Silence would be treason publishes for the first time an extraordinary series of letters and poems sent by Saro-Wiwa to Irish solidarity activist Sr Majella McCarron during his time in military detention. These letters and poems are the last expression of a voice the regime was determined to silence: a voice for indigenous rights, environmental survival and democracy, many of whose battles were won despite his death and whose voice comes alive today again in these letters.
Donated by Sr Majella to the National University of Ireland Maynooth after Maynooth students' involvement in the "Shell to Sea" campaign in NW Ireland, the letters have been transcribed and edited by Helen Fallon, Íde Corley and Laurence Cox with a foreword by Nigerian environmentalist and poet Nnimmo Bassey.
Paris-Geneva, November 20, 2013.The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT joint programme, expresses concern over recent bills aiming to amend the laws regulating NGOs as well as the media, which constitute a major threat to the Kenyan civil society.
RENDITIONED KENYANS GIVE NOTICE OF HUNGER STRIKE OVER 3 YEAR DELAY OF KAMPALA TRIAL
Six Kenyans who were illegally removed from Kenya and taken to Uganda 3 years ago over the 2010 Kampala bombings are among 12 detainees on a go-slow at the Luzira Upper Prison protesting the delay of their case that has been pending before the courts since they were formally charged in 2011. The twelve have now served notice of their intention to go on a hunger strike beginning next Monday.
The six men who were arrested by the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) in Nairobi and Mombasa and another Kenyan extradited from Tanzania have been in remand custody since then, awaiting hearing of a constitutional application they filed in the Ugandan Constitutional Court in September 2011 challenging their criminal trial which was then stayed to await the outcome of the application.
Together with four Ugandans and a Tanzanian the Kenyans are jointly charged with, they are now accusing the state of deliberately delaying the hearing of the petition and stonewalling to ensure their prolonged detention without being tried.
In an open letter addressed to authorities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania sent out of the prison this week the detainees stated: “We have been subjected to both physical and psychological torture since our ordeal started under solitary confinement in Luzira Prison. This has not made our situation any better. Since we lodged our petition in 2011 the state has been extenuating (sic) and evasive in its obligation to grant us a fair hearing: that there was lack of quorum at the appellate court, lack of funds and citing death of judges among other reasons (sic).”
They claim that their efforts to have the hearing expedited or to be granted bail pending the determination of the cases have been frustrated by the state and the only time they had been set to appear in court for the hearing of the constitutional matter last October 17 it was called off in unclear circumstances which have not been explained to them or their lawyers to date.
They say that due to the delay and lengthy incarceration their health has deteriorated.”The medical state of some detainees is critical. They suffer from high blood pressure, chronic ulcers, hernia, failing eye sight, joint pains, kidney and liner (sic) complications to mention but a few. This has been exacerbated by the lack of specialized medical personnel or access to the same,” the letter signed by all twelve detainees says.
According to families of the detainees who visited them yesterday, the go-slow involves refusal to perform personal chores like exercises and games, bathing and conforming to prison routine and instead sitting in their cells all the time they are supposed to be out. This, they say, is in the lead up to the hunger strike which the detainees have informed the authorities will begin next week, if the hearing does not take place on Monday, November 25th, which is yet to be confirmed but is said to be the new hearing date of the constitutional petition.
Kenyan authorities have remained mum despite High Court rulings, the findings of a parliamentary committee and pleas by the detainees and their families. Human rights concerns and the detainees have been urging the government to intercede for them with their Ugandan counterparts for either the cases to be expedited; or they are brought back to Kenya for trial or to be released altogether if there were no charges that could be sustained against them. During debate in the last parliament in 2011, the government had undertaken to meet the legal costs for their defence as part of its constitutional obligation to provide legal representation to citizens charged with capital offences. This has not happened either.
Parliament’s departmental committee on defence and foreign affairs had found in a report released last year that the Kenyans had been illegally rendered to Uganda and called for their return. Two judges of the high court had ruled in two separate cases brought up on their behalf that the renditions were illegal and that the anti-terrorism agency which had admitted having handed them over to the Ugandans had violated the constitution.
The Muslim Human Rights Forum (MHRF) has supported the detainees quest for justice and the latest action and threats by the detainees to go on a hunger strike saying they were “acts of desperation by people brutalized by their own government through renditions to a foreign state and denied justice by the latter through prolonged detention without a speedy, fair and transparent trial”.
“These are justifiable acts of desperation. The detainees have been abandoned by their own government and subjected to lengthy disguised detention-without-trial by the other. The delays are deliberately executed by the state in the absence of evidence to sustain prosecution,” commented MHRF’s chair Al-Amin Kimathi who had himself been detained with the twelve for one year after he had gone to monitor the proceedings in the lower court in September 2010.
The only reason for this ruling, which is clearly illegal because it violates the Constitution of 2010 by applying it retroactively, is the racism and xenophobia of a group of Dominicans who want to see the conclusion of the shameful project that Rafael Trujillo began in 1937 (when under his rule tens of thousands of women and men were massacred on the Haitian-Dominican border for simply being or suspected of being Haitian). At that time it was physical death; today it is civil death. Worse still, that the promoters of this infamy are those who today call themselves disciples of Juan Bosch. What a shame!By Miguel Ceara-Hatton Miguel Ceara-Hatton is a professor and researcher in economics from the Dominican Republic. Author of numerous books and articles on D
Scholar Ella Habiba Shohat has long dealt with the real and imaginary boundary lines that inform some of the most insidious conflicts of our times. She defines herself as an "Arab-Jew" of Jewish-Baghdadi background, who has made the United ...
Introduction (by Abdullah Al-Arian, Roundtable Organizer and Co-Editor of Critical Currents in Islam Page) The Arab uprisings that began in late 2010 had barely claimed a single authoritarian ruler when many observers began to proclaim the imminent...
Why do urban struggles matter in projects of social change? What is the importance of reclaiming public space in social movements? And at this gloomy global moment of extreme urban disparities and social inequalities, how do we re-think what is ...
At a time when genuine progress towards real climate action is more vital than ever, this guide exposes how the corporations most responsible for climate change have taken over this year’s UN climate talks.
Oppression, when written about, is often reduced to one layer of suffering. Yet when one unpacks the lives and narratives of the poor it becomes clear that their struggle to survive takes place under many layers of oppression.
It is time to confront the crisis of mass unemployment. Our dignity is not negotiable.
The Unemployed People’s Movement will be hosting a National Assembly of the Unemployed in Grahamstown from 7-9 December 2013. Around 400 delegates from organisations and movements in struggle around the country will attend the event.
Millions of young people, mostly young black people, have no work. They feel that they cannot move forward with their lives. There is a sense of rising desperation. The unemployed are being pushed to the margins of our society economically, politically and even spatially. They time has come to say that enough is enough. The time has come to link the crisis of mass structural unemployment to trade union and community struggles and to build a united movement that can achieve real change from below.
As the UPM our demand has always been that every adult person must either receive a decent job or a guaranteed income. We also stand firm on the demand for radical land reform and for capital to be subordinated to society. People have to come before profit. Every person must have a clear and viable path towards a dignified life.
This assembly will give us an opportunity to discuss the unemployment crisis with activists from around the country and, together, to formulate a collective understanding of the situation and a shared set of demands and a programme of struggle that can take us forward.
(Harare, November 14, 2013) At the African seeds meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 12-14, peasant farmers held rich discussions about the growing threat of external investment in African agriculture, including multinational seed companies and ongoing efforts to exploit African land and resources for the production of food for other parts of the world.
Participants at the meeting expressed alarm about the push for industrial agriculture throughout Africa by corporations and their partners, including initiatives such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition. Some African states are supporting similar initiatives through the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). Africa was bypassed by the first Green Revolution – the introduction of hybrid seed, synthetic agri-chemicals, irrigation and credit – that resulted in massive loss of farmers’ seed diversity in other parts of the global South.
(Harare, November 13, 2013) Seed diversity, created by peasants over centuries, is in danger of disappearing and the diversity of seeds that remain is increasingly threatened by large international corporations, most of them coming from the agrichemical sector. In Africa, different forces are converging to grab peasant seeds and undermine their diversity and the knowledge and practices associated with them.La Via Campesina
Jeremy Hammond’s arrest and conviction appear to be a chilling message to us but the most powerful message is the warming one he gave us in his court statement.
“I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?” he told the court. “The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of ‘law and order’ and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.”
A person who makes that statement facing ten years in jail is a “hero”…without qualification.
Recordings 1-8 In these recordings Sister Majella McCarron (OLA) recounts her childhood in Fermanagh; the decision to join a religious order; her early years in Nigeria; meeting Ken Saro-Wiwa ; her efforts to save the lives of the Ogoni Nine in Ireland and internationally and her campaign work in Ireland as a table observer of the Shell to Sea campaign and the Garvaghy Road conflict.
Recording 12 Dr Owens Wiwa speaks about growing up in an extended family in Ogoni; the growing realisation of the environmental destruction of the Niger Delta; his brother Ken’s efforts to organise non-violent protests against the international petrochemical industry and the hostility he and the Ogoni people experienced from the Nigerian military dictatorship. Dr Wiwa give a firsthand account of his visits to Ogoni villages including Ka, which were destroyed during the hostilities and his efforts to supply medical supplies to the injured
In this special series of full-length documentaries, Al Jazeera reveals the passion, experience and insight of its journalists as they explore the events and stories they have experienced or reported on - stories for which they have a great passion or which have marked their lives and careers. From the most remote corners of Tibet's mountains to the world's most dangerous race course our correspondents cross the globe as they take us on their personal journeys of discovery.
Jadaliyya’s Critical Currents in Islam Page engages with a broad range of topics related to Islam as it is interpreted, practiced, and contested in political, cultural, and economic arenas throughout the world.
During the Cold War years, while British colonialists were being driven out of East Africa, the first US intervention in the region occurred in Zanzibar. It proved to be a model - many aspects of which are being repeated in the 'War on Terror'.
Firoze Manji's insight:
Amrit Wilson's The Threat of Liberation: Imperialism and Revolution in Zanzibar is published by Pluto Books. It is really worthwhile reading it -
Private firms are selling spying tools and mass surveillance technologies to developing countries with promises that "off the shelf" equipment will allow them to snoop on millions of emails, text messages and phone calls, according to a cache of documents published on Monday.
The papers show how firms, including dozens from Britain, tout the capabilities at private trade fairs aimed at offering nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East the kind of powerful capabilities that are usually associated with government agencies such as GCHQ and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency.
A 48-hour state of emergency was declared in the Libyan capital of Tripoli after fresh clashes erupted on Saturday. Vehicles full of fighters from Misrata headed to Tripoli from the eastern suburb of Tajura, according to media reports.
Libya’s oil production has now ‘virtually stopped’ as the country struggles to recover from western intervention that saw Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall, Mamdouh G. Salameh, oil consultant to the World Bank, tells RT.
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