Sunday, 19 February 2017
News with tag Africa  RSS
The Latest: Turkey says EU not keeping migrant deal pledges

Added: 20.08.2016 15:17 | 62 views | 0 comments

MILAN (AP) — The Latest on European response to the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa (all times local):


West Ham sign first African partnership with Nigerian club

Added: 20.08.2016 14:20 | 52 views | 0 comments

English Premier League club West Ham announce an agreement with Nigerian side FC Ifeanyi Ubah to become their first African partner.


The Other Woman: Talking 'Fatima' & Cinematic Bridge Building with Philippe Faucon

Added: 20.08.2016 13:58 | 70 views | 0 comments

Lets face it, women are the largest minority group there is, worldwide. To most men, we are "the Other".
Yet, in his latest film , filmmaker Philippe Faucon courageously features not one but three female protagonists, a mother and two daughters, who although in today's society are viewed to be "the Other" -- Algerian, Muslim, living in France -- they really represent us all.
Born in Morocco of a French father and Algerian mother, Faucon makes films which time and time again immerse his audiences into worlds of cultures that although ostracized by society, really hold the key to understanding the world around us. 'Around us' -- such a powerful combination of words. Because we are surrounded by so much we don't take the time or energy to understand, and yet, day by day, those walls we build to keep 'the Other' out are instead locking us in. The laws we implement only adding to the problem. Truth is, the further we segregate ourselves, the less peaceful we will feel.
That said, a great film to me needs to be, above all, entertaining. Lofty conversations turn often to important films, which Fatima is of course. But no one wants to sit through one and a half hours of being taught about the world, and our society, unless that message is coddled by a beautiful, spellbinding film. Fatima is all that and more, the kind of simple, quiet masterpiece that grabs hold of the viewer from the first shot to the last. And there's more.
The film brings to the big screen the real life story of Fatima Elayoubi, whose poetry and diaries of day to day living and working as an Algerian immigrant in France became a book titled "Prayer to the Moon" (Prière à la lune). Fatima is produced, directed and co-written by Faucon and was multi-awarded (it won 3 César Awards in 2016), as well as beloved by festival and French cinema audiences alike.
Now it's finally being released in the US, opening in at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, followed by at the Laemmle Royal Theater and hopefully in more cities to come.
The story of Fatima is about an Algerian immigrant who lives in Lyon with her two teenage daughters, Souad and Nesrine. To put her daughters through school, Fatima works cleaning jobs, because her knowledge of French is limited. The world she has moved to is less than welcoming to immigrants, and yet the deepest struggles for the three women have to do with internal, family dynamics, the different languages Fatima and her daughters are fluent in, and generational misunderstandings. It's a complex story to tell on the big screen and yet, at the end of Fatima, we feel as if we've lived with them all, walked that proverbial mile in their shoes.
It's seldom that a film manages that kind of intimacy between the audience and its characters, and, at the risk of sounding gender biased, even more rare when the filmmaker is a man. Yet Faucon gets it, through and through, the inner struggles of being a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter. And of course, an immigrant, as most of us are, in one way or another these days.
I caught up with Faucon by email and even through a translated document from French to English, his charm, his sense of humor, and his brilliance shined through.
That's what the magic of cinema is all about, promoting a sort of cultural understanding that transcends languages and borders.
How do you manage to get so perfectly and so deeply inside the head of women?
Philippe Faucon: I definitely see aspects of myself in them. Or, in any case, I am very admiring of the strength they have to affirm what they are being denied, of their refusal to accept the demeaning perceptions that attempt to box them into assigned roles, into identities, behaviors that don't fit them. What really impressed me with the real persons that inspired the characters of the film, is that these are women who simply can't 'give up'. Fatima can't 'give up' because she is responsible for the daily lives of her daughters. She plows forward, in a rigid manner and refuses to flinch. Same with her eldest daughter Nesrine. She can't 'give up' either because she has taken on studies that are so all encompassing that she refuses to 'give up', even when she is tempted to do so. As for the youngest, Souad, she can't 'give up' her messy adolescent revolt, because in the end, she is able to express what the two other do not allow themselves to say.

What are the challenges of producing and writing a film like Fatima, on top of already being the director? And what are the advantages of your multiple roles?
Faucon: Of course, it's a huge time commitment to have become the producer of my own films. You lose a bit of freedom on one hand and gain some on the other. I decide how the money is allocated, I actually know how it is spent, and at the same time, the time dedicated to production eats up the time I would like to devote to writing or simply thinking. But when you assume those three roles on a movie, you necessarily have a tense relationship with it. In a certain way, you experience directing more fully, when you know the real challenges of writing and the mastery of producing.
Do you believe in cinema as a bridge to understand cultures that are different from ours, and why?
Faucon: Yes, because cinema has the great power to show us faces, voices, bodies, human qualities, other ways of thinking or living that are different than ours. Therefore it offers us the possibility of becoming closer to each other. It allows us to have a glimpse, to understand or to reflect in a new way.
In the last few years, I've watched a few films that feature female characters from North Africa and the Middle East, but they are mainly girls. In Fatima you feature a real, grown-up woman, which in my opinion, is a much more difficult task. Did you ever feel the pull of Nesrine and Souad, of wanting to give them more of the story, and therefore making your work 'easier'?
Faucon: True, these adult characters are less represented, perhaps because they are more often in 'invisible' situations in French society. But here, I had at my disposal Fatima Elayoubi's book, a sort of diary that she kept for her entire work life and time as an immigrant in France. I also was able to meet the author several times. She is an extraordinary person. Fatima Elayoubi's daughters come up constantly in her book, one that she wrote primarily in her own language of Arabic. In writing, she chose to express herself in her native tongue what she couldn't express directly to her daughters who were born in France and who didn't master the Arabic language fully.

In the wake of so many incidents in Europe, involving people of Middle Eastern background, do you think cinema can offer a solution?
Faucon: As I said before, cinema may help foster additional understanding, including for the current situations you bring up. But action and solutions remain in the realm of politics and citizenship.
What three words would you use to describe yourself to someone who doesn't know you?
Faucon: "Tellement irrésistiblement sympathique."-- So irresistibly likable.
And what is your favorite place in the world?
Faucon: Right now, it's Paris that I am always happy to come back to, after having left the city wanting to discover other places.
All images courtesy of Kino Lorber, used with permission.
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Khalid Jabara: Victim of Hate and Negligence

Added: 20.08.2016 13:13 | 75 views | 0 comments

One week ago, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Stanley Vernon Majors murdered his next door neighbor, 37 year old Khalid Jabara. He shot Khalid dead on the front porch of the Jabara home. It was a horrific crime, but it could have been prevented. As I have reflected on the developments leading up to this murder, I have been both saddened and outraged, because while there is no doubt that Majors pulled the trigger, there are others who share varying degrees of culpability for this violent act.
Majors was a sick hate-filled man who for the past four years created a nightmare for the Jabara family. Police records show that he had frequently taunted, stalked, and threatened members of the Jabara family, calling them "dirty Arabs," "filthy Lebanese", "Aye-rabs", and "Mooslems". He sent threatening emails and verbally threatened them with violence.
On two separate occasions, Khalid and his mother, Haifa, secured restraining orders prohibiting Majors from having any contact with them. In May of 2015, from police records, we learn that Majors had shouted at Haifa "F*** you, I want to kill you". On September 12, 2015, an intoxicated Majors, struck Mrs. Jabara with his car while she was jogging and left her broken and bloodied body in the road as he fled the scene. He was later arrested and charged with assault and battery, hit and run, driving while intoxicated, and a violation of the court's restraining order.
The state requested that Majors be held without bail, but the judge set bail at $60,000. At the end of May 2016, Majors posted bail and was released, once again taking up residence next door to the Jabara family.
Last Friday, Majors appeared at the window of the Jabara home waving a gun and making threats. The police were called. They arrived, knocked on Majors' door and when he did not answer, they reported to Khalid that there was nothing more they could do. Eight minutes after the police left, Khalid went out of his home to retrieve his mail only to find Majors there. He shot Khalid four times leaving him to die.
Every account of this story I have read leaves me with a range of competing emotions. I am grief-stricken by the murder of a young man whose only fault was to be an Arab living next door to a person sick with hatred. I am pained both by the Jabara family's loss and thoughts of the incredible nightmare of fear they have been forced to endure these past few years. I am furious at the failure of the criminal justice system, at all levels, for allowing this nightmare to continue and for the negligence that enabled it to come to this tragic end.
Majors was a violent felon. In 2012, while living in California, he was convicted of criminal threats and assault with a deadly weapon. The behavior he displayed toward the Jabara family, after he moved to Tulsa, was a clear violation of his parole. That the police department didn't act, early on, to deal with this obviously deranged and violent criminal is baffling and inexcusable. That such a low bail was set for a person with such a record and pattern of behavior is inexcusable. And the fact that he was able to buy a gun and that the police would respond to the report of his brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner with the cavalier dismissal that "there was nothing that could be done" is absolutely maddening.
Added to all of this, is my outrage over the fact that Majors' display of virulent anti-Arab animus was apparently dismissed, or viewed as incidental, by the authorities. Until this day, they refer to the murder as resulting from a "neighborhood dispute". Think, for a moment, how this situation would have played out if Majors had been an Arab or an African American and the Jabara family had been white. The early displays of hate would have been dealt with quite differently and/or Majors would have been sent back to California for parole violations. The protective order would have been enforced. The drunken driver who had threatened to kill his neighbor and then almost did in a hit and run assault would be in prison without bail. After he was reported to have been waving a gun, the police would have broken down his door to search for it and protection would have been provided to the much tormented family. And, oh yes, Donald Trump would be exploiting this case, ranting about our lax immigration system or our coddling of Arab or black criminals.
But the victims were from a Lebanese Arab immigrant family--and so this situation was left to fester.
Khalid's sister, Victoria, in a powerful and poignant Facebook post, summed up the family's feelings about this maddeningly avoidable tragedy.
"My family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years. Yet in May, not even one year after he ran over our mother and despite our protests, he was released from jail with no conditions...
"The suspect had a history of bigotry against our family... [But his] bigotry was not isolated to us. He made xenophobic comments about many in our community - "filthy Mexicans" and the "n" word were all part of his hateful approach...
"This [case] is troubling at any time, but profoundly disturbing given the current climate of our country and the increase nationally in cases of hate crimes.
"Our brother Khalid was just 37 years old and had his whole life ahead of him. He was a kind and loving brother, uncle, and son. Khalid's heart was big. He cared for our entire family, our friends, and people he didn't even know...All of that has been taken from us by this hateful man and a system that failed to protect our community."
Nothing will bring back Khalid, and nothing can ease the pain of loss endured by the Jabara family. Majors must pay for his crime. But that is not enough. There must be accountability in Tulsa for the negligence of the authorities. And we must work together as a nation to demand zero tolerance for those who feed the hate that emboldens sick minds to commit murder.
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Ethnicity of women undergoing fertility treatment can affect outcomes, study finds

Added: 20.08.2016 12:20 | 56 views | 0 comments

The ethnicity of women undergoing fertility treatments like IVF can affect the rate of successful live births, according to new research. After adjusting for certain factors including age of patient at time of treatment, cause of female or male infertility, and type of treatment, the study found that White Irish, South Asian Indian, South Asian Bangladeshi, South Asian Pakistani, Black African, and Other Asian women had a significantly lower odds of a live birth than White British women.

Kerry heading to Africa for talks on counterterrorism

Added: 20.08.2016 12:17 | 31 views | 0 comments

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is arriving in Africa on Monday for talks in Kenya and Nigeria on countering terrorism before visiting Saudi Arabia to discuss the conflict in Yemen.


To Save the Village

Added: 20.08.2016 11:54 | 72 views | 0 comments

There's a new documentary out dealing with the history of the Cabrini Green project in Chicago. deals with the many complicated issues of race and urban poverty. But as notes, it underlines another huge issue with the "improvement" of some urban neighborhoods.
The idea behind these housing project upgrades is always pretty simple. Here comes the city to say to the poor folks living in the projects, "Aren't you tired of living like this? We are going to knock these projects down and replace them with something better. Yes, you are going to have to find another place to live, but when we've finished, you'll be eligible to come back here and live in the newer better place."
That seems like a great idea, a straightforward way to improve quality of live for those living in public-assistance housing.
But as writer Dianna Douglas notes, that's not how it works. Mostly, the people who have been displaced by the new project do not come back. The most successful such project in the country was in Atlanta, and that project brought back a whopping 25% of the original residents. The national average "hovers below 19 percent."
Some of this is simply circumstance. Moving is expensive. Doing it twice is way expensive. But some of this is also design. The Cabrini-Green redevelopment will follow the new model of mixing low-cost housing with higher SES models for a mixed neighborhood. But there's a problem.
The decrepit, infamous Cabrini-Green had 3,600 public housing units. When the rebuilding is complete in 2019, there will be around 2,830 units. Only 30 percent are for families in public housing. Got that? Fewer than 900 units.
And as Douglas notes, the rules for getting into those limited units can be pretty strict.
The message for the urban poor when it comes to gentrification is simple-- we're going to make this neighborhood better by moving you out of it. Meanwhile the actual humans who have been moved out may find themselves in a rougher situation, an equally bad neighborhood, but now without the neighborhood ties, the little bit of social capital that they had previously worked up in the original (now "improved") neighborhood.
Does this apply to charter schools in some cities? Here's a response from a reader in a recent
As a mother of four whose children attend public schools and charter schools, I can tell you exactly what's occurring in both public and public charter schools.
I live in a neighborhood in Washington,DC that is undergoing regentrification. It is still prodominately African American but Whites have moved in within the last five years. The Washington Latin Public Charter School which opened about four years ago has a predominately White student body in a predominately African American neighborhood. I have two children that are in Middle School and High School and they are not allowed to attend the school that is in walking distance ( school sits at the end of my block). They have been wait listed for years. I finally just enrolled them in another charter school that has a predominately African American and Hispanic student body. When we drive past the school every morning we see White kids being bused from outside the neighborhood. My kids now know what segregation looks like in 2016. These white students are coming from Eastern market, Tenley Town, and Logan Circle. All of those white kids live outside the neighborhood. I brought it to the attention of the Charter School board here in Washington and nothing changed. As stated in the article the members of Washington Latin School Board are predominately all Attorneys from Georgetown, Yale and Harvard Law School. This means that trying to change the policies on how students are selected will be extremely difficult. It's as if the Charter School Board is afraid of the elected members at this school.
The save the village, we have to lose the villagers.
But what good does it do to save a neighborhood or a school if we throw away the people? What good does it do to "fix" a neighborhood school when the neighbors are gone and the students come from some other neighborhood? If the actual problem was that the neighborhood or the school were not meeting the needs of the people, how have we solved that problem? The same people who were not served before are still not being served-- they're just not being served somewhere else. Of all the wrong ways to do charter schools, this is the wrongest.
Originally posted at
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Rain delays play on second day

Added: 20.08.2016 10:17 | 41 views | 0 comments

Durban (South Africa) (AFP) - Rain has delayed the start of play on the second day of the first Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Kingsmead on Saturday.

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Which African country has 220 lost pyramids?

Added: 20.08.2016 8:16 | 471 views | 0 comments

Do you know your Niger from Nigeria? Your Libya from Liberia? Take our quiz to find out. Warning: you might learn some surprising facts about the second largest continent (not country!) in the world.


Trump tries to woo African American voters away from Clinton

Added: 20.08.2016 6:19 | 63 views | 0 comments

“Look, what do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty," Trump said in a message aimed at African-Americans

Tags: Africa

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