Category: International Chatter
By admin on Aug 19, 2009 | In International Chatter
Walking with Africans
Join a week-long celebration of the ways the Presbytery of Denver, its churches, partnerships, and members are “Walking with Africans.” From August 22 to August 29 services of worship, meals for fellowship, times of recognizing and honoring African neighbors, forums that present ways for being involved in the greatest concerns of Africa, even dancing to the beat of African drums will be available to all in our Presbytery. The August 23rd dinner does need your RSVP. The other events welcome your
participation without any advance notice.
Here is a snapshot of the events:
August 22 Presbytery Assembly, Kiowa Community Church, 9:30 a.m.
The Rev. Dr. Obiri Addo, PCUSA Minister from Ghana and professor of African Studies
at Drew University will be the guest preacher
August 23 St. Paul Presbyterian Church, worship at 9:00 a.m. with Rev. Dr. Addo preaching
“Africa’s Story, Your Story Too!” discussion and brunch following worship
A Celebration of African Neighbors, the Presbytery Center, 5:00 p.m.
Dinner, Music and Fellowship
The Rev. Dr. Obiri Addo, guest speaker
African music provided by Joda and Friends. See www.afrikandance.com for more
Information about the group.
Seating is limited
RSVP to George Bamu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.953.8056
August 24 “Questions of Fairness, Food and Water”, the Presbytery Center, 7:00 p.m.
Presentations by those concerned about fair trade, business, food and water in Africa
Food and water discussion facilitated by Chuck Sparks
Fair trade and business discussion facilitated by Rev. Mimi Dixon
August 25 "The Story of Ghana: Message of Hope for a Continent" Peoples Church, 6:00 p.m.
6:00-6:05 Welcome – George Bamu, Africa Task Force Moderator
6:05-6:15 Traditional African Drumming-Nii Odoi
6:15-6:25 Traditional African Storytelling-Francis Nimako
6:30-7:00 Panel Discussion
7:00-7:30 Comments, Questions and Answers
7:30-8:00 Meal, Fellowship and African Drumming
Panel members: Rev. William Quaye, Bethel Presbyterian Church in Ghana; Rev. Dr.
Ebenezer Yebuah, Peoples Presbyterian Church; Rev. Paul Neshangwe, Denver
Presbytery Pastor in Partnership, Moderator.
August 26 “Questions of Wholeness for All”, the Presbytery Center, 7:00 p.m.
Presentations by those concerned about issues of health, education and human
rights in Africa
Healthcare discussion facilitated by Pete Hulac
Education discussion facilitated by Rev. John Anderson
Human rights discussion facilitated by Rev. John Piper
August 28 “Dancing Under the Setting Sun”, the Presbytery Center, 7:00 p.m.
Hear the drums, learn the dances, celebrate in joy! All age groups and skill levels
welcome. African music and dance instructors provided by Joda and Friends. For
more information about the group visit www.afrikandance.com.
August 29 “Questions, Answers and Hope for the Future”, the Presbytery Center
Special presentations of common work and mutual plans for “Walking with Africans”
Followed by a Service of Worship and Communion
The Rev. Paul Neshangwe, preacher
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., program at 9:00 a.m., worship at 11:00 a.m.
All events are free and will be held at Denver Presbytery, unless otherwise noted. Denver Presbytery is
located at 1710 S. Grant St., Denver 80210. For more information about the Walking with Africans
events, please visit the Presbytery website at www.denverpresbytery.org or contact Africa Task Force
Moderator George Bamu at 303.953.8056 or email@example.com.
By admin on Apr 30, 2009 | In International Chatter
The Global Village presents analysis of political, economic and social issues at home and abroad. It will deconstruct and demystify some commonly-held assumptions including inaccuracies put forward by the established media and when necessary will "speak truth to power.”
Annette Walker is a writer, radio producer and educator. She worked in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic as a teacher-trainer and traveled throughout the Caribbean including Cuba. She has been a lecturer in the City University of New York, Aurora Community College and Metropolitan State College.
Debt Relief for Haiti Imminent
By Annette Walker
Over the past several weeks the United States and the international community have proposed assisting Haiti with its overwhelming debt. Haiti, the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, has an external debt of $1.2 billion. Eighty percent of its 8.5 million people live on less that $2 a day.
On April 14 during a speech to the Haiti Donors Conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration will provide $20 million to help that Caribbean nation's debt service obligations.
Human rights groups immediately praised the U.S. initiative. "Today's announcement is a victory for the people of Haiti," said Kristin Sundell, Deputy Director of the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of faith-based, development, human rights and community organizations working for debt relief for impoverished countries.
"The U.S. pledge to cover Haiti's debt service obligations will free $20 million for basic infrastructure, healthcare, and education and will help Haiti to recover from last year's devastating storms," she continued.
However, Jubilee USA, put forth a note of caution. "The Obama administration may require approval from Congress in order to obtain the $20 million needed," said Sundell.
The $20 million will cover Haiti's 2009 debt payments to its multilateral creditors and is part of an overall $50 million aid package from the United States, the island's largest benefactor. This amount brings total U.S. aid this year to $302 million.
The total amount raised at the donors' conference, held at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., is $324 million. Tha goal was $600 million.
Jubille USA and other human rights groups want more than these grants. "What Haiti needs and deserves is immediate cancellation of its huge external debt, much of which was run-up by former dictators, without externally-imposed conditions attached," said Neil Watkins, Jubilee's national coordinator.
Haiti is on the list of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. This allows poor countries to 'qualify' for debt cancellation after they meet a number of criteria and conditions, some of which are controversial. Among these conditions are spending cuts and privatization of basic social services. In some nations announcement of these conditions have sparked civil unrest.
Haiti has not recovered from four tropical storms last year. 800 people were killed and much economic output was devastated. There were also food riots last year.
By admin on Jan 12, 2009 | In International Chatter
AFRICA AGENDA COMMUNITY FORUM: HOW NEGATIVE NEWS IMPACTS THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.
Saturday Jan. 17. 1pm-3:00 p.m. in the Celebration Center at St Paul Presbyterian Church. 18901 E. Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80013
Denver-With the recent news of a military takeover in Guinea and the suspension of the country’s constitution following the death of president Lansana Conte, news about Africa is back to discussions about dictatorship, conflict and war, characteristic of the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
It is unfortunate that talk about Africa is more about Darfur, Congo, and Somalia and less about significant progress in other parts of the continent. The continent is making strides in political and socio-economic development, marked by democratic transitions in many nations including Angola, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana, and with growth levels around 5.5% for most Sub-Saharan African nations.
While the latest news about the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe is disheartening, the latest Africa Region Brief by the World Bank paints a more optimistic image of the continent as follows:
“At all times, but especially during a crisis, Africa’s uneven progress tends to be underplayed and slippages highlighted. The positive trends in school enrollment rates, improvements in service delivery in the health and education sectors, and the fact that Africa has been reducing poverty at a rate higher than South Asia are lost. Headlines about war, famine, disease and misery dominate and overshadow the kind of recognition deserved by the 13 African countries that have attained middle income status and the five others which are on the verge of reaching that threshold”
Why negative news about Africa dominates and overshadows efforts towards stability and economic development is a problem that needs a solution. This forum is about new trends and ways to reveal the resourcefulness of African societies in the twenty first century
Discussion leaders include:
Pastor Paul Neshangwe, native of Zimbabwe-Denver Presbytery of the PC-USA
Edwards Antonio (Ph.D.), native of Zimbabwe-Iliff School of Theology and DU
Lucas Shamala (PhD), native of Kenya-Metro State College of Denver
Wonderful Bere (Ph.D.), native of Zimbabwe-Metro State College of Denver
Roger Clandening, Retired Journalist.
George Bamu, native of Cameroon, moderator
By admin on Oct 25, 2008 | In International Chatter
Editorial by George Bamu
If we can forget about the doom and gloom created by the world financial crisis for a moment and look at history, economists will tell us that the crash of the stock market and fears of a recession or depression is nothing
new. By the way, some of us can barely remember the crash of 1987 when the stock market lost as much as 45% of its value in markets around the world.
In 2008, the only thing that appears new is that it is being witnessed by a whole new generation that was not here in 1987 or as happened in 1929 during the great depression. In both cases, the world did not come to and end.
For me, I remain optimistic and yet hopeful except my concerns are less with the future of the United Sates and more on the future of Africa.
America, they say, can weather this crisis and soon it will become a story for the history books. On the other hand, we still have a continent that many of us love. Though far away, Africa remains intertwined within the fabric of the global community. What impact is this crisis having on Africa as a whole?
Will the USA keep its commitments to Africa under the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreements? Will the USA hold its pledge for a $48 Billion increase in AIDS treatment to Africa under the presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR)? Will the G8 nations hold to their commitment in 2005 to double aid to Africa to $25 billion a year by 2010? Are we going to remain hold up in our homes and not discuss the implications of this crisis towards Africa? Are we all going to stop sending money back home? Do we sit back here and weep that things are going badly?
Or do we rethink new ways about how we can help Africa
deal with these problems?
I'd like to hear what you think.
An Alternative View of the Beijing Olympics: Denver Cautions Coca-Cola About China's Role in Darfur Genocide By Annette Walker
By admin on Jul 2, 2008 | In International Chatter
'Hey, Coke, You Can't Hide! Help Us Stop This Genocide!' This was one of the signs carried by demonstrators outside Coca Cola's Denver office on Friday, June 20.
'Bring the Olympic Dream To Darfur' read another sign.
The demonstration was part of the National Day of Action for Darfur in more than 10 cities including Atlanta, Boston and New York. The protest targeted the corporate sponsors of the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Organizers chastised General Electric, Volkswagen, Swatch as well as Coca Cola for their silence on the genocide taking place in Darfur. They claim that these companies enjoy unique positions of leverage with China.
The Denver protest was spearheaded by the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action (CCGAA). Among the speakers was Andrew Romanoff, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Last year he introduced legislation divesting pension funds invested in companies doing business in the Sudan. The bill passed and Governor Ritter signed it into law in November.
Organizers contend that China is underwriting the slaughter in Darfur and point out the following: 1) China is the Sudan's largest foreign investor and trading partner, purchasing 71% of that African nation's global exports and providing 21% of its global imports; 2) Oil accounts for 70% of the Sudan's total global exports and China is the world's largest player in Sudan's oil industry, with major roles in the development, extraction and acquisition of Sudan's oil.
3) China has been the leading supplier of weapons and weapons technology to the Sudan; 4) The United Nations and human rights organizations have reported sightings of Chinese-made arms being used by Sudanese government forces and their "janjaweed" militias in Darfur.
Organizers also contend that China has been the Sudanese govenment's diplomatic protector and has blocked, vetoed and diluted every attempt by the United Nations and other efforts in the international community to intervene in the Darfur conflict.
Last year Dream for Darfur, an organization chaired by actress Mia Farrow, called upon each of the major corporate sponsors of the Olympic Games to make it clear to the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee that the current situation in Darfur would not be tolerated. Sponsors were given a letter grade signifying the degree to which they responded to that call.
Cocal-Cola, the oldest and one of the largest sponsors of the Olympic Games, scored a D. During the year that followed Coca-Cola rerouted $5 million to charitable efforts in Darfur. However, the company refused to speak out politically before the international community and did not put sufficient pressure on the Chinese government.
In 2008 Dream for Darfur again distributed grades to the sponsors reflecting the actions they had taken in the last year. While four of the Olympics' corporate sponsors stepped up to the challenge and brought their grades up to A's or B's in 2008 through their efforts in 2007, Coca-Cola was not one of them. The company failed to act and again received a D when grades were distributed this year.
Dream for Darfur is not calling for a boycott for the Olympics. It does, however, encourage world leaders not to attend the opening ceremonies unless the protection force unanimously passed by the UN Security Council last July has fully deployed before the start of the Games on August 8, 2008.
As part of Friday's protests, Dream for Darfur announced the launch of the "Switch Over" campaign. People should pledge that they will not watch the ads of certain Olympic sponsors during the Games, and instead "switch over" to alternative programming -- including an Alternative Opening Ceremony (August 8th) filled with songs and videos from musicians, as well as the "Darfur Olympics", a program on the Intrnet that will feature Mia Farrow's broadcasts from refugee camps.
"If the Olympic sponsors continue to ignore the genocide in Darfur, while burnishing China's image, we are going to ignore them by switching off their ads during the Olympics," said Ms. Farrow.
"It is important to show the Olympic sponsors that they must speak out to help end the genocide in Darufr," said Roz Duman, founder and coordinator of the CCGAA,. "It is morally, politically and financially wrong for them to remain silent," she continued.
By admin on Apr 22, 2008 | In International Chatter
AFRICA AGENDA HOSTS FORUM AND COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ON ZIMBABWE: BEYOND THE CRISIS, CITIZEN MOVEMENTS, THE MEDIA, DEMOCRACY AND THE FORCES OF CHANGE IN ZIMBABWE”
Saturday, April 26, 2008, 2pm-4:30 pm in the Community Room of the Aurora Central Library
(14949 E. Alameda Pkwy, Aurora, CO 80012)
For the last decade or so, Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia, has been labeled by the media as a failed state in the likes of Somalia. Among the reasons, the Zimbabwe economy, characterized with wide spread food shortages, is in shambles with inflation levels measuring about 24,470 %, according to recently released figures by the country’s reserve bank. Current unemployment levels reportedly stand at about 80% with citizens fleeing into neighboring South Africa and elsewhere for better opportunities. Furthermore, Zimbabweans say their country remains under the tight grip of one man, President Robert Mugabe, and his ZANU-PF party.
At independence in 1980, Mugabe was considered a freedom fighter that helped liberate Zimbabwe from British colonial rule. Today, he is called a dictator whose 28 year rule has ruined a once prosperous nation. The country is facing huge challenges stemming from HIV-AIDS, isolation and sanctions from the Commonwealth, the US and other nations concerned with human rights abuses, a controversial 2000 government land reform program. Even more, the results of the March 29 presidential elections are being challenged by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) whose leader is calling for the president’s resignation. Today, there is an impasse in Zimbabwe which has raised questions about peace and stability in the country.
There is another question we are asking. Is the stream of negative news about this nation of over 13 million people all we know about it? Or, is there something else that Zimbabweans should to be doing to help improve the image of their nation in the eyes of the world?
This forum will gather Colorado communities together to discuss ways that African-Americans, Africans and their allies living in America can support peaceful resolution in Zimbabwe. Participants will learn about what Zimbabwe leaders in Colorado are doing to support the end of the impasse and how Africa Agenda supports this vision.
George Bamu, Founder & CEO, Africa Agenda
Eliakim Sibanda (PhD), University of Winnipeg in Canada
Derrick Hudson (PhD), Metropolitan State College of Denver
Lucas Shamala (PhD), Metropolitan State College of Denver
Pius Kamau (MD) Columnist with the Denver Post
By Annette Walker on Apr 19, 2008 | In International Chatter
There's a clamor for change sweeping the United States. Although not yet a front page story, there is movement for change in U.S. policy towards the neighboring island of Cuba. Presidential candidate Barack Obama has stated that if elected he would be willing to talk to the Cuban government. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton rejects the idea.
Over 100 members of Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice calling for a review of our current policy. Furthermore, for over a decade the business community has urged both Presidents Clinton and Bush to end the half-century trade embargo against Cuba.
All this raises the question of the essence of Cuba. I should say 'revolutionary' Cuba. The best way to understand Cuban society is by making a comparison: Before 1959 and after 1959. Many scholars and journalists have written books about Cuba. However, to gain a basic understanding of the island's economic and social realities before the revolutionaries marched into Havana on January 1, 1959, I suggest consulting a World Book or Americana Encyclopedia. Information found there is succinct and always considered the truth.
Both of these reference books state that before 1959 "Foreigners controlled 75% of arable land, 90% of essential services and more than 40% of sugar production." It has been documented by scholars and non-academics alike that a significant percent of the foreigners were U.S. citizens. Experience and conventional wisdom has proven that any country dominated by foreigners is tantamount to a powder keg and there will be movements to dislodge their control.
And so it was in Cuba. The 26th of July Movement led by Fidel and Raul Castro not only believed that Cubans should be in control of their own nation, but that the quality of life should improve. We know that all contenders for political office articulate ideas about bettering conditions of life. The difference is that the Revolutionary Cuban government followed through and delivered on their promises. Unfortunately, ten U.S. presidents and, until recently, most Congresses have been unwilling to admit to the radical social transformation in Cuban society.
In 1959 Cuba had a 50% illiteracy rate. The renowned Literacy Campaign was one of the first national projects of the new government. Cubans volunteered to go into both rural and urban areas to teach people to read. In 1961, the United Nations conducted an investigation and found that the illiteracy rate had dropped to 4%. Today 98% of Cubans are literate, the highest in the Caribbean and Latin America and equal to the United States.
Another early project was the extension of universal healthcare to all Cubans. Fifty years later life expectancy is the highest in the Caribbean and Latin America and again it is on par with the United States. Cuba's infant mortality rate is 'lower' than the United States. In 1959 there were 3,000 doctors in Cuba and most practiced in Havana and the larger provincial towns. Today there are 65,000 licensed Cuban doctors, which constitutes a surplus.
Cuba has wiped out the infectious disease and epidemics that plague other developing countries. Cubans now suffer and die from the exact same diseases that afflict persons of the developed world, primarily heart disease and cancer. The World Health Organization considers Cuba a "model for the world."
Thousands of Cuban doctors work upon request in other Caribbean and Latin American nations as well as Africa, Asia and some Middle Eastern nations. Cubans set up the national healthcare system and medical school in Gambia, West Africa. They often answer the call for help during natural disasters, such as the devastating earthquake in Pakistan. The Cuban government offered to send medical teams to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast during Hurricans Katrina and Rita, but the Bush administration rejected the proposed assistance.
The United States government likes to point out the lack of consumer goods in Cuba. Shamefully, it is unwilling to admit that the 47-year old trade embargo is responsible for Cuba importing goods from Europe instead of Florida and other parts of the United States.
At a press conference in Havana last week, Susan McDade, representative in Cuba of the United Nations Development Program, said that according to their agency's annual report for 2007, Cuba ranked high among 177 nations in life expectancy, education and gross domestic product. She said Cuba also got high marks for "rational use of energy," a theme emphasized in the report.
It's time for the United States to 'modernize' its attitude and policy towards our neighbor which lies 90 miles from Key West, Florida.
The Global Village By Annette Walker
Analysis of political, economic and social issues at home and abroad. Will deconstruct and demystify some commonly-held assumptions including inaccuracies put forward by the established media When necessary will "speak truth to power.”
Writer, radio producer and educator. Worked in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic as a teacher-trainer and traveled throughout the Caribbean including Cuba. Has been a lecturer in the City University of New York, Aurora Community College and Metropolitan State College.