Glenn Ashton - Our present educational system is founded on an out-dated model, inordinately focused on high grades and achievement, not on how we relate to the rapidly changing world. It does not focus on students sufficiently to meet the challenges lying in wait outside the school fence. South Africa, along with many other developing nations, has developed a fixation on university education, insisting that university education is essential to success. We need to shift our thinking away from our misplaced belief that a theoretical education can cure inequality.
Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - South Africa's new small business ministry will be allocated a budget for the first time in the next budget speech. In her inaugural budget vote speech, Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced plans to launch nine provincial "Centres for Entrepreneurship". Funding decisions on her proposal will soon be taken. But in making these decisions about support for the minister's new plan, cognisance must be taken of our urbanisation patterns, which call for decentralisation beyond the provincial level. Locating entrepreneurial centres within urban local governments rather than at a provincial level will hold better prospects for assisting local economic planning and the plans of entrepreneurs. It will take government closer to the people and provide better opportunities for inclusive economic development.
Richard Pithouse - The ruthless assault on Gaza has sometimes been presented in our media, and on occasion in some solidarity efforts too, as an issue that is solely of concern to Muslim people. It is true that in recent years state politics in both Palestine and Israel has taken on a more religious inflection. But this conflict began as a colonial occupation. It did not start as a religious war and has never been reducible to the question of religion. The assault on Gaza, like the devastation of the Congo or the ongoing disaster in Iraq, is everyone's concern. In the particular case of Gaza, the way in which Islamophobia is used to legitimate oppression, is also everyone's concern.
Pepe Escobar - A simple search reveals that MH17 was in fact diverted 200 kilometers north from the usual flight path taken by Malaysia Airlines in the previous days and plunged right in the middle of a war zone. Why? What sort of communication did MH17 receive from Kiev air control tower? Kiev has been mute about it. Yet the answer would be simple had Kiev released the Air Traffic Control recording of the tower talking to flight MH17. But it won't happen because SBU, Ukraine's security services, confiscated the recording. So much for getting an undoctored explanation on why MH17 was off its path, and what the pilots saw and said before the explosion.
Alexander O'Riordan - Last week Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) announced they are joining forces to establish a BRICS alternative to the World Bank. The BRICS bank will be capitalised to the tune of $50 billion or about the same size as the World Bank's loan to Brazil. While the size of the initial capital allocation does not stack up in comparison to the World Bank's, this could still prove to be a significant opportunity to change the global system more in favour of the developing world. However, if the new bank is going to be a game changer in Africa then it must invest in structural opportunities to improve growth and development on the continent and develop African confidence.
Watch - Seven of the fastest growing economies in the world are African. As a continent, the African economy is growing at 7-10%, which is faster than any other continent, but Africa's growth is fuelled by debt and the mass sale of resources. From Chinese and French interests in Africa's mineral resources to America's expanding War on Terror, a host of imposing nations are attempting to consolidate their grip on Africa. Marwan Bishara of Al Jazeera’s Empire travels to Kenya, France and the USA to examine who is gaining, who is losing and what it means to Africans.
Watch - In this 1990 interview with Bill Moyers, the recently deceased celebrated South African writer, Nadine Gordimer, says that she was slow to develop a political understanding, but that she came to understand politics through how it affected people rather than through theory. She talks about the astonishing experience of meeting real revolutionaries in the 1960's who went to jail for their ideals, which she says, was a revelation to her coming from a "petit bourgeoisie" background. Her writing started reflecting a deeper political awareness as a consequence of this experience. Gordimer makes some rather interesting remarks about the "distorted South African" psyche.
Watch - In 1967, Israel defeated neighbouring Arab countries in a war that lasted six days. At the end of that war, Israel had captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The West Bank has been under a military occupation ever since. This means that the Israeli army has complete control over these areas. Gaza retained a Jewish settler population and was under total military control until the Israeli government unilaterally withdrew soldiers and some 8,000 settlers in 2005. Israel, however, has retained full military control over Gaza's borders, airspace, and coastline, thus retaining "effective control" and thereby meeting the official definition of occupation.
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