Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Forgotten Oppressed

The oppressed and persecuted are much more than just statistics;
they are real people with individual faces, voices, hopes and dreams.

No one should be forgotten. (HART UK)

We have a responsibility as human beings to remember the oppressed and the persecuted.

In the midst of the current crises around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, we must remember those facing oppression and persecution.
We need to remember also that there is conflict elsewhere that isn't being reported on our news.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in a state of conflict for several years now and there have been over 5.5million deaths since 1998 and there have been thousands of mass rapes.
There is so much going on that we are unaware of all over the world, in countries that are currently on our TVs and in countries that aren't. We must be responsible to not forget those oppressed and persecuted. The 'real people with individual faces, voices, hopes and dreams'.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


At the moment in one of my modules we've been looking at the issue of corruption in Africa, with a specific focus on Kenya.

It has been shocking to see the amount of corruption in Kenya, it seems to be inherent in the culture and society.

Transparency International, an organisation that inquires into issues around corruption in states, ranked Kenya 154 with Somalia (the most corrupt) at 178 and Denmark (the least corrupt) at 1 in its 2010 Corruption Perception Index. 

This result shows the high level to which corruption is present in Kenya. 

There have been several 'big' scandals in Kenya in the recent years, and the violence around the 2008 elections seemed to have stemmed from issues surrounding corruption - specifically the corruption of the leaders. 

One thing that has been on my mind though is who is to blame for this?

Is it the fault of the people of Africa? 
Is it a 'natural' thing? 
I don't think so. 

After doing some reading on the topic, I am inclined to think that we, the West, are to blame. 

During the Colonial years (which were shockingly not that long ago!) we ruled African countries in a form that was bound to lead to corruption. In order to increase control over the countries we gave increased power to specific individuals, and financed them in a manner to do what we willed. 

This, in my opinion, increased a culture of bribery and elitism. 

When we abandoned the colonial countries, due to a lack of finance, we left them with a changed society that wasn't natural to their culture and wasn't complete - with institutions not built up properly, unable to withstand the years. We didn't leave the colonized countries in a position to continue the way we wanted them to; we changed the society, and abandoned it.

We shouldn't have colonized Africa in the first place, but if we were going to, we should have done so properly.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Southern Sudan

The emergence of a new country.

In the shadow of the events in Egypt, the Wiki Leaks trials, university fees and police protests, we have in our world a new country. Born out of civil war.

Nearly 99% of voters were in favor of the split.

After 6 years of civil war the people of Sudan have what they wanted. Over 3million people voted for the split.

They are due to declare formal separation on the 9th July.

On Monday night as the votes were revealed there was much celebration. Many young people have grown up during civil war, so this news is one of pure joy.

Now to the building of a new nation!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


The events in Egypt at the moment are of much interest to a lot of people.

Although I didn't have (and still don't) a vast knowledge on Egypt and its political state, my interest in the situation there has not been removed.

I have several concerns:

Firstly, the things we aren't hearing about.

Egypt has had its internet removed and phone communication to the West (where I am now, not a comment on West-East relations). This fact immediately makes me wonder 'what is there to hide?!’ International.Onmynews.com has an article/blog regarding Egypt and the lack of internet access. One this article/blog there are several links to photographs of people that have been killed. I am unsure as to the legitimacy of the source, but it does make me question what is happening in Egypt at the moment.

I do also question our 'sheltering' of the events in Egypt due to the BBC and other British organisations. The Al-Jazeera web page seems to show much more of the events, giving a clearer understanding.

Secondly, the effects that change will have between the West, MENA (Middle East and North Africa), and Egypt's relations with Israel. Again, I do not have an in depth understanding of Egyptian politics and its history, but I do understand that Egypt is a key player in MENA. Egypt has had a profound role with regards to relations with Israel and Palestine and this role has been one of peace keeping; this is an asset to international relations as a whole and I would be concerned to see this change. Also, Egypt has had a strong factor in supporting peace and relations between the West and MENA. I think that this is so vital to have in the global climate; please note I am not implying that I agree with all decisions and actions that are made by the West in MENA.

However, Egypt is fighting for democracy, a 'right' that we take for granted in the West. We enjoy a freedom to elect our representatives for government and often we can take it for granted, with so many not taking advantage of the opportunity/ability to vote. The ‘right’ to democracy is an admirable one and I cannot agree with the notion that a people cannot vote on who should be their sovereign, who should lead their state in government.

While Mubarak’s position in Egypt has been one that has seen positive effects on the international level, it is clear to see that the people of Egypt have not been happy with his leadership. Although I am concerned about the possible changes in both a regional and international level that a change of leadership in Egypt could see, I think that the ability to elect a political leader is highly important.