Archive | September 3, 2016

Sacrificial Animals Journey from Somaliland to Makkah*

Sacrificial Animals Journey from Somaliland to Makkah*

By Jason Patinkin

Every year, the breakaway republic of Somaliland, in east Africa, exports millions of livestock to Saudi Arabia to feed the millions of Muslim faithful making the pilgrimage to Mecca.

From the hinterlands to the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, millions of sheep and goats are on the move in the small Horn of Africa republic.

The animals are en route to Saudi Arabia for use as sacrificial offerings for millions of Muslims making the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca known as the Hajj.

The livestock trade to the Middle East accounts for 60% of Somaliland’s gross domestic product and 70% of its jobs.

Some Muslims consider the black-headed sheep to have religious significance relating to the prophet Abraham.

Mowlid Hassan Jama has worked at Hargeisa’s livestock market for ten years.

He said he earns his livelihood from this livestock and that he feels he is supporting the Islamic community in having a good Hajj festival.

Once sold in the markets, the animals are trucked to the Red Sea port of Berbera, where they wait in quarantine for weeks receiving blood tests and vaccinations.

Past accusations of disease among Somaliland livestock led Saudi Arabia to temporarily ban imports of Somaliland animals.

Government veterinarian Ali Mahamud Gulled said the Berbera quarantine holds over a million animals at the height of the Hajj.

“It’s very, very important we guarantee that no disease is carried and infected to the imported country … because then that will affect us economically, drastically. It could result in a ban of our livestock, so we make sure that each and every animal leaving here is free of diseases,” said Gulled.

After quarantine, the sheep and goats load onto ships holding between 20,000 and 120,000 animals. The animals are often loaded at night when the air is cooler.

Somaliland now faces competition from Sudan, Australia, and other countries who also export livestock to the Hajj.

Abdi Osman Haji, a researcher with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, which supports the livestock sector, said Somaliland must modernize its industry to stay ahead.

“The market facilities are very dilapidated and they are not up to date … I am sure Somaliland cannot maintain its current position if we don’t improve the whole export value chain,” said Haji.

Haji said Somaliland lags behind in terms of treatment of the animals too.

“Animal welfare is not on the agenda here and that has to be introduced. Animals, when they are deported via ships and via trucks, they are not according to international standards. They should comply [with] animal welfare conditions,” said Haji.

Even so, the annual export of animals from Somaliland to Saudi Arabia remains vital for both countries.


Related Topics:

Meat By Any Means 

Poisoned Meat Returned to Where it Comes from – the U.S!

It’s Time to Get Real About Halal/Kosher Meat!

Hajj Changed My Life!

Mount Arafah for Non-Hajji’s

Mudhalifah for Non-Hajji’s

Tawaf for Non-Hajjis

‘Fitna’ Movie Producer Converted to Islam and Performs Hajj*

Hajj Permit Required to Enter Makkah*

Disclosure of Close Ties with Israel During Hajj Raises Saudi Concerns*

MERS had Poor Fatality During Hajj, but Seems to be Doing Well in S. Korea*

Saudis and Israeli’s Stage Hajj Stampede*

New Leaked Document Shows 7,000 Hajjis Killed in Mina*

E-bracelets for Hajj Pilgrims*

Wahhabism on Trial? How Islam is challenging Al Saud’s Custodianship of Mecca*

Mini, Bio-Intensive Farms Providing Organic Food in the Middle of a Seven Year Drought*

Mini, Bio-Intensive Farms Providing Organic Food in the Middle of a Seven Year Drought*

By Christina Sarich

Big Ag models of farming thousands of acres of mono-crops, planted with copious herbicides and petroleum-based fertilizers have depleted our soil, and made arable, non-toxic land hard to come by, but low-cost and low-tech mini-farms sprinkled across America’s landscape are providing sustainable, organic food to millions as we continue into the future. Their model? Farms in Africa and Latin America (among over 150 countries) that are growing food under the harshest conditions imaginable.

Companies like Monsanto have a repulsive habit of pushing their patented seeds, infused with infertility or harmful genetic material, onto communities in crisis. Terminator seeds have become famous in India, and linked to thousands of farmer suicides, while Monsanto’s cross-pollination (like it or not) of crops in Hungary and Haiti have also devastated entire communities.

In Mexico, farmers and activists recently won a huge battle against Monsanto, who was trying to cultivate GM corn in an area known for growing more than 36 varieties of indigenous corn that took thousands of years to develop. Mexico’s Supreme Court blocked a move that would allow the cultivation of GMO soy in the Mexican states of Campeche and Yucatan, and in a separate appeals court decision, a federal judge upheld a 2013 ruling that barred companies such as Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer from planting or selling GM corn within Mexico’s borders.

Likewise, a very patronizing attitude toward African farmers has been carried by Big Ag and Biotech companies desirous of insinuating their GM seed into the continent, too, but ‘terminator’ seeds are not wanted there. Monsanto has been out to monopolize the African continent with their seed, but there is a better way, and small-scale farmers are proving it so.

It is clear that GM seed has devastated entire countries, let alone communities, but are there other alternatives to providing food for the 7.4 billion people on this planet?

The answer is, simply – YES. Farmers like Olawumi Benedict are happily tending to her “little babies” – kale seeds growing in wooden flats just prior to being transplanted, and Jonnes Mlegwah is double-digging a plot of soil meant for potatoes.

These farmers are from Africa now working in America, but are representative of a few thousand small-farm workers that have turned to bio-intensive practices from San Francisco to Maine in the US, as a means to generate income, and feed the hungry masses.

Small-scale, bio-intensive farming is already happening throughout Latin American and African countries because it works. Its cheap, and effective, and doesn’t require any reliance on biotech’s patented seeds and cancer-causing chemicals. It has been gaining popularity in the States for similar reasons.

Take Samuel Nderitu and his wife Peris Wanjiru as an example of what an education in bio-intensive farming can do. Both are graduates of a 2-Year bio-intensive training program offered at Manor House Agricultural Centre in Kenya, sponsored by the Kilili Self-Help Project. They are successfully growing sustainable, organic food in an area of Kenya that has been subjected to a seven-year drought and a high rate of HIV/AIDS. Many refugees from Kenya’s political struggles reside in Thika, where poverty is the norm. Many are living under the most vulnerable circumstances there.

Nderitu now helps to run a small bio-intensive farm and classroom which has created a ripple effect. Farmers around the region who were once in the choke-hold of poverty are now learning to grow more food with fewer resources, build soil fertility, conserve water, and create community food security.

Bio-intensive farms use 50 to 75 percent less land and 94 to 99 percent less energy to produce the same amount of food as a comparable conventional farm. 

What’s more is that during the height of the drought in Thika, Kenya, the bio-intensive farm created by Nderitu and his wife was one of very few in the area still able to produce food, proof to many that these methods are more hard-wearing than those that rely on chemicals and genetically modified or “improved” seeds.

Farmers in the U.S. are now seeing similar results by utilizing key bio-intensive strategies:

  • transplanting and double-digging
  • on-site composting
  • close plant spacing
  • the use of seeds from plants that have been naturally pollinated
  • and specific food-to-compost crop ratios.

These methods are rarely practiced on large farms, where mechanization and chemical use is more profitable for a few multi-national companies, but bio-intensive farming can be life-changing for the 90% of the world’s farmers who work 4 acres (2 hectares) or less by helping them to make the most of a given plot of land. Since ‘organic’ land in the U.S. is increasingly disappearing, it works for small farmers here, too.

One farmer from Kenya wrote in a letter to Kilili Self-Help, a U.S. group that helps raise funds for GBIACK, the farm run by Nderitu:

“We didn’t know that farming can be done without spending so much money. We always thought that without money we cannot do farming. We have found out that we can make our own fertilizers and also grow our own seeds.”



Related Topics:

A Victory for Farmers, Consumers and Environment

International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity

Food Revolution: Urban Green Farming on the Rise

Farming Pre-School Teaches Kids How to Grow Their Own Crops*

Monsanto Profits Drop Twenty-Five Percent Again as Farmers, Individuals Go Organic*

The Art of Growing Food: Interview with an Organic Farmer

Indoor Farming May Be Organic’s Only Hope

Restaurant Turns Stalled Site Into Urban Farm

Americans Saying No To Corporate Grocery Control: Demand For Farmers Markets Booming In United States

Sowing Seeds of Health, Hope and Humanity*

The Land of No Gate to Happiness and Good Health, Goes 100% Organic

Philippine Farmers Uproot Monsanto’s GM Golden Rice*

GMO Technology Brought Soaring Cancer, Birth Defects and Failing Farms to Argentina*

Chilean Women Farmers to Teach the Region Agro-ecology*

Right to Farm Denied in Michigan*

Corporate Landgrab Deprives Small Farmers Who Feed the World- with Less than a Quarter of all Farmland*

Colonialism in Disguise: Farmers Sued for Reusing Monsanto Seeds*

From Factory Farming to the Dinner Plate: Livestock Sicker than Ever Due to Antibiotics*

Russia’s GMO Import Ban Boosts Local Organic Farmers*

One Hospital Uses Organic Food as Medicine*

Encroaching Drought in Brazil and World’s Agricultural Regions*

Gates and Friends to Meet Privately on how they can Profit from African Seeds*

Homeless People Plant a Rooftop Organic Garden and Feed an Entire Shelter*

Black and Afro-Indigenous Farmers Will Share 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize*

Thousands Chickens from KFC Farms Confiscated as Mutations Worsen*

U.S. Farmer Harvests a Profit by not Planting the Big GMO Lie*

El Salvador Farmers with Record Crop Yields Beat Monsanto’s Monopoly*

Ancient Tools Turn Ethiopian Wasteland into Fertile Farms*

Michigan Farmers Markets—Helping Families and Local Businesses through Food Stamps*

India Denies Help to Husband Who Ends up Walking 10 KM Carrying his Dead Wife*

India Denies Help to Husband Who Ends up Walking 10 KM Carrying his Dead Wife*

On August 15, India celebrated its 70th independence day. In a 95-minute record-breaking speech from the iconic Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi left no stone unturned in promoting his government’s policies, that apparently made life simpler for the citizens, since he assumed office in May, 2014. The achievements highlighted were enough to evoke the feeling of patriotism in the heart of every Indian.

A couple of days later, India won two medals at the Rio Olympics: a bronze in female wrestling and a silver in women’s singles badminton – both a first for the country. The two young champions – Sakshi Malik and P V Sindhu – returned home to a grand, in fact, hero’s welcome. The sportswomen were rewarded with millions of cash, acres of land, luxury cars, and the country’s highest sports award for their momentous feat. Indeed a great achievement, for a cricket crazy nation with a skewed sex ratio to take pride in unconventional sports and their unpredictable winners.

However, the celebration was cut short after an appalling incident brought the heartbreaking reality of injustice, bias, inequality, and discrimination to the fore and shamed the entire country.

Dana Majhi, a poor tribal man from Odisha’s Kalahandi district, was forced to carry his wife’s dead body on his shoulders for 10 kilometres, after he was denied a mortuary van or an ambulance to drop the corpse home. Majhi’s 42-year-old wife Amana Dei died of tuberculosis on August 24, and since he couldn’t afford a private ambulance, Majhi pleaded the government hospital for a vehicle, but was refused one.

A helpless Majhi, with sobbing 12-year-old daughter by his side, then wrapped Dei’s dead body in an old sheet, slung it over his shoulder and began to walk home: about 60 kilometres away from the hospital.

Ten kilometres and six hours into his excruciating journey, some locals spotted him and informed a local TV journalist, who called up the District Collector and requested a vehicle. The ‘responsible’ District Collector ordered the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) to do the needful thing, who promptly passed the baton to Assistant District Medical Officer (ADMO). As the officials kept shifting responsibility for the next two hours, the journalist then requested Balaji Mandir Suraksha Samiti, an NGO, who quickly sent an ambulance to take the deceased and the aggrieved to their village. Manjhi told Odisha TV:

“Doctors said she had malaria and TB. All the money I had was spent on medicines. I asked the hospital to help take her body back to the village. They refused to make any arrangements. The hospital authorities said that there are no vehicles. I pleaded with them, saying I am a poor person and cannot afford a vehicle to carry my wife’s body. Despite repeated requests, they said they cannot offer me any help. I requested everyone, but no one listened. What option did I have other than carrying her on my shoulders?

Later, Majhi was given INR 2000 from the state government’s funeral assistance scheme and INR 10,000 from the District Red Cross Fund. However, Majhi’s ordeal didn’t end there. Two days after his plight went viral and triggered a nationwide outrage, officials of Kalahandi district made him run from pillar to post in the name of holding an inquiry, forcing him to postpone the last rites of his wife.

District health authorities claimed there was no negligence and an ambulance was arranged to take the corpse to the grieving family’s village, when the incident came to light. According to reports, the CDMO went on to accuse Majhi of running away with the dead body at around 1 am, without informing the hospital staff.

“The patient was neither discharged nor declared dead by the ward in-charge doctor,” the CDMO insisted, adding Majhi did not ask or contact anybody for a vehicle to carry his wife’s corpse.

The ADMO had the CDMO’s back; he told CNN: “No one knows when Amana Dei’s husband carried her out of the hospital. Her death was not confirmed by the on-duty doctor, and no discharge slip was issued. The hospital staffs on duty were not informed by Mr. Majhi.”

Interestingly, the state government had launched the “Mahaparayana” scheme – aimed at providing hearses to poor people to transport dead bodies from government hospitals free of charge – with much fanfare in February, but no one has any explanation as to why the service was not made available to Majhi.

India, No Country to Die In?

Well, Majhi’s is not an isolated case.

A horrifying video has emerged from Odisha’s Balasore district, showing hospital staff standing over a 80-year-old woman’s dead body, pressing it down with their foot, breaking the bones at the hip to fold it into a bundle, wrapping it in a sheet and slinging it on a bamboo stick, before carrying it along the road. No van or ambulance was made available to them, either.

Can India take pride in being an emerging superpower, if basic dignity of death is denied to the common man?


Related Topics:

The March to Victory: Honouring the Dead

Ten Million Dead and Still Counting…

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

Forgetting 1,600 Deaths is not for a Drone Operator

Saudi Sent Death-Row Inmates to Fight Syria*

Nine Years Later Proof Yasser Arafat WAS Poisoned to Death

Mother’s Love brings Life back to her Son Two-Hours after Pronounced Dead!*

Pregnant and Brain-dead, yet Forced to Incubate a Fetus*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Aborted Baby’s Heart was Beating as the Brain was Harvested*

Poland Debates Banning Abortion After Live Baby Cries Itself to Death*

Where is Your Heart?

Thai Kingpin Jailed for Rohingya Trafficking*

Thai Kingpin Jailed for Rohingya Trafficking*

A Thai man accused of masterminding the smuggling and trafficking of Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar has been jailed for 35 years, a court said on Thursday.

Southern Thailand has long been known as a nexus for lucrative smuggling networks through which persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, and Bangladeshi economic migrants, pass on their way to Malaysia.

For years Thailand turned a blind eye to – and was even complicit in – the well-worn trafficking trade in the deep south.

Last year, Thailand’s junta launched a belated crackdown, a move that led smugglers to abandoned hundreds of victims on boats and in squalid jungle camps, but also brought much of the trade to a halt.

On Wednesday Sunand Saengthong, an alleged trafficking kingpin, was jailed for overseeing smuggling networks.

“Overall he was sentenced to 35 years and a fine of $19 000,” a spokesperson at Pak Phanang provincial court said.

Two other accomplices were sentenced to one year and six months in jail respectively.

Police arrested Sunand after a raid in January last year that uncovered 97 Rohingya, the court said in a statement.

“Witness testimonies in court found that money from the human trafficking gang was transferred to Sunand’s bank account,” the statement said, adding that he was “a mastermind of Rohingya trafficking”, in the south.

The Asian Human Rights Commission, which has followed the prosecution, said police searched five vehicles during their raid and discovered desperate migrants crammed in so tight that some had suffocated to death. More than 40 of those Rohingya were minors.

Around one million Rohingya live in western Rakhine state, where they are forced to live in apartheid-like conditions and are denied citizenship.

For years they have fled their homeland by sea, looking for work in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Most victims crossed the sea in rickety boats to be held in remote jungle camps where they were beaten, raped and abused until relatives paid release ransoms. They would then be moved to Malaysia.

Thailand’s image has been battered in recent years by a series of human trafficking scandals – including in its lucrative fishing and food production sectors.

The kingdom’s junta have vowed to clean up the country’s image.

Last year’s crackdown on southern smuggling routes saw more than 100 alleged traffickers arrested – including a senior army general. He and most of those detained are currently being tried in Bangkok.


Related Topics:

Buddhist Massacre of Rohingya Muslims Continue*

Indonesia Welcomes Rohingya Refugees*

U.S, U.K., Israel, China, Saudia behind Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide*

Georgetown University to Offer Priority Admission to Slave Descendants*

Georgetown University to Offer Priority Admission to Slave Descendants*

7ab12-harriet-tubman-quote-on-slaveryThe president of the Washington DC school announced Thursday that it will address its historical ties to slavery by offering priority admission to the descendants of enslaved Africans owned and sold by the university two centuries ago.

University President John J. DeGioia made his announcement following recommendations from Georgetown’s 16-member working group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which he convened in 2015 to examine how the university should respond to its participation in the U.S. slave trade.

In 1838, the Jesuit priests who founded the school sold 272 enslaved African Americans, using the funds to settle the institution’s debts. DeGioia said that their descendants would be given the same preferential status in admissions currently enjoyed by the descendants of alumni and students.

The new admissions policy is part of a five-pronged agenda to implement the working group’s suggestions. The steps include reconciliation, engagement, memorialization, research, teaching and public history, and opportunity.

As a part of the memorialization effort, the university will rename Remembrance Hall and Freedom Hall, to Anne Marie Becraft Hall and Isaac Hall, respectively, after a free woman of colour who founded a school for black women at Georgetown in 1827, and a man who was one the 272 people sold.
David Collins, chair of the working group, said,

“As we join the Georgetown community we must understand that part of our history is this history of slaveholding and the slave trade…And that opens our eyes to broader social issues that are still unhealed in our nation. History matters up to the present and into the future.”

DeGioia said in a letter to students and faculty,

“I believe the most appropriate ways for us to redress the participation of our predecessors in the institution of slavery is to address the manifestations of the legacy of slavery in our time.”


Related Topics:

Rare ‘ring of fire’ Solar Eclipse puts on Spectacular Show over Africa*

Correcting Columbus Day*

Nestlé’s Bid To Squash a Child Slavery Suit Rejected*

Slavery: The Anniversary of the Official Ending of a System that Bankrolled and Civilized Cameron’s British Empire*

Quarterback Sits in Protest of the Celebration of Slavery*

Six Countries that Grew Filthy Rich from Enslaving Black People*

The Case for Reparations to Africa: Britain Apology is Cheap*

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: 12 Years a Slave, Racism & Black Cowardice

Slavs and Oriental are “niggers, brutes and beasts”, in the eyes of Western Empire*

Israel, Organized Crime, White Slavery, and the Sex Trade*