Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guinean pro-democracy march in NYC on Dec. 8

Republished with permission from Friends of Guinea blog.

From: Alliance Guinea

This is far from over - the latest news out of Guinea is a proposed deal that would have the CNDD junta heading a "national transition council" for up to 10 months and open the door for Dadis to stand in elections. At the same time, the UN is beginning the work of the international commission of inquiry into the crimes of September 28, but it's clear that more international pressure against the military and support for the population is needed.

Here in New York Alliance Guinea has joined forces with the Guinean Forces Vives in the US and our friends Kadiatou Diallo and Norman Siegel of the Amadou Diallo Foundation to form the "September 28 Coalition for Justice and Democracy in Guinea."

Together we are organizing a march and rally on Tuesday, December 8 from 11am - 3pm to demand justice for the crimes committed and support for a speedy and democratic transition to civilian rule in Guinea. At 11am we will gather in front of the Guinean consulate at 140 E. 39th St., marching then to 47th Street and rallying by noon at Dag Hammarskjold Park in front of the United Nations. See Stay tuned for a list of expected speakers.

If you live far from New York and cannot join us in person, here are two things you can still do:

1. Make a donation – help us offset the cost of the rally (permits, transport, stage & sound system costs, etc.) through our new online giving button at Check it out and pass the word – every gift counts!

2. Write a letter (again!) to your local newspaper or Congressperson/Member of Parliament and tell them about the march and how the latest news out of Guinea confirms the critical need for international pressure and support is critical to getting justice and preventing what could spiral into civil war. For sample letters and other tips, see

And if you are in the New York area and can’t make it during lunch hour on Tuesday, don’t miss for what is going to be an amazing "Musique contre la Violence" unity night in Harlem on December 9 at 8pm at Shrine in Harlem with some of the greatest masters of Guinean music living in America and guest speakers from the September 28 Coalition.

The situation in Guinea is just as dire as ever, and justice must be served and the military must go. As those of us here in the US gather for Thanksgiving this week, let us give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy and continue to do all we can to help our friends and family enjoy the same.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Most unintentionally ironic headline of the day

From the BBC World Service Africa's Twitter feed: "Madagascar's constitution becomes the basis of a cartoon".

This from a country where several months, a guy who was constitutionally too young to become president stole power from the democratically elected government in a military-backed coup.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Illegal mining funds DRC rebels

BBC's domestic Radio 4 has a good documentary on the devastating effects of illegal gold mining in the DR Congo.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Taste of Zimbabwe in Albany

I received information about a fundraiser in Albany, NY to support girls in Zimbabwe made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. It is sponsored by the Dangwa Initiative and the Rotary Club of the Empire Plaza.

A Taste of Zimbabwe will be held on Friday November 20 from 7:00 pm until midnight at The Linda (WAMC Performing Arts Studio).

It will feature living Zimbabwean music by Fafi 3 Percent, the sale of Shona sculptures and Zimbabwean cuisine.

Donation is $25 for adults, $20 for students ($35 at the door).

For reservations, please call (518) 459-2914 or email: info @

You can pay online at:

Or you can mail checks (payable to: FCNY/Dangwa Initiative) to:

Dangwa Initiative
PO Box 5125
Albany, NY 12205

For further information, you can call Teresa at (518) 221-9423

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Guinea slaughter was 'premeditated', says NGO

A recent report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch concluded that massacre by the Guinean 'security' forces which killed over 150 was in fact premeditated.

The country's military dictator Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara had blamed the killings on out-of-control members of the military and Red Berets (presidential guard). The argument seemed plausible as army discipline has long been a problem in the country, especially the mutiny-turned-coup attempt of 2-3 February 1996, which I lived through.

Dadis also had the audacity to partly blame the demonstrators, who'd gathered to peacefully protest his decision to break his promise and run in next January's presidential election.

This remarkable piece of reportage by France 24 (unfortunately available only in French) reveals beyond any shadow of a doubt the messiah complex that has clearly seized Dadis.

HRW found that members of the Presidential Guard carried out a premeditated massacre of at least 150 people on September 28 and brutally raped dozens of women. Red berets shot at opposition supporters until they ran out of bullets, then continued to kill with bayonets and knives.

The Africa director of HRW said, "Security forces surrounded and blockaded the stadium, then stormed in and fired at protesters in cold blood until they ran out of bullets. They carried out grisly gang rapes and murders of women in full sight of the commanders. That’s no accident."

HRW also discounted claims that the massacre was provoked. It obtained video evidence showing that the crowd in Conakry's main stadium had a "peaceful and celebratory atmosphere" with "singing, dancing... and even praying."

The NGO added that it has not seen any evidence that any opposition supporters were armed, and no security officials were wounded by opposition supporters at the stadium, suggesting that there was no legitimate threat posed by the opposition supporters that required the violence that followed.

It added that the violence started as soon as the Presidential Guard savages entered the stadium and "began firing point-blank directly into the massive crowd."

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