Protests in Tunisia have entered their fourth consecutive day. Hundreds of Tunisians are leading protests across various regions of the country in response to the worsening economic and social crisis. Tension and frustration have grown over high unemployment rates, falling living standards, poor state services and public spending cuts mandated by an International Monetary Fund-backed loan program. The coronavirus pandemic has added to the economic and social woes, further shattering an economy highly dependent on tourism.
The army has since been called in since the protests began and at least 630 arrests have reportedly been made including that of human rights activist, Hamza Nassri Jeridi. International human rights body Amnesty International has called for Jeridi’s release in addition to condemning footage of army officials using excessive force.
Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, released the following statement:
“Even when acts of vandalism and looting occur, law enforcement officers must only use force where absolutely necessary and proportionate. Nothing gives security forces permission to deploy unnecessary and excessive force including when they are responding to acts of sporadic violence.” said , Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.”
Al Jazeera reports that President Kais Saied visited Ariana, which is a city near the capital city of Tunis, and implored protesters saying, “I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty,” and going on to add, “Don’t let anyone exploit your misery.” Hundreds of youths clashed with law enforcement authorities this past Monday as the former traded gasoline bombs and stones for water canons and teargas with the latter, Reuters reports.
The underlying frustrations of the current protests are linked to how many Tunisians feel that the Arab Spring revolution, which took place a decade ago, has not delivered on the promises made to citizens who are currently battling poverty and hopelessness. The revolution began in the 2010s and comprised a series of anti-governments protests calling for regime changes which began in Tunisia and then spread to several other North African countries including Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Libya.
Jan. 18 commemorates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a national holiday in the United States that serves as a time for reflection and community engagement to honor his social activism.
The day is intended to be a time for reflection and a call for social activism and community engagement.
Over the years it has become indicative of community and service, with Americans encouraged to put their time and money towards those less fortunate.
While King’s legacy is felt throughout the world, only a few other countries honor and celebrate his legacy.
We’ve compiled this list of countries that celebrate the activist’s life and the meaning behind the celebrations.
King, an anti-nuclear activist, spoke out against the nuclear bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 1967, King expressed a great desire to visit the country and discuss his idea of nuclear disarmament in a letter addressed to the “People of Japan.” He wrote, “Japan knows the horror of war and has suffered as no other nation under the cloud of nuclear disaster. Certainly, Japan can stand strong for a world of peace.”
Dr. King never made it. Four months after he sent the letter, he was murdered.
Nearly 30 years later, a man named Tadatoshi Akiba tightened the ties to Martin Luther King, Jr. Akiba spent more than 18 years studying and teaching mathematics in the US. After moving back to Japan, he entered politics and was elected mayor of Hiroshima in 1999.
He then started an annual banquet at the mayor’s office to commemorate King and his work as an anti-nuclear activist.
It’s not a national paid holiday but a day of reflection and service. The Ottawa municipal government in Ontario officially began observing the national holiday on Jan. 26, 2005.
There are a number of speeches and events held across the city, though the day itself will provide only a time for personal reflection on the activist’s life.
King often spoke highly of Canada in helping slaves find liberation in his Conscience for Change discussions, stating that in the struggle for freedom, Canada served as the North Star.
Wassenaar, The Netherlands
Since 1986 the Dr Martin Luther King Tribute and Dinner has been held in Wassenaar.
Although MLK is not celebrated on King’s birthday itself, but on the last Sunday in January.
The annual event features veterans of the Civil Rights Movement reading King’s iconic I Have A Dream Speech, and ends with people gathering to sing We Shall Overcome.
Source: Travel Noire
Authorities in France have opened an investigation into the sudden disappearance of Diary Sow, a 20-year-old Senegalese student who was enrolled at the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand high school in Paris
She was crowned the country’s “best student” twice, once in 2018 and again in 2019. Sow excelled in literature and science, and her merit is what landed her a spot in high school Lycée Louis-Le-Grand— one of the most prestigious schools in Paris.
She made her community proud. Sow’s worrying disappearance has raised concerns both back home as well as in France.
Following her disappearance, the Senegalese community in France has been posting a missing person flyer on social media with her image and details in a bid to gather clues and information on her possible whereabouts. The Senegalese consulate in Paris also declared Sow missing on January 7, and the police subsequently opened a disappearance inquiry, France 24 reported.
“Neither her parents, nor her friends, nor her tutor, nor the embassy have had any news,” Daouda Mbaye, a member of the Senegalese community in Paris who arranged for the distribution of missing person flyers with Sow’s details, told AFP.
“She is a punctual pupil, very serious, and the alert went out quickly. No one had seen her; she wasn’t in her apartment [student residence],” Henry Sarr, a member of a Senegalese students’ association that launched a social media campaign on Sow’s disappearance, also told the news outlet.
Back home in Senegal, the media have also been reporting Sow’s disappearance. The 20-year-old won the West African nation’s “Best Student” award in 2018 and 2019, and also published a novel last year, according to France 24.
There’s currently a hashtag circulating on various social media platforms to spread the word about Sow’s disappearance #RetrouvonsDiarySow, or Let’s Find Diary Sow.
Ganga Zumba is remembered by historians as the warrior, Black hero and freedom fighter who was central to the history and modern-day struggle of the Brazilian Black Movement, having led an alliance of “independent settlements”– Quilombo dos Palmares. Located between the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, Quilombo dos Palmares was founded by early Brazilian Africans in the late 16th century as resistance to European colonizers and enslavers.
Located in what is now Senegal and parts of Mauritania, the Waalo kingdom was one of the strongest and oldest kingdoms in Senegal existing since the 11th century. Before the invasion of the Arabs, the people practised the matrilineal system which gave women equal rights and privileges as men.
When the French arrived in Senegal in 1855 to colonize it, the first resistance force they encountered was a woman. Her name: Ndaté Yalla Mboj.
On October 1, 1846, Princess Ndaté Yalla Mbodj became Queen of the Waalo (Wolof) Kingdom after the death of her older sister Queen Ndjeumbeut Mbodj who had ruled since she was a teenager after the death of their father King Amar Fatim Borso Mbodj.
Although her ascension to the throne was easy, her rule fast became a tireless one in her determination to preserve what was left of the kingdom while protecting her people from the Moors, French and Arabs who wanted to take their lands and totally colonize the kingdom. Despite being an overwhelming task, Queen Ndaté was able to lead her military into war.
Her first major and successful task as a Queen was in 1876 when she opposed the free passage of the Sarakolé people by sending a letter to the governor expressing her willingness to defend the respect of her sovereignty.
“The purpose of this letter is to let you know that the island of Mboyo belongs to me from my grandfather to me. Today, there is no one who can say that this country belongs to him, he is mine alone.
Ndaté therefore considered himself the sole ruler of the Kingdom of Waalo and throughout her reign she would challenge the French and wage a bitter battle against them. In 1847 she demanded the free passage of the population of the Saraokés who supplied the Island of St-Louis with cattle. In her letter to the governor, she writes:
“It is we who guarantee the passage of herds in our country; for this reason we take the tenth and we will never accept anything other than that. St Louis belongs to the Governor, Cayor to Damel and Waalo to Brack. Each of these leaders governs his country as he sees fit
Ndaté will not hesitate to plunder around St Louis and threaten verbally or by correspondence the Governor. The French will demand a refund of the damage caused by the looting and Ndatté will refuse categorically and proudly.
This is how it ends up making its rights to the Island of Mboyo and the Island of Sor prevail (current city of St Louis).
On November 5, 1850 Ndaté banned all trade in the backwaters of its outbuilding and pushed the French to the end of what they could bear. Faidherbe orders a battle against the Waloo troops who this time do not resist against the technological power of the enemy
In 1855, Queen Ndaté was faced with a French army of over 1500 men who planned to take over her Kingdom, dethrone her and colonize the Waalo which would make them have total control over Senegal.
Before then, the Queen had led several successful battles against both the Moors and the French and although her army made up of both males and females was small, the Queen led them against the French. Before going to war, the Queen gave a famous speech to her army saying:
“Today, we are invaded by the conquerors. Our army is in disarray. The tiedos of the Waalo, as brave warriors as they are, have almost all fallen under the enemy’s bullets. The invader is stronger than us, I know, but should we abandon the Waalo to foreign hands?” “This country is mine alone!
The Queen’s brave army was no match to the French and she lost the first battle. She led her army to sneak up on the French and defeat them thereby starting the Senegal War of Resistance which continued way into the 20th century.
Queen Ndaté was able to fight off the Arabs and her battles led to the creation of Senegambia. She was captured by the French and exiled into the north of Senegal in Ndimb where she remained until she died in 1860.
Although by the time of her exile the Kingdom was in ruins, her son, Sidya Leon Diop took over the throne and continued the war until he too was captured and exiled in Gabon in 1878.
To date, Queen Ndaté Yalla Mbodj remains a symbol of resistance in Senegal. A statue of the Queen can be found in Dagana, in north Senegal that was made in her honor.
Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa, with over 140 million speakers. Also known as Kiswahili, the language is a Bantu language believed to have originated from other languages, specifically languages not native to Africa such as Arabic and Portuguese, following historical East African interactions with speakers of those languages.
It is the lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Currently, Swahili is a national language of four countries, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and the DRC. Shikomor, an official language in Comoros and spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is also related to Swahili.
Here are 6 interesting facts on Swahili.
- Different dialects of Swahili
Swahili, like many African languages, has dialects but interestingly some Swahili some dialects are so varied that other Swahili speakers cannot discern even though they may be in the same country.
Swahili operates on its own time
In most cultures, the clock, also the day, starts at midnight but not in Swahili. Their day starts at 6 or 7 am and this has been explained as a consequence of the equatorial placement of the countries that speak the language.
Basically, the time is measured from sunrise to sunset. This geographic phenomenon happens at the same time in all countries where Swahili is spoken in Africa.
Interestingly, Ethiopians often use the Swahili clock although it is not a Swahili-speaking country.
It’s easy to learn
Thinking about learning an African language? Give Swahili a try. It’s the easiest African language for English speakers to learn, as it’s one of the few Sub-Saharan African languages without lexical tone, similar to English.
- It’s easy to read
Besides speaking, Swahili is also easier to read as Swahili words are pronounced the same way they are written
It’s been around for centuries
The earliest piece of written Swahili documents dates to 1711. They were letters written in the Kilwa region. These letters were written to the Portuguese people of Mozambique and other local allies. To date, the remains of the documents are preserved in the Historical Archive of Goa in India.
- Full of idioms and proverbs
Swahili is famous for its idioms and proverbs that take the form of Mathali. Methali is a play on words, puns and lyrical rhyming and a very dominant feature of the Swahili language. Local rappers and musicians often employ methali in their music.
Example: Wapiganapo tembo wawili ziumiazo nyasi
Literal translation: When two elephants fight it’s the grass that gets hurt
Meaning: When the rich and powerful contend with each other it is the weak and powerless who pay the price.