April 2010

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Europe's Islamophobia

Picture: Ranoush Jeanne Kay - When the Swiss voted last year to prohibit future construction of minarets on their soil, political commentators in neighboring European countries were quick to express their moral outrage. “The vote of shame,” headlined Liberation in France. Belgium’s Le Soir deemed targeting the towers in order to aim at the population below them to be “hypocritical and fallacious.” The London Times predicted “international embarrassment” for Switzerland. In the...

The Struggles of Durban's Fisherfolk

This video presented by the Centre for Civil Society highlights the plight of subsistence fishermen in Durban who's rights have been systematically eroded as a result of poor marine and coastal management in South Africa. The 17-minute feature provides valuable testimony from fishermen about how government policies prejudice them and threaten their livelihoods while allowing big fishing companies to overfish the sea, leading to environmental degradation in the process.

Obama's Nuclear-Weapons Conference Fatally Flawed

Picture: London Summit William Pfaff - The meeting on nuclear security convoked by Barack Obama this week was meant to prevent nuclear proliferation. This is a worthy cause, but -- while I am writing before the meeting closes -- I would assume that it will at best produce empty promises, as the meeting itself is fatally flawed. Its conceptual basis is that the United States is a disinterested world leader, calling on others to do what is self-evidently in the general interest. This is not true. The underlying incitement to...

The Unspoken Risks of Cell Phones and Wireless Networks

Picture: Hum Bug Glenn Ashton - Africa has been catapulted into the electronic age over the past decade and a half by an almost incomprehensibly swift growth in telecommunications technology driven primarily by a massive rollout of cell phones and wireless technology throughout the continent.  While few can deny the economic benefits that this growth has brought to a continent historically hobbled by a patchy telecommunications infrastructure, the physical risks of this explosive growth on the health of the people of...

Enter a Wide Variety of Ranting, Stupid Men - Stage Right

Picture: Nation States Richard Pithouse - It really is a sorry state of affairs when a country that has produced so many remarkable people and movements is reduced to abandoning its national political stage to the spectacle of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) and Julius Malema publicly shitting on our democracy.  The AWB are racist and violent thugs drunk on their fragile fantasies of white supremacy. Their brandy and coke fascism was routed by the South African Police in Ventersdorp in 1991, and again by the...

Farm Dwellers in South Africa: An Ongoing Tragedy

In this video produced by Sleeping Giant, Reverend Mavuso of the Rural Network in KwaZulu Natal shares the story of 11 families evicted from a farm in New Hanover (near Pitermaritzburg) after having lived on it for 20 years. They struggle to rebuild their lives with no support from government. The case of these families brings into sharp relief the preservation of an unjust system in South Africa where land redistribution and rural development for the poor remain in limbo. Mavuso works to...