White men charged in attack on Black teens at South African swimming pool

Police in South Africa charged a White man with attempted murder and have charged two others with assault after an attack on Black teenagers trying to use a swimming pool while on vacation sparked widespread outrage. Video of the incident, which was shared widely on social media, appeared to show a White man choking and striking a Black teen in the face before pushing another Black teenager into the pool and gripping him in a headlock, seemingly to try to push him underwater. Kgokong Nakedi, 18, told reporters that he and a 13-year-old cousin were assaulted on Christmas Day by White people at a vacation resort they were visiting in Bloemfontein, in the Free State province.

— source washingtonpost.com | Dec 29, 2022

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The U.S. Military is Winning. No, Really, It Is!

4,000,000,029,057. Remember that number. It’s going to come up again later.

But let’s begin with another number entirely: 145,000 — as in, 145,000 uniformed soldiers striding down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s the number of troops who marched down that very street in May 1865 after the United States defeated the Confederate States of America. Similar legions of rifle-toting troops did the same after World War I ended with the defeat of Germany and its allies in 1918. And Sherman tanks rolling through the urban canyons of midtown Manhattan? That followed the triumph over the Axis in 1945. That’s what winning used to look like in America — star-spangled, soldier-clogged streets and victory parades.

Enthralled by a martial Bastille Day celebration while visiting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in July 2017, President Trump called for just such a parade in Washington. After its estimated cost reportedly ballooned from $10 million to as much as $92 million, the American Legion weighed in. That veterans association, which boasts 2.4 million members, issued an August statement suggesting that the planned parade should be put on hold “until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home.” Soon after, the president announced that he had canceled the parade and blamed local Washington officials for driving up the costs (even though he was evidently never briefed by the Pentagon on what its price tag might be).

The American Legion focused on the fiscal irresponsibility of Trump’s proposed march, but its postponement should have raised an even more significant question: What would

— source tomdispatch.com | Nick Turse | Feb 19, 2023

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Burkina Faso Sees Second Military Coup This Year

For the second time this year, a military coup has occurred in the African nation of Burkina Faso. A group of army officers led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré seized power Friday, ousting another military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who had led the country since a January coup. On Saturday, protesters attacked the French Embassy, where some had believed the ousted president was hiding. Some supporters of Friday’s coup flew Russian flags in the streets while calling for Moscow to help Burkina Faso confront an ongoing jihadist insurgency that began in 2015.

truly, this is the aftermath, I think, of Compaoré’s ousting. The coup d’état which occurred, even if it’s not democratic and correspond to an internal struggle within the MPSR, within the army, is actually a positive thing. Former President Damiba committed many bad political maneuvers and had dared to defy the justice system, which has condemned President Compaoré and folks, the main killers of Sankara.

— source democracynow.org | Oct 04, 2022

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Are Green Resource Wars Looming?

Much of the excitement over the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law this summer, focused on the boost it should give to the sales of electric vehicles. Sadly, though, manufacturing and driving tens of millions of individual electric passenger cars won’t get us far enough down the road to ending greenhouse-gas emissions and stanching the overheating of this planet. Worse yet, the coming global race to electrify the personal vehicle is likely to exacerbate ecological degradation, geopolitical tensions, and military conflict.

The batteries that power electric vehicles are likely to be the source of much international competition and the heart of the problem lies in two of the metallic elements used to make their electrodes: cobalt and lithium. Most deposits of those metals lie outside the borders of the United States and will leave manufacturers here (and elsewhere) relying heavily on foreign supplies to electrify road travel on the scale now being envisioned.

Adventurers and Opportunists

In the battery business, the Democratic Republic of Congo is referred to as “the Saudi Arabia of cobalt.” For two decades, its cobalt — 80% of the world’s known reserves — has

— source tomdispatch.com | Priti Gulati Cox, Stan Cox | Oct 13, 2022

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Reckoning with Colonial Past in Africa

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has focused global attention on the British royal family and renewed criticism of the monarchy both inside the U.K. and abroad, especially among peoples colonized by Britain. “There’s a degree of psychosis that you can go to another people’s land, colonize them, and then expect them to honor you at the same time,” says Kenyan American author Mukoma Wa Ngugi, who teaches literature at Cornell University and whose own family was deeply impacted by the bloody British suppression of the Mau Mau revolution. He says that with Queen Elizabeth’s death, there needs to be a “dismantling” of the Commonwealth and a real reckoning with colonial abuses. We also speak with Harvard historian Caroline Elkins, a leading scholar of British colonialism, who says that while it’s unclear how much Queen Elizabeth personally knew about concentration camps, torture and other abuses in Kenya during her early reign, the monarchy must reckon with that legacy. “Serious crimes happened on the queen’s imperial watch. In fact, her picture hung in every detention camp in Kenya as detainees were beaten in order to exact their loyalty to the British crown,” says Elkins.

what I’ve been thinking about over the last few days is how my family got affected — right? — got affected by British colonialism. Right? And so, yeah, in my tweet, I mentioned about my uncle, who was deaf. He couldn’t hear the soldiers, you know, the British soldiers, so they shot him. And also, my other uncle, who was in the Mau Mau, you know, in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army.

But what’s become interesting to me now is the intimacy of colonialism, right? Because I was talking with my father the other day, and he told me the story about how we also had a home guard, a loyalist, in our family, his brother — one of his brothers was a loyalist, the other one was in the Mau Mau — and how at some point they went to my grandmother’s

— source democracynow.org | Sep 12, 2022

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Debunking the colonial myth of the ‘African Eden’

As the clamor to protect vast portions of Earth’s lands and waters grows louder to meet upcoming international goals, a newly translated book critically examines the first principles of global conservation in Africa and ways forward to avoid past pitfalls. According to Guillaume Blanc, author of The Invention of Green Colonialism, one of these pitfalls is the idea of an “African Eden” that casts an entire continent as the site of pristine wilderness instead of a region populated and shaped by humans for millennia.

Blanc, who specializes in environmental history at Rennes 2 University in France, lays bare the history and contradictions of the European project to secure and, at the same time, exploit Africa’s land during direct colonial rule. He goes on to show how these contradictions continue to play out into the present. Across the continent, pre- and postcolonialism, people who lived in areas designated as national parks or other conserved areas faced expulsion because they were treated as a threat rather than collaborators in the conservation project.

The scope of the challenges we face — from biodiversity loss to climate change — is global, but that doesn’t mean the solutions must originate from a clique of NGOs or

— source news.mongabay.com | Malavika Vyawahare | 23 Sep 2022

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What Will the Future of Kenya Look Like?

Kenya is facing a political crisis following last week’s presidential election. On Monday, the chair of Kenya’s election commission announced Deputy President William Ruto had won the election after winning 50.5% of the vote. But four of the seven members on the election commission have disavowed Ruto’s victory and are critiquing how the votes were counted.

it’s not so much that people are questioning the results, but people are questioning the outcome of the results. And that’s an important nuance just because of the history of Kenyan elections. We’ve had very heavily contested elections for the last 30 years, starting in 1992, and there’s always been a reason to doubt the results because of interference by the electoral commission, by the people who are in power. And, you know, the one that — the round that people might be most familiar with, the 2007 round, that led to violence, there’s — elections have just always come under a cloud of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, intimidation, the electoral commission not rising to the occasion, results being interfered with.

And so there was a great deal of expectation, really, that after six cycles — as I said, beginning in 1992 — that the electoral commission might be able to deliver a result that wasn’t shrouded in, you

— source democracynow.org | Aug 19, 2022

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The Kenyan Kakistocracy

If you’ve noticed an eerie silence coming from the direction of Kenya, it’s because many of us are struggling to believe that what the news is telling us. William Samoei Ruto, former deputy president and International Criminal Court indictee, has been declared president-elect of Kenya. Ruto garnered 50.5 percent of the valid votes cast, while Raila Odinga received 48.9 percent. Voters in countries like the United States and Brazil will be familiar with this feeling, waking up in the days after an election watching an unapologetically dangerous figure ascend to the most powerful office in the country. What will the future look like now?

When you work in political analysis, there is often pressure to remain “objective,” particularly when you are not white and you are doing extensive work on your own home country. If you spend too much of your time telling the truth about people, you face the risk of being consigned to the status of “native informer,” meaning your work is not given its own merit but becomes fodder for explaining “the Other” to the West. At the same time, the experience of countries like the United States shows how limiting this misguided objectivity can be. Some people don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Some ideas should be called out before they take root, gain power, and eventually guide the country. Objectivity, as framed in Western political thought, is a luxury that is primarily afforded by those who will not be directly harmed by the fallout of political outcomes.

— source thenation.com | Nanjala Nyabola | Aug 17, 2022

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