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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Rice’s Failure in Rwanda Precludes her from Becoming Secretary of State

Monday, December 10th, 2012

That Susan Rice either willfully misled the American people on the Benghazi attacks, or lazily absorbed intelligence briefings without the least bit of personal involvement, is obvious. That she was covering for the Obama Administration in denying a terror attack just weeks before the election is speculative but likely. That she does not, therefore, deserve to become Secretary of State is arguable.

But what is not arguable is that she deserves to be denied the post for a different reason altogether: Rwanda. What emerges when taken together – Rice’s weak response in Benghazi, blaming the murder of four Americans on a stupid video, and her shameful lack of action in the Rwandan genocide – is a career diplomat of singular weakness, lacking the spine or muscularity to assert American moral influence in the world.

Rice was part of Bill Clinton’s National Security Team whom in 1994 refused any involvement whatsoever in the Rwanda genocide leaving more than 800,000 men, women, and children to be hacked to death by machete in the fastest genocide ever recorded. The Clinton Administration had just been spooked by the Black Hawk down incident in Somalia and wanted no further foreign entanglements. But the lengths to which they went to deny assistance to the Tutsis, with Rice being central to the decision-making process, will forever live in infamy.

But not content to insist on American non-involvement, the Clinton administration went a step further by obstructing the efforts of other nations to stop the slaughter. On April 21, 1994, the Canadian UN commandeer in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, declared that he required only 5000 troops to bring the genocide to a rapid halt. In addition, a single bombing run against the RTLM Hutu Power radio transmitting antenna would have made it impossible for the Hutus to coordinate their genocide. But on the very same day, as Phillip Gourevitch explains in his definitive account of the Rwandan genocide, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We will Be Killed with Our Families, the Security Council, with the Clinton Administration’s blessing, ordered the UN force under Dallaire reduced by ninety percent to a skeleton staff of 270 troops who would powerlessly witness the slaughter to come. This, in turn, was influenced by Presidential Decision Directive 25, which ‘amounted to a checklist of reasons to avoid American involvement in UN peacekeeping missions,’ even though Dallaire did not seek American troops and the mission was not peacekeeping but genocide prevention. Indeed, Madeleine Albright, the American Ambassador to the UN, opposed leaving even this tiny UN force. She also pressured other countries ‘to duck, as the death toll leapt from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands… the absolute low point in her career as a stateswoman.’

In a 2001 article published in The Atlantic, Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning A Problem of Hell and arguably the world’s foremost voice against genocide and who currently serves on the National Security Council as an aide to  President Obama, referred to Ambassador Susan Rice and her colleagues in the Clinton Administration as Bystanders to Genocide. She quotes Rice in the 2002 book as saying, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?” Rice’s subordination of a human tragedy of epic proportions to partisan politic interests mirrors the current allegations of why she denied a terror attack in Benghazi. Rice then joined Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, and Warren Christopher as part of a coordinated effort not only to impede UN action to stop the Rwanda genocide, but to minimize public opposition to American inaction by removing words like “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” from government communications on the subject.

In the end, eight African nations, fed-up with American inaction, agreed to send in an intervention force to stop the slaughter provided that the U.S. would lend them fifty armored personal carriers. The Clinton Administration decided it would lease rather than lend the armor for a price of $15 million. The carriers sat on a runway in Germany while the UN pleaded for a $5 million reduction as the genocidal inferno raged. The story only gets worse from there, with the Clinton State Department refusing to label the Rwanda horrors a genocide because of the 1948 Genocide Convention that would have obligated the United States to intervene, an effort that Susan Rice participated in.

Mercer: For a Good Life, Try Vienna, Avoid Baghdad

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich, Switzerland, and Auckland, New Zealand, follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern, Switzerland, and Sydney, Australia, tied for tenth place.

Here’s another common denominator to all the cities above: these are all cities I won’t be caught dead living in. Two of my favorite cities barely made the cut: New York City came in 44th and Tel Aviv 99th. I didn’t see Jerusalem anywhere in the survey, although it could be tucked away in the full list, which you have to buy (not gonna’ happen).

New York came in 30th on the Infrastructure Ranking list (seriously? with the longest and most complex subway system in the world?) and Tel Aviv 58th – hey, ahead of 72nd spot Abu Dhabi!

In the Americas, Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index, with Vancouver (5) retaining the top regional spot, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (23). Calgary ranks 32nd on the overall quality of living ranking.

Honolulu (28) is the U.S. city with the highest quality of living, followed by San Francisco (29) and Boston (35). Chicago is at 42 and Washington, DC ranks 43rd.

In the Middle East and Africa, Dubai (73) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates are the region’s cities with the best quality of living. Port Louis in Mauritius (82), Cape Town (89) and Johannesburg (94) follow, and along with Victoria in the Seychelles (96) and Tel Aviv (99), are the region’s only other cities in the top 100.

The Middle East and Africa have 15 cities in the bottom 20, including Lagos, Nigeria (202); Bamako, Mali (209); Khartoum, Sudan (217); and N’Djamena, Chad (218). Baghdad, Iraq (221) is the lowest-ranking city both regionally and globally.

Title: Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: Hindy Jacobs
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

When the Fine family (not related to the Feiners from Alone in Africa!) move into a new neighborhood, the twin siblings named Nesanel (again, not related to Nesanel Feiner) and Nechama set out on a very important mission – finding friends to rescue them from their boredom. They went to a window and started looking for someone to play with. Naively, Nechama and Nesanel thought that a friend is someone exactly like them, so they had no luck in their search. They went to a grocery for snacks, but got lost on the way. A girl who Nechama previously saw from her window and didn’t want to be friends with showed them the route. The twins were ready to make a purchase, but then they discovered that they lost the money their mother had given them. The pattern continued and kids that Nechama and Nesanel rejected helped them out. Not only did Nesanel and Nechama find friends, they also learned what a friend really is.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” is one of the lessons we learn from Not My Kind? I Don’t Mind! Children can also expand their social horizons after absorbing this book.

The illustrations in this book are done in a very creative way – in a fascinating modeling clay format with a drawn background. I would recommend this book for children ages five and under. I know because my cousins were swiping it from me the whole Sukkos, and they are five and under.

Title: Alone in Africa

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: Avigail Sharer
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

Alone in Africa, by Avigail Sharer, is an original adventure story about three siblings named Nesanel, Penina and Chezky Feiner, who are, well, alone in Africa. Except they aren’t entirely alone – they have animals and two battling African tribes to keep them company.

It all started when the three Feiner kids were flying from home in London without their parents to visit their grandparents in South Africa. The airport-provided chaperon was a rookie teenager who didn’t know what to do when the airplane made an emergency landing in the jungle. The kids became separated from the other passengers, who were driven away by military Jeeps to the airport. That is how they became “alone in Africa.”

They were found by an African tribe named the Lulu was who thought that Nesanel was a prophet named Gift of G-d. The other children escaped, but Nesanel was kept. When Nesanel attempted to escape, his plan was foiled when he was captured by a different African tribe named the Bakayas, who were at war with the Luluwas. There was a rescue attempt by Penina and Chezky, but was it successful?

I liked Alone in Africa for a number of reasons. The plot was fast-paced and full of twists and turns; at one moment they were wandering through the jungle, the next moment they were captured. My personal favorite part of this book was the idea of a non-poisonous, poisonous frog (when you read it you’ll know). The story is also very informative about survival skills. I would recommend Alone in Africa to potential jungle explorers of ages 9-10 who are ready to tackle a chapter book of over 230 pages.

Israeli Innovation Could Make Water Drinkable in Africa

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In a world where freshwater resources are becoming increasingly scarce, Israel–a country that is two-thirds arid–has become a leader in developing the necessary technology for making salt water potable.

The Israeli desalination company, IDE Technologies, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, has made many advances in desalination technology, installing over 400 desalination plants in 40 countries including the Caribbean Islands and United States. IDE Technologies has also won major contracts with Cyprus, India and Australia, and last year with China.

Since 2011, the Israeli-built desalination plant in Tianjin is China’s largest and most environmentally friendly desalination plant to date, running on some of the waste heat produced by a nearby power plant, producing fresh water and salt.

However, desalination plants for the most part are extremely costly for less-developed nations, as they use enormous amounts of electricity and are location-sensitive. But thanks to a recent Israeli discovery, the desalination system may become much more affordable in areas like Africa and the Middle East.

Researchers from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and central Arava R&D, have found a way to utilize solar energy at a fraction of the cost which can be custom-engineered for the desalination process, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The new innovation uses solar energy panels to power the pumps of a desalination unit that generates clean water for crops. More importantly, the technology utilizes unique nanofiltration membranes that enable farmers to decide which minerals should be retained from the water to feed various types of crops, a method which requires much less energy. The new system is currently being tested in the Arava Valley of Israel, south of the Dead Sea, where the basin is very dry. The results thus far show that farmers can use up to 25 percent less water and fertilizer than what has usually been needed in that area.

According to Andrea Ghermandi of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University and one of the system’s creators, the current environment is forcing agricultural systems to become more economical. Ghermandi told the MFA that “the growing global demand for food and competition for resources among economic sectors compel future agricultural systems to be more efficient in the use of natural resources such as land and water.”

Another important researcher in the discovery, Ben Gurion University’s Rami Messalem explained that the” breakthrough here was to make the system more economical and we’ve done this using nanofiltration cleverly. Our system is compatible with electricity but is based on the premise that it can be used in poor countries, in places where you don’t have an electricity source—as a standalone system.”

The MFA website indicated that the new desalination system was made possible thanks to funding from Swiss philanthropist Samuel Josefowitz.

Reigniting Economic Cooperation Between Israel And Emerging Nations

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Shifting regional alliances, spurred by Europe’s economic adversity and the spread of radical Islam across Africa, has created a window of opportunity for Israel to reengage with a host of emerging African nations.

Last week, Africa’s Voices in Israel, a grassroots effort spun off from the successful America’s Voices in Israel organization (part of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), invited six Central Bank governors from various African nations to Israel in an effort to forge closer economic ties between Israel and emerging African countries. The inaugural Africa’s Voices in Israel mission was led by prominent New York businessman Michael Landau and sponsored by the IDT Corporation.

During a meeting with Israel’s deputy minister of Finance, Yitzhak Cohen, Professor Martin Dlamini, Central Bank governor of Swaziland, encouraged ongoing cooperation between Israel and Africa. “As we are an agriculturally dependent economy, it is important for us to meet with agricultural innovators in Israel and businesspeople who would be willing to invest in developing our agricultural market,” said Dlamini. “Therefore, I am grateful to have received this invitation from Africa’s Voices in Israel to strengthen the relationship between Israel, Swaziland and my African colleagues, by creating grassroots efforts in the fields of agriculture and finance.”

Professor Eugene Kandel, head of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s National Economic Council, told the group, “Israel has a track record of overcoming adversity and turning it into opportunity. We are a perfect model for developing countries in the areas of agriculture, banking security, and water technology. We see Africa as a strategic opportunity for Israel.”

Netanyahu’s senior adviser, Ron Dermer, said, “We sincerely hope that this mission will help forge a new set of alliances between Israel and Africa. The prime minister believes that the time has come for Israel to invest in developing financial, political and security relationships with the African continent. For banks in emerging nations, our expertise in cyber security will allow you [African banks] to make a critical financial jump forward, while protecting your banking assets against cyber attacks.”

The Zambian-born Bank of Israel governor, Stanley Fischer, who has maintained a longstanding friendship with Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, governor of the Bank of Uganda, explained that Israel has yielded consistent positive economic growth – at a time when Europe and the U.S. have experienced recessions. “We are here to listen and offer our friendly advice to your banking systems, based on our various experiences,” said Fischer.

Tumusiime-Mutebile told Fischer that it was in Uganda’s interest that Israel and Uganda expand their cooperation in the banking, financial and agricultural arenas. Tumusiime-Mutebile is especially keen on working with Israel’s Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research, whose cutting-edge scientists showed him how to maximize the country’s crop yields through advanced agricultural technologies. This would enable Uganda to feed more people, while saving the country significant amounts of money.

Landau, the New York businessman and mission leader, told The Jewish Press, “These encounters enable Africa’s Voices in Israel to foment a variety of important agricultural, business and financial opportunities for emerging African nations who wish to tap into Israel’s unique experiences. We expect that this mission will spur larger delegations of financial and business officials from countries across Africa to come aboard and create important bonds between Israel and their governments.”

Mordechai Kedar: The Suffering of Africa – Sins of Europe Projected on Israel

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Those Africans who enter Israel illegally in order to find work are a very small part of the general global problem of emigrants from Africa who are searching for a new land that will allow them to live, even with only a minimum income and standards of living – and the main thing that drives them is survival. Their poor condition, in Israel, in Europe, in North and South America and in Asia, raises the question: how did an entire continent, where a billion people live, about one fifth of the world population, arrive at such a low condition, and how, among the 61 states and entities that it comprises, not even one offers its citizens security, education, health and welfare at a reasonable level. How did it happen that a whole continent is torn by never-ending wars, mass murders costing millions of lives, and famines that still threaten the residents, most of whom want only to flee from it.

The one answer to all of these questions is: Europe, or more accurately, the greedy lust of the European peoples in previous centuries, which was reflected in colonization; and the way in which the Europeans related to the peoples of Africa when they ruled it, and the way that they left Africa and abandoned it to its suffering.

We must remember that in Africa there were never “peoples” in the European sense of the word; there were tribes. These family-based groups, over the course of generations, grew and split off to form new tribes, but their members always remained loyal to tribal culture. Traditionally, each tribe had its own religion, language, customs, laws, dress, standards of behavior, living area, sources of livelihood and economic interests around which every member of the tribe would unite. To defend themselves and their sources of livelihood, the members of the tribe formed a fighting group, without which it would be extremely difficult for the tribe to survive. For thousands of years the tribes of Africa lived this way undisturbed, in continual balance between man and nature, between tribes and neighbors, between man and his beliefs.

The European conquest and colonization that began in the late 15th century, brought continual disaster upon the tribes of Africa: the colonialists saw the black continent as a source of raw material for European industry – gold, silver, copper, iron, zinc, aluminum, diamonds, rubber and wood, and later, oil. But worst of all was that the African was seen as a slave, an amazingly cheap source of labor whose life had value only inasmuch as he could be exploited as a cheap source of labor. The most obvious example of this is the behavior of King Leopold II, king of Belgium (1835-1909), who ruled as Czar of the Congo from 1884 to 1908, and regarded the Congo, and all that it contained, as his private property. He used the residents of Congo as slave labor in his mines and rubber industry, and a third of the people met their death in this work. Slaves who could not fulfill the production quotas that were demanded from them were punished with amputation of a hand. Men were forced into slave labor, families were destroyed and whole tribes were wiped out by famine. Africans were considered lower than animals, and the wealth that the king stole from the lands of the Congo served his large construction building projects in Belgium. Many of the beautiful and stylish buildings in Belgium are the result of his conduct, which earned him harsh criticism from other countries.

During the period from the 16th to the 19th century, millions of Africans were captured by European, Arab and local slave traders and sold into slavery, mainly to South and North America. About one sixth of the slaves did not survive the journey by ship, mainly because of the miserable nutritional and sanitary conditions in these floating prisons. Slave-hunters cast the tribes of Western Africa into a never-ending chain of acts of reprisal because of their collaboration with slave traders.

At the Berlin Conference in the year 1884, the colonialist countries of Europe marked the borders of Africa as a “division of spoils,” and became wealthy from the raw materials and the slaves that were brought out from the lands of Africa. A not insignificant part of European wealth today is a direct result of this act – the greatest plunder in the history of mankind.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/mordechai-kedar-the-suffering-of-africa-sins-of-europe-projected-on-israel/2012/06/11/

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