January 16 – 23, 2013
Each week, United Black America analyzes Pan African news from Africa and across the globe.
Contrary to Popular Belief, Eritrea is Fine
Eritrea, the small North African nation who declared its independence from Ethiopia in 1991, found itself in the news after a group of dissident Eritrean soldiers laid siege to the information ministry on Monday, forcing state media to announce a call for the release of political prisoners. For years, the West has demonized the tiny African nation for human rights violations and for maintaining a flimsy democracy (Eritrea’s first and only President, Isaias Afewerki has been in power since the nation established its independence).
Sure, there is opposition to the President there – just as there is opposition here in the United States to President Obama – but President Afewerki has been popularly elected in his country thanks to the economic and social developments he achieved for his people. Every single village in the nation provides free health care and free primary education to its residents, and in 2011, Eritrea’s GDP grew by 8.7 percent making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. You would think that the United Nations would be happy about the rise of a strong, independent, stable African nation…right? Nope! According to this article, the United Nations has leveled every sanction in the book against the nation.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice welcomed the adoption of the resolution, telling reporters after the vote that it builds on sanctions resolution 1907, which was passed two years ago. “This resolution underscores the international community’s condemnation of Eritrea’s destabilizing behavior in the Horn [of Africa] and its support for terrorism,” said Rice. “It strengthens the provisions of [resolution] 1907 and imposes additional obligations on Eritrea, limits its ability to continue to use the mining sector and the diaspora tax to fund its illicit activities.”
The only thing illicit about these resolutions is the fact that the United Nations has had its eye on Eritrea since World War II. Today, considering Eritrea is strategically located within striking distance of the entire Middle East and the rest of Africa, its no wonder that the West and its puppets would be more interested in destabilizing the valuable strip of land than support it.
The New Jim Crow Expands its Grip
It has been 3 years since Michelle Alexander’s wake up call The New Jim Crow was published. In what should have been a call to action to correct the injustices of America’s criminal justice system, it seems that America’s system of mass incarceration and societal suppression of people of color has gone into high-gear. The latest victims? Elementary school students. A juvenile judge in Georgia testified about this phenomenon during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing:
When I took the bench in 1999, I was shocked to find that approximately one-third of the cases in my courtroom were school-related, of which most were low risk misdemeanor offenses.
Upon reviewing our data, the increase in school arrests did not begin until after police were placed on our middle and high school campuses in 1996—well before the horrific shootings at Columbine High School.
The year before campus police, my court received only 49 school referrals. By 2004, the referrals increased over 1,000 percent to 1,400 referrals, of which 92% were misdemeanors mostly involving school fights, disorderly conduct, and disrupting public school.Despite the many arrests, school safety did not improve.
The number of serious weapons brought to campus increased during this period of police arrests including guns, knives, box cutter knives, and straight edge razors. Of equal concern was the decrease in the graduation rates during this same period—it reached an all-time low in 2003 of 58%.
It should come to no one’s surprise that the more students we arrested, suspended, and expelled from our school system, the juvenile crime rate in the community significantly increased. These kids lost one of the greatest protective buffers against delinquency—school connectedness.
Yes, our children are placed uder arrest for infractions as simple as not wearing belts. The problem got so bad that parents in Mississippi launched a probe into youth courts, uncovering a school-to-prison pipeline fueled by bribes made between two youth court judges and two for-profit youth institutions.
In October 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed suit against the city of Meridian, the County of Lauderdale, two youth court judges, the State of Mississippi, and two state agencies for operating a school-to-prison pipeline.
The complaint alleges that these actors are “engag[ing] in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct through which they routinely and systematically arrest and incarcerate children, including for minor school rule infractions, without even the most basic procedural safeguards, and in violation of these children’s constitutional rights.”
Among other disturbing facts, the complaint alleges that Meridian schools repeatedly respond to infractions such as “disrespect,” “refusal to follow directions,” and “profanity” by referring students to law enforcement. They also routinely suspend students on juvenile probation, resulting in their automatic incarceration, for such low-level behaviors as use of vulgar language, flatulence in class, and dress code infractions like having a shirt untucked. – Read the full PDF report
The citizens of Meridian have set the example for us all. We can be sure that the Mississippi school-to-prison pipeline is not the only one of its kind in the country.
The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world’s prisoners.
Zimbabwe Leader Mugabe revives call for a “President for a United States of Africa”
In the spirit of slain Libyan and Pan-African leader Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe suggests that had we a Pan-African Union under the leadership of a single Executive power, the conflict in Mali and other conflicts around the region could be prevented. This is a suggestion that has been made here and among a great many other Pan- African groups around the world.
Mr Mugabe told visiting African Union (AU) chairman, President Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin, on Tuesday that a single pan-African president would help to unite Africa. The 88-year-old leader made the suggestion as part of solutions for the conflicts in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
“We need a president for Africa, that is what we are going to discuss at the AU summit. Africa is not a united continent. We are not at the stage our founding fathers wanted us to be when the organ was formed,” he said.
In other news from the region,
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans and leaders from the Sadc region thronged the National Heroes Acre yesterday for the burial of Vice President Landa John Nkomo who died last Thursday after a long battle with cancer.
After the country gained independence in 1980, he joined the new Government and served as Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy in 1981 and later as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
He was appointed Minister of Labour, Manpower Planning and Social Welfare from 1988 to 1995 and then as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in 1995 before being appointed Minister of Local Government and National Housing in 1997.
Between 2000 and 2001, he was Minister of Home Affairs and was then appointed Minister of State in the President’s Office Responsible for Special Affairs in 2002.
VP Nkomo became Speaker of the Parliament in 2005 up to 2008 and was then appointed Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration in 2009 after the inception of the Inclusive Government.He was appointed Vice President on December 14, 2009.
He was 79. – Pan African News Wire
U.S. Intervenes in Franco-Malian Power Grab
Pentagon officials said a U.S. airlift of French forces to Mali is expected to continue for another two weeks. Hundreds of African soldiers from Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal are now joining.
The U.S. Air Force is keeping between eight and 10 people at the airport in Mali’s capital to help with the incoming and outgoing flights, the Pentagon said late Tuesday. The U.S. has already flown five C-17 flights into Bamako, delivering more than 80 French troops and 124 tons of equipment, it said.
The U.S. is not providing direct aid to the Malian military because the democratically elected government was overthrown last March in a coup. – The Big Story
While its highly unlikely that the United States will step knee-deep in Mali, chances are that France will maintain a foothold in the region long after the conflict has ended.
Africans across the world have raised their voice in protest at what seems to be neo-colonialism, but the fact is that no other African country stepped up to stop the rampage of Islamist extremists in the area! This disaster has gone on for a full year without anyone actively trying to stop it from within the region. No other African country picked up arms until the West decided to lead the way. Say what you will, but it is embarrassing and disappointing that no other African nation came to aid Mali until the white nations led the way.