Thursday, June 30, 2005

Updates on the Live8 Concerts & More

Now that we are only 2 days away from the worldwide Live8 Concerts for Africa, the online global dialogues are really heating up both in the Blogosphere and in the mainstream media (MSM). Global Voices Online has a new posting about African and African-American (i.e. yours truly) bloggers writing about the concerts and debt relief and the upcoming G8 Summit. Checkout GV’s June 29th post “Roundup: Africans on Live8” for some very interesting insights.

The International Herald Tribune online has a June 30th feature article titled “
As Live8 pushes G 8, who benefits” written by Alan Cowell of the New York Times. The article points out some of the same worries and concerns voiced by none other than certain bloggers featured in the Global Voices article. Go figure that one out. Me? I’m positive and delighted about the whole deal because I’ve seen how these types of events can help to bring about real change. Worked back in ’69, didn’t it? Did you see that Moscow is now on board? Here is the Wikipedia link to the Live8 events in case you haven’t bookmarked it yet and of course one should bookmark the official Live8 The Long Walk to Justice homepage too.

Live8 Project blog over at Technorati is just pumping away and is a great introduction into how far global blogging has come. As of this writing there are more than 9500 posts (using Technorati tags) on the Live8 events and the G8 summit, which is about 1500 more posts than 2 days ago. People from all over the world have something to say (write) and I am proud to see so many German language blogs present there. I knew that the Germans would catch up with the rest of us here in the Blogosphere…eventually. Jo Deutschland!! You can also signup on the Live8 e-list that will be forwarded to the G8 leaders attending the Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland next week. Just in case they still don’t get it.

For all of you here in Europe who continue to complain that there has not been enough participation by African musicians and performers in the Live8 events, I would recommend that you run your little butts over to Cornwall for the weekend and checkout the
Africa Calling – Live8 at the Eden Project concert. The lineup of performers at Eden is einfach Geil! (Deutsch = simply unfreakin'believable) and if there will be a DVD release of Live8 I would buy a copy just for this concert alone. Unlike the Live8 Berlin concert the folks over in Cornwall didn’t have any big problems with finding sponsors. Just what is the Eden in Africa Project? Thanks to Peter Gabriel and the folks over in Cornwall for putting such a great show together so fast. Of course, the music fans down in South Africa will not have any problems in being entertained by an all-star lineup of African musicians. Johannesburg kicks off the Africa Standing Tall Against Poverty campaign with Live8 Johannesburg. How’s that for Black Performer Power on Stage?!

And last but not least, CNN is featuring a week long special titled “Africa at Risk” that will tie in with their special coverage of the
G8 Summit 2005 at Gleneagles. Unfortunately the CNN web team has again failed to publish timely information about the program other than a stupid banner ad, but the CNNI TV spots say that Christiane Amanpour will be reporting direct out of Ethiopia and that Sorious Samura’s riveting documentary Living with Refugees will be shown again next week as well. Fireworks on CNNI start Saturday morning CET July 2nd with the first screaming and crying guitars out of Tokyo (or Moscow)?

Ron McCullagh of Insight News TV (where Samura presently works) wrote a very
good background article about the award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker and here is a link to an essay written by Sorious Samura titled “Who Stole Reality?”. The openDemocracy project site has two features (subscription required) written back in February 2004 about the Sierra Leone born Samura and here is a link to my April 11th posting on his documentary video about life for refugees fleeing the atrocities in Darfur and living in camps near the Sudan/Chad border. If you missed it the first time, then please don’t miss it again.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Technorati & Bloggers Support the Live8 Concerts

Technorati has gotten in on the Make Poverty History campaign, the Live8 Concerts, and the upcoming G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland by featuring all kinds of cool stuff at their site. If you are interested checkout the Technorati Live8 homepage and get yourself one of 3 nifty little Technorati Live8 badges like the one proudly displayed on this blog (scroll down and look right).


Update June 27th:
The new Global Fund for Women Weblog has a good article on how the Live8 Concerts and the upcoming Gleneagles G8 Summit agenda should also focus on the contributions that women are making to the development of African societies and politics and why they need more support from world political and business leaders. Checkout the article Live8 and Beyond by the GFW president Kavita Ramdas. "Hat Tip" to the folks at Technorati Live8 for the lead to this article.


There may not even be a Berlin Live8 Concert if this June 24th article from Reuters news service is correct " Lack of German Live8 sponsors a disgrace". Even Deutsche Welle is pissed off about the German business community and the German government's lack of support for the concert in their article titled "Live8 Organizers Lash Out at Berlin Apathy". I don't understand why anyone is surprised. After all, the German government's Finance Minister Hans Eichel heldout until the last minute on the recent African Debt Relief negotiations and then the politically embattled German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made a TV appearance claiming he was for the African Debt Relief deal all along. Here is Der Spiegel International's spin on the debt relief story here and here.

Oxfam, the U.K. humanitarian agency, published an interesting report about EU countries not living up to their promises on development aid and debt relief titled EU Heroes and Villains . According to this report 21 of the 25 EU member countries are dragging their feet in honoring committments made more than 5 years ago at the Millenium Development Goals conferences. Countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Italy are way behind the highly touted number of 0.7% GNI to be contributed toward aid and development by wealthy countries. According to the report it is calcualted that Germany will reach this level of aid contributions by the year 2087. Hey, that's cool, Africa's poor and hungry and the poor in the rest of the developing world can wait, right?

I think that I will sitout the Live8 Concert in Berlin this time around 'cause I am still suffering from headaches, hearing loss, and flashbacks from that last big Rock concert years ago: Woodstock!

Have fun kids and give 'em Hell up in Gleneagles!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Freedom Blog Awards 2005 Winners

Congratuations to the winners of the 2005 Freedom Blog Awards organized and sponsored by Reporters without Borders and Deutsche Welle. Professor Jay Rosen, former Chairman of New York University's School of Journalism and author of the PressThink blog has a great posting on what it means to him to have received this recognition.

Jeff Ooi of Screenshots was the winner in the category for Asia and the only blogger on my shortlist to have won top honors. Ethan Zuckerman's My Heart's in Accra and Rebecca MacKinnon's NK Zone were among the 60 blog nominees selected for this international competition.

Unfortunately the RSF and Deutsche Welle staff responsible for this year's competition lumped African blogs and Middle Eastern blogs into the same category with a clear favoritism toward the latter (in my opinion). I noted that RSF does not lump their Africa and Middle East news into the same category so I wonder why they felt that it was O.K. to do this with bloggers?

Perhaps for next year's competition they will do a better job in familiarizing themselves with the African sector of the Blogosphere and make better choices for voters in the 2006 Freedom Blog Awards competition. The Deutsche Welle BOBs Best of the Blogs Awards 2004 had 100 nominees selected from more than 1000 blog entries submitted by bloggers from around the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

BBC News: What African bloggers are saying about the G8 conference

It could be that this is old news and unfortunately I do not have time today to fully read and comment on this article from BBC News Magazine Weblog Watch for June 13th, but for bloggers writing about Africa and writing from Africa this is a Heads Up! on yet another prime time feature in the mainstream media (MSM) about bloggers and their collective impact on world events.

Some well-known African blogs are listed in this article i.e. Kenyan Pundit and tHINKEr's rOoM as well as a few that I thought had fallen off the edge of the Earth ages ago. Perhaps Weblog Watch Magazine could spend more serious time researching the African sector of the Blogosphere and do a follow-up story in the near future for the Africa '05 celebrations in the U.K.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

CNN 25 Special - Blogging: The Fifth Estate

Here is a breaking news story that may be of interest to fellow blog authors and readers. As part of CNN’s 25th Anniversary Special the network hosted a special panel discussion about blogs and bloggers May 31st at the 2005 CNN World Report Conference. The special titled "Blogging: The Fifth Estate" is moderated by CNN senior journalist and news anchor Michael Holmes. The show features some lively panel discussions between Holmes, top blogging and marketing professionals, and the audience. Brian Stelter of TV Newser blogged the show LIVE which totally freaked out Michael Holmes to see how simple it is to Moblog from a wireless Internet connection. Thanks Fishbowl NY for the May 31st post on Brian at the CNN World Report Conference.

This show to my knowledge will not be cablecast in North America but is available only to international viewers of CNNI. The viewing times in Europe are Saturday June 11, 2005 at 12:00 CET and Sunday June 12, 2005 at 19:00 CET. I was able to catch about 30 minutes of the 1 hour long program today and it is a must see for people interested in the bloggers vs. the mainstream debate.

Our very own Rebecca MacKinnon of the
Global Voices project at Harvard University was a featured guest on the show and YES Rebecca spoke up on CNNI for bloggers writing about Africa (Kenya and Zimbabwe) as well as for hard working bloggers from around the world. As a matter of fact she was the only panel member who had any extensive knowledge of what blog authors and readers are doing outside of the U.S.A. Other panel members were terrible in their knowledge about international blogging, although some tried to fake it. This should be a lesson for CNN executives and staffers to 1st check around the globe before you invite respected experts and blogging professionals to an important conference about The Blogosphere.

The panel also briefly discussed the issue of blogging from inside repressive regimes i.e. China and North Korea and the various methods bloggers are using today to protect themselves online from the GESTAPO, hackers, whackos, lunatics, et. Al. vermin in cyberspace.

Thanks Rebecca you were great and without a doubt the most informed member of the CNN panel on Global Blogging. So if your blog has been fortunate enough to get some coverage at the Global Voices
Daily World Blog Updates you may see an increase in visitor traffic and even a pickup in sustained readership thanks to CNNI and Rebecca.

Top MSM journalists and TV news executives were in the audience including CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. It was clear that 27-year news veteran Michael Holmes was somewhat concerned about the blogging phenomena, uninformed about the technologies behind blogs (mobile, video, audio) but at the same time fascinated that ordinary citizens around the world were learning fast how to use blog publishing tools and services to communicate ideas and share knowledge in ways and in sheer numbers that is unprecedented in human history.

A very good introduction to the topic Blogs: The Fifth Estate would be the November 2004 article
The Power and Politics of Blogs at Screenshots by Jeff Ooi, one of Malaysia's and Southeast Asia’s most respected and prolific bloggers.

Below is a list of panel members in attendance to the CNN Conference:

CNN 25 WORLD REPORT CONFERENCE May 30 – June 01, 2005 Atlanta, GA. U.S.A.
BLOGGING: THE FIFTH ESTATE Moderator – Michael Holmes, CNN

Discussion Panel members:

Brian Stelter –
TV Newser
John Arovosis – Americablog
Chris Nolan – Personal Democracy Forum, Politics from Left to Right
John H. Hinderaker - Powerline
Rebecca MacKinnon – Global Voices Online, Rconversation, NK Zone
Howard Kaushansky - Umbria Communications (who?? check this link)

UPDATE June 13th: I watched the 1st half of the 1 hour CNNI special Blogging: The Fifth Estate on Sunday and would like to make the following corrections:

Christopher Allbritton, former AP and NY Daily News journalist and author of the popular blog Back to Iraq 3.0 was also a featured panel member on the show. Brian Stelter was not really a panel member but was simply blogging the conference live which caught the attention of Holmes and the show's director and got Stelter some free airtime. Or were those segments with blogger Brian Stelter staged? Another panel member present was the guy whose comments to a blog were the catalyst behind the U.S. bloggers feeding frenzy on Dan Rather & the CBS News program 60 Minutes "Memogate scandal" . Rather resigned from CBS in March 2005 due to a massive loss of credibility and to pressure received from U.S. bloggers and other unnamed network executive types at CBS. Hey this could really catch-on in other professions like politics for example. Oder?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ethiopian Elections Update & the Carnival of Revolutions

While struggling to prepare myself to do a follow-up posting to Carine’s breaking news story on the AngloGold Ashanti mess down in the Ituri district of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo I received a “Heads-Up Notice” from one of my buddies re: the recent parliamentary elections in Ethiopia. It seems that the claimed victory by the ruling party in Ethiopia is beginning to spring some leaks, lots of leaks. Here is a list of links to blogs and news sites covering the developing story of the recent elections in Ethiopia:

The ethiopundit’s recent analysis and backgrounders on the elections:
Revolutionary Measures
Tiger by the Tail
Just Like Rasputin

BBC News coverage on the elections here and here.

The Washington Times on why U.S. election observers got kicked out and
a Norwegian EU election observer was given the boot as well.

The University of Oslo’s report on the Ethiopian 2001 local elections:

A colorful report on the Ethiopian elections at the WILLisms blog:
Ethiopia: Maturation of an Emerging Democracy

UPDATE June 10th:
I see that the Gateway Pundit back in St. Louis has been on top of the unfolding story in Ethiopia as well. Now you've got trouble, two river rats (him and me) have joined up in the fray. It's good that he's got my back on Ethiopia so I can finally finish my "gloves off" posting on the D.R.C.

Speaking of the
WILLisms blog they have a really interesting new feature called the “Carnival of Revolutions”. You can find this week’s Carnival roundup over at the Publius Pundit blog. Also check their schedule for the location of upcoming Carnival blog hosts for 2005. Here is the link to last week's Carnival of Revolutions hosted by the blog.

Have you read the June 03 article at WILLisms on
Paul Wolfowitz taking over the helm at the World Bank? Good reading, especially the advice from Foreign Policy magazine and that nice smiley photo of the Wolf in a good mood. I wonder if he is going to be at the meeting today with Tony and George? Professor Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University is not very confident that Bush understands the gravity of situation. I wonder what the American people have to say about the U.K.'s Commission for Africa proposals and the Debt Relief plan? Any tips on what I should be reading in regards to what Americans think vs. what the British press thinks we think?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Make Poverty History

I'm working on a particularly difficult posting at the moment re: the Democratic Republic of Congo that requires my full concentration, research abilities, and writing skills. I should have it ready in a day or two.

Lately I have noticed that people on the other side of the "Big Pond" are showing a lot of nervousness if I am to believe reports from press and media networks re: the upcoming visit to Washington by Tony Blair and the scheduled G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland. A lot of this has to do with Tony Blair's Commission for Africa, debt relief for Africa, and so on and so forth.

My advice on all of this is as follows:

1. Chill out. Tony's among friends when he comes to the States. We know that we owe Tony a great deal and we don't need aging rock stars and fatass finance ministers (G. Brown & Co.) to help us remember stuff. The British people know that Americans have an awfully long and very good memory. People in Europe from Calais to the Caucuses know that Americans do not forget who owes who what and when the bill is due.

2. Millions of people in the States (We, the People...) want to help Africa(ns) solve their myriad problems and take their rightful place in the world economy and on the world stage as do millions of people in Europe. America has a long history with Africa and we have about 50+ million people of African descent to prove it (that's counting only North America, South America has even more).

The U.S.A. donates approximately TWICE AS MUCH FINANCIAL AID to developing nations as either of the next two leading donors (Japan, France). We are not interested in what percentage of your GDP is set aside for development and aid. We are interested in how much money you've got to spend on programs and projects that really work. We are interested in how much extra cash you in the G6+1 can come up with and make ready for immediate use to alleviate poverty and other problems in the developing world. How much you got??

3. After Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder and other select EU leaders finish their business dinners and damage control meetings and what have you re: the collapse of the EU Constitution and other political/economic crisis facing the European Union, and after they finish picking the "Schweinehaxe und Saurkraut" out of their teeth give them this message from me and my people:

Come to Gleneagles with a plan for Africa that the American people will back and make sure that you (leaders and citizens of the G6+1) are ready to back that plan with money and know-how and not just talk. After all, the U.S.A. has many strategic plans for the people of Africa, plans to help secure the economic future of Africans, to secure the biologically sensitive and endangered plant and animal species of the continent, and all kinds of other plans. These plans are backed up by some of the finest minds and hardest working people on the planet: in business, in government and the public sector, in healthcare, in education, you name it we've got it.

And this message from U.S. is really, really important: If you catch somebody from our country inside Africa stealing, killing, and acting like a bloodsucker then turn that person in to the highest authority on the spot. You have our permission to do so, we the People of the United States of America. 100% Guaranteed. Of course, do this in as legal a manner as possbile, if that is at all possible. Otherwise, just do it and we can work on the consequences later.

Plans to help save a continent require working partnerships, and that means global partnerships. The most important partnership of all for Africa is the partnership and cross-border cooperation that Africans can offer to one another and to make it work. That is what NEPAD and the AU is supposed to be all about. Make it work or get rid of it and build something that really works for you and for us.

I truly believe that we (the World) working together can make it happen in Africa before my generation totally disappears from the face of the Earth. We can begin to Make Poverty History in Africa and elsewhere around the globe. Don't talk about it, Do It!

UPDATE June 06: Brian, author of the Black Star Journal blog has an excellent opinion essay on a similar subject over at his companion blog musings of a (fairly) young contrarian. Checkout his June 1st posting titled "Language bias, Live8, and sustainable development".

UPDATE June 08: Boy this is a hot debate amongst the Africans that I speak with daily here in Germany. Just this morning a Nigerian friend of mine pleaded with me "not to give them more money". He was of course talking about government officials in specific African nations and I can't influence where U.S. aid and development dollars go, unfortunately. Thanks to the Global Voices Daily World Blog Roundup I see that Ph.D. scholar Pampazuka of Chanuka has weighed-in on the subject and Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles has recommended a good book on development issues in Africa via his May 4th posting " Africa Unchained: George Ayittey".