This talk was part of symposium organized by Local Futures (formerly ISEC) at Cooper Union in New York City, November 8, 2014. For more information about Local Futures’ work or to listen to other talks from the symposium, go to localfutures.org.
Front blew in Sunday, a dry norther, and once again I’m allergy sick. Physically debilitated and mentally impaired too. I know better than to operate power equipment on allergy days, and I try to minimize my driving, and mostly I try and do things indoors to stay indoors and breathe the HVAC filtered air with no allergens in it. Most of the real work I need to do is outdoors and power tools and driving and allergies mean that it all gets postponed, which irritates me greatly on top of the allergy pains and aches. Continue reading →
Hidden and isolated from the world the armed conflict raging in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia goes unnoticed. The killing and raping of innocent civilians at the hands of the military and their paramilitary partners in crime the Liyu police, the false arrests, torture and imprisonment remain largely hidden and unreported. The international media, human rights groups and most aid organisations (including the International Red Cross) have been banned from the region by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) since 2007.
France is emerging as the new partner-in-crime in support of America’s imperialist machinations across the globe.
Up until recently, that thuggish role was filled by British in what was euphemistically referred to as the “special Anglo-American relation”. Now the French are taking over from the British as the “oldest ally.”
There is a new optimism across Africa that the future is bright for the continent’s development. And in this future China is playing a key role in bringing investment capital, infrastructure, technology and know-how. China is literally helping to build Africa’s future.
Mekonnen, a 19-year-old mechanical engineering undergraduate, from Ethiopia, was travelling back from the capital, Addis Ababa, to his hometown, Shire, in the northern region. “I’m very hopeful that Ethiopia and Africa generally are on the way to promising development,” says Mekonnen.
Where and to whom one is born is, it seems, arbitrary, chance, fate or karma being the divine decision maker. Wake from innocence to middle class parents in one of the developed wealthy nations of the world, and be blessed with comfort, opportunity, good health care and education and a life of profitable possibilities. Find yourself in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya or the daughter of tea pickers in Assam, India, and see before you: poverty, uncertainty, suffering and the threat of extreme exploitation.
Earlier this year I had the great pleasure to visit South Africa. Compared to most Americans, the passing of Nelson Mandela brought tears to my eyes many times as I recalled being in many of the places being shown on countless news shows.
“Forcefulness seems to come easily to Mr Hollande abroad”, noted one commentator for the New York Times, who contrasted the French president’s ailing political performance at home with his robust foreign policy.
Where Francois Hollande looks weak and beleaguered on the national stage, registering as the most unpopular French president ever, his fortunes seem to rise abroad with a strident interventionist foreign policy. We saw that in September when the French president unseated the British as America’s “special friend” by declaring his country’s readiness to join Washington in a military assault on Syria.
The former French African colony of Niger is facing famine – yet again – with international aid agencies reporting this week that up to one million people are currently without access to food.
It is the fourth such crisis to wrack the West African country in recent years, when famines struck similarly in 2012, 2010 and 2005. The immediate cause is extreme climate that has hit crop harvests. But the root cause is the deliberate underdevelopment of Niger under France’s parasitical neo-colonialism.
The bodies of two French journalists murdered in Mali were flown back to France this week – signalling a macabre blowback for President Francois Hollande and his interventionist military policy in Africa.
Hollande and other senior French government figures were at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, to pay respects as the coffins of the two journalists arrived amid a somber mood of national mourning.
Obama’s global terror campaign is not only dependent upon his drone assassination program, but increasingly it has come to rely upon the deployment of Special Operations forces in countries all over the world, reportedly between 70 and 120 countries at any one time. As Obama has sought to draw down the large-scale ground invasions of countries (as Bush pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq), he has escalated the world of ‘covert warfare,’ largely outside the oversight of Congress and the public. Continue reading →