Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Africa Review - Ethiopians want justice for Gaddafi family maid

Muammar Gaddafi's fourth son, Hannibal (left) and his wife Aline Skaf. An Ehiopian woman has accused Aline of abusing her when she worked for the Gaddafi family before the fled to Algeria. PHOTO | AFP and FILE |
By ARGAW ASHINE in Addis AbabaPosted Wednesday, August 31 2011 at 17:00
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Angry Ethiopians have called for justice for a nanny who was reportedly abused by the supermodel wife of Hannibal Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's fourth son.

Cable television CNN broadcast horrific footage of Ms Shweyga Mullah's injury-wracked body after she was left behind helpless by Aline Skaf, the wife of Hannibal, as the family fled to Algeria this week.

According to the report, Shweyga, an Ethiopian, was covered in raw wounds after being severely scalded by her mistress, Aline, who also threatened to punish any other worker who helped the maid.

Ms Shweyga had allegedly refused an order to beat Aline's daughter. The supermodel then reportedly took the maid to a bathroom, tied her hands and feet, taped her mouth and then poured boiling water on her head. (Read: Luxury, horror lurk in Gaddafi family home)

A group of Ethiopians have launched an online appeal for justice and financial support to help the victim and her family. Another group of volunteer professionals have also said they are prepared to investigate the issue and seek justice for the maid.

The Ethiopian government has moved to set up a fund to cover her medical costs and transportation back home.

Video evidence

According to the victim's aunt, Zuryashwork Akalu, who lives in Addis Ababa, Aline had done this many times.

"We have received video evidence about the suffering of our daughter," Ms Zuryashowork toldAfrica Review by telephone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ethiopian slave became a South African teacher BBC News -

Bisho Jarsa, trained as a domestic servant, went on to become a teacherBisho Jarsa, trained as a domestic servant, went on to become a teacher
When Neville Alexander used to visit his maternal grandmother Bisho Jarsa as a boy, he never suspected the extraordinary story of how she had come from Ethiopia to the South African city of Port Elizabeth.
Bisho was one of a group of Ethiopian slaves freed by a British warship in 1888 off the coast of Yemen, then taken round the African coast and placed in the care of missionaries in South Africa.
"We were overawed in her presence and by the way she would mumble to herself in this language none of us understood," recalls Mr Alexander, now 74.
This was Ethiopia's Oromo language, Bisho's mother tongue, which she reverted to as she grew older.
Mr Alexander, who was a political prisoner in the 1960s, sharing Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, is today one of South Africa's most eminent educationists.
He remembers his younger siblings asking their mother, Dimbiti: "What's Ma talking about... what's the matter with her? What's she saying?"
Their mother would respond: "Don't worry about Ma... she's just talking to God."
When he was in his late teens, his mother told him about his Ethiopian origins but Mr Alexander thinks even she may not have known all the details, which he only discovered when he was in his fifties.
He found out that the freed Ethiopians had all been interviewed on their arrival in South Africa.
The story began on 16 September 1888, when Commander Charles E Gissing, aboard the British gunship HMS Osprey, intercepted three dhows carrying Ethiopians to the slave markets in the Arabian port of Jeddah.
Sold for maize
Commander Gissing's mission was part of British attempts to end the slave trade - a trade that London had supported until 1807, when it was abolished across the British Empire.
Ethiopian children, enslaved in Ethiopia, freed by the British navy arrive in Aden. Photo: University of Cape TownOn their arrival in Yemen, the children were looked after by local families and missionaries
All the 204 slaves freed by Commander Gissing were from the Oromo ethnic group and most were children.
The Oromo, despite being the most populous of all Ethiopian groups, had long been dominated by the country's Amhara and Tigrayan elites and were regularly used as slaves.
Emperor Menelik II, who has been described as Ethiopia's "greatest slave entrepreneur", taxed the trade to pay for guns and ammunition as he battled for control of the whole country, which he ruled from 1889 to 1913.
Bisho Jarsa was among the 183 children found on the dhows.
She had been orphaned with her two brothers, as a result of the drought and disease that swept through Ethiopia in 1887, and left in the care of one of her father's slaves.
But the continuing threat of starvation resulted in Bisho being sold to slave merchants for a small quantity of maize.
After a journey of six weeks, she reached the Red Sea, where she was put on board one of the Jeddah-bound dhows intercepted by HMS Osprey.

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The missionaries recorded detailed histories of the former slaves, educated them and baptised them into the Christian faith”
Her first memory of the British was the sound of automatic gunfire blasting into the sails and rigging of the slave dhow while she huddled below deck with the other Oromo children.
They all fully expected to be eaten as this is what the Arab slave traders had told them would happen if they were captured by the British.
But Commander Gissing took the Oromo to Aden, where the British authorities had to decide what to do with the former slaves.
The Muslim children were adopted by local families. The remaining children were placed in the care of a mission of the Free Church of Scotland - but the harsh climate took its toll and by the end of the year 11 had died.
The missionaries sought an alternative home for them, eventually settling on another of the Church's missions, the Lovedale Institution in South Africa's Eastern Cape - on the other side of the continent.
Bisho and the rest of the children reached Lovedale on 21 August 1890.
The missionaries recorded detailed histories of the former slaves, educated them and baptised them into the Christian faith.
Mandela fascinated

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Neville Alexander
Her real liberation was not the British warship but the education she later received in South Africa”
Neville Alexander
Life was tough here too, however, and by 1903, at least another 18 of the children had died.
In that year, the Lovedale authorities asked the survivors whether they would like to return to Ethiopia.
Some opted to do so, but it was only after a protracted process, involving the intervention of German advisers to Emperor Menelik, that 17 former slaves sailed back to Ethiopia in 1909.
The rest had by this time married or found careers and opted to stay in South Africa.
Bisho was trained for domestic service, but she must have shown signs of special talent, because she was one of only two of the Oromo girls who went on to train as a teacher.
In 1902 she left Lovedale and found a position at a school in Cradock, then in 1911 she married Frederick Scheepers, a minister in the church.
Frederick and Bisho Jarsa had a daughter, Dimbiti. Dimbiti married David Alexander, a carpenter, and one of their children, born on 22 October 1936, was Neville Alexander.
By the 1950s and 60s he was a well-known political activist, who helped found the short-lived National Liberation Front.

Ethiopia Returnees

If you know these people - the freed slaves who decided to return home in 1909 - please use the form below to let us know:
  • Aguchello Chabani
  • Agude Bulcha
  • Amanu Figgo
  • Baki Malaka
  • Berille Boko Grant
  • Dinkitu Boensa
  • Fayesse Gemo
  • Fayissa Umbe
  • Galgal Dikko
  • Galgalli Shangalla
  • Gamaches Garba
  • Gutama Tarafo
  • Hawe Sukute
  • Liban Bultum
  • Nagaro Chali
  • Nuro Chabse
  • Rufo Gangilla
  • Tolassa Wayessa
He was arrested and from 1964 until 1974 was jailed in the bleak prison on Robben Island.
His fellow prisoners, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, were fascinated by his part-Ethiopian origins but at the time, he was not aware that his grandmother had been captured as a slave and so they could not draw any comparisons with their own fight against oppression.
So what did he feel when he found out how is grandmother had ended up in South Africa?
"It reinforced my sense of being an African in a fundamental way," he told the BBC.
Under apartheid, his family was classified as Coloured, or mixed-race, rather than African.
"We always struggled against this nomenclature," he said.
He also noted that it explained why he had often been mistaken for an Ethiopian during his travels.
The strongest parallel he can draw between his life and that of his grandmother is the role of schooling.
"Her real liberation was not the British warship but the education she later received in South Africa," he said.
"Equally, while on Robben Island, we turned it into a university and ensured that all the prisoners learned to read and write, to prepare them for their future lives."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Black Hebrews of Israel by The Durham News | The fatal fringe

A sentence in an Aug. 14 N&O story on the Pete Moses religious cult - you know, the one that drew seven people into a web of evil that left a woman and a 5-year-old boy dead - was deja vu all over again.
"Police say the two were victims of the Black Hebrews ... a radical sect that believes a race war is coming that will leave blacks dominant and supreme." Change black to white, and you have the Christian Identity Movement, which believes a coming race war will leave whites dominant and supreme.
Both extremes are as nutty as Aunt Minnie's pecan pie.
Where Pete Moses' branch of the Black Hebrews fits into the constellation of black liberation movements, maybe only he knows. But he is one of many charismatic leaders that have landed in the headlines under the rubric of Black Hebrews or Black Hebrew Israelites.
In fact, the latter has maintained a presence in Israel for decades. The sect isn't recognized by the rabbinate, and no wonder: Black Hebrew Israelites aren't Jews. Nonetheless, Black Hebrews claim they are descendants of Judah, one of the so-called lost tribes of Israel. This is on authority of the angel Gabriel, the same heavenly scrivener who dictated the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad.
That the lost tribe of Judah made its way via West Africa to North America strains credulity to the snapping point (the same can be said of the predominantly white Mormons, many of whom still believe some American Indians are related to peripatetic Israelites). No DNA or other empirical evidence supports either claim.
Of course, truth is a wayfaring stranger in fringe religious groups. Black Hebrews are not the same as Ethiopian Jews. Curiously, Black Hebrews tend to be not only anti-Semitic but also dismissive of native Africans, whom they reject as the spawn of slave-traders. But this is what you get when people have surrendered their critical thinking to an infallible and all-powerful leader.
Black Hebrews are fanatically insular, as Pete Moses' sect illustrates, they practice polygamy and are not beyond taking extreme measures against adherents who buck discipline or renounce the faith.
Pete Moses insisted on being addressed as Lord. That explains life in the haunted house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane.
Court documents accuse Lord Pete of putting a bullet through little Jadon Higganbothan's brain, believing the youngster had homosexual tendencies. Police say Antoinetta McKoy - Moses' high school flame - met her end at the hands of Moses and six others in the sect because she tried to escape.
For Lord Pete, it was his way or the die way. And so they did.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lori Day: Calling All Men: Join the Movement Against the Sexualization of Women and Girls

This article has been co-written with Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo of Princess Free Zone.
It's hard to admit it, but we need you. We need you to join the effort to end gender stereotypes and the exploitation of women and young girls. They are being sexualized around the globe in alarmingly rising numbers and alarmingly widespread ways. It is alarmingly invisible because it is alarmingly ubiquitous.
In making the case for more male voices, particularly from business leaders, politicians, and thought leaders, there are immediate obstacles:
• How do women avoid being seen as male bashers, uptight feminists, mommies with too much time on their hands, women with some irrational hatred of pink sparkly things, or all of the above?
• Is there a way to effectively develop a partnership between women and men within a grassroots movement that is still very much under the radar, despite the hard work of a great many individuals?
"This is often seen as a women's issue or parenting issue," says Melissa Wardy, owner of Pigtail Pals - Redefine Girly. "It is an issue of civil rights, as our children are having their childhoods cut short by marketers turning them into lifetime consumers." So much is at stake, and this is a time for unity, not divisiveness.
It brings to mind a favorite quote of a dear male colleague:
When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. ~Jacob August Riis
Each individual can only do what he or she can do, but together, we can make a difference over time, and one never knows which blow of the hammer will split the rock.
Perhaps men (and lots of women, too) simply have not thought these issues all the way through. For example, do we all understand the problems represented by:
• the "pinkification" of girlhood?
• the recent study using Rolling Stone magazine covers as a window onto the marked rise in intensely sexualized and objectified images of women?
• the exploitation of 10-year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau, who was posed in a highly sexualized manner for French Vogue?
We must all push the boundaries of societal messages that tell us certain things are the way they are just because. Because girls like pink and boys like blue (and gender-segmenting the toy and clothing market is doubly profitable). Because women need to be thin and sexy from cradle to grave. Because men need to want women who are thin and sexy. Must the cycle continue?
Now, this being thus far primarily a women's movement that seeks to change how girls and women are perceived and marketed to, it currently appeals to mostly women. But boys and men are negatively affected too. Sexualization and the princess culture don't just hurt girls and women; they send the wrong messages to men and boys about the value of the outside over the inside, ultimately harming their relationships. And, when girls and women begin to objectify themselves for men and boys, they benefit from male support to see that this hurts everyone. Beauty Redefined offers some clear and direct action steps men can take who wish to help break this destructive cycle.
Men should be concerned about this--after all, they have daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and female friends. Many men do care--greatly! --as girl empowerment groups like 7Wonderlicious and boy advocacy groups like The Achilles Effect recognize. The Good Men Project understands what's at stake extremely well, and fortunately there really are a lot of good men out there. We thank them, but we need even more.
The fact remains that money and corporate power still rest largely in the hands of men, so we need to appeal to the consciences and social responsibility of the male power brokers who can create initiatives to curtail the objectification of girls and women in corporate advertising. An article inForbes Corporate Social Responsibility blog discusses how companies should behave "responsibly and ethically toward society as a whole," saying, "In a world with a shifting social consciousness and women accounting for 85% of all consumer purchases, it is astounding that such blatant sexism still abounds in the marketplace." Astounding, indeed. But there is talk of consequences to those who don't practice what they preach in the form of downgrade to a company's CRR(Corporate Responsibility Rating). Could this be one possible solution?
As fathers, men have considerable influence over how their daughters' psyches develop. Even when a father innocently calls his daughter his "little princess," there are implications. According to Tanith Carey, author of Where Has My Little Girl Gone?, it's all about helping our girls grow into happy adults who do not judge themselves by looks and sexuality alone.
In her book Our Fathers, OurselvesDr. Peggy Drexler, professor of psychology and psychiatry, provides an in-depth look at father/daughter relationships and the often-tangled outcome when daddy's little girl grows up: "She may look like a woman, but she's still his little girl, helpless and vulnerable and in a perpetual need of his savoir faire and protection."
Men seem almost hardwired to view women as damsels in distress, often with the best intentions. There are some excellent resources in the form of websites and blogs that offer helpful advice from fathers. Joe Kelly's The Dad Man, which includes a segment called "Dads and Daughters," is a great place to start for fathers who really want to understand their girls and play a positive role in their development.
It is so important to acknowledge the many men who are in the trenches with women. Stephen Colbert's recent tirade against Summer's Eve and those ridiculously sexist and racist commercials comes to mind. In addition to being an extraordinarily funny piece of satire, it also spurred Summer's Eve to pull the offensive ads. Even one man can be pivotal to bringing about change.
There are other glimmers of hope. The AMA has passed a new policy that limits Photoshopping that deliberately alters female images to unrealistic proportions. A "Got Milk?" ad was pulled for its inappropriate and offensive depiction of PMS. DC and Marvel comics are saying that they need more female writers and characters, which would be very helpful considering the latest graphic depiction of Wonder Woman. While this is all encouraging, so much more is needed.

So, why should men become more involved?
First, because men love their daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and female friends.

Second, because corporate citizenship has never been more important than it is today.
And finally, for the most important reason of all: because it's the right thing to do.
Can women achieve the kind of widespread cultural change that is needed without men? We don't think so. So...
Calling all men: we need you! Come be part of this movement. This is not just a women's issue or a girls' issue. It's an everyone's issue.
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