Sunday, October 31, 2021

Gambana - For Equality in Mali

 Although slavery as an institution was officially abolished in Mali during colonial rule more than a century ago, the so-called “descent-based slavery” still persists today. Although slavery was outlawed by the French colonial rule in 1905, the authorities turned a blind eye to the continuation of slavery which they referred to as “domestic slavery”, fearing that complete abolition would destabilise economies dependant on the practice and endanger colonial rule. Thus the socioeconomic model has reinforced the historical hierarchies that persist today.

The centuries-old historical hierarchies have divided communities into various social castes such as nobles, chiefs, artisans and slaves – who are at the bottom rung of society and have merely inherited their status from their enslaved forefathers.

As they celebrated Mali’s independence day in the country’s western region of Kayes. But things took a dark turn when a group of people carrying thick wooden sticks and machetes appeared all of sudden. The celebrating crowd – people from the so-called “slave” class – were brutally attacked and publicly humiliated by the descendants of slaveholder families who consider themselves “nobles”. Attacks continued for two days, killing at least one man and wounding at least 12 others, United Nations experts said.

The lives of enslaved people are highly controlled in feudal communities. They are not allowed to become the mayor or chief of a village, own land or even marry outside their class. During celebrations such as weddings or births, they are expected to serve the nobles by slaughtering animals and preparing their meals. According to the descendants of privileged slaveholder families, this traditional practice is entirely voluntary. But the descendants of slaves say otherwise. Experts say they are at risk of losing their homes and access to water and land should they protest against the practice. Attacks against those who defy the tradition have become increasingly common in recent years, men have been publicly beaten and humiliated with their arms and legs bound.

Between 2018 and early 2021, more than 3,000 people who were descendants of slaves were forcibly displaced in Kayes. Gambana, a prominent anti-slavery and pacifist organisation, estimates that there are 200,000 such people in the region.

Diaguily Kanoute, who leads Gambana (“equality” in local Soninke language), said those who reject the practice are ostracised. 

“You either have to accept being slave or you have to leave the village,” Kanoute, formerly enslaved himself, explained.

According to the UN, twice as many people were injured in “barbaric and criminal” attacks linked to descent-based slavery in 2021 compared with last year. Kayes alone has seen eight attacks, the UN experts said, noting that perpetrators are rarely held accountable. 

“The fact that these attacks occur so often in this area shows that descent-based slavery is still socially accepted by some influential politicians, traditional leaders, law enforcement officials and judicial authorities,” they said.

Malian sociologist Brema Ely Dicko says the rising number of attacks shows the so-called nobles caste is not above using violence to maintain the existing social order.

“Anti-slavery campaigns, particularly Gambana’s, have raised awareness among the descendants of slaves who dared to tell their masters that they are not slaves. And masters started to take their land away from them and denied access to their water wells, which quickly followed by violence and forced displacement”, Dicko said.

Marie Rodet, at SOAS University of London, agrees and says the resistance to slavery has been largely amplified by social media which has become a powerful tool to question the status quo.

“Today, when you know that more than 70,000 people are members of Gambana’s anti-slavery activist groups on WhatsApp, it becomes clear that the oppressors have lost the ideological fight,” Rodet commented. “As they cannot accept their defeat though, they rely on retaliation to defend the little power they believe they still hold.” She continued, “What is worrying is the involvement of the younger generation in some of these exactions against victims of descent-based slavery with the complicity of local politicians and authorities.”

Unlike its neighbours Niger, Senegal and Mauritania, the country has not implemented legislation to prohibit and criminalise descent-based slavery. Anti-slavery activists believe the authorities lack the courage to end the practice, which provides a degree of impunity to perpetrators to continue to abuse those deemed slaves.

“The state has been in denial when it comes to slavery,” said Abdoulaye Macko, a founding member of Temedt, the first organisation set up to fight slavery in Mali. “With the scale of the abuses against slaves in recent years, the discourse is starting to change. However, the state’s response to the crisis remains timid,” he added, calling for the adoption of legislation to criminalise the practice and hold the perpetrators to account, as well as “make reparations and restore the rights of citizens deprived of their property”.

Slavery is alive in Mali and continues to wreak havoc on lives | Slavery News | Al Jazeera

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Climate Change is Changing Farming


Small farmers around the world who grow thirsty crops like corn will face a huge adaptation challenge as the effects of climate change worsen in the coming years, experts warned Wednesday.

A report issued by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) sounds the alarm after commissioning a study on agriculture in southern and eastern Africa.

Harvests of staple crops in eight countries could plummet by up to 80 percent by 2050 as warming accelerates, the report projected.

“This could have a catastrophic impact on poverty and food availability unless there is an urgent injection of funding to help vulnerable farmers adapt how and what they farm,” it said.

The study was carried by the University of Cape Town, which analyzed climate impact on agriculture in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It projected a temperature rise of around two degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2069, and up to 2.6C in some places.

“The eight countries analyzed are very different, landlocked, coastal, mountainous or semi-arid, but the conclusions are repeated and grim,” said IFAD, a specialized UN agency.

“Rainfall will be scarcer but also more erratic, with flash floods threatening crops and soil stability,” it said.

Corn, also called maize, requires a lot of water to grow, which will add to pressure on farmers to switch to strains that mature earlier, or to switch to more resilient crops such as cassava, peanuts, beans, sorghum and millet.

But moving to different crops is easier said than done, as there can be strong market preferences, IFAD said.

Farmers also face many financial and technical hurdles as they contemplate a switch, from advice on seeds and the acquisition of new tools to the processing and storage of crops to prevent spoilage.

Rich countries in 2015 vowed to muster $100 billion in climate aid for poorer nations annually by 2020. That goal remains unmet and in any case is far below what will be needed, according to the report.

It is estimated that less developed economies require between $140 and $300 billion annually by 2030 to combat the impact of climate change.

At present, out of every $18 committed to fighting climate change, only $1 is spent on adaptation — the rest goes on reducing carbon emissions that cause the problem.

Climate Crisis To Devastate The World's Leading Economic Powers Including The U.S., Says Report| Countercurrents

The “polluter pays” principle.

 Much of Africa has been battered by climate-related disasters. Cop26 is a chance for the biggest polluters to set up a compensation fund.

 One pledge made in 2009, is that rich countries would send $100bn (£73bn) of climate finance each year to the most affected countries by 2020. This was meant to be just the start – a first recognition of the catastrophe inflicted on the most affected countries by the biggest historical emitters. This money was promised so poorer countries could develop clean energy, to mitigate emissions for everyone.

But since 2009, the impacts of the climate crisis have accelerated. Africa has endured a long list of climate-related disasters – drought, flooding, landslides, famine, destruction and death – rocking all parts of our continent. Aside from the innumerable personal tragedies, the crisis is causing billions of dollars of economic damage. There is no mitigation that can undo this damage, and further harms will continue as a result of world emissions.

There is no money to pay for this devastation. These areas are no longer insurable – the risk is too high. But money to repair and deal with the consequences of extreme weather has to come from somewhere.

“Loss and damage” is the term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to compensation for the most affected countries for what has been inflicted on them. For years the richest nations have blocked any progress on loss and damage at UN summits, but now it is unavoidable.

recent analysis identified the countries historically responsible for the climate crisis. We know who did this – but they don’t want to pay the bill. Rich countries providing finance only for the mitigation of our emissions and protections against future impacts is no longer enough. Climate-vulnerable countries need funds to deal with the loss and damage we are suffering now.

Fossil fuel companies should also pay for the loss and damage they have caused. They have made billions of dollars in profits selling products they knew could drive humanity to an existential crisis. For decades they have run lobbying campaigns to question science they knew was true, and to prevent the climate action that would have saved many lives.

 It has to go beyond the gesture of guaranteeing the $100bn they promised 12 years ago. The polluters who decided to sacrifice our lives for their own profits, whether corporations or governments, should pay. 

We know who caused the climate crisis – but they don’t want to pay for it | Vanessa Nakate | The Guardian

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Climate Refugee Threat


East Africa's five nations - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi - have increasingly experienced extreme weather events in recent years.

Climate change will force tens of millions of East Africans to abandon their homes within the next three decades, even if schemes to reduce its impact on the region are rolled out, the World Bank said.

People affected will include drought-stricken farmers seeking new arable land or different work in urban areas, and others driven out by the need to find clean water, the Bank said.

Apart from a worsening drought in a region heavily reliant on agriculture, there was extensive flooding in 2020, while a locust infestation of historic proportions that began in 2019 continues to wreak havoc.

"Without broad, urgent action... as many as 38.5 million people could be internally displaced as a consequence of climate change by 2050," said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank vice president for the region.

Steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fund climate change and adaptation schemes could cut the projected number of displacements, but only by 30%, the bank's report said.

"Climate action is still under-funded," said Keith Hansen, World Bank's country director for Kenya.

Rich nations promised in 2009 to deliver $100 billion a year for five years from 2020 to poorer countries to help them tackle the impact of global warming. But that funding programme is set to be delayed by three years.

Climate change to displace millions of East Africans by 2050 (

Congo Rainforest Under Threat


The Congo rainforest is the world’s largest after the Brazilian Amazon. It is a peerless natural resource teeming with biodiversity and home to 40 million people. It’s now the world’s largest forest carbon sink after scientists’ recent grim discovery that the Amazon had “flipped” to emitting more carbon than it absorbs due to rampant deforestation.

The Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) aims to protect the Congo Basin rainforest, which absorbs 4 per cent of the planet’s annual carbon emissions, through international support and investment. It is a $1bn plan backed by the UK and EU to protect the world’s second-largest rainforest.

 Yet it could allow for more industrial logging that it is feared will wipe out the forest within decades. The plan avoids taking up a position over the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) decision to lift a 20-year-old ban on new logging permits. It will not be challenged by CAFI – set up by the UK, France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and South Korea in 2015 – in the group’s haste to make the $1bn announcement at Cop26 in Glasgow.

Environmentalists have warned that allowing more logging in the vast Congo Basin carbon sink is catastrophically incompatible with tackling the climate crisis. Numerous studies have underlined the importance of intact tropical forests to slowing climate change. Old-growth trees in particular are incredibly efficient at pulling carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in a process called carbon sequestration.

 40 organisations, including Greenpeace Africa and Congolese indigenous groups, have urged CAFI to make new funding conditional on a binding commitment to extend the moratorium. They say industrial logging could threaten an area of tropical forest the size of France and thousands of endangered species such as mountain gorillas, elephants and the Okapi, a species endemic to the region. It would also place the human rights of communities at risk, an open letter noted, while potentially increasing the risk of outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola and possibly Covid-19.

Rampant deforestation is accelerating across Central Africa due to interwoven threats of industrial agriculture, urban expansion, oil and gas projects, and climate-driven droughts. Global Forest Watch reports that the rate of tree cutting has more than doubled in the past decade, and a recent study found the Congo Basin forest could be cleared by 2100.

“Forest protection and industrial logging are like oil and water. They just don’t go together,” Serge Ngwato, Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner, told The Independent“The moratorium must be extended and industrial logging scaled down, rather than expanded. Funds must benefit indigenous and local communities rather than the circular economy of multinational colonialist loggers.”

Joe Eisen, executive director of the non-profit Rainforest Foundation UK explained that the deal risks being a “bodged agreement that is rushed through ... by those wanting to make an announcement at Cop26 rather than the Congolese forests and the millions who depend on them”. He added: “While potentially opening up tens of millions of hectares to a logging industry that is mired in corruption and poor social and environmental practice, the draft foresees barely any increase in community management of forests, which is proven to store more carbon, harbour more biodiversity and benefit more people.”

More than half of the Congo Basin’s forest cover, an estimated 110-150 million hectares, is located in the DRC. By some estimates, it’s the wealthiest country in the world in terms of natural resources, including raw minerals worth trillions of dollars. And yet its people remain among the world’s very poorest.

In 2002, the DRC introduced a national moratorium on new logging concessions. The moratorium has been continually violated and recently. Despite its failings, environmental groups and NGOs say the moratorium plays an important role in protecting forests along with local communities and Indigenous peoples. In July, the Congolese deputy prime minister and minister of environment, Ève Bazaiba, announced she would lift the ban on new logging concessions, saying it would help the DRC better govern its environment. 

NGOs sounded the alarm over nine forest concessions that were granted for in excess of 2 million hectares to two Chinese companies. Bazaiba said the government had “no lessons to learn about our resources from an NGO”.

$1bn plan to save critical Congo Basin forest could allow more logging, leaked documents reveal | The Independent

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Burkina Faso Refugees

 More than a million people are fleeing terror and violence in Burkina Faso, and their numbers are growing. At the end of August, more than 1.4 million people were displaced in Burkina Faso, according to government figures. The problem is no longer confined to one region, said Abdouraouf Gnon-Konde, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) country director.

Various terrorist groups operate in Burkina Faso, including the al-Qaeda linked group Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which originated in Mali, and the so-called Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (EIGS), which is active in the border region with Niger in the east. Outlaws take advantage of the bad security situation and also carry out attacks. The situation is increasingly driving people away from their homes.

The refugee crisis has aggravated poverty in a country that has always ranked low on the United Nations Development Index — currently, it stands at 182 out of 189 countries. There are hardly any permanent jobs and many people are small farmers. 

"We simply exist, there is nothing to do and if we aren't given food, we have nothing to eat."

State schools are already overcrowded — and that situation does not take internally displaced persons (IDPs) into account. This school year, 2,244 educational institutions remained closed because of terrorist attacks. Nearly 54% of IDPs are younger than 14, says the UN's Abdouraouf Gnon-Konde.

"They are waiting to go back to school. School is the key to creating a future for these children," he said. Aid organizations have launched a number of projects to make up for missed lessons, but it's not enough.

The UNHCR doesn't have the funds to take care of all the refugees, said Gnon-Konde, adding that only a fourth of the roughly $602 million needed for 2021 is currently funded.

Burkina Faso′s silent refugee crisis | Africa | DW | 26.10.2021

Uganda's Dilemma

 Uganda had said it would spend $537m between 2016 and 2020, including funds from international agencies and donors, on climate-related projects to adapt the country’s infrastructure and deal with climate emergencies. However, the $107.4m annual budget is dwarfed by external debt payments which will total $739m in 2021, rising to $1.35bn in 2025.

Ausi Kibowa, from the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), based in Uganda, said: “Owing to the immense financial pressure on Uganda from the debt crisis, the Ugandan government is unable to spend what is need to protect people from the damage inflicted by climate change. Furthermore, it is intensifying fossil fuel extraction in order to pay the debt. To address climate injustice, debt relief must be part of the forthcoming UN climate talks."

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Che’s “Heart of Darkness,”

 An interesting article on Che Guevara's involvement in the Congo in 1965. After the defeat of the guerrilla army he had assembled, Che spent six months living clandestinely at the Cuban Embassy in Dar es Salaam and at a “safe house” in Prague, before returning to Cuba. 

The Congo, he explained, was the setting for “the cruelest and most bitter liberation struggle.” Black Africans who had led anti-colonial movements were now sadly the “lords of the revolution” who enjoyed “princely holidays.” Neo-colonialism was as bad as colonialism itself. The agents of empires aimed not just for enslavement and exploitation, but also “for the negation of the individual human being.” 

In his Congo Diary he wrote that the Congolese were  “the worst example of a fighter I have encountered.”  He criticizes the entire military expedition and most of the operatives, both the Cubans, who were in the Congo with him and the ill-equipped and unprepared Congolese soldiers who joined them some of the time. In Che’s eyes, the Congolese soldiers were unfit for guerrilla warfare or combat of any kind. They didn’t know how to fire a rifle, or make ready to ambush the enemy. They ran away from battle at the first sounds of gunfire.  Also, they were superstitious, believed in magic and in spells, went to prostitutes in the towns, contracted venereal diseases, and, like “parasites,” lived off the peasants. “A war is not won with such troops,” Che decided early on. The longer he stayed in the Congo the more he was convinced of the futility of his dream. “We cannot by ourselves liberate a country that does not want to fight,” he wrote.

The reviewer, Cynthia Grenier, wrote, “The beloved revolutionary icon sounds pretty much like an old-fashioned racist when it comes to evaluating his black brothers in arms.” 

“To replace colonialism with neocolonialism, or one group of neocolonialists with another group that does not look so bad,” Che wrote, “is not a correct revolutionary strategy.”

Heart of Darkness: Che Guevara's Congo -

Monday, October 25, 2021

Breaking Patent Laws

 In  Cape Town, South Africa,  two warehouses have been converted into a number of airlocked sterile rooms where young scientists are assembling and calibrating the equipment needed to create a coronavirus vaccine. Over the objections of the original developers, The Cape Town initiative is intended to expand access to the novel messenger RNA technology that Moderna, as well as Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, used in their vaccines. If the team in South Africa succeeds in making a version of Moderna’s vaccine, the information will be publicly released for use by others.

 Dr. Tom Frieden, the former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has described the world as “being held hostage” by Moderna and Pfizer, whose vaccines are considered the most effective against COVID-19. The novel mRNA process uses the genetic code for the spike protein of the coronavirus and is thought to trigger a better immune response than traditional vaccines.

It’s a last-resort effort to make vaccine doses available for people going without because of the refusal of Big Pharma and the World Trade Organization to temporary rescind intellectual property laws.

 “We are doing this for Africa at this moment, and that drives us,” said Emile Hendricks, a 22-year-old biotechnologist for Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, the company trying to reproduce the Moderna shot. “We can no longer rely on these big superpowers to come in and save us.”

With the approval and assistance of the World Health Organization, he and his colleagues are applying reverse engineering — recreating vaccines from fragments of publicly available information — as one of the few remaining ways to redress the power imbalances of the pandemic.

 Only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries so far, while nearly half have gone to wealthy countries. The U.N.-backed effort to equitably allot vaccines globally, known as COVAX, has failed to alleviate severe shortages in poor countries. Donated doses are coming in at a fraction of what is needed to fill the gap. Meanwhile, pressure for drug companies to share vaccines has led nowhere.

 After pleading with drugmakers to share their formulas,  raw materials and technological know-how, some poorer countries are done waiting.

Afrigen Managing Director Petro Terblanche said the Cape Town company is aiming to have a version of the Moderna vaccine ready for testing in people within a year and scaled up for commercial production not long after.“We have a lot of competition coming from Big Pharma. They don’t want to see us succeed.”

Moderna has not offered to help outside companies to make its mRNA shot.  The Medicines Patent Pool repeatedly tried but failed to convince Pfizer and BioNTech to even discuss sharing their formulas.

Zoltan Kis, an expert in messenger RNA vaccines at Britain’s University of Sheffield, said reproducing Moderna’s vaccine is “doable” but the task would be far easier if the company shared its expertise. Kis estimated the process involves fewer than a dozen major steps. But certain procedures are tricky, such as sealing the fragile messenger RNA in lipid nanoparticles, he said. “It’s like a very complicated cooking recipe,” he said. “Having the recipe would be very, very helpful, and it would also help if someone could show you how to do it.”

“The enemy to these corporations is losing their potential profit down the line,” Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of the global health nonprofit Partners in Health, said.

Africa tries to end vaccine inequity by replicating its own (

Saturday, October 23, 2021

South Sudan and Climate Change

 This is the third straight year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further imperilling the livelihoods of many of the 11 million people in the world’s youngest country. A five-year civil war, hunger and corruption have all challenged the nation. Now climate change, which the United Nations has blamed on the flooding, is impossible to ignore.

It is the worst flooding that parts of South Sudan have seen in 60 years.

 The U.N. says the flooding has affected almost a half-million people across South Sudan since May. Here in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, the Lol river has burst its banks. This state is usually spared from extreme flooding that plagues the South Sudan states of Jonglei and Unity that border the White Nile and the Sudd marshlands. But now, houses and crops have been swamped. In rural South Sudan communities, shelters of braided grass put up a fragile resistance in a land of seemingly endless water.

A new report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization warned of increasing such climate shocks to come across much of Africa, the continent that contributes the least to global warming but will suffer from it most.

In South Sudan, flooding called 'worst thing in my lifetime' (

Friday, October 22, 2021

Internet Colonialism

 While billions use the internet daily, its inner workings are little understood and rarely subject to scrutiny. Globally, five fully autonomous regional bodies, operating as nonprofit public trusts, decide who owns and runs the internet’s limited store of first-generation IP address blocks. Founded in 2003, AFRINIC was the last of the five registries to be created.

Just a decade ago, the pool of 3.7 billion first-generation IP, known as IPv4, was fully exhausted in the developed world. Such IP addresses now sell at auction for between $20 and $30 each.

Millions of internet addresses assigned to Africa have been waylaid, some fraudulently, including through insider machinations linked to a former top employee of the nonprofit that assigns the continent's addresses. Instead of serving Africa's internet development, many have benefited spammers and scammers, while others satiate Chinese appetites for pornography and gambling. Many of the disputed addresses continue to host websites that have nonsense URL address names and contain gambling and pornography aimed at an audience in China, whose government bans such online businesses.

AFRINIC, is working to reclaim the lost addresses. But a legal challenge by a deep-pocketed Chinese businessman, Lu Heng, a Hong Kong-based arbitrage specialist, is threatening the body’s very existence. 

Under contested circumstances, he obtained 6.2 million African addresses from 2013 to 2016. That’s about 5% of the continent’s total — more than Kenya has. In his initial request for IP addresses in 2013, Lu made clear to AFRINIC that his customers would be in China. In those emails, Lu said he needed the addresses for virtual private networks — known as VPNs — to circumvent the Chinese government’s firewall that blocks popular websites like Facebook and YouTube there. 

When AFRINIC revoked Lu’s addresses, now worth about $150 million, he fought back. His lawyers in late July persuaded a judge in Mauritius, where AFRICNIC is based, to freeze its bank accounts. His company also filed a $80 million defamation claim against AFRINIC and its new CEO.

It’s a shock to the global networking community, which has long considered the internet as technological scaffolding for advancing society. Some worry it could undermine the entire numerical address system that makes the internet work.

“There was never really any thought, particularly in the AFRINIC region, that someone would just directly attack a foundational element of internet governance and just try and shut it down, try and make it go away.” said Bill Woodcock, executive director of Packet Clearing House, a global nonprofit that has helped build out Africa’s internet.

In revoking Lu’s address blocks, AFRINIC is trying to reclaim internet real estate critical for a continent that lags the rest in leveraging internet resources to raise living standards and boost health and education. Africa has been allocated just 3% of the world’s first-generation IP addresses.

Lu's legal gains in the case have stunned and dismayed the global internet-governance community. Network activists worry they could help facilitate further internet resource grabs by China, for starters. Some of Lu’s major clients include the Chinese state-owned telecommunication firms China Telecom and China Mobile.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s running the show. It seems like he’s the face of the show. I expect that he has got quite a significant backing that’s actually pulling the strings,” said Mark Tinka, a Ugandan who heads engineering at SEACOM, a South Africa-based internet backbone and services provider. Tinka worries Lu has “access to an endless pile of resources.”

But that was far from all of it.

Ownership of at least 675,000 wayward addresses is still in dispute. Some are controlled by an Israeli businessman, who has sued AFRINIC for trying to reclaim them. Guilmette calculates that a total of 1.2 million stolen addresses remain in use.

Making things worse: the alleged theft of millions of AFRINIC IP addresses, involving the organization’s former No. 2 official, Ernest Byaruhanga, who was fired in December 2019. It's unclear whether he was acting alone. The misappropriation of 4 million IP addresses worth more than $50 million by Byahuranga and perhaps others was discovered by Ron Guilmette, a freelance internet sleuth in California, and exposed by him and journalist Jan Vermeulen of the South African tech website MyBroadband.

Many have long profited from Africa’s riches of gold, diamonds, and even people. Digital resources have proven no different.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Green Colonialism

 There is a massive land grab on an unprecedented scale, notably in Africa, using the mask of “conservation” and “protecting nature” to throw people off their land and wreck their nature-friendly ways of existence.

The Scientific American notes in its October 2021 editorial the danger of “a new model of colonialism” that “forces those least responsible for climate change, biodiversity loss and other environmental crises to pay the highest price for averting them”. 

 "...In the Congo Basin, for example, armed eco-guards have brutally evicted Indigenous Pygmies from the rain forest to carve out protected areas. These wildlife reserves expanded following a CBD [the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity] resolution in 2010 to dedicate 17 percent of Earth's terrestrial surface to nature. Yet the protected areas are surrounded by or sometimes even overlaid with oil, mining or logging concessions. Unsurprisingly, chimpanzee, gorilla and elephant populations have continued to decline even as Pygmy peoples have been consigned to poverty and misery..."

There is now a new policy of the “30x30” campaign to protect 30 percent of Earth's land and sea surface by 2030.

 In L’invention du colonialisme vert (‘The Invention of Green Colonialism’), the author, Guillaume Blanc, warns that in their bid to “protect” 30% or even 50% of the planet, there exists a threat essentially aiming to rid vast swathes of the non-Western world of all indigenous life.

He says that the “naturalization” of parts of Africa effectively amounts to “dehumanization” and involves “putting areas inside parks, banning agriculture, excluding people, getting rid of their fields and grazing grounds in order to create a supposedly natural world without humans”. 

This is achieved by forced resettling of populations and the social disintegration that goes along with it, together with the use of fines, prison sentences, beatings, even rapes and murders. Missionary-like brainwashing propaganda, via the inevitable “participatory workshops”, has also been used to persuade people to leave their land. Blanc explains that the international conservation “experts” claim to be working for harmonious global governance. Their principles are supposedly moral – they are said to be fighting poverty, hunger and disease – and their standards are presented as ethical, in that the development they are promoting is allegedly sustainable, community-based and participative.  It is deeply contradictory in content,  “giving nature to the people; preventing the people from living in it”.

 There are echoes of the historical enclosures in England and elsewhere in the way that living on the land, in traditional ways, has been criminalised in order to bring about disempowerment and helpless dependence on an industrial system. To justify the land grab a false image has been built up, explains Blanc, according to which Africa is a virgin natural paradise threatened by the presence of its own indigenous human inhabitants. The love of nature, and the desire to protect it, is thus twisted and weaponized into a new excuse to pillage and colonise Africa.

Peasant farmers in Africa are accused of “destroying nature”, while they in fact produce their own food, eat very little meat or fish, very rarely buy new clothes, move around on foot and don’t own computers or smart phones.

Blanc comments: “If we want to save the planet, we should all be living like them”. (3) Instead, such people are being ruthlessly driven from the land.

“Behind every social injustice endured by those living close to nature in Africa, we always find UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization], the WWF [World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund], the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature] or Fauna and Flora International”

Taken from

“Green” Imperialism On The March (

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Who will pay?

 A new report, The State of the Climate in Africa, says Africa needs to invest up to $50bn (£36bn) a year in order to cope with the growing threat of climate change.

The African Union and World Meteorological Organisation warn that “By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people (i.e. living on less than $1.90 per day) will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa if adequate response measures are not put in place,” if nothing is done. 

Over 1.2 million new disaster-related (storms and floods) displacements occurred in the East and Horn of the African region. That’s more than double the near 500,000 people in the region who were displaced due to conflict.

It also warns that all of Africa's remaining glaciers are on track to disappear by the 2040s.

Africa has warmed faster than the global average but has been responsible for just 4% of the world’s greenhouse emissions.

As Africa’s glaciers melt, millions face drought and floods, UN says - CNBC Africa

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Looting Africa's Treasures

 A bronze cockerel kept at Cambridge University that had been looted in a British raid on what is now Nigeria will be handed back this month. The Benin bronze, known as an "okukor", was given to Jesus College in 1905. The college said it became the first institution in the world to announce its decision to return a Benin Bronze", in 2019 .

The Benin Bronzes, a collection made up of carved ivory, bronze and brass crafted sculptures and plaques, are not mere artworks but catalogue the story of Benin – its achievements, explorations and belief systems.

The British Museum holds around 73,000 African objects looted from Africa during wars and colonisation. Six decades on from independence, African governments are still actively seeking the return of stolen artefacts.

“It was purely a colonial power exerting power on the community. They looted and burned down everything and carted away what they took off the people,” Tijani, of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments explains.

The Benin Kingdom theft is well-documented.  The British Museum said that “the devastation and plunder wreaked upon Benin City during the British military expedition in 1897 is fully acknowledged by the Museum.  Yet Benin Bronzes remain profitable for their owners, with single pieces having fetched more than $4m at auction houses. 

In 1899, Henry Labouchère, the MP for Middlesex, described the process by which territory was acquired during a parliamentary meeting. “Someone belonging to one company or another meets a black man. Of course, he has an interpreter with him. He asks the black man if he is proprietor of certain land, and if he will sign a paper he shall have a bottle of gin. The black man at once accepts; a paper is put before him, and he is told to make his mark on it, which he does. And then we say that we have made a treaty by which all the rights in that country of the emperor, king, or chief, or whatever you call him, have been given over to us. That is the origin of all these treaties.”

Full story can be read at

Stealing Africa: How Britain looted the continent’s art | History | Al Jazeera

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

America's Vaccine Hoarding

 Doctors Without Borders—known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)—said the United States is hoarding nearly 500 million excess coronavirus vaccine doses—the most of any country.

"It's reckless and dangerous for the U.S. and other high-income countries to be sitting on excessive stocks of Covid-19 vaccines while others... are desperate to provide their most vulnerable people with even their first dose," Dr. Carrie Teicher, director of programs at Doctors Without Borders USA, said.

Public Citizen president Robert Weissman noted in a statement, "All African countries combined have had roughly 150 million doses administered."

"Africa has a population over 1.34 billion. The U.S. population is 330 million," Weissman said. "Put simply: Africa has four times the population of the U.S. but has administered about one-third the number of Covid vaccine doses... This unconscionable vaccine apartheid is not just leaving billions of people in African and other developing countries vulnerable to preventable disease, suffering, and death, it is dramatically increasing global poverty rates—as well as the death, disease, and hunger that accompanies severe poverty."

'Reckless': Doctors Without Borders Slams US for Hoarding 500 Million Vaccine Doses (

Friday, October 08, 2021

Fish for fish-farms or for feeding people?

 Greenpeace activists have intercepted a  tanker in the English Channel carrying fish oil from west Africa to Europe, to highlight the threat they say industry poses to food security and to livelihoods in the region. Activists and locals say the industry pushes up prices and depletes stocks of fish eaten by local people across poor communities in Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia.

The Key Sund, a Norwegian-flagged vessel capable of carrying 4,500 tonnes of fish oil, the equivalent of 90,000 tonnes of processed fish, departed on 27 September from Nouadhibou, Mauritania. It was believed to be on its way to deliver part of its cargo to a fish oil company in France.

“This is big business stripping life from our oceans and depriving our fishing communities of their livelihoods,” said Dr Aliou Ba, the oceans campaign manager for Greenpeace Africa. “This trade in fishmeal and fish oil is not sustainable. The fish that goes into fish oil and fish meal could be used to feed west African people.”

Each year more than half a million tonnes of fish are being taken from the coasts of Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia and converted to fish meal and fish oil, used mainly in agriculture and fish farms, according to a report by Changing Markets, a Netherlands-based organisation, and Greenpeace Africa. West African production of fish meal and fish oil has increased more than tenfold over the past decade, from 13,000 tonnes in 2010 to more than 170,000 tonnes in 2019, the report by Changing Markets and Greenpeace shows. 

Globally, 69% of fishmeal and 75% of fish oil is used for aquafeed to produce farmed fish such as salmon and trout.

In the Gambia, artisanal fishers said they blamed their government for encouraging overfishing and allowing fishmeal plants to operate.

In Senegal, rocketing prices for sardinella and bonga, two species used in the fish meal and fish oil industry, are threatening the livelihoods of artisanal fishers.

The species, particularly sardinella, a staple food across west Africa, are overexploited, “posing a serious threat to food security in the subregion”, according to a UN Food and Agriculture Organization working group. The FAO has called for an urgent 50% reduction in fishing effort for sardinella species

Greenpeace stops fish oil tanker in Channel in protest over African food insecurity | Fish | The Guardian