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Oct-31-2010 18:49printcomments

Africa: Faces in Words

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

Faces of Morocco
Faces of Morocco courtesy: penelopejanefinch.com

(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:

Flooding in Chad Displaces Thousands and Threatens Cholera Spread - Floodwaters in N'Djamena, capital of Chad were still rising on Thursday, long after monsoon rains ended. There are fears a cholera outbreak will spread as water from the River Chari inundates neighborhoods in the city. http://www.ramadji.com/frontpage/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1875:flooding-in-chad-displaces-thousands-and-threatens-cholera-spread&catid=123:chadian-headlines&Itemid=497

Ethiopia: Aid as a Weapon - Many western officials who manage international aid cite Ethiopia as an example of how assistance from donors like Canada can help African nations escape poverty. The reality is far more complicated - and far more cruel. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/10/25/aid-weapon

Somaliland still blighted by plastic bags, despite ban - More than 5 years after the republic of Somaliland banned plastic bags, the landscape of its capital city, Hargeysa, continues to be dominated by the brightly colored bags. Somaliland people use the plastic bags on daily basis for almost anything to be carried whether food , clothes, or Khat. It can be found in almost every house hold. http://www.medeshivalley.com/2010/10/somaliland-still-blighted-by-plastic.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+medeshivalley/JLIj+(Medeshivalley.com)

Cholera kills 1500 in Nigeria - UN officials say Nigeria has seen more than 1 500 deaths from cholera this year, doubling the government's most recent fatality count. Geneva-based Unicef spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said on Monday that as of October 20, there were 1 555 deaths in Nigeria from the waterborne disease, with 38 173 cases recorded this year alone. http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/cholera-kills-1-500-in-nigeria-1.688708

Educating Hassina: From a humble classroom, big dreams - Born into a refugee camp in eastern Sudan to parents who lost everything when they fled their home in Eritrea, Hassina could have given up hope. Instead, she resolved to fulfil her potential, a potential which came closer to being realized recently when she graduated top out of 17 graduating primary school classes, earning herself a UNHCR scholarship to attend the region's best high school. http://www.unhcr.org/4cc838349.html

Morocco must investigate killing of 14-year old Sahrawi at Protest site - Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors. According to his relatives, Al-Nagem Al-Qarhi was shot dead on 24 October by Moroccan military officers, while in a car bringing supplies to a camp set up by Sahrawi protesters demanding an end to their economic marginalization by the Moroccan government.http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/morocco-must-investigate-killing-14-year-old-sahrawi-protest-site-2010-10-27

Hotel Rwanda hero denies sending money to rebels - A man depicted as a hero in the movie "Hotel Rwanda" on Thursday slammed accusations by Rwandan authorities that he helped fund a rebel group. Paul Rusesabagina's efforts to save hundreds during the 1994 genocide are depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie starring Don Cheadle. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/10/28/rwanda.terror.allegations/index.html?eref=rss_world&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+rss/cnn_world+(RSS:+World)

Kenyan journalist’s murder case postponed again - Kenyan journalist Francis Nyaruri went missing on January 16, 2009 after writing a series of articles for The Weekly Citizen about corruption and malpractice by local police and civil servants. Thirteen days later, his bound and decapitated body was found near his hometown of Nyamira, northwest of the capital city of Nairobi. Twenty-two months after the murder, the outcome of his bereaved family and friends' quest for justice appears uncertain. http://cpj.org/blog/2010/10/kenyan-journalists-murder-case-postponed-again.php

Journalist gets 15-year jail sentence after illegal trial - Reporters Without Borders sent an open letter today to Egypt's justice minister Mamdouh Mohieddine Mari urging him to ensure that journalist Allam Abdel Ghaffar’s conviction is quashed. Ghaffar was sentenced last weekend to 15 years in prison on charges of disseminating false information and forging documents. He was unaware that the trial was taking place. http://en.rsf.org/egypt-journalist-gets-15-year-jail-28-10-2010,38688.html

Ugandan anti-gay measure will be law soon, lawmaker says - The member of the Ugandan Parliament behind a controversial "anti-gay" bill that would call for stiff penalties against homosexuality -- including life imprisonment and the death penalty -- says that the bill will become law "soon." http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/10/27/uganda.antigay.bill/index.html?eref=rss_world&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+rss/cnn_world+(RSS:+World)

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: alysha.atma@gmail.com

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.