Anti-female genital mutilation campaigner Efua Dorkenoo, RIP


This video says about itself:

Cutting the rose: female genital mutilation | Efua Dorkenoo | TEDxUCLWomen

In this talk, Efua Dorkenoo, Advocacy Director for Equality Now and a founder of the Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development (FORWARD), a British charity that supports women who have experienced FGM speaks of the current implications of FGM and shares the ongoing efforts dedicated to eliminate this practice.

Event Summary– On December 6th 2013, the first university in the UK to admit men and women on equal merit, University College London (UCL) hosted its first ever TEDxWomen event.

By Hilary Burrage in Britain:

Obituary: Efua Dorkenoo

Thursday 23rd October 2014

Anti-FGM campaigner and writer (1949-2014)

EFUA DORKENOO, who died of cancer in London last Sunday, will be remembered with respect and gratitude for many things, but most of all for her many years of hard-headed and deeply committed campaigning to erase the cruel scourge of female genital mutilation (FGM), which even now blights the lives of — or kills — millions of girls and young women across the globe, year on year.

Striking in both her physical presence and her wider influence, Dorkenoo’s sway and work to stop FGM came to span much of the globe.

In the past year she saw both massively increased concern to address FGM in Britain, and, just a week before she died, the formal launch of the African-led movement, The Girl Generation: Together to End FGM, of which she was programme director.

Born in Ghana, where as a young nursing student she saw at first hand the grim realities of FGM, Dorkenoo then relocated to work in London, becoming an example par excellence of how to combine practical activism, political acumen and solid scholarship to great effect in FGM campaigns.

Dorkenoo understood that none of these elements was likely, alone, to achieve the outcome which she unerringly demanded.

To eradicate FGM, communities, political will and professional skills all need to be aligned, with their own specific briefings, data and messages — so that’s what Dorkenoo, recipient of a master’s degree in public health and an OBE for public service, delivered.

In 1983 Dorkenoo founded Forward, a British women’s health organisation campaigning against FGM. She collaborated for decades with the World Health Organisation and in later years she led FGM programmes for both Equality Now and the international health/development organisation Options.

Dorkenoo’s legacy is already many thousands of girls and women untouched by the looming terror in their communities of FGM.

Those who remain to take forward her life’s work are determined that soon these terrors will reside firmly, only and forever in history.

HILARY BURRAGE

Hilary Burrage is a sociologist, consultant and writer. She is currently writing a book on eradicating FGM in Britain.

Dutch seventeenth century shipwreck discovery in Caribbean


Map of the Battle of Scarborough Harbour, 1677

From the University of Connecticut in the USA:

UConn Archaeologist Discovers 17th-century Shipwreck

October 21, 2014

By: Sheila Foran

The Dutch ship Huis de Kreuningen went to her watery grave on March 3, 1677. But until a team led by University of Connecticut professor and maritime archaeologist Kroum Batchvarov found her this past summer in the waters of the southern Caribbean, no one knew precisely where that grave was.

Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology in UConn’s Department of Anthropology, is an internationally known researcher specializing in 17th-century ship building and maritime archaeology. He is leading a multi-phased investigation to find and study the remains of 16 vessels that were sunk in a fierce battle that took place in what is now known as Scarborough Harbour in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.

The battle was fought between the invading French and the Dutch, who controlled the island of Tobago at that time. Although often overlooked by students of maritime history, the confrontation was significant, both in terms of the number of lives lost and the damage done to both fleets.

Earlier this year, Batchvarov and his team were conducting a remote sensing survey in the Harbour when they picked up some promising signals. An exploratory dive struck pay dirt.

“To find what we believe to be the Huis de Kreuningen – almost by accident, as she was outside the boundaries where we expected to find her – undiscovered and untouched for over 300 years was an exciting moment,” Batchvarov says.

His research team went on to survey and map the wreck over the summer.

The find is a significant source of information for the maritime history of the period. “Although we have some written records of the battle itself, we possess no detailed plans of 17th-century warships,” Batchvarov says, “so our only sources of information about the ships of the day are the wrecks themselves. It isn’t overstatement to say that what has been discovered is a treasure trove for archaeological researchers.”

What is known about the battle is that all told, 2,000 people, including 250 Dutch women and children and 300 African slaves, were killed. In addition to the Huis de Kreuningen, which was the largest ship in the Dutch fleet, the flagship of French Vice Admiral Comte D’Estrée – the Glorieux – was also sunk and all but 80 of the 450 men aboard were lost. In the end, the Dutch lost more vessels, but they succeeded in repelling the French landing party and retained possession of the island.

Batchvarov says although his team didn’t find much of the hull structure intact, they have found a wealth of other material, including nine canons; Delft and Bellarmine pottery jars that date to the third quarter of the 17th century; lead shot that was never fired; dozens of Dutch smoking pipes; and bricks that perfectly match the specifications of bricks made in the Dutch city of Leiden in 1647.

The Huis de Kreuningen, though the largest in the Dutch fleet at 39.6 meters in length and 9.62 meters in breadth, was only about three quarters of the size of her French foe, the much newer and better armed Glorieux. With only 56 guns to her opponent’s 72, and with a crew of 129 instead of her full complement of 290 sailors aboard, existing records of the battle report that she put up a valiant fight until her captain either cut her anchor cables so she would run aground, or set her afire – accounts vary – in order to avoid capture.

Another benefit of the project is the opportunity it provides for students to participate in Batchvarov’s ongoing research. Students enrolled in maritime studies at UConn’s Avery Point campus, the only undergraduate program in the country with a maritime archaeology minor, have a singular opportunity.

On this summer’s trip to Tobago, Mark Wegiel ’15 (CLAS), a former Navy diver, took part in the exploration of the Huis de Kreuningen. With plans for doing graduate work in anthropology with a concentration in maritime archaeology, Wegiel says the dive in Scarborough Harbor gave him a new perspective.

“I had plenty of experience as a diver during my years in the Navy,” he says, “but having the chance to take part in surveying and mapping the wreck and being introduced first hand to the techniques of archaeological exploration was something new and exciting. As an undergraduate, I couldn’t have gotten this experience anywhere else.”

Permission to excavate the shipwrecks in and around Scarborough Harbour has been granted by the Tobago House of Assembly to the Rockley Bay Research Project, which is supported by the University of Connecticut and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology of the United States.

Artifacts and other items found in the shipwrecks are the property of Tobago and will eventually be displayed on the island. Excavation is expected to take three to five years.

In addition to his work in Tobago, Batchvarov is one of the world’s leading experts on the Swedish warship, Vasa, which sank in Stockholm Harbor in 1628. He has worked on Ottoman, Greek, and Phoenician ships, and has recently been invited to participate in an international collaboration that will study ships of state from 1300 to 1800. Batchvarov will concentrate on 17th-century shipbuilding technology development. The only person to have successfully excavated a Black Sea shipwreck, he is also involved in an international collaborative study of the Black Sea littoral zone – or shoreline to the high-water mark – that will concentrate on human adaptation to sea changes from the Upper Paleolithic era to the 19th century. The University of Connecticut is the only non-European institution invited to participate in these important endeavors.

Don’t deport refugee to Ebola, Liberian government says


This video is called Cuba to send more Ebola medics to West Africa.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Liberia: do not deport asylum seeker

Thursday Oct 23, 2014, 11:48 (Update: 23-10-14, 12:14)

Liberia does not want the Netherlands to deport an asylum seeker. The Deputy Ambassador of Liberia calls on the Dutch government to let him stay here until the Ebola crisis in the country has passed.

The court in Den Bosch decided on Monday that the 31-year-old Liberian can be expelled. The man claimed that the Netherlands provides a travel warning for Liberia and that Belgium also does not deport Liberians because of Ebola. But according to the court, the probability of an Ebola infection is small and the man can take steps to not be contaminated.

“The court must look again at this issue on humanitarian grounds,” said Deputy Ambassador Jarjar Kamara in the program The Ochtend on NPO Radio 1. “Let the applicants stay in the Netherlands until the crisis will be over.” …

Kamara gets support from immigration law professor Anton van Kalmthout. He calls the appeal understandable. “There is an emergency. Flights are canceled. Why does the negative travel advice not apply to a Liberian that is deported? … ” said Van Kalmthout in De Ochtend.

Monday deportation

It is intended that the Liberian this Monday will be put on a plane. His lawyer is trying to prevent this with an action before the European Court of Human Rights.

Next week, the Lower House of Parliament will be talking about the issue, but by then the man may have already been deported. Professor Van Kalmthout believes that the government should postpone the deportation until it will be clear what the outcome of the parliamentary debate will be.

LIBERIA’S Ebola crisis stepped up a gear today as dozens of starving quarantined people threatened to break out of isolation: here.

England: No, there is not a ‘black illegal immigrant with Ebola’ missing in Leicester: here.

The giant pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday that its work on a vaccine for Ebola will “come too late” to do anything about the current situation. Even now it is trying to compress trials that would normally take a decade into a year. The impression it gives is that it is working flat out, no holds barred. But hang on a moment. Ebola was discovered back in 1976. What has GlaxoSmithKline been doing since then? Answer: not much: here.

All incoming travelers from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone must self-report their temperatures for 21 days after arriving in the U.S. [NYT]

Ebola animated cartoon by Mark Fiore: here.

The imperialist powers are using the West Africa Ebola outbreak as a cover for re-establishing or strengthening their military presence in their former colonies. Their aim is to further their geo-strategic interests including control of the region’s offshore oil resources. To this end, rather than sending financial or healthcare assistance, they are deploying military forces: here.

BAMAKO, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola on Thursday, becoming the sixth West African country to be touched by the worst outbreak on record of the haemorrhagic fever, which has killed nearly 4,900 people: here.

Belgian fascist suspect of Brabant massacres


This BBC video says about itself:

Operation Gladio: NATO’s 1985 Brabant Massacres in Belgian Supermarkets

10 July 2014

Friday September 27 [1985]: more or less 20:00 armed robbery and a killing in the Delhaize supermarket on rue de la Graignette in Braine-l’Alleud. Less than $6,000.00 was stolen. Three people were killed, two people wounded.

Friday September 27: more or less 20:30 (only 15 to 25 minutes after the first attack that night) armed robbery and a killing in the Delhaize supermarket on Brusselsesteenweg in Overijse. Less than $25,000.00 was stolen. Five people were killed, one person wounded.

Saturday November 9 more or less 19:30 armed robbery and a killing in the Delhaize supermarket on Parklaan in Aalst. Less than $25,000.00 was stolen. Eight people were killed, a few more people wounded.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

New arrest in Brabant killers case

Wednesday Oct 22, 2014, 21:54 (Update: 22-10-14, 22:12)

In Belgium, possibly a breakthrough has been achieved in the investigation into the Brabant killers gang. Michel Libert (70), the former second in command of the extreme right-wing group Westland New Post (WNP) has been arrested.

Libert and other WNP members worked at the NATO Transmission Centre in Evere near Brussels. The official aim of Westland New Post was to fight Soviet infiltration in NATO. In practice, they perpetrated murders and other crimes in Belgium.

In investigations of the Brabant killers gang, Libert had been interrogated several times as a witness, but had not previously been a suspect.

The Brabant killers committed in 1982, 1983 and 1985 a number of murders and very violent robberies, burglaries and thefts. They caused a total of 28 deaths.

The group WNP was potentially involved in these robberies. That was explained by ex-gangster Eric Lammens [sic; Lammers], who was himself a member of WNP, recently on a Belgian television program.

Libert was arrested Monday in Brussels after a tip from a man from France. …

November next year it will be 30 years after the last robbery, and then the case will be barred. The Justice Department has asked politicians to extend the deadline with ten more years.

Translated from the RTBF (French language TV in Belgium):

Of particular interest to the Brabant killers investigators are orders that Michel Libert would give to his subordinates for the supervision of department stores, driveways and parking lots exits, and exact places of cash registers funds and departments. All this was in the early 80s, so, shortly before the most serious crimes: the 1985 attacks at car parks and shops of the Delhaize group (17 people killed in three months). Michel Libert admitted this to our BBC colleagues in 1992.

Let us recall that the WNP organization consisted mainly of right-wing extremists, including soldiers and gendarmes. New people could only join it by sponsorship by members.