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Aug-10-2010 02:28printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

New weekly update on the breaking stories in the African nations.

South African faces
Courtesy: South Africa Tours and Travel

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Unseen, unheard; no one should be the bearer of these two words. Unfortunately, Africa is often in the forefront of this association.

Our common humanity should change this; we should never look away because it is too distant. Our commitment to one another, to human rights, and the ability to learn should always keep us connected no matter the severity and complexity of problems.

Important insights from last week, not to be missed:

Raped 16 times, infected with HIV and kicked out of the marital home - It’s at dusk, a young woman is returning home outside the countryside town of Soroti. Crackling of military uniform and sound of army boots and gun butts by approaching patrol soldiers are heard. “Wewe nani?”(Who are you?) a thundering order comes through the darkness. Raped 16 times, infected with HIV - The Independent

Reporter gets one year in jail on defamation and extortion charges - Reporters Without Borders condemns the one-year jail sentence and fine of 5 million CFA francs that an Abidjan criminal court has imposed on Traoré Médandjé, a leading reporter for the daily L’Intelligent d’Abidjan, on charges of defaming and trying to blackmail a former health ministry official. Reporter Sentenced to One Year for Defamation and Extortion - Reporters Without Borders

Teachers the Target of Violence as Countdown Into Election Mode - Unions in Zimbabwe have complained that teachers in the country are once again increasingly becoming the main targets of ZANU PF sponsored violence and intimidation. This week the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) hit out at the Ministry of Education for what it termed its reluctance to speak out against the targeting of teachers during the constitutional outreach exercise. Teachers the Target of Violence -

Uganda: Journalist Arrested Over Kampala Bomb Blast Story - Timothy Kalyegira, a former Daily Monitor columnist and current publisher of an online newspaper, yesterday became the first Ugandan to face sedition charges arising from the use of new media. Journalist Arrested Over Kampala Bomb Blast Story -

Refugees in Djibouti - Djibouti can give the impression of a fairly modern town at first glance, but a walk in the backstreets outside the city centre reveals crippling poverty. Families from Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia live side-by-side in tin-roofed shacks, half-constructed buildings and huts made of twigs and pieces of cloths. Refugees in Djibouti -

South Africa: Police Arrest Reporter Who Wrote Expose on Police Chief - A TOP Sunday Times investigative journalist was arrested at the newspaper's offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, yesterday, in what the editor, Ray Hartley, described as a move that "was clearly designed to intimidate". Africa: Police Arrest Reporter Who Wrote Expose on Police Chief -

Soldier of misfortune: How journalist Mohamed Olad Hassan is battling to tell the world the truth about Somalia - Every time Mohamed Olad Hassan bids goodbye to his family of six it is with that same mixture of excitement and sadness felt by a soldier departing for the battlefield. Unlike members of the armed forces, the BBC World Service's man in Somalia carries only a pen and a notebook in his kitbag. Journalist Mohamed Olad Hassan Battles to tell the world the truth about Somalia -

Angola: Quash Convictions of Cabinda Activists - The Angolan government should annul the convictions of three prominent rights advocates and a former policeman after a politically motivated trial in the oil-rich Cabinda province, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should revoke the overbroad and vague provisions of the state security law brought against the four men, Human Rights Watch said. Quash Convictions of Cabinda Activists - Human Rights Watch

South Africa: SANEF Statement on Arrest of Journalist - The SA National Editors' Forum condemns the treatment meted out to Sunday Times reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika by the police while he was in custody. SANEF Statement on Arrest of Journalist -

Counterfeit Drugs Kill Patients Desperate for Treatment - What happens when drugs meant to treat diseases actually cause more harm than the disease itself? An estimated 700,000 people are killed every year because of counterfeit malaria and tuberculosis drugs. Patient Deaths Blamed on Counterfeit Drugs -


Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at:

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