It is hypocritical to celebrate pro-democracy protests while ignoring flagrant acts of racism and rights violations
When Libyan rebels intercepted and seized a British intelligence and Special Forces unit in early March, the matter was handled with a sense of urgency and diplomacy. While all eight members of the SAS unit were reportedly released ‘unharmed’, black Africans haven’t been so lucky.
Since the popular Libyan uprising began in February, the widespread targeting of people merely because of their skin colour has gone largely unreported. Few were interested in tainting the image they had constructed of the Libyan revolution, fearing perhaps that such criticism could give credence to Muammar Gaddafi’s violent efforts to suppress democracy. However, the story involves more than simple attempts at keeping a revolution uncontaminated by ‘suspicious’ characters (who just happen to be mostly black Africans).
While Libya is an Arab and African country, it also comprises black Read more…
27 May 2011 – The United Nations human rights office today voiced alarm at the escalating violence in Yemen, which it said may push the country to the brink of civil war, and called on the Government to stop its deadly crackdown.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it is trying to confirm reports it has received of dozens of civilian casualties, including women and children, in the fighting over the past few days, as well as reports of shelling by Government troops in residential areas.
The death toll has reportedly approached 100 since fighting began Monday after Yemen’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, refused for a third time to sign a deal to transfer power amid the pro-democracy protests that began earlier this year.
“The dangerous escalation of violence in Yemen over the past few days is very Read more…
CASABLANCA, Morocco, Apr. 24, 2011 (Reuters) — Thousands took to the streets of Morocco on Sunday in peaceful demonstrations to demand sweeping reforms and an end to political detention, the third day of mass protests since they began in February.
Desperate to avoid the turmoil that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, authorities have already announced some changes to placate demands that King Mohammed cede more powers and limit the monarchy’s extensive business influence.
Some 10,000 people joined the protest in Casablanca, the largest city in one of the West’s staunchest Arab allies. Marchers in the capital Rabat also denounced corruption and torture as well as unemployment, very high among youths.
Policing has been low-key for protests by the February 20 Movement, named after the date of its first march, particularly compared to the turmoil elsewhere in North Africa.
“This is more about the young ones than it is about us,” said Redouane Mellouk, who had brought his 8 year-old son Mohamed Amine, carrying a placard demanding “A New Morocco.”
“Our parents could not talk to us about political issues. They were too afraid. This must change,” said Mellouk.
Although levels of popular anger have risen, ratings agencies assess Morocco as the country in the region least likely to become embroiled in the type of unrest that toppled Tunisian and Egyptian regimes and led to the conflict in Libya.
In Rabat, several thousand people marched through poor districts with high levels of unemployment and away from the center, where the previous monthly demonstrations have been held. There was no sign of trouble.
A 74 year-old man in Casablanca who gave his name only as Ahmed said Morocco’s youths were right to protest. Read more…
As if a dollar in freefall was not enough, surging oil is about to hit the turbo boost, decimating what is left of the US (and global) consumer. Xinhua, via Energy Daily, brings this stunner: ” Chinese oil giant Sinopec has stopped exporting oil products to maintain domestic supplies amid disruption concerns caused by Middle East unrest and Japan’s earthquake, a report said Wednesday. The state-run Xinhua news agency did not say how long the suspension would last but it reported that the firm had said it also would take steps to step up output “to maintain domestic market supplies of refined oil products”. Oh but don’t worry, those good Saudi folks are seeing a massive drop in demand… for their Kool aid perhaps. “Sinopec would ensure supplies met the “basic needs” of the southern Chinese special regions of Hong Kong and Macao, but they also should expect an unspecified drop in supply, Xinhua quoted an unnamed company official as saying.” Now… does anyone remember the 1970s? Read more…
Robert Zoellick cited rising food prices as the main threat to poor nations who risk “losing a generation”.
He was speaking in Washington at the end of the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Meanwhile, G20 finance chiefs, who also met in Washington, pledged financial support to help new governments in the Middle East and North Read more…
Here’s an alarming chart to ponder. HSBC has calculated what would happen to energy consumption by 2050 given plausible forecasts for economic growth and assuming no constraint on resources, or that humans carry on using energy in the “taken for granted” way they do at the moment.
As you can see, demand in China, India and other emerging markets soars, but there is also quite considerable growth from advanced economies too. The big picture is that with an additional one billion cars on the road, demand for oil would grow 110pc to more than 190 million barrels per day. Total demand for energy would rise by a similar order of magnitude, doubling the Read more…
A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The second time he said the word “protest,” her phone cut off.
He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in mid-sentence.
A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more Read more…