Friday, October 23, 2009

Not-So-Trivial Pursuit Of A United States Of Africa

Some board games aim to improve your general knowledge, others are just fun. A Senegalese entrepreneur is hoping his new game promoting African unity will be both.

Game designer Salif Tidiane Ba wants to succeed where the continent's leaders have so far failed: to create a United States of Africa.

On a recent day, surrounded by children at his cramped headquarters in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, Ba shows off his latest venture: Jekaben, which means "let's unite and work together" in the local Bambara language.

Ba is passionate about Africa and says the game's purpose is to educate players about the continent and steer them toward achieving the United States of Africa.

The children demonstrate how the elaborate game is played.

Part Monopoly, part Trivial Pursuit, the game centers on a colorful board with a green and white map of Africa in the middle. A player's goal is to "build" the continent by answering questions about Africa, such as, "Which country in Africa was never colonized?" (Ethiopia)

A piece of the map is added at the end of a series of correct answers, and for certain pieces, 1 of 20 United States of Africa passports is awarded.
The board game Jekaben, which means Let's Unite and Work Together in the Sendialect of Bambara

Ba hopes the new game, which is a cross between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, will educate players about the continent and encourage them to create a United States of Africa.

The board game Jekaben, which means Let's Unite and Work Together in the Sendialect of Bambara

Ba hopes the new game, which is a cross between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, will educate players about the continent and encourage them to create a United States of Africa.

The person with the greatest number of passports when the last piece of the puzzle is added — completing the map and a message that reads, "Welcome to the United States of Africa" — wins the game.

Players are also dealt cards and roll dice to move around the Monopoly-like board. The cards are traded in; money changes hands along the way, too.

Then there are the trump cards that are a free pass of sorts. In Jekaben, these cards are called the Wise Leaders of Africa — but some of the sages featured may not be universally popular choices.

Ba's "wise" leaders include some who are considered dictators, such as Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who has held power for 40 years. Another, the late Omar Bongo of oil-rich Gabon, was an autocratic, old-style president and Africa's longest-serving leader when he died in June.

Ba says his choice of sages is entirely personal and symbolic. Any African leader is eligible to become a sage, Ba says, as long as they share the common goal of the United States of Africa — hence the founding fathers of the continent's independence, such as Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah; Nelson Mandela, with his impeccable Pan-African credentials; and more contentious choices such as Gadhafi, a more recent convert to African unity.

The game already exists in French, English and Arabic. Ba wants to have it translated into Portuguese and Spanish, as well as Swahili, Hausa and other African languages. He hopes his board game will encourage a new generation of Pan-African champions who will put the interests of their continent first.

A final question: Who was Felix Houphouet Boigny? A Cameroonian footballer, president of Ivory Coast or a famous African film director?

The correct answer? President of Ivory Coast.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roman Catholic Church African people globally

September 21, 2009

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

Your Holiness:

It is with great humility that I request an audience with you while in Rome on October 18-22, 2009. The purpose for our visit is to seek the help of the Roman Catholic Church in addressing the plight of African people globally. I am honored to say that Princess Giada Ruspoli is my hostess and mediator for this august meeting, if granted.

I have been on the forefront of the struggle for Civil/Human Rights since 1978, beginning with my work with the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition where I currently serve as the Regional Director, Southern Region, and with the Reverend Cameron Alexander, Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, where I am a deacon, the Director of Human Resources, and former Executive Director of Antioch Urban Ministries, Inc., an outreach ministry to the poor and disenfranchised of metro-Atlanta.. I am also a former President of the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta. Six years ago I founded African Ascension, an organization which helps to unite Africans in Africa and throughout the world.

I have worked to support peace efforts and civil rights internationally in the Middle East, South Korea, and Haiti. I was a member of the Peace Makers tours of the Middle East in 1992, Southern Korea in 1993 and 1998. I worked tirelessly to help end apartheid in South Africa and for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. I went to South Africa and joined the African National Congress and worked in a campaign to register voters prior to the presidential elections in South Africa in 1994 in which Mr. Mandela emerged as the President of that nation. I was an official non-governmental representative to the United Nations Habitat II Conference, held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1997. This conference was designed to bring leaders together from around the world to discuss options for developing sustainable communities. I was also a delegate to the United Nations Conference on Racism held in Durban in 2001.

Over the years, I have worked with governments and international humanitarian organizations to improve the quality of life for its citizens. In addition, I have a long-term involvement in Zambia, where, among other things, I serve on the Board of Directors of the Zambian human rights organization, Afronet. I help found Zumbi Palamares University in Sao Paulo, Brazil six years ago for which their library was named in my honor. Our aim was to increase the number of our people in that nation who are receiving a college education. Presently only 2 percent of African descendants living in Brazil are receiving an education at that level.

I was in Florence, Italy at the invitation of the Tuscony Association to address the issue of Abolition of the Death Penalty. I was invited to Pisa, Italy by the same group in July of 2008 to address the issue of Racism in the 20th Century. I am actively engaged in

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working with the African Union which is currently divided into five regions. A sixth region is being established which will enable Africans living in the Diaspora to become voting members of the African Union.

I have sent medical supplies worth several millions of dollars to Haiti, San Andres, Liberia, and Zambia and was named “Man of the Millennium” Tapeo, Haiti. We have joined forces with the people of Cameroon to insure that they are treated in an equitable manner in developing the mineral resources of that nation, especially cobalt and nickel.

Currently, I am serving on a Presidential Commission in Colombia with the mandate of bringing African descendants into the mainstream of that nation. Africans make-up 26% of Colombia and many are being displaced from their ancestral land due to the ongoing war in that nation fueled by drug trafficking.

Your Holiness, I am an African American, 72 years of age, born the son of a sharecropper in the state of Georgia, USA. I served 21 years in the United States Air Force before retiring in 1978, and during that time, I had lived abroad almost as much as I had visited: 3 years in England, 3 years in Spain, 2 years in Vietnam, 1 1/2 years on Guam, and six months in Casablanca, Morocco.

My military residences and my humanitarian outreach throughout the world have shown me that the masses of African people are on the margins of society globally. There are over 200 million Africans living in the Americas, 30 million in Europe and another 800-900 million on the continent of Africa. Catholicism is very prominent in Colombia and Brazil and throughout the Americas. I am deeply concerned about the conditions in Africa where the Catholic Church is at the vanguard for people of the Christian faith. While Colonialism ended in most countries almost 50 years ago the exploitation of the people and the resources of this Continent continue unabated.

I will be in Haiti in early October. However, over the past decade we have traveled to Haiti several dozens times providing material support for the people on that island nation that have been suffering since 1804 when, in a slave revolt, they won their independence from France. This is an impoverished nation where the Catholic Church has great influence.

These are the issues I would like to address with your Holiness should you grant me an audience. I am convinced that it would make a tremendous positive difference, not only to Africa and African descendents, but to the world, if your Holiness would address the plight of African people globally

It is with deep humility that I seek this important audience with you.


Joe Beasley, President
African Ascension:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Claims of Fix Gabon's Presidential election

Opponents claim vote results in oil-rich Gabon are a ‘fraudulent farce’

LIBREVILLE, Gabon - The government on Thursday declared the eldest son of the late dictator Omar Bongo the winner of weekend presidential elections, enraging opposition supporters who torched a French diplomatic mission as a main opposition candidate went into hiding, nursing an injury he reportedly suffered when police fired tear gas canisters.

The anger extended outside Gabon's borders. In Dakar, Senegal, Gabonese students pushed past the sole guard at the Gabonese Embassy. A loud explosion was followed by the sound of breaking glass. The students charged out as a huge plume of smoke rose from the two-story structure.

"We want change," said one of the students. "This election is a fraud."

Even before the results of Sunday's election were announced on state TV, there was violence.

In Gabon's capital, Libreville, police fired tear gas at opposition demonstrators who had camped outside the electoral commission overnight, waiting to hear the outcome. The results had been expected Wednesday night but were delayed because the election commission disagreed on how to review province-by-province results.

Within hours of the announcement that Ali Bongo had won, opposition supporters attacked the French consulate in the oil hub of Port Gentil, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Libreville, setting the building alight and ransacking nearby shops, a local TV station reported.

The unrest is not likely to affect global oil prices, said Leo Drollas, chief economist at the London-based Center for Global Energy Studies, noting Gabon's small petroleum output. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, Gabon produces 247,000 barrels of oil a day, one-tenth of Nigeria's output.

Credits: msnbc

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Black leaders unhappy about Delta Air Lines’ diversity

Top Atlanta civil rights leaders are voicing concern about Delta Air Lines Inc.’s commitment to diversity — be it in the number of executives, directors, suppliers, pilots or the overall workforce.

For the past several months, civil rights leaders have been meeting with the top executives of Delta — Richard Anderson, its CEO; Steve Gorman, the chief operating officer; and Michael Campbell, executive vice president of human resources and labor relations — to discuss their concerns.

Delta officials say increasing diversity within its ranks and in procurement is one of its CEO’s top priorities given the company’s status as a global airline. Nearly half of all new executives hired from outside Delta since Anderson took over are women and minorities, officials said, and Delta also pointed to deeds in the community, including its recent $1 million scholarship endowment at Morehouse College.

The African-American leaders meeting with Delta include the Rev. Joseph Lowery, head of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda; the Rev. James Milner, senior pastor of the Chapel of Christian Love Baptist Church; and Joe Beasley, president of the African Ascension and human resources director at Antioch Baptist Church North.

Credits: ETN