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Posts Tagged ‘politics

Top 10 sources of news and comment on Africa in 2011

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Cape Coast Kids. cc Eliza Anyangwe

It is undeniable that the media is the mirror through which we look at ourselves and the lens through which we see the world around us. Whether it is broadcast, print or digital, the media is second only to first-hand experience, in shaping our world view.

Yet so much of the media is devoid of international reporting and that little that exists is often a vacuous repetition of tired stereotypes. The popularity of the New Yorker’s post on the top ten positive stories about Africa in 2011 confirms that there is plenty of appetite for something other than the Western media’s mantra of death, destitution and desperation in Africa.

So as 2011 makes way for 2012, I set myself the challenge of finding 10 media sources that have bucked these trends and pursued, to varying degrees, a more inclusive and balanced policy on reporting Africa. You will certainly think highly of others that haven’t made the list, so add to the comments those who’ve most impressed you with their coverage of Africa and developing world issues. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Eliza

December 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Sound bite: Right here all over – Occupy Wall Street video

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Alex Mallis, a filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York has captured, in a beautiful short film, the community that is forming around the Occupy Wall Street movement.

What is particularly fascinating is how they have recognised and captured the power of social media to make sure their story is told to the world.

With a recent poll finding that the American public support the protesters, they might be on the streets of New York – and across the United States – for a while yet.

Written by Eliza

October 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

A tale of two Cameroons – should we be calling for two elections?

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On Sunday 9 October, Cameroonians will cast their vote in a presidential election few believe to be free or fair. Many have already commented on the tactics used to undermine the opposition’s campaigns or the fact that with only days until the election, the incumbent, President Paul Biya is yet to be spotted on the campaign trail. But precious little has been said of an open wound at the heart of this failed democracy. That is of course, until reports emerged over the weekend of the alleged arrest of 200 people who gathered to celebrate more than 50 years of independence in Southern Cameroons.

According to a Facebook post, shared on the blog ZoFem, Mola Njoh Litumbe, an activist campaigning for the restoration of Southern Cameroons, was on October 1, placed under house arrest, though it is unclear from the post if he was involved in the independence day celebrations. The unnamed writer, a journalist, said: “I write to confirm that Mola Njoh is under house arrest. It is in front of his residence that police men have just beaten me [and] seized my identification (ID) card.”

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Written by Eliza

October 5, 2011 at 7:19 am

What is Libya’s new democracy if it is built on racial hatred?

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With the support of the great and the good, Libya is inching ever closer to what we hope will be a democratic future.

On 1 September 2011, leaders from some 60 countries gathered in Paris for a conference on the future of Libya and to deliberate on ways to support Libya’s government-in-waiting – the National Transitional Council (NTC).

The “friends of Libya” meeting hosted by French President, Nicholas Sarkozy and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged to maintain military pressure of Colonel Gadaffi and to release funds to support the NTC and a transition to democracy in Libya. Speaking at the event, Sarkozy said: “We are all committed to returning to Libya the money of yesterday for the building of tomorrow.

Much would have surely been discussed at the event, not least, as the Russian media suggests, the scramble for Libya’s oil. But one important issue would have surely been ignored: the ongoing racially-motivated attack on Libya’s black population by the rebel forces. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

September 12, 2011 at 8:03 am

Food vs Fuel – the truth about biofuels in Africa

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Whoever said the truth shall set you free forgot to mention that you first have to find out what the truth is and that’s dirty work. On the biofuel vs food security debate, it’s difficult to grasp hold of the truth amid the hyperbole, the passion, the barrage of facts and the evidence of environmental gain or of human loss.

In early May 2011, the NGO Action Aid published a report entitled Fuelling Evictions: community cost of EU biofuels boom. The tone the report sets is one of a David versus Goliath face-off. The underdogs being some 20,000 people living in the Dakatcha woodlands of Kenya, an area held in trust for the communities by Malindi County Council and earmarked by the Italian-owned biofuels company Nuoze Iniziative Industriali, (through its subsidiary Kenya Jatropha Energy) for the cultivation of 50,000 hectares of jatropha.

Jatropha, touted in 2007 by Scientific American as “green gold in a shrub” because it “seems to offer all the benefits of biofuels without the pitfalls,” by 2009 had lost some of its shine. Thought to be able to thrive on marginal lands, and therefore pose no competition to cultivation for human consumption, an early study by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies found that while jatropha can indeed grow on lands with minimal water and poor nutrition, “if you plant trees in a marginal area, and all they do is just not die, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a lot of oil from them.”

So back to present day and jatropha has been steadily replacing food crops in communities from Senegal to Kenya, with devastating effect. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

May 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

#civnext: the beginning of the campaign not the end of the cause

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CC: Department for International Development

We now know what war is. It is up to us to make sure our children do not live that hell ever again. #civ2010 #civnextThu Apr 14 19:59:29 via Twitter for iPhone

Scanning my Twitter feeds, a new hashtag brings a smile to my face. After months of a political stalemate which led to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis, Ivory Coast is pulling back from the brink of war with a seven-letter hashtag: #civnext.

With the capture of Laurent Gbagbo, there is a palpable and understandable desperation to move on. The #civnext hashtag, is both the collective virtual exhale of a country that’s narrowly escaped civil war and a call to action: to reconcile Ivorians and rebuild Ivory Coast. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

April 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Open letter to Not on Our Watch: are you watching Ivory Coast?

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The celebrity as activist is a phenomenon that is here to stay.

A development campaign is hardly complete without some celebrity being given a guided tour through crowds of people, in far-flung places, whose lives have been devastated by acts of God or the cruelty of men.

And an entertainer’s portfolio is hardly complete without a humanitarian campaign. Celebrities seem to be lining up to get into bed with almost any NGO, for almost any cause, no matter how improbable the relationship. I doubt anybody would have guessed Ronan Keating was passionate about and well-versed in global agriculture issues – until of course the Boyzone singer, in his capacity as FAO goodwill ambassador, writes the forward for a UK Parliamentary Inquiry on Food Security. No, didn’t see that one coming either. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

March 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm