Posts tagged Politics

If Ebola does not kill us, maybe hardship and hunger will get us down if no one helps us before Christmas.

Three of my friends who were to sit the BECCE (GCSE equivalent) exams have been impregnated already and I am also under pressure to go after men in order to survive and to buy a dress for Christmas. This is what girls have to do in Sierra Leone when there is no money. It is not right, but it is normal. If this Ebola does not end soon, many more girls will get pregnant before schools reopen and that will be too bad for the future of children in this country.

“I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. They’ve already killed my body. Now they’re killing my mind.”

madeinafreeworld:

image

Another brutal story about the situation in Iraq. This time about a 17-year old Yazidi woman who was captured and treated as a sex slave by ISIS (AKA ISIL).

REBLOG to keep this story in the news cycle until the united-nations action.

Read the full story here.

madeinafreeworld, you are aware the united-nations is an organisation of member states and cannot act without the consent and determination of its member, yes? Because this does not come off clearly in your post, and it’s important to hold UN Member States accountable for action, rather than the organisation, which is powerless without its members.

Very important distinction.

31 notes 

Some teachers still have trouble showing any sort of vulnerability of fallibility. These teachers will expend immense amounts of energy hiding the fact they’re frustrated at something, that they’re upset or perhaps even angry. Why? Other teachers get tied into logical knots to avoid admitting “I have no idea what the answer to your question is.” But teachers who genuinely connect with students are the ones who aren’t afraid to show emotions in class, who can admit that they aren’t in fact the repository of all knowledge. Of course nobody want to be a wallowing, blubbering mess in class, but what better way to teach empathy than to give the students someone to empathize with when we’re having a bad day? What better way to foster collaboration and to teach that it’s okay not to know something than to say “I don’t know, let’s find that out!”?

8 Characteristics Of A Great Teacher (via megbytheminute)

Comparative Politics at Manchester: ‘We take care of [our students].’

Fact.

Also fact.

Yesterday I taught in the tiny church in Manchester where Engels wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) and to Marx, inviting him to study the stark divisions in class in north Manchester, which became the basis for The Communist Manifesto(1848). It was pretty great to tell the students this and that in 2-weeks we’ll be covering Marxism in the very building where Marxism took shape.

(Source: apsies)

334 notes 

dynamicafrica:

Nigerians Express Concern Over New e-ID Card Project.
"Finally!" was the first word that popped into my head upon reading the supposed good news. Nigerians were soon to join the rest of the I.D. carrying world, and something I’d considered to be a privilege for others was no longer going to be so.
Whilst living in South Africa, I vividly remember seeing my friends turning 16 and being excited to apply and receive their national I.D. cards and feeling a pang of jealousy hit me simply because I do the same. Fast forward a few years later to my college days when I’d have to carry around my passport and use it as a form of ID when entering places that carded. Not only was it a slight form of embarrassment, but such outings were always plagued with the fear that I’d lose my passport and have to go through the strenuous and costly process of applying for a new one AND have to get all my necessary visa documents in order. No longer wanting this to be an ordeal I’d have to undergo, I was able to add some normalcy to my life after applying for and receiving a New York Learner’s Permit. For the first time, at age 20, I finally got to be part of the I.D. carrying public - a small step for mankind, a giant leap for yours truly.
Now, thanks to a new scheme unveiled by President Goodluck Jonathan, no longer will Nigerian nationals have only one option (outside of a driving license) when it comes to a valid government issued form of identification. Something I’m sure many other Nigerians aside from me welcome, especially after the failure of a plan to introduce ID cards into Nigeria some years ago.
However, this new national ID is not simply a form of valid photo identification. It seems as though the Nigerian government is incapable of creating such a project without monetary backing from one of the world’s largest multinational financial services companies. What is supposed to be a regular ID card instead looks like a debit or credit card with the MasterCard logo printed boldly on the back. This electronic ID card will also serve as a means of electronic payment in order to make banking and financial services available to the entire population. In a country known for 419 schemes and rife with corruption, some say these new cards will give Nigerians a sense of legitimacy when carrying out financial transactions and using services that require ID.
Sounds appealing and convenient right? Well, perhaps, if you take away the fact that the biometrics data of every e-ID holder will be shared and made available to MasterCard, an American firm. All Nigerian e-ID card bearers will automatically become customers of MasterCard – a profit-driven company. This has already caused many Nigerians to express outrage at the government for selling out Nigerians to a foreign company. 
Shehu Sani of the Civil Rights in government expressed his opposition to this project saying, “The new ID card with a MasterCard logo does not represent an identity of a Nigerian. It simply represents a stamped ownership of a Nigerian by an American company. It is reminiscent of the logo pasted on the bodies of African salves transported across the Atlantic.” Whilst Nigeria would not be the first country to have such a program, a country like Malaysia did so but using its own resources and technologies, not through outsourcing and making available the information of their citizens to a foreign financial company.
What’s also interesting is the timing of this announcement - right when the US has pledged to actively assist Nigeria in combating Boko Haram and terrorism in the country.
Whilst it may take a while for this new system to be adopted, these concerns expressed by several Nigerians are legitimate and should be addressed before this project becomes a nationwide affair. At the very least, Nigerians should be given the option of whether or not they would like to join the MasterCard element of the program. 
(image via BBC)
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dynamicafrica:

Nigerians Express Concern Over New e-ID Card Project.

"Finally!" was the first word that popped into my head upon reading the supposed good news. Nigerians were soon to join the rest of the I.D. carrying world, and something I’d considered to be a privilege for others was no longer going to be so.

Whilst living in South Africa, I vividly remember seeing my friends turning 16 and being excited to apply and receive their national I.D. cards and feeling a pang of jealousy hit me simply because I do the same. Fast forward a few years later to my college days when I’d have to carry around my passport and use it as a form of ID when entering places that carded. Not only was it a slight form of embarrassment, but such outings were always plagued with the fear that I’d lose my passport and have to go through the strenuous and costly process of applying for a new one AND have to get all my necessary visa documents in order. No longer wanting this to be an ordeal I’d have to undergo, I was able to add some normalcy to my life after applying for and receiving a New York Learner’s Permit. For the first time, at age 20, I finally got to be part of the I.D. carrying public - a small step for mankind, a giant leap for yours truly.

Now, thanks to a new scheme unveiled by President Goodluck Jonathan, no longer will Nigerian nationals have only one option (outside of a driving license) when it comes to a valid government issued form of identification. Something I’m sure many other Nigerians aside from me welcome, especially after the failure of a plan to introduce ID cards into Nigeria some years ago.

However, this new national ID is not simply a form of valid photo identification. It seems as though the Nigerian government is incapable of creating such a project without monetary backing from one of the world’s largest multinational financial services companies. What is supposed to be a regular ID card instead looks like a debit or credit card with the MasterCard logo printed boldly on the back. This electronic ID card will also serve as a means of electronic payment in order to make banking and financial services available to the entire population. In a country known for 419 schemes and rife with corruption, some say these new cards will give Nigerians a sense of legitimacy when carrying out financial transactions and using services that require ID.

Sounds appealing and convenient right? Well, perhaps, if you take away the fact that the biometrics data of every e-ID holder will be shared and made available to MasterCard, an American firm. All Nigerian e-ID card bearers will automatically become customers of MasterCard – a profit-driven company. This has already caused many Nigerians to express outrage at the government for selling out Nigerians to a foreign company.

Shehu Sani of the Civil Rights in government expressed his opposition to this project saying, “The new ID card with a MasterCard logo does not represent an identity of a Nigerian. It simply represents a stamped ownership of a Nigerian by an American company. It is reminiscent of the logo pasted on the bodies of African salves transported across the Atlantic.” Whilst Nigeria would not be the first country to have such a program, a country like Malaysia did so but using its own resources and technologies, not through outsourcing and making available the information of their citizens to a foreign financial company.

What’s also interesting is the timing of this announcement - right when the US has pledged to actively assist Nigeria in combating Boko Haram and terrorism in the country.

Whilst it may take a while for this new system to be adopted, these concerns expressed by several Nigerians are legitimate and should be addressed before this project becomes a nationwide affair. At the very least, Nigerians should be given the option of whether or not they would like to join the MasterCard element of the program.

(image via BBC)

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118 notes 

As always, thepoliticalnotebook does such excellent work in her weekly series, ‘This Week In War’. From this week, perhaps especially pertinent after this week’s events (beheading of James Foley and Wesley Lowery’s coverage of the events in Ferguson), (again) one link grabbed my attention especially:

From Missouri to Syria, Journalists Are Becoming Targets,

which reminds me of earlier in the week, on World Humanitarian Day:

Deaths of humanitarian aid workers reach record high.

Why are we not more outspoken and active about their deaths? Who is accountable?

A thoughtful reflection on the West’s singular interest in ‘gruesome’ African news. He’s correct; it is increasingly difficult to find African news in mainstream media that doesn’t focus solely on war crimes, famine, genocide, Ebola, or such atrocities that the West uses to narrate Africa as a continent that’s still too ‘scary’ to report on female-led community-based responses to food crises in Niger, Rwanda’s incredibly (gender) representative Parliament, Nigeria’s growing GDP, income inequality in and outside of Accra, just to name a few newsworthy issues that immediately come to my mind.

Tumblr has a wonderful and expanding community of Africans reporting their own news, and I can’t help but be grateful to: dynamicafrica (excellent resource for other African tumblrs too); everydayafrica, prepaidafrica, africashowboy, africaisdonesuffering, ourafrica, yagazieemezi, saharareporters, internationalwomensinitiative (not specifically African news, but does a good job on African women’s issues), b-sama (not exclusively news).

This isn’t a full ‘list’ by any means, just some of my favourites.

1 note 

What is happening in Ferguson is exactly what opponents of the rise in military-style policing across America have long feared: when the feds arm white local cops with weapons of war and their superiors encourage them not to just play dress-up but to use their new war toys, it is inevitable that ordinary citizens – especially citizens of color – will get treated as the enemy.

Ferguson is what happens when white suburban cops get weapons of war, writes Sadhbh Walshe.  (via guardian)

Watching Ferguson, I wonder: do Americans have no memory? Why are you shocked at these police tactics, as if this is new? Have you forgotten Occupy? The civil rights marches where dogs where set on peaceful protesters? Kent State?!

There is a gif set from Stokely Carmichael going around about passive resistance and effective methods of protest. My question is, if your opponent has no conscience, is armed to the teeth, and the same problems keep occurring (violence against peaceful protesters and people of colour), isn’t it time to change tactics? When you ‘forget’ your political history, you enable cycles of violence to continue by repeating the same action and expecting a different result (the definition of insanity). Would it not serve your cause more to examine your political history with (unnecessarily) forceful responses to (peaceful) protests, learn from it, and formulate a new response? This is exactly HOW and WHY MLK and Ghandi were so effective; they responded differently, thoughtfully, to a reoccurring problem.

These protests are the equivalent of what the US military has done and continues to do in Iraq: drop bombs and hope something changes.

(Source: theguardian.com)

3,628 notes 

crisisgroup:

Pentagon confronts militant dilemma in Africa | William Wallis in Washington and Katrina Manson in Nairobi
The hum of US drones is becoming more familiar over African skies.
From Nigeria to Somalia, US military presence on the continent is a creeping reality. US troops may be thin on the ground, with the Pentagon preferring to rely on training and financial support to allied forces, but special forces are now operating at any given moment.
The trend has its most recent roots in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks on the US, when US officials scoured the globe for “ungoverned spaces” with the potential, like Afghanistan, to foster anti-American extremists. Several African countries cropped up on the radar, notably Somalia. In the semi-desert underbelly of the Sahara, Mali was identified among other weak states vulnerable to jihadi influence spreading south from the Maghreb. Nigeria, too, soon featured in assessments of threats.
These were either prescient musings by US spies or a self-fulfilling prophecy coaxed partly into reality by US meddling – there are subscribers to both camps. Either way, Islamist extremism in Africa has metastasised just as the Pentagon and the CIA assessments predicted.
FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times)
Photo: United States Marine Corps/flickr

The FT is giving me raised eyebrows; is this just the media creating a story from very little?

crisisgroup:

Pentagon confronts militant dilemma in Africa | William Wallis in Washington and Katrina Manson in Nairobi

The hum of US drones is becoming more familiar over African skies.

From Nigeria to Somalia, US military presence on the continent is a creeping reality. US troops may be thin on the ground, with the Pentagon preferring to rely on training and financial support to allied forces, but special forces are now operating at any given moment.

The trend has its most recent roots in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks on the US, when US officials scoured the globe for “ungoverned spaces” with the potential, like Afghanistan, to foster anti-American extremists. Several African countries cropped up on the radar, notably Somalia. In the semi-desert underbelly of the Sahara, Mali was identified among other weak states vulnerable to jihadi influence spreading south from the Maghreb. Nigeria, too, soon featured in assessments of threats.

These were either prescient musings by US spies or a self-fulfilling prophecy coaxed partly into reality by US meddling – there are subscribers to both camps. Either way, Islamist extremism in Africa has metastasised just as the Pentagon and the CIA assessments predicted.

FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times)

Photo: United States Marine Corps/flickr

The FT is giving me raised eyebrows; is this just the media creating a story from very little?

8 notes 

Ask an expert follow up

dapperandspiffing replied to your post:If you have questions, ask an expert:    Yes. What’s your take on TTIP? Very much criticised in Germany. Thanks for being awesome and knowing such important stuff!!!!

Hey J, thanks for asking and for the compliment (blush).

My ‘take’ is complex and rooted in history (scroll to bold for the short version), as any expert take should be; my opinion of the TTIP has more to do with power and authority than the substance of the negotiations, which I’d generally say I’m pretty wary of.

The TTIP is, essentially, just another regional trade agreement (RTA), and the US and Europe are simply seeking gains in trade that cannot be made within how (power in) the WTO has evolved: businesses in these countries whose interests are not being served in the WTO. Just as UNCTAD and the OECD evolved as a response to the areas of policy that the WTO was ill-equiped to govern, the TTIP is an expression of American and European interests that the WTO is (currently) ill-suited to govern.

Some have argued it’s a shady deal that can only be done outside the WTO (RTAs do come under the umbrella of the WTO, however), but others argue that states are just rational, self-interested actors seeking to expand trade in ways that are otherwise ‘closed’. Trade delegations represent national (self) interests (duh!). Naturally American interests and European interests vary in TTIP, particularly when it comes to food (GMOs, hormones in meat, European food culture etc), as evident by the cases between these two trading blocs in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.

But RTAs, in theory, represent cooperative national interests, and for me, there is a core issue here as to whether the TTIP represents the interests of CITIZENS or CORPORATIONS in the US and Europe. In the US, there’s no difference, since corporations have legal person-hood, but in Europe this is not the case. Natural products of their individual political cultures, CITIZENS of Europe are more engaged in the TTIP than their American counterparts. If the TTIP ‘hears’ no dissent from American CITIZENS - and CORPORATIONS are pro-TTIP - then the TTIP represents all of American interests; it’s just those pesky European CITIZENS (and Germans ;-)) who aren’t on board (ie: interests are not reflected in the TTIP). That leaves it down to the European delegation to either incorporate the interests of European CITIZENS into TTIP, go against the interests of European CITIZENS, or leave the deal undone for lack of political support (similar to the recent failure of all WTO member states to ratify the trade facilitation deal in the Bali package of the Doha Development Agenda).

So the questions about the TTIP that are more my ‘expertise’ and concern are: whose interests are being represented, who has authority to govern, and whose interests are most valued: CITIZENS and/or BUSINESS. With slippery international legal ‘loopholes’ built into TTIP, I’d say we know at least one answer to these questions. My ‘take’ is that states govern as they see fit to represent their interests, and the TTIP is a massive RTA, ranging from food to health care to intellectual property. In general, I am an advocate of trade liberalisation, but I tend to side more with the Europeans, as I find corporate personhood to be antithetical to democracy, ie: oligarchy. As of this moment, I don’t find the TTIP to be terribly democratic. And THIS is why I support the WTO and clarifying what it is the WTO does, which is democratic trade liberalisation. The WTO’s decision-making structure prohibits any gains in trade liberalisation that is not democratic for all (current) 160 member states, again, hence the current failure of all member states to ratify the trade facilitation deal. The WTO machinery may not be perfect (single undertaking, consensus, etc), but it’s the machinery that trading nations built. And it’s one of the most democratic organisations in global governance.

That should tell you something about the TTIP …

2 notes 

We demand an immediate meeting of the UN security council and a decision to impose a complete ceasefire with effective international protection for the Palestinian people, who have no way of matching the superpower of the mighty Israeli army. We call on the Palestinian leadership to stop its hesitation in establishing a unified Palestinian leadership and go straight to the international criminal court to hold Israel accountable. Without these measures, I fear worse may be to come.

Excellent read about a case of international ‘development aid’ and the conflicts that surround ‘block aid’ and unmonitored ‘giving’.

globalamnestyinternational:

Book Recs on Human Rights.
'Failing to Protect' demonstrates the urgent need for radical reform of the machinery of human rights protection at the international level. 

"Despite many of the abuses being well-documented, little seems to be done to stop them from happening. The United Nations was established to safeguard world peace and security, development, and human rights yet it is undeniable that currently it is failing to protect the rights of a great many people –– from the victims of ethnic cleansing, to migrants, those displaced by war and women who suffer horrendous abuse. This book looks at the reasons for that failure. Using concrete examples intertwined with explanations of the law and politics of the UN, Rosa Freedman offers clear explanations of how and why the Organisation is unable, at best, or unwilling, at worst, to protect human rights.”

I haven’t read the book - I’d like to - but I think it’s important, especially for how people on tumblr tend to react to ‘social justice’ to at least include in this snippet, that international organisations are not actors, as we conceive of actors (with the capacity to act/make decisions), in international politics.

International organisations are products of their member states, as members, not the organisation itself, make decisions. The statement in bold SHOULD read:

Rosa Freedman offers clear explanations of how and why the [members of the] Organisation [are] unable, at best, or unwilling, at worst, to protect human rights.”

And I think that’s a pretty simple IR puzzle to solve actually… 193 differing agendas, ideologies, and preferences.

10 notes 


The first woman has been appointed to command a United Nations peacekeeping force – a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf war, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
[Major General Kristin Lund] told the Associated Press she was proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. “I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.”
She said that was where she fell in love with the UN and learned that “maybe the most important weapon that you have is communication and to build relations”.

Photo: Xinhua /Landov/Barcroft Media
Text: AP at the Guardian

The first woman has been appointed to command a United Nations peacekeeping force – a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf war, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

[Major General Kristin Lund] told the Associated Press she was proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. “I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.”

She said that was where she fell in love with the UN and learned that “maybe the most important weapon that you have is communication and to build relations”.

Photo: Xinhua /Landov/Barcroft Media

Text: AP at the Guardian