E-mail: email@example.com
~ ADA AND COLOURFUL RADIO PRESENTS AFRIKAN DIASPORA ART. This event features Afrikan artists depicting living and breathing ancestral art forms displaying paintings, carvings and musical performance in the same light. Works by Abdul Shyllon, Khosi Manaka, Pia Cabble, Shallman Qyashie and Edward Ofusu. Music by Mosi Conde & Kaira Kora Africa. There will be delicious Afrikan cuisines on sale with organic fruit juice to revitalise. On Sat 11 Aug at 5pm at The Spring Project, 100 Vauxhall Walk, Vauxhall, London, SE11 5EL. Adm: Pay what you can. Tel: 07910 387 015 / 07985 134 788. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org /
Water Cargo, 2012
~ OCTOBER GALLERY PRESENT ROMUALD HAZOUMÈ: CARGOLAND. ‘Cargoland’ is Beninois Hazoumè’s bringing together of two large-scale installations, masks and photographs that have never been seen before in Britain. His practice often engages deeply with local and international history to deliver incisive, sharp social commentary. Until 11 Aug (Tues-Fri) at 12.30- 5.30pm at October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3AL. Adm: Free. Web: www.octobergallery.co.uk
~ ‘JOURNEYS AND KINSHIP’ EXHIBITION. Is the face not currency enough? This display of face casts responds to the irony that members of the African Diaspora must pay to visit sites from which their ancestors were transported into enslavement. ‘Journeys and Kinship’ explores further the themes of the London, Sugar & Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands through a project between the visual artist Jean Joseph and a group of young Londoners working together with Calypsonian, Alexander D Great, and Yvonne Wilson from Equi-Vison. Until 4 Nov 2012 at Museum of London, Docklands 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London, E14 4AL. Tel: 020 7001 9844. Adm: Free. Web: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Exhibitions-Displays/JourneysandKinship.htm
Contact: Kubara Zamani, Afrikan Quest International, PO Box 35165, London, SE5 8WU. Tel: 07811 494 969. E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.southwark.tv/quest/aqhome.asp
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