Hello there, and good afternoon! As you read this, the world seems engorged with violence: Syria, Iraq, Gaza, the Central African Republic (CAR) And dozens of other bloody conflicts are ripping apart communities and whole nations, traumatising generations of raped and maimed women men, and children forced to witness the unspeakable. Which is why I am dedicating this Sunday afternoon post to a few glimpses of what has changed for the better this week, alongside the seismic events in the Ukraine.
In CAR, where I spent most of last year, local residents of the city of Berberati ejected firstly Seleka, then anti-Balaka militias, this week – the article in the splendid Jeuneafrique online journal is in French, though you can get an online translation. To sum up the story: Berberati residents persuaded Seleka rebels to vacate their city, only to have the rebels immediately replaced by marauding anti-Balaka thugs. But Christian and Muslim Berberatis protected each other from threats by the anti-Balaka, who sought to crudely divide them according to religious identity. In the words of an African Union military general on the scene, General Soriano, ‘the population [here] understand that now the Seleka have gone, the others are not here to protect them, but only to serve themselves’ (my translation). Berberati is the Central African Republics second city, and the Berberatis have made each other much safer.
Mind you, news that the Taliban has just condemned the violence in CAR adds a surreal twist to the gravitas of international diplomacy!
Meanwhile, over in my beloved Gaza Strip, the bitter-sweet saga of the Apollo of Gaza highlights the magnificent history of Gaza, and the heavy fist of Hamas. John Kerry’s fumbling pre-negotiation talks exclude Hamas, which only adds to the facade that they have any chance of political impact. It is hard to find good news about Gaza, but lets not forget the 1.7 million Gazans squeezed inside the Strip, and also denied access to Egypt now the international crossing at Rafah is sealed, because of political power struggles in Cairo and militants in the Sinai. For stories, news updates and analysis on Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, browse the Electronic Intifada.
And, to finish, this ladies and gentlemen, this will brighten up your twilight hours: Iraqi born and now living in Finland, the ravishing, tack-tastic music video of Kurdish Diva Helly Luv blazing her new track ‘Risk it All’. She has subsequently received death threats from Muslim fundamentalists, who, lets face it, will never be known for their sense of humour.
See you soon for more Waugh Stories…. Louisa x