“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.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Voodoo in Africa: Christian demonisation angers followers

Benin's priests try to dispel misconceptions about ancient religion practised by half the country's population

guardian.co.uk, Monica Mark in Ouidah, Thursday 6 December 2012

A voodoo ceremony in Ouidah, Benin, the cradle of voodoo. The religion is
 often practised alongside Christianity and Islam. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/
Getty Images

But for the gentle hissing of pythons, Dah Dangbénon's voodoo temple could have been mistaken for a new-age hippy gathering. Seated in a semicircle on fraying raffia mats, devotees listened rapturously as the high priest talked at length about oneness with the cosmos.

"There can be no equilibrium without respecting the universal laws of nature, and our ancient knowledge and traditions," said Dangbénon, a silver-haired man whose toenails were painted an improbable bright pink.

He rolled his eyes exasperatedly when explaining how a faith that expressly forbade killing another human being had been "fetishised" by outsiders. "Voodoo is not about using magic spells to curse your enemies," said Dangbénon, whose clan has for generations overseen this temple dedicated to pythons. "If you choose to manipulate nature to harm your neighbour, it's not voodoo that harms your neighbour, it is you."

Like its Nigerian cousin, juju, voodoo originated in Benin's ancient kingdom of Dahomey. Today the tradition based on nature is so interwoven with daily life that it borders on the banal in Benin. Temples are slotted in between buzzing restaurants and pharmacies, easily overlooked. Tiny carved talismans swing decoratively in doorways where chickens scratch and children dart noisily around. Elders gossiping at roadside bars spill the first sip of each beer to honour the spirits.

About half the country's 9 million people are followers of the mainstream benign form of voodoo, but it has produced extreme practices. In November, officials linked the digging up of 100 graves to an underground trade in human organs for black magic rituals. In the village of Zakpota, deep in the bush, villagers said that twice during especially tough harvest years a young child had "disappeared". "The family was shunned [by villagers]. It is not something people are proud of talking about because it pained us very much," said one villager, Sylvan, who refused to say any more.

But most visitors to Dangbénon's palm thatch temple, bearing bottles of fiery moonshine as a gift, want help to find a job. Healing after bereavement is also high on their list of priorities.

"Colonialists demonised voodoo to the point where even the word makes you think of backwardness, something derogatory. But it's as much a part of African heritage as Buddhism is to Asia, and much older [than Buddhism]. All the good in voodoo has been tainted," Dangbénon said.

In the 1990s, Benin's government overturned a decades-long ban and recognised voodoo as a great cultural tradition, even promoting a national voodoo day. For many, the endorsement was purely cosmetic: the old-time faith had long persisted alongside Islam and Christianity.

At Ouidah, the cradle of voodoo, Benin's first cathedral sits opposite the distinctly shabbier Python temple. According to local lore, the temple's priests helped struggling colonial priests fund the cathedral just over a century ago.

"If there's a voodoo celebration after mass I put on my pagne [traditional dress] and go to the ceremony across the street. Even the cathedral priests come and watch the ceremonies during the annual voodoo festival," said a local man, Hipolite Apovo. Not everyone approves. "Some people went to celebrate the pope's visit to the cathedral last year by heading straight to the temple afterwards. My opinion is either you practise Christianity, or you practise voodoo, or you practise nothing at all. It makes no sense to mix all of them, anyhow," said Nicephore Agontinhlo, pointedly avoiding the stalls of feathers, animal parts and beads at the town's charms market.

But what rankles most in unrecognisable depictions of voodoo by Hollywood and western culture is the erasing of a rich musical and artistic contribution. "My musical inspiration comes from the sato [a ceremonial rhythm] of voodoo. Voodoo instruments and music helped shape the music of Africa," said Vincent Ahehehinnou of the renowned group Orchestre Poly-Rythmo.

Recently, the country's most famous priest decided to take matters into his own hands. Dah Aligbonon Akpochihala, who is in his 60s, started a crash course that allows voodoo devotees to attain priesthood in four months rather than the usual three years. A member of Benin's aristocracy, Akpochihala also takes to the radio – "a medium young and old people understand" – to make sure the tradition is restored to its rightful place. "So long as there is Africa, there will be voodoo. As I've said before, we need to bring voodoo in from the dark," he said in his urban temple, wedged between a beauty parlour and hardware shop, and running a side business in photocopying.

Akpochihala's sermons, in French and local dialect, attract both a French-speaking elite and a less educated underclass. "He is someone who is respected by villagers and kings alike," said a listener, Sessi Tonokoui.

Local adaptations have continued to thrive from Haiti to New Orleans. In Brazil, the world's largest Catholic country, tens of thousands of devotees of the religion known as Candomblé launch tiny candlelit boats out to sea to celebrate the religious new year.

"Some of our incantations are spoken in Yoruba because Candomblé came directly from our African ancestors," said Nivaldo Antonio dos Santos, a priest from the north-eastern state of Bahia, the single biggest final destination of African slaves.

Priests from west Africa sometimes travelled to Brazil to relearn drumming rituals that had been lost to them, Dos Santos said.

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