Monthly Archives: June 2014

Can Africa sustain a truly democratic culture?

Democracy has loosely been defined as the government of the people, by the people, for the people. This definition has stood the test of time, be it in Asia, Latin America, Europe or Africa. Therefore, the demand for political participation and the involvement of the people in the choice of their leaders and in the…

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Nigeria. Boko Haram should go back to school

Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, believes it sufficient to declare himself a Muslim to know the religion and the law, while it is clear that he should go back to school as quickly as possible. Risen to headline notoriety for the kidnapping and abduction of 223 Christian girls from a college and then forcing them…

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Comboni Missionaries and Advocacy

Along the years and in a variety of ways Comboni Missionaries have often been engaged in appropriate activities at the service of justice for the oppressed or relief for the suffering at the local level.  Today the forces that determine the well-being of local populations or determine their future are often global in nature or…

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Bolivia & Argentina – Dynamic drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is a challenge for Bolivia and Argentina too. Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca leaf, (behind Peru and Colombia), forcing traffickers to move there. According to recent estimates, about 30,000 hectares of Bolivian land are devoted to coca cultivation, while Bolivia’s legal coca crop limit is 12,000 hectares (for traditional use).…

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Peru – Coca cultivation on the rise

Just like the Colombian FARC, what remains of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) rebel group in Peru, has played a leading role in the production and trafficking of cocaine with excellent returns, since the Andean country, over the last years has increased coca cultivation and Peru has become the world’s main grower of coca leaves…

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Colombia: Drug cartel ‘miniaturization’

Colombia was home to legendary drug traffickers in the 90s, and despite the demise of several drug cartels in the 2000s, the area cultivated with coca in the country has not decreased, and considerable incomes have been earned from Colombian cocaine traffic over the past 20 years. This index, according to some analysts, reveals the…

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Latin America – Drug trafficking: the mafia octopus

Drug trafficking can have a severe impact on a country’s economy and politics. It can affect the backbone of society creating a vicious circle where the illegal economy ends up by becoming indispensable to the national economy. Cocaine trafficking revenues amount to about 500 billion dollars per year and criminal economy, as a whole, accounts…

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Myanmar – Tattoo not taboo

From ancient time to nowadays, tattoo has became part of Burma’s culture. Between art and mysticism. An old Burmese saying goes: “Getting married, building a pagoda and getting a tattoo are the three things that once undertaken can only be altered afterwards with great difficulty”. Despite the advice, tattooing has become fashionable again among today’s…

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Music – Vusi Mahlasela

Vusi Mahlasela can truly be considered a perfect son of the South Africa Nelson Mandela believed in, the ‘Rainbow Nation’. In other words, those of the renowned writer and 1991 Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, ‘his tender and strong voice was ours, South Africa’s. He sings our changes, our achievements as a free people, and our…

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Guinea-Bissau – The sacrifice of the rooster

The Manjak people are an ethnic group living in Guinea-Bissau. They number about 100,000 and are scattered throughout both the continental and insular region. They are mainly rice cultivators. Keeping cultural traditions alive is important among this group. The ritual and traditions related to marriage are among the most interesting ones. During the kakaw, when…

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Book review – Horn of Africa

Broaden the discussion in order to make the topic simpler: paradoxical as it may seem, that is exactly what Kidane Mengisteab does – quite successfully – in his book The Horn of Africa, which aims to deal with two crucial challenges. In the author’s own words, ‘one is to provide a comprehensive and yet concise…

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Rely on one own strength first.

We are in Pikine, a Dakar suburb, Senegal. Father Armel Duteil, is the one telling the story. He is an 80-year-old Spiritan missionary. French by…

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The Water-Buffalo and the Tiger.

Once there lived a hard-working farmer in a small village who had a water-buffalo. Every day, with his plough on his shoulder, he led his water-buffalo…

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Youth & Mission

Nine Challenges Facing Young People in Syria.

For over nine years, violence and displacement have devastated opportunities for youth across the country. Here are nine of the most pressing challenges facing young people…

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