New African Review August/September 2011

African Update – 22/09/11

August/September issue was reviewed by Swegenyi D.K. Shivairo. The reviewed stories include: Can we trust the UN? / South Sudan; a new nation is born / Africa had its own writing systems

CAN WE TRUST THE UN?

Events in the recent past appear to indicate that the UN has lost its neutrality. Or if it still has any remaining, it has fallen so much into the hands of a few western nations, who are using it to pursue unbridled self-interest.

This is the way New African sees it as it reports extensively in the cover story of this issue. It argues that the way the UN and its Security Council was drawn into Cote d’Ivoire and Libya’s internal strife and its authority misused “has the consequence of destroying its moral authority.” It contends that the Security Council in particular has “become a quisling facilitating what is becoming an apparent recolonization of some parts of the world strategic to Western interests.”

With a thorough analysis of principal events in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya [where there are more obvious], New African leaves no doubt that it is time for all to shout on high that “National self interests must not be allowed to endanger global peace and security.” For many years the unwritten philosophy behind dealing with rebels appears to have been “You do not negotiate with rebels. You destroy them instead.” This said, in many civil wars across Africa and many other parts of the world, efforts were directed towards helping embattled governments to hold their countries together, while trying to get the rebels to the negotiating table – or destroying the rebellion. But now that seems to have changed. Why has the UN turned around to helping or enabling rebels to effect regime change? Can the world, and the African continent in particular, continue to believe in the neutrality of the UN?

NATO’S bombing of Libya is illegal

New African is of the view that is NATO had chosen to openly render support to the rebels in Libya there would be no question of legitimacy of the action. Indeed, it says, it would have been lawful as far as international law is concerned, for it would amount simply to an act of war. But considering what has been happening in Libya, New African is categorical that NATO’S activities in Libya are unlawful. That, it “is wrong for NATO to wage a proxy war in Libya under the cover of a UN Security Council sanctioned humanitarian mission.”

“ NATO’s publicly professed bid,” notes New African, “ to remove Gathafi from power though sophisticated sorties, and overt and covert military support to Benghazi headquartered rebels is clearly outside the letter and spirit of UNSC Resolution 1973.” It decries NATO’s conduct, which it says, “not only offends the responsibility to protect principle, [but] is a blatant violation of the omnipotent principle of sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.” This, because, “the question of who should rule a country and who should not is a matter for the citizens of that country. A strictly internal matter.”

Drawing reference to the ICC trial of Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, New African says that one hopes that NATO might also “be culpable for the atrocities reportedly being committed by the rebel movement.” Charles Taylor is charged with the responsibility for crimes that were committed by rebel forces in Sierra Leone because he allegedly “lent military and other support to the rebel with the intention and knowledge (awareness) that the assistance would have a substantial effect in the commission of crimes against civilians by the rebels.” New African observes that there is little difference between the support Taylor is alleged to have given to the Sierra Leonean rebels and what NATO has been giving (primarily through the UK and France or overtly) to the Libyan rebels.

SOUTH SUDAN; A NEW NATION IS BORN

On 9th July 2011, a new nation was born in Africa. What used to be Sudan has given rise to two nations, now there is the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. Woe to the postman. The former is the northern territory of what was Sudan; the latter is the breakaway southern territory that becomes Africa’s 54th state and 196th country of the world. It comes after 56 years of pains and armed struggle.

New African reports that on the night of independence, the people of South Sudan jubilant at their new found freedom cried tears of joy as they danced in the streets.

The Republic of South Sudan is the size of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi combined. Its capital is Juba. The country has a population of 8.5million people, who speak more than 200 languages and profess Christianity, Islam and traditional religious faiths.

Contrary to what many people think, the region (which often appeared in the media as famine or drought stricken) is endowed with “huge and diversified natural resources, fertile land, natural forests, freshwater, biodiversity, wild and domestic animal stock, mineral resources such as iron ore, gold, silver, copper, aluminium, coal, uranium, chromium, Zinc, mica, diamonds, quartz, tungsten, and the chief of all, oil.”

New African reports that the new country faces many challenges, the biggest of which is governance. Why? There are two big historically competing tribes. Secondly, the ruling elite is made up of “a peculiar blend of military…appointed for their blood sacrifice…and intellectuals…sharp, Diaspora educated brains.” Thirdly, there is the mix of the Sudanese who remained in the country throughout the difficult years and those who fled and are now returning home. Fourthly, the constitution, the document that should create the middle ground is reported to have been voted for in a hurry and so is generating quite a great deal of “anxiety for many people.” Other problems include reviving farming long abandoned in order to create food security and to get the populace from dependence on handouts, building infrastructure, dealing with the porous North –south border, among others.

As New African wraps it up, blessed with all kinds of resources, this country is a miracle, and needs all the support it can from the other, older nations of the world community… “To use those resources to benefit the people and improve their lives.”

“It is a new country full of hope. And there is a lot to do.”

AFRICA HAD ITS OWN WRITING SYSTEMS!

In a special feature New African examines the existence of African indigenous writing systems before the arrival of Europeans. It disputes conventional history, which claims the “African had no indigenous written scripts” prior to the coming of Europeans. It says that the facts on the ground in many countries show that Africa was not only a home to oral tradition, which would imply that Africa was a “historically illiterate continent.” So what were these indigenous scripts? Why are they not well documented? Why are they not widely used in Africa? Or why were they abandoned? Is there any hope that at least some may be revived?

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Book of the month

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton
   

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