Tag Archive | Africa

The Oldest Known Modern Man in Ethiopia*

The Oldest Known Modern Man in Ethiopia*

Depiction of what the ancient ‘Herto Man’ may have looked like. His skull dates to 160,000 years ago. (Bradshaw Foundation) Background.

 

The El Niño weather phenomenon of 1996-97 wrecked havoc on many parts of the world; however, it also enabled one team of scientists to make an incredible discovery. When the skies cleared and the floodwaters dried, a group of palaeontologists in Ethiopia’s Afar region unearthed three human skulls as well as numerous other human bone fragments. After years of reconstruction and analysis, the remains were dated to approximately 160,000 years. The so-called ‘Herto skulls’ were thus older than the closest competitors by tens of thousands of years. Some experts believe they deserve their own subspecies classification: Homo sapien idaltu.

The Afar Research Site: Home of the Herto Skulls

The team consisted of researchers from the University of California, Berkley, and from the Ethiopian Rift Valley Research Service. The state of Afar is located in the northeastern corner of Ethiopia and stretches 27,820 square miles (72,053 km). Yet, the area the paleontologists have for years been particularly interested in is called the Afar Triangle (or Afar Depression), a geological depression caused at the junction of three diverging tectonic plates: the Nubian, Somalian, and Arabian. It is one of the lowest places in Africa and frequently holds the title of the hottest place on Earth. It also has the world’s largest lava lake formed by the most continuously active volcano, Erta Ale. The region is home to the Afar people, considered to be “the toughest people in the world” (Onuh, 2016)

From this region, one of the earliest known hominin fossils was discovered in 1974: a female Australopithecus afarensis known affectionately as Lucy. And here, in 1997, the Herto team discovered the oldest Homo sapien remains.

Erta Ale is an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, within the Danakil Desert. (CC BY-SA 2.0) Remains such as the skulls known as the ‘Herto fossils’ were discovered here.

 

The Serendipitous Discovery of the Skulls

In 1996-97, El Niño caused punishing rains to fall throughout much of Eastern Africa. The deluge caused many of the semi-Nomadic Afar people, including those of the Herto village, to abandon the Depression for higher ground. The rains caused a good deal of soil to wash into the Awash River, exposing numerous fossils. As a result of the people and herds moving to higher ground, these newly unearthed bones were not trampled and remained undamaged waiting to be discovered.

“When the scientists returned 11 days later, it took them only minutes to find the skulls of two adults, probably male. Six days after that, Dr. Berhane Asfaw of Ethiopia’s Rift Valley Research Service found a third, the skull of a 6-or 7-year-old child, shattered into about 200 pieces. After years of painstaking cleaning, reassembly, and study, the team was confident enough to tell the world that it had found the earliest true Homo sapiens — older by at least 1,000 generations than anything previously discovered” (Lemonick and Dorfman, 2003).

Although the child’s skull appeared almost identical to modern human children skulls, the adults showed marked differences. “Each of the adult skulls was remarkably big. ‘We compared this with skulls of 6,000 modern humans, and still after that comparison not one was as big and robust as the Herto male,’ said Tim White, a University of California, Berkeley paleontologist and co-leader of the international team that found and studied the skulls. ‘These were very, very large robust people.’” (Joyce, 2003)

Nonetheless, the skulls are like modern humans in every feature. “The face is flat with prominent cheekbones, but without the protruding brow ridge of pre-human ancestors or Neanderthals. And the braincase is rounded, like a soccer ball, rather than the football shape of earlier human ancestors.” (Joyce, 2003) For this reason, the team proposed calling the remains a subspecies of humans Homo sapiens idaltu, ‘idaltu’ meaning ‘elder’ in Afar.

A Herto skull, Homo sapiens idaltu

 

Features of the Skulls

The similarity in features finally puts to rest the long-standing controversy over the origin of modern humans. While it is known that pre-human species left Africa and settled in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, for decades it was not clear how these pre-human species all managed to develop into the same Homo sapien species. The answer is now clear that modern humans also developed in Africa and also left (most likely due to climate change). The second wave of African humanoids interbred and/or overtook the pre-human species, as can be seen in the well-studied case of the Neanderthals (one of the species that left Africa in the first wave).

“What this discovery in Ethiopia shows is that the shared features of modern humans – our high-rounded brain case, small brow ridges — originated in Africa,” said Chris Stringer from the Museum of Natural History in London” (Joyce, 2003).

Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

A Post Mortem on the Ancient Skulls

Perhaps more interesting to the casual reader of paleo-discoveries was the treatment of the skulls immediately after their owners’ deaths 160,000 years ago. Each of the three intact skulls, as well as the (possibly) 10 skull fragments found at the Herto site, bore marks of deliberate tampering after death. Not in a cannibalistic way. Rather, the Herto fossils show the earliest known evidence of mortuary practices.

“Cut marks on the skulls indicate that the overlying skin, muscles, nerves and blood vessels were removed, probably with an obsidian flake. Then a stone tool was scraped back and forth, creating faint clusters of parallel lines. The modification of the child’s skull is even more dramatic. The lower jaw was detached, and soft tissues at the base of the head were cut away, leaving fine, deep cut marks. Portions of the skull were smoothed and polished.” (Lemonick and Dorfman, 2003)

Skull of the six to eight-year-old child, found in 1997, shows evidence of cut marks and polish after death. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

‘The cut marks aren’t a classic sign of cannibalism,’ White said while showing the skulls to a TIME reporter in Addis Ababa.

 ‘If you wanted to get at the brain in order to eat it, you’d just smash open the skull.’ Instead, he suspects, the scratches might be a form of decoration. As for the polished areas, he says, ‘we know they weren’t caused by the environment, because the marks go across the breaks between the recovered pieces. The child’s skull looks as though it has been fondled repeatedly.’

‘This,’ concludes White, ‘is the earliest evidence of hominids continuing to handle skulls long after the individual died.’” (Lemonick and Dorfman, 2003)

 

Source*

Related Topics:

A 200,000 Year-Old City in Southern Africa pre-Dates Sumer*

A Field View of Reality to Explain Human Interconnectedness*

Hidden Human History*

Human DNA Tied Mostly to Single Exodus from Africa Long Ago*

Reflections on the Idea of a Common Humanity*

The Cosmic Joke behind Human Genetics*

Secret Meeting at Harvard Discusses Synthetic Humans*

The Human Body Emits, Communicates with, and is Made from Light*

The Hidden History of the Human Race*

Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

DNA Study Finds Ice Age Europeans Predominantly Had Dark Complexions and Brown Eyes*

The Genocide of the Peoples of Europe*

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Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide*

Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide*

A man stands by the rows of human skulls and bones that form a memorial to those who died in the red-brick church that was the scene of a massacre during the 1994 Rwandan genocide

 

By Thomas C. Mountain

Late in 2016, the Rwandan government indicted several senior French Army generals for crimes against humanity, including genocide for their role in the 1994 Rwandan holocaust.

The Rwandan case against the French generals is based on the French having instigated and trained the Interhamwe paramilitary Hutu militia that was responsible for most of the killings of the minority Tutsi tribe and its supporters. This most inconvenient of facts is admitted to by the French media that are still trying to shrug off blame for the French crimes in Rwanda and deny any “smoking gun” exists.

This latest in a long series of Rwandan government exposés of the French military and Foreign Ministry’s role in the 1994 mass murder (some 800,000 by most accounts) provides that very “smoking gun,” for the well documented French military role in the very existence of the Interhamwe death squads in undeniable.

Who is going to believe that after creating, training and paying the salaries of the leadership, the French had no idea the Interhamwe ethnic death squads were going to carry out what they were broadcasting so rabidly? It goes further, for the evidence shows the French were actually behind the mass murder in just another storm of massacre and mayhem that typifies neocolonial French Africa.

All one has to do is view the excellent three-part series on Al Jazeera, “The French African Connection,” to hear first-hand senior French Intelligence agents matter of factly describe coup d’états and mass murder they directed in the years before the Rwandan genocide throughout neocolonial French Africa. After watching the series, tell me you still don’t believe the French were capable of the crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994?

Earlier in 2016, news broke about the French role in suppressing the anti-neocolonial rebellion that broke out in Cameroon in the 1970s, where over 10,000 Cameroonian’s were murdered by the Cameroon Army directed by French officers. All to maintain French control of their former “colonies” and continue the super exploitation of African resources that is critical to maintaining the high standards of living the French people have come to expect.

The French military is still very active in enforcing neocolonialism in French Africa, with contingents and or training operations in Mali, Central African Republic, Congo, Djibouti and Cote d’Ivoire. France has been at the forefront in demanding military intervention in Burundi by the UN, offering military forces for a potential occupation. French neocolonialism remains a potent force of reaction in Africa today and recognizing the French role in the Rwandan genocide in 1994 can play a vital role in helping the world understand this thorn in the side of the African peoples fight for independence, social equality and justice. Rwanda indicting French generals for genocide is a good start.

Source*

Related Topics:

Britain’s Role in Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide*

Rwanda Wins Award for Forest Reclamation

French Presidential Favorite Macron sparks firestorm for Speaking the Truth about Colonization*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

French Troops with U.K., U.S. Support Engaged In War on Libya*

 

Brazil Coup Architect Eduardo Cunha Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption*

Brazil Coup Architect Eduardo Cunha Sentenced to 15 Years for Corruption*

Is that all!

Eduardo Cunha, former speaker of Brazil’s lower house, is accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes while in office.

 

The man who led a campaign to paint Dilma Rousseff as a corrupt politician has drowned in his own fraud scandals.

A Brazilian judge sentenced Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house and mastermind behind the parliamentary coup against former President Dilma Rousseff, to 15 years and four months in jail Thursday for corruption charges.

The sentence is the result of a criminal suit investigating Cunha for fraud related to millions of dollars in kickbacks he received for the 2011 purchase of an oil field in the West African country of Benin by the state-run oil company, Petrobras, which has been at the center of a major anti-corruption probe in the South American country known as Operation Car Wash.

Federal Judge Sergio Moro handed down the sentence over charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. The former head of the lower house has been held in pre-trial detention since last October.

“The responsibility of a federal parliamentarian is enormous, and therefore so is his guilt when he commits crimes,” said Moro.

There is no bigger crime than that of trying to use one’s parliamentary mandate and the sacred trust the people place in it to obtain personal gain.”

According to Moro, Cunha received US$1.5 million in bribes for the Benin oil field contract, which, according to an internal Petrobras investigation reported by local media, resulted in US$77.5 million in losses for the state-run oil company after no oil was found at the site.

The federal public prosecutor’s office had called for Cunha to be forced to pay full damages to Petrobras, but Moro has signaled that a fine equivalent to the US$1.5 million bribe he received will be ordered.

While Cunha’s defense team has said that they will appeal the decision, Moro confirmed that the politician will remain behind bars while the appeals process moves forward.

Despite himself facing multimillion dollar bribery and fraud charges, Cunha was a key architect in painting the impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff as a campaign to root out government corruption.

A member of unelected President Michel Temer’s PMDB party, Cunha is accused of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion linked to raking in at least US$5 million in illicit kickbacks between 2006 and 2012 and hiding the wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

Cunha was removed from his position as speaker of the lower house last September after being suspended in May 2016 — just weeks after the lower house pushed through the impeachment bid against Rousseff — to face an impeachment process over accusations that he intimidated lawmakers and hampered investigations. The Congress voted overwhelmingly by 450 to 10 to remove the unpopular politician.

The overwhelming decision to remove Cunha also stripped him of the parliamentary immunity he long enjoyed, opening him up to the corruption charges. Authorities arrested him at his apartment in Brasilia last October over accusations he hid laundered money in secret Swiss bank account while in office.

Despite the power he has wielded over Brazilian politics, polling over the past year has repeatedly unmasked Cunha as one of the most unpopular politicians in the country, including among his own party.

Several other top Temer allies have also been targeted in the Operation Car Wash investigations that have led to the arrests of dozens of politicans and economic elites over bribery schemes and corruption linked to Petrobras.

Source*

Related Topics:

Brazil’s Key Corruption Judge Who was Killed in a Plane Crash Demands Investigation and Protection from Temer*

In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf the Faction that Impeached Dilma*

Brazil Just Approved 20-Year Spending Freeze to Punish the Poor*

Prosecutor Who Led Charge Against Brazil’s Rouseff Was Just Arrested*

Washington Rape of Brazil Begins*

Italian Officials Call for Investigation of George Soros Supported NGO Migrant Fleet*

Italian Officials Call for Investigation of George Soros Supported NGO Migrant Fleet*

By William Craddick

Italian authorities are calling for monitoring of the funding of an NGO fleet bussing migrants into the E.U. from the North African coast after a report released the European Border and Coast Guard Agency has determined that the members of the fleet are acting as accomplices to people smugglers and directly contributing to the risk of death migrants face when attempting to enter the E.U.

The report from regulatory agency Frontex suggests that NGOs sponsoring ships in the fleet are now acting as veritable accomplices to people smugglers due to their service which, in effect, provides a reliable shuttle service for migrants from North Africa to Italy. The fleet lowers smugglers’ costs, as it all but eliminates the need to procure seaworthy vessels capable making a full voyage across the Mediterranean to the European coastline. Traffickers are also able to operate with much less risk of arrest by European law enforcement officers. Frontex specifically noted that traffickers have intentionally sought to alter their strategy, sending their vessels to ships run by the NGO fleet rather than the Italian and E.U. military.

On March 25th, 2017, Italian news source Il Giornale carried remarks from Carmelo Zuccaro, the chief prosecutor of Catania (Sicily) calling for monitoring of the funding behind the NGO groups engaged in operating the migrant fleet. He stated that “the facilitation of illegal immigration is a punishable offense regardless of the intention.” While it is not a crime to enter the waters of a foreign country and pick them migrants, NGOs are supposed to land them at the nearest port of call, which would have been somewhere along the North African coast instead of in Italy. The chief prosecutor also noted that Italy is investigating Islamic radicalization occurring in prisons and camps where immigrants are hired off the books.

Italy has for some months been reeling under the pressure of massive numbers of migrants who have been moving from North Africa into the southern states of the European Union. In December 2016, The Express cited comments made by Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Vatican City, stating that Rome was on the verge of a “war” between migrants and poor Italians. The wave of migrants has also caused issues in southern Italy, where the Sicilian Cosa Nostra has declared a “war on migrants” last year amid reports that the Italian mafia had begun fighting with North African crime gangs who entered the E.U. among migrant populations.

CCTV footage showing an Italian gang leader, Emanuele Rubino, retrieve a handgun (circled) before shooting Gambian Yusapha Susso in a turf war last year

 

In February 2016, Disobedient Media published research indicating that multiple ships operating in the fleet mentioned by Frontex are sponsored by NGO groups with financial ties to organizations run by George Soros and donors to Hillary Clinton. Reports have also emerged citing a study by counter-extremism group Quilliam which states that ISIS now controls the human trafficking scene in North Africa and is actively recruiting from the migrant population. In addition to acting as de facto accomplices of human traffickers, the NGO’s criticized by Frontex may also be contributing to the worsening terror situation in Europe though their actions.

Source*

Related Topics:

Soros Partners with MasterCard to Profiteer from his Engineered Mass Migration*

George Soros: The Hidden Hand behind Social Unrest*

Soros: Western Society Must Fall Before One World Govt Can Be Established*

‘Stop Soros’ Movement Sweeps Europe*

Thousands Sign New White House Petition to Arrest George Soros*

Akhenaten Must be Turning in his Grave*

Akhenaten Must be Turning in his Grave*

Akhenaten is one of the most famous rulers in the Land of Pharaohs and he still remains a unique and controversial figure in history of his country.

He ruled over Egypt for seventeen years during the 14th Dynasty.

Akhenaten born as Amenhotep IV, was the son of Amenhotep III, the Magnificent, the ninth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty and Queen Tiye who was of non-royal origin and Amenhotep III’s Great Royal Wife.

Akhenaten’s father ruled for about forty years and his rule is believed to have been successful.

At the height of the 18th Dynasty, the eldest son of King Amenhotep III, Crown Prince Tuthmosis died unpredictably, making his younger brother Akhenaten – who at the time still had his original name, Amenhotep IV – next in line for the throne.

Pharaoh Akhenaten’s Early Years of Reign

Not much is known about the young Akhenaten, only that he spent much time in Memphis or in his father’s palace city Malkata, near Medinet-Habu, on the west bank of Luxor. When he became king he was already married to Nefertiti, his beautiful life-companion, advisor and co-ruler. Most probably he was already the father of a daughter Meritaten “Beloved of Aten” and the choice of his daughter’s name makes us wonder.

At what age did he become fascinated with the new god?

Akhenaten’s Dream and a Sudden Dramatic Change In Ancient Egypt

At the beginning of his kingship, Akhenaten still used his name Amenhotep IV. There is some evidence that he initially paid tribute to both aspects of the sun god: Aten and Amun-Re. In his early years as king, portrayed on one of the pylons in the temple of Karnak, his new god Aten, was identified with Re-Horakte, depicted as a falcon with a sun-disc on his head.

Interestingly, in the Nubian town of Sesebi, where Akhenaten established a temple, the god Aten in falcon form is depicted in the company of all traditional Egyptian gods.

His image as pharaoh was the image of the king with all his human weaknesses; he did not hide imperfections of his body, elongated face and slanting eyes, on the contrary, he rather glorified and exaggerated them.

In his 4th or 5th year of rule, the young pharaoh began the great passion of his life. He changed his name from Amenhotep (“peace of Amon”) to Akhenaten and announced that Aten appeared to him in a dream and told that he was the supreme and only god. From this moment, Akhenaten openly began to express his dissatisfaction with every old Egyptian tradition.

Was it only a dream he had or did he have another, special motif to replace more than 2,000 deities of Egyptian pantheon?

Why was Akhenaten determined to limit the priests’ role and power in ancient Egypt?

Did he have an unknown agenda that he only revealed to his closest advisers?

Belief in One Supreme God – One And Only

As a result, he began methodical eradication of all signs related to Amun-Re cult. He withdrew funding from all temples of “false gods”. Taking money and power away from what was, at the time, a very powerful and wealthy priestly class, created chaos, discontent and protests.

Akhenaten – The Founder of the City Of Amarna

In his 6th year of reign, the pharaoh found a perfect place for his new capital. This piece of land, located on the east bank of the Nile River, belonged to no-one and referred to no god.

Examples of “The Amarna Letters”, discovered in 1887. There are 382 known clay cuneiform tablets, whose contents shed light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Palestine and Cyprus. They are important for establishing both the history and chronology of the period.

He called it – Akhetaten (“The Horizon of the Aten”) and established the city devoted to the god, whose depiction showed an image of the sun with rays radiating from it. Aten was regarded by Akhenaten as being the creative force of the universe that was manifested by the sun.

Clearly, the god itself – had no image.

The traditional capital of Thebes was replaced by city of Akhetaten (now referred to as Amarna or Tell el-Amarna), with the king’s palace and the Great Temple of the Aten.

Rock-cut tombs were built in the neighbouring cliffs to the south and north and several roofless temples, so that rays of the sun would directly fall on the worshipers. Akhenaten moved with his family and other prominent and trustworthy citizens to the city.

The City Was Abandoned Shortly after Akhenaten’s Death

The city of the god Aten was abandoned shortly after his death. Archaeologists have gathered a lot of evidence that the place was intentionally destroyed. After his death, the traditional pantheon of gods was quickly readopted.

Many historians claim that Akhenaten was a careless, incompetent and unsuccessful ruler. Their claims are most probably based on evidence in form of the Amarna Tablets, which contain governmental documents and correspondence confirming his incompetence.

Was he perhaps too much focused on his religion? Is his religious legacy living in the Rosicrucians’ beliefs, which say there is one divine force behind all things?
Source*

Related Topics:

Our Conception of God isn’t Big Enough*

ISIS Destroys 2,000-year-old Legendary ‘Gate of God’ in Iraq*

Atheism and Rediscovering God*

Waiting for God?*

School Teacher Tells Students to Deny God Is Real or Receive Failing Grade*

Mathematics – God’s Language for Nature*

The Windsor-Bush Bloodline Traced Back to the Roman Caesars and Egyptian Pharaohs*

U.K. Scientists Use Brain Stimulation to ‘Make You Stop Believing In God’*

Rewriting Noah/Nuh: NWO Agenda while Deleting Religious Thinking*

Atheists, Whatever They Say to the Contrary, Really Do Believe in God*

Evolution: God’s Game

Ushering in the New ‘god’*

The Signs of God’s Existence

Finding God in a Particle!

In the Beginning was/is Consciousness*

Arguing God from Being?

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

By Abayomi Azikiwe

 

Germany’s colonial role in Africa has been highlighted again as the Tanzania government placed the European state on notice that it will file an official complaint over the atrocities committed during the early 20th century.

This report comes in the aftermath of a similar effort by representatives of the Herero and Nama peoples of the Republic of Namibia, formerly known as South-West Africa under imperialism. Approximately 80% of the population of these two groups died as a result of a German extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha during the anti-colonial revolt of 1904-1907.

In the East African state of Tanzania, the government informed the National Assembly on February 9 that it would pursue an apology along with monetary damages for the crimes carried out in the years of 1905-1907 when an uprising occurred in the southern region of the country. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, who serves as Minister for Defense and National Service, informed the Parliament of its intentions to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop the proper approach to the issues involved.

The Maji Maji War (1905-1907)

Colonial authorities under the direction of Karl Peters, the founder of the German East Africa Company, imposed a draconian system of land theft, forced labour, economic exploitation and unjust taxation. Africans were forced from their traditional societies in order to make way for the European military and administrative apparatus.

Africans were mandated to leave their villages to produce wealth for export to other European nations. The levying of a tax on the people was designed to compel men to work for the colonial firms in the sectors of agricultural commodities, mining and railway construction.

Resentment quickly grew and an uprising erupted in July 1905. It was led by Kinjikitile Ngwale, also known as Bokero. The first wave of Africans attacked German garrisons as well as cotton fields from the Matumbi Hills utilizing traditional weapons and a formula composed of water, castor oil and millet.

Bokero believed that the formula spread over the bodies of the warriors would protect them from the high-powered German weaponry. The uprising was not just limited to the Matumbi and in a matter of weeks other ethnic groups including the Mbunga, Kichi, Ngoni, Ngindo and Pogoro joined in the campaign to eliminate European rule. This anti-colonial movement represented a significant development in that it transcended sectional divisions embarking upon a Pan-African approach to the national liberation struggles that would reach fruition decades later in the mid-to-late 20th century.

According to an entry published by the Black Past website:

“The apex of the rebellion came at Mahenge in August 1905 where several thousand Maji Maji warriors attacked but failed to overrun a German stronghold. On October 21, 1905 the Germans retaliated with an attack on the camp of the unsuspecting Ngoni people who had recently joined the rebellion. The Germans killed hundreds of men, women, and children. This attack marked the beginning of a brutal counteroffensive that left an estimated 75,000 Maji Maji warriors dead by 1907. The Germans also adopted famine as a weapon, purposely destroying the crops of suspected Maji Maji supporters.” (blackpast.com)

Bokero, the spirit medium whose propaganda inspired the war, was captured and executed for treason on August 4, 1905. Nonetheless, the struggle continued for another two years under the renewed and expanded leadership.

Superior military weapons and reinforcements by the German government crushed the uprising by August 1907. Not satisfied with this military defeat of the Africans, the colonial authorities deliberating withheld food from the people leading to widespread deaths from starvation, thirst and disease.

German Colonialism in Africa

With the failure of German imperial ambitions at the conclusion of World War I, the role of this European nation in the rise of colonialism on the continent became obscured. Other imperialist states such as Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, the United States and Italy would continue their economic plunder of Africa past the conclusion of the War in 1918 earning enormous wealth for the multi-national corporations and international finance capital.

However, it was in Germany under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck that the gathering known as the Berlin West Africa Conference was held from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885. The aim of the meeting, called for by Portugal, was to bring together the leading European colonial powers and the U.S. to divide the continent in order to facilitate greater cooperation and consequent profit-making for the imperialists.

An article by Elizabeth Heath published in Oxford Reference notes:

“Rivalry between Great Britain and France led Bismarck to intervene, and in late 1884 he called a meeting of European powers in Berlin. In the subsequent meetings, Great Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and King Leopold II (Belgium) negotiated their claims to African territory, which were then formalized and mapped. During the conference the leaders also agreed to allow free trade among the colonies and established a framework for negotiating future European claims in Africa. Neither the Berlin Conference itself nor the framework for future negotiations provided any say for the peoples of Africa over the partitioning of their homelands.”

Resulting from the imperialist consultations was the German Act of the Berlin Conference. The document sought to guide the Europeans away from conflict in order to guarantee a workable process of super-exploitation of African resources and labor.

Germany was awarded colonial territories not only in East Africa which encompassed modern-day Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania but also Togo and Cameroon in West Africa and Namibia in the sub-continent. Additional settlements in Guinea and the area around Ondo state in Nigeria were attempted without success. Other locations within contemporary Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo were also under the control of German imperialism during various periods between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The collapse of the German imperial state in the years of 1915-1918 prompted the invasion and occupation of their colonies by the military units of the so-called Allied Powers during World War I. By 1919 these territories had been wrested from German colonial domination at the aegis of the League of Nations and soon parceled over to Belgium, France, Portugal, South Africa and Britain.

Reparations Needed to Renew African Development and Unity

African Union (AU) member states are more than justified in demanding official apologies and compensation for the enormous damage done by imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact it was the Atlantic Slave Trade beginning in the 1400s and extending into the 1800s that created the conditions for the rise of colonialism in Africa.

Even today the economic dependency of independent states is rooted in the colonial period of relations with Europe. Although African nations won formal national independence over a period of decades between the 1950s and the 1990s, with the exception of the Western Sahara still under Moroccan occupation inherited from Spain four decades ago, these post-colonial governments are limited by the develop model based upon supplying raw materials, agricultural crops and cheap labor to the industrialized countries.

Consequently, the debt owed to the capitalist financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank remains an impediment to both national reconstruction and continental unification. If the African continent speaks with one voice on this question it will serve as a mechanism for acquiring the necessary resources to break with the imperialist system of resource extraction and labor brokerage.

Africa must build its own internal industries and economic system which serves the interests of the majority of workers, farmers and youth. The enormous wealth of the continent should be harnessed for the benefit of the people.

Source*

Related Topics:

Namibian Indigenous Groups Sue Germany for Genocide*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

Somali Man Takes Legal Action against US, Germany Over Father’s Drone Killing*

Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder*

You’re not a ‘Hitler’ if you Kill Ten Million Africans*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

African Trees Kill Both Malaria Mosquitoes and the Parasite*

African Trees Kill Both Malaria Mosquitoes and the Parasite*

Malaria is one of the world’s most serious infectious diseases and affects more than 200 million people each year. Scientists at the University of Oslo have examined the bark from two African trees and found substances that can kill both the mosquitoes that transmit malaria, and the parasite itself.

Traditional healers in West Africa have for many years used extracts from the bark of two trees in the citrus family (Rutaceae) to treat malaria, which is a widespread disease in the region and kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year. Researchers at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo in Norway have now shown that bark from the trees contains substances that not only kill the malaria parasite, but also the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides of the plant kingdom family Rutaceae

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides of the plant kingdom family Rutaceae

 

“This project started in 2011, when we were approached by the entomologist Bertin Mikolo fra Marien Ngouabi University (link is external) in the Republic of Congo’s capital Brazzaville. He had learned that local traditional healers were using extracts from the bark of a tropical tree to kill malaria mosquitoes and other insects, and he had demonstrated that the extracts could kill weevils and cockroaches. Now, he wanted Norwegian assistance to investigate whether the bark also contained substances that could kill malaria mosquitoes,” professor emeritus Karl Egil Malterud explains.

Malaria is a disease caused by tiny parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which spend part of their life cycles in the blood vessels of humans and other mammals. The parasite is transmitted between humans during bites from mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles.

Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)

Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)


Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)

Found several important substances

To make a long story short: The scientists found several interesting substances both in the so-called Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii) that is found from Cameroon to Congo, and in a related tree from Mali. The most interesting and active compounds were found in the Olon tree, but also the bark of Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides from Mali contains active substances.

“We produced extracts from the bark of the Olon tree and found that it contained at least one compound that kills the mosquitoes that transmit the malarial parasite. But the bark also contains another substance that kills the parasite itself,” says Associate Professor Helle Wangensteen. She has been the leader of this project.

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

 

The mosquitoes died — like flies

More than 30 species of the mosquito genus Anopheles kan infect humans with the malaria parasite. This is the species Anopheles Stephensi. Foto: Jim Gathany, Wikispecies/Centers for Disease Control. The scientists have been working with both water-based and alcohol-based extracts from the bark of the two trees, and it turns out that the extracts with alcohol contains more of the active substances. The substance that kills the mosquito is called pellitorine and was found in the bark of both trees, Malterud explains.

“The Master student Nastaran Moussavi managed to isolate pellitorine and several other substances in extracts from the bark of the Olon tree. Later, she travelled to the French research institute IRD in Montpellier(link is external), in order to study their insecticidal effects. IRD has experts in cultivating the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae for scientific studies. Moussavi applied substances from the bark of the Olon tree to the neck of the mosquitoes, in order to investigate if the substances had toxic effects,” Wangensteen explains.

“This caused the mosquitos to die, literally as flies! The experiments showed that pellitorine is toxic to mosquitoes,” Malterud adds.

“We also found that a mixture of four main substances from the bark of the Olon tree had a higher toxicity than pellitorine alone, even if the other ingredients were not toxic separately. This suggests that there is a synergistic effect between the ingredients, says Wangensteen.

Kills even the parasite

At this point, Malterud and Wangensteen suspected that the Olon tree contained even more compounds with interesting effects. Then postdoc Ingvild Austarheim contacted the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne(link is external) in Australia, because they have a laboratory with experts on studying the malaria parasite. The scientists in Melbourne were interested in testing the new potential drugs, and it soon turned out that one of the ingredients was very effective in killing the parasite.

“But this was not the same compound that killed the mosquitoes! The parasite-killing compound is called dihydronitidine and is a relatively simple alkaloid,” says Wangensteen.

The Norwegian scientists had now shown that the bark of the Olon tree from Congo contains at least two interesting compounds: Pellitorine that kills malaria mosquitoes, and dihydronitidin that kills the malaria parasite. The researchers then went on to test the bark from Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides, which is related to the Olon tree and is native to Mali. Professor emerita Berit Smestad Paulsen from the School of Pharmacy has cooperated for several years with healers from Mali, and they knew that the bark of this tree had been used in the treatment of malaria patients.

“We found pellitorine also in the bark from this tree, in addition to several other interesting substances that have effects on the malaria parasite. But the effects were smaller than the ones we found in the extracts from the Olon tree,” Wangensteen explains.

Both pellitorine and dihydronitidine are chemical substances that were previously known from other plants. However, the powerful effects against malaria mosquitoes and the parasites were little known before the Norwegian scientists started their work.

Why isn’t the industry interested?

The scientists have published their findings continually, and you might expect that the international pharmaceutical industry would react with interest. Malaria infects ca. 200 million people every year, and there are major resistance problems with the drugs that are already on the market. There is an urgent need for new drugs — but the scientists have so far not been contacted.

“I can imagine several reasons why we haven’t heard anything. One reason might be, to put it slightly maliciously, that the international pharmaceutical industry doesn’t always seem very interested in diseases that are mostly a problem in the “Third World.” The second possible reason is that these findings have been published in scientific journals, which makes it more difficult to obtain patent protection for active substances,” Malterud suggests.

“The third reason may be that the Convention on Biological Diversity(link is external) (CBD), which Norway and most other nations have ratified, stipulates that the rights to the commercial exploitation of biological material resides in the country of origin,” he adds.

New knowledge transferred to West Africa

The pharmaceutical industry must always carry out extensive and expensive clinical trials before a new medicine can be approved, but there are so far no plans for such actions when it comes to the compounds found in the bark of the two African trees. That doesn’t stop Helle Wangensteen and Karl Egil Malterud from believing that their research can be used for the benefit of malaria-stricken patients in West Africa.

“In the short term, it is realistic to imagine that our colleagues in Congo may communicate the new knowledge to the traditional healers in the region. It could be useful for them to know that the bark from the Olon tree contains active compounds that have effects against both malaria-transmitting mosquitoes and the parasite itself,” Malterud comments.

“We can also contribute with new insights on how these substances can be used. For example, we discovered that water-based extracts contain relatively little of the active substances, whereas alcoholic extracts contain much higher concentrations. Perhaps it would be possible to spray the puddles where the mosquitoes hatch with a locally produced solution containing pellitorine,” he adds.

All in all, the scientists at the School of Pharmacy tested more than ten compounds from the two African trees. In addition to the already mentioned compounds, it turned out that also the alkaloid heitziquinone, which was not previously known, has activity against the malaria parasite.

Why do plants produce drugs?

At least 30% of the active ingredients in modern medicines are derived from ingredients found in plants. Why do plants produce compounds that are effective against human diseases?

“We don’t know the answer to that question, but we can’t imagine that the Olon tree has any interest in killing mosquitoes or malaria parasites. But maybe the substances have an effect also on insects that for instance might feed on the trees,” Malterud suggests.

“The primary function of many natural products found in plants is not known to science, but it’s obvious that the plants use a lot of energy to produce these compounds. Therefore, it is hardly a coincidence that they are produced,” adds Wangensteen.

The research on substances from the bark of two African trees was supported by the programme Functional Genomics (FUGE) in the Research Council of Norway, which had a commitment to bio-prospecting. Nastaran Moussavi’s expenses for the work in Montpellier were funded by a grant from the Norwegian Pharmaceutical Society.

Source*

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