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Documentary ‘Too Black To Be French’ Wants to Start an Honest Conversation on Race in France

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary "Too black to be French"

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary “Too black to Be French”

Too Black to Be French” is a documentary made by Isabelle Boni-Claverie, a French-Ivorian writer and filmmaker. Boni-Claverie's goal is to provide unexplored ideas and start a conversation on French society's inequalities and discrimination.

The documentary includes commentary and analyses from renowned Francophone thinkers such as Eric Fassin, Pap Ndiaye, Achille Mbembe, Patrick Simon and Eric Chalaye, along with testimonies from anonymous people of color. Some of the main arguments in the documentary are the conspicuous lack of minorities in the public media sphere, the lack of acknowledgment of colonial history in the fabric of the nation and the absence of quantitative data on discrimination at the workplace.

The documentary ignited a trending hashtag #TuSaisQueTesNoirEnFranceQuand (Translation: You know you are black in France when…) on Francophone social media.

Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.

Another Shark Attack Claims a Teenage Surfer on Reunion Island, Post-Attack Policy in Effect

Cove rphoto of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri - with their permission.

Cover photo of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri – with their permission.

A 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark on April 12 near Les Aigrettes on Reunion island.

Elio Canestri was a promising surfer and a member of the local surfing club. The local community is shocked by the tragic news. A Facebook page was set up to commemorate his life, with already more than 3,500 fans within a few hours.

Soon after the events, the local authorities activated the post-attack measures, which include specific fishing targets in the area.

Unfortunately, shark attacks have become a repetitive event on Reunion island: There have been 16 shark attacks off the island since 2011. In February this year, island authorities extended a law prohibiting swimming and other water-based activities except in special areas in response to the high number of attacks. The measure has resulted in a dramatic decline in tourism.       

Photos and Video of Sierra Leone’s 3 Day Lock Down

Michael Duff shares eyewitness accounts of Sierra Leone's 3 day lock down that was introduced to fight ebola:

Sierra Leoneans can breathe a sigh of relief today as citizens in the capital city and in the North of the country who were under a 3 day government mandated stay at home come can now move above freely.
While there was a clash between police and residents of Devil Hole the Freetown Western Rural area that led to the firing of tear gas, the lock down was quiet for most.

Gun Attack Kills 5 in Bamako as Mali Tries to Consolidate Peace

Screen capture of police forces in Bamako, Mali after the terrorist attack

Screen capture of police forces in Bamako, Mali after the terrorist attack

A shooting in a restaurant in Bamako, capital city of Mali, claimed the lives of five people on Friday night, March, 6. The attack took place around midnight in a restaurant called La Terrasse in Downtown Bamako and a dozen people are seriously injured. Two suspects are in detention and are being interrogated by security forces. A local officer reports that the two individuals were armed and hooded. One burst into the restaurant and opened fire. Three Malians, one French and one Belgian were killed. A local blogger posted a video of police forces as they come to investigate the crime scene:

Global Voices contributor Marc- André Boisvert wrote on Twitter that such an attack was inevitable, given that Mali is still trying to re-establish peace in the northern region:

Philippe Paoletta, a resident of Bamako, agrees with Marc-André:

All our thoughts are with the victims of the attack.

Film: A Ugandan Transgender Girl Fights for Her Right to Love

Rough Studios, a small Swedish production company, has released the first episode of a documentary series about being transgender in Uganda:

We enter the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan transgender girl who was forced to flee to Kenya after being “outed” as homosexual in one of Uganda's major tabloids. It is a story about love, hate and being transgender, in one of the worlds most homophobic places.

Our goal with this film has always been to make a difference. Whether it is to change peoples hearts, their perception of a transgender person or the prejudice people have towards the LGBT community.
Uganda is a country which for long have been criticized for the discriminations against the LGBTI community.

#ISurvivedEbola Campaign Releases First Video

The #ISurvivedEbola campaign has released its first video that feature Ebola survivors from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The multimedia campaign engages Ebola survivors to highlight stories of hope and resilience:

This is the first video in a series that will be rolled out as part of #ISurvivedEbola, a multidimensional trans-media campaign that places West African Ebola survivors and their stories at the center of efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Ebola survivor William Poopei narrates the video, telling the story of how he and his son, Patrick, contracted and recovered from Ebola in Liberia. In a voice that only occasionally belies the grief he has experienced, William tells the world how he lost his wife and 13 other family members to suspected Ebola, and how early treatment helped him and Patrick recover. He closes the piece with a commitment to continue to educate his fellow Liberians so that they can protect themselves – a commitment that will drive #ISurvivedEbola.

Hope in the Midst of an Outbreak: William's Story of Survival from #ISurvivedEbola on Vimeo.

Video: Imprisoned Swazi Lawyer Speaks Through Human Rights Activists

#swazijustice is a campaign calling for the release of Bheki Makhubu, editor of the Nation magazine and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer, who were jailed in Swaziland for two years for writing an article critical of the judiciary in the country. The two were arrested on 17 March, 2014 and sentenced to two years in prison on July 25, 2014.

The campaign video below shows RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other human rights activists read the words written by Thulani Maseko in defence of the Swazi people:

Hacking Against Ebola

Global Editors Network intends to develop new technologies and social networks for covering and preventing the Ebola epidemic from spreading.

Watch the YouTube video below for more information about the project:

Follow our in-depth coverage: The Struggle to #StopEbola in West Africa

Animated Video Dispels Ebola Myths

Ebola: A Poem for the Living (English) from United Methodist Communications on Vimeo.

United Methodist Communications, Chocolate Moose Media and iheed have collaborated to produce an animated video for use in West Africa that helps dispel myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention of the disease. United Methodist Communications provided partial funding for Chocolate Moose Media to create the video, which will be produced in various languages, including English and French with West African voices and other West African languages. This is an international co-production, involving production in ten countries: Canada, Guinea, India, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone Switzerland and the United States.

Follow our in-depth coverage: The Struggle to #StopEbola in West Africa

Introducing Swaziland’s Most Prominent Poetry Movement

Sabelo Mkhabela blogs about Swaziland's growing poetry movement:

Swazi poet and visionary Themba Mavuso speaks with a humble, unrehearsed tone. He looks nothing like a poet – his hair is neatly combed and he spots a corporate office-ready white shirt and black chinos. Adding street to his attire is a pair of black Chucks.

Themba, along with Lusolotja Ginindza and Sicelo Shabalala, is a founding member of Swaziland’s prominent poetry movement, Rooted Soulz. The collective has helped unearth prominent poets such as Qibho Intalektual and The Last Man, among others. They’ve also showcased their roaster at one of Swaziland’s biggest arts festivals, Bushfire.

According to Mavuso, perhaps with the exception of typically elder praise poets (timbongi), “The poetry genre in Swaziland was previously non-existent prior to the birth of Rooted Soulz.” The group’s poetry sessions started out in a venue in the Swazi capital, Mbabane, where they were held until their audience became too big for the space and relocated to the Swazi Theatre.

Below is a YouTube video of poet and emcee Qibho Intalektual and his music partner Sands:

Malawian Film Helps Farmers Cope With Climate Change

Mbeu Yosintha” was made to help farmers and rural communities cope with the effects of climate change, in particular the ever changing rain patterns in South East Africa. The film is a drama using local actors and was devised with Malawian writer Jonathan Mbuna following extensive research with various agricultural NGOs in Malawi.

‘Western Women Don't Care If They Are Raped on the Roadside,’ Says Saudi Historian

A screenshot of Youtube video. Used under CC BY 2.0

A screenshot of a video on YouTube showing Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon making his infamous claim

Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon says women in the West drive because they “don't care if they get raped on the roadside.” He made the remarks in an interview with Rotana Khalijia, a Saudi-owned television channel aimed at Gulf countries, in his defense of a Saudi prohibition that bans women from driving. The video, which created an outcry online, was shared far and wide on YouTube. 

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving cars. There have been many efforts to break the ban, most recently on October 26, 2013, when dozens of women shared videos driving cars in the day they plan on defying the ban.

The Saudi “historian” notes that:

Unlike riding a camel, driving a car places a woman in danger of being raped, which for Saudi women is a much worse experience than for any women in the western world where women “don't care” if they are raped.

To make his interview worse, he suggested a solution to import “foreign female drivers” to drive Saudi women to prevent a potential rape by contracted male drivers.

Video: Campaign to Stop the Sale of Steve Biko's Autopsy Report

Artist and social entrepreneur Nomsa Mazwai (Nomisupasta) and some friends got together to collect signatures for a petition to stop the sale of Steve Biko‘s autopsy report. Watch the YouTube video of the campaign:

Film: The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo is a film by filmmaker Yaba Badoe:

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, explores the artistic contribution of one of Africa's foremost women writers, a trailblazer for an entire generation of exciting new talent.
This feature-length documentary charts Ama Ata Aidoo's creative journey in a life that spans 7 decades from colonial Ghana, through the tumultuous era of independence, to a more sober present day Africa where nurturing women's creative talent remains as hard as ever.

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (Teaser) from Big Heart Media on Vimeo.

Video: Amazon Indigenous Tribe Protests Hydroelectric Dam Construction

Indigenous people from the Munduruku ethnic group are fighting against the construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam will mean the flooding of 700,000 km2 in their homeland.

The Brazilian Federal Government plans to build up to five dams in the Tapajós River, where dozens of indigenous communities live. Together with São Luiz do Tapajós, the Jatobá dam was due to begin construction in 2015, but socio-environmental difficulties may have postponed that deadline to at least 2020. The two dams will cost together US$7 billion.

The Munduruku claim they have not been consulted about the project. For years, the Munduruku people from the Sawré Maybu community, which will be directly affected by the construction of São Luiz do Tapajós dam, have pressured the federal government to demarcate their lands. The demarcation would create a legal obstacle for the continuation of the dam's project.

A documentary about the issue was produced by videomaker Nayana Fernandez.

UPDATE 09/12/2014: Together with other organizations, Nayana Fernandez has launched a crowfunding campaign to help the Munduruku pressure the government to demarcate their territory, officialize two associations, build a website and translate and dub the documentary into their native language (most Mundurku people do not speak Portuguese). Supporters can contribute with a minimum of US$10. 

‘Grito de Guerra’, a Cumbia Composed to Fund the Family of #Ayotzinapa Victims

Mexican artist Michelle Solano has composed “Grito de Guerra,” a song set to the rhythm of cumbia that intends to raise funds to support the family of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa Normal School students, who disappeared on September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico.

According to TV network CNN, the students were intercepted and taken away by police forces at the behest of the local mayor, and had set members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel on the abducted students. In the ensuing clash, six people were killed and 25 were injured, with 43 others remain missing.

Global Voices has dedicated special coverage to the Ayotzinapa case.

Fighting Malnutrition in Rwanda With Music

Rwanda’s top musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyz join the fight against malnutrition in Rwanda with a YouTube music video. The video is also available with Swahili subtitles.

Six Hong Kong Police Officers Kick and Punch a Handcuffed Protester in a Dark Corner

Last night at 9:30pm, around 300 hundred protesters attempted to set up new barricade in Long Wo Road, near the government headquarter at Admiralty. Riot police took action to disperse protesters and arrested 45 of them. The process was brutal. The TV news showed that one of the protesters, identified as Tsang kin-chiu, a member of Civic Party, was intentionally brought to a dark corner where he was punched and kicked by six police officers.

The protesters action last night was a reaction to the police clearance of the barricades in major sit-in sites in the past few days. The massive sit-in action, dubbed Occupy Central protests, is to impose pressure on the Hong Kong government demanding a revision of the political reform package by incorporating the idea of “citizen nomination” in the election of the city's top leader.

Weapon of Mass Destruction in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution

Mainland Chinese state-run media has been running editorials and opinion pieces to criticize the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, with emphasis on the destruction the street occupations have brought to ordinary people.

The Umbrella Revolution has also been labeled as “Color Revolution” backed up by foreign forces, in particular, the United State. Pro-Beijing law makers passed a motion on October 10 demanding an investigation of the mobilization of the massive sit-in action under the Legislative Council(Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

In response to the smear campaign, DDED HK, created a video that imitates the China Central Television's news report on the students’ use of mass destruction weapon – umbrellas and birthday song – in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution.

In the video, the umbrellas that protected the protesters from police pepper spray and tear gas were depicted as parachutes and ray guns. The birthday song, which was sang by the sit-in protesters, when they were surrounded and bombarded by the anti-occupation groups, was depicted as the most evil weapon.

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