Congo Watch: September 2004

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Congo troops end refugee protest - Eastern DR Congo is tense

Today, the BBC reports that troops have been deployed in Uvira in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following protests at the return of hundreds of refugees from Burundi. Excerpt:

Barricades set up by the protesters on Friday have been removed and roads have re-opened.

The refugees - who are ethnic Tutsis - are still in Burundi, while officials discuss whether it is safe enough for them to return home.

Some 160 refugees were massacred in the border town of Gatumba last month.

The refugees, who are known as Banyamulenge, had refused an offer to move to camps further inside Burundi, away from Gatumba.

About 350 of them had arrived at the DR Congo-Burundi border, after the Burundi authorities said they wanted to re-open the schools in which they had been staying in time for the beginning of the new academic year.

"They say that since they feel unsafe in Gatumba, they'd prefer to feel unsafe at home, in their own country," said Refugees International's Andrea Lari, who is in Uvira.

"And from the DR Congo government's point of view, they've given an undertaking that they cannot prevent Congolese coming back."

The reasons behind the protests remain unclear.

One possible explanation is that the residents of Uvira resent the idea of returning refugees receiving preferential treatment.

Another is that as ethnic Tutsis, they are distrusted after the offensive launched by dissident troops in June to prevent what they described as the planned massacre of Banyamulenge civilians.

A peace deal intended to end DR Congo's five-year war in which an estimated three million people died was signed in 2002.

But rising tensions in the east of the country have led to fears the fragile peace may begin to unravel.


Monday, September 06, 2004

HERE IS A "VIRTUAL" MEETUP - Today, for Sudan, in the blogosphere

Today, Monday September 6, is monthly International Sudanese Peace Meetup Day.

Meet ups are for people interested in peace for Sudan (and other topics).

You can sign up and get together - in person - with others in your locality. And even start your own Meet up.

Because I am unable to attend a Meet up, I have created a "virtual" Meet up via this post.

Below are links to bloggers - mostly regular reads from my sidebar - who have written about the Sudan.

Here's sending you all a warm hello - and a big thank you for your posts on the Sudan.

See you at the next virtual Meet up here in October :)

Bye for now. With love from Ingrid and Ophelia xx

PS Special thanks to Nick for alerting me to the Meet up date that enabled me to complete this, and the following two posts, in time.
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POEM FOR SUDAN
By Virginia Barros in Portugal

This poem was composed in English by Virginia Barros (blogging under the name of Monalisa) - of Sítio da Saudade - especially for today's Meet Up.

Virginia is a Portuguese blogger who lives in a small town in Portugal. See her beautiful locality in the photo of a bridge - here below. She kindly emailed me this poem for Sudan, in response to my previous post publicising the Sep 6 International Sudanese Peace MeetUp Day. Warm thanks to Virginia for her poem for Sudan:

In my comfortable
And warm room I sleep
I sleep quietly
And you die
Suffering horrors that my brain
Does not obtain to imagine
Because all of us sleep tranquil
And in the same minute
The great pain of the planet
Doesn’t affect us
We pass by lifeless
Indifferent and silently
and we wake up
Thinking to be happy
But the happiness
is spotted of blood and barbarity

Because we let the heartless
Take the world
and we do nothing.

sujet.gif
[Photo courtesy of Osterreich Hilft Darfur ORF ]
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SUDAN: INTERNATIONAL MEETUP DAY
Sep 6 Labor Day - Sudan Campaign

Eugene Oregon at Demagogue received this email from Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity International and the Sudan Campaign:

This Labor Day, Monday, September 6, the Sudan Campaign is inviting everyone to take a “day on” rather than a “day off” to protest the ongoing genocide in Sudan. Demonstrations have been held at the Sudan embassy everyday since June 29th, and they will continue. Over 50 persons have offered themselves for arrest by committing non-violent acts of civil disobedience to draw attention to the urgency and seriousness of the issue. Radio personality and activist, Joe Madison, has been a hunger strike for six weeks. In light of the UN findings that the Khartoum regime has not fully complied with the UN mandate issued over 30 days ago, it is time to move to a new level of pressure, economic.

The Sudan Campaign hopes to accomplish 3 goals at the Monday protest:

(1) To thank the Red Cross and other humanitarian aid organizations that have begun massive operations to feed the displaced and starving people of Darfur (celebrating the end to the fast of the Black Eagle, Joseph Madison)

(2) To decry the weakness of the response of the United Nations to the failure of the government of Sudan to comply fully with the mandate given them by the UN thirty days ago

(3) To announce and to launch a bold new strategy of our drive to bring peace to all of the people of the Sudan: Demand that U.S. citizens, their pension funds and their corporations divest themselves of all investments of money in their names in corporations doing business in the Sudan.

Please join us and/or distribute flyers available at the Sudan Campaign and Passion of the Present and encourage others to do the same.
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DOWNLOAD GENOCIDE POSTER AND FACTSHEET
At www.blockstreet and building.com

Please feel free to download Sudan poster and factsheet - courtesy Passion of the Present at www.blockstreet and building.com

PARTNER UP:
Join with others to take creative action and blog about it.

REACH OUT:
Blog about contacting the media and elected officials.

GET LINKED: Join Save Darfur to moblise national action.

GIVE: For a list of aid organisations working in Sudan go to InterAction or DEC UK or download Songs for Sudan album (see link in next post here below)

COME TO: Passion of the Present for daily news and community.

SPREAD THE WORD: on the latest - Sep 12 Rally at the U.N. in New York - to Stop Sudan Genocide.
- - -

THANK YOU TO ONE AND ALL
For blogging the plight of Sudanese in Darfur and Chad

sudanese.jpg
Sudanese women are silhouetted at Abu Shouk camp in North Darfur, Sudan, where more than 40,000 displaced people are receiving food and shelter from international aid agencies. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) (September 01, 2004)

ENGLAND
Alistair Coleman (kudos to the BBC + Caversham for great coverage on Sudan)
The UK Today - thanks to Clive for the info on EDMs and how to make contact by fax and email with our MPs
Norman Geras - great weekly postings on Sudan

IRELAND
Gavin Sheridan - oil and China posts (btw great work being done in Sudan by Ireland's GOAL aid agency)

SCOTLAND
Scottish Webring members (and kudos to Scotsman.com for great reporting on Sudan)

WALES
Bob Piper - always kindly posted on Sudan
Doug Floyd lyrics of Sudan Song and list of the album's tracks
Doug at Quadrophrenia for posting the lyrics of Song for Sudan.

CANADA
Jim Elve at BlogsCanada - The Suffering Continues Unabated
Officially Unofficial - BlogsCandada - The Suffering Continues Unabated
BlogsCanada E Group Blog Multi-partisan Political Punditry
Jim Elve another awesome post on aid links courtesy BBC
E Group Blog - Multi-partisan Political Punditry - Arjun's great discussion thread on: "Should Canada Intervene?"
Boris Anthony another neat post on A failure of will
Allseasons
Lost Below the 49th: Darfur, ReDux - check out link to great piece on Romeo D'allaire (and his book)
Lost Below the 49th Crazy Canuck returns

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Arjun Singh Sudan Genocide: UN finds No Significant Progress...
Arjun Singh has written great posts on Sudan at CanadaBlogs e-group.
Sébastien Paquet - real neat posts as usual

FRANCE
Loic Le Meur (has not posted on Sudan, as far as I am aware, but Loic has many links in his sidebar for anyone wishing to connect up with French bloggers)

AUSTRALIA
Robert Corr - Time for action (best Sudan intro in the blogosphere)
Jonathan Rowbottom hosted interesting discussion thread

PORTUGAL

Virginia Barros' Sítio da Saudade: Sudão powerful post on Sudan (also see above Poem for Sudan)
Nelson

HOLLAND
Ado (who is Dutch and works in Tokyo at Joi Ito's)

JAPAN
Joi Ito re Images of genocide
Joi Ito's list of posts on Sudan
finalvent on China, Japan, Russia and oil
finalvent on Darfur
finalvent re Sudanese FM visit to Japan Sept 5-9 for talks on Darfur
finalvent - more on oil

MALAYSIA
Rajan's first of the great round ups on Sudan
Rajan's second great Sudan Genocide roundup
Rajan's third and, for the Sep 6 meetup, his latest Sudan Genocide roundup
Aiseh, man thoughtful post on Compassionate Infidels

USA
Jim Moore's Journal - April 22, 2004 post that started it all (here at this blog I mean!)
Jim Moore's Journal - April 23, 2004 post that I picked up on and have been blogging about ever since (*yawn*)
Sudan Day of Conscience
Ethan Zuckerman Top Ten Worst Dictators
Ethan Zuckerman Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower
ChaiTeaLatte Madhu kindly linked to several posts and got my blog Instalanched
Instapundit - regular posts on Sudan and esp re oil
Nicholas Genes has written some super posts - his doc buddy Jonathan Spector is now safely back home in the US after working with MSF in Darfur
Pauly's Side of the Truth - has just written another great post on Sudan
Jonathan Broad "Dallaire on Darfur: It is happening...again" (a must-read)
Gary Silberberg - regular postings on Sudan
Patrick Hall - exclusively Sudan posts - neat finds
Allied - one of the few great female bloggers writing about Sudan
Squirrel in DC - link to Samantha Power's great piece in New Yorker on her travels in Sudan
Cheers to The Register for publicising Oxfam's "Songs for Sudan" download album for Darfur.

[Note: sincere apologies to those I've missed out, I've not checked through four months of archives in my main blog. If I have missed you, please email me or comment and I will add your link here - or write a special post later on. Thanks.]
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Note to Jim: Sorry, unable to post image of Passion of the Present's poster. Flickr is superb but for some reason I couldn't get it to show. Instead, I've posted a link to the download at www.blockstreet and building.com

Here is a photo of the town in Portugal where Portuguese blogger Virginia lives. Virginia kindly volunteered to compose, in English, a poem for Sudan, especially for today's "virtual" meet up.

Rui Vale Sousa.jpg

[Photo - with thanks to Sítio da Saudade - courtesy of Rui Vale de Sousa - apologies to photographer, this transmission has cropped right side of picture, full image avail at www.ruivaledesousa.com or copy and paste it into a page in your computer and whole image should appear]
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UPDATE September 8, 2004:

Seems there is no accurate way of knowing who is all blogging about Darfur. Technorati's lists are invaluable (blogosphere would not be the same without it) as you can also search on key words Sudan and Darfur and read blogs that have published using those words during previous 7 days.

Trouble is, the list changes every week, and sometimes there are hundreds to click through. It takes too much time to keep up with. As much as we'd like, we can't visit every blog posting on Sudan. Also (but not too often) links to this site, and others, do not show up in Technorati's listings.

So, if you have posted on the Sudan and are not linked here or at Passion of the Present, please do please make contact in comments or by email - even if it is just to say the word hi - with your blog URL to link here for readers interested in seeing what others are saying, doing and thinking about the Sudan. Thanks. Don't be shy. These two writers took the time and trouble to comment:

AUTHOR OF SUDAN POSTS AT WAVEFLUX BLOG
Is the best sousaphone player in South Carolina

Hello and thank you to the author of Waveflux in St Louis, USA for his neat posts on the Sudan that include Who will save the people of Darfur? - and:

- contact info on officials who may have influence
- copy of a reply received from Sen. Jim Talent's office
- great post for the Day of Conscience
- and Passion of the Present's poster.

In his "about" section, Waveflux writes that a band director once called him the best sousaphone player in the state of South Carolina - and says "that's saying something, because those things are heavy" (but, to be fair he admits, the ones he played way back when were mostly made of fiberglass).

Sousaphone (SOO-zah-fone) is a brass instrument invented by John Philip Sousa which was adapted from the tuba. The Sousaphone has a forward bell which coils around to rest upon the player's shoulder thus allowing the instrument to be carried with greater ease while marching.

[Photo - with thanks to Waveflux - courtesy of G. Leblanc Corporation]

sousaphone.jpg
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ARCHITECTURE FOR HUMANITY
Hello to founder Cameron Sinclair

cameron.jpg

Hello to Cameron and thank you for commenting at my virtual meet up post at Passion of the Present.

Cameron is the the founder of Architecture for Humanity and was trained as an architect at the University of Westminster and at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

During his studies, he developed an interest in social, cultural and humanitarian design. His postgraduate thesis focused on providing shelter to New York's homeless population through sustainable, transitional housing.

After completing his studies, he moved to New York where he has worked as a designer and project architect. Since 1996, Cameron has worked on projects in more than 20 countries including England, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States. [read more ...]