“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Barred Arab candidate allowed to run in Israeli election

Deutsche Welle, 30 December 2012

Israel's highest court has overturned a decision by the country's electoral commission to disqualify an Arab lawmaker from running in upcoming elections. The candidate was involved in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday overruled a decision by the country's electoral commission to disqualify an Arab-Israeli politician from running for office in the January 22 parliamentary elections.

The nine-judge court unanimously dismissed the argument there were sufficient grounds to disqualify Arab Balad party hopeful, Hanin Zoabi, from standing for election, saying she "shall be a candidate for the Knesset [parliament] in next month's poll."

The ruling, published on Sunday, did not outline specific arguments put forth by those seeking to have Zoabi, who entered parliament in 2009 as the first Arab-Israeli female representative, disqualified.

More than two-dozen extreme-right activists attempted to block Zoabi from leaving the High Court of Justice in Jerusalem, pushing her and yelling insults, including "Terrorist, go to Gaza."

Right-wing and ultra-right parliamentarians criticized the court's decision, saying the legal system in Israel was a "left-wing stronghold," and Zoabi had, in the past, "supported terrorists."

Opposition to Israeli blockade

Zoabi drew widespread criticism in Israel when she joined pro-Palestinian activists in the 2010 international aid flotilla challenging the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, a territory ruled by Hamas Islamists opposing the existence of the Jewish state.

Nine activists were shot dead in clashes aboard the ships, but Zoabi said she did not participate in the violent confrontation, nor did she witness it.

Earlier this month, Israel's Central Elections Commission voted to disallow Zoabi based on the reading of the Basic Law, which states "anyone who denies Israel's existence as a Jewish state, or supports armed struggle against it, may not be a candidate for the Knesset."

Zoabi told reporters on Sunday that the attempt to disqualify her had been "motivated by political persecution against her, her party and the Arab public in Israel as whole."

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan condemned the ruling saying Zoabi had been involved in "expressing solidarity with our enemies."

jlw/ rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks during an interview
 with Agence France-Presse on December 6, 2012 (AFP/File, 
Menahem Kahana)

Related Articles:

Israel must complete peace deal with Abbas: Peres

Israel indicts former Foreign Minister Lieberman

"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, ArabsEU, USIsrael, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

" ..... If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening. ....."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rebels agree to talks in Central African Republic

Deutsche Welle, 29 december 2012

Government and rebel factions in the Central African Republic have agreed on unconditional talks aimed at forging a truce. Neighboring countries have meanwhile said they will dispatch troops to intervene.

The agreement to sit down at the table came without pre-conditions, the deputy secretary general of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Guy-Pierre Garcia, said on Friday.

"No one asked for conditions," said Garcia, adding that talks in the Gabon capital Libreville would take place "without delay,” although a date has yet to be named.

The government of President Francois Bozize is under threat after an insurgency began on December 10.

The president, who has been in power for almost 10 years, on Thursday pleaded for military help from both the US and former colonial power France, amid fears that rebels would move in on the capital, Bangui.

The Seleka coalition of rebel groups, fighting in the northwestern part of the country, has largely been kept in check by government troops in recent years, with some help from foreign governments.

ECCAS on Friday said it would deploy a contingent of soldiers to the country, although the number of soldiers to be sent was not immediately clarified.

France - which intervened on behalf of the government using airstrikes in 2006 - already has forces present in the country. However, Paris has said they would protect French interests rather than those of Bozize. Security was reinforced at the French Embassy on Friday after protesters threw rocks at the building.

rc/ccp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

The president of the Central African Republic, François Bozizé (r)
 said he was also ready to attend peace talks organised by
regional leaders. Photograph: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

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Central African Republic president 'ready to share power' with rebels - New

Central African Republic crisis: Bozize promises coalition

C.Africa rebels may enter Bangui, want Bozize depature

New Egypt constitution means equality, says Morsi

The Daily Star, AFP, December 29, 2012

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi signs a decree to put into effect the new
 constitution in Cairo December 25, 2012, in this handout photo released
by Egyptian Presidency office. REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout
CAIRO: Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday said a controversial new constitution guaranteed equal rights to all Egyptians, in an address before a newly empowered senate.

"All are equal before the law, and in this constitution," he said of the charter drawn up by an Islamist-dominated council and approved in a referendum, adding that there would be "freedom for all people, with no exceptions."

Related Articles: 

"TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE" - The Last 18 years – Dec 8, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll)

(Subjects: Who is Kryon, God, Love, Great Central Sun, (Old) SoulBenevolent Design, 1987 - Harmonic Convergence (11:11), 36 years galactic window (Precession), 26.000 years cycle, Mayan Calendar, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE”  song – Composer, Human Consciousness, Conceptional Thinking, Old and New energy, Middle East, Protest against the new leader in Egypt because he is of an old energy, Syria is a Nightmare, Libya, People of Iran, Israel, Higher Self, You did it !, Change of Paradigm, 2012,  US/Russia, Global Unity, ... etc.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Organic pioneers in Ivory Coast

Deutsche Welle, 26 December 2012

Some four years ago, German importer Biotriopic introduced organic farming to Ivory Coast. Investment in Africa has not always been easy, but so far it's been a success story.

There's a scent of lemon in the cold storage complex outside of the German city of Duisburg. Boxes and shelves with bananas, mangos, coconuts, lemons, oranges and pineapples fill the halls from floor to ceiling. At the open gate, a forklift is piling goods onto a waiting truck.

Biotropic is one of Germany's largest importers of organic fruits and vegetables. It all started back in 1997, with organic bananas from the Dominican Republic. Today it's anything from kiwis, nuts, dates to oranges - shipped from all corners of the earth.

Pineapples from Ivory Coast

It all started with pineapples grown
in the Dominican Republic
Four years ago, Biotropic began campaigning for organic pineapple to be grown in Ivory Coast. The German company worked with the local cooperative Ivoire Organics. "We only had a few earlier attempts in a few other countries such as Cameron, where it didn't work out," explained Kuemkwong Siemefo, head of Africa operations at Biotronic.

"Then we went to Ivory Coast where the infrastructure was excellent. We were lucky that the farmers we worked with have a long tradition of growing pineapple," Siemefo added.

Since the 1970s, the West African country has been one of the largest pineapple producers for the European market. But around the turn of the century, production shrunk by more than 20 percent. The civil war scared off investors and buyers, and especially smaller producers had trouble getting their goods onto the international market. For many farmers, this meant unemployment.

Creating jobs

Thanks to the cooperation with Biotropic, plenty of jobs have been created, said Paul Stephane Goa Pegnene, CEO of Ivoire Organics. "We've recruited people from the villages for the work. The smaller producers used to not have the resources to continue growing pineapple. But with the investments of Biotropic, we were able to support them."

The German company got help from Sequa, a development cooperation organization in Bonn, Germany. In 2008 and 2010, Sequa helped with know-how, and above all with money.

Investments in Africa bear a high risk, said Siemefo. "Sequa was the right partner to minimize those risks. Without that financial backing we would not have made that step," he added.

Organic cocoa production is next on the list of new projects for Biotropic

Goals left to reach

For Sequa, it was not just about pineapples, but also about knowledge transfer. A new institute founded at the Abodo Adjame University was supposed to spread technical organic farming expertise across the country. But the cooperation with the university failed for political reasons, said Susanne Sattlegger of Sequa. Nonetheless, she still concludes, positively, that cooperation with the local farmers has worked out well.

"The reason why not all of the development policy goals were archived here, was because of such extreme factors like environment, climate, and also the problematic cooperation with the university for political reasons," Sattlegger explained.

"But those are all things that neither we nor Biotropic would have been able to influence one way or another," she said.

Despite problems, Biotropic has extended it's investments in Ivory Coast. It started with 10 employees and an area of just two hectares some four years ago - today there are around 50 farmers working 70 hectares for Biotropic. An additional 20 small farmers sell their produce to Ivoire Organics.

Biotropic supplies the cooperative with seeds and machinery, and finances the organic certification process. Aside from pineapple, the farmers now also grow cashew nuts, mangos and coconuts for Biotropic. Soon, bananas and cocoa will be added to this list.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saving the rhino with surveillance drones

South African farmer plans to put 30 drones in the air to help combat poachers

The Guardian, David Smith in Johannesburg, Tuesday 25 December 2012

A white rhino. Photograph: Thomas Hall /Getty Images/Flickr RF

A rhino farmer in South Africa is planning to use surveillance drones designed for the US military to combat poachers who are driving the animals towards extinction.

Clive Vivier, cofounder of the Zululand rhino reserve in KwaZulu-Natal province, said he has been granted permission by the US state department to buy the state-of-the-art Arcturus T-20 drone.

He is now seeking clearance from local civil aviation authorities to put 30 of the drones in South African skies.

Radical solutions are needed, he argues, at the end of a year which has seen a record of more than 650 rhinos slaughtered for their horns to meet demand from the Far East.

Vivier believes the true figure may be closer to 1,000, a significant dent in a population of around 20,000. "We're now eating into our capital of rhino," he said. "From here they are heading rapidly towards extinction. Despite all our efforts, we're just historians recording the demise of a species. We don't have the numbers on the ground to see people and stop them killing the animals."

Around 400 rhinos have been killed this year in the world-famous Kruger national park, which spans 2m hectares – impossible for a limited number of rangers to guard effectively. Vivier estimates it as the equivalent of a town with one policeman for every 100,000 houses, "all with the doors and windows and open and rhino horn inside".

He continued: "We need to change the rules of the game. We need technology. The only thing that can see these people before they do the dirty deed is surveillance drones."

The answer, he believes, is the unmanned Arcturus T-20, which, with a 17ft wingspan, can fly for 16 hours without refuelling at a height of 15,000 feet. Its lack of noise and infrared camera would be invaluable for spotting poachers at night. "It can tell whether a man is carrying a shovel or firearm and whether he has his finger on the trigger or not," said Vivier, 65. "We can see the poacher but he can't see us. We're good at arresting them when we know where they are. Otherwise it's a needle in a haystack."

Vivier has spent two years in talks with civil aviation officials and is hopeful that he will soon get the green light for a six-month trial. He proposes 10 of the drones for Kruger park, and a further 20 for other vulnerable reserves in South Africa.

He estimates that each drone would cost roughly $300,000 (£184,445) to keep in the air for two years, making a total of around $9m (£5.53m).

"The drones are economical to fly and will get us information at a very low cost. We need this technology to put us in a position to catch the guys. We need to do it before they kill rhino. The drone is, in my opinion, the only solution. It is highly sophisticated and can see things no other technology can."

After the worst rhino poaching year on record in South Africa, air technology is seen as a crucial preventative step. Earlier this month, a reconnaissance plane with surveillance equipment including thermal imaging began patrolling over Kruger park.

But Vivier believes such alternatives lack the Calfornia-built Arcturus T-20's capability. "The smaller ones are like using a bucket to put out a fire at the Empire State building. We need fire engines. We're now an inferno. If we don't wake up and do something, the world will lose the rhino."

He appealed for the US, UK or other countries to help raise the necessary funds. "The company making the drone has to be paid and we don't have the money. We need the best technology because the criminals are sharp. We've had approval from the US state department and we're trying to work with them. It's a world problem and the rest of the world needs to help us."

Vivier is among a group of rhino farmers who believe that legalising the trade in horn would thwart the black market and reduce poaching. Several conservation groups disagree and call for measures that will reduce demand in countries such as Vietnam, where horn is seen as a delicacy with health benefits.

Ike Phaahla, a spokesman for South African National Parks, welcomed moves to put eyes in the sky. "In the past three months that is a strategy we have decided to use," he said. "We are able to use the intelligence to intercept the poachers, although you can't have a silver bullet for this kind of thing."

Monday, December 24, 2012

Swaziland: Police in mini-skirt arrest threat

BBC News, 24 December 2012

The police warning does not apply to women in traditional clothes

Related Stories

Women in Swaziland risk arrest if they wear mini-skirts or tops which expose part of their stomach, a police spokeswoman has said.

Wendy Hleta said police would enforce an 1889 law which bans "immoral" dressing if they receive a complaint.

She also said women in the deeply conservative kingdom make it easier for rapists by wearing mini-skirts.

Last month, police reportedly blocked women in mini-skirts marching against rape in the second city, Manzini.

However, the colonial-era law does not apply to traditional costumes worn by women during ceremonies like the annual reed dance, where the monarch may choose a new wife.

In 2000, the government introduced a law requiring school girls aged 10 years old and above to wear knee-length skirts to curb promiscuity as part of attempts to halt the spread of Aids.

The country has a population of more than 1.2 million and one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world.

'Undressing people with their eyes'

Ms Hleta said the 1889 law had not been enforced recently, but police wanted to alert women about its existence after receiving complaints from some men in Manzini about women wearing mini-skirts.

Anyone arrested and guilty of "immorality" under the Crimes Act of 1889 could receive a fine of up to $10 (£6) or a jail-term of up to six months if they failed to pay the fine, she said.

Women should be careful about wearing revealing clothes, the police spokeswoman said.

"We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behaviour," Ms Hleta is quoted by the privately owned Times of Swaziland newspaper as saying.

"The act of the rapist is made easy because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women," she said.

Women who wear "skimpy clothes" also draw unnecessary attention to themselves, Ms Hleta said.

"I have read from the social networks that men and even other women have a tendency of 'undressing people with their eyes'. That becomes easier when the clothes are hugging or are more revealing," Ms Hleta is quoted as saying.

However, the law excluded exposure of the body due to breast feeding and wearing cultural regalia, she said.

Swaziland is a patriarchal society, ruled by sub-Saharan Africa's only absolute monarch, King Mswati III.

He has 13 wives and is often accused of leading a flamboyant lifestyle.

But in a move that was widely welcomed by rights groups, Swaziland's Ellinah Wamukoya was last month consecrated as the first woman bishop in Africa by the Anglican church.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Egyptian VP Mahmoud Mekki resigns amid constitution vote

Deutsche Welle, 22 December 2012

Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekki has announced his resignation, state television reported. The move has come on the second day and final phase of a referendum on a new Islamist-backed constitution.

Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekki resigned on Saturday, state television reported.
Mekki, a career judge before President Muhammad Morsi named him to the post in August, announced his resignation with more than five hours to go of voting in the final phase of a referendum on a disputed, Islamist-backed constitution.

A statement by Mekki read on state TV hinted that his resignation could be linked to Morsi's policies.

"I have realized a while ago that the nature of politics does not suit my professional background as a judge," he wrote.

He said he first submitted his resignation last month but unrest in the country, the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the subsequent Egyptian-brokered truce forced him to stay on.
The new constitution, if passed, will eliminate the post of vice president.

Second day of voting

More than 25 million Egyptians were eligible voters in Saturday's round, which was under way in areas considered to be broadly conservative, meaning a yes vote was expected to prevail.
About 57 percent of those who voted in the first round of the referendum, on December 15, approved the document, according to unofficial results.

The opposition claims that the first round was marred by massive irregularities, an allegation denied by the electoral commission.

The Muslim Brotherhood, who supported Morsi in his June election, and its Islamist allies say the charter will fast-track the country's transition to democracy, from the authoritarian rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed almost two years ago. It will help restore the stability needed to fix an economy that is on the ropes, they say.

The opposition, meanwhile, says the constitution could undermine political rights and sideline minorities.

The main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, has renewed its call for followers to turn out in large numbers to vote against the charter. However, Islamists appear confident of securing a clear vote in favor of the constitution.

Polling stations were due to close at 7 p.m., with balloting time expected to be extended to accommodate voters, as had happened in the first round. The final result is to be determined by the majority of the valid ballots cast in both rounds, according to the electoral commission.

If the constitution is adopted, it will clear the way for legislative elections within 60 days. If the charter is voted down, an election will be called within three months to pick a new assembly to draft a new constitution.

Even if the charter is approved, the opposition say it is a recipe for trouble since it has not received broad consensus backing from the population.

hc,bk/dr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

(Subjects: Who is Kryon, God, Love, Great Central Sun, (Old) SoulBenevolent Design, 1987 - Harmonic Convergence (11:11), 36 years galactic window (Precession), 26.000 years cycle, Mayan Calendar, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE”  song – Composer, Human Consciousness, Conceptional Thinking, Old and New energy, Middle East, Protest against the new leader in Egypt because he is of an old energy, Syria is a Disaster, Libya, People of Iran, Israel, Higher Self, You did it !, Change of Paradigm, 2012,  US/Russia, Global Unity, ... etc.)

Tunisia PM kicks off auction of Ben Ali treasures

Google – AFP, 22 December 2012

Shoes that once belonged to Leila Ben Ali on display in Tunis on
December 22, 2012. (AFP, Fethi Belaid)

GAMMARTH, Tunisia — Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali kicked off viewing on Saturday for an auction of thousands of luxury items once owned by ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family.

Jebali inspected 40 luxury cars, thousands of clothing, jewellery items and art works on the eve of the public auction which is being held in the Tunis suburb of Gammarth in a bid to raise millions of euros for government coffers.

Highlight of the month-long sale is expected to be the cars, which include a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 460, a Bentley Continental sports car, an armoured Cadillac and a Maybach 62.

Cars that belonged to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family on
display in Tunis on December 22, 2012 (AFP, FETHI BELAID)

Suits belonging to the toppled despot are expected to go for 3,000 euros each, while coats belonging to his wife Leila Trabelsi, who was notorious for her expensive tastes, could fetch as much as 4,000 euros.

Her handbags are expected fetch 3,000 euros, while the couple's footwear is expected to command prices ranging from 100 to 300 euros.

A woman holds a coat that once belonged to Leila Ben Ali in Tunis
on December 22, 2012. (AFP, Fethi Belaid)

Acting finance minister Slim Besbes told reporters earlier this week that items valued at less than 10,000 dinars (5,000 euros) would be sold at fixed price, but that anything priced above that would be put to auction.

The government hopes to raise at least 10 million euros from the sale.

Besbes said the items belonged to Ben Ali and 114 of his relatives.

The public can view the sale items from Sunday for an entry charge of 30 dinars, a stiff amount in a country where the minimum wage is just 320 dinars a month.

Ben Ali, who fled in the face of the first of last year's Arab Spring uprisings, lives in exile in Saudi Arabia with his wife.

His overthrow has done little, however, to address the economic grievances that fuelled the revolt, with protests against the new government multiplying in recent weeks.

Related Article:

Eleven supercars worth up to €5m have been seized from outside an
 African leader's Paris mansion as part of money-laundering investigations.
Photograph: Alexsmolik

Friday, December 21, 2012

A literal slap in the face for Egypt's women

Deutsche Welle, 22 December 2012

In the first of two referendum votes, Egyptians approved a new constitution by a slim margin. Should it pass round two, one lawyer believes that the consequences for Egypt's women will be wide-ranging and severe.

She's a feminist and a Muslim, she fights for women's rights wearing beige slacks and a bright red headscarf. Nihad Abu El Konsam is perhaps the best evidence that Egypt's women can be followers of the Koran and yet still see eye-to-eye with their male counterparts.

Yet Egypt's Nile region has always been the exception, the lawyer and chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR) admits. Abu El Konsam worries that the Islamists currently in power in Cairo will use a newly drafted constitution reverse the forward march of Egyptian history.

"It's a disaster. There isn't a single article in the draft constitution that mentions the rights of women," said Nihan Abu El Konsam. "We lawyers have made numerous proposals for constitutional articles that would make up for the social and cultural problems in our society and would allow women to finally achieve equal rights. But the Islamists ignored it."

Only in article 10 of the Egyptian constitutional draft is the role of women in Egypt briefly touched upon - and only then in their "important role as a mother," the lawyer said.

A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood chants slogans from a Koran

'This constitution sets Egypt 100 years back'

The fight over the new Egpytian constitution has deeply divided the most populous country in the Middle East. The opposition accuses Islamist groups of attempting to turn Egypt into a theocracy. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Salafists in turn insinuate publicly that the opposition - along with courts and media - is involved in a conspiracy to overthrow Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Violent clashes between these groups have left more than a dozen dead and hundreds wounded.

In spite of the violence President Morsi continues to adhere to original time plan for the referendum. The first round of voting last Saturday resulted in a slim majority in support of the contentious document. The second round takes place this Saturday.

Nihad Abu El Konsam will vote "no." "This constitution will set Egypt 100 years back," she said. The fact that the constitution's is based primarily on Sharia law is not the problem. "The fundamental principles of Sharia law are equality and human dignity - the same principles all religion," said Nihad Abu El Konsam.

Mursi called in tanks to stop
pre-referendum violence
Yet the constitution is extremely imprecise. It leaves an "open door," Abu El Konsam believes, for extreme fundamentalist interpretation and discrimination against women and other Egyptian citizens.

'Every citizen is equal' isn't enough

Nor does the Muslim Brotherhood's assertion of citizen "equality" within the constitution give solace to the women's right activist. In her office, she pulls out a stack of case-files. The same 'equal rights' constitutional article, Abu El Konsam says, has been in the Egyptian constitution since 1971.

"And yet since that time, for 40 years now, women have suffered discrimination in all areas. Even today we don't have female judges in Egypt holding the same high-level positions as men. Women aren't even allowed into some industries. There's discrimination in income levels and education. Unemployment levels are four times higher for women than for men. We don't even have a law against abuse in the household. When we do go to court, the offender is acquitted."

The lawyer believes that the Islamists have "tailored" the constitution to meet their own demands. She also worries that genital mutilation of young girls and women could once more be legalized, that the age of marital consent might be dropped to nine or 11 years of age, or the right to divorce once more thrown into question.

"We're still expecting a tough fight," Nihad Abu El Konsam said.

Paramedics attend to an anti-Mursi supporter at the presidential palace

A literal slap in the face

The fight will not be limited to words only. When critics of President Morsi gathered in front of the presidential palace to protest decrees of expanded powers and the hastily approved constitution on the evening of December 5, demonstrators were brutally attacked by thousands of members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamists have proved themselves willing to step not only on the rights of women, but also on the women themselves. A young political activist named Ola Shahba appeared on Egyptian television on December 6, her face was bruised and puffy.

"They hit me with sticks from all sides, they stepped on me, they strangled me. They groped me - my body, my breasts. They held me captive for hours. I never would have thought that the so-called Islamists would do such a thing." 

Related Articles: 

"TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE" - The Last 18 years – Dec 8, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) – New

(Subjects: Who is Kryon, God, Love, Great Central Sun, (Old) SoulBenevolent Design, 1987 - Harmonic Convergence (11:11), 36 years galactic window (Precession), 26.000 years cycle, Mayan Calendar, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, “TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE”  song – Composer, Human Consciousness, Conceptional Thinking, Old and New energy, Middle East, Protest against the new leader in Egypt because he is of an old energy, Syria is a Disaster, Libya, People of Iran, Israel, Higher Self, You did it !, Change of Paradigm, 2012,  US/Russia, Global Unity, ... etc.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

President Hollande accepts French injustice in Algeria

BBC News, 20 December 2012

Related Stories

Francois Hollande acknowledged the
massacres perpetrated by French
President Francois Hollande has acknowledged the brutality of France's colonisation of Algeria, but stopped short of a full apology.

Speaking on his first visit to the country as president, Mr Hollande told the Algerian parliament: "I recognise the suffering that colonialism inflicted on the Algerian people."

But he added that he had not come "to repent or apologise".

Thousands of Algerians were killed in a bloody seven-year war of independence.

The French army has been accused of carrying out massacres and using torture as it sought to quash the pro-independence movement.

Many French people also died in revenge attacks before Algeria gained independence in 1962.

Mr Hollande said there was a duty of truth to recognise the injustices. But he said his visit opened a new era of a partnership between equals.

Mr Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, also acknowledged that France's 132-year colonial rule was unjust on his first visit to the country five years ago.

But he, too, would not apologise.

'Soothe memories'

Ahead of his visit, 10 Algerian political parties called on Mr Hollande "to recognise, apologise for and compensate" for France's crimes.

The popular El Watan newspaper said such an act would "soothe memories that are still painful".

The crowds who welcomed Francois
 Hollande no longer see France as
the enemy
Mr Hollande, however, would only go as far as recognising that the full truth about the war should come out.

In his speech to mark 50 years of independence, he said: "Establishing the truth is an obligation that ties Algerians and French."

"That's why it is necessary that historians have access to the archives."

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says many of Algeria's youthful population no longer see France as the enemy - but they do want to be treated as equals.

Trade ties

About 700,000 Algerians live in France and Mr Hollande is keen to make it easier for Algerians and French to travel between the two countries.

He is also eager to boost trade, which stands at about 10bn euros a year (£8bn, $13bn).

China, Italy and other countries are increasingly muscling in on trade with the former French territory.

Travelling with Mr Hollande are executives from some of France's top firms.

Renault has announced it is to build a factory in Algeria, which will produce 75,000 cars each year. It is the first carmaker to establish production facilities in the country.

Mr Hollande has also invited Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to pay a state visit to France.