“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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Belgian 'regret' for Congo past stirs bittersweet response

Yahoo – AFP, June 30, 2020

King Leopold II pillaged DR Congo and treated the colony as his personal
property (AFP Photo/SAMIR TOUNSI)

Kinshasa (AFP) - DR Congo hailed Belgium on Tuesday after its monarch, King Philippe, voiced his "deepest regrets" for the country's brutal colonial occupation, but some in the country demanded reparations for the past.

In a letter to President Felix Tshisekedi on the nation's 60th anniversary of independence, Philippe expressed unprecedented sorrow for colonial acts that historians say led to the death of millions of Congolese.

"I want to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past whose pain is reawakened today by the discrimination still present in our societies," Philippe said.

"Acts of violence and cruelty were committed which weigh on our collective memory," he said.

DR Congo Foreign Minister Marie Ntumba Nzeza, in statement to AFP, said the king's letter was "balm to the heart of the Congolese people. This is a step forward that will boost friendly relations between our nations."

Tshisekedi, in a TV address on the eve of the anniversary, paid tribute to Belgium, where he lived in self-imposed exile before returning to run successfully in the 2018 elections.

Philippe, he said, "is searching, just like me, to strengthen the ties between our two countries, without denying our common past, but with the goal of preparing a bright and harmonious future."

In contrast, Lambert Mende, the former spokesman of Tshisekedi's predecessor, Joseph Kabila, said, "It's not enough to say, 'I feel regret.'

"People should be willing to repair the damage in terms of investment and compensation with interest. That's what we expect from our Belgian partners."

Herve Diakiese, spokesman of a citizen's movement called Congolais Debout (Congolese, Stand Up), said the monarch's letter was "a step in the right direction."

"But this belated remorse can only be accepted after adequate reparations for these atrocities which enabled the personal enrichment of Leopold II and his friends," he said, referring to the former Belgian monarch who pillaged Congo from 1885 to 1908.

"Belgium's mischief-making after independence on June 30 1960 to control the DRC's minerals should also feature among reparation issues," he said.

Looted Congolese artefacts, too, should be returned, he added.

Jean-Claude Katende, the president of Asadho, one of the oldest rights groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, called for a greater effort to identify provinces where colonial Belgium carried out its worst atrocities.

"In Equateur (province), people were killed and others had their hands cut off," he said.

Belgium is contemplating setting up a parliamentary commission to investigate its colonial rule, which also extended over Rwanda and Burundi.

Monday, June 29, 2020

'It's my dam': Ethiopians unite around Nile River mega-project

Yahoo – AFP, Robbie COREY-BOULET, June 29, 2020

The Blue Nile flowing through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The project is
passionately supported by the Ethiopian public despite the tensions it has stoked
with Egypt and Sudan downstream (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

Addis Ababa (AFP) - Last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's press secretary took a break from official statements to post something different to her Twitter feed: a 37-line poem defending her country's massive dam on the Blue Nile River.

"My mothers seek respite/From years of abject poverty/Their sons a bright future/And the right to pursue prosperity," Billene Seyoum wrote in her poem, entitled "Ethiopia Speaks".

As the lines indicate, Ethiopia sees the $4.6 billion (four-billion-euro) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as crucial for its electrification and development.

But the project, set to become Africa's largest hydroelectric installation, has sparked an intensifying row with downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan, which worry that it will restrict vital water supplies.

Addis Ababa plans to start filling next month, despite demands from Cairo and Khartoum for a deal on the dam's operations to avoid depletion of the Nile.

The African Union is assuming a leading role in talks to resolve outstanding legal and technical issues, and the UN Security Council could take up the issue Monday.

With global attention to the dam on the rise, its defenders are finding creative ways to show support -- in verse, in Billene's case, through other art forms and, most commonly, in social media posts demanding the government finish construction.

To some observers, the dam offers a rare point of unity in an ethnically-diverse country undergoing a fraught democratic transition and awaiting elections delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Abebe Yirga, a university lecturer and expert in water management, compared the effort to finish the dam to Ethiopia's fight against Italian would-be colonisers in the late 19th century.

"During that time, Ethiopians irrespective of religion and different backgrounds came together to fight against the colonial power," he said.

"Now, in the 21st century, the dam is reuniting Ethiopians who have been politically and ethnically divided."

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (AFP Photo)

Hashtag activism

Ethiopia broke ground on the dam in 2011 under then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who pitched it as a catalyst for poverty eradication.

Civil servants contributed one month's salary towards the project that year, and the government has since issued dam bonds targeting Ethiopians at home and abroad.

Nearly a decade later, the dam remains a source of hope for a country where more than half the population of 110 million lives without electricity.

With Meles dead nearly eight years, perhaps the most prominent face of the project these days is water minister Seleshi Bekele, a former academic whose publications include articles with titles like "Estimation of flow in ungauged catchments by coupling a hydrological model and neural networks: Case study".

As a government minister, though, Seleshi has demonstrated an ear for the catchy soundbite.

At a January press conference in Addis Ababa, he fielded a question from a journalist wondering whether countries besides Ethiopia might play a role in operating the dam.

With an amused expression on his face, Seleshi looked the journalist dead in the eye and responded simply, "It's my dam."

In those five seconds, a hashtag was born.

Coverage of the exchange went viral, and today a Twitter search for #ItsMyDam turns up seemingly endless posts hailing the project.

At recent events officials have even distributed T-shirts bearing the slogan to Ethiopian journalists, who proudly wear them around town.

The dam's wall is 145 metres (475 feet) high. Filling the lake that will form behind it 
will probably take years (AFP Photo/EDUARDO SOTERAS)

Banana boosterism

Some non-Ethiopians have also gotten in on #ItsMyDam fever.

Anna Chojnicka spent four years living in Ethiopia working for an organisation supporting social entrepreneurs, though she recently moved to London.

In March, holed up with suspected COVID-19, she began using a comb and thread-cutter to imprint designs on bananas.

Her #BananaOfTheDay series has included bruises portraying the London skyline, iconic scenes from Disney movies and the late singer Amy Winehouse.

But by far the most popular are her bananas related to the dam, the first of which she posted last week showing water rushing through the concrete colossus.

On Thursday she posted a banana featuring a woman carrying firewood, noting that once the dam starts operating "fewer women will need to collect firewood for fuel".

The image was quickly picked up by an Ethiopian television station.

"Maybe the fact that I'm international, and not Ethiopian, but I'm sort of showing solidarity is meaningful," Chojnicka told AFP when asked why she thought the dam posts were so well-received.

"It shows that this is something that's not only seen as valuable by Ethiopians, but the value is also something that an international person can see."

Political pressure

Big hydro projects have in many parts of the world fallen out of favour in the face of their environmental impact and outsized cost compared with wind and solar.

In Ethiopia, though, fervour for the GERD has eclipsed such doubts, and stoked pressure on Abiy to start filling it next month regardless of what happens in upcoming talks.

Failure to do so would prompt a backlash that would be "catastrophic for the prime minister and his government", said Jawar Mohammed, a leading opposition politician.

Abiy has so far shown no sign of retreating from the timeline.

In October, the same month he won the Nobel Peace Prize, he went so far as to assure lawmakers that "millions" of troops could be mobilised to defend the dam if necessary.

Billene, his press secretary, used similarly direct language in her poem extolling the dam's virtues.

"When I say 'it's my dam'," she wrote, "I damn well mean it too."

Monday, June 8, 2020

Kenyans march in capital against police violence

Yahoo – AFP, June 8, 2020

Protest: Residents of Mathare demonstrate against police violence (AFP Photo/

Nairobi (AFP) - Around 200 people turned out Monday for a protest in a poor Nairobi neighbourhood against police violence linked to the deaths of 15 people nationwide since the authorities imposed a curfew to fight coronavirus.

The crowd in the Mathare neighbourhood was composed mostly of young people and mothers carrying signs with the names of friends, neighbours and sons killed in police operations in recent years.

"I am here to protest for our youth who have died in the hands of the police without any wrongdoings and we are saying enough is enough. As mothers, many of our youths have been killed while being labelled as thieves," said Mathare resident Rahma Wako.

Kenya's Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) reported last week it had received 87 complaints against police since the dusk-to-dawn curfew and heightened security measures were imposed on March 27.

Some 15 deaths and "31 incidents where victims sustained injuries" have been "directly linked to actions of police officers during the curfew enforcement", it said.

In recent days, cities around the world have seen massive protests against racism and police violence prompted by last month's police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man in the US state of Minnesota.

Though Floyd's killing has not led to major protests in Kenya, activists on social media have seized the moment to highlight the country's own scourge of police brutality, which typically goes unpunished.

Kenya's police force is often accused by rights groups of using excessive force and carrying out unlawful killings, especially in poor neighbourhoods.

In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the police of imposing the coronavirus curfew in a "chaotic and violent manner from the start", sometimes whipping, kicking and teargassing people to force them off the streets.

It described the case of 13-year-old Yassin Hussein Moyo who died in Nairobi on March 31 after being shot while standing on his balcony as police forced people into their homes on the street below.

Other cases include a tomato seller who died in western Kakamega after being hit by a teargas canister, and four men who were beaten to death in different parts of the country.

Interior Minister Fred Matiangi on Friday criticised police excesses, but "took exception to painting the entire service with the same brush", his office said in a statement.

On Thursday, the IPOA announced six police officers would be arrested and prosecuted -- one for Moyo's death; another for shooting dead a secondary school teacher while responding to a burglary at a market in western Siaya; and four others for seriously assaulting a man during an arrest.