Tag Archives: Eritrea

Eritrea: Celebrating Twenty-One Years of Independence

This weekend Eritreans world-wide will be celebrating twenty-one years of Independence. According to Eritrean Compass, Asmara will have their celebration “under the maxim ‘Apiary of Eritrean Independence’ in the port city of Massawa where the miracle for liberating the city from the brutal Derg regime has been conducted twenty one years ago this week.”

For those of you who would like to learn more about Eritrea, I included a three part educational clip below that covers the different villages in Eritrea.

I would also like to reach out the Eritrean diaspora and share what village you’re from and any thoughts you would to share!

History Repeats Itself: Ethiopia Attacks Eritrea

As I’m sitting here enjoying my cup of coffee I couldn’t help but to spill my drink over out of anger when finding out that Ethiopia launched military attacks on Eritrea! Seriously, is this really happening again?

It was reported today several camps were attacked causing numerous deaths. According to BBC Africa the attack was due to Ethiopia assuming Eritrea was “training subversive groups to carry out attacks inside Ethiopia.” I am very interested to hear what Eritrea officials have to comment from this attack.

One of the main reason’s I majored in Conflict Resolution is for the sole reason of Eritrea and Ethiopia’s constant conflict. It seems as though just when things have calmed down, the drama between the two country starts up again.

After a 30-year war, Eritrea gained its Independence from Ethiopia, and after announcing its own currency in 1997 another war broke
-out again a year later as a result. The May 1998 – June 2000 war alone resulted in 100,000 deaths and millions of dollars taken from much needed development into military activities and weapons.

However, according to interantional analysis “the major reason for the recent conflict is the fact that Ethiopia no longer has a border along the Red Sea and therefore relies on going through other countries such as Eritrea in order to ship and trade goods along that line.”

And although it has been almost twelve years since conflict broke out between the two, will this cause another war? And how many deaths does it take to make both parties realize we must come up with better conflict resolution. It is clear that the peace treaty signed by both parties is not respected.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Family

I just signed the following petition addressed to: U.S. immigration. A few weeks ago a close friend of mine lost her aunt to cancer and what’s even sad is her eight year old cousin Matthew and his twin brothers no longer have a mother.

According to the petition “their mother died of brain cancer last month. Their dad, Tewelde, is struggling to take care of the three boys now that his wife is gone. He needs help. His sister, Hirut, a widow who lives and owns property in Addis Ababa, wants to come to Dallas to support her brother and nephews.

Tewelde emigrated from Eritrea to the U.S. and became a citizen in 1998. He was a conscientious objector in the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Imprisoned and tortured for refusing to join the army, he sought and was granted political asylum in the U.S. Tewelde met and married his wife in the U.S., and their children were born U.S. citizens. Grieving and overwhelmed, Tewelde cannot work full time and also take care of his family. He cannot afford child care. A mechanic in Eritrea, Tewelde worked as taxi driver in Dallas until his wife got sick. He has to work long days, seven days a week to make a living wage. But he sold his car when his wife got sick. If he works only part time, he cannot cover the expenses for a leased taxi.

A homeowner, Tewelde’s savings have dwindled, and he and his boys currently make ends meet through a collection taken up by the Dallas Eritrean community. Unable to drive a taxi, Tewelde has been volunteering at his church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, helping with repairs and teaching the Eritrean language to children. But Tewelde must return to full time work soon, or he and his boys likely will lose their home. He cannot return to work unless he has his sister’s help to take care of Matthew and his brothers each afternoon and evening.
The U.S. embassy in Ethiopia, where Hirut lives, has refused to grant her an expedited humanitarian visa, because they consider her application to be a request for routine tourist travel. They insist that Hirut go through a year-long process to receive an I-31 traveling document. Requested Congressional assistance has not produced any tangible results to date.”

Please sign this petition to ask the U.S. Immigration Visa Center and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia to allow Hirut Woldehiwot Teklegiorges to travel to the U.S. on an expedited humanitarian visa for a period of one year to lend support to her brother and nephews.

New Sanctions Against Eritrea Have Passed, Now What?

For anyone who is Eritrean I am sure we all heard of the saying “Eritreans’ only kneel for two reasons, to pray and to aim.” Lately the Horn of Africa has been all over the news mostly relating to famine and conflict. According to the DailyMaverick:

“The United Nations Security Council passed new sanctions against Eritrea on Monday, punishing the tiny country in the Horn of Africa for its continued political, financil, training and logistical support to Al Shabaab, the radical Islamist militant group in Somalia an allegation which Eritrea denies. But with sanctions as weak as these, there’s not much incentive for Ertirea to change its ways.”

I came across this interesting interview a few weeks ago with President Isaias Afwerki on the topic of Somalia, Al Shabaab, and Eritrea’s role in the current crisis. Click hereto watch and let me know what you think.

“The peoples of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the region will undoubtedly pay the price for this continued misguided policy, but the Eritrean people will prevail, as they prevailed in the past” a statement from Eritrean Foreign Ministry stated.

Even though Eritrea was sanctioned before in 2009, the new sanctions wouldn’t be any different and will continue putting a freeze on weapon sales to Eritrea and travel bans and asset freezes on selected officials. However, Eritreans both for and against government including the diaspora are frustrated.

The Young People’s Front for Democracy and Justice  (YPFD), a pro-government Eritrean Diaspora Youth organization striving to create a strong, conscious, and patriotic youth movement and others groups have been petitioning against the sanction.  But do you have to be pro-government to be patriotic? And if you don’t agree to the UN sanctioning Eritrea, what other solutions can we come up with together regardless of government views? According to the petition:

“The Eritrean population, which suffered seven decades of repeated UN injustices, shouldn’t be made to suffer more injustice by this world body. Besides, putting more sanctions against Eritrea and the innocent people of Eritrea will not bring peace to the war ravaged Horn of Africa; in fact, this is a reckless act designed to reignite existing simmering conflicts and to create new ones…Finally, the solution is not in scapegoating or isolating Eritrea. The solution is on constructive engagement.”

Can someone please explain to me how we can have constructive engagement with the UN and supporting nations? Seems like people are so passionate and have opinions, but it’s rare when I hear a solution without it sounding so vague. At the end of the day it should be the innocent people of Eritrea and the state of the economy that we should look out for.  One of the many reasons I created this blog is to establish a platform for people to speak what is on their mind so that we can collectively come together and think of different ways to better Eritrea and the people.

Black America’s Ties to Africa

My colleague Genet and I had the opportunity to interview founder and CEO of the Constituency for Africa, Melvin Foote on behalf of AllAfrica.com. Founded in 1990, CFA is a an organization of Africanists who came together to build American support for Africa. The D.C. based group has a pan-African focus and seeks to educate African Americans about Africa and strengthen the bonds between the two communities. Here is a snippet of CFA’s mission statement:

For almost two decades, CFA has worked to educate Americans about the critical challenges affecting Africa, and to encourage a strong public and private partnership to address issues of concern to the continent.

Foote has had a fascinating career throughout the continent but especially in the Horn of Africa. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea and Ethiopia in the early ’70s, during the time of the Ethiopian revolution. He has also done work in Somalia and Sudan, as well as 26 or so other countries in Africa. Read about the man and his unique experience from our interview with him, conducted on Tuesday, November 1.

Rahwa: Give us a background of CFA is and what it does.

Foote: I had spent many years with Africare in Ethiopia, Somalia. So I came back and was asked to head up a new effort to educate Americans about Africa and I was brought back from Somalia to do that. And so over the course of some years, it grew into a network. The work that I was doing at Africare grew into a need to network. What I saw was a lot of people cared about Africa because back then they would say nobody cares about Africa, there’s no constituency to support Africa. And so my job was to build a constituency. And so I went about my job. What I found out was that there was a lot of individuals who knew about Africa, some of them were political, some of them were development people, some were missionary, some were African immigrant, some were foreign service officers, former ambassadors but they were not connected. So my job was one of not so much building a new, something new as it was connecting the existing so TransAfrica, African American Institute, all of these organizations were working on Africa but they didn’t work together. They saw each other as competitors so Africare didn’t talk to TransAfrica and TransAfrica didn’t talk to AAI and ADF wouldn’t talk to. So they were all like tribalism. That’s what it was, it was like tribalism. And so I tried to say okay, let me build a link between all of these people and we didn’t go to the top people, to the C. Payne Lucas’s and the Randall Robinsons because those guys were ego set in their way, they were warlords. And so I said okay, that ain’t gonna work. If I told Randall Robinson go talk to C. Payne, never, never, never. And so I went to next level down to the operational people, the person who was responsible for education programs, public relations and building, the CFA was built with these people. My boss then was C. Payne Lucas at Africare and he used to call us little people, he said you little people, you know because we weren’t the presidents.

Foote transitions into his Peace Corps experience…

They took me up to my site by car, it was an Ethiopian guy who drove me by Land Rover and we went through Wollo and Tigre and all these people were starving and famine and begging on the road. And I said what is this? And so nobody really explained to me but then I got to Asmara on, it was on New Year’s Day, Ethiopian New Year’s Day in ’73 I think it was. And so I’m laying up in my hotel on the main piazza and all of the sudden it was like 3 o’clock in the middle of the afternoon, I’m hearing all of this noise, pow pow boom boom. And so I’m thinking like Fourth of July, I’m thinking fireworks. So I put on my clothes to go down and look at the festivities. And one woman said oh no, you can’t go out there and so I went back up in my room and I saw tanks in the street were in the streets. That was my introduction to Asmara. So there was a firefight then all of sudden things got quite. So that’s how I got to know about the war, that’s how I got to know about the famine. And so I stayed one year in Asmara and finally they moved me out because of the insurgency and there was military, the Ethiopian troops were everywhere, on every corner, troops. I’m just thinking they were police, I didn’t know the difference. But the insurgency was going on so they moved me to Harar. I spent my second year in Harar and then I stayed the third year at the American school, teaching at the American school in Addis.

Genet: So when you went in, last time you told us you had a Tarzan image of Africa so by the time your service was over, what kind of experiences did you walk away with?

Foote: I learned a lot. I mean, one of the things I learned, we did our language training in Awassa and there was about 35 of us, who were, who were a part of the group and there was only two Blacks. And so the teachers, the Ethiopian teachers, after the classes would take me and the other Black guy up to, out to lunch and we would go up in the hills and just all kinds of things. And they embraced us. And then everyday we had to walk to school, which was about a half a mile and all the little kids in the village would run over to us, selam ferenji, you know, selam ferenji. And then they would want to shake your hand and all that kind of thing, dirty hands, these are rural kids.They would walk right past me to grab one of the White’s hands and one of the White guys told me, oh they don’t like Black Americans over here. I was kind of hurt by that. And so I just kept watching and then I noticed after a period of time, all the Whites were getting tired of these little kids chasing them. They could not even go to the bathroom without drawing a big crowd. Then I finally realized that they looked at me and said, he speaks a little funny but he’s one of us, he’s African. And so there was nothing for them to run up to me, for what, he’s just another African but they would run up to the Whites.

I learned a lot, it was a total learning experience, everything that you did was learning. This was during the revolution so the time of zemecha, the killing of those government officials, the Derg, all that. The rise of Mengistu, the, Haile Selassie’s demise, his passing, I was there for all of that. Then the creeping revolution.

Rahwa: Did that make a huge impact into you wanting to connect both African Americans and Africa?

Foote: Well, I wrote an article for Ebony magazine while I was in Asmara and it was basically a smart article talking about don’t crawl under, the Peace Corp’s logo at that time, their theme was don’t crawl under a rock, be involved, don’t crawl under a rock. So I wrote a little piece to African Americans saying wow, it’s great over here, don’t crawl under a rock, Peace Corps. And I knew that my people here were uneducated, undereducated or mis-educated about Africa and for many reasons. I mean, people who are doing business in Africa don’t want African Americans to know what’s going on, they want you to stay away so they can go and corrupt the dictator and get the oil and diamonds. And then most African Americans always have cared about Africa, it goes back to when we came here as slaves. Even the slaves were trying to reach back to Africa. But the African Methodist Church came from the Methodist Church, but they wouldn’t allow Blacks to be in the Methodist Church so they formed their own church. They called it the African Methodist Church because they wanted to relate to Africa. There’s all kinds of indications where African Americans, even as slaves, wanted to reach back home. But over time they didn’t know what home was. And even to this day, a lot of, they have an imaginary vision about what home is, what Africa is. I see some of these guys with dashikis on and if you ask them anything about Africa, they really don’t know. They cling to it. And so our job is to raise awareness and we’ve done a lot of work in that area and we’ve been very good at that, actually. We’ve done a lot of work in raising the visibility of Africa and raising awareness.

This is a screenshot of Foote’s letter to Ebony Magazine in its March 1974 issue. Thanks Google Books.

Genet: For African Americans today who may not feel a connection to Africa, they may not see Africa as being home and they really don’t feel a sense of responsibility to care about Africa or get involved in African affairs, what would you say to them? Why is it important for them to care and for them to get involved?

Foote: Well, there are many reasons and I will say this, I would say over the last 10 years or so, that’s changed dramatically. It changed for many reasons, most African Americans are much better informed, some of it has been because of media coverage, some of it has been because of AllAfrica.com, some of it has been because of these town meetings we’ve been doing, also just starting to talk to people. So there’s a growing awareness about Africa. And so I think, for me, it’s important for African Americans because here we are, the wealthiest Blacks in the world, here. But we’re dropping out of school, we’re throwing away food, we’re throwing away opportunities, don’t want that job, obesity is a big problem. And we think that we’re downtrodden, we think that we’re the victim, when we’re the wealthiest Blacks anywhere in the world. But we measure ourselves against White Americans, not against Africans or Brazilians or Caribbeans or other Blacks. We don’t know how good we got it. You could go to prison in this country and get three meals a day, food, water, TV and that’s if you’re in prison, you know what I’m saying? And so these kids around here are killing each other over some tennis shoes and a jacket, because they don’t appreciate, they don’t know who they are and what they are. So part of this is for us to become stronger, we need to reconnect to Africa and African people in a real kind of way. It will make us stronger, you know. And we think that if we can help strengthen the African countries and make them vibrant and dynamic, that makes our position here stronger. It’s just like Obama being the president. Say what you want to say, it makes Black people stronger, to show that hey we can do something because we’ve been told all this time since slavery that we can’t do anything. You can’t be anything, you can’t be the mayor, you can’t be the head of a corporation. So that’s how I feel about it and so I think that going forward, we need to be stronger and we also need to be doing business with our people. We ought to be the ones who are doing business with Africa, bringing investors to Africa, helping build infrastructure.

So part of this is a healing process. You gotta look back at slavery, you gotta look back at colonialism because those things don’t end overnight. They don’t end overnight, we’re still going to be dealing with all this stuff 100 years from now. But we can make some progress on it and I think what we try to do in our work is to make progress, position ourselves to make progress.

Genet: You’ve traveled and worked in over 30 African countries. Can you pick maybe three African countries where you’ve worked for a significant amount of time and talk about what you did there.

Foote: Well, I worked in Ethiopia. I worked in Somalia for three years. I worked in Sudan I was heavily involved in, I was heavily involved in East Africa.

Genet: Would you say that’s your area of expertise, East Africa?

Foote: Well, it has gotten broader. I mean, I know a lot about Nigeria, I know a lot about Senegal, I know a lot about Mali, I know enough about Southern Africa. I really know the continent pretty well. But there was a time when I didn’t want to do anything in Nigeria, I was too scared of Nigeria. But now I had a really great experience with Nigeria and it’s not like Lagos is not the whole country. There is, you go out in the rural parts of Nigeria and the most wonderful people you ever want to meet are out there. But I worked heavily on the Horn of Africa, I worked on, I was part of a former Peace Corps delegation that did shuttle diplomacy between Asmara and Addis during the war, we were trying to stop the war. And so we were going to Asmara, going to Addis, talking to Meles and Isaias and all these guys, pushing them towards a path of peace and we couldn’t fly directly so we had to fly through Yemen, to get to, between the countries.

During, when Badme became a flash point. Yea, we were going through, we were doing shuttle diplomacy. And so we were credited with helping set the basis for the peace agreement. And then I took a, I was part of a U.S. White House delegation that promoted the trade, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act so we were on Air Force Two flying to all of these countries but we were in Addis, which was one of the stops, the foreign minister from Eritrea came down and really persuaded us to come to Asmara so we shipped the plane, flew up to Asmara, made them happy. So I’ve been involved in a lot of high-level dealings with the countries and that was kind of unique. When I went with the delegation, there was five of us and the one guy now is a member of Congress, John Garrett Mindy.But out of the five, I was the only Black, and all five were kind of high level, and it was kind of interesting how they, some say that Ethiopians are, they look at Whites more valuable than the Blacks. Say what you want to say but I know that whole time they were looking at me like oh he must be carrying the bags, and I’m the one who worked on Africa everyday. It’s kind of interesting. In Asmara, the reception, because my view was that Asmara had a war culture, they were stuck in this mold of warmonger. They’d just come out of a 30-year war and so if I step on your shoes, you’re ready to get the gun, as opposed to excuse me. And so I made a comment or something like the fact that something must be made to promote peace, reconciliation among the Eritreans. They took that as oh, he’s choosing sides and I became the bad guy and they wrote me up in the paper and all that kind of thing.

Rahwa: Not to get off subject but have you heard about the government officials and journalists who got arrested by Isaias Afwerki back in 2000 and how basically there are human rights issues going on with that?

Foote: Well, what happened was, I think what happened in Eritrea, I was there also for the referendum on independence, I was one of the monitors, I was a monitor there. And I think what happened was, the country became independent, it was wide jubilation. I think they were 99 percent in favor of separation and so it was non-issue really, it was going to happen. But they didn’t develop democratic institutions. And at the time, Isaias is not a bad guy. If he decided that he wanted everybody to sweep the streets, everybody would do that, which was good because you could get everybody moving in the same direction. But I think they failed to build democratic institutions, that was the tragedy. I mean, he’s still the president and nobody else can be the president. They would’ve been a lot better if they could’ve figured out some way to allow for political parties, build, become a true democracy. They had a chance but they haven’t. And a lot of the problems that they have are tied to that. Not bad people but lacking democratic institutions. And then the pressure, they became us against the world. Us against the United States. What kind of battle is that? Us against the Ethiopians, us against this, us against that, we, that common where we all work together became something else.

Genet: Can you talk briefly about your work in Somalia and Sudan?

Foote: For Somalia, I was doing a lot of refugee assistance and this was the war between Ethiopia and, I think that in the Horn of Africa, environment has played a lot of impact in terms of pushing people to war. It was competition for water, for grazing land and the way those borders were drawn. In the case of Somalia, the way the borders were drawn, the past they were all nomadic people, they would make this circle. So once they became militarized on the border, you couldn’t go across that border and so you went back and so you overgrazed, you overgrazed and it created sand issues and a big part of the problem. Call it global warming, call it what you want to.Then you had the Russians on one side, the Americans on the other side so we were running a proxy war in the Horn of Africa that ended up pitting the people against each other. They gave you a communist ideology and then they had to flip flop where Ethiopia went Marxist so Somalia, the Russians left Somalia, went to Ethiopia and America left Ethiopia and went to Somalia. These people, it’s going to take them a long time to get straight because of that stuff. You don’t hear much talk about that. And then Jimmy Carter’s administration bashed this new government, the Derg on human rights abuses and so forth. Now, I was there, I thought that some of the, the tactics that the Derg did in the early stages were great. I mean, you had a monarchy –

Genet: What tactics did you think were great?

Foote: Well, I mean, I thought that, okay, the way the country was structured around a monarchy and the monarchy had, well you had the royal family living like kings and the lion gets steaks and all this kind of thing and then the masses of the people, the peasants, especially outside of Addis, what did they get? They got nothing, the Oromo. So the country was in a, then when the government took over, they were like we’ve gotta do better than this, this is a country for all the people. And they tried to implement programs and policies that would buttress and benefit all the people but military guys tend to, they’re not political scientists so eventually when things got rough, what did they do? Rather than maintain political discourse, they brought the guns out and a lot of the Red Terror and all that kind of stuff came from military. Then they nationalized houses, if you have two houses, you had a big house on Bole Road and you had a small house, you only can keep one. So you’re seeing the revolution coming on, are you going to move into the big house? No, you’re going to keep the small house and you were renting the big house out to the Americans in the corner. Well, now you only can have one so whatever happened to those big houses? The military guys moved in. But the U.S. government put so much pressure on the Derg, on Mengistu that it created tension and they were already paranoid and that’s when a lot of the stuff happened because, you don’t hear that story.

A Free Eritrea

The one thing I hate more in the world outside of standing in a long Starbucks line on a Monday morning is INJUSTICE, especially when it’s happening in my beloved Eritrea. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am a proud Eritrean, however, lately I find myself praying for my country. To me Eritrea is in a state of despair.

Ten years ago, President Isaias Afewerki  demanded the arrest of 11 high government officials after finding information criticizing his leadership. He then went on to arrest 10 journalists who published  letters about this policies and closed all independent newspapers in Eritrea. The Human Rights Watch reported:

“The 20 men and one woman have never been seen again by anyone outside the penal system, including their families, lawyers, or prison monitoring groups. They have never been afforded a hearing; rather, all 21 were incarcerated in secret detention facilities in solitary confinement. According to former guards whose reports Human Rights Watch has not been able to confirm, 10 of the 21 have died in prison and the remaining 11 are physically or mentally incapacitated and emaciated.”

Although these 21 are the most internationally known victims, there are thousands of others who have been denied basic rights. Most rights are denied of Eritrean’s because they are suspected of not fully supporting the regime and/or have attempted to flee out of Eritrea.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information sent out a press release yesterday stating:

“The Sudanese authorities are increasingly deporting Eritreans to their country without allowing them to claim asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 17, 2011, Sudan handed over 300 Eritreans to the Eritrean military without screening them for refugee status, drawing public condemnation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”

On October 24, Reporters Without Boarders reported their concern to Sudanese authorities when Eritrean journalist Jamal Osman Hamad got arrested in Khartoum.

“Hamad’s arrest took place less than a week after an official visit to Sudan by Isaias  when he and his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir inaugurated a new road linking their two countries in the Sudanese town of Kassala. Reporters Without Borders believes the criticism of the Sudanese authorities’ attitude by the UNHCR is well founded. This event unfortunately demonstrates that the U.N. body is not in a position to guarantee the safety of those who have fled persecution by the Asmara government. We therefore ask the UNHCR to appeal to third countries to grant visas urgently to Eritrean human rights campaigners who have taken refuge in Sudan,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard.

On September 10, 2011 which marked the 10th anniversary since the arrest of the 20 political officials, Reporters Without Borders along with various journalists and all privately-owned print media launched an international publicity campaign about Eritrea. The campaign also has an updated list of journalists detained in Eritrea.

Below is a clip of a ‘Free Eritrea democracy speech at San Francisco City Hall’ on April 19.

The Last Cut

Okay ladies, be prepared to cross your legs &  clench those muscles because no matter how you look at it, there is no way I can sugar-coat ‘Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.’

In 2010, I went to Ethiopia to write, film, and produce a documentary addressing the perceptions of female genital mutilation as my thesis project. I also had a chance to partner up with international and local non-government orginzation (NGOs) on their grassroots initiatives which focused on  harmful traditional practices. As I stated before, my journey to Ethiopia reinforced in me an intense realization that there is urgent work to be done.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is practiced in 28 countries across sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan and Somalia in the east, to most of the countries in West Africa. It is also concentrated along the Nile valley from Egypt in the north to Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya in the south.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation/cutting as comprising “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.”

During my time in Ethiopia, I learned that the procedures of FGM/C varies, depending on the type of FGM/C, the age of the girl, and the experiences of the person who is doing the circumcision, who I found to be in many cases an old woman. When I interviewed a local Awasa woman who practiced FGM/C on girls for over 40 years she explained:

“After I am done cutting the girl, I often try to pour egg yold or alcohol to stop the bleeding so that the healing can start. I tune-out the cries and screams that always happen when I am cutting the girl because for me, I cut girls to make an income for my family. “

Although I can sit here and go over more graphic details of my varies interviews and the different types of FGM/C, I  want to discus the purpose of the practice and bring attention that FGM still occurs in African countries.

The Concord Times  posted an article yesterday discussing campaign strategies in Sierra Leone linking to FGM.

According to sources, some politicians are presently expending huge resources to promote Female Genital Mutilation FGM in different parts of the country as a campaign strategy to win the hearts of electorates ahead of the upcoming 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

Whilst doing this, these politicians spread hate messages against anti-FGM activists. They work in close collaboration with people in the society who support the practice of FGM to harass and intimidate those who talk ill about the society.

Even though these unfortunate events are still happening, it’s important that we pass the knowledge we learn and educate one another. Other then curiosity, what brought my attention and research on FGM/C was the Orchid Project, an NGO that focuses on ending FGM/C; and EGLDAM, a local Addis Ababa NGO decided to educating and ending FGM/C within Ethiopia.

From  my research and trip I learned other harmful traditional practices that were happening throughout Africa including: early marriage and dowry; nutritional taboos and practices related to child delivery; breast ironing; and son preference and tradition.  These are more topics and discussions I plan to cover in the near future.


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