Jan 21, 2023: Jihadists in Burkina Faso - Afghan Womanly Woes - Bagging, Per Oxfam - Turner and You Knows
Burkina Faso. There too: Women Pay for Stupid Men
“As soon as their disappearance was announced, efforts were launched to find all of these innocent victims safe and sound,” Lieutenant-Colonel Rodolphe Sorgho, the Sahel regional governor, reported on Monday.
On January 12 and 13, close to 50 women were forcefully taken by armed men from a field outside the village of Liki where they were picking wild fruit, as well as from an area west of Arbinda, the largest town in the north of Burkina Faso and the capital of the Arbinda Department of Soum Province. Liki lies roughly 15 kilometres south-east of Arbinda, which has been under siege by armed groups for the greater half of a decade, a problem that's equally affecting Mali and Niger, sure to continue its spread beyond what's known as the Sahel region, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire now being threatened.
“All means available are being used, in the air and on the ground, to find these women,” a source from the province's security forces told AFP news agency. "Aircraft are flying over the area to detect any suspect movement.”
Local officials have said that the army and its civilian auxiliaries have conducted sweeps across the district but have not yet turned up any evidence of the women's whereabouts.
Volker Türk, head of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-OHCHR), demanded the immediate release of the women in a statement he made on Monday.
“I call for the immediate and unconditional release of all the abducted women and for the national authorities to promptly conduct an effective, impartial and independent investigation to identify those responsible and hold them to account,” Turk said.
Meanwhile, the US let it be known that it was “deeply concerned” for the safety of the women, per the statement made by State Department spokesperson, Ned Price:
“Those abducted must be returned safely to their loved ones immediately and unconditionally, and those responsible should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
France, an ally of Burkina Faso and its former colonial overlord, also issued a statement condemning the abduction and calling for the women’s immediate release, while also criticising the government; French diplomats have accused Burkina Faso of hiring the mercenary services of the Russian Wagner Group to handle their growing woes, an allegation that has also been repeated in December by Nana Akufo-Addo, president of neighbouring Ghana also alleged the same thing in December.
• • •
The International Security Sector Avisory Team (ISSAT) based in Geneva, has identified critical security issues "Burkina Faso has been increasingly exposed to the threats and attacks of violent armed groups, targeting symbols, institutions and representatives of the state, including the defence and security forces, local leaders and political figures." (Report available below)
Since 2015 and the events that had unfolded in neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso has had to struggle with a growing number of armed groups with ties to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) that have crossed the border and now plague many areas of Burkina Faso with criminal activity and violence. The rise of these groups in the region has resulted in the murder of thousands of civilians and members of security forces, and led to the displacement of roughly two million people.
According to the United Nations, nearly one million people are currently living in blockaded areas in the northern and eastern parts of the country.
The presence of these armed fighters and the control they exert over towns they've taken over prevents people and goods from moving freely, women finding themselves extremely at risk of attacks if they attempt to leave, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Although both groups are greatly used as tools for the West, backing the claims that will justify a Western intervention, whether or not such claims are justified, being one example (see: Kosovo, Iraq, Syria, Timor, El-Salvador, etc.), they're also mostly left 'to do the right thing' in areas where the US/UK don't have an immediate interest, not being shy to call out human rights abuses when a competing colonial power of old now seeks to upgrade its grip through neocolonial means. Such as France in the Sahel region.
• • •
The international military efforts to contain the problem have proven to be ineffective, the conflict barely given any attention whatsoever by the Western media, and spotty efforts by US and NATO forces, their focus being
Rumour is, according to comments made by authorities in nearby countries, that Burkina's government in Ouagadougou, the country's capital, controls just 60% of the country.
Fed up with the situation and the government's inability to get a handle on the problem, two army officers carried out two distinct coups in 2022, the second only eight months after the first military junta that 'took over' from the civilian government, each welcomed by the public given the promise to restore security that had been offered as justification for seizing power.
• • •
On 10-Jan-2023, Amnesty reported:
According to witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International, auxiliary forces to the government of Burkina Faso killed dozens of civilians in Nouna, in Kossi province, on 30 December 2022 and more than 80 corpses were buried.
The targeted and unjustified killings, of mainly ethnically Fulani residents of Sectors 4 and 6 of Nouna, took place on the morning of 30 December 2022, shortly after an attack by Islamist militants on a local gendarmerie station and a base used by Dozos, a government proxy force, in the town.
According to survivors the attack was carried out by local members of a Dozos hunter’s brotherhood, an auxiliary force to the military, who went house-to-house shooting people unable to escape.
Following the killing, on 2-Jan-2023, a local prosecutor opened an investigation into the killings of 28 civilians. More than 86 bodies had been found at the time.
Also, on that day, "Burkina Faso's military junta has expelled France's ambassador, authorities said Monday, amid a surge in anti-French sentiment as the West African country moves to develop closer ties with Russia."
Ambassador Luc Hallade was asked to leave; government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo confirmed the news to the Associated Press.
• • •
“It’s a very concerning and serious development in Burkina Faso that exposes the vulnerability of women in areas under blockade,” said Ousmane Diallo, a researcher at Amnesty International’s regional office for West and Central Africa. “The rights of civilians and their rights to their livelihoods must be protected by all parties to the conflict. There needs to be more attention and more protection of civilians by the government in these besieged towns, but also [a] tailored approach to the protection of women and girls,” he said.
Yet, the West's concern is increasingly placed on Russia's presence in Africa and how this 'may undermine democracy and free market development in the area.'
And, given the spark that gave birth to, and the source of, al-Qaeda and ISIL's raison d'être and their weapons' main provenance, the Western A-Holes still wonder why those in the Sahel region who still have their wits about them are opting to forge closer ties with Russians and Chinese?
Meanwhile, As the West Continues to BS the World About Ukraine...
On Friday, following her four-day stay in Kabul with the aim to urge the Taliban to reconsider the issue, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed believes that "progress is being made towards reversing bans on women taking part in public life in Afghanistan."
Mohammed says that there are more progressive individuals in the Taliban leadership who are open to the topic of women's rights; she believes her visit legitimizes their views and will provide a greater opportunity for them to voice their views among other, conservative Talibs.
Since the US' departure from Afghanistan a year-and-a-half ago, women have seen their rights being incrementally curbed; the trend continues.
Last month, the country's Islamist rulers banned all women from working for non-governmental organisations (NGOs); in reaction, many of these organizations have suspended operations in Afghanistan, effectively halting aid to the country.
In Nov-2021, two months into their administration, the Taliban had banned all women from working for the government.
In Dec-2021, the Taliban had banned women from university campuses. This rule is now being enforced by armed guards. Secondary schools for girls remain closed in most provinces.
Women have since also been banned from entering parks and gyms, among other public places.
In Nov-2022 another ban called for the segregation of healthcare, thus preventing women to be seen by male doctors. However, contrary to the oppressive attitudes demonstrated toward women, healthcare presents an area where the Taliban publicly and loudly promote women’s education and employment opportunities since, per official statements, "women should be cared for by other women. That means educating more female doctors."
On 9-Jan-2023, the Taliban have threatened to close all stores and markets in northern Mazar-e-Sharif that employ women, as well as the closure of all beauty salons in Baghlan. Taliban "have denied these claims, but they are giving women a 10-day grace period after which they will be provided “appropriate” locations to work. In Taliban language, that’s a ban in the making."
• • •
The 20-year US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan having left many women widows and the sole 'breadwinners' entails increased difficulties for many Afghan women without any bans being applied; with the Taliban in charge and the US stealing the country's much needed funds to boot, exacerbating internal tensions, the problem is now unmanageable.
After banning them from employment in the civil service and academia, a large number of women have been forced to join the ranks of street beggars. "The Taliban made only one concession: that women who beg are not required to have a mahram, a male companion, when leaving their homes."
"From the Taliban’s perspective, the presence of a large number of women in the streets doesn’t challenge their honor, but a woman working in an office is seen as a sign of her independence and empowerment, threatening the religious, social, and cultural identity that the Taliban upholds."
(Source: The Women of Afghanistan Won't Be Silenced Anymore | Time)
For their current difficulties and the deepening crisis, the Taliban leaders place the blame on sanctions and on the international community's refusal to recognise their rule. The Taliban's stance is that the UN and aid organisations were "politicising humanitarian aid".
"They believe that... the law applies to anyone anywhere and their sovereign rights should be respected," Amina Mohammed said.
In answer to whether it was a good idea to send a woman to appeal to the Taliban, the UN stated that "[t]his visit by the most senior woman at the UN also sends a message that women can and should play roles at all levels of society."
I really wonder about the last. It's not a question of ability or rights — I've no problem with women occupying such roles and I even welcome it, women being less prone to be warmongers (or so was the case, once) — it's about choosing the best approach. Misogynists being pressured or chastised by a woman... how will that frustration be externalised toward Afghan women, I wonder?
Afghanistan. The state of the country says far more about Western hubris than about Taliban chauvinism, especially since, had it not been for US meddling, these extremist groups would be virtually irrelevant today.
Much like the problem in the Sahel region.
The One-Percent Got Even More One-Percenter
Report: Richest 1% bag nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of the world put together over the past two years | Oxfam
According to the latest Oxfam report (available below), since the start of the pandemic, 63% of the words wealth was captured by 1% of the world's population; the rest, the roughly 7,636,333,419 people not part of the privileged 77.1 million, had to share 37% of the world's wealth.
From the report's intro:
We are living through an unprecedented moment of multiple crises. Tens of millions more people are facing hunger. Hundreds of millions more face impossible rises in the cost of basic goods or heating their homes. Poverty has increased for the first time in 25 years. At the same time, these multiple crises all have winners. The very richest have become dramatically richer and corporate profits have hit record highs, driving an explosion of inequality.
Rising inequality has also led, in some countries, to concerns about democracy, the report states. "For example, in India, which has the largest number of poor in the world, just 10 individuals own more than 40% of all national wealth."
- Super-rich outstrip their extraordinary grab of half of all new wealth in past decade.
- Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7 billion a day even as at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages.
- A tax of up to 5 percent on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty.
Oxfam said inequality also goes to the heart of the climate crisis, as the richest 1% emit more than twice as much CO2 as the bottom 50% of the world, driving climate change throughout 2020 and 2021 that has contributed to wildfires, floods, tornadoes, crop failures and hunger.
According to Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International:
“While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires —a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest.”
“Taxing the super-rich is the strategic precondition to reducing inequality and resuscitating democracy. We need to do this for innovation. For stronger public services. For happier and healthier societies. And to tackle the climate crisis,” Bucher says.
• • •
Incidentally, albeit I've issues with most of these large-scale humanitarian organizations, Oxfam is one I did have a fair share of respect for, it being the only organization that brought aid to the people of Cambodia without making any political demands or imposing a single concession. However, since the Haiti-linked allegations of sexual misconduct and exploitation that broke out in 2018, these extending beyond Haiti, it, too, has taken a hit in the respectable department.
Oxfam had only been allowed to reapply for aids funds in March of 2021, following a three-year ban after evidence of sexual exploitation by staff in Haiti came to light in 2018. At the time, with a staff of more than 9,000 across 90 countries, the accusations warranted the investigation of only 42 individuals.
Unfortunately, more allegations were made in Feb-2021, just before the end of their ban; this time, it concerned staff in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Current and former Oxfam staff made allegations of sexual exploitation, bullying, fraud and nepotism against 11 people in a letter send to the charity's leadership in February; some of these allegations dated back to 2015. It lead to the suspension of two individuals while further investigation was underway.
UK's Foreign and Development Office has been particularly harsh toward the organisation, instantly reacting with the cutting of any aids funds pending "a better handling by Oxfam."
This type of behaviour, and the locations involved... it all makes me think that this may be part of a coercion tactic, Oxfam refusing to bend to the needs of a Western-serving narrative. This is just me speculating based on what I know regarding some of these entities and past events.
Click to CLOSE
Oxfam - Report - Survival of the Fittest
DCAF ISSAT - Critical Security Issues in Burkina Faso
The Dangers of Limiting One's View of Clowns
In a 20-Jan segment of Unbossed with Nina Turner called, "The Real Dangers of Legitimizing These CLOWNS," Turner railed against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for those he's chosen to reward with committee assignments, namely, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Turner focused on Gosar and claims made concerning 6-Jan-2021, reminding viewers that he had voted to reject the election results (so had 139 other representatives) and that he had taken it a step further with the mention of what appears on that flashcard, right, before announcing that, now, such a person was assigned a committee position.
"McCarthy is normalizing lies and hatred with these committee assignments but he doesn't care because this is about power, power, and more power; power for the sake of power, not to be of service to the people," said Turner.
According to her guest, Malaika Jabali, the politics editor for Essence, the problem is that, since Trump, every Republican is trying to out-shock each other for attention, and "the clown show is a side show" that doesn't allow them to focus on the real issues because they're forced to talk about the clown show, it being what it is because "we allowed it, and by we I mean every living Republican."
As Turner points out, at least McCarthy is being honest about his motivation for such a — in my opinion, too — boneheaded move: He's ousting Dems from committees and replacing them with Gosar and Greene out of revenge for the Dems having removed them from their committee assignments. Recall why the Dems had done so, which Turner doesn't do. It's because of vile and racist remarks they had made, Gosar penning his violent urges into a comic.
Here's my problem with Turner's segment: It's as if the Republicans are acting in a vacuum; there's never any efforts made to acknowledge the myriad ways by which the Dems contributed to the issue nor to address the Progressives' own role in all of this, and how they're normalizing lies and hatred, and endorsing needless violence abroad, demonstrating a dizzying level of ignorance toward that on which they vote, hence, helping a global application of power, power, and more power for the sake of power, and proving themselves to be useless in terms of bringing about what's necessary to break out of the structures that permit the state of affairs to be so.
What Turner doesn't mention are other comments made by Gosar during the hearing she references with the AZ Central quote that appears on that flashcard. Gosar also gave as reason:
“Outright propaganda and lies are being used to unleash the national security state against law-abiding U.S. citizens, especially Trump voters.”
Unfortunately, there's much truth in that comment, which is why I seriously believe that, other than a tiny group of veritably ill-willed people, most present at the 6-Jan protest were there for what they believed to be genuinely good, legitimate, and patriotic reasons, the liberal mainstream media having played the biggest role in making it happen, not Fox and Tucker Carlson. One can call a whole group of people liars, but, without proof, such attacks and all that relies on them falls apart rather quickly; goes nowhere. The anti-Trump liberal media went too far, and became far too insane, offering far too much proof to those calling them liars, and offering far too questionable and war-obsessed rhetoric and coordinated efforts that provided what's needed to feed people's fears, rendering them easier to manipulate, all the more so given the constant propaganda that Americans are subjected to.
In her closing, Turner chastises the Dems for having "let this slide in... [since] the neo-liberal Democrats spent more time amassing and raising money to mess with progressive champions then they did protecting their flank and trying to ensure that they held on to the House of Representatives."
It's nice that she acknowledges that some responsibility lies with the Dems, but what I'm hearing is blame based on a very narrow and mostly meaningless view. I'm not sure if she's conflating the issue regarding the Jewish caucus that did its all to fund a Shontel Brown win in the last primary vote that pitted Brown against Turner with the Dems' failure to vote anything through, per their promises, but the Progressives' stick-in-their-wheels wasn't just the neolib Dems, but all shades of Dems, including the Progressives; in other words, it's all that the establishment controls, and the expectation that all are to fall in line, or pay the price.
And Adam Schiff being ousted for one of the two, which is worse? Schiff may not be racist, but he's damn scummy! Like, really scum-snot scummy.
Conversely, and why The Squad members faced some backlash from anti-war people, myself included: they are helping the neocons and libs to enforce global neoliberal policies, and helping to send many to their deaths whilst helping weapons manufacturers make insane profits, stubbornly refusing to see matters for what they are, and, stupidly believing that Russia would still be fighting their way westward if Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries weren't holding them back, thus, they fail to realize that the Russians are only fighting so long as weapons keep being sent, and that Putin never intended to occupy Ukraine; they'd have their full sovereignty and the option to join the EU if they'd decided to remain neutral. This is clear and substantiated, whereas the "Putin imperialist" BS is not!
If Ukraine refuses to remain neural, who's the aggressor? And never mind the cultural and ethnic genocide that was underway in Donbass, and the three major officials having now denounced the West's intentions and false pretense regarding the Minsk agreements (both). What Westerners choose to disregard and what they choose to see as evil... there's something clearly wrong with people's thinking.
What's happening is far bigger than the limited, all's-normal-except-GOPs-are-nuttier scope that the Caucus-Leftists seem to want to accord to current events unfolding across the world, making their current complaints seem shallow and petty within the tribally-defined context they so obsessively embrace.
That is stupid, stupider, and stupid for the sake of stupid, and far from 'progressive', in my opinion.
A New "You Know" Record
There's a new record for the number of "you knows" per minute attained by a 'talking head'. Ben Burgis' Give Them An Argument (GTAA) hit 441 "you knows" in a recent episode that's 99 mins and 51 secs long, for a whopping 4.42 “you knows” per on-air minute.
To get a glimpse at how bad this is, go to @32:40 until a bit over the 33-min mark. Or just choose a random moment.
I was looking forward to Burgis beating his own record upon notification of an upcoming GTAA episode titled, "Season 5 Episode 3, Sam Seder, Jason Myles & RM Brown." Sam Seder, being the previous record holder with his show The Majority Report, was sure to find fuel for his "you know" addiction through Burgis, who'd suddenly decided to overdose on the filler in recent segments; the pair was sure to motivate "you knows" out of the other, consciously or not, and out of the other two, too.
The real question? How well will I fare through the annoyance that this promised to be? How much swearing will be involved and will I yell vile insults at the people on screen? Will I break out into mimicry, repeating "you knows" as if I've an IQ of 40 (which may actually be better than what I operate under; who knows?!) or will I just break out with hives?
Hey, I can make fun of myself, too, you know. I'm aware of the abnormal nature of some of my quirks and the way my brain obsesses over certain details that pertain to structure and patterns. Not too many people... uh, you know... run match counts on "you know."
But neither should these individuals discount such counts, as it severely affects the quality of their product; I've come across several comments pointing out that it's painful and takes forever for Seder to say what he wants to say at times.
The problem was initially limited to Brandon Sutton, who regularly fills in for Seder, along with Matt Binder, on the Thursday shows, which features Emma Vigeland as the main host; I noticed that the habit was becoming more prevalent in Seder, fast becoming a marked behaviour that's all negative for a position such as the one he fills. So I found a way to quickly count the "you knows" and did so on randomly selected shows across a given period. There's a "you know" addiction at TMR that appears to be infecting many.
I didn't make it to the end of "Season 5 Episode 3." I did extract 258 "you knows" out of what was said in the 116 mins 40 secs (includes the 00:02:50 opener and music), giving us 2.2 "you knows" per on-air-minute. Not as bad as I had expected, but that's because the trio didn't join Burgis until well into the show, and the other two guests on with Seder, RM Brown and Jason Myles, combined, contributed no more than 10 "you knows". That's 248 of them just from Burgis and Seder. The parts where it's just the two of them talking... there couldn't be more "you knows" at a You-Know festival. My brain couldn't handle it.
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