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As hundreds of thousands perish in Darfur, it is African nations

and their leaders, this time, that have become silent spectators.

The African Union (AU) must play a far more central role

in bringing about suitable solution



Books by Wole Soyinka

Death and the King's Horseman  /  You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir  / Ake: The Years of Childhood  

Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World  /  The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis

The Lion and the Jewel  / Ibadan  / Myth, Literature, and the African World  /  Interpreters  / Conversations with Wole Soyinka

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Books by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart Arrow of God / No Longer at Ease  / A Man of the People / Anthills of the Savannah

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What Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Others

Have Done To End the Darfur Crisis

By Orikinla Osinachi


Nigeria received more bad news from Darfur last week as seven Nigerian soldiers with the UN/AU Peace Keeping Mission were killed by one of the lawless terrorist militias.

The fact is, the only solution to the question of Darfur is to sack the oppressive regime of President, Prime Minister, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces--Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. Because, there is no democracy in Sudan, but a despotic government that continues to violate the rule of law and tramples on the UN Charter on Human Rights.

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The most lionized Nigerian writer, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka  has been the most vocal African writer on the Darfur Crisis since the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) (NAS) Capoon, Andrew Obinna Onyearu addressed it in his "DARFUR: A Genocide We Can Stop" at the 9th Annual Wole Soyinka Lectures Series, held on Friday, July 14, 2006, at the Cannel View Hotel, in Calabar, seven days after I left the city. And exactly a year ago on September 20, 2006, Soyinka accused the Arab League of complicity in the genocide in Darfur in a paper he delivered in Paris at the 50th anniversary of the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists.
Soyinka said:

“It is depressing to observe the studied indifference of the Arab family to the criminality of one of its members, a nation historically placed as a cultural bridge between two races”.

“The Arab family has steadfastly refused to call Sudan to order, indeed placed obstacles in the way of sanctions.”

Soyinka accused the rampaging Janjaweed "devil on horseback" as the “arrowhead of a state policy of ethnic cleansing,” who have a “naked language of racial incitement” with “claims of race superiority, complemented by the language of contempt and disdain for the indigenous African”.

Soyinka did not want the African Union (AU) peace keeping mission to leave Darfur, because it would be “preparing to abandon the peoples of Darfur, leaving them to the mercy of murdering, raping and burning gospellers of race doctrine”.

“When a deviant branch of that family of nations flouts, indeed revels in the abandonment of, the most basic norms of human decency, is there really justification in evoking the excuse that protocol requires the permission of that same arrogant and defiant entity?”

But like the late Nigerian dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, the head of Sudan, President, Prime Minister, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces—Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, is deaf to reason and would prefer to kiss the dust than kiss the UN Peace Keeping Force. He has only accepted a joint AU/UN hybrid support operation, because China and Russia gave him their assurance that they would protect his selfish interests in Darfur and his policy of Arabization and Islamization.

So, the AU/UN only recently got the permission of the government in Khartoum to intervene and stop the genocide in Darfur.

I had an insider in Darfur who was a senior officer in the military who corresponded with me and sent me the details of the intricate local and international political intrigues of the bloody conflicts in Darfur and I reported the crisis on the Darfur Blog I started to join global efforts to save the millions of innocent refugees suffering and dying in Darfur.

I told Jan Pronk, the former Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Sudan that my insider in Darfur was working on a book on the realities and Jan Pronk was looking forward to the book until the Sudanese Armed Forces accused Jan Pronk of "waging psychological warfare on the armed forces" and demanded his deportation after Jan Pronk published thoughts on the military defeats of the Sudanese Army in his weblog.

The government in Khartoum forced the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan to recall Jan Pronk to the UN Office in New York for consultations. And later, Jan Pronk left the UN to become a Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague.

Another highly esteemed Nigerian writer who has become outspoken on the Darfur Crisis is Prof. Chinua Achebe. "African nations will realize the Bantu maxim 'a human is human because of other humans,'" Achebe said. And he recalled how African nations watched whilst the Rwanda holocaust occurred before their eyes.

Achebe said:

"It is said of the Jewish Holocaust that the world slept and did not know. Today, there is perhaps nowhere on earth where the crime of genocide is more glaring than in Darfur, Sudan. In that region, domestic bigotry in juxtaposition with foreign multinational oil interests has served to create a humanitarian emergency of epic proportion."

"The world community has responded to this crisis, albeit belatedly; however, much more needs to be done to address a most tragic situation. When President Bush first declared that what was happening in Sudan was genocide, one African president left his country and travelled to America to 'correct Bush' and instructed him that what was happening was rebellion against the government of Sudan."

"As hundreds of thousands perish in Darfur, it is African nations and their leaders, this time, that have become silent spectators. The African Union (AU) must play a far more central role in bringing about suitable solution to the crisis in the Darfur region. By galvanizing their resources, African nations will realize the Bantu maxim 'human is human because of other humans' which represents the African communal viewpoint."

I have noted three Nigerian writers who have stepped out of the silent crowd of the Nigerian elites to save Darfur from becoming another Rwanda, because they are worthy of emulation.

I have some classified mails from my insider whilst he was still in Darfur, but I cannot publish them, because he would prefer them to remain classified. He has decided to hold on to his dairies and publish the book later.

Source: Darfur Blog

posted 9 October 2007

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times.

What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam? How did we get into the mess of tolerating intolerable customs, such as honor killings, and how do we change that noxious status quo?

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest.

Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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The New New Deal

The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

By Michael Grunwald

Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.

Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the world’s largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.  Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.

*   *   *   *   *

The Prophet of Zongo Street

Stories by Mohammed Naseehu Ali

Vivid images of African life and familiar snippets of expatriate life infuse this debut collection by a Ghana-born writer and musician. On the fictional Zongo Street in Accra, young children gather around their grandmother to hear a creation story from "the time of our ancestors' ancestors' ancestors" in "The Story of Day and Night." In "Mallam Sille," a weak, 46-year-old virgin tea seller finds soulful strength in marriage to a dominant village woman. Other stories take place in and around New York City, depicting immigrants struggling with American culture and values. A Ghanaian caregiver vows not to "grow old in this country" in "Live-In," while in "The True Aryan," an African musician and an Armenian cabbie competitively compare tragic cultural histories on the ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn, achieving humanist understanding as they reach Park Slope:

"I looked into his eyes, and with a sudden deep respect said to the man, 'I'll take your pain, too.' " Several stories close in a similarly magical, almost folkloric epiphany, as when sleep becomes an attempt "to bring calm to the pulsing heart of Man" in "The Manhood Test." Ali speaks melodiously but not always provocatively in these tales of transition and emigration.Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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update 13 July 2012




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