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  • Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds
    https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351

    Billions of years ago when the world was still young, treasure began forming deep underground. As the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates plunged down into the upper mantle, bits of carbon, some likely hailing from long-dead life forms were melted and compressed into rigid lattices. Over millions of years, those lattices grew into the most durable, dazzling gems the planet had ever cooked up. And every so often, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, an eruption would send a stash of these stones rocketing to the surface inside a bubbly magma known as kimberlite.

    There, the diamonds would remain, nestled in the kimberlite volcanoes that delivered them from their fiery home, until humans evolved, learned of their existence, and began to dig them up.

    The epic origin of Earth’s diamonds has helped fuel a powerful marketing mythology around them: that they are objects of otherworldly strength and beauty; fitting symbols of eternal love. But while “diamonds are forever” may be the catchiest advertising slogan ever to bear some geologic truth, the supply of these stones in the Earth’s crust, in places we can readily reach them, is far from everlasting. And the scars we’ve inflicted on the land and ourselves in order to mine diamonds has cast a shadow that still lingers over the industry.

    Some diamond seekers, however, say we don’t need to scour the Earth any longer, because science now offers an alternative: diamonds grown in labs. These gems aren’t simulants or synthetic substitutes; they are optically, chemically, and physically identical to their Earth-mined counterparts. They’re also cheaper, and in theory, limitless. The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has rocked the jewelry world to its core and prompted fierce pushback from diamond miners. Claims abound on both sides.

    Growers often say that their diamonds are sustainable and ethical; miners and their industry allies counter that only gems plucked from the Earth can be considered “real” or “precious.” Some of these assertions are subjective, others are supported only by sparse, self-reported, or industry-backed data. But that’s not stopping everyone from making them.

    This is a fight over image, and when it comes to diamonds, image is everything.
    A variety of cut, polished Ada Diamonds created in a lab, including smaller melee stones and large center stones. 22.94 carats total. (2.60 ct. pear, 2.01 ct. asscher, 2.23 ct. cushion, 3.01 ct. radiant, 1.74 ct. princess, 2.11 ct. emerald, 3.11 ct. heart, 3.00 ct. oval, 3.13 ct. round.)
    Image: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Same, but different

    The dream of lab-grown diamond dates back over a century. In 1911, science fiction author H.G. Wells described what would essentially become one of the key methods for making diamond—recreating the conditions inside Earth’s mantle on its surface—in his short story The Diamond Maker. As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes, there were a handful of dubious attempts to create diamonds in labs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the first commercial diamond production wouldn’t emerge until the mid-1950s, when scientists with General Electric worked out a method for creating small, brown stones. Others, including De Beers, soon developed their own methods for synthesizing the gems, and use of the lab-created diamond in industrial applications, from cutting tools to high power electronics, took off.

    According to the GIA’s James Shigley, the first experimental production of gem-quality diamond occurred in 1970. Yet by the early 2000s, gem-quality stones were still small, and often tinted yellow with impurities. It was only in the last five or so years that methods for growing diamonds advanced to the point that producers began churning out large, colorless stones consistently. That’s when the jewelry sector began to take a real interest.

    Today, that sector is taking off. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a trade group formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA secretary general Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market. This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market.

    He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry.
    “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not.”

    “This year some [factories] will come up from 100,000 gem-quality diamonds to one to two million,” Zimnisky said. “They already have the infrastructure and equipment in place” and are in the process of upgrading it. (About 150 million carats of diamonds were mined last year, according to a global analysis of the industry conducted by Bain & Company.)

    Production ramp-up aside, 2018 saw some other major developments across the industry. In the summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversed decades of guidance when it expanded the definition of a diamond to include those created in labs and dropped ‘synthetic’ as a recommended descriptor for lab-grown stones. The decision came on the heels of the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, announcing the launch of its own lab-grown diamond line, Lightbox, after having once vowed never to sell man-made stones as jewelry.

    “I would say shock,” Lightbox Chief Marketing Officer Sally Morrison told Earther when asked how the jewelry world responded to the company’s launch.

    While the majority of lab-grown diamonds on the market today are what’s known as melee (less than 0.18 carats), the tech for producing the biggest, most dazzling diamonds continues to improve. In 2016, lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna announced its partners had grown a 6.28 carat gem-quality diamond, claimed to be the largest created in the U.S. to that point. In 2017, a lab in Augsburg University, Germany that grows diamonds for industrial and scientific research applications produced what is thought to be the largest lab-grown diamond ever—a 155 carat behemoth that stretches nearly 4 inches across. Not gem quality, perhaps, but still impressive.

    “If you compare it with the Queen’s diamond, hers is four times heavier, it’s clearer” physicist Matthias Schreck, who leads the group that grew that beast of a jewel, told me. “But in area, our diamond is bigger. We were very proud of this.”

    Diamonds can be created in one of two ways: Similar to how they form inside the Earth, or similar to how scientists speculate they might form in outer space.

    The older, Earth-inspired method is known as “high temperature high pressure” (HPHT), and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A carbon source, like graphite, is placed in a giant, mechanical press where, in the presence of a catalyst, it’s subjected to temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius and pressures of 5-6 Gigapascals in order to form diamond. (If you’re curious what that sort of pressure feels like, the GIA describes it as similar to the force exerted if you tried to balance a commercial jet on your fingertip.)

    The newer method, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), is more akin to how diamonds might form in interstellar gas clouds (for which we have indirect, spectroscopic evidence, according to Shigley). A hydrocarbon gas, like methane, is pumped into a low-pressure reactor vessel alongside hydrogen. While maintaining near-vacuum conditions, the gases are heated very hot—typically 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius, according to Lightbox CEO Steve Coe—causing carbon atoms to break free of their molecular bonds. Under the right conditions, those liberated bits of carbon will settle out onto a substrate—typically a flat, square plate of a synthetic diamond produced with the HPHT method—forming layer upon layer of diamond.

    “It’s like snow falling on a table on your back porch,” Jason Payne, the founder and CEO of lab-grown diamond jewelry company Ada Diamonds, told me.

    Scientists have been forging gem-quality diamonds with HPHT for longer, but today, CVD has become the method of choice for those selling larger bridal stones. That’s in part because it’s easier to control impurities and make diamonds with very high clarity, according to Coe. Still, each method has its advantages—Payne said that HPHT is faster and the diamonds typically have better color (which is to say, less of it)—and some companies, like Ada, purchase stones grown in both ways.

    However they’re made, lab-grown diamonds have the same exceptional hardness, stiffness, and thermal conductivity as their Earth-mined counterparts. Cut, they can dazzle with the same brilliance and fire—a technical term to describe how well the diamond scatters light like a prism. The GIA even grades them according to the same 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—that gemologists use to assess diamonds formed in the Earth, although it uses a slightly different terminology to report the color and clarity grades for lab-grown stones.

    They’re so similar, in fact, that lab-grown diamond entering the larger diamond supply without any disclosures has become a major concern across the jewelry industry, particularly when it comes to melee stones from Asia. It’s something major retailers are now investing thousands of dollars in sophisticated detection equipment to suss out by searching for minute differences in, say, their crystal shape or for impurities like nitrogen (much less common in lab-grown diamond, according to Shigley).

    Those differences may be a lifeline for retailers hoping to weed out lab-grown diamonds, but for companies focused on them, they can become another selling point. The lack of nitrogen in diamonds produced with the CVD method, for instance, gives them an exceptional chemical purity that allows them to be classified as type IIa; a rare and coveted breed that accounts for just 2 percent of those found in nature. Meanwhile, the ability to control everything about the growth process allows companies like Lightbox to adjust the formula and produce incredibly rare blue and pink diamonds as part of their standard product line. (In fact, these colored gemstones have made up over half of the company’s sales since launch, according to Coe.)

    And while lab-grown diamonds boast the same sparkle as their Earthly counterparts, they do so at a significant discount. Zimnisky said that today, your typical one carat, medium quality diamond grown in a lab will sell for about $3,600, compared with $6,100 for its Earth-mined counterpart—a discount of about 40 percent. Two years ago, that discount was only 18 percent. And while the price drop has “slightly tapered off” as Zimnisky put it, he expects it will fall further thanks in part to the aforementioned ramp up in Chinese production, as well as technological improvements. (The market is also shifting in response to Lightbox, which De Beers is using to position lab-grown diamonds as mass produced items for fashion jewelry, and which is selling its stones, ungraded, at the controversial low price of $800 per carat—a discount of nearly 90 percent.)

    Zimnisky said that if the price falls too fast, it could devalue lab-grown diamonds in the eyes of consumers. But for now, at least, paying less seems to be a selling point. A 2018 consumer research survey by MVI Marketing found that most of those polled would choose a larger lab-grown diamond over a smaller mined diamond of the same price.

    “The thing [consumers] seem most compelled by is the ability to trade up in size and quality at the same price,” Garard of IGDA said.

    Still, for buyers and sellers alike, price is only part of the story. Many in the lab-grown diamond world market their product as an ethical or eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

    But those sales pitches aren’t without controversy.
    A variety of lab-grown diamond products arrayed on a desk at Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan. The stone in the upper left gets its blue color from boron. Diamonds tinted yellow (top center) usually get their color from small amounts of nitrogen.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Dazzling promises

    As Anna-Mieke Anderson tells it, she didn’t enter the diamond world to become a corporate tycoon. She did it to try and fix a mistake.

    In 1999, Anderson purchased herself a diamond. Some years later, in 2005, her father asked her where it came from. Nonplussed, she told him it came from the jewelry store. But that wasn’t what he was asking: He wanted to know where it really came from.

    “I actually had no idea,” Anderson told Earther. “That led me to do a mountain of research.”

    That research eventually led Anderson to conclude that she had likely bought a diamond mined under horrific conditions. She couldn’t be sure, because the certificate of purchase included no place of origin. But around the time of her purchase, civil wars funded by diamond mining were raging across Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, fueling “widespread devastation” as Global Witness put it in 2006. At the height of the diamond wars in the late ‘90s, the watchdog group estimates that as many as 15 percent of diamonds entering the market were conflict diamonds. Even those that weren’t actively fueling a war were often being mined in dirty, hazardous conditions; sometimes by children.

    “I couldn’t believe I’d bought into this,” Anderson said.

    To try and set things right, Anderson began sponsoring a boy living in a Liberian community impacted by the blood diamond trade. The experience was so eye-opening, she says, that she eventually felt compelled to sponsor more children. Selling conflict-free jewelry seemed like a fitting way to raise money to do so, but after a great deal more research, Anderson decided she couldn’t in good faith consider any diamond pulled from the Earth to be truly conflict-free in either the humanitarian or environmental sense. While diamond miners were, by the early 2000s, getting their gems certified “conflict free” according to the UN-backed Kimberley Process, the certification scheme’s definition of a conflict diamond—one sold by rebel groups to finance armed conflicts against governments—felt far too narrow.

    “That [conflict definition] eliminates anything to do with the environment, or eliminates a child mining it, or someone who was a slave, or beaten, or raped,” Anderson said.

    And so she started looking into science, and in 2007, launching MiaDonna as one of the world’s first lab-grown diamond jewelry companies. The business has been activism-oriented from the get-go, with at least five percent of its annual earnings—and more than 20 percent for the last three years—going into The Greener Diamond, Anderson’s charity foundation which has funded a wide range of projects, from training former child soldiers in Sierra Leone to grow food to sponsoring kids orphaned by the West African Ebola outbreak.

    MiaDonna isn’t the only company that positions itself as an ethical alternative to the traditional diamond industry. Brilliant Earth, which sells what it says are carefully-sourced mined and lab-created diamonds, also donates a small portion of its profits to supporting mining communities. Other lab-grown diamond companies market themselves as “ethical,” “conflict-free,” or “world positive.” Payne of Ada Diamonds sees, in lab-grown diamonds, not just shiny baubles, but a potential to improve medicine, clean up pollution, and advance society in countless other ways—and he thinks the growing interest in lab-grown diamond jewelry will help propel us toward that future.

    Others, however, say black-and-white characterizations when it comes to social impact of mined diamonds versus lab-grown stones are unfair. “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not,” Estelle Levin-Nally, founder and CEO of Levin Sources, which advocates for better governance in the mining sector, told Earther. “I think it’s always about your politics. And ethics are subjective.”

    Saleem Ali, an environmental researcher at the University of Delaware who serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative, agrees. He says the mining industry has, on the whole, worked hard to turn itself around since the height of the diamond wars and that governance is “much better today” than it used to be. Human rights watchdog Global Witness also says that “significant progress” has been made to curb the conflict diamond trade, although as Alice Harle, Senior Campaigner with Global Witness told Earther via email, diamonds do still fuel conflict, particularly in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

    Most industry observers seems to agree that the Kimberley Process is outdated and inadequate, and that more work is needed to stamp out other abuses, including child labor and forced labor, in the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector. Today, large-scale mining operations don’t tend to see these kinds of problems, according to Julianne Kippenberg, associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, but she notes that there may be other community impacts surrounding land rights and forced resettlement.

    The flip side, Ali and Levin-Nally say, is that well-regulated mining operations can be an important source of economic development and livelihood. Ali cites Botswana and Russia as prime examples of places where large-scale mining operations have become “major contributors to the economy.” Dmitry Amelkin, head of strategic projects and analytics for Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, echoed that sentiment in an email to Earther, noting that diamonds transformed Botswana “from one of the poorest [countries] in the world to a middle-income country” with revenues from mining representing almost a third of its GDP.

    In May, a report commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a trade organization representing the world’s largest diamond mining companies, estimated that worldwide, its members generate nearly $4 billion in direct revenue for employees and contractors, along with another $6.8 billion in benefits via “local procurement of goods and services.” DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr said this was a story diamond miners need to do a better job telling.

    “The industry has undergone such changes since the Blood Diamond movie,” he said, referring to the blockbuster 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drew global attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. “And yet people’s’ perceptions haven’t evolved. I think the main reason is we have not had a voice, we haven’t communicated.”

    But conflict and human rights abuses aren’t the only issues that have plagued the diamond industry. There’s also the lasting environmental impact of the mining itself. In the case of large-scale commercial mines, this typically entails using heavy machinery and explosives to bore deep into those kimberlite tubes in search of precious stones.

    Some, like Maya Koplyova, a geologist at the University of British Columbia who studies diamonds and the rocks they’re found in, see this as far better than many other forms of mining. “The environmental footprint is the fThere’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.” ootprint of digging the hole in the ground and crushing [the rock],” Koplyova said, noting that there’s no need to add strong acids or heavy metals like arsenic (used in gold mining) to liberate the gems.

    Still, those holes can be enormous. The Mir Mine, a now-abandoned open pit mine in Eastern Siberia, is so large—reportedly stretching 3,900 feet across and 1,700 feet deep—that the Russian government has declared it a no-fly zone owing to the pit’s ability to create dangerous air currents. It’s visible from space.

    While companies will often rehabilitate other land to offset the impact of mines, kimberlite mining itself typically leaves “a permanent dent in the earth’s surface,” as a 2014 report by market research company Frost & Sullivan put it.

    “It’s a huge impact as far as I’m concerned,” said Kevin Krajick, senior editor for science news at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who wrote a book on the discovery of diamonds in far northern Canada. Krajick noted that in remote mines, like those of the far north, it’s not just the physical hole to consider, but all the development required to reach a previously-untouched area, including roads and airstrips, roaring jets and diesel-powered trucks.

    Diamonds grown in factories clearly have a smaller physical footprint. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, they also use less water and create less waste. It’s for these reasons that Ali thinks diamond mining “will never be able to compete” with lab-grown diamonds from an environmental perspective.

    “The mining industry should not even by trying to do that,” he said.

    Of course, this is capitalism, so try to compete is exactly what the DPA is now doing. That same recent report that touted the mining industry’s economic benefits also asserts that mined diamonds have a carbon footprint three times lower than that of lab-grown diamonds, on average. The numbers behind that conclusion, however, don’t tell the full story.

    Growing diamonds does take considerable energy. The exact amount can vary greatly, however, depending on the specific nature of the growth process. These are details manufacturers are typically loathe to disclose, but Payne of Ada Diamonds says he estimates the most efficient players in the game today use about 250 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per cut, polished carat of diamond; roughly what a U.S. household consumes in 9 days. Other estimates run higher. Citing unnamed sources, industry publication JCK Online reported that a modern HPHT run can use up to 700 kWh per carat, while CVD production can clock in north of 1,000 kWh per carat.

    Pulling these and several other public-record estimates, along with information on where in the world today’s lab diamonds are being grown and the energy mix powering the producer nations’ electric grids, the DPA-commissioned study estimated that your typical lab-grown diamond results in some 511 kg of carbon emissions per cut, polished carat. Using information provided by mining companies on fuel and electricity consumption, along with other greenhouse gas sources on the mine site, it found that the average mined carat was responsible for just 160 kg of carbon emissions.

    One limitation here is that the carbon footprint estimate for mining focused only on diamond production, not the years of work entailed in developing a mine. As Ali noted, developing a mine can take a lot of energy, particularly for those sited in remote locales where equipment needs to be hauled long distances by trucks or aircraft.

    There’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.”

    #dimants #Afrique #technologie #capitalisme

  • Le Botswana décriminalise l’homosexualité - RFI
    http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20190611-le-botswana-decriminalise-homosexualite

    C’était une décision très attendue : la Haute Cour du #Botswana a ordonné l’abrogation des lois criminalisant l’#homosexualité ce mardi 11 juin. Après l’Afrique du Sud, les Seychelles, l’Angola et le Mozambique, un nouveau pays d’Afrique lève donc l’interdiction pénale en la matière.[...]

    Dans son arrêt, elle affirme que les lois en question sont « des reliques de l’ère victorienne », qu’elles « oppriment une #minorité » et « ne passent pas l’épreuve de la constitutionnalité ». Comme dans la plupart des pays, la #Constitution botswanaise affirme en effet la stricte #égalité entre les citoyens.

  • Un #barrage suisse sème le chaos en #Birmanie

    L’#Upper_Yeywa, un ouvrage hydroélectrique construit par le bureau d’ingénierie vaudois #Stucky, va noyer un village dont les habitants n’ont nulle part où aller. Il favorise aussi les exactions par l’armée. Reportage.

    Le village de #Ta_Long apparaît au détour de la route en gravier qui serpente au milieu des champs de maïs et des collines de terre rouge, donnant à ce paysage un air de Toscane des tropiques. Ses petites demeures en bambou sont encaissées au fond d’un vallon. Les villageois nous attendent dans la maison en bois sur pilotis qui leur sert de monastère bouddhiste et de salle communale. Nous sommes en terre #Shan, une ethnie minoritaire qui domine cette région montagneuse dans le nord-est de la Birmanie.

    « Je préférerais mourir que de partir, lance en guise de préambule Pu Kyung Num, un vieil homme aux bras recouverts de tatouages à l’encre bleue. Je suis né ici et nos ancêtres occupent ces terres depuis plus d’un millénaire. » Mais Ta Long ne sera bientôt plus.

    Un barrage hydroélectrique appelé Upper Yeywa est en cours de construction par un consortium comprenant des groupes chinois et le bureau d’ingénierie vaudois Stucky à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud-ouest, sur la rivière #Namtu. Lors de sa mise en service, prévue pour 2021, toutes les terres situées à moins de 395 mètres d’altitude seront inondées. Ta Long, qui se trouve à 380 mètres, sera entièrement recouvert par un réservoir d’une soixantaine de kilomètres.

    « La construction du barrage a débuté en 2008 mais personne ne nous a rien dit jusqu’en 2014, s’emporte Nang Lao Kham, une dame vêtue d’un longyi, la pièce d’étoffe portée à la taille, à carreaux rose et bleu. Nous n’avons pas été consultés, ni même informés de son existence. » Ce n’est que six ans après le début des travaux que les villageois ont été convoqués dans la ville voisine de #Kyaukme par le Ministère de l’électricité. On leur apprend alors qu’ils devront bientôt partir.

    Pas de #titres_de_propriété

    En Birmanie, toutes les #terres pour lesquelles il n’existe pas de titres de propriété – ainsi que les ressources naturelles qu’elles abritent – appartiennent au gouvernement central. Dans les campagnes birmanes, où la propriété est communautaire, personne ne possède ces documents. « Nous ne quitterons jamais notre village, assure Nang Lao Kham, en mâchouillant une graine de tournesol. Nous sommes de simples paysans sans éducation. Nous ne savons rien faire d’autre que cultiver nos terres. »

    Le gouvernement ne leur a pas proposé d’alternative viable. « Une brochure d’information publiée il y a quelques années parlait de les reloger à trois kilomètres du village actuel, mais ce site est déjà occupé par d’autres paysans », détaille Thum Ai, du Shan Farmer’s Network, une ONG locale. Le montant de la compensation n’a jamais été articulé. Ailleurs dans le pays, les paysans chassés de leurs terres pour faire de la place à un projet d’infrastructure ont reçu entre six et douze mois de salaire. Certains rien du tout.

    Ta Long compte 653 habitants et 315 hectares de terres arables. Pour atteindre leurs vergers, situés le long de la rivière Namtu, les villageois empruntent de longues pirogues en bois. « La terre est extrêmement fertile ici, grâce aux sédiments apportés par le fleuve », glisse Kham Lao en plaçant des oranges et des pomélos dans un panier en osier.

    Les #agrumes de Ta Long sont connus loin à la ronde. « Mes fruits me rapportent 10 800 dollars par an », raconte-t-elle. Bien au-delà des maigres 3000 dollars amassés par les cultivateurs de riz des plaines centrales. « Depuis que j’ai appris l’existence du barrage, je ne dors plus la nuit, poursuit cette femme de 30 ans qui est enceinte de son troisième enfant. Comment vais-je subvenir aux besoins de mes parents et payer l’éducation de mes enfants sans mes #vergers ? »

    Cinq barrages de la puissance de la Grande Dixence

    La rivière Namtu puise ses origines dans les #montagnes du nord de l’Etat de Shan avant de rejoindre le fleuve Irrawaddy et de se jeter dans la baie du Bengale. Outre l’Upper Yeywa, trois autres barrages sont prévus sur ce cours d’eau. Un autre, le Yeywa a été inauguré en 2010. Ces cinq barrages auront une capacité de près de 2000 mégawatts, l’équivalent de la Grande Dixence.

    Ce projet s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un plan qui a pour but de construire 50 barrages sur l’ensemble du territoire birman à l’horizon 2035. Cela fera passer les capacités hydroélectriques du pays de 3298 à 45 412 mégawatts, selon un rapport de l’International Finance Corporation. Les besoins sont immenses : seulement 40% de la population est connectée au réseau électrique.

    L’Etat y voit aussi une source de revenus. « Une bonne partie de l’électricité produite par ces barrages est destinée à être exportée vers les pays voisins, en premier lieu la #Chine et la #Thaïlande, note Mark Farmaner, le fondateur de Burma Campaign UK. Les populations locales n’en bénéficieront que très peu. » Près de 90% des 6000 mégawatts générés par le projet Myitsone dans l’Etat voisin du Kachin, suspendu depuis 2011 en raison de l’opposition de la population, iront à la province chinoise du Yunnan.

    Les plans de la Chine

    L’Upper Yeywa connaîtra sans doute un sort similaire. « Le barrage est relativement proche de la frontière chinoise, note Charm Tong, de la Shan Human Rights Foundation. Y exporter son électricité représenterait un débouché naturel. » L’Etat de Shan se trouve en effet sur le tracé du corridor économique que Pékin cherche à bâtir à travers la Birmanie, entre le Yunnan et la baie du Bengale, dans le cadre de son projet « #Belt_&_Road ».

    Le barrage Upper Yeywa y est affilié. Il compte deux entreprises chinoises parmi ses constructeurs, #Yunnan_Machinery Import & Export et #Zhejiang_Orient_Engineering. Le suisse Stucky œuvre à leurs côtés. Fondé en 1926 par l’ingénieur Alfred Stucky, ce bureau installé à Renens est spécialisé dans la conception de barrages.

    Il a notamment contribué à l’ouvrage turc #Deriner, l’un des plus élevés du monde. Il a aussi pris part à des projets en #Angola, en #Iran, en #Arabie_saoudite et en #République_démocratique_du_Congo. Depuis 2013, il appartient au groupe bâlois #Gruner.

    Le chantier du barrage, désormais à moitié achevé, occupe les berges escarpées de la rivière. Elles ont été drapées d’une coque de béton afin d’éviter les éboulements. De loin, on dirait que la #montagne a été grossièrement taillée à la hache. L’ouvrage, qui fera entre 97 et 102 mètres, aura une capacité de 320 mégawatts.

    Son #coût n’a pas été rendu public. « Mais rien que ces deux dernières années, le gouvernement lui a alloué 7,4 milliards de kyats (5 millions de francs) », indique Htun Nyan, un parlementaire local affilié au NLD, le parti au pouvoir de l’ancienne Prix Nobel de la paix Aung San Suu Kyi. Une partie de ces fonds proviennent d’un prêt chinois octroyé par #Exim_Bank, un établissement qui finance la plupart des projets liés à « Belt & Road ».

    Zone de conflit

    Pour atteindre le hameau de #Nawng_Kwang, à une vingtaine de kilomètres au nord du barrage, il faut emprunter un chemin de terre cabossé qui traverse une forêt de teck. Cinq hommes portant des kalachnikovs barrent soudain la route. Cette région se trouve au cœur d’une zone de #conflit entre #milices ethniques.

    Les combats opposent le #Restoration_Council_of_Shan_State (#RCSS), affilié à l’#armée depuis la conclusion d’un cessez-le-feu, et le #Shan_State_Progress_Party (#SSPP), proche de Pékin. Nos hommes font partie du RCSS. Ils fouillent la voiture, puis nous laissent passer.

    Nam Kham Sar, une jeune femme de 27 ans aux joues recouvertes de thanaka, une pâte jaune que les Birmans portent pour se protéger du soleil, nous attend à Nawng Kwang. Elle a perdu son mari Ar Kyit en mai 2016. « Il a été blessé au cou par des miliciens alors qu’il ramenait ses buffles », relate-t-elle. Son frère et son cousin sont venus le chercher, mais les trois hommes ont été interceptés par des soldats de l’armée régulière.

    « Ils ont dû porter l’eau et les sacs à dos des militaires durant plusieurs jours, relate-t-elle. Puis, ils ont été interrogés et torturés à mort. » Leurs corps ont été brûlés. « Mon fils avait à peine 10 mois lorsque son papa a été tué », soupire Nam Kham Sar, une larme coulant le long de sa joue.

    Vider les campagnes ?

    La plupart des hameaux alentour subissent régulièrement ce genre d’assaut. En mai 2016, cinq hommes ont été tués par des soldats dans le village voisin de Wo Long. L’armée a aussi brûlé des maisons, pillé des vivres et bombardé des paysans depuis un hélicoptère. En août 2018, des villageois ont été battus et enfermés dans un enclos durant plusieurs jours sans vivres ; d’autres ont servi de boucliers humains aux troupes pour repérer les mines.

    Les résidents en sont convaincus : il s’agit d’opérations de #nettoyage destinées à #vider_les_campagnes pour faire de la place au barrage. « Ces décès ne sont pas des accidents, assure Tun Win, un parlementaire local. L’armée cherche à intimider les paysans. » Une trentaine de militaires sont stationnés en permanence sur une colline surplombant le barrage, afin de le protéger. En mars 2018, ils ont abattu deux hommes circulant à moto.

    Dans la population, la colère gronde. Plusieurs milliers de manifestants sont descendus dans la rue à plusieurs reprises à #Hsipaw, la ville la plus proche du barrage. Les habitants de Ta Long ont aussi écrit une lettre à la première ministre Aung San Suu Kyi, restée sans réponse. En décembre, une délégation de villageois s’est rendue à Yangon. Ils ont délivré une lettre à sept ambassades, dont celle de Suisse, pour dénoncer le barrage.

    « L’#hypocrisie de la Suisse »

    Contacté, l’ambassadeur helvétique Tim Enderlin affirme n’avoir jamais reçu la missive. « Cette affaire concerne une entreprise privée », dit-il, tout en précisant que « l’ambassade encourage les entreprises suisses en Birmanie à adopter un comportement responsable, surtout dans les zones de conflit ».

    La Shan Human Rights Foundation dénonce toutefois « l’hypocrisie de la Suisse qui soutient le #processus_de_paix en Birmanie mais dont les entreprises nouent des partenariats opportunistes avec le gouvernement pour profiter des ressources situées dans des zones de guerre ».

    La conseillère nationale socialiste Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, qui préside l’Association Suisse-Birmanie, rappelle que l’#initiative_pour_des_multinationales_responsables, sur laquelle le Conseil national se penchera jeudi prochain, « introduirait des obligations en matière de respect des droits de l’homme pour les firmes suisses ». Mardi, elle posera une question au Conseil fédéral concernant l’implication de Stucky dans le barrage Upper Yeywa.

    Contactée, l’entreprise n’a pas souhaité s’exprimer. D’autres sociétés se montrent plus prudentes quant à leur image. Fin janvier, le bureau d’ingénierie allemand #Lahmeyer, qui appartient au belge #Engie-Tractebel, a annoncé qu’il se retirait du projet et avait « rompu le contrat » le liant au groupe vaudois.

    https://www.letemps.ch/monde/un-barrage-suisse-seme-chaos-birmanie
    #Suisse #barrage_hydroélectrique #géographie_du_plein #géographie_du_vide #extractivisme
    ping @aude_v @reka

  • Facebook désactive plus de 250 pages politiques trompeuses gérées par une entreprise israélienne
    https://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2019/05/16/facebook-desactive-plus-de-250-pages-politiques-trompeuses-gerees-par-une-en

    Les pages, qui pour certaines usurpaient l’identité de candidats, visaient majoritairement l’Afrique subsaharienne. La société de Mark Zuckerberg a annoncé jeudi 16 mai avoir supprimé 265 comptes, pages et groupes, sur Facebook et Instagram, faisant tous partie d’un même réseau utilisé pour diffuser de fausses informations ou influer de manière malhonnête sur le débat politique. La plupart de ces comptes visaient les internautes de plusieurs pays d’Afrique subsaharienne (Togo, Angola, Nigeria, Niger…), (...)

    #Facebook #manipulation #Archimedes #publicité

    ##publicité

  • Passionnante interview sur le rôle de mercenaires en Amérique latine. Colombie, Venezuela et la place des Israéliens au Brésil.
    Sombres perspectives pour le Venezuela, comparé à la Libye et à la Syrie (l’entretien est de février).

    Revista Insomnio : Entrevista a Fernando Mon (Especialista en historia militar contemporánea) : Historia de los mercenarios, « contratistas » en Hispanoamérica y la crisis venezolana.
    http://www.revistainsomnio.com/2019/02/entrevista-fernando-mon-especialista-en.html

    Entrevista a Fernando Mon – Especialista en historia militar contemporánea egresado de la Escuela Superior de Guerra del Ejército Argentino.

    Revista Insomnio: ¿Cómo comienza la historia de los “mercenarios”?
    Fernando Mon: Un “mercenario” es una persona con experiencia militar que participa de un conflicto bélico a cambio de dinero. O sea, son ’alquilados’ para luchar por un ’bando’, esa sería la definición clásica de “mercenario”. Son soldados que, en lugar de pelear por una causa o por un país, lo hacen en beneficio propio.

    Aparecen con fuerza a finales de la Edad Media y principios del Renacimiento. La mayoría de los ejércitos, como es el caso de Italia que se encontraba dividida en distintos reinos y principados, estaban compuestos por soldados contratados. Estos recibían el nombre de “condotieros”, adjetivo que deriva de la palabra “condot”, que significa “contrato”, en referencia al contrato que firmaban con las distintos reinos, Estados o principados para formar parte de sus ejércitos. Con el correr del tiempo comienzan a ser cuestionados por ser caros y poco fiables, ya que podían cambiar de ’bando’ tranquilamente si otro les ofrecía más dinero. Quien más los cuestionó fue Maquiavelo, que abogaba por formar ejércitos de ciudadanos, que no peleara simplemente por dinero sino por fidelidad a su gobernante.

    A partir del Renacimiento comienzan a consolidarse los distintos Estados absolutistas que empiezan a construir, de a poco, ejércitos nacionales; hasta que se llega a la Revolución Francesa, la que impone el modelo de ejército para los Estados burgueses modernos, conformados por ciudadanos en armas. Cuando esta se produce, se genera una coalición de monarquías absolutistas contrarias a la misma, con el fin de atacar a Francia. La Revolución se ve obligada a defenderse y, como el ejército aristocrático del monarca francés había sido barrido quedando en desbandada, los jacobinos implementan lo que se llamó ’leva de masas’; es decir, el servicio militar obligatorio, la movilización total de la población. Ahí es cuando surge el ejército nacional propiamente dicho, que fue el prototipo para los ejércitos napoleónicos que luego terminarían por conquistar Europa entera, revolucionando la guerra en aquel momento.

    RI: ¿En qué momento de la historia moderna reaparecen los mercenarios?
    FM: En principio, podríamos decir que fue en el Congo, cuando un grupo de mercenarios belgas, franceses y suecos participan en el derrocamiento y asesinato de Lumumba. Estos mercenarios fueron contratados por las empresas mineras de la provincia de Katanga. Cuando Lumumba llega al poder, esta provincia se paraliza por miedo a que éste pudiera nacionalizar las minas. Los mineros contratan a dichos mercenarios para protegerlas. Es una historia larga y muy interesante. Existe una película belga que trata sobre estos hechos llamada “Patrice Lumumba”; también hay otra muy interesante que se puede ver en Netflix cuyo nombre es “El asedio a Jadotesville” y trata sobre el Congo.

    RI: Entre aquel episodio y la guerra civil en Sierra Leona a principios de los años ’90 ¿Existió participación de mercenarios en otros conflictos?
    FM: Tengo entendido que en Angola han participado mercenarios sudafricanos luchando en el bando de un grupo guerrillero de extrema derecha conocido como UNITA, que combatía contra la guerrilla de izquierda del MPLA (Movimiento Popular para la Liberación de Angola) que tenía el apoyo soviético y cubano.

    RI: Siendo estos mercenarios de nacionalidad sudafricana ¿Podrían haber pertenecido a la empresa #Executive_Outcomes?
    FM: Si, exactamente; son los mismos que luego participarían en la guerra civil de Sierra Leona y que eran la ’mano de obra desocupada’ tras la caída del apartheid.

    RI: ¿Cuál es el rol que han jugado los “contratistas” o mercenarios en las guerras de principios del S.XXI?
    FM: Han tenido un protagonismo muy importante en las guerras de Irak y Afganistán, pero sobre todo en Irak y por parte de las empresas estadounidenses como #Blackwater, que luego cambió de nombre a #Academi ...

    RI: Y ahora han cambiado de nombre a #Xe_Service. Entre otras cosas, poseen una subsidiaria contratada por el gobierno británico para “operar helicópteros de rescate” en las Islas Malvinas...
    FM: Si, no me extraña. También hay empresas británicas que operan en Cisjordania protegiendo los asentamientos de los ’colonos’ judíos. También existen grupos de gurkhas desmovilizados del Ejército Británico que formaron su propia compañía, pero están más dedicados a la labor de ’guardaespaldas’ y seguridad privada.

    Volviendo a la guerra de Irak, allí los “contratistas” privados constituyeron el segundo contingente de ocupación; o sea, una cantidad impresionante de combatientes.

    ¿Por qué Estados Unidos utiliza a esta gente? En principio porque se las puede usar de manera clandestina y anónima, sin la necesidad de rendir cuentas a nadie, por lo que pueden hacer todo tipo de ’trabajos sucios’. Pero, además, se utilizan para evitar contabilizar bajas dentro del ejército regular; porque las sociedades occidentales no están muy preparadas para la experiencia traumática de una guerra, sobre todo después de la Guerra de Vietnam. Estas sociedades tienen un gran rechazo a la muerte, y se encuentran aburguesadas gracias al ’Estado de Bienestar’ y todo el auge de los “derechos y libertades individuales” y no pueden soportar el costo humano de una guerra.

    RI: ¿Qué incidencia tienen las CMP en Hispanoamérica?
    FM: En Latinoamérica, el principal ’laboratorio’ de estas empresas es Colombia, dado al conflicto civil que tuvo existió una gran presencia de compañías militares privadas; sobre todo de capitales estadounidenses e israelíes. Se calcula que son alrededor de veinte o más las empresas que estuvieron o están en dicho país, y proveen distintos servicios que van desde el entrenamiento a militares y paramilitares hasta el desarrollo de tareas de inteligencia y espionaje, o custodia y seguridad para instalaciones de empresas, oleoductos, gasoductos, etc.

    Existen denuncias contra una empresa israelí llamada #Silver_Shadow por entrenar y equipar al grupo paramilitar conocido como Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, dueñas de un gran historial criminal. Otra empresa israelí, #GIR_S.A, ha entrenado a los militares colombianos, a la policía, a los paramilitares y, ahora también, a los narcotraficantes; además, les provee armas.

    RI: En relación con la crisis que actualmente se vive en Venezuela ¿Crees que podrían estar operando estos “contratistas” o mercenarios en suelo venezolano?
    FM: No tengo una certeza total, pero no me parecería raro. Por ejemplo, que actúen desde Colombia me resultaría normal, es como un ’nido de avispas’ de “contratistas” militares privados; podrían estar infiltrándose en Venezuela, haciendo sabotajes o tareas de inteligencia o espionaje, no me extrañaría. Como tampoco me extrañaría que fueran ciertos los rumores sobre la presencia en Venezuela de mercenarios rusos que trabajan para la empresa Wagner Group con el fin de custodiar a Nicolás Maduro y otros miembros del gobierno; hasta me parece lógico. Todo esto corresponde a la nueva doctrina de “guerra híbrida” o “guerra compuesta” que combina distintas modalidades de tácticas bélicas, ya sean regulares o irregulares, propaganda, derribo, sabotaje, guerra psicológica; a tal punto que ya no se sabe ni cuando empieza la guerra ni cuando termina, y estos grupos son especiales para eso.

    RI: Al respecto de la presencia de soldados israelíes en Brasil... Según las declaraciones públicas de los propios funcionarios brasileños, las dieciséis toneladas de equipamiento que los mismos llevaron a Brasil con el -presunto- fin de colaborar en la búsqueda y rescate de los desaparecidos tras la ruptura del dique de residuos mineros en Minas Gerais, resultaron totalmente inútiles... ¿Se podría suponer que dicho equipamiento pudiera, en realidad, corresponder a pertrechos para el entrenamiento y equipamiento de mercenarios o incluso de las tropas regulares del Ejército Brasileño para una futura invasión a Venezuela?
    FM: Sí, no me cabe ninguna duda. En primer lugar, porque Israel se dedica a exportar no sólo armamento sino también el “know how” (el conocimiento y la experiencia) en cuestiones de contrainsurgencia que tiene acumulado tras más de setenta años de guerra continua y ocupación de los territorios palestinos. Hace un rato te mencionaba a estas empresas israelíes que trabajaron en Colombia. En segundo lugar, Bolsonaro se encuentra completamente alineado con Israel; su candidatura a presidente de Brasil fue apoyada y financiada por la corriente evangélico-sionista que responde al gobierno israelí.
    No me parecería raro, es más, me resulta sospechoso que Israel envíe un contingente de militares para ayudar tras una catástrofe cuando el Ejército de Brasil se encuentra totalmente capacitado para realizar las tareas de búsqueda. En política son raras las casualidades.

    RI: En tu opinión ¿Qué le depara el futuro a Venezuela?
    FM: Hay que ver cómo se desarrollan los acontecimientos. Venezuela, tranquilamente, puede transformarse en una especie de Libia o Siria sudamericana. La estrategia estadounidense de reconocer a un “gobierno” paralelo ya fue aplicada en estos dos países. En Libia fue llamado “Consejo Nacional de Transición”, el Siria se llama “Gobierno Sirio Democrático” o algo por el estilo.

    No se si pueda tratase de una invasión a través de las mismas tropas estadounidenses sino la creación de “grupos irregulares” que intenten derrocar al gobierno de Maduro, lo que puede derivar en una guerra civil. Como mucho, EE.UU podría comportarse como lo hizo en Siria, apoyando a estos “grupos irregulares” por medio de bombardeos aéreos. Sin embargo, también existe una presencia muy importante de Rusia y China en Venezuela. Fijate que, en Libia lograron derrocar a Gadafi, en Siria no han podido hacerlo con Bashar Al-Assad que, de hecho, está ganando la guerra gracias al apoyo y la presencia de Rusia.

    A principios de diciembre del año pasado el gobierno ruso envió dos bombarderos TU-160 a Venezuela (NdR: Aunque simplemente fue para realizar maniobras militares conjuntas y luego los bombarderos regresaron a Rusia). Eso fue un gesto importante de Rusia previendo lo que pudiera llegar a suceder allí demostrando, además, que puede tener una proyección de poder militar hacia el Caribe. ¿Por qué Guaidó se autoproclamó ’Presidente Encargado’? Porque hay un contexto regional que se lo permite, siendo reconocido por Macri, Bolsonaro, Piñera, Duque, Lenin Moreno, Abdo Benitez, etc.

    Por: Nicolás Escribá.

    • [longue,…] Question : D’après les déclarations publiques de fonctionnaires brésiliens, des soldats israéliens ont débarqués avec 16 tonnes de matériel pour, en principe, aider à la recherche et au sauvetage des disparus suite à la rupture catastrophique de la digue de retenue de déchets miniers dans le Minas Gerais. Il se sont avérés totalement inutiles… Peut-on supposer qu’il s’agit d’équipement destiné à l’entrainement et l’équipement de mercenaires, voire de troupes régulières de l’Armée brésilienne, en vue d’une invasion future du Venezuela ?

      Réponse Sans aucun doute. D’abord parce qu’Israël exporte non seulement de l’armement mais aussi le know how en ce qui concerne la contre-insurrection #COINT accumulé en plus de 60 ans de guerre continue et d’occupation des territoires palestiniens. Je viens de te parler des entreprises israéliennes qui ont travaillé en Colombie. Ensuite, Bolsonaro est totalement aligné sur Israël ; sa candidature a été soutenue et financée par le courant évangéliste-sioniste à la main du gouvernement israélien.

      Il ne me paraitrait pas étonnant, plus, il me semble très suspect qu’Israël envoie un contingent de militaires pour aider après une catastrophe alors que l’Armée brésilienne a parfaitement la capacité de réaliser les recherches.

      Le hasard est peu fréquent en politique.

      ping @odilon

  • Qui sont les grandes #figures_féminines historiques du continent africain ? - RFI
    http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20190418-sont-grandes-figures-feminines-historiques-continent-africain

    Elles sont reines, prophétesses, militantes, et ont contribué à l’histoire du continent africain. Si l’on pense volontiers à la reine Nefertiti, d’autres #femmes ont marqué le continent africain à l’image d’Anne Zingha d’Angola, qui a permis d’éviter la colonisation du pays au XVIIème siècle, la Nigériane Funmilayo Ransome Kuti qui a livré un combat exemplaire pour l’émancipation et l’autodétermination des femmes sur l’#Afrique de 1923 à sa mort en 1977, ou encore Aoua Keïta, sage-femme, militante et femme politique malienne au XXème siècle. Entre sources orales et écrites, comment s’y prendre pour retracer leur #histoire ? Comment expliquer que ces femmes soient absentes des #enseignements ?

    • . . . . .
      – Part des revenus d’exportation consacrés au remboursement de la dette

      L’Allemagne est autorisée à ne pas consacrer plus de 5 % de ses revenus d’exportation au paiement de la dette.

      En 2017, les pays en développement ont dû consacrer en moyenne 14 % de leurs revenus d’exportation au paiement de la dette [7]. Pour les pays d’Amérique latine et de la Caraïbe, ce chiffre a atteint 23,5 % en 2017. Quelques exemples de pays incluant des PED et des économies européennes périphériques : en 2017, ce chiffre atteignait 13 % pour l’Angola, 36 % pour le Brésil, 15 % pour la Bosnie, 21 % pour la Bulgarie, 41,6 % pour la Colombie, 17 % pour la Côte d’Ivoire, 21 % pour l’Ethiopie, 28,6 % pour le Guatemala, 34 % pour l’Indonésie, 70 % pour le Liban, 14 % pour le Mexique, 20 % pour le Nicaragua, 22,8 % pour le Pakistan, 21 % pour le Pérou, 22 % pour la Roumanie et la Serbie, 17 % pour la Tunisie, 40 % pour la Turquie.

      – Taux d’intérêt sur la dette extérieure

      Dans le cas de l’accord de 1953 concernant l’Allemagne, le taux d’intérêt oscille entre 0 et 5 %.

      En revanche, dans le cas des PED, les taux d’intérêt ont été beaucoup plus élevés. Une grande majorité des contrats prévoient des taux variables à la hausse.

      Entre 1980 et 2000, pour l’ensemble des PED, le taux d’intérêt moyen a oscillé entre 4,8 et 9,1 % (entre 5,7 et 11,4 % dans le cas de l’Amérique latine et de la Caraïbe et même entre 6,6 et 11,9 % dans le cas du Brésil, entre 1980 et 2004). Ensuite, le taux d’intérêt a été historiquement bas pendant la période 2004 à 2015. Mais la situation a commencé à se dégrader depuis 2016-2017 car le taux d’intérêt croissant fixé par la FED (le taux directeur de la FED est passé de 0,25 % en 2015 à 2,25 % en novembre 2018) et les cadeaux fiscaux faits aux grandes entreprises étatsuniennes par Donald Trump entraînent un rapatriement de capitaux vers les États-Unis. Par ailleurs, les prix des matières premières ont eu une tendance à baisser ce qui diminue les revenus des pays en développement exportateurs de biens primaires et rend plus difficile le remboursement de la dette car celui-ci s’effectue principalement en dollars ou en d’autres monnaies fortes. En 2018, une nouvelle crise de la dette a touché directement des pays comme l’Argentine, le Venezuela, la Turquie, l’Indonésie, le Nigéria, le Mozambique, … De plus en plus de pays en développement doivent accepter des taux d’intérêt supérieurs à 7 %, voire à 10 %, pour pouvoir emprunter en 2019.

      – Monnaie dans laquelle la dette extérieure est remboursée

      L’Allemagne était autorisée à rembourser une partie de sa dette avec sa monnaie nationale.

      Aucun pays en développement n’est autorisé à faire de même sauf exception et pour des montants dérisoires. Tous les grands pays endettés doivent réaliser la totalité de leurs remboursements en devises fortes (dollar, euro, yens, franc suisse, livre sterling).

      – Clause de révision du contrat

      Dans le cas de l’Allemagne, l’accord établit la possibilité de suspendre les paiements pour en renégocier les conditions si survient un changement substantiel limitant la disponibilité des ressources.

      Dans le cas des contrats de prêts avec les PED, les créanciers imposent qu’il n’y ait pas de clause de ce type. Pire, en cas de difficulté des PED, les créanciers ont le droit de réclamer le paiement anticipé des sommes dues dans le futur.

      – Politique de substitution d’importation

      Dans l’accord sur la dette allemande, il est explicitement prévu que le pays puisse produire sur place ce qu’il importait auparavant.

      Par contre, la Banque mondiale, le FMI et les grandes puissances imposent aux PED de renoncer à produire sur place ce qu’ils pourraient importer.

      – Dons en devises (en cash)

      L’Allemagne, pourtant à l’origine de la deuxième guerre mondiale, a bénéficié de dons importants en devises dans le cadre du Plan Marshall et près celui-ci.

      Les PED dans leur ensemble, à qui les pays riches ont promis assistance et coopération, reçoivent une aumône sous forme de dons en devises. Alors que collectivement, ils remboursent plus de 500 milliards de dollars par an, ils reçoivent en cash nettement moins que 100 milliards de dollars.

      Incontestablement, le refus d’accorder aux PED endettés le même type de concessions qu’à l’Allemagne indique que les créanciers n’ont pas pour objectif le désendettement de ces pays. Bien au contraire, ces créanciers s’attachent à maintenir les PED dans un endettement structurel de manière à en tirer un revenu permanent maximal à travers le paiement des intérêts de leur dette, à leur imposer des politiques conformes aux intérêts des prêteurs et à s’assurer de la loyauté de ces pays au sein des institutions internationales.
      . . . . .

  • An Interview with Ryszard Kapuscinski: Writing about Suffering
    https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jii/4750978.0006.107/--interview-with-ryszard-kapuscinski-writing-about-suffering?rgn=mai

    Wolfe:

    Were you trained as a journalist? Kapuscinski: No, never. I started in journalism in 1950 — I was 18, just finishing secondary school, and the newspaper people came to ask me to work. I learned journalism through practice.

    Wolfe: How would you describe your genre?

    Kapuscinski: It’s very difficult to describe. We have such a mixture now, such a fusion of different genres… in the American tradition you would call it New Journalism. This implies writing about the facts, the real facts of life, but using the techniques of fiction writing. There is a certain difference in my case, because I’m trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing… My writing is a combination of three elements. The first is travel: not travel like a tourist, but travel as exploration, as concentration, as a purpose. The second is reading literature on the subject: books, articles, scholarship. The third is reflection, which comes from travel and reading. My books are created from a combination of these three elements.

    Wolfe:When did the idea of Aesopian writing enter into the genre, the idea of putting layers into official texts?

    Kapuscinski: Well, this is not a new thing — it was a nineteenth-century Russian tradition. As for us, we were trying to use all the available possibilities, because there wasn’t any underground. Underground literature only began in the 70s, when technical developments made it possible. Before that, we were involved in a game with the censors. That was our struggle. The Emperor is considered to be an Aesopian book in Poland and the Soviet Union. Of course it’s not about Ethiopia or Haile Selassie — rather, it’s about the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The First Secretary at the time was named Gierek, and he was very much the emperor with his court, and everybody read the book as being about him and the Central Committee.

    Wolfe: But you didn’t write explicitly about the Central Committee.

    Kapuscinski: No, but of course the authorities knew what it was about, and so it had a very small circulation, and it was forbidden to turn it into a film or a play. Aesopian language was used by all of us. And of course, using this language meant having readers who understood it.

    Cohen: The other day we were discussing the crisis of readership, and wondering whether people were still capable of doing the double reading, of taking apart a text that has been written in a complicated way.

    Kapuscinski: The limitation of sources under the Communists had a very political effect on reading. People had just one book, and nothing else — no television or other diversions — so they just read the same book very carefully several times. Readership was high, and very attentive. It was people’s only source of knowledge about the world. You have to understand that the tradition of Russian literature — and Russians are great readers — is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart. This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession. This art of reading, reading the text behind the text, is missing now.

    Cohen: When did you first arrive on the African continent?

    Kapuscinski:My first trip to Africa came when the first countries south of the Sahara became independent, in 1958. Ghana was the first African country I visited. I wrote a series of reports about Nkumrah and Lumumba. My second trip was just two years later, when I went to cover the events surrounding the independence of the Congo. At that time, I was not allowed to go to Kinshasa — it was Leopoldville at that time — but I crossed the Sudan-Congo border illegally with a Czech journalist friend, since there was nobody patrolling it. And I went to Kisangani, which was called Stanleyville then.

    Cohen: Were you in Leopoldville during the actual transfer[1]?

    Kapuscinski:No, afterwards. It was a moment of terrible international tension. I remember the atmosphere of danger: there was the expectation that the Congo might begin a new world war. I say this today and people just smile. But that’s why everybody was so nervous: Russians were going there, Americans were going there, the French, the United Nations… I remember one moment at the airport in Kisangani, thinking that Soviet planes were coming — all the journalists were there, and we all expected it to happen.

    Cohen: At that time, in the early 1960s, there weren’t more than three regular American journalists covering Africa.

    Kapuscinski:There were very few, because most correspondents came from the former colonial powers — there were British, French, and a lot of Italians, because there were a lot of Italian communities there. And of course there were a lot of Russians.

    Wolfe: Was there competition among this handful of people?

    Kapuscinski: No, we all cooperated, all of us, East and West, regardless of country, because the working conditions were really terrible. We had to. We always moved in groups from one coup d’état to another, from one war to another… So if there was a coup d’état of leftist orientation in some country I took my Western colleagues with me and said “look, let them come in,” and if there was one of rightist orientation they took me, saying “no, he’s okay, give him a visa please, he’s going with us, he’s our friend,” and so on. I didn’t compete with the New York Times, for example, because the Polish press agency is a small piece of cake, not important. And because conditions were so hard. For example, to send the news out, there was no e-mail, nothing: telex was the only means, but telex was very rare in Africa. So if somebody was flying to Europe, we gave him correspondence, to send after he arrived. I remember that during the period leading up to independence in Angola in 1975, I was the only correspondent there at all for three months. I was in my hotel room when somebody knocked on my door - I opened it, and a man said, “I’m the New York Times correspondent.” The official independence celebration was going to be held over four or five days, and a group of journalists from all over the world was allowed to fly in, because Angola was closed otherwise. So he said, “I’m sorry, but I’m the new man here, and I heard you’ve been here longer, and I have to write something from Angola, and this is the article I have to send to the New York Times. Could you kindly read it and correct things which are not real?” And he brought a bottle of whiskey. And whiskey was something which was absolutely marvelous, because there was nothing: no cigarettes, no food, nothing…The difference at that time, in comparison with today, was that this was a group of highly specialized people. They were real Africanists, and not only from experience. If you read articles from that time in Le Monde, in the Times, you’ll find that the authors really had background, a knowledge of the subject. It was a very highly qualified sort of journalism — we were all great specialists.

    Woodford: Professor Piotr Michalowski[2] says that when he was growing up in Poland, people lived through your reports in a very special way: they were like a big, exotic outlet, given the state of world politics. People of all ranks and stations followed these adventures. When you went back, did regular Poles, non-educated people, also want you to tell them about what it was like to see these things?

    Kapuscinski:Yes, very much so. They were very interested in what I was writing. This was a unique source of information, and Africa held incomparably greater interest for them at that time than it does now. People were really interested in what was going on because of the international context of the Cold War.

    Wolfe: What did the Poles know about Africa?

    Kapuscinski: They had very limited knowledge. This was very typical of the European understanding of Africa, which is full of stereotypes and biases. Nevertheless, there was a certain fascination with Africa. Maybe it has something to do with our literature: we have Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for example, and Conrad is considered in Poland as a Polish writer. The similarity between Africa and Poland - and this is an argument I have always had with people in Africa - is that we were also a colonized country. We were a colony for 130 years. We lost independence at the end of the 18th century, and only regained it in 1918, after the First World War. We were divided between three colonial powers - Russia, Prussia, and Austria. There’s a certain similarity of experience. I’ve often quarreled with African friends about this. I’ve asked, “How long were you colonized?” "Eighty years," they’ve answered, and I’ve responded, “We were colonized 50 years longer, so what can you say about colonialism? I’ll tell you what colonial experience is.” And they’re shocked. But though there is a similarity of experience, the common people are not conscious of this.

    Wolfe: At the end of the Copernicus Lecture, you said that you wrote Imperium because it was important to bring a Polish way of seeing things to your topic. How did you come to a sense that there was a Polish way of seeing things? Did it emerge from your experiences in Africa, or in relationship to Russia?

    Kapuscinski: It developed in relation to Russia in particular. Our history, the history of Polish-Russian relations, is very tragic, very harrowing. There has been a lot of suffering on our side, because Stalin killed all our intelligentsia. It wasn’t just that he killed 100,000 people, it was that he purposely killed the 100,000 who were our only intelligentsia… When I started writing Imperium, I had a problem with my conscience, because if I wrote strictly from the point of view of this Polish experience, the book would be completely unacceptable and incomprehensible to the Western reader…So I had to put aside our Polish experience, and to find an angle, an objective way of writing about Russia.

    Wolfe: Isn’t there something inherently difficult in writing about suffering? How does one go back and forth between a sense of causation in daily suffering on the one hand, and an understanding of the purges as a social phenomenon, on the other? How does one attempt to understand the cultural propensity of Russians to suffer?

    Kapuscinski: There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience. In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state, to be disobedient to the state, was a patriotic act. In the Russian experience, although the Russian state is oppressive, it is their state, it is part of their fabric, and so the relation between Russian citizens and their state is much more complicated. There are several reasons why Russians view the oppressive state positively. First of all, in Russian culture, in the Russian Orthodox religion, there is an understanding of authority as something sent by God. This makes the state part of the sacred… So if the state is oppressive, then it is oppressive, but you can’t revolt against it. The cult of authority is very strong in Russian society.

    Wolfe: But what is the difference between Soviet suffering and something like the battle of the Marne, the insanity of World War I and trench warfare?

    Kapuscinski: It’s different. In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because there you had systematic murder, like in the Holocaust. Ten or 12 million Ukrainian peasants were purposely killed by Stalin, by starvation, in the Ukrainian hunger of 1932-3…It was a very systematic plan… In modern Russia, you have no official, formal assessment of this past. Nobody in any Russian document has said that the policy of the Soviet government was criminal, that it was terrible. No one has ever said this.

    Woodford: But what about Khrushchev in 1956?

    Kapuscinski: I’m speaking about the present. Official Russian state doctrine and foreign policy doesn’t mention the Bolshevik policy of expansion. It doesn’t condemn it. If you ask liberal Russians - academics, politicians - if Russia is dangerous to us, to Europe, to the world, they say: “No, it’s not dangerous, we’re too weak, we have an economic crisis, difficulties with foreign trade, our army is in a state of anarchy…” That is the answer. They are not saying: “We will never, ever repeat our crimes of expansionism, of constant war.” No, they say: “We are not dangerous to you, because right now we are weak.”

    Cohen:

    When Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia, he was asked whether the state would take responsibility for the deaths, the oppression, the confiscations of the previous governments of Czechoslovakia, and he said “yes.” The same questions were asked in South Africa of the Mandela government. And I think Poland is now struggling with how much responsibility the government will have to take for the past. But the Russian official response has been that Stalin can be blamed for everything.

    Kapuscinski:This is a very crucial point: there is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past.

    Polish-born journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski worked as an African correspondent for various Polish periodicals and press agencies from 1958 to 1980. In his book Imperium (Granta Books, 1994), he turns a journalist’s eye onto the Russian state, and the effects of authoritarianism on everyday Russian life. Kapuscinski delivered his November, 1997 Copernicus lecture: "The Russian Puzzle: Why I Wrote Imperium at the Center for Russian and East European Studies. During his visit, he spoke with David Cohen (International Institute); John Woodford (Executive Editor of Michigan Today ); and Thomas Wolfe (Communications). The following is an excerpted transcript of their conversation.

    Sei Sekou Mobutu seized control of the Congo in 1965. After the evolution, the name of the capital was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, and in 1971 the country was renamed Zaire, instead of the Congo. return to text

    Piotr Michalowski is the George D. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages at the Unversity of Michigan.

    Kapuscinski, more magical than real

    What’s the truth about Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski
    https://www.newstatesman.com/africa/2007/02/wrong-kapuscinski-african

    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Kapu%C5%9Bci%C5%84ski

    #presse #littérature #reportage

  • De l’Angola à la France en passant par le Portugal, une personne migrante raconte une histoire des frontières, des repressions et des solidarités.
    http://lenumerozero.lautre.net/Interview-d-un-habitant-de-la-Maison-bleue

    Pourquoi j’ai quitté l’Angola
    En 2010, en Angola, j’étais un étudiant universitaire. Une fois arrivé à ce niveau, j’ai commencé à voir le système autrement. Avec d’autres, on a commence à regarder la vraie face du régime. Le gouvernement promettait la prospérité et nous on ne vivait que la pauvreté. Il disait une chose et en faisait une autre.
    En 2012, je vote pour la première fois. Je vote MPLA (Mouvement populaire de libération de l’Angola), le parti déjà au pouvoir, car le président Fernando Dias dos Santos fait une propagande pour la prospérité des gens et nous y avons cru... Mais après, tout a été différent de ce qui était promis.
    Dans mon quartier (à Luanda), nous avons alors commencé à avoir une autre manière d’analyser les choses. Le taux d’alphabétisation était bien trop bas. Un pays se fait avec un investissement dans l’éducation. Nous avions l’impression que le gouvernement se refusait à éduquer le peuple pour qu’il ne se révolte pas. Mais, nous n’avions aucun droit, nous ne pouvions manifester notre volonté, le gouvernement ne la prenait pas en compte. Nous ne pouvions contester, nous n’en n’avions pas le droit.
    #migration #solidarité #frontières #Angola

  • Encore une compilation de musique politiquement engagée, un coffret de 4 CDs même, prévu pour février 2019, produit par le Smithonian Institute:

    The Social Power of Music
    https://folkways.si.edu/the-social-power-of-music

    From parties to protests to prayer, music is a powerful catalyst for celebration, for change, and for a sense of community. Through making music together, we become bigger than ourselves. Whether singing with our families and friends or with thousands of strangers in an arena, music transforms lives, engages individuals, and connects local and global communities. The Social Power of Music chronicles the vivid, impassioned, and myriad ways in which music binds, incites, memorializes, and moves groups of people. This richly illustrated 124-page book, with 80+ tracks on 4 CDs, invites listeners into musical practices, episodes, and movements throughout the U.S. and beyond. These songs of struggle, devotion, celebration, and migration remind us that music has the potential to change our world.

    Countries: Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Congo-Brazzaville; Denmark; Dominican Republic; France; Greece; Indonesia; Italy; Korea, South; Lebanon; Mexico; Nicaragua; Poland; Puerto Rico; Republic of Kosovo; Scotland; South Africa; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam

    101 We Shall Overcome The Freedom Singers 2:09
    102 This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie 2:48
    103 De colores ([Made] of Colors) Baldemar Velásquez, Aguila Negra 3:02
    104 Union Maid Bobbie McGee 2:13
    105 If I Had a Hammer Pete Seeger 1:54
    106 Reclaim the Night Peggy Seeger 4:33
    107 Estoy aquí (I Am Here) Quetzal 5:21
    108 Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) Sammy Walker 4:57
    109 We Are the Children Chris Kando Iijima, Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto, Charlie Chin 2:55
    110 I Woke Up This Morning Fannie Lou Hamer 2:36
    111 I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Country Joe McDonald 2:59
    112 El pobre sigue sufriendo (The Poor Keep On Suffering) Andrés Jiménez 3:26
    113 Ballad of the ERA Kristin Lems 4:11
    114 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Pete Seeger 2:06
    115 Blowing in the Wind The New World Singers 2:32
    116 Quihubo raza (What’s Happening, People) Agustín Lira and Alma 3:50
    117 Solidarity Forever Jim Jackson 2:30
    118 Joe Hill Paul Robeson 3:00
    119 Joaquin Murrieta Rumel Fuentes 3:35
    120 Which Side Are You On? The Almanac Singers 2:10
    121 Legal/Illegal Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger 4:12
    122 It Isn’t Nice Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 4:05

    201 Amazing Grace The Old Regular Baptists 2:44
    202 Come By Here Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 5:33
    203 Will the Circle Be Unbroken The Strange Creek Singers 3:38
    204 Peace in the Valley The Paramount Singers 3:50
    205 Many Eagle Set Sun Dance Song The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:11
    206 Zuni Rain Dance Members of Zuni Pueblo 4:41
    207 Calvary Shape-note singers at Stewart’s Chapel 1:27
    208 Northfield The Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee 1:58
    209 The Call to Prayer / Adhān Ahmad Al Alawi 2:10
    210 Zikr (excerpt) Sheikh Xhemail Shehu, members of the Prizren Rifa’i tekke 2:45
    Audio Player
    211 Buddhist Chants and Prayers Tu Huyen, Hai Phat, Tam Thu, Hai Dat 4:34
    212 Kol Nidre Cantor Abraham Brun 5:05
    213 Dayeinu Raasche, Alan Mills 1:47
    214 Night Chant Sandoval Begay 2:12
    215 Hark, Hark Carolers from the Black Bull, Ecclesfield, UK 3:11
    216 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot The Princely Players 2:47
    217 The Old Rugged Cross The Paschall Brothers 5:17
    218 Madre de Dolores (Mother of Sorrows) Hermanos de la Morada de Nuestra Señora de Dolores del Alto 2:56
    219 San Miguel (Saint Michael) Francia Reyes 4:11
    220 I’ll Fly Away Rose Maddox 2:32

    301 Party Down at the Blue Angel Club Clifton Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band 4:51
    302 San Antonio Rose Los Reyes de Albuquerque 2:38
    303 Jolie blonde (Pretty Blonde) Austin Pitre 2:47
    304 Shake Your Moneymaker John Littlejohn 4:19
    305 Beer-Drinking Polka Flaco Jiménez, Max Baca 2:25
    306 In Heaven There Is No Beer The Goose Island Ramblers 2:32
    307 SAM (Get Down) Sam Brothers Five 4:10
    308 Golden Slippers / The Butterfly Whirl Lester Bradley and Friends 4:31
    309 Sligo Indians / Paddy Clancy’s / Larry Redican’s / The Rambling Pitchfork Tony DeMarco 4:21
    310 La entrega de los novios (The Delivery of the Newlyweds) Lorenzo Martínez 3:46
    311 Rock Dance Song (Cree/Metis) The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:20
    312 Pow Wow Song Chippewa Nation 2:52
    313 Mary Mack Lilly’s Chapel School, Alabama 1:58
    314 Johnny Cuckoo Janie Hunter and children at home 1:15
    315 Rooster Call John Henry Mealing and group 4:00
    316 Joy to the World Elizabeth Mitchell 3:06
    317 Oylupnuv Obrutch (The Broken Hoop Song) The Golden Gate Gypsy Orchestra 2:01
    318 Liberty Funeral March The Liberty Brass Band 4:51
    319 Junkanoos #1 Key West Junkanoo Band 3:07
    320 The Star Spangled Banner Unknown orchestra 1:16
    321 Mardi Gras Medley (excerpt) ReBirth Jazz Band 4:33

    401 Viva la Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade) Pete Seeger 3:04
    402 Bella ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) Singers of the “Bella Ciao” production of Spoleto 1:35
    403 A desalambrar (Tear Down the Fences) Expresión Joven 5:07
    404 Muato mua N’Gola (Women of Angola) Lilly Tchiumba 2:34
    405 Un gigante que despierta (An Awakening Giant) Luis Godoy, Grupo Mancotal 4:03
    406 Hasret (Longing) Melike Demirag 3:10
    407 Prisioneros somos (We Are All Prisoners) Suni Paz 2:19
    408 Funeral do lavrador (Funeral of a Worker) Zelia Barbosa 1:59
    409 Izakunyatheli Afrika Verwoerd (Africa is Going to Trample on You, Verwoerd) South African refugees in Tanganyika 1:52
    410 The Boy with the Sunlit Smile Mikis Theodorakis 2:48
    411 Hidup di Bui (Life in Jail) Gambang Kromong Slendang Betawi, Kwi Ap 5:34
    412 Man and Buffalo (Kon Gap Kwai) Caravan 3:40
    413 Why Need We Cry? Cantor Abraham Brun 2:32
    414 El palomo (The Dove) Grupo Raíz 4:06
    415 Hvem sidder dér bag skærmen (The Roadmaker) Inger Nielsen 3:08
    416 Mon’ etu ua Kassule Musician supporters of the MPLA 5:35
    417 Le temps des cerises (Cherry Blossom Time) Yves Montand 4:37
    418 Chongsun Arirang Singer from Central Korea 4:03
    419 The Passport Marcel Khalifé 9:23
    420 Inno della Resistenza (Hymn of the Resistance) Choir of FLN fighters 1:28

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique

  • Maroc-Israël: Hassan II, la grande imposture, par René Naba – Salimsellami’s Blog
    https://salimsellami.wordpress.com/2018/11/22/maroc-israel-hassan-ii-la-grande-imposture-par-rene-naba

    Le Roi Hassan II du Maroc, Président du Comité Al Qods » (Jérusalem), hôte du premier sommet islamique de l’époque contemporaine (Rabat 1969), apparaît rétrospectivement comme l‘un des grands traîtres à la cause arabe et son long règne de 38 ans (Mars 1961-Juillet 1999) une vaste supercherie, si toutefois sont avérées les révélations contenues dans le livre du journaliste israélien Ronen Bergman « Rise and Kill First : The secret History of Israel’s targeted assassinations », ED. Penguin Random House.

    LES DIRIGEANTS ARABES PLACÉS SUR ÉCOUTE SUR ORDRE DE RABAT
    Réputé pour son sérieux, chroniqueur militaire de Yedioth Aharonoth et du New York Times, l’auteur soutient que les dirigeants arabes ont été placés sur écoute des services israéliens grâce à la connivence marocaine lors du Sommet arabe de Casablanca de septembre 1965. Du jamais vu même dans les fictions les plus satiriques, cette trahison dénote la désinvolture du monarque chérifien à l’égard de ses pairs et de son mépris pour la cause palestinienne.

    Version arabe de ce récit selon la recension de l’ouvrage établi par le site en ligne Ar Rai Al Yom à l’intention du locuteur arabophone.
    https://www.raialyoum.com/?p=821705

    La date n’est pas anodine. Scellé par la signature d’un pacte de solidarité et de coexistence pacifique entre régimes arabes, ce sommet s’est tenu en septembre 1965, au terme d’un été particulièrement brûlant au Maroc, marqué par la terrible répression de la révolte étudiante de Casablanca (23 mars 1965) qui fit officiellement 7 morts et 168 blessés. En fait 400 morts selon l’ambassade de France à Rabat.

    Sentant le vent du boulet, le jeune monarque a eu la lumineuse idée de se tourner alors vers les Israéliens, comme garde fou aux débordements de son opposition interne et externe. Autrement dit, contre la volonté de son peuple, il s’allia aux ennemis du Monde arabe pour la survie de son trône, dans la pure tradition de la servitude coloniale. Un schéma identique sera observé 70 ans plus tard par le trône wahhabite, bradant la Palestine, par une alliance ouverte avec Israël.

    Dans une sorte d’échange de bons procédés, Hassan II percevra le prix de sa forfaiture au plan arabe, un mois plus tard, par l’élimination d’un des espoirs de la renaissance arabe, Mehdi Ben Barka.

    Figure mythique de l’opposition démocratique marocaine, l’ancien professeur de mathématiques d’Hassan II sera enlevé en octobre 1965 à Paris avec la complicité du Mossad, et carbonisé par des sbires marocains, un mois après la tenue du sommet de Casablanca.

    Principal opposant socialiste au roi Hassan II et leader du mouvement tiers-mondiste et panafricaniste, Mehdi Ben Barka a été enlevé le 29 octobre 1965 à Paris alors qu’il tentait, en sa qualité de « commis-voyageur de la révolution », de fédérer les mouvements révolutionnaires du tiers-monde en vue de la Conférence Tri-continentale devant se tenir en janvier 1966 à la Havane en vue de faire converger « les deux courants de la révolution mondiale : le courant surgi avec la révolution d’Octobre et celui de la révolution nationale libératrice ». Pour l’historien René Galissot, « c’est dans cet élan révolutionnaire de la Tri-continentale que se trouve la cause profonde de l’enlèvement et de l’assassinat de Ben Barka ».

    Sur ce lien, Le rôle de Mehdi Ben Barka et de la tri-continentale dans le réveil des peuples colonisés

    https://www.madaniya.info/2015/12/20/non-alignes-tricontinentale-60-eme-anniversaire-1-2
    https://www.madaniya.info/2015/12/26/non-alignes-tri-continentale-60-eme-anniversaire-2-2
    La mise sur écoute des dirigeants arabes a permis aux Israéliens de prendre note de la stratégie de reconquête de la Palestine, comme des divergences inter arabes. La décision marocaine aura constitué « Le plus grand trésor stratégique d’Israël ». Le journaliste israélien a estimé que cette information était « la raison principale qui a poussé Israël à prendre la décision de faire la guerre aux États arabes en Juin 1967 », deux ans après le sommet de Casablanca, et qui a infligé une terrible défaite à l’Égypte, à la Syrie et à la Jordanie.

    L’incendie de la Mosquée Al Aqsa par un illuminé israélien, en 1969, donne l’occasion au souverain chérifien de se refaire une virginité politique à l’occasion du sommet Islamique de Rabat, en 1969. Deux ans après la défaite de juin 1967, dont il en a été indirectement responsable, le « Commandeur des Croyants » va cumuler cette fonction spirituelle avec celle plus politique de président du « Comité Al Qods ».

    Le sommet islamique de Rabat a marqué, sur le plan idéologique, le début de l’instrumentalisation de l’Islam comme arme politique contre l’athéisme soviétique et le nationalisme arabe, et, sur le plan stratégique, le détournement du combat pour la libération de la Palestine, vers des contrées périphériques, à des milliers de km du champ de bataille de la Palestine, avec Al Qaida en Afghanistan et les djihadistes arabo afghans au Caucase et en Bosnie au Kosovo, avant d’être dirigé contre les pays arabes à structure républicaine (Libye, Syrie) à l’occasion du déclenchement de la séquence dite du « printemps arabe » et le surgissement de groupements terroristes islamistes Daech, Jabat An Nosra, Jaych al Islam, opérant, dans le sud de la Syrie, en coopération avec Israël.

    Le Maroc figurera lors de cette séquence comme l’un des plus gros exportateurs du terrorisme islamique vers l’Europe occidentale (Attentat de Madrid 2004 qui a fait 200 morts, l’assassinat de Théo Van Gogh, les attentats de Bruxelles en 2015 et les attentats de Barcelone en 2017).

    Pour aller plus loin sur ce thème

    http://www.renenaba.com/de-l-instrumentalisation-de-l-islam-comme-arme-de-combat-politique

    Nonobstant la coopération sécuritaire entre le Maroc et Israël, Hassan II, fait rarissime dans les annales, devra faire face à deux séditions militaires, à son palais de Skhirat, le 10 juillet 1971, jour de son anniversaire, puis l’année suivante contre son propre Boeing par un groupe d’aviateurs ; indice d’un fort ressentiment à son égard, deux ans après son sacre de Rabat.

    Au delà du rôle du Mossad dans l’enlèvement de Mehdi Ben Barka, la vassalité du trône alaouite à l’égard de l’État Hébreu s’est concrétisée sous le règne de son successeur Mohammad VI avec le scandale du « Collier de la Reine » dans sa version tropicale ; un scandale qui titre son nom du bijou offert par l’épouse du Roi à Tzipi Livni, ancien ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères, dans la foulée de la destruction de la bande de Gaza (2007-2008), dont l’ancienne agent du Mossad en Europe en a été la coordonnatrice.

    Pour aller plus loin sur l’affaire du collier de la reine
    http://www.renenaba.com/le-collier-de-la-reine

    LE MAROC, PIVOT CENTRAL DU DISPOSITIF OCCIDENTAL EN AFRIQUE VIA LE SAFARI CLUB
    Pivot central du dispositif occidental en Afrique, le Royaume fondera, en 1976, avec la France, l’Egypte, l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite, le « Safari Club », se donnant ainsi l’illusion de « jouer dans la cour des grands ». En pleine négociation de paix égypto-israélienne, il assumera le rôle de gendarme, non sur le champ de la confrontation israélo-arabe, mais à des milliers de kilomètres de là, non pour la récupération des Lieux Saints de l’Islam, mais pour le maintien au pouvoir d’un des dictateurs les plus corrompus de la planète le Zaïrois Mobutu, agent attitré des Américains dans la zone centrale de l’Afrique, l’assassin de Patrice Lumumba, le chef charismatique de l’Indépendance du Congo ex belge.

    En soutien à Jonas Savimbi, l’agent de la CIA en Angola ; ou encore l’ivoirien Félix Houphouet Boigny, le principal pourvoyeur des djembés et des mallettes à une caste politico médiatique française vénale.

    Le Maroc était représenté au sein de cette structure par le général Ahmad Dlimi, un des artisans de la liquidation de Mehdi Ben Barka, l’ancien lieutenant du général Mohamad Oufkir, l’homme des basses oeuvres de la dynastie alaouite, tous les deux liquidés sans autre forme de procès sur ordre du Palais royal.

    À propos du safari Club

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_Club

    La dynastie chérifienne a constamment justifié sa relation privilégiée avec Israël par la spécificité du judaïsme marocain.

    Cf sur ce point, l’analyse d’Abraham Sarfati, l’un des plus célèbres opposants marocain à Hassan II.
    http://www.renenaba.com/jordanie-et-maroc-additif

    Il n’en demeure pas moins que le règne d’Hassan II, malgré les prosternations d’une presse française vénale, sera néanmoins qualifié de « Règne du Bagne et de la Terreur », dont le cas le plus illustre aura été le bagne de Tazmamart et l’arbitraire qui frappa notamment les Frères Bourequat.

    Pour aller plus loin sur cette affaire, cf le lien suivant
    http://www.renenaba.com/maroc-les-trois-freres-bourequat-40-ans-apres-le-retour-des-fantomes-vivan

    LE MAROC, POURVOYEUR DE PROSTITUÉES POUR LES PÉTROMONARCHIES ET REFUGE DE LA MAFIA ISRAÉLIENNE
    Un des principaux pourvoyeurs de la prostitution à destination du Golfe pétro monarchique, où près de vingt mille marocaines y font l’objet d’exploitations sexuelles, le Maroc passe de surcroît pour être un refuge pour la mafia israélienne. Le royaume aurait accueilli plusieurs anciens membres de la mafia israélienne, selon le quotidien israélien Haaretz, en date du vendredi 14 septembre 2012.

    Gabriel Ben-Harush et Shalom Domrani, deux figures puissantes de la mafia israélienne, recherchées depuis des années par l’Interpol, figuraient parmi les noms cités par le journal. Cf à ce propos : http://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/12903/maroc-refuge-pour-mafia-israelienne.html

    Pour aller plus loin sur ce sujet cf :
    http://www.renenaba.com/yves-mamou-et-le-phenomene-de-serendipite

    Ronen Bergman mentionne 2700 assassinats ciblés orchestrés par Israël ; soit en moyenne 40 opérations par an. Les Israéliens n’auront fait que reprendre les méthodes en vigueur en Palestine par les britanniques, notamment le général Orde Wingate, qui avait créé dans la décennie 1930 les « Special Night Squads », les « Escadrons Nocturnes Spéciaux » composés de combattants juifs chargés des raids contre les villages arabes en procédant à l’élimination des meneurs.

    La France en a fait usage pendant la guerre d’Algérie et François Hollande a même admis que Paris y avait eu recours dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme. Les deux derniers présidents américains ont eu également recours aux « assassinats extrajudiciaires », George W. Bush jr, après les attentats terroristes du 11 Septembre 2001, et Barack Obama a ordonné plusieurs centaines d’exécutions ciblées par drones.

    YASSER ARAFAT, CHEIKH AHMAD YASSINE, ABDEL AZIZ RANTISSI
    La connivence israélo-marocaine s’est poursuivie en dépit de la décapitation du leadership palestinien, par les Israéliens, et le recours aux assassinats « extra judiciaires » des deux principaux dirigeants du Hamas, Cheikh Ahmad Yassine et son successeur Abdel Aziz Rantissi. Une collision qui acte une forme de forfaiture de la part du pouvoir chérifien.

    Le livre suggère aussi clairement qu’Israël a utilisé un poison radioactif pour tuer Yasser Arafat, le chef historique palestinien, ce que les dirigeants israéliens ont toujours nié. Bergman écrit que la mort d’Arafat en 2004 correspondait à un modèle et avait des partisans. Mais il évite d’affirmer clairement ce qui s’est passé, expliquant que la censure militaire israélienne l’empêche de révéler ce qu’il pourrait savoir.

    Deux monuments ont été édifiés au Maroc pour immortaliser l’oeuvre d’Hassan II : son mausolée à Rabat et la Mosquée de Casablanca, l’une des plus grandes du monde, qui porte son nom. Mais celui que la presse occidentale, particulièrement la presse française engourdie par la diplomatie de la Mamouniya, encensait comme un « Machiavel arabe doté de la baraka », se révélera être, à la lecture des révélations du livre de Ronen Bergman, un mauvais génie, une imposture.

    Et les deux monuments édifiés à la gloire posthume du Commandeur des Croyants et Président du comité Al Qods, -mais néanmoins un des principaux artisans du bradage de la Palestine, au même titre que l’Arabie saoudite-, se perçoivent, rétrospectivement, comme les stigmates du règne hideux d’un parfait sous traitant de l’impérium israélo-occidental. D’un être maléfique. D’un souverain vil et servile.

    Source : Madaniya, René Naba, 17-11-2018                                           https://www.les-crises.fr/maroc-israel-hassan-ii-la-grande-imposture-par-rene-naba

  • What’s Driving the Conflict in Cameroon?
    Violence Is Escalating in Its Anglophone Regions.

    In recent months, political violence in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon has escalated dramatically. So far, at least 400 civilians and 160 state security officers have been killed in the conflict between the government and an armed separatist movement that, just two short years ago, started as a peaceful strike of lawyers and teachers. How did such upheaval come to a country that has prided itself for decades as a bulwark of stability in a region of violent conflict? And why has it escalated so quickly?

    THE ROOTS OF THE VIOLENCE

    The Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have a special historical legacy that sets them apart from the country’s other eight regions: between 1922 and 1960, they were ruled as a British trust or protectorate while the rest of the territory was administered by France. This is why today, 3 million residents of the Northwest and Southwest regions—roughly 20 percent of the Cameroonian population—speak primarily English, not French. These two regions also use their own legal and educational systems, inherited from the British, and have a unique cultural identity.

    Many analysts argue that the current conflict stems from the intractable historical animosity between Cameroon’s Anglophones and Francophones. Yet if that is the case, it is strange that the violence is only occurring now. Why not in 1972, when Ahmadou Ahidjo, the first president of Cameroon, ended the federation between the Anglophone and Francophone regions, forcing the Anglophones to submit to a unitary state? Or in 1992, when current President Paul Biya held Cameroon’s first multi-party elections, and narrowly won a heavily rigged contest by four percentage points against Anglophone candidate John Fru Ndi? Furthermore, if differences in identity are the primary driver of the conflict, it is quite surprising that Cameroon—one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa—has largely avoided ethnic conflict.

    Most Anglophones themselves say that they would be happy to put their national identity above their linguistic one if they weren’t systematically neglected and repressed by Cameroon’s central government. According to a survey from the Afrobarometer, an independent polling and research network, when asked whether they identify more as Cameroonians or more with their ethnic group, the vast majority of respondents in the Northwest and Southwest regions said they identified with these categories equally. Less than five percent said they identified more with their ethnic group. Nonetheless, members of this population have long felt themselves to be treated as second-class citizens in their own country. Anglophones who go to the capital city of Yaoundé to collect government documents, for example, often report being ridiculed or turned away by public officials because they cannot speak French. Separatists argue that this mistreatment and discrimination by Yaoundé, and Francophone Cameroonians more broadly, is grounds for secession.

    Yet regional neglect and mistreatment are not enough to explain the current wave of violence. If they were the root cause, then we should also be seeing separatist movements in Cameroon’s North and Far North regions, where state violence has become endemic in the fight against Boko Haram over the past four years. Moreover, in the North and Far North regions, the poverty rate is higher (more than 50 percent in each, compared to 15 percent in the Southwest and 25 percent in the Northwest) and state investment in public goods such schools, health clinics, and roads is lower than anywhere else in the country.

    To be sure, the Anglophones’ unique linguistic and cultural identity has played a role in the rebellion. But in order to understand why the escalating violence is taking place where and when it is, we must consider not only the Anglophone regions’ exceptional political isolation and relative economic autonomy from the rest of Cameroon, but also the increasing impatience of Africans living under non-democratic regimes.
    WHY THE ANGLOPHONE REGIONS?

    Biya, who last month won his seventh term in office, has been in power since 1982, making him one of the longest ruling leaders in the world. In fact, Cameroon has only had two presidents since gaining independence in 1960. Because the country’s median age is 18, this means that the majority of Cameroonians have only ever known one president. Yet the decline of Africa’s strongmen over the past two decades—most recently Blaise Compaoré in Burkina Faso, Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, and even Jacob Zuma in South Africa—has made Biya’s continued rule increasingly untenable. Democracy may have begun to lose its appeal in many parts of the world, but it remains important to most sub-Saharan Africans. Many Cameroonians with an education and a smart phone consider their president’s extended rule increasingly illegitimate. The political tide currently washing away the strongmen of Africa has made this moment an exceptional one for mobilizing people against the regime.

    In spite of these democratic headwinds, Biya has managed to maintain his legitimacy in some quarters through his cooptation of Francophone elites and control of information by means of the (largely Francophone) state-owned media. He has masterfully brought Francophone leaders into government, offering them lucrative ministerial posts and control over various government revenue streams. Importantly, he has not been excessively repressive—at least not before the current outbreak of violence—and has gone out of his way to uphold the façade of democratic legitimacy through holding regular elections, allowing a relatively unfettered (although weak) independent media, and having a general laissez-faire attitude toward governing.

    The state media and elites within the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement are stalwart defenders of the president, operating whole-heartedly on the fictitious assumption that the regime is democratic. Many Cameroonians, especially those isolated from independent media, opposition parties, or information from outside of the country, earnestly believe this narrative. Another survey by the Afrobarometer conducted in 2015 before the outbreak of violence, showed that the presidency is the second most trusted institution of the state, after the army. It also showed that only ten percent of Cameroonian respondents believe that their country is not a democracy.

    In contrast, the Anglophone regions’ relative distance from both Biya’s networks of patronage and influence and the Francophone state media puts them in a unique position to see the autocratic nature of the regime and rebel against it. Although 75.4 percent of Francophone Cameroonian respondents said they trust Biya “somewhat” or “a lot,” in the Afrobarometer poll, only 45.5 percent of Anglophones felt the same way. Part of the reason for this is easier access to criticism of the Biya government. In electoral autocracies, opposition parties are often the only institutions that consistently voice the view that the regime is not truly democratic. The strongest opposition party in Cameroon—the Social Democratic Front (SDF)—is headquartered in the Northwest region, thus further exposing Anglophones to narratives of state repression. Other parts of Cameroon do not have occasion to become as familiar with opposition party politics. In the most recent 2013 elections for the National Assembly, for example, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement ran completely unopposed in 13 of the country’s 83 electoral districts.

    In comparison to other parts of the country, such as the north, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions are also more economically autonomous from Yaoundé. They have a robust cross-border trade with Nigeria, successful plantations in the Southwest, and fertile farming land. They are not overly-reliant on the export of primary resources, such as oil or timber, which funnels through state-owned corporations. And they are not as poor as, for example, the northern regions, which face chronic food insecurity. The Anglophones thus have not only the will, but also the resources to rebel.

    THE SUCCESSION QUESTION

    Unfortunately, an end to the crisis is nowhere in sight. Last month, Biya won his seventh term as president with 71.3 percent of the vote. The already unfair election was marked by exceedingly low participation in the Anglophone regions—just five percent in the Northwest—due to security fears. Meanwhile, Biya has responded to the separatists with an iron fist. He refuses to negotiate with them, instead sending in his elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (trained by the United States and led by a retired Israeli officer), which has now been accused of burning villages and attacking civilians in the Northwest and Southwest. But as long as the violence does not spill over into the Francophone regions, the crisis will likely not affect the president’s legitimacy in the rest of the country. Moreover, Biya remains staunchly supported by the West—especially France, but also the United States, which relies strongly on Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram. The separatists, meanwhile, remain fractured, weak, and guilty of their own atrocities against civilians. Apart from attacking security forces, they have been kidnapping and torturing teachers and students who refuse to participate in a school strike.

    It is extremely unlikely that Biya will make the concessions necessary for attacks from separatists to stop, and the fluid nature of the insurgency will make it difficult for state security forces to end the violence. The scorched earth tactics on both sides only work to further alienate the population, many of whom have fled to Nigeria. It seems likely that a resolution to the crisis can only happen once the questions of when Biya will step down and who will replace him are fully answered. Right now, there is only unsubstantiated speculation. Many assume he will appoint a successor before the next presidential elections, scheduled for 2025. But if there are any surprises in the meantime similar to the military move against Mugabe in Zimbabwe or the popular uprising against Compaoré in Burkina Faso, a transition may come sooner than expected. A post-Biya political opening might provide a way for Cameroon’ s Anglophones to claim their long-awaited autonomy.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/cameroon/2018-11-08/whats-driving-conflict-cameroon?cid=soc-tw
    #Cameroun #conflit #Cameroun_anglophone #violence #différent_territorial #autonomie

  • #Angola : Les migrants africains en danger de mort

    Les autorités angolaises lancent « la chasse aux ressortissants sub-sahariens en situation irrégulière ». Une #opération dénommée « #expatriado » est en cours en ce moment. Elle vise à « expulser tous les immigrés en situation irrégulière en Angola ». Des ressortissants maliens témoignent des « cas d’#emprisonnement suivis de pires formes de #maltraitance et d’#humiliation ». Pour l’instant, difficile d’avoir des chiffres officiels sur le nombre de Maliens victimes. Mais ceux joints sur place appellent à l’aide des autorités maliennes.

    Selon certains Maliens, ces opérations d’expulsion ont débuté dans les zones minières. Elles se déroulent maintenant dans toutes les villes du pays, et concernent toutes les nationalités y compris les Maliens, qui sont parmi les plus nombreux. « Cela fait des jours que nous ne pouvons plus sortir pour aller au boulot par peur de nous faire arrêter », explique un ressortissant malien sur place. Selon lui, cette opération qui ne devrait concerner que les #sans-papiers, est aussi menée par les forces de l’ordre angolaises contre ceux qui sont en situation régulière. L’objectif, selon notre interlocuteur, est de soutirer de l’argent aux migrants.

    « Une fois entre les mains des autorités angolaises, il faut payer de l’argent ou partir en prison », témoignent certains migrants maliens, avant de confirmer que plusieurs d’entre eux sont actuellement en prison. En Angola certains Maliens ont l’impression d’être « laissés pour compte par les autorités maliennes ». Pour l’Association Malienne des Expulsés, « il est inacceptable qu’un pays membre de l’Union Africaine expulse d’autres africains de la sorte ». L’AME qui juge la situation « grave » en Angola, appelle les autorités maliennes à réagir.

    https://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Angola-Les-migrants-africains-en-danger-de-mort.html
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rafles #expulsions #renvois #chasse_aux_migrants #migrants_maliens

    • Briefing: Problems multiply in Congo’s Kasaï

      The Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from two years of intense conflict. The influx last month of more than 300,000 people from Angola, most of them long-standing migrant workers, has made a fragile humanitarian situation worse.

      Here’s our briefing on the risks for the region and the new challenges for the humanitarian response.
      What happened?

      In attempts to clamp down on what it called illegal diamond mining operations, Angola’s government ordered the expulsion of more than 360,000 Congolese nationals, forcing them to flee in October into the Kasaï region of neighbouring DRC.

      "This new shock is compounding an already dire situation in the same area that was the epicentre of the Kasaï crisis over the last couple of years,” explained Dan Schreiber, head of coordination in Congo for the UN’s emergency aid body, OCHA.

      Congolese migrants and officials said the crackdown was violent, telling Reuters that dozens of people were killed, with the worst attacks occurring in Lucapa in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte province. Angolan security forces denied the allegations.
      Where did they go?

      Most of those expelled crossed into Kamako in Kasaï province, where aid organisations are responding to the tail-end of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency that first erupted in 2016. Some of the returnees include refugees who fled violence in Kasaï over the last two years, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

      The NRC said conditions returnees face in Congo are “shocking”, including the risk of waterborne disease due to ineffective water and sanitation; thousands sleeping outdoors because of insufficient shelter; food prices tripling; and extortion of goods on both sides of the border.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people have been robbed of their right to a dignified existence,” said Ulrika Blom, NRC’s country director in DRC. “This is not a crisis that is about to begin, it is a full-blown emergency.”
      What has the reaction been?

      While local communities have generally been welcoming to the returnees, OCHA’s Schreiber said skirmishes erupted in certain villages, mainly over the strain on limited food resources.

      “Experience in the DRC does show that when you have a large influx of people arriving in an area it can generate tensions between host communities and the people who arrive,” he said.

      Schreiber said OCHA has seen most returnees wanting to move away from the border areas and toward other destinations inland, which could help ease the humanitarian strain in Kasaï, but he also warned that more returnees could arrive from Angola.

      “We don’t expect the first wave to be the last wave,” he said. “Expulsions from Angola are a cyclical phenomena that go all the way back to 2002-2003. It’s not a new phenomenon, but in this case we are seeing a major influx, and clearly the absorption capacity is not there.”
      Why is their arrival in Kasaï in particular such a problem?

      Kasaï was a relatively stable region in an unstable country – one currently dealing with multiple conflicts, an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, and one of the world’s most neglected displacement crises.

      The situation in Kasaï changed dramatically in 2016 when conflict erupted between the Kamuina Nsapu anti-government movement and Congolese security forces. The inter-communal clashes spread far and wide, soon engulfing the entire region.

      The conflict escalated in 2017, with massacres and mass graves, as well as general insecurity marked by banditry, and poor harvests that led to food insecurity and malnutrition.

      An estimated 5,000 people have since been killed and more than 1.4 million displaced.

      Toward the end of 2017 and into 2018, the crisis eased slightly, as national authorities regained control over large parts of the region. Despite isolated bouts of violence, aid groups say most militias have been formally disbanded and displaced communities are tentatively returning home.

      “But those returns are accompanied by many needs, because people are returning to burned villages, destroyed homes, and a lot of destruction,” said OCHA’s Schreiber.

      Two years of violence and displacement also mean locals have been unable to grow crops for three seasons, which has led to concerns over malnutrition. “We have really seen food insecurity skyrocket. So even in areas where returns have occurred, humanitarian needs have not come to an end,” Schreiber added.
      What are the risks?

      Although the current influx of people from Angola isn’t directly linked to the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion, aid groups are concerned about the implications of piling one problem on top of another in the same geographic area.

      For the most vulnerable groups, specifically women and children, the challenges that affect those displaced by the insurgency also pose risks for the new returnees from Angola.

      In May for instance, UNICEF reported that 400,000 children were “at risk of death” in the Kasaïs, because of food shortages.

      Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in Congo, said the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children living in the region has improved slightly since earlier this year but “remains challenging”.

      “The security situation has clearly improved, but the impact on children is not ending in the short term,” he said.

      Among those newly returned from Angola are 80,000 children. They now are also at risk, forced to walk long distances while exposed to inclement weather, hunger, and the threat of violence. Willemot said basic services are lacking for them, including access to drinking water, schooling, and treatment for diseases like malaria and measles.

      Médecins Sans Frontières is among the NGOs initiating primary healthcare services for the recent arrivals, while also continuing interventions to assist the local population.

      In a recent report, MSF documented alarming levels of rape in the Kasaï region, saying it treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018; 80 percent of those interviewed said armed men raped them.

      “The sexual violence committed in Kasaï was perpetrated largely by armed groups against non-armed people,” Philippe Kadima, MSF’s humanitarian advisor for the Great Lakes region, told IRIN. “Although the main conflict is over, we still see some violence happening in Kasaï.”

      For the more than 300,000 returnees, he said there are clear humanitarian concerns, but also the risk of insecurity. “The question is, how do you keep people secure?”

      “Displaced people become vulnerable, so it’s not that different to what the existing IDPs in Kasaï are going through… Security concerns, humanitarian needs, and risks of sexual violence are all factors when people become vulnerable,” he said.
      What about the longer-term challenges?

      Humanitarian needs remain critically underfunded in the Kasai region, said OCHA’s Shreiber, emphasising that beyond the immediate concerns are much broader needs in the region and the DRC as a whole.

      He added that the humanitarian response must help minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on those affected.

      “The longer we remain in this critical phase, the more we can expect to see humanitarian needs spiral out of control,” he said. “The current trigger of new humanitarian needs (the returnees from Angola) may be time-bound, but I think the impact will be lasting.”

      Schreiber said the Kasaï region remains vulnerable because it faces particular challenges, including decades of underdevelopment and inaccessibility as a result of poor road infrastructure, and he urged more development actors to get involved.

      “People in the Kasaïs are eager to rebound, to be back on their feet, and move on. There is no expectation that humanitarian assistance should continue forever in the Kasaï region,” he said. “People want to be autonomous, but what they need is support to build up their resilience and be able to move towards a situation where their most basic needs are met and they are able to think about their futures again.”


      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/11/08/briefing-congo-kasai-angola-aid-conflict

    • Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Depuis un certain moment, la communauté africaine vivant sur le territoire angolais est l’objet de toute sorte de violation de ses droits les plus fondamentaux par les autorités de ce pays. La Charte Africaines des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples protège les droits des migrants dans tous ses aspects contre les violations des droits et l’Angola est justement membre de l’Union Africaine. Ainsi, ces violations se matérialisent par des arrestations musclées et arbitraires, des emprisonnements dans des conditions inhumaines et dégradantes (art.5 de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples) de même que les expulsions collectives pourtant interdites par la Charte Africaine dans son article 12.5.

      L’AME est vivement préoccupée par les récentes arrestations, détentions et expulsions des centaines de milliers de migrants africains dont des maliens. Selon des informations recueillies auprès de nos sources sur place, une centaine de maliens sont concernés par cette situation qui évolue et change de jour en jour.

      Nous attirons l’attention de l’Union Africaine et de ses pays membres sur la situation inacceptable que vivent les étrangers sur la terre africaine d’Angola et rappeler que les droits de l’homme sont des droits inaliénables de tous les êtres humains, quels que soient leur nationalité, leur lieu de résidence, leur sexe, leur origine ethnique ou nationale, leur couleur, leur religion…

      L’Angola comme la plupart des pays africains s’est engagé à protéger, respecter et réaliser les droits de l’homme, non seulement de ses nationaux, mais de toute personne sous sa juridiction. Dans ce contexte, tous les étrangers se trouvant sur le sol angolais auraient dû bénéficier de la protection des autorités angolaises quelque soient les raisons qu’elles mettent en avant pour justifier ces expulsions.

      L’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) n’est pas resté silencieuse comme la plupart des pays africains, le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme a mis en garde sur les conséquences des expulsions massives de réfugiés depuis l’Angola, au cours des trois dernières semaines de ce mois d’octobre.

      Par ailleurs, le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies a rappelé le 19 septembre 2017 que : « tout pays a le droit de contrôler ses frontières. Mais cela doit se faire de telle sorte que les droits des personnes ‘en mouvement’ soient protégés ».

      Au regard de tout ce qui vient d’être évoqué :
      1. L’Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME) pour sa part, exhorte le gouvernement Malien à tout mettre en œuvre pour la sécurisation de nos compatriotes et de leurs biens dans les pays d’accueil ;
      2. Appelle le gouvernement à communiquer davantage sur cette situation en donnant beaucoup plus d’informations aux familles des maliens vivants en Angola ;
      3. Encourage le gouvernement de continuer à œuvrer pour le respect des droits des migrants maliens et aussi pour le développement d’une relation franche entre les Etats africains en vue de la réalisation de l’unité africaine comme le prévoit l’article 117 de la Constitution ;
      4. Invite l’Union Africaine à dénoncer et prendre des mesures contre les violations des droits humains dans les pays membres ;
      5. Invite également les Etats membres de l’Union Africaine à renoncer aux expulsions massives des ressortissants d’autres pays africains et à mettre fin sans délais aux opérations actuelles en cour ;
      6. Exhorte l’U.A et les Etats à une plus grande implication des organisations de la société civile aux différents processus pour la gestion de la migration.

      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Les-violations-des-droits-humains-des-migrants-africains-en-Angola

  • Revue de presse du 14.10 au 20.10.18
    https://collectiflieuxcommuns.fr/?672-revue-de-presse-semaine-du

    « La classe politique n’a pas conscience du désastre dans lequel notre patrimoine est plongé »

    Angola : 380.000 migrants clandestins expulsés en un mois

    Sarcelles, le laboratoire du « vivre-séparé »

    Éducation, gendarmerie... Ces services publics qui disent adieu à Google

    On ne débat plus, on exécute

    L’immigration tunisienne à Lampedusa : une bombe à retardement pour l’Europe

    Nigeria : 30 morts dans l’explosion d’un oléoduc attaqué par des pilleurs

    « Avec l’école numérique, nous allons élever nos enfants « hors-sol », comme des tomates »

    « La haine des Juifs, la haine de la France et la haine de l’Occident s’entrecroisent »

    La moitié de la population américaine identifiable par la généalogie génétique

    « Dans les quartiers difficiles, on maintient les collégiens dans une ghettoïsation culturelle ! »

    « La gauche ne peut plus échapper à la question de l’identité »

    Bonus

    *

    Présentation/Archives/Abonnement

  • Premature Postcolonialists: the Afro-Asian Writers Association and Soviet Engagement with Africa | Lefteast
    http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/premature-postcolonialists-the-afro-asian-writers-association-and-soviet-

    In October 1958, over two hundred writers from Asia and the emerging African nations descended onto Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Among the participants was W. E. B. Du Bois, who at age 90 had just flown in from Moscow (where he persuaded Nikita Khrushchev to found an Institute for the Study of Africa). Alongside leading Soviet writers and cultural bureaucrats, some of the major figures of the 1930s literary left outside of Europe or the Americas were in attendance: the Turkish modernist poet Nazim Hikmet and his Pakistani counterpart Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the Chinese novelist Mao Dun and Mulk Raj Anand. Though poorly known at the time, some of the younger delegates at that meeting would go on to become the leading literary figures of their countries: the Senegalese novelist-cum-filmmaker Sembene Ousmane, the Indonesian writer Pramoedya Toer, the poet and founder of Angola’s Communist Party Mario Pinto de Andrade, and the Mozambican poet and FRELIMO politician Marcelino dos Santos. By all accounts, Tashkent impressed visitors with its mixture of Western modernity and familiar “eastern-ness,”—an effect carefully curated by the Soviet hosts who sought to make it a showcase city for Third-World delegations.

    The gathering that brought all these writers together—the inaugural congress of what would later become known as the Afro-Asian Writers Association—represented the literary front of the Soviet Union’s return to the colonial question after a two-decade-long lapse. The Stalinist state’s geopolitical zigzags and the rumors, confirmed in Khrushchev’s 1956 Secret Speech, of oppressive practices at home had considerably dimmed the flame of the Russian Revolution by the mid-1950s. African and Asian intellectuals’ doubts over the Soviet state’s emancipatory promises were now partly made up by the resources of a world super-power, which interwar Soviet anti-imperialism had lacked. These resources exercised a powerful, if ambiguous, effect on black political life worldwide, resulting, on the one hand, in devastating proxy wars in Angola and Mozambique and, on the other, fueling emancipatory struggles against apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crowe in the US.1

    This article will be particularly interested in the cultural consequences of the Soviet engagement with the postcolonial world, namely, in its effect on African letters. As a heir to the literature-centrism of the revolutionary Russian intelligentsia of the late nineteenth century, the Soviet state, down to its very bureaucracy, believed in the capacity of literature to transform society and invested heavily in literary engagements even with societies very different from its own. By the reciprocal logic of the Cold War, the U.S. State Department and CIA, institutions not known as patrons of literature before or after the Cold War had to match those investments. The real beneficiaries of this competition were African writers, interest in whose work significantly increased, as well as readers in the first, second, and third worlds, who were given greater access to those writers.

  • UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution adopting the peasant rights declaration in Geneva - Via Campesina
    https://viacampesina.org/en/un-human-rights-council-passes-a-resolution-adopting-the-peasant-right

    Seventeen years of long and arduous negotiations later, peasants and other people working in rural areas are only a step away from having a UN Declaration that could defend and protect their rights to land, seeds, biodiversity, local markets and a lot more.

    On Friday, 28 September, in a commendable show of solidarity and political will, member nations of United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution concluding the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The resolution was passed with 33 votes in favour, 11 abstentions and 3 against. [1]

    Contre : Australie, Hongrie et Royaume-Uni

    In favour: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Chile, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela

    Abstention: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

    https://viacampesina.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/03/Declaration-of-rights-of-peasants-2009.pdf

    #droit_des_paysan·nes

  • Voici mon palmarès des 30 chansons les plus tristes du monde :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmygnicYLIA&list=PLkeA_mTMOkTt1UMWHWjnQks3r8oqM7BcD

    1) Trouble of the World, Mahalia Jackson (USA, 1959)
    2) Gloomy Sunday, Billie Holiday (USA, 1947)
    3) I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free, Nina Simone (USA, 1967)
    4) Petenera, Pepe de la Matrona (Espagne 1957)
    5) Double Trouble, Otis Rush (USA, 1958)
    6) Part Time Love, Clay Hammond (USA, 1982)
    7) Walking the Backstreets and Crying, Little Milton (USA, 1983)
    8) Let Me Down Easy, Bettye Lavette (USA, 2000)
    9) Mara Beboos, Hassan Golnaraghi (Iran, années 1960)
    10) Aatini Al Nay Wa Ghani, Fairouz (Liban, 1965)
    11) Please Come Home for Christmas, Charles Brown (USA, 1960)
    12) Lost Someone, James Brown (USA, 1961)
    13) Walk on By, Dionne Warwick (USA, 1963)
    14) Unfair, Barbara Lynn (USA, 1964)
    15) Crying Time, Ray Charles (USA, 1965)
    16) Nothing Takes The Place Of You, Toussaint Mc Call (USA, 1967)
    17) Inner City Blues, Marvin Gaye (USA, 1971)
    18) In the Rain, The Dramatics (USA, 1972)
    19) In the Ghetto, Candi Staton (USA, 1972)
    20) Ne Me Quitte Pas, Jacques Brel (France, 1966)
    21) Te Recuerdo Amanda, Victor Jara (Chili, 1969)
    22) Chega de Saudade, Joao Gilberto (Brésil, 1959)
    23) Sodade, Bonga (Angola, 1974)
    24) Tezeta, Mahmoud Ahmed (Ethiopie, 1974)
    25) Assouf, Tinariwen (Mali, 2006)
    26) Time, Tom Waits (USA, 1985)
    27) Nothing compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor (USA-Irlande, 1990)
    28) Hurt, Johnny Cash (USA, 2002)
    29) Hate, Cat Power (USA, 2006)
    30) Pause, Rafeef Ziadah (Palestine, 2015)

    J’en ai fait deux chroniques :
    http://entrelesoreilles.blogspot.com/2018/09/elo341-les-chansons-les-plus-tristes-du.html
    http://entrelesoreilles.blogspot.com/2018/11/elo348-les-chansons-non-americaines-les.html

    Spotify s’y était essayé aussi :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716771

    Voici aussi le « top 20 » des chansons les plus gaies du monde :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731244

    #Musique #Playlist #Tristes #Gospel #Flamenco #Blues #Saudade #Sodade #Tezeta #Assouf #Soul #Jazz

  • La Tricontinentale. Les peuples du tiers-monde à l’assaut du ciel -
    https://www.cetim.ch/product/la-tricontinentale-les-peuples-du-tiers-monde-lassaut-du-peuple

    Le 3 janvier 1966 s’ouvre à la Havane la Conférence de solidarité avec les peuples d’Asie, d’Afrique et d’Amérique Latine, plus connue sous le nom de #Tricontinentale. Vers la capitale cubaine convergent des représentants de tous les mouvements de libération et de toutes les organisations luttant contre « le #colonialisme, le #néocolonialisme et l’#impérialisme » du #tiers-monde. Des personnalités importantes comme le chilien #Salvador_Allende ou le guinéen #Amilcar_Cabral sont également de la partie. Certains des délégués ont quitté pour quelques jours leurs maquis pour participer à cette rencontre inédite. D’autres ont fait un périple de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres pour éviter les arrestations et participer au rendez-vous des #damnés_de_la_terre.

    Au menu des débats se trouve la solidarité avec le peuple vietnamien et avec les autres luttes de libération nationale. L’ambition est aussi de coordonner les #luttes des trois continents. Jamais une rencontre n’a suscité autant d’espoir chez les uns et autant de crainte chez les autres.
    La Tricontinentale prit des décisions et décida d’une organisation tricontinentale pour les mettre en œuvre. Elle participa à la #socialisation politique de toute une jeunesse au quatre coins du monde. Des rues de Paris à celles d’Alger, des maquis d’Angola aux campus de New-York, l’écho de la Tricontinentale se fait entendre pendant plusieurs décennies. Il porte l’espoir d’un nouvel ordre économique et politique mondial plus juste, plus égalitaire, plus solidaire.
    #livre
    Le monde a changé depuis la Tricontinentale mais les questions posées et les stratégies déployées restent d’une grande modernité. La connaissance de cette période, de ses espoirs, de ses luttes et de ses erreurs est indispensable aux combats d’aujourd’hui.

  • If you thought African music started and finished with Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, you’re in for a mind-blowing experience of discovery. And if you’re already familiar with this cornucopia of delights stretching from Angola to Niger, but are just missing the odd album, you’ll be happy to learn that on the auspicious occasion of the label’s tenth anniversary, Analog Africa has repressed its entire back catalogue (excluding limited editions) for you to enjoy. And take my word for it—you’ll want to listen to every one!
    https://analogafrica.bandcamp.com/track/a-min-we-vo-nou-we

    https://analogafrica.com
    #afrobeat #Benin #cumbia #bandcamp

  • Gerhard Seyfried, Berlin et les colonialistes
    http://gerhardseyfried.de


    Berlin-Tegel im Jahr 2050

    Jaime la confusion et les fantaisies autour des appellations « officielles ». C’est tellement instructif et révélateur quand on délire pour vérifier après la signification véritable des idées fabriquées dans le rire.

    L’affiche en haut montre comment disparaissent humour, réflexion et analyse critique après l’ascension au rang d’artiste officiel d’un type pas mal qui doit payer un loyer dans un des beau quartiers. Le trait de plume est toujours là mais les idées derrière le dessin ont perdu leur qualité libératrice.

    Dans le passé le dessinateur de bd anarchistes Gerhard Seyfried crée une carte d’Allemagne où Westberlin et Ostberlin s’appellent Restberlin (ce qui reste de Berlin) et Rostberlin (Berlin la rouillée). Au fond ce sont des « Kalauer », des jeux de mots trop faciles pour être élégants mais les allusions politiques de Seyfried nous font alors beaucoup rire.


    Deutschalnd 1949-1989

    Berlin-Est paraît toujours un peu grisâtre aux yeux des victimes du bling-bling capitaliste, alors le nom parodique inventé par Seyfried n’est pas tellement une dénonciation du « régime communiste » mais une exagération satirique de la propagande dans les médias de l’Ouest.

    Le surnom Restberlin par contre s’en prend à ce monde idéologique qui nous poursuit depuis l’école élémentaire et qui veut nous faire croire que « nous » avons perdu les terres à l’Est au méchants communistes qui nous ont envahis.

    Mes connaissances en géographie allemande sont toujours très médiocres car plutôt que de nous enseigner les structures de l’Allemagne de 1970 on nous fait apprendre par coeur les noms allemands des régions et villes de Pologne et de l’URSS qui se trouvent sur le territoire du Deutsches Reich avant la guerre nazie. Leurs noms sont toujours présents sur la carte de Berlin. L’Allemagne du Kaiser les incorpore dans la capitale qui englobe ainsi symboliquement toutes les provinces, colonies et villes du Reich . C’est un sujet si pesant qu’après 1945 il faut attendre pendant trent ans jusqu’à l’émergence d’une critique satirique des doctrines politiques inscrites dans les plans de ville.


    Potsdamer Platz 1945

    Pendant cinquante ans les habitants de Berlin vivent dans une capitale en retraite provisiore. imaginez Paris déchu de son rang de capitale et obligé de ceder ses fonctions à Vendôme. Les dernières trente années de vie sur une île produisent une vision assez particulière de l’Allemagne chez ces berlinois de l’Ouest.


    Grenzöffnung 1989

    Seyfried exprime l’impression des Berlinois de l’Ouest surtout de gauche au moment de l’ouverture de la frontière avec Berlin-Est. C’est une marée d’imbéciles aux idées rétrogrades dans des voitures puantes qui ne sont pas méchants en soi mais dont le nombre présente une menace de tout dont on jouit tranquillement pour le moment.


    Deutschland 1995

    Sur cette carte on retrouve la vision de l’Allemagen par les berlinois de l’Ouest après 1989. La mer rouge qui entrourait l’île s’est retirée et les nouvelles terres permettent aux divers tribus nazies de s’y implanter.


    Berlin 2001

    La perte du mur entraine un changement de perspective sur la ville qui ne promet plus une vie sans soucis à la jeunesse anti-militariste du monde. La dernière carte dessinée par Seyfried est remplie d’horreurs assorties aux arrondissements et quartiers de la capitale.

    Siegfried Müller (Kongo-Müller, 1920 -1983)
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_M%C3%BCller_(S%C3%B6ldner)

    1931 Jugendorganisation des Scharnhorstbundes (Stahlhelm), Oktober 1933 Hitlerjugend 1934 bi 1938 Fähnleinführer, 1938 Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) , 1939 Wehrmacht Gefreiter 1940, Obergefreiter 1943, Unteroffizier 1943, Fahnenjunker 1944, Oberfähnrich 1945.

    Trotz der im Vergleich zu Söldnerführern im Kongo wie Mike Hoare, Bob Denard oder Jean Schramme geringen Bedeutung und militärischen Erfolge erreichte Müller in Deutschland und im Ausland einen hohen Bekanntheitsgrad. Das lag im Wesentlichen daran, dass Müller sich gerne für Journalisten in Szene setzte.


    Kongo Müller

    A Wedding on aime se moquer du fait que la #Müllerstraße garde toujours son nom parce que notre Bob Denard à nous s’appelle #Kongo-Müller. En langage taxi cette association nominative est encore plus évidente. Pour les taxis le carrefour Müllertraße/Kongostraße s’appelle Kongo-Müller alors dans les communications par radio le nom du mercenaire est prononcé lors de chaque commande de taxi par le bar du coin. L’adresse « Schulli Kongo-Müller » suffit pour faire comprendre au chauffeur qui faut récupérer un client plus ou moins ivre dans le bar à l’enseigne « Schultheiss-Bier » situé au carrefour de la Müllerstraße et de la Kongostraße.


    Der lachende Mann

    C’est de la pure moquerie car depuis toujours la Müllerstraße mène vers les moulins historiques où jusqu’en 1871 les meuniers (Müller) execent leur métier. Replacé dans le contexte de la critique des noms de rue colonialistes à Wedding (Petersallee, Lüderitzstraße etc.) cette blague devient un argument critique des idées recues « de gauche » et des arguments trop faciles.

    Müllerstraße
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCllerstra%C3%9Fe_(Berlin)


    Windmühle Müllerstraße 166

    Entretemps le personnage semi-fictif Kongo-Müller a trouvé une copine connue sous le nom d’ Angola-Merkel qui poursuit l’oeuvre civilisatrice de son copain défunt en transformant l’aide au développement en subvention pour les entreprises allemandes implantées dans les anciennes colonies.

    Bundeskanzlerin in Angola : Merkel kurbelt Rüstungsgeschäft an | STERN.de
    https://www.stern.de/politik/ausland/bundeskanzlerin-in-angola-merkel-kurbelt-ruestungsgeschaeft-an-3052818.html

    Die Kanzlerin will nicht mehr nur Geld nach Afrika schicken, sondern auch Geschäfte machen. Angola soll mehrere Patrouillenboote erhalten. Zwar hat dies wohl nicht dieselbe Brisanz wie das Panzergeschäft mit Saudi-Arabien. Eine politische Debatte löst der Deal trotzdem aus.

    Son parti réussit l’exploit de communiquer une chancelière allemande dont l’image immaculée résiste à ses pire lapsus. La critiquer avec des expression satiriques demeure pour le moment le terrain de l’extrême droite, alors nous n’élaborons pas. C’est dommage, mais la petite excursion dans le délire des appellations officielles et fictives permet quand même une belle conclusion :

    La dialectique est une science plutôt gaie ;-)

    #Berlin #histoire #cartographie #Straßenumbenennung #humour

  • Outrage: ‘Coordinated housing reform is crucial for cities in Africa to work’ | Thinkpiece | Architectural Review

    https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/outrage-coordinated-housing-reform-is-crucial-for-cities-in-africa-to-work/10019138.article

    In unplanned urban growth and informal settlements where the quality of life is low and land use is highly inefficient, effective policy is essential

    A $3.5 billion social housing project developed on the outskirts of Angola’s capital, Luanda, offers apartments starting at $120,000 in a country where per-capita incomes are just over $4,000. It’s indicative of a wider crisis in urban development in many African cities.

    Across the developing world, the pace of urbanisation has outstripped the ability of governments to provide decent and affordable housing for low-income residents. Urban growth has proceeded through unplanned, sprawling informal settlements where quality of life is low and land use is often highly inefficient. With cities in Africa set to triple in size by 2050, coordinated policy to increase housing supply is essential.

    ‘Where housing has been delivered, it is often beyond the reach of low-income residents, and poorly suited to the needs of poorer communities’

    #architecture #planification_urbaine #afrique

  • FROM #AFROBEAT TO #AKON : WHY #AFRICAN_MUSIC FINALLY HAS THE WORLD’S EAR

    De l’Afrobeat à l’Akon : pourquoi la #musique_africaine attire l’oreille du monde
    https://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/05/africa/future-african-music/index.html
    publié le 18/11/2016
    consulté le 05/06/2018

    We are consuming more #music than ever before, and from a wider range of sources.
    Emerging markets in #Africa, in particular, are becoming more profitable. UK-based record company Beggars Group, for example, reports that 20% of its revenue comes from emerging markets. It is now licensing music for the first time in Nigeria, Uganda and Angola, according to the IFPI report.
    “Bits of the world that you don’t see regularly as record markets are much bigger for us in the streaming world than the download or physical world,” says Baggars Group founder and chairman, Martin Mills in the report.
    South Africa, for example, saw overall digital revenue in music double in 2013, according toIFPI’s 2014 report.

    Cet article évoque l’augmentation actuelle de la proportion de musiques faisant partie du « marché émergeant », entre autres produite par des pays africains, dans l’écoute mondiale. Il s’agit donc de s’interroger sur les raison de cet intérêt soudain pour les musiques africaines. Dans un premier temps, le streaming augmente en popularité, ce qui s’explique en partie par l’accès de plus en plus systématique aux ’’smartphones’’ : en Afrique, la proportion de la population possédant un smartphone est passée de 2% en 2010 à 11% en 2013. Mr Eazi, un artiste nigérian, évoque l’accès à Internet qui a permis à l’Afrique de diffuser plus facilement et plus rapidement sa musique, ici l’Afrobeat. Non seulement les artistes africains eux-mêmes ont plus de facilité à se faire entendre, mais on retrouve également des influences de l’Afrobeat dans des musiques « populaires ». Il est estimé que le marché de la musique africaine rapportera, d’ici 2017, environ 122 milliards de dollars. Selon Abrantee Boateng, "African music has always inspired many other genres and popular artists" : « la musique africaine a toujours inspiré d’autres genres et artistes populaires ». Selon ce présentateur radio installé au Royaume-Uni, la qualité de la musique africaine et son imposition croissante dans le marché mondial ne peuvent que permettre une diffusion de plus en plus importante. Selon une enquête de PricewaterhouseCoopers, les revenus des deux pays subsahariens dont les économies sont les plus florissantes, le Nigeria et le Kenya, liés au marché de la musique, devraient atteindre respectivement 43 et 19 millions de dollars d’ici fin 2016.

    Mon commentaire sur cet article :
    Si ce n’est pas d’abord la musique elle-même qui a permis le développement des pays africains, c’est le développement lui-même, grâce à un accès plus facile et plus généralisé à internet, qui a permis le développement de la musique africaine. Il est cependant à noter que ce développement permet un cercle vertueux, en éveillant l’intérêt des « puissances économiques » pour ces pays d’une part ; d’autre part, le développement de la musique africaines est et pourrait constituer une source de revenus non négligeable.

  • Reçu via email de la part Zinahad Patrice Boucar via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 22.05.2018 :

    Juste vous informer de la suite de ce qu’est devenu les bureaux de l’#aracem ce jour. Il a été saccagé par les migrants revenus et que l’#OIM à refusé prendre en charge sous prétexte que c’est nous qui avons les moyens de les aider. Nous avons l’extrait de vidéo de la coordinatrice les tenant ce discours.

    Photos jointes au message :

    #association #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Mali #réintégration

    @sinehebdo : nouveau mot ?
    #migrants_revenus

    • Association qui fait aussi un travail de réintégration des réfugiés renvoyés depuis l’Europe :
      #Association_malienne_des_expulsés
      Notre association a été créée le 6 octobre 1996 suite à des expulsions massives de Maliens immigrés dans le monde entier (France, Angola, Arabie Saoudite, Libéria, Zambie, etc.). A cette époque, nos compatriotes, démunis et humiliés par leur mésaventure, se réunissaient au Haut Conseil des Maliens de l’Extérieur (HCME). Ousmane Diarra, expulsé d’Angola, prit l’initiative de les réunir pour tenter de leur venir en aide en créant l’Association des Maliens Expulsés (AME). Un collectif de soutien mobilisant plusieurs organisations et individus se mit en place pour mener des actions communes.

      Une des premières actions significatives de l’AME fut d’organiser, en 1997 , une marche de soutien dans Bamako pour faire libérer 77 Maliens expulsés de France par le « 36e charter Debré » et emprisonnés par le gouvernement malien de l’époque. Deux semaines après cette marche, les expulsés emprisonnés étaient remis en liberté.

      Grâce à un financement d’Emmaus France, un local a été loué pour accueillir les expulsés et leur permettre d’avoir un suivi médical et des soins. Certains expulsés avaient des séquelles consécutives à une grève de la faim, d’autres avaient subi des brutalités policières lors des expulsions. Nous déplorons le décès de deux personnes par manque de moyens financiers.


      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info
      #association #AME