Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion on 2019-04-05 17:56Z by Steven

Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

BBC News
2019-04-04

Audience members watch Mr Michel speak in parliament
Many mixed-race people were in parliament to watch Mr Michel apologise

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during colonial rule in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.

The “métis” children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions.

About 20,000 children are believed to have been affected.

Most fathers refused to acknowledge the paternity of their children.

The children were born in the 1940s and 1950s and taken to Belgium from 1959 until the independence of each of the three colonies.

Some of the children never received Belgian nationality and remained stateless.

Speaking in the Belgian parliament, Mr Michel said the country had breached the children’s basic human rights, seeing them as a threat to the colonial system.

It had, he said, stripped them of their identity, stigmatised them and split up siblings…

Read the entire article here.

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Small Country

Posted in Africa, Books, Media Archive, New Media, Novels on 2018-06-07 20:05Z by Steven

Small Country

Hogarth (an imprint of Penguin Random House UK)
2018-06-07
92 Pages
144mm x 222mm x 21mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781784741594
eBook ISBN: 9781473547957

Gaël Faye, Sarah Ardizzone (Translator)

Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.

A haunting and luminous novel of extraordinary power, Small Country describes a devastating end of innocence as seen through the eyes of a young child caught in the maelstrom of history. It is a stirring tribute not only to a time of tragedy, but also to the bright days that came before it.

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A French-Rwandan Rap Star Turned Novelist From Burundi

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2018-05-30 02:31Z by Steven

A French-Rwandan Rap Star Turned Novelist From Burundi

The New York Times
2018-05-29

Tobias Grey


Small Country,” by Gaël Faye, is about a boy, living in Burundi during the war between the Hutus and Tutsis, who loses his innocence in spite of desperately wanting to cling onto it.
Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

PARIS — “It felt like an injustice to me,” said the rapper and novelist Gaël Faye, about having to leave civil-war-torn Burundi in 1995 to come live in France. Mr. Faye, who was 13 at the time, had to contend with the shock of a new culture and moving with his younger sister into the cramped space of his mother’s apartment in Versailles.

Months went by without unpacking his suitcases. “When I went to school I used to take what I needed and put it back afterward,” the 36-year-old author said in a recent interview in Paris. “I’d convinced myself that any day my father would ring up and tell us that the war had ended and we could come back. But the war ended up lasting until 2005 by which time I was an adult.”

In his first novel, “Small Country” — a huge hit in France when it was published in 2016 and where it sold 700,000 copies — Mr. Faye wrote with a rare and subtle yearning about his youthful escapades in and around Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. It has now been translated from French into English by Sarah Ardizzone and is being released by Hogarth on June 5.

“Small Country,” which in its original language shares the title of one of Mr. Faye’s most popular songs, “Petit Pays,” is told from the perspective of Gabriel, a 10-year-old boy with a French father and a Rwandan mother (the same mixed-race parentage as Mr. Faye). He is part of a gang of young boys sneaking beers in cabaret bars and stealing mangoes from local gardens to sell on the black market…

Read the entire article here.

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Auschwitz to Rwanda: The link between science, colonialism and genocide

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2017-02-01 22:16Z by Steven

Auschwitz to Rwanda: The link between science, colonialism and genocide

Mail & Guardian Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
2017-02-01

Heike Becker


Sixty years later, the recurrent connections of science and genocide still demonstrate the dark underbelly of Western modernity in Africa, Europe, and the world. (Reuters/Finbarr O’Reilly)

Significant links connect racial science in colonial southern Africa with the holocaust of the European Jews.

When the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp on January 27 1945, among the prisoners left behind were a number of young twins. The surviving children and many more who had died were the subject of disturbing human experiments by Josef Mengele, a physician known as the “Angel of Death”.

About 3 000 twins were selected from an estimated 1.3-million people who arrived at Auschwitz for Mengele’s deadly “scientific” experiments. Only about 200 of them survived.

Mengele is significant for understanding the complicity of science with the mass atrocities of the 20th century. The elegant young doctor defied the stereotypical image of the Nazi brute. He was no crazy drunken beast with a whip. This was an ambitious researcher of human genetics, holding doctorates in anthropology and medicine.

Mengele worked in Auschwitz from May 1943. The death camp presented him with a “perfect” laboratory. It provided an unlimited supply of human specimens to study genetics, and he wouldn’t get into trouble if they died following lethal injections and other gruesome experiments.

Nazis and colonial ‘racial science’

The institute’s first director in 1927 was the well-known physical anthropologist Eugen Fischer. Fischer was a prolific researcher who had earned his scientific merits in genetics and racial science in the then German colony of German South West Africa (today’s Namibia).

His 1908 field study, published in 1913, focused on the effects of racial mixing (“miscegenation”), applying the genetic theory of Gregor Mendel. Fischer examined 310 children of the “Basters” of Rehoboth, a community of “mixed-race” people living to the South of Windhoek in Namibia.

The Rehobother offspring of Nama women and white men were observed and subjected to physical measurements. Based on these “scientific” methods, Fischer classified the mixed-race population.

His verdict that African blood imparted impurity resulted in the prohibition of mixed-race marriages in all German colonies by 1912. In Namibia interracial marriage was already prohibited in 1905.

German colonialism ended after World War I. This, however, was not the end of racial science. Incubated in the colonial laboratories of southern Africa, it was brought back and applied in “civilised” central Europe. Fischer first followed up his “bastard studies” in the 1920s and early 1930s with the “Rhineland bastards”, children born to German mothers and fathers from the French African colonies. Few black Germans perished during the Nazi era. But, many were forcibly sterilised.

The story of the KWI-A demonstrates how several significant dimensions connect 20th century racial science, colonialism and genocide…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland Is Helping To Bring Dance Lessons To Rwandan Kids

Posted in Africa, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-11-28 15:27Z by Steven

Misty Copeland Is Helping To Bring Dance Lessons To Rwandan Kids

The Huffington Post
2015-11-25

Rahel Gebreyes, Editor, HuffPost Live

The dancer just returned from Kigali, Rwanda, where shared her love of dance with children in the city.

Ballerina Misty Copeland has made a name for herself breaking barriers for black dancers in the United States, and she’s taking her passion abroad to do the same in Rwanda.

This month, Copeland teamed up with MindLeaps, a nonprofit organization that brings dance instruction, vocational training and academics to the children of developing countries. Copeland traveled to Rwanda to launch the MindLeaps Girls Program and documented her journey via YouTube and Instagram.

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Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Censuses

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Census/Demographics, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-01-22 02:00Z by Steven

Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Censuses

Cambridge University Press
January 2002
224 pages
Dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9780521004275
Hardback ISBN: 9780521808231
eBook ISBN: 9780511029325
DOI: 10.2277/0521004276

Edited by:

David I. Kertzer, Dupee University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology & Italian Studies
Brown University

Dominique Arel, Professor of Political Science
University of Ottawa

This study examines the ways that states have attempted to pigeon-hole the people within their boundaries into racial, ethnic, and language categories. These attempts, whether through American efforts to divide the U.S. population into mutually exclusive racial categories, or through the Soviet system of inscribing nationality categories on internal passports, have important implications not only for people’s own identities and life chances, but for national political and social processes as well. The book reviews the history of these categorizing efforts by the state, offers a theoretical context for examining them, and illustrates the case with studies from a range of countries.

Features

  • The first in a new series that specifically addresses the needs of the student
  • Focuses on the charged topic of efforts to categorize individuals into racial and ethnic categories in the national census
  • Highly integrated volume with extensive introductory chapter that helps define a new field

Table of Contents

  1. Censuses, identity formation, and the struggle for political power David I. Kertzer and Dominique Arel
  2. Racial categorization in censuses Melissa Nobles
  3. Ethnic categorization in censuses: comparative observations from Israel, Canada, and the United States Calvin Goldscheider
  4. Language categories in censuses: backward- or forward-looking? Dominique Arel
  5. The debate on resisting identity categorization in France Alain Blum
  6. On counting, categorizing, and violence in Burundi and Rwanda Peter Uvin
  7. Identity counts: the Soviet legacy and the census in Uzbekistan David Abramson.
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