The Central African Republic Crisis Rages On

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Jessamy Nichols, Africa Correspondent
Last Modified: 23:16 p.m. DST, 18 December 2013

CAR Rebel Exercising, Photo by hdptcarCENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa - I first wrote about the Central African Republic’s deplorable conditions in September, and the situation has worsened since. Luckily, the international community has recently made much larger efforts to step in, intervene, and restore stability but there is still immense and lofty work to be done.

From December 5th through 7th, UNICEF reported that within those 72 hours alone, 60,000 citizens were displaced and 394 were killed. At this point a week ago, the internally displaced persons count had risen to half a million people.

After this extremely deadly period of three days, France finally decided to send in troops to this area and militarily push to end the conflict.

Although international presence may help resolve this conflict in the main hotspots, the destruction and horrors are continuing across the country in small villages and areas isolated from help.

IDP camps are popping up across the country, and as they do, these displaced persons also lack access to adequate shelter, sanitation, food and water. These problems are thus mounting and exponentially piling on top of one another, so more must be done before the damage is irreversible and before more innocent people die.

This international intervention also follows the successful work by the UN and MONUSCO to shut down the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so this could hopefully be a precedent for how to end the rebellious conflict in the Central African Republic. If the UN and its diverse troops were able to tackle several conflicts such as these, this may set a much needed tone for African states that murderous rebels will not be tolerated.

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Twitter: @nahmias_report
Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

British Iraqi Family Executed Assassination Style

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 11:25 AM EDT, 6 September 2012

Town of Chevaline, Photo by QuinetCHEVALINE, France - A horrific fate befell the family of an Iraqi-born Briton named Saad al-Hilli who was from Surrey in southern England.

Saad, his wife, a grandmother, and two daughters were on holiday traveling through France when they were ambushed in an assassination style execution in the town of Chevaline. Reports state that Saad who was found dead at the wheel and the other victims were all shot twice in the head.

The BMW was riddled with bullets and 25 spent casings from an automatic weapon were strewn around the scene. Nearby, a possible witness was also shot dead and has been identified as French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45. The gruesome discovery was made on a road near the picturesque Annecy lake and the Swiss border.

What has propelled this story to international attention is the fact that two of the children escaped this brutal attack despite the apparent efforts to murder the entire family. Initially, authorities thought that only one child escaped, a girl of around eight who had been violently beaten on the head resulting in skull fractures. She is currently in critical condition and is undergoing a second operation in as many days.

While the authorities secured the scene to begin the investigation, the British registered vehicle was not opened nor the bodies disturbed for nearly eight hours. It was close to midnight when the forensic team entered the car whereupon they discovered amidst the bodies a girl of about four alive and unhurt. She had been hiding on the floor under the legs of the two dead women thought to be her mother and grandmother.

She was immediately rushed to hospital in the nearby city of Grenoble, where the young girl with the severe head injuries was being treated. As both girls speak English authorities believe that they are sisters. Apparently, the younger of the siblings was too scared to move, which is why she was unnoticed by police. Given the violent nature of this attack for which a motive has not been discovered, the two girls are currently under police protection.

Reuters interviewed prosecutor Eric Maillaud who told reporters in a late-night briefing that "She's clearly shocked but she's doing okay. She's not injured.”

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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

Fear: The Enemy of Gender Equality

Fear: The Enemy of Gender Equality

"A woman’s fate is determined by men and women who play God. Her first gift is a doll-named-Baby with which she rehearses home maker, wife and mother. She is groomed to be a ‘proper woman’ — the silent one when the men are talking. All these in preparation for her husband’s house; is that not where all ‘good’ women end? A woman’s worth is defined first by her father, then her husband and last by the children she bears. She’s more blessed if she bore boys. If it’s a girl child, irrespective of her career success, she has to follow her mother’s steps. A ‘good woman’ doesn’t break the cycle! That’s not all, these ‘inequality gods’ add spice to her lifespan with other tough stops like the lack of freedom of choice; gender discrimination; rape and assaults of all kind. A woman should not allow these ‘inequality gods’, be they spiritual, economic, political or social, to script her life and that of her daughters." ~ Temitayo O, Nigeria

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'Children of Africa, Children of the World' I Rama Yade

'Children of Africa, Children of the World' I Rama Yade

The ANI association has organized the "Fortnight of Children of Africa," a conference where leading proponents of the movement will publicly debate the issues and concerns of education in Africa. This is the 4th year of that this event has been held and the theme is "Children of Africa, Children of the World." Last year's event was hosted by Rama Yade, a Senegalese French politician who has served in the government of France since 2007. Watch the video of her speech here. Children are our most precious resource and we must ensure that all children regardless of their country of origin, religion or ethnicity are protected, nurtured, and availed of all the rights, privileges, freedoms and opportunities that are the hallmark of the best of humankind. The well worn statement that "it takes a village to raise a child," is as apropos today in this technological world as it was when we lived in more pastoral environs. We are the village and though most of us live in virtual worlds, when we choose to be physically present and engaged with people, we are truly powerful and can make a difference.

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Teddy Afro | Les Nubians

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 04:03 AM EDT, 22 September 2009

Teddy Afro, Photo by Mengedegnaw

During my travels in France, I was introduced by my fellow Africans to the political revolutionary music of Teddy Afro and the Afrocentric pride expressed by Les Nubians.

Teddy Afro had been released from prison earlier that year after being jailed by the government on baseless charges which were levied against because the government couldn't risk charging him with sedition.

The politicians behind the move erroneously calculated that imprisoning him would silenced his calls for unity and freedom, but only served to coalesce his followers intent on revolution.  His song, 'Yasteseryal' featured below angered the government because it presented a history of Ethiopia which was unfavorable to the ruler, Haile Selassie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkWtbaIDnP4

The song from Teddy Afro's interviews is not political but is a call for love of and unity among all Ethiopians. In the song he urges Ethiopians to celebrate their rich, ancient and diverse culture, which should be a source of pride. Though a lot of division and castes exist in Ethiopia, until there is unity the nation will be unable to move forward and deal holistically with the many problems which plague the nation including drought and starvation.

At that time neither Teddy Afro or Les Nubians were as visible in the American popular music scene as they were in Europe. However,find that certain artists, particularly musicians and Indie actors, continue to push against the tides of debasement, and speak the truths that we all seek to hear which is what makes them equally engaging.

Les Nubians wrote and sung the song 'Makeda' which also pays tribute to an Ethiopia and African women. The song is an homage to the great Queen of Sheba. Makeda, is the Amharic name for the Queen of Sheba and in this song by the same title, Les Nubians are paying homage to the great Queen, and to the strength, beauty, integrity and life affirming qualities of all African women.

As I continue to search my soul and hone my voice, I am pleased to highlight the musicians/artists/writers/poets/singers who have had a profound impact on me. The basis of music, at least for me, is poetry and verse.  When I write, I think in visual terms, the words dance in my head, like a jigsaw puzzle of floating petals, that I gently reach up, to pull down, and hook together into soliloquies thoughts which I send out into the universe of my fellow human beings.

We are each here, at this time, and in the space to help the world and make it a better place.  We each have been granted the tools to accomplish our unique missions, and as an artist I have and will continue to explore the full gamut of these giftings.

Makeda, the Queen of Sheba is an integral historical figure in my life as an African Jewish woman.  Les Nubians proclaim that Makeda lives in them, and indeed, Makeda lives in all African females.  As I go into the New Year, it is with great joy and happiness that I can in my own way, pay homage to this greatest of African Queens.

  • Watch the video  Makeda vie en moi here. Though in French it translates to Makeda lives in me.
  • Visit Teddy Afro's Official Website Here.