Archive | August 27, 2011

Brazil: A Subterranean River Discovered as Protests Aim the Stop the Dam

Brazil: A Subterranean River Discovered as Protests Aim the Stop the Dam

By Hwaa Irfan

In November 2010, voices were raised around the earth in protest against the building of the Belo
Monte Dam Complex on the International Day of Action. This year those and more voices were raised again while the corporate press remains focused on the global economic crisis, the U.S. debt crisis, the mixed messages from Libya, and hurricane Irene’s approach on the U.S., ignoring that hurricane Irene had wiped out 90% of homes in the Bahamas. But this year the voices were in tune with the earth.

From the 19th  – 22nd voices were raised with the earth changes as a battalion of bulldozers, chain saws and guns set in motion to deplete the word’s pharmacy further to make way for the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil. In Brasilia, there were songs and dance in praise of the Amazon. In London, Paris, and San Francisco too voices were raised bringing to attention what the world stands to lose, having lost 20% of the Amazon in 40 years alone.

If the dam is completed, not only would it be the third largest dam in the world, but it would destroy 100,000 acres of rainforest, and displace 40,000 indigenous peoples of Brazil losing untold genetic resources for future food, health, and medicine. Consisting of 7 dams, the Belo Monte Dam Complex would upset the delicate ecosystem of the Xingu and Madeira Rivers presenting the globalized concepts of power lines, gas and oil pipelines, large scale mining, aluminum smelters and shipping channels along the roads of the same unsustainable mentality
that has brought the global economic system to a grinding halt, sending thousands into poverty. Millions of acres of rainforest will be flooded, and the level of activity will increase the green-houses gases and methane, poisoning a sustainable future.

The great irony is that as the powers that be have plowed into the Amazon to exploits its wealth in unforgiveable measures, the Amazon revealed its bounties further – a 6,000 km river, 4km below the Amazon River! The same length as each, the subterranean river has been named the Rio Hamza.

Beginning under the Andes, Rio Hamza flows slower than the Amazon all the way to the Atlantic
Ocean. Led by the scientists, Elizabeth Tavares Pimentel and Valiya Hamza of the Department of Geophysics at Brazil’s National Observatory, it was found that Rio Hamza flows vertically through rock then changed vertically, and offers an explanation as to the low salinity of at the mouth of the Amazon River. How the rivers interconnect is another question, and if that balance is disturbed,
the consequences might be greater than considered if at all turning the Belo Monte Complex Dam into a very expensive disaster!


Jha, A. “Underground River ‘Rio Hamza’ Discovered 4km Beneath
the Amazon.”

Related Topics:

Brazil Signing Away Our
Amazonian Legacy

Murder in the Amazon

A River Runs Through Us

What the Libyan Rebels are Really Doing!

LIBYA – Resistance to US/NATO Conquest Continues

From IAC

Under the most incredibly difficult conditions –including NATO bombing, mercenary landings, Special Forces operations and the destruction of civilian infrastructure– the heroic resistance to imperialist conquest in Libya has continued.

All the corporate media lies claiming mass surrender, the fleeing of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the arrest of his sons and more have turned out to be nothing but lies and psychological warfare. After 159 days of bombing, incredibly, the resistance continues.

The continued resistance also exposes the lie of the so-called democratic “rebel” forces –forces that have been set up by Britain, France and the U.S. to facilitate the imperialist invasion of the oil-rich country. Meanwhile, arms have been distributed by the Libyan ‘government’ to the whole population – something a hated dictator would never do.

As in Iraq and Afghanistan, an arrogant declaration of U.S. victory and “mission accomplished” does not mean an end to local people’s resistance, which takes many forms. The Libyan people have heroically withstood not only half a year of bombing, but also a hail of racist corporate media
propaganda seeking to portray the U.S.-NATO military machine, both preposterously and once again, as great white liberators.

While resistance continues in Libya, we in the center of U.S. imperialism must continue our resistance to the criminal war there – even as the prolonged economic war against poor and oppressed people continues within the U.S.

An IAC-organized truth tour featuring former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney – who traveled to Libya to be an eyewitness to the U.S.-NATO attack –has built major opposition meetings in 21 cities across the country. At each meeting, which was undertaken by a local coalition of forces, hundreds of anti-war and anti-imperialist and community activists attended.

These meetings against U.S. war in Libya have been the largest series of anti-war meetings held in years. At the same time, the IAC has been in the streets, organizing protests across the country.

The U.S. war in Libya is a first aggressive step in the expansion of wars of colonial conquest in Africa. It means new U.S. threats against Sudan and Somalia. It means more belligerent targeting of other countries in Middle East, especially Syria and Iran.

Help us continue resistance to U.S./NATO war on Libya.

Contact us at 212-633-6646  212-633-6646

Revolutionary Sounds of Seun Kuti

Revolutionary Sounds of Seun Kuti

By Hwaa Irfan

If one steps outside the mainstream music charts, and take time out for a more meaningful experience one will find an abundance of ceaseless creativity threatening the official status quo. Classified into the realms of “world music”, this genre has more to offer the artiste who enjoys
exploring their art, and the audience.

No less in this regard is the work of Nigerian artist, Seun Anikulapo who regards the mainstream as being all about “me”, and not enough about “we.” Seun’s latest album ‘From Africa with Fury: Rise’ has been bubbling under the surface.

A lot has happened since 2008, when Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 performed live at the Nobel peace prize concert. Noting the lack of unity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and with great hope towards Tunisia and Egypt, Seun and his father’s Egypt 80 band recorded Seun’s second album  ‘From Africa with Fury: Rise’ in 2010 at Dos Tecnicos Studios, Rio with veteran producer/mixer Godwin Logie, an album which was completed in London, U.K. It has had its reviews, but deserves greater
exposure, as we approach the anniversary of his father’s death August 2nd, the day before the awaited trial of former President Hosni Mubarak is set to take place.

The Nigerian establishment thought it had been relieved by the constant reminder of their inadequacies when Seun’s father Fela Anikulapo Kuti died in 1997. However, the prodigal youngest son Seun continues the legacy left by their singer-composer, trumpeter, sax and keyboard player, bandleader, and politician father who enjoyed a global cult following because of his daring.

In a country where a decreasing population know their own language less than English, Seun’s new album ‘From Africa with Fury: Rise’ is full of the Afrobeat formula created by Fela, but innovates towards the funk of the acclaimed African American band “War.”

Full of energy and immediacy there is no understatement in the titles of the tracks. Produced by Brian Eno and John Reynolds there is no half-hearted attempt to invite the listening audience to stand up and rise!

‘From Africa with Fury: Rise’ consists of 8 long tracks opening with a direct challenge to African dictators in ‘African Soldier’. As far back as 1976, Fela lambasted African soldiers in ‘Zombie’ after which his family compound was brutally attacked.

An acoustic guitar riff, cowbells and qwabasa sets the underlying rhythm off the trademarked Afrobeat trumpet riffs on Yoruba musical themes to be overlaid with police sirens symbolic in the music of Bob Marley and the poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson. The police sirens leave no room for
doubt that this is not just another partey track.

As always, the musical intro is long, as the base saxophone teases the preceding rhythms by not falling into a call and response. Seun’s accented raspy voice questions 30 – 50 rule in Nigerian English, and the concept of life presidency – one is instantly reminded of Fela has there is little to
distinguish between their booming voices as Seun questions African colonial-driven
dictatorship as the trumpets drive home a collective message.

‘You Can Run’ is short, and begins a little less adventurously, but using more funky rhythms
with a tight off-beat saxophone from Seun. The chorus and refrain is in Yoruba, but the verses are in Nigerian English speaking to sisters, and children to run for cover from those who buy and kill for what they believe in, but tomorrow it is the oppressor who will run for cover.

Written and performed a year prior to recoding, ‘Rise’ is by far the strongest track.  With little
musical intro ‘Rise’ begins with the refrain “our ears are full of your words, but our stomachs are empty”. Guitar and synchronized clapping drives a slow deep rhythm reminiscent of being shackled like the early days of the blues.

Saxophone and trumpets call to emotions in a bluesy tone that declare with Seun as he “…cries for his country when in the hands of the ‘peace’ [peacekeepers] people” – business makers who enslave the people while profiteering.  The petroleum and diamond industries are identified, along with Monsanto and Halliburton for the theft of natural resources, and the destruction of the land “use our brothers as slaves for the stone”, “ we must rise”, the call and response refrains goes we must rise as it fades into a slow solo Black Uhuru guitar riff.

The tracks are not as long and full of energy as Fela’s, which for Fela fans weakens the message, and might leave newcomers wondering what next as the tracks are delivered in lengths more than 7 minutes long unlike Fela’s marathons. One wonders how much this is to do with the studio
process, coming from a culture where music comes from the environment, and the people, but not the studio. However, the album makes a welcome change from the mainstream obsession with things that blind us by focusing on those who keep us blind!

Related Topics:

A Dance to the Sublime

Stepping Back to Afrika!

The Redemption Songs of Muslim Youth

How Comes/Ezzay!

God Father of RAP is Dead!

Ramadhan Reflections: What We Do Will Live Beyond Us…

Ramadhan Reflections: What We Do Will Live Beyond Us…


Text Summary:

As we go through the remaining days of Ramadan, we should reflect on the things that we have and how we use them. We are at a critical point in our global history where the environment is being damaged and what is happening may well be irreversible, affecting our children, their children and many generations to come.

God reminds us in the Qur’an that the earth is like a mosque, that we can pray any where; we are constantly reminded in it’s verses to look at the signs that we see when we reflect on the sky, the earth, the trees, the ocean and we are told to travel through the earth and observe and reflect on those civilizations that preceded us. Sometimes, we are so arrogant that we believe our civilization is the greatest one yet, there were so many others in the past that accomplished great things, some greater than we can achieve today.

The challenge for us in the next few days as we think about our behaviour in the next few days and the changes we need to make is to remember that our actions have an impact on those around us and the effects of what we do can last beyond our own lifetime into that of our children and their children.
Quite simply put, “What will your legacy be for our children and theirs?” is it one that you will be proud of? for which you will be rewarded by God.

We are reminded in the Qur’an that we are ambassadors of God. So what does that mean? Keeping this in mind alongside a saying attributed to Chief Seattle, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” we must critically reflect on what we do.

This Ramadhan, do we get food served to us on volumes of Styrofoam that will only add to landfills and cause future problems? Do we leave our cars idling even though we know that the carbon emissions are causing the polar ice caps to melt? Are we adequately reusing and recycling so that we are not creating volumes of garbage that will affect later generations? Are we calling for fair and accountable international policy as countries like Brazil consider destroying more of the Amazon Forest in order to pay off debts and meet their society’s needs? Do we leave water running when we make w’udhu or brush our teeth when people around the world are dying
because they don’t have access to drinking water? Are we wasting food when people are dying because of lack of food?

We may try to fool ourselves into thinking that our actions don’t have that much of an impact, but it really does and we will be held accountable for it by God and by our children. In the world today, there is the emergence of a new class of refugees termed, “environmental refugees”. People who will no longer be able to live where they used to because of environmental changes.
This group is expected to grow steadily in the coming years in part because of our behaviour and our support for over-consumption.

The prophet peace be upon him once moved where he set up camp and lit their fire because he didn’t want to disturb an ant nest. Something we may consider insignificant.

We must think globally and act locally. We can make simple changes to our lives to help save energy and cut down on wasting resources. Let us remember that God will not change our conditions until we first change what is in our own hearts.
We have to follow this with our actions and then pray for the best outcome. Ramadhan is a time for reflection and positive change- what will you do?

Related Topics:

Ramadhan Reflections: When Your Actions Say You Know More Than God.

Ramadhan Reflections: What Do I Do When Things Don’t Fall Into Place

Ramadhan Reflections: Your Chance to Get What You Want‏

Layla-tul Qadr

Ramadhan Reflections: What Can People Expect from You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Remembering Those Who Don’t Have the Choice to Fast‏

Ramadhan Reflections: I Am Not Racist, Some People Just Aren’t Good Enough.‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Every Soul Shall Taste of Death are You Ready?

Ramadhan Reflections: What you see in others IS a reflection of who YOU are.‏

Ramadhan Reflections: It’s Not Really My Problem

Ramadhan Reflections: Why Do The Same Issues Keep Coming Up In My Life?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Should I Be Interacting With People Who Aren’t Muslim?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Why does Islam Seem So Hard and Boring All the Time!

Ramadhan Reflection: Of course I Care About Others…Sort of!

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Make Mistakes?

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Ramadhan Reflections: Are You Worthy of God’s Forgiveness?‏

Do You Really Trust Allah?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Think About You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Memorizing the Qur’an is Not Enough

Ramadhan Reflections: What Do Your Actions Say About You?‏

The World Does NOT Revolve Around Me.‏

Stuffing Ourselves and Sleeping All Day…

Ramadhan Reflections: Do My Prayers Benefit Me?

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Pre-Ramadhan Reflections

Keep Ramadhan Simple!

Ramadhan 2011


Letter to the Self #30 Remember Me

Letter to the Self #29 Forgiveness

Letter to Self # 28: Those We Ignore

Letter to the Self # 27: Destination or the Journey!

Letter to the Self # 26: Change