dimanche 30 juin 2013

Africa-Europe: The hidden history of the discovery of America.

Without the help of the Berbers, Columbus would never have discovered America!

         On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail in search of a road to India ... and discovered America.
He wrote in his diary: "In the 1492 years after your Highnesses had terminated the war against the Moors in the great city of Granada, they thought, as enemies of the sect of Mahomet, send me to India. They ordered me to take the road to the west, annobled me and decided that I'm grown ocean fleet admiral and viceroy of the lands discovered and to be discovered. I left the port of Palos. "
There is no caravel or sailors to accompany him. Fortunately, a Berber origin of Palos owner jumps into the water.
         At Palos (current Huelva), the admiral is not welcomed with open arms by the people who do not understand why the king asks them to help this Italian looking India in the west.
Indeed, the royal decree signed by the two Spanish monarchs demand Palos to facilitate his task: "It is ordered the municipality to provide port of Palos to Admiral Columbus caravels, put in state and the arm."
         The City of Palos give him two old caravels barely seaworthy. He even has trouble finding volunteers to accompany him as sailors. He might stand on a dock covered with gold and promise more than the bare minimum, no sailor looks salary table. Watch this Italian westward would be suicide. In addition he needs about a year of food.

A Berber rescues him: Martin Alonso Pinzon.

         Miraculously, one day, Columbus is visited by Martín Alonso Pinzón, the head of the main family owners of Palos, of Berber origin. The man has thought, he said that if Columbus was right in seeking the Indies to the west, it is the insured property. He decided to take a chance by offering an association. Therefore, it's cake, Pinzón provides two caravels good looks instead of two wrecks provided by the city and convinces a Basque captain, Juan de la Cosa, to participate in the expedition with his ship, the Santa Maria, already armed with a crew. Therefore the sailors of Palos rush to get enrolled.
         Columbus took command of the Santa María (Juan de la Cosa is his second), which is the largest of three ships with 35 meters long and 8 wide. It is not a caravel, but a carrack, a more robust but slower ship. She gauge 233 tons and carries a crew of 39. Vicente Yáñez Pinzón control the Niña, a smaller size and lateen (triangular): 21.44 to 6.44 m, 105 tons and 20 crew. Finally, his brother Martín Alonso Pinzón leads the Pinta: 15 and 23 meters long and 6 meters wide, 110 tons and 20 men.
         Marine, add officers, notary, an interpreter, a royal controller, a doctor, an archivist, a judicial officer and chief familiar with Columbus. In total, 87 men ready to face the unknown. Columbus sailed a year based on a daily food ration of one pound of biscuit and 300 grams of smoked meat and dried fish. It still provides pulses, cheese, oil, vinegar and onions deemed combat scurvy. To drink, he carries two liters of wine per day per man, and about half a liter of water per meal.

"In the name of God, cast off!"

         Friday, August 3 at dawn, all the inhabitants of Palos gathered at the port to witness the departure of three ships anchored beyond the sandbar. The atmosphere is collected every inhabitant of the city has a father, a husband, a close aboard three ships. And everyone knows that many sailors will never return. The day was the feast of Our Lady of Miracles, all the villagers and sailors gathered in the church to pray aloud. On the platform, they continue to pray in a constant hum. With the first rays of sun bursting from the horizon, the admiral exclaimed with emotion: "In the name of God, cast off". On board the caravels, the officers shouting instructions. The white sails are hoisted. Women are starting their final recommendations to their husbands, their son, their brother.
         The three ships depart for the sailors sing the Salve Regina. Columbus, very moved, stands on the rear of the Castle Santa María, in his fur-lined suit Admiral garnet. Focus on the Canary Islands to seek the trade winds blowing westward. To navigate the Italian captain, has a compass, a compass with a pink graduated winds. The ship's speed is measured with the method of the loch.
         Sailors into the water a board weighted enough to keep it in place and connected to the ship by a line with evenly spaced knots. Just count the number of nodes in the flow scrolling hourglass 30 seconds to determine the speed. The nodes are spaced so that each of them corresponds to one mile per hour. The sailor who has 5 knots for 30 seconds and know that the ship queue at 5 mph. Latitude (that is to say the position between the poles and the equator) is calculated using the height of the Sun above the horizon at noon. However, the longitude (east-west position) is unknowable, because at the time, accurate watch.

First damage: the rudder of the Pinta stands!

         Monday, August 6, the first serious damage: the rudder of the Pinta stands. Fortunately, the weather is nice, which can repair immediately. It breaks again the next day. However, the three ships managed to reach the Canary. The Pinta
goes to Gran Canaria to repair. We took the opportunity to change the rigging sails Niña for another rectangular sails faster. Both Pinzón brothers offer to Columbus to stop in the Gomera, governed by their cousins ​​Gomeros, where they are received by August 11 Doña Beatriz de Bobadilla (or Bouabdallah Island). The three ships are laden with fruit and live animals. Some volunteers in the family Gomeros join the expedition.          September 6, that the squadron of Admiral Columbus makes the real start to the unknown. Heading west along the 28th parallel. On the deck of the Santa Maria, an individual pronounced strabismus begins the famous hymn marine: "America, America, I want to have, I'll ..." On 12 October, after two mutinies and five weeks of sailing, Columbus and his men discover the Bahamas.

Isabella the Catholic hunting Tarik Ibn Ziyad’s* Berber soldiers of Granada.

         Without the Berbers, Columbus would never have discovered America. This is a part of the history of Great discoveries completely obscured textbooks. We all learned in school that the great navigator Christopher Columbus officially discovered America in the year of grace 1492. The same year Isabella of Castile chuck off Iberia last Saracens of Granada. But what is less known is that the Moors of Spain does not have all rallied in North Africa.
Many of them, mostly descendants of the Berber army soldiers of Tarik Ibn Ziyad (who gave his name to the rocky outcrop of Gibraltar, Djebel Tarik in Arabic) and who had conquered Andalusia eight centuries earlier, remained and gradually incorporated into the new Christian Spain.

Christopher Columbus did not "discovered" America as a Malian did in 1312!

         Abubakari II* grand-son of the mighty Mandingo emperor Sundiata*, he becomes Mansa of Mali in 1300 and abandoned his throne to Kankou Moussa* in 1312 to undertake the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Before starting his adventure, he learned navigation from Arab admirals and gets a large fleet called "Farafina (Black Africa)." His project raised an outcry at the imperial court. He sent an exploratory expedition called "Badenya" which disappears without leaving traces.
         Despite this, he decided to embark from the coast of Gambia today with hundreds of craft flying Mandingo pavilion along which there are more than 20,000 sailors and captains from all over the empire of Mali. In the middle of the ocean, a bloody mutiny led by Queen Mpho and griot court erupted on board of the vessels. After mate and after mile adventures, he decided to continue the journey. Seriously wounded, he died just before his expedition reaches the shores of the country he had given orders to call "Beriberi" (now Brazil) in 1312. Mandingo baptize their place of landing "Bure-Bambuko (now Pernambuco)" to honor two Mandingo cities that had financed the expedition.
         In 1492, nearly two hundred later, the Italian sailor Christopher Columbus seeking his way to India "discovered" by chance America. Abubakari II, forgotten was rehabilitated at the conference held in Praia (Cape Verde) in May 1992 by UNESCO as part of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the meeting of two worlds. Malian playwright Gaoussou Diawara dedicated a play performed at the Festival Francophone Métis, held in Paris from 25 September 1992 to 16 January 1993 *.
-------------------------------------------------- -----------------
* Kanyarwunga I. N. Jean, Biographical Dictionary of Africans. To understand the evolution and history of Africa, Nouvelles Editions Numériques Africaines (NENA), Edition 2013.

samedi 22 juin 2013

USA-Democratic Republic of Congo : Advocacy groups urge new U.S. envoy to push Congo governance.

More than a dozen advocacy groups urged the first U.S. special representative to Africa's war-torn Great Lakes region on Wednesday to push for democracy and good governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

         The United States named Russ Feingold on Tuesday in an effort to promote peace in a region long afflicted by violence, not least in eastern Congo, where mineral wealth and ethnic strife have drawn in neighboring states.
         "We are convinced that this is a critical moment of opportunity for U.S. policy towards the Great Lakes region," said an open letter from groups including the Enough Project, the International Crisis Group and the Rift Valley Institute.

         As a former U.S. senator, Feingold headed the sub-committee on African affairs. The letter said that Congolese President Joseph Kabila's government lacked the commitment to improve governance and tackle corruption.

         "The U.S. and other donors (must) help create political space for democratic forces that can ... generate anti-corruption, reformist 'will'," it said.

         Kabila won Congo's first post-conflict elections in 2006, which followed successive devastating wars up to 2003 in which millions died. He was re-elected in 2011 but the polls were criticized by foreign observers for poor planning and widespread fraud.

         Regional leaders signed a U.N.-mediated accord in February intended to end two decades of conflict in eastern Congo and pave the way for the creation of a U.N. intervention force to combat armed groups, which is currently deploying.

         However, there has been little progress in talks between Congo's government and the M23 rebel group to end a year-old insurgency in the east, rich in copper, cobalt, rubber, timber, gold, diamonds and uranium. Neighboring Rwanda and Uganda - which have repeatedly backed rebel groups in Congo - deny accusations made by U.N. experts that they have supported the latest uprising.
         The United Nations has estimated that the conflict has driven more than 3 million Congolese from their homes.

*Reporting  June 19, 2013 by Jonny Hogg in Kinshasa and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Kevin Liffey.

jeudi 13 juin 2013

TANZANIA/RWANDA : « FDLR » Kikwete should retire in dignity, wish us well*.

Recent remarks President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that Rwanda should negotiate with the genocide-linked rebels FDLR, who are also listed by the US as a terrorist group, was shocking.
         FDLR comprises of Interahamwe militias and remnants of former government forces, ex-FAR, who committed the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and moderate Hutus. The group, now based in eastern DR Congo, has over the years organised attacks on Rwandan territory killing innocent civilians.
         In 2012, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for FDLR top commander Sylvestre Mudacumura on five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and mutilation, plus nine more charges of war crimes.
         In 2005, while serving as Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, on February 17 of the same year, Kikwete visited Rwanda and went to Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre, where over 250,000 remains of genocide victims have been laid to rest.
         In his own handwriting, Kikwete, wrote in the memorial book the following words, “It is horrifying, saddening and pitiful too. Let this be a reminder once again for such abominable things not to happen again. Let us say never again, and make sure it really doesn’t happen again.”
After eight years, has President Kikwete forgotten that FDLR has only one agenda, that is to carry on with the genocide against the Tutsi?
         As defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, the act of genocide is not an ordinary crime and therefore, perpetrators like FDLR, should not be dealt with in any ordinary form, manner or circumstance.
         Raphael Lemkin, in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe-1944, came up with the word “genocide” to explain the unimaginable extent and motive behind the killings that happened in Nazi-occupied territories.
         FDLR committed similar crimes in Rwanda and therefore, negotiating with such people as suggested by President Kikwete is a mockery to the genocide victims and survivors.
         Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Bernard Membe made matters worse by equating FDLR to the independence and ruling party African National Congress of South Africa and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation which is fighting for an independent state of Palestine.
         FDLR is nothing more than a genocidal militia seeking power to sanitise itself and re-establish a Hutu supremacist system in Rwanda. Its comparison to the ANC is poor analytical thinking or a deliberate political agenda.
         It is difficult to believe that the newly created intervention Brigade in eastern DR Congo meant to deal with armed groups including FDLR and being commanded by a Tanzanian Brig Gen James Mwakibolwa will not be influenced in its operation by President Kikwete’s position as an advocate of genocide perpetrators who killed over a million Rwandans.
         President Kikwete is approaching retirement and will leave the presidency, but Rwanda and Tanzania will forever share boundaries and the two countries should continue to enjoy cordial relations with mutual respect for all its citizens for the prosperity of the Great Lakes Region.

*Gad Ntambara
Published by 
The EasternAfrica on 7 June 2013.