Friday, October 06, 2017

The US is helping Niger ?




In Niger, not Nigeria.

I was under the impression that France was doing a lot of the training in this area.

But not my area of expertise.

The Congo war starts again

Sigh. A long discussion on StrategyPage, 

local warlords behind the violence.

the good news: UN peacekeepers are trying to keep things from going into another full time civil war.

The bad news: They are corrupt.


UN peacekeepers have been in Congo for 18 years and have cost the UN about a billion dollars a year. It is the largest peacekeeping operation the UN has and this year the Congo force had to deal with an eight percent budget cut with more to come. One reason is the growing corruption and other criminal activity among the more hat 20,000 UN personnel in Congo. Corruption and other criminal activity is not unusual in the UN, especially in situations where the UN has been in an area for a long time and had opportunities to develop more relationships with local criminals (often government officials).

Saturday, September 30, 2017

African music




In Africa, singing and drumming has a long history.

Our German sisters who ran our hospital, brought up on classical music, only heard banging and noise, but I could detect the rhythms, because American popular music tends to be a combination of celtic ballads and African rhythms, and I was amazed to find how complicated the rhythmic patterns are: Often different drummers played different rhythm in complementary forms to each other.

The nurses tried to give me a lesson in using one of the smaller drums, but alas I didn't have the time to actually get into the complicated rhythms of traditional songs.

Here is a lecture on African music at the Library of Congress about it: Downloaded for later watching.



The Mbira is another instrument. Usually you see these in craft shops as a single line, but professionals use a larger and more complicated one.

Alex Weeks at English Wikipedia


No, you don't play the melody on it: The melody is sung,  and the mbira is played counterpoint to the song, as can be heard in this film:



People will carry small versions with them and play them in leisure time, but professional musicians have larger versions.

usually the larger version is played inside a gourd or as in this film, with a sounding board.




You can often "buy" one at a craft shop or make your own, but like any instrument, it is part of the musical heritage, so you need to learn not only how to "play" it but the musical forms of Africa.

------------------------
cross posted from my other blog

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pushing back the Sahara

from the BBC:


Eleven countries are planting a wall of trees from east to west across Africa, just under the southern edge of the Sahara desert.
The goal is to fight the effects of climate change by reversing desertification.



wikipedia page here


Since 2005, the Great Green Wall concept has developed considerably. Lessons learned from the Algerian Green Dam[4] or the Green Wall of China led to understand the need of an integrated multi-sectorial approach for sustainable results.[5] From a tree planting initiative, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel has evolved to a development programming tool. In 2007, during the eight ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State and Governments held on January 29 and 30, 2007 in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia), African Heads of State and Government endorsed the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative with the objective of tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the region.[3]

UKGuardian article (2012).

AlJ video:



Thursday, September 14, 2017

more violence in the Congo coming?

AustinBay has another article on the unrest in the Congo due to the President there deciding not to obey the constitution and trying to stay in power.

Some observers argue the Kasai insurgency illustrates what could happen throughout the country if Kabila continues to illegally remain in office. Yes, another brutal civil war. Kabila maintains power because he controls the security forces and the government's patronage system. His presidential guard unit is the most powerful military unit in the country — with the major exception of the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping force.
The Angolan government was once a staunch Kabila ally. Kasai's refugees and Kabila's failure to end the conflict have ended the alliance. Angola, Congo's largest and most populous neighbor, now calls Kabila an illegal president. Angola also possesses central Africa's most powerful national army.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Pope Francis: Obey me Minions

there are a lot of fault lines in church history, including if the bishops are devised from below or from above.

If you let the 'people' chose the bishops, it allows a coterie to push their own guy into power (as in the early church) but if you let the Pope/Vatican do it, you can get a person who the locals ( or the locals in charge) don't like. In places where bishops are powerful or governments are tyrannical, that can cause problems. Think of the power struggles of the Anglo Saxon vs the norman bishops who wanted to reform the locals. Hence the Philippines has it's own breakaway church from the Catholics, and of course in history a lot of the reason for Lutheran and Anglican churches had to do more with politics and nationalism than with dogma.

Since an isolated church can easily slide into heresy or nepotism, you can see the problem.

The church is not just spiritual, but has intitutions such as schools and hospitals, and in some places the priest/ minister is the most educated person around. This has changed in a lot of areas today, thanks to universal education and cheap books (and not the internet) but you still see how politics can rear it's ugly head in church matters.

Nor is it a Catholic problem, as we see as churches that are formed around a charismatic leader degenerates as the leader dies and his sons are not as holy as he was. Think Pastor Shuller in the USA or the InaCristo here in the Philippines.

To outsiders, it looks like trivia, but often it is a subtle thing that means a lot to those involved.

Pope Francis' tendency to push people around is not good: The pope is a pastor/shepherd, not a dictator, no matter what the Fundie protestants think.

And his love of power, not sensitivity to culture, is seen in this Vatican power play against a Nigerian diocese that doesn't want an outsider as their leader (even an outsider from the same tribe)...

according to the comments, he is from a different subtribe who speak a different dialect,

The Tribes have their own dialects and see themselves as unique entities from within. However we all see them as Igbo from outside.
The tribes include
-Onitsha
-Ika
-Nsukka
-Ezza
-Mbaise
-Abriba
-Ikwerre
-Oguta
Etc etc etc.
Their (Igbo) ethnology is one of the most interesting in Nigeria.
Sadly, they are misunderstood.

and the writer clarifies the problem in a second comment...
The diocese is rural and largely away from the city but it is dense in terms of the strength of numbers, both parishioners and priests. They’ve literally taken it upon themselves to train and build this diocese. They’ve also supported and trained many priests from around the country of different tribes. These priests number in the thousands. More than any rural diocese in Nigeria.
With this, there are about 1000 possible persons who qualify from the local diocese and probably up to 2000+ priests that qualify from the state.
This is based on their knowledge of the diocese, its peculiarities and difficulties.
Interestingly, out of these numbers from the diocese, not one has ever been made a Bishop anywhere. So the question is why??
Shockingly, it’s nepotism. The church Ij the east was first domiciled in the Anambra axis and even through others in the east have grown. The Anambra axis doesn’t recognize this fact and tends to through their influence dictate to others who may have slightly different views than they have. This to the local priest is unfair and a sort of denial on the part of the church of both the progress they’ve made and the sacrifices they continue to make.

Therefore, the nepotism claim or tribalism is reversed. Let me explain.
In Nigeria today, this Anambra archdiocese accounts for up to 15 Bishops. Many sent to other smaller dioceses. The argument here was that the Ahiara diocese isn’t a small diocese but has successfully run itself with its own priests and schools and hospitals for about 30years.
They therefore see this as a set back and the people I’ve spoken to see it as if the over 1000 priests they have trained and or sponsored are not good enough or are just plain evil people. This is not fair.
Like I said none of them has ever been sent to oversee their fellow priests anywhere in the universal Catholic Church.
Well, I think they should accept the decision since they’ve made their points for those who care to seek the facts. The question is wil their rural people understand why they or their leaders are not worthy of this honor??
I don’t know!!
 this is a local paper and the comment section is quite interesting.

essentially most of the bishops are all from the same diocese, and locals see this as a power play by this outside diocese to make their local church be seen as inferior to the big shot outsiders who want to run all the local churches.

Yup. Local politics is involved, but also a question if the church is universal or local: should the people have input into who leads them?

. More here.

Crux summary here.


Francis lays out his demands, accusing the recalcitrant priests of wanting “to destroy the church,” and saying he’d even considered suppressing the diocese. Instead, he’s demanding they all write to “clearly manifest total obedience to the pope,” including their willingness to accept the bishop he appoints. No matter how you slice it, it’s a dramatic show of papal muscle. Even Francis conceded, “this seems pretty harsh,” but said he was doing it “because the People of God is scandalized, and Jesus reminds us that whoever causes scandal has to face the consequences.
No, I didn't work in Nigeria so am not knowledgible about the ins and outs.

And does the holyman caste have anything to do with this?I don't know.

my work in Africa was in rural Zimbabwe with the Mashona, and in Monrovia Liberia. Yes I worked with Nigerians there but didn't get to know the culture. So I post this as an FYI.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

migrants? not exactly

GetReligion links to several news stories about Nigerian girls being trafficked as prostitutes to Italy, Europe, and Arab countries.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Zimbabwe

Mugabe is old and sick and his wife is hoping to take over when he dies.

In the meanwhile, Trump is cutting funds from groups that push abortion, so a lot of "Family planning" groups will lose money. Of course, they could stop pushing abortion, which in African traditional society is murder, but whatever. the article touts a group that pushed only birth control, and they are outsiders. what about doing this with immunizations, cheap protein supplements, and WHO rehydration fluid? Because only birth control gets the money.

In the meanwhile, Mugabe is being pushed into reforms according to one local paper.

actually, if you read the article they are just continuing Obama's policy.

Congo election update

StrategyPage has an update on what is going on there.

the peacekeepers are trying but only partially sucessful.


 The UN, western donor nations and African nations bordering Congo are concerned that another great Congolese civil war (1996-2003) will erupt if Kabila clings to power. They want to avoid that disaster in which three to five million people died. The high death toll includes people killed in the fighting and "excess mortality" related to the fighting, such as displaced people dying of exposure. A key part of the political settlement ending it was limiting the president to two terms in office. The fighting didn't completely stop in 2003. Bitter fighting continued, much of it ethnic-related. However, UN peacekeepers prevented another outright civil war. An estimated 200,000 more people died in the post-civil war combat and chaos that continued for over a decade (2003-2013). Again, that figure includes "excess mortality." The post-war death toll is debatable, but in 2013 there were still over two million internally displaced people in eastern Congo. (Austin Bay)

Sigh.  another day, another massacre.

In our prayers

A report  of using "witchcraft" to brainwash children into murdering in the Congo.

Congolese refugees told the authors of a UN report that they believed the Kamuina Nsapu militia had magical powers, and militia members believed their magic - including young girls drinking the blood of decapitated victims - would make them invincible."This generalised belief about the powers of Kamuina Nsapu and the fear it triggers among segments of the population in the Kasais may partly explain why a poorly-armed militia, composed to a large extent of children, has been able to resist offensives by a trained national army for over a year."

This dis not, alas limited to Africa: The murders of ISIS is witchcraft (even though they claim it is for Allah( and of course, the Mexican drug lords worship "Saint death", a demon, to get rich.

Death and love of money and egotism and desire of power and of course deception/lies are satanic.

As for the USA and western Europe: They are too civilized to do such things. They only promote killing babies in the womb to empower women, while looking the other way when doctors kill grandmom so their kids don't have to take care of them.

reminds me of when I was in Africa: Our German sisters lamented some of the terrible atrocities by the "freedom fighters" who would torture or beat their enemies to death.

I answered: Yes. The Germans did it more nicely: they just gathered up the Jews and disposed of them quietly.

and then there is the problem of male rape.

one of the reasons Africans are horrified with the west's push to legalize "gay" rights: it is seen as giving an okay to the rapist...

And this, too, is ignored by the west.

Hey, even the Pope said "who am I to judge" (which was interpreted as being pro gay rights)... well, considering all the pedophilia in the church, maybe this is why a lot of us are unhappy with his lack of judgement against sinners.

Except of course those who criticize him. I hear an editor of a Catholic media organization in Colombia was just excommunicated fir this. Priorities I guess...



 
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