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Feb-07-2011 22:40printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

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

African face

(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:

Rising number of child landmine victims in Somaliland - Somalia's self-declared independent region of Somaliland has experienced an increase in landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) explosions in the recent past, with officials calling for mine awareness education in schools, as children have been the main victims.

No More Suffering in Silence: The Human Rights Dimension of Obstetric Fistula - Mwendwa P. was 16 when she became pregnant for the first time. When she went into labor, she did not want to go to the hospital near her town in Kenya because, as she told me, "I had heard that nurses abuse girls who get pregnant when they go to deliver."

Fighting, air strikes in Darfur rebel zone force Thousands to flee - Heavy fighting erupted between government forces and the movement of Abdel Wahid on Saturday and Sunday in Rokero Locality, north-east of Jebel Marra. Nimr Abdelrahman, military spokesman of the rebel movement, announced to Radio Dabanga that the government forces bombed the area, which led to the displacement of more than 7000 citizens of that region. He said that the SLA forces won the battle.

Namibia: Action need in Education Sector - This year, 55 000 new Namibians will be born. If the system does not change this is what will happen to them. - 1 000 will not enter primary education - Another 12 000 will fail to complete primary education - Another 9 000 will fail to complete junior secondary education…

Chad: ICRC helps 369 ex-detainees return to their villages - Head of delegation Judith Greenwood explains: “We agreed to the Chadian government’s request to help these detainees get home on purely humanitarian grounds. The vast majority of these people had been arrested following fighting between Chadian forces and various armed groups in N’Djamena in February 2008 and in Am Dam, in the east of the country, in May 2009.”

LRA Rebels launch fresh Attacks in remote area of Western Equatoria - For the second time this week, rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on Tuesday launched attacks against civilians in the southwest of Western Equatoria in Sudan’s south. The attack in Rii-Yubu locality in Tambura County killed one man and wounded two. Two young girls were abducted.,37846

Namibia: Child Labor Require More Action - The hidden yet rife phenomenon of child labor in Namibia requires more action and less talk, and a lack of solid policies protecting children from exploitation needs urgent attention.

Somalia: UN Official Urges Concerted Response to Humanitarian Crisis - The top United Nations humanitarian official today called for a concerted response to the crisis in Somalia, where a worsening drought has led to severe shortages of water, food and pasture, and swelled the number of people in need of assistance to 2.4 million.

Nigeria: Jos Crises – Igbo Leaders Threaten to Retaliate - The recent gruesome murder of five men of Igbo extraction, in different parts of Borno State by armed bandits suspected to be members of the infamous Boko Haram religious sect is totally condemnable. As we have repeatedly warned in previous editorials, the allusion to ethnic cleansing which has reportedly triggered the protest of their kinsmen in Maiduguri could well have been avoided.

Ivorian Refugees Stretching Water, Sanitation Facilities in Guinea - More than 30,000 refugees have fled the political crisis between competing presidents in Ivory Coast. Most of those refugees have gone to Liberia where the United Nations is building a camp that should be ready later this month.


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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