Archive for the 'Freedom' Category

Togo votes, hopes and gets teargassed

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Surprise! The Gnassingbes did it again! 40 years in power and counting! The CENI published the “election” results and Faure Gnassingbe, son of  Togos late dictator apparently won by a landslide. To celebrate this victory he had a couple hundred protesters in Lomé teargassed. The military is in the streets of Lomé, making sure no  […]

Togo votes – and hopes

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Today is election day in Togo. The borders are closed, the military patrols the streets and 6000 polling stations are open across the west African nation. Fraud and violence marred the last election in 2005, so several hundred international observers have been deployed across the country. The hope is that this presence of observers can […]

Togo elections: a new generation emerges

Monday, March 1st, 2010

On March 4, voters in Togo for the first time ever will have a choice between two young-ish leaders, as a new generation of politicians is slowly emerging from the shadows of the aging post-colonial crop of politicians. At least they are supposed to be able to choose. Considering that the election committee that oversees […]

The Corporate States of America

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

On January 21, the Supreme Court of the United States produced a ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that removes any regulation of what corporations can say, and when they can “say” it to influence elections in the United States. Corporations are now free to pump as much cash into the political process […]


Thursday, December 31st, 2009

… took a lot of energy. This was not a bad year for me, but it did wear me out a bit. The first half was dominated by our trip to Togo and Ghana. It took a lot of preparation to get ready. The trip itself was great, but quite exhausting. Work turned a bit […]

More arrests after Togo coup attempt

Friday, May 1st, 2009

While we were in Togo two weeks ago, apparently Kpatcha Gnassingbé, a half brother of the president tried to overthrow the current regime and was arrested a few days after the attempted coup. Today, the official Togolese government news website announced more arrests in relation to this attempted coup. On Easter Sunday, April 12, troops […]

Côte d’Ivoire getting back on track

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

After five years of civil war (2002 – 07) and a year of relative peace, it appears that Côte d’Ivoire is getting back on track to stability, democracy and eventually, relative prosperity. In the 80’s, the West African nation was still one of the continent’s successes. In those days, many of my Togolese friends dreamed […]

Ghana elects a new president

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

A close presidential election in Ghana has put the West African nation’s electoral system to the test, but in the end the opposition candidate John Atta Mills, 64, won by a very narrow margin. There were allegations of fraud on several sides, and the runoff election in the Tain region had to be re-done due […]

Remembering Miriam Makeba

Monday, November 10th, 2008

One of Africa’s great voices was lost last night. Miriam Makeba died in Italy, shortly after a concert. Makeba gave a powerful voice to her people during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The South African government revoked her citizenship in 1963, but in the following years she was given honorary citizenship by 10 […]

Democracy in the U.S. in Danger?

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Oh boy – there’s nothing like catching up on the news after a few days at the beach. As the credit crisis is in the process of turning the global economy into a lump of coal, the divisive language of the election here is stoking emotions in each political camp. This is a dangerous brew, […]

US Army assigns unit to a mission in … the US

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

There are a variety of conspiracy theories circulating about how the Bushistas will try to create a situation to declare martial law and suspend the Nov. 4 election, if it looks like Obama is going to win it. I am skeptical about these theories, but this story did give me pause: The US Army has […]

More freedom to travel in Europe

Friday, December 21st, 2007

As of last night, nine new members of Europes Schengen zone expanded the freedom to travel without hassle at the borders hundreds of miles toward the East and to a total population of over 400 million Europeans. This makes it possible to travel freely up to the border of the countries that were formerly the […]

One year of peace in N. Uganda

Monday, August 27th, 2007

On Aug. 26 last year, the LRA and the Ugandan government signed a truce, putting an end to 20 years of war and brutality in Northern Uganda. A friend of mine just returned from Gulu recently and he told me last week about how much that town has changed. Four new Hotels are under construction, […]


Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Rassismus in Deutschland? Das gibt’s doch gar nich … Wir wissen um die Vorfälle in Mügeln augenblicklich noch zu wenig, um solche weitreichenden Schlussfolgerungen zu ziehen. Das war die Reaktion Sachsen’s Ministerpräsident Georg Milbradt auf die Frage ob er einen “ausländerfeindlichen oder gar rechtsradikalen Hintergrund” sehe wenn ein Mob von 50 Bleichgesichtern 8 Inder verprügelt […]


Monday, August 13th, 2007

Forty six years ago today, the East German Stalinist regime began fortifying the border across Germany. They built one of the most infamous borders ever: the Berlin Wall. During the 28 years that followed, an estimated 260 people were killed in attempts to cross into West Germany. The Stalinists always denied that the regime gave […]

preoccupied …

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

There is so much interesting and important stuff going on: A new film documents the ongoing genocide perpetrated on the Acholi people in Uganda (HT to Vicky), perpetuated by, among other things, US military aid (war-on-terror-dollars) The US Congress is debating about subsidies for a road fuel that releases twice as much pollution as gasoline: […]

Book-burners in the public schools

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Yesterday, like every day, my daughter on the way home from afterschool told me about her day at school. She was upset because one of her teachers had told her to throw away one of her favorite books, “The Marvelous Land of Oz” because it contains “witchcraft and superstition.” Julia said she felt humiliated and […]

Anti-fascist symbols legal in Germany

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

The German Constitutional Court ruled (de) that symbols that use the Nazi schwastika as part of a clear, unambigous ANTI-Nazi message is legal in Germany. WOW. I was a bit worried about this. It would have been quite ironic if people who clearly express an Anti-Nazi sentiment had been criminally prosecuted for wearing the illegal […]

Happy Birthday, Ghana!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

In 1947, Ghana was the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to shake the yoke of colonialism and take its destiny in it’s own hands. It joined a group of only seven other, independent African nations: Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, the Sudan, Tunisia, and Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic). In 50 years of […]

US CIS – your government at work

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Since I received my greencard ten years ago, I had very little interaction with the US immigration services – basically I showed my greencard to the friendly officers at the airport once in a while. So when my greencard was about to expire, I requested a new one. I payed the $270 (!) fee and […]