Tag Archives: Uganda

African lives matter

Picture by Amma Fosuah Poku - London protest held on 25/01/15 against Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Picture by Amma Fosuah Poku – London protest held on 25/01/15 against Boko Haram’s atrocities in Nigeria.

Some years ago I remember reading in one edition of The Economist how different countries valued the lives of their citizens. Japan topped the ranking. Africa as a whole was at the bottom of the index that the newspaper had put together.

There is ample evidence of different worths of lives around the world if one looks at how mainstream media report and by so doing influence how they are dealt with anywhere or simply generally perceived. Continue reading

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Unwelcome Kagame and Museveni in London

Joweri Museveni and Paul Kagame

Joweri Museveni and Paul Kagame

On 20th and 21st October 2014, London is hosting the Global African Investment Summit. Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Joweri Museveni of Uganda are among the heads of states who will be attending. It is an undeniable fact that Africa requires a lot of capital from external investors for its development. Continue reading

Rwanda: Kagame’s timing for his wars

By Emmanuel Neretse

Rwandan President Paul Kagame by an inspired artist

Rwandan President Paul Kagame by an inspired artist

The difference between two individuals sometimes resides in their opposing ways of addressing their thoughts or even their realities. There are those who are passive to make effective sense of what is happening; there are those prone to action once a seemingly clear picture of their environment has formed in their mind. This can be true on individual or country levels.

Emmanuel Neretse, author of the following article I translated from French, explains a particular reality from someone who has closely analyzed the timing of the Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s wars. As the writer highlights, there is an apparent pattern. For example, the attack that the Rwandan funded CNDP of Nkundabatware which was stopped at the outskirts of Goma in November 2008 when Barack Obama was being first elected, was not a military offensive not planned in consideration of regional and international events of the time. Continue reading

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War is rape and rape is war

Countries are raped by war. Their humanity is taken away by warmongers, including those who hide behind local warlords but pay them for their crimes and related benefits. Tackling the raping warmongers should be the major issue, and not their agents who attack and rape defenseless women, girls, men and boys.

War and rape have in common the fact that they both involve the concept or characteristic of attack. They irrevocably damage the private humanity of individuals and destroy the way of life of entire nations. One cannot try to eradicate rape in war conflicts without trying to eradicate war altogether. Doing only the former and leaving out the latter is a form of hypocrisy or foolishness aimed at cheating the general public about one’s supposedly humanitarian intentions of caring for the victims of sexual violence during armed conflicts.

Unfortunately that is the hidden agenda of the London’s global summit to end sexual violence in conflict: to give clean conscience to world warmongers that they are doing the right things for the victims of arms and weaponry which are utilized in the conflicts that create those victims. The global summit starts today June 10th. It is surprising that the same location of Excel Centre where it is staged this week hold from time to time exhibitions of the latest military equipment and technology. It is very ironic. I hope I am not the only one able to make the analogy.

As a community activist I get sometimes invited to be involved or participate in events like these. That was for example the case for this summit. I got approached by the metropolitan police to inform me about it. I told the policeman who came to me that I could not stand Angelina Jolie and William Hague in their hypocritical campaign on sexual violence in conflicts knowing the role of their US and UK governments in causing humanitarian atrocities committed against women, men and girls in the Great Lakes region. If US and UK in the lead had for example stopped from backing presidents Museveni of Uganda, Kagame of Rwanda or Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo, the hundred thousands of victims of rape from wars that these leaders were involved in would not exist.

At the summit, since governments where sexual violence in conflicts is prevalent will be represented, I hardly imagine for example what the Rwandan representative will be doing there. The Rwandan government has for almost two decades been instrumental in creating favorable conditions for committing massive rapes in Eastern Congo. It has been arming several militia groups to cause permanent insecurity, this in order to enable the exploitation of mineral resources. More than five hundred thousand Congolese women, girls and even men have been raped in the process. That is what emerges from many reports by international institutions including UN and Human Rights Watch.

There will be many humanitarian cases caused by sexual violence in conflicts that will be talked about at the summit. The Evening Standard reported on Monday 9th June the situation of Lejla Damon, 21, who was born from rape in Bosnia that her mother did not want to touch at birth, because if she did she had announced that she would strangle her. In order to save the child, she was taken away from her when she was only nine days old. Stories that are told in The Greatest Silence: rape in the Congo documentary, are also telling.

Rapes committed against Congolese women are commissioned rapes. Penises are black but orders to rape are from white folks.

Rapes committed against Congolese women are commissioned rapes. Penises are black but orders to rape are from white folks.

War is rape and rape is war. You cannot deal with one without dealing with the other. Let’s be less hypocrite and address the causes instead of trying to cure the symptoms. The organizers of the summit might fool those ignorant of their own role in backing the like of Kagame or Museveni in the Great Lakes region. But they won’t fool me because I am aware of their closeness with these criminal leaders who are today responsible of these massive rapes that have destroyed entire communities for the sake of minerals that benefit US, UK, Canadian, Israeli and other multinationals.

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Dying in the Great Lakes / Morir en los Grandes Lagos

It was on Saturday May 10th, 2014 in Madrid [Spain].

On that day, a person looking at our event asked me: “How do you think your action can make a difference or have some impact?

I was hit quite unprepared but I replied “It is not the scale of what you see here that will effectively make a difference but our determination to have an impact on issues we are campaigning about.”

The other day a friend Nigerian reminded me that the meeting that Nkwame Nkrumah and his colleagues of the first hour of the pan-africanism movement held in Manchester in 1945 was organized in an ordinary room, not a conference hall. But the outcome of that event set off the period for African independence some years later.

What we believe in and our determination to fulfill our dreams are the only important factors in living courageous and fulfilled lives.

Most of the time, we navigate in our small villages all the time without looking beyond. Despite their confined and physical boundaries, if we cannot see those spaces we live in as limitless, where the capacity of our imagination is the only limiting factor for our fulfillment as human beings, we are doomed.

To change the world for the better – because there have been many, and still are, who have walked that path, but for the worse intentions -, we need to live courageous lives. And believe me, they are the only ones worth living.