Archive | June 2014

S. Korean Women Sue US Military for Forced Prostitution*

S. Korean Women Sue US Military for Forced Prostitution*

American soldiers are on their way to place anti-tank mines on a road, 06 August 1950, to stop the North Koreans from advancing. (AFP Photo)


A group of South Korean former “comfort women”, who worked in state-controlled brothels for the US military after the 1950-53 Korean War, has reportedly filed a suit demanding compensation from the authorities for forced prostitution.

It’s the first time that such legal action has been taken regarding the brothels, or “special areas” that were sanctioned by the South Korean government, The Asahi Shimbun media outlet reported.

The women are seeking 10 million won ($9,850) for being made to serve as “US military comfort women” after the Korean War ended in 1953.

The suit, filed on June 25, stated that the South Korean authorities subjugated the women and forced them to provide sex, violating their human rights.

Moreover, the group said that they had been obliged to go through medical check-ups for sexually transmitted diseases.

The plaintiffs also urged the authorities to issue an official apology, revealing the true historical facts.

The Korean War lasted from 1950 till 1953 and split the country in two. During the war, the US intervened as South Korea’s ally, while China were allies of the North.

Throughout the war, UN and South Korean comfort stations operated on the frontline.

However, even after hostilities had ended, between the 1950s and 1960s, some 60 percent of all South Korean prostitutes worked near US military camps.

In 1960, two lawmakers in the South Korean National Assembly called on the country’s leadership to train a supply of prostitutes for the allied military, to prevent them from spending their money in Japan instead.


Related Topics:

U.S. Rape and Sodomy of Iraqi Women and Children*

Veteran Who Raped and Murdered Iraqi Family Commits Suicide*

U.S. Soldiers Raping Afghan Women*

Creating 1,000 Liters of Drinking Water from Air!*

Creating 1,000 Liters of Drinking Water from Air!*

Sounds good, but if taken from the air, what happens to the atmosphere, and what happens to plant biodiversity that uses the water from the air…

By John Vibes

A new invention that is already being tested in some desert areas is able to extract clean drinking water from the air using a wind turbine. A company called Eole Water has implemented this wonderful invention in areas of the Abu Dhabi desert.

Tests on a ground-mounted prototype of the water making system has shown that the device is capable of producing up to 1,000 liters of clean drinking water on a daily basis. The tests just began in October in Mussafah, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, but the results have inspired people all over the world.

The Eole Water wind turbine is also fully self-sufficient, utilizing both wind and solar energy to power itself.

This is actually not the only invention of its kind, a number of new inventions to recently break news have similar technology, which enables devices to extract condensation from the air and convert it into drinking water.

One device, named NJORD after a sea god of Norse mythology is actually handheld, and looks like a simple plastic container.

According to Yanko Design “An internal thermostat monitors air temperature and adjusts an internal polar polymer to create the needed conditions for condensation to occur inside the bottle. Simply turn on the device and in two hours you’ll have a liter of water (in 50% humidity).”

According to the inventors of the NJORD, this design is based off of an older technology called “air wells”.  According to Wikipedia, an air well or aerial well is a structure or device that collects water by promoting the condensation of moisture from air.

Designs for air wells are many and varied, but the simplest designs are completely passive, require no external energy source and have few, if any, moving parts.

Modern technology has allowed designers to take this concept to the next level, with a number of devices that can produce water out of thin air.


Related Topics:

Ethiopia: Harvesting Clean Water from the Air*

No Water for 45,000 Palestinians*

The Privatization of Water*

Nestlé’s Selling You Your Water!

The Sacred Spirit of Water*

Why You Should Drink More Water*

The Hopi Call for Water Rights

Drilling for Water Greens the Saudi Deserts

Those Urban Water Fountains!

Clean Water a Luxury in E. Californian Schools

Libya: NATO Poisoning the Purest Water in the World

What Would You Give for a Drop of Water!?

Egypt Restricting Ramadhan Sermons to Favour the Regime*

Egypt Restricting Ramadhan Sermons to Favour the Regime*

The new gatherings law of Egypt has raised anger among Egyptians, many of whom have tried to challenge that law only to find themselves arrested, including some prominent activists, sentenced to 15 years in prison last month, for organizing a protest without a permit.

With the early days of the month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, police forces raided a house where a group of 11 young men were having a sahoor (an end of night meal Muslims take before fasting for the day) party, apparently for violating the laws of gathering as some speculate. Netizens started the hashtag #معتقلي_السحور [ar], which translates to Sahoor detainees.

Egypt will restrict sermons during the holy month of Ramadan to topics of faith and morality, the state’s top official in charge of religious affairs said Sunday, in the latest measure by the government to control mosques and limit access of opponents to them.

The announcement is yet another move by authorities to crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and limiting in the process free speech in the deeply polarized country.

Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa said the decision should ensure that sermons during Islam’s holy month of fasting “unite people, not divide them.” He said the religious speech had been “hijacked” for political purposes, in reference to the previous government, led by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

“The religious speech was politically driven, which affected the moral side,” he told reporters at a news conference on the first day of the observance. “Now we’re in a race against time trying to restore morals.”

Morsi was ousted last year following mass protests against him denouncing his group’s attempt to monopolize power. The military removed Morsi, and its chief, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, was elected president earlier this month.

In his campaign, el-Sissi stressed that religious discourse needs to be restructured, saying a free for all interpretation of religion has helped spread extremism. Islamist groups rely on mosques to recruit new members and also rally for political positions ahead of votes.

Since Morsi’s ouster, religious authorities moved to purge mosques from preachers deemed supportive of Islamists and have set guidelines for Friday sermons.

Gomaa said new regulations will also specify what the sermons will address in Ramadan, when more worshippers than usual spend time in mosques, praying and listening to religious lessons. Ramadan is the time Muslims believe God started to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad, and for believers, it is a time of reflection and worship, remembering the hardships of others and being charitable.

The ministry has also set new rules to regulate a Ramadan tradition — one where many people spend the last ten days of the month inside mosques, praying, fasting and reading the Quran. The Brotherhood and other Islamist groups often used the retreat for recruitment.

The ministry’s website said that this year, the stay would be allowed only in central mosques under the supervision of a state-authorized cleric. The buildings will only host people who live in the immediate neighborhood.

It was not clear how the government plans to implement the regulations.

Some 12,000 independent preachers have been barred from delivering sermons. In recent months, the ministry’s website had been posting outlines for the weekly sermons delivered each Friday. Anyone who strays from them in Egypt’s more than 100,000 mosques risks removal.

Last Friday’s sermon spoke about “rationalizing consumption,” just after the president mentioned the country needed belt-tightening efforts from all Egyptians.

Gomaa said Sunday 50,000 licensed preachers will be deployed to lead late night Ramadan prayers. The ministry had already restricted preaching in mosques to state-authorized clerics.

He reiterated a ban on holding Friday prayers at thousands of small, unregulated mosques known as “zawaya.”

A number of measures have been used to crack down on the Brotherhood. It has been declared a terrorist organization and some of its members have had their assets frozen. The government has also passed a new law restricting protests.

In a separate development, a Cairo appeal court has set July 22 as the date of a retrial for a prominent Egyptian activist sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia for organizing an unauthorized protest and assaulting a policeman.

The sentencing of Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others was the latest blow to liberal activists at a time of rapidly eroding freedoms.

The sentence was the toughest against any of the secular activists behind the 18-day uprising that ended the reign of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. It is also the first conviction of a prominent activist since el-Sissi took office.


Egypt: anti-Brotherhood cleric accuses government of ‘fighting Islam’

An Egyptian cleric known for his opposition of the Muslim Brotherhood and support for the July 3 military coup slammed the latest government decision to limit Ramadan night prayer time to 45 minutes, saying it shows the government’s “anti-religion” agenda.

Sheikh Ahmed Karima, professor of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, criticized the ministries of interior and endowments for imposing a limited duration for prayers in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “By taking such decisions, the state is acting against religion, or as the Brotherhood puts it, is fighting Islam.”

He also turned against the ministry of religious endowments, accusing it of crackdown on mosques.

Karima warned that decisions like these would dissuade people from acts of worship in Ramadan. “They would go instead to cafes to smoke shisha, or would stay at home and watch porn movies,” he said.

“The national security apparatus is supposedly tasked with monitoring explosives, not mosques,” he said.

“Are we back to the Habib al-Adly days?” he wondered.

An Egyptian cleric known for his opposition of the Muslim Brotherhood and support for the July 3 military coup slammed the latest government decision to limit Ramadan night prayer time to 45 minutes, saying it shows the government’s “anti-religion” agenda.

Sheikh Ahmed Karima, professor of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, criticized the ministries of interior and endowments for imposing a limited duration for prayers in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “By taking such decisions, the state is acting against religion, or as the Brotherhood puts it, is fighting Islam.”

He also turned against the ministry of religious endowments, accusing it of crackdown on mosques.

Karima warned that decisions like these would dissuade people from acts of worship in Ramadan. “They would go instead to cafes to smoke shisha, or would stay at home and watch porn movies,” he said.

“The national security apparatus is supposedly tasked with monitoring explosives, not mosques,” he said.

“Are we back to the Habib al-Adly days?” he wondered.

And while everyone is fasting in the 50˚C+ heat, it is a perfect time to raise prices.

  • 92 Octane gasoline, up by 40 per cent
  • 80 Octane gasoline, up by 78pc
  • Diesel, used by microbuses and transportation, up by 63pc
  • 95 Octane gasoline, used by the richest segment in society, up by 7pc

Related Topics:

US Apache Attack Helicopters for Egyptian Junta*

More Mass Death Sentences in Egypt, 683*

Egypt Signs Contract to Import Palestinian Natural Gas from Israel*

Even Egyptian state-owned TV Admits to a Fraudulent Presidential Election

Egypt’s Lost Power

Egypt Widens Crackdown and Meaning of ‘Islamist’*

The Mosque Where ALL Muslims are Welcomed

The Sermon of Mina

Egypt: Silencing all Voices Accept the One it Wants to Hear*

U.S. Rewarded Blackwater with $200+mn Contracts after Contract to Assassinate Iraqi Official*

U.S. Rewarded Blackwater with $200+mn Contracts after Contract to Assassinate Iraqi Official*

By Hayes Brown

An Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in 2007 CREDIT: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed,

The New York Times on Sunday night released a bombshell, revealing that the State Department ended an investigation into the private security firm Blackwater after one of its managers in Iraq threatened the government’s chief investigator. Since that event in 2007, the U.S. has awarded at least $242 million in contracts to the controversial company — including one as recently as May 2014.

Though the Times’ headline “Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater” — referring to the incident in which Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians — seemed anodyne, the story was nothing of the sort. In 2007, Blackwater was handling a substantial amount of security for civilians both in Afghanistan and Iraq, at a substantial cost to the government. The State Department deployed Jean Richter to Iraq to audit the firm’s actions, but he and his partner didn’t get very far. According to a memo Richter wrote in August 2007, Daniel Carroll, Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, told Richter

“that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.”

In the memo, which according to the Times was corroborated by his partner in a separate statement, Richter went on to describe the threat more fully (emphasis added):

“Mr. Carroll’s statement was made in a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine,” Mr. Richter stated in his memo. “I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.”

He added that he was especially alarmed because Mr. Carroll was Blackwater’s leader in Iraq, and “organizations take on the attitudes and mannerisms of their leader.”

The very next month, a group of Blackwater guards opened fire on a crowd of Iraqis in Nisour Square, killing more than a dozen and wounding many more. Despite that incident, the investigation was not only cancelled, but Blackwater saw its contract — estimated to be worth between one-third and half of the company’s business — renewed in 2008. It wasn’t until 2009, and the Obama administration taking over, that the Blackwater contract in Iraq was released, due to the contractor being unable to receive a license to operate from the Iraqi government.

That wasn’t the end, however, of the relationship between the U.S. government and the group founded by Erik Prince, though the name has changed several times since then. Prince changed the company’s name from “Blackwater Worldwide” to “Xe Services” in 2009, as the company was under intensified scrutiny for the 2007 shootings. It was under that name that they received a contract worth around $100 million from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2010. Prince then sold the company in 2010, when investors changed the name to “Academi” — it is under this name that most of the firm’s recent contracting with the Department of Defense has taken place. Earlier this month, the firm merged with one of its rivals — Triple Canopy — to form “Constellis Holdings.”

Given the the secrecy surrounding the amount of some of its classified contracts, ThinkProgress can not give an official ceiling on how much the company has earned from the government since the Nisour Square shootings. Based on publicly available information, however, between that incident and the time Prince ended his time with them, the company formerly known as Blackwater raked in at least $201,000,000.

Though Prince is no longer in the picture, the company still continues to obtain government contracts. In July 2012, the U.S. Army awarded Academi a contract to “provide for the life support services in Afghanistan” for $6,660,438. In May 2014, that contract was awarded an $8,801,172 modification, with the mission now reading that Academi will provide “camp integrity and life support and private security services.” Between 2012 and 2014, another $16 million in modifications were were added to the contract, making the total contract worth $31 million to date.


Related Topics:

Abu Graib’s ‘Blackwater’ Behind Boston Bombing

Saudi Arabia is Behind Current Iraqi Carnage*

International Legislators and Activists Seeking Justice for Iraqis*

Sue-able… KBR and Halliburton for Iraq Crimes*

Shell, Chevron and Glencore on Trial for Global Human Rights Abuses*

Oil Exploration in Congo’s Virunga Park Canceled*

Oil Exploration in Congo’s Virunga Park Canceled*


By Fatima Hansia

Soco International PLC, a UK oil company, has claimed that it will halt oil exploration in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following complaints by local communities and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) about the potential environmental impact.

Virunga, which lies in eastern Congo on the border of Uganda, is Africa’s oldest national park. The park was first established in 1925 and designated a World Heritage Site in 1979 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). More than 3,000 rare species including the endangered mountain gorilla live within Virunga’s 790,000 hectares.

Despite Virunga’s status as a UNESCO world heritage site and Congolese law that prohibits oil development in the region, the DRC government granted oil concessions worth 85 percent of the park to Soco in December 2010. Other companies like Total of France and SacOil of South Africa have also been awarded concessions.

International environmental experts and local communities argued that pollution from oil drilling would impact Virunga’s biodiversity as well as the lives of 50,000 people who depend on Lake Edwards and surrounding lands.

“I do not know of any benefit we can expect from oil exploitation,” a farmer in North Kivu told the Dutch branch of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “Lets say that oil is discovered here. Crops from fields farmed by people living around here will never grow. It will be the end of the poorest people.”

Activists also strongly objected.

“The Virunga National Park is our heritage. Our mission is to enforce the laws. Ensure that all activity is in compliance with Congolese law,”

Comas Wilungula, director general of Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, told Congolese blogger Chantal Faida.

“Clean air you breathe has no price. You have to protect lives, protecting the park.”

In June 2013, UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission issued a call for the immediate cancellation of all Virunga oil permits. Two months later WWF published a report conducted by Dalberg Development Advisors titled “The Economic Value of Virunga National Park.” “The most critical risks associated with oil development include: large scale clearance of vegetation, introduction of invasive species, fragmentation of habitats, increased likelihood of poaching, which could threaten the survival of local species, and pollution from oil spills, gas flaring and waste dumping,” the report says.

The report also notes that oil exploration could also “worsen deep rooted conflict dynamics within DRC.”

Last October, WWF filed a complaint against Soco under Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) guidelines for multinational enterprises.

Meanwhile the local political situation has slowly spiraled out of control with death threats against local activists and the assassination of the Chief Warden of the park.

Earlier this month, Soco came to an agreement with WWF to pull out. “Soco has agreed with WWF to commit not to undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling within Virunga national park unless UNESCO and the DRC government agree that such activities are not compatible with its world heritage status,” said Soco in a joint statement with WWF.

Today is a victory for our planet,” wrote David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF UK in a press release.

“Congolese people around Virunga were joined by scientists and lawyers, activists and artists, governments, investors and WWF supporters worldwide to remove the immediate threat of oil exploration.”

“Hopefully we can all get back to activities focused on both people and the environment where it does the most good for a place that we think can have a better future,” said Ed Story, Soco CEO told a news website Planet Experts.

However some question whether the company cut a deal with WWF in order to avoid a public relations fiasco. Responding to a question about his company’s recent decision to stop exploratory work in Virunga Soco chairman, Rui de Sousa, told investors at the annual general meeting last week: “We have not pulled out – it’s not the point.”

Activists also point that Virunga’s boundaries could be redrawn to accommodate Soco. “Soco has said Virunga’s borders could be redrawn – something that would allow it to drill while keeping to the letter of its latest statement. Soco should tell the public if it is pulling the plug on its oil project or not,” said Nat Dyer of Global Witness. “Whatever it decides, it must address serious allegations of attempted bribery and payments to rebels in the new documentary Virunga. It should also address concerns over the targeting of Soco’s opponents by Congolese security forces,” he added.

The Dalberg report notes that if oil exploration is canceled, the park has the potential to create 45,000 jobs and earn $1.1 billion in annual income.


This a welcomed result on a continent that has had enough of making everyone else rich while it is impoverished through long-term environmental, social disaster – the inroad to neo-colonialism that one in never backs out, and will continue to find treacherous, and barbaric ways to obtain their goals.


Related Topics:

Chile Rejects $8bn Dam Project, Again*

The Imperial Vultures to Gather for the U.S.-Africa Summit*

Recolonizing Africa: Consolidating African Oil Assets*

Zionists Swindling all the Way into Sub-Saharan Africa*

France is Broke, but Still Reaping from the Colonial Tax!*

The REAL Pirates of Somalia Stand Up!‏

Tanzanian Maasai Villagers Win Fight for Information about Land-Grabs and Forced Eviction*

TPP: Controlling the Worlds Food Supply*

U. S. And Japan TPP Talks Fail Again*

Sudan Seizes “Anonymous ” GM Soybean Shipment*

Legislators from 7 Countries Demand Release of Secret Trade Deal TPP*

Fourteen Caribbean Nations Demand Reparation from Colonial Britain*

Haitians Sue UN over Cholera Epidemic*

Is South Africa Waking Up to the Innate Poison of GM Technology?*

The Neo-liberals Behind Venezuela’s Economic Collapse

South Africa: NWO’s Agenda 21 Litmus Test*

The NSA Litmus Test, the Bahamas

South Africa’s Platinum Miners Resume Rothschild’s Work*

Ancestral Right’s Land Victory for Canadian’s Indigenous*

The Paths of Return

A Tale of the Magical Calabash*

A Tale of the Magical Calabash*


Once upon a time, three friends, Colin, Kwame and Justine, set out looking for treasure.  Not quite.  They weren’t children playing in the sand.  They were adults who understood that treasure isn’t something you just find.  It’s what you create.  And they certainly knew about creativity:  Colin, the novelist; Kwame, the poet; and Justine, the producer of events from scratch.

So they conjured up this international literary festival and set it in an improbable location, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.  It would add a whole new dimension to Brand Jamaica!  They named the festival ‘Calabash’.  And they invited the world and his wife to attend.  Mateys were welcome too.  And admission was free.  Whosoever willed could come.

But why this quirky name?  Well, the festival was going to be held at Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach.  But that’s not a single beach.  It’s a string  of fishing villages: Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Great Pedro Bay and, yes, Calabash Bay.    Colin chose the name to honour the location of the festival.  And calabash also suggests creativity.  As we say, turning our hand to make fashion.

The hardy calabash, from both the tree and the vine, is very versatile.  It has several practical and artistic uses.  In many cultures of the world, the hollowed-out gourd is a water vessel.   And musical instruments are also created with calabash.  For both the sitar from India and the kora from West Africa, calabash is used as a resonator.  So the multi-functional calabash is a brilliant image for a homegrown literary festival that includes musical performance.


The twelfth staging of the Calabash International Literary Festival, a month ago, was dubbed ‘globalicious’ by Kwame Dawes, the programmer for the event.  And it certainly was both global and delicious.  The calabash was full to the brim and running over with both literary and musical delicacies.

The writers came from twelve countries:  Antigua, Barbados, Belarus, England, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Scotland and the USA.  And the musical performers were from Haiti, Jamaica, the UK and the USA.

For me, the most engaging writer/reader was Jamaica Kincaid.   She “shell down di place”, as one of my friends put it.  We’re now so attuned to the culture of the gun that excellence in all spheres of life is celebrated with a gun salute – whether verbal or literal.  A real pity!  Blame it on the military and all those Hollywood movies that big up gun violence.

A very close second was Salman Rushdie who turned out to be quite different from what I expected.  He was very cool; not at all stuck up.  As another of my wicked friends said, “nothing like a fatwa to keep you real”.  After the festival, I stayed on for a few days at Jake’s.  And the young man who carried my bags announced with quite a flourish that Salman Rushdie had stayed in that very cottage.  I must admit I felt like a groupie.

Then I was so looking forward to hearing Nguigi wa Thiong’o read.  He’s one of the stalwarts of the anti-colonial war on the African continent. Unfortunately, his daughter, Wanjiku, stole the show.  Literally.  She read for forty-five minutes, instead of her allotted twenty.  And her brother Mukoma read for thirty minutes.  So the Big Man had to be cut off soon after he began.  And it was such a powerful story he’d started to tell about coming home from boarding school to find that his village had disappeared.

Open Mike, Main Stage

One of the highlights of the festival always is the Open Mike.  There are so many entertaining surprises.  Like the farmer and fisherman whose stage name is “The Incredible Steel”!  He rode 48 miles on his bicycle from Jerusalem, Santa Cruz to perform his poem, “The Voice”, in tribute to Tessanne Chin.  He got a standing ovation.  Then there was the cosmetologist, Venise Samuels, who performed a brilliant poem about unconscionable taxation.  So much talent!

The only disappointing aspect of Calabash is the lack of comfortable accommodations.  Of course, there’s very little the organisers of the festival can do about that.  After all, Treasure Beach, is a fishing village.  But some of the people in the rental business have rather grand names for very basic lodgings.  ‘Villa’ is a most pretentious word for a small four-bedroom house.  And there are ‘resorts’ that bear absolutely no resemblance to their upscale namesakes.  All you can say in their favour is that they are a last resort if you absolutely can’t find anywhere else to stay.

But all you really need for Calabash is a place to crash.  If you try to keep up with the programme, you would go non-stop from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the next day!  And even if there are not too many villas and resorts in the fishing village, there is always the sea.  It’s a magnificent backdrop for the main stage.  I can’t imagine that there’s any literary festival anywhere on Earth that has a better setting.  It’s all in the magical calabash.


Related Topics:

Stepping Back to Afrika!

A Dance into the Sublime

The Redemption “Songs” of Muslim Youth

Singer Sings Through Throat Surgery*

Singer Sings Through Throat Surgery*

The power of hypnosis has been laid bare after a professional singer literally sang her way through throat surgery to avoid losing her voice.

Alama Kanté, a Guinean singer based in France, is the first ever patient to have a tumour removed from her throat while staying awake.

The surgey took place at Henri-Mondor hospital in France, while the 31 year old performing artist listened to a hypnotist to numb the pain of the procedure.

Speaking about the operation, she said: “I’m a professional singer and they told me I might lose my voice. They suggested hypnosis to me, but I didn’t know what that entailed – it was the first I’d heard of it.”

Kanté was first given a local anesthetic and then hypnotised by Asmaa Khaled. She was suffering from a parathyroid gland tumour but refused to have the necessary operation to remove it unless she was assured her voice would be protected.

If surgeons had touched a nerve accidentally, Kanté’s voice would have been irreversibly altered. By asking her to sing, the surgeon could tell instantly if he was on the right lines – if she stopped singing, he had gone too far.

Once in the operating room, the patient underwent a local anesthetic and was put into a trance state. The hypnotist then asked her to travel to Senegal in her mind – she believed she was on holiday throughout the duration of the operation.

The full extent of the procedure was only unveiled at a conference which took place this month in which Kanté was invited to sing material from her new album, Generation Sabbar, which she originally performed on the operating table.

The video of Kanté singing through the surgery was also unveiled at the conference.

Professor Giles Dhonneur, head of the anaesthesia and intensive care department at Henri Mondor hospital said in a press conference that it was the first time a tumour has been removed using the technique, as the procedure would usually be carried out under general anaesthetic.

He also added in an interview with French publication Le Figaro:

“The pain of such an operation is intolerable if you are fully awake. Only hypnosis enables you to stand it. She went into a trance listening to the words of the hypnotist. She went a long way away, to Africa. And she began to sing – it was amazing.”

Kanté said that although the procedure was painful, the hypnosis helped to mask the full extent of it.

She said that she remembers the hypnotist telling her that the pain she felt was that of childbirth, and remembers the song lyrics she sang to help control it: “Fight, never give up…”

Kanté added: “There was a moment where I really felt pain … and it passed, the pain passed and afterwards it was normal, as if I were in a dream.”

Kanté has since made a full recovery and has continued her singing career.


Brazil Ethnic Cleanses through the World Cup*

Brazil Ethnic Cleanses through the World Cup*

By Janine Griffiths

Brazilian citizens of all ages have been mercilessly gunned down by the police

Brazilian citizens of all ages have been mercilessly gunned down by the police

As people across the globe move to celebrate the World Cup, there are some who will not be celebrating at all.

These are the impoverished people in Brazil who have been on the receiving end of ethnic cleansing and slaughter by the thuggish police force in the country.

In a bid to try and make the country appear much more socially acceptable to the influx of oblivious visitors and dignitaries who will be flying to the country to watch the games, the Brazilian authorities have forcibly evicted thousands of people from their shanty towns and gunned down others on the streets indiscriminately.

It is estimated that at least 40,000 poor people have gone missing from the militarized favelas; while kids were killed with impunity in the ghettos which were then occupied by the police, who, according to insiders, later bragged about the amount of people they murdered.

Some of these atrocities have gained coverage in a documentary called ‘Civil Disobedience’, by Danish journalist and filmmaker Coletivo Vinhetando.

According to one of the eyewitnesses featured in the film:

“The tournament organisers and local people with great power in the country do not want tourists or international press to see the inequalities in Brazil, so groups hire hitmen to rid the streets of homeless people.”

Over a million people all over the country were evicted from their homes for FIFA’s stadiums and parking lots.

There have been further reports of defenceless people being attacked by armed troops, evicted at gunpoint, beaten, threatened, and shot at.

Others told of how hospitals were closed down and turned into war zones, while some kids were forced into prostitution to buy crayons for school.

This was partly due to the rising costs of living in the country, which came as a direct result of the Brazilian government channelling money away from poorer communities into development projects and tourism budgets in preparation for the World Cup.

Protests against the World Cup began in Brazil last year, as a result of the government’s bid to “clean the streets”. Over 1.4 million hit the streets protesting against the sharp hikes in travel fares and living costs.

Their protests fell on deaf ears. The police responded with violence and even shot at residents who attempted to film their brutality.

They then attacked teachers when they went on strike and peacefully occupied the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro.

Unfortunately, these types of violent tactics by the police are nothing new in some of Brazil’s poorest communities, but it has been ramped up exponentially with the arrival of the World Cup.

However, it is not just the poorest people living in shanty towns in Brazil who are suffering in this way. The middle classes in Brazil have also been forced to move to areas with conditions which are far worse than the ones they have been forced to vacate.

In the cities which are hosting the games, the cost of living has risen, traffic jams have worsened, and a construction boom aimed at improving urban mobility has only compounded problems.

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre are the most affected cities.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, one resident told of how families were being bribed and coerced by officials to move homes.

Marli Nascimento told the news channel:

“The government didn’t want to negotiate. There was one public meeting and then the official said we had five days to leave. We were a community of mostly elderly people, and were afraid they would send the police in. Some people didn’t have a place to go.”

The irony is that Brazil has some of the most advanced urban policy legislation in the world, and is also a signatory to many international treaties that guarantee the right to adequate housing.

However, the legislation is evidently not worth the paper it is written on and the police have responded to the law by shooting at people indiscriminately.

Raquel Rolnik, the UN rapporteur on adequate housing, told Al Jazeera:

“According to international norms about the right to housing, when an eviction occurs, the housing condition for the [affected] people needs to improve or at least remain the same. What we have been seeing in Brazil, in general, is conditions getting worse.”

Families have also been resettled in far away areas, with worse access to services and infrastructure than they had previously had, or receiving compensation which was far below the price of their property.

Other citizens have been forced to pay higher rents or live with family members, due to the soaring price of property in the run-up to the World Cup.

Although the government claimed that life will get better for its citizens after the games, citizens in the country claim that whole populations of impoverished people were forcibly relocated to other more deprived areas in order to make way for business and real estate interests.

It is for this reason, that many residents in the country will not be celebrating the World Cup.

However, these developments are not just a worry for those living in Brazil. If the events continue to detriorate unchallenged, it will effectively set a precedent for all other nations holding similar events across the world.


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