Sisters of the Yam

Although most of the issues brought to light here pertain to Africa(ns), this is a blog about culture and world issues.
Hopefully you see some interesting stuff and learn a thing or two.

Tornadoisland is my personal blog. It's not too serious

From a fandom and wondering what this politics blog is doing following you?
This is the reason why
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I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don’t know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That’s what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say ‘people,’ that’s what I mean.

Toni Morrison (via writingquotes)

I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to write for people of color to write from our own gazes. Reading Toni Morrison and Alice Walker has made it so much easier to deal with coded language when my work was being critiqued by White peers, especially White men. I don’t want to be a writer, but if I do become a professor I’m going to post this quote all over my office and make my students learn it. 

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You see that line at the end tho right? Tell them about themselves

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 Nomades du Soleil de Henry Brandt

Nomades du Soleil de Henry Brandt

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When people fight you to shut you up about a topic like race—and sexism, it means that you have stumbled upon the cultural silence that must be patrolled in order to maintain hegemony.
Junot Díaz (via ethiopienne)

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One of the most troubling things about the AIDS epidemic is that it could have been stopped so easily by rolling out life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) early on. Not only do ARVs prevent HIV from developing into AIDS, they also reduce transmission rates and increase people’s willingness to get tested.

But Western pharmaceutical corporations have colluded in pricing these essential drugs way out of reach of the poor. When they were first introduced, patented ARVs cost up to $15,000 per yearly regimen. Generic producers were able to manufacture the same drugs for a mere fraction of the price, but the WTO outlawed this through the 1995 TRIPS agreement to protect Big Pharma’s monopoly.

It was not until 2003 that the WTO bowed to activist pressure and allowed southern Africa to import generics, but by then it was too late – HIV prevalence had already reached devastating proportions. In other words, much of the region’s AIDS burden can be directly attributed to the WTO’s rules and the corporations that defended them. And they are set to strike again: the WTO will cut patent exemptions for poor countries after 2016.

This dearth of basic drugs has gone hand in hand with the general collapse of public health institutions. Structural adjustment and WTO trade policies have forced states to cut spending on hospitals and staff in order to repay odious debts to the West. Swaziland, ground-zero in the world of AIDS, has been hit hard by these cuts. When I last visited I found that many once-bustling clinics are now empty and dilapidated. Neoliberalism has systematically destroyed the first line of defence against AIDS.

The point I want to drive home is that the policies that deny poor people access to life-saving drugs and destroy public healthcare come from the same institutions and interests that helped create the conditions for HIV transmission in the first place.


Sacred Native American Masks Auctioned Despite Plea From Tribe

After the Hopi tribe lost its case last week to block the sale, the U.S. Embassy requested a delay to allow the Hopi and San Carlos Apache tribes time to investigate if they have a claim to the objects based on the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which both France and the U.S. signed.

(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)


Warm circle of fraternity grew when these Tuareg goatherds welcomed the author to their shelter at Hassi Izernene. By custom they remained masked, drinking their tea by sloping the glass beneath their veil.

National Geographic - August, 1973

(via black-culture)


Al Jazeera, “Asylum seekers fear worse to come in Israel”

As the Israeli government rapidly moves forward with a legislative amendment that would create “open detention centres” to hold thousands of African asylum seekers, human rights groups say the changes mark a new low in Israel’s treatment of African migrants.

The proposed government amendment to Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law would shorten the mandatory prison terms for asylum seekers who have illegally entered Israel from three years to one year.

But the asylum seekers would then be forcibly transferred to so-called “open detention centres” that are locked down at night. They will be held there indefinitely, without charge or trial, until they can be repatriated to their home countries.

The Israeli cabinet approved the amendment on Sunday, before passing it onto discussions in a ministerial committee. It is expected to be brought before parliament members next week, before officially becoming law.

"The government officials are saying this is a more humanitarian response," said Sara Robinson, a refugee campaigner at Amnesty International Israel. "But if you see these centres… [it’s] a place that has bars, that’s fenced in, in the middle of the desert. These open centres are just another version of detention centres."

The first amendment to Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law was passed in January 2012, and allowed for the detention of African asylum seekers and their children for three years without charge or trial if they entered Israel illegally. The law itself originally dates back to 1954 as a way to stop Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes.

Under the 2012 amendment, asylum seekers coming from what Israel considers “enemy states” could be imprisoned indefinitely, and anyone that entered Israel illegally was immediately branded an “infiltrator”.

The government’s latest proposal comes after the Israeli High Court ruled on September 16 that holding asylum seekers in prison for three years or longer infringed on their right to liberty, and violated Israel’s basic law. The High Court gave the state 90 days to examine each imprisoned asylum seeker’s case, and release those that shouldn’t be detained.

Since then, some 330 African asylum seekers have been released from detention, Robinson said. “The refugee convention says these people should not be criminalised. The infiltration law does exactly that,” she said.


While it signed onto the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, Israel has never formulated a clear policy to determine refugee status, and doesn’t officially process refugee claims. Since its creation in 1948, Israel has recognised fewer than 200 asylum seekers as refugees.

Today, estimates put the number of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel at just over 54,000, with the majority coming from Sudan and Eritrea. Because their refugee status is never formally assessed, most refugees in Israel hold a “conditional release” visa, which must be renewed every three months and does not allow them to work.

African asylum seekers in Israel are denied access to healthcare, employment and social services, and are often forced into low-income jobs where exploitation is widespread.

In recent years, neighbourhoods in Israel with high concentrations of asylum seekers, such as South Tel Aviv, have been the site of anti-African rallies and violent attacks on asylum seekers and their businesses.  

"There is no-one that can claim that he or she is safe in Israel. Everyone is now on the bridge. Everybody is afraid here. We are not secure," Haile Mengistaab, the head of the Eritrean Community Committee in Israel, told Al Jazeera.

Mengistaab escaped dictatorship in his native Eritrea before arriving to Israel in 2010. After being held in Shaharonim detention centre for 23 days, he was released in Tel Aviv. He said while many refugees are concerned about being imprisoned under Israel’s changing laws, most are more focused on the challenges of daily life.

"Life is not simple in Israel. Life is not easy. I always [think] about how I can survive, how I can run my life on a day-to-day basis," Mengistaab said.

Preserving ‘the Jewish state’

The Israeli government has openly declared the purpose of its policy on African asylum seekers: to deter the arrival of refugees at its borders, and deport the ones that already live in the country.

"I have the responsibility… to safeguard the Jewish and Zionist character of the country," former Interior Minister Eli Yishai said last year, after calling African migrants an “existential threat” to Israel.

(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)





 Australia’s history of racism towards Aboriginals is absolutely disgusting. 

Until the mid-60s, indigenous Australians came under the Flora And Fauna Act, which classified them as animals, not human beings. This also meant that killing an indigenous Australian meant you weren’t killing a human being, but an animal.

To this day, Australia breaks every code of the Geneva Convention when it comes to indigenous Australians and their human rights. The “public housing” that the government has given them are one-bedroom shacks with no running water, no electricity and no gas, that entire families are forced to live in. These shacks are in communities in the outback, as far away from “civilised” society as possible. Out of sight, out of mind.

Indigenous Australians that live in the city are commonly forced to live in very dangerous and derelict areas that the government gives very little funding towards. Redfern in Sydney is a highly indigenous Australian populated suburb that is rife with crime, unemployment and horrendous living conditions. The government does next to nothing to help these people, either.

Whenever riots have broken out as a result of incredibly low morale, the police and the government are very quick to point all the blame at the indigenous Australians and say that they are the cause of their own problems, rather than looking at what the actual cause is.

Unemployment rates amongst indigenous Australians is astronomical. Crime rates are astronomical. Suicide rates are extremely high within the indigenous Australian community. Death from inadequate living conditions and inadequate health care is common. Brutality towards indigenous Australians is common.

The way many indigenous Australians are forced to live is equivalent to that of what one would expect from a third-world country. Indigenous Australians are considered by the UN to be one of the most horrendously marginalised groups in the world.

And how does the government amend all of this? With a national “Sorry Day”, where white people plant a hand in some designated area of soil as a token of their white guilt, and then continue going about their white privileged day.

On top of that, white people here commonly bitch and complain about how “good” indigenous Australians have it and how “thankful” they ought to be to the white man for improving their quality of life. Meanwhile, indigenous Australians have lost almost all sense of identity and culture because of white colonisation.

What is left of Aboriginal identity and culture has been nearly completely destroyed. And most people in this disgustingly privileged country do not give a single god damn fuck.

Australia is a disgusting country when it comes to racism. I am disgusted by my own country.

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Feb. 27, 1990:

South African president Nelson Mandela and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat greet each other at Lusaka International Airport in Lusaka, South Africa.

Arafat’s widow, Suha, says tests show her late husband was poisoned to death with radioactive polonium.

(Photo: Reuters)

This is precious

Its a bit sad that no one states that Lusaka is not in South Africa but it is in Zambia which is in Southern Africa. The worldwide ignorance of Africa shows itself in these moments.

shit, you’re right, i reblogged mostly for the picture and kinda skimmed through the caption, i should have caught that though. my apologies.

(via strugglingtobeheard)



"I used to be a preschool teacher, but I got fired."
“What happened?”
“Well, I decided that I wanted to have a socially conscious class. So we learned about apartheid in South Africa. Then we learned about homelessness. Then we made mother’s day cards for Trayvon Martin’s mom. And I think the principal decided that it was too much for three and four year olds, because she told me I wasn’t a ‘good fit.’ But honestly, I was just shining too bright for them. And now she’s going to see me on Humans of New York, and she’ll be sorry!”

I know there must be some principals based in New York who waste their time on Tumblr instead of work. Look, humansofnewyork found you your next gold star employee.

There’s a form of mental torture called “gaslighting,” its name taken from a play in which a man convinces his wife that the gas lights in their home she sees brightening and dimming are, in fact, maintaining a steady glow. His ultimate goal is to drive his her into a mental institution and take all her money, and soon the woman ends up in an argument with herself about whether she’s losing her mind. American race relations have a similar narrative: An entire set of minorities confident that the everyday slights they’re seeing are real and hurtful, and an entire set of other people assuring them that they’re wrong.
Prison relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism.

Angela Davis

Some statistics/facts concerning the prison industrial complex:

  • More than two million people out of a world total of nine million now inhabit U.S. prisons, jails, youth facilities, and immigrant detention centers. In the late 1960s there were close to 200,000 people in prison in the United States. 
  • The U.S. population in general is less than 5% of the world’s total, whereas more than 20% of the world’s combined prison population can be claimed by the United States. Short of major wars, mass incarceration has been the most thoroughly implemented government social program of our time. 
  • In 2002, there were 157,979 people incarcerated in the state of California alone, including approximately 20,000 people whom the state holds for immigration violations. 
  • In 1990, a study of U.S. prison populations was published which concluded that 1 in 4 black men between the ages of 21-29 were in prison and jail and on parole or probation. Five years later, a second study revealed that this percentage had soared to almost 1 in 3. More than 1 in 10 Latino men of the same age were in jail or prison, or on probation or parole. The second study also revealed that the group experiencing the greatest increase was black women, whose imprisonment increased by 78%. 

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#EverybodyWantsToBeBlack #ButNobodyWantsToBeBlack

Okanomodé Soulchilde

(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)


Close to 100 fighters from eight rebel brigades gathered in a field in the outskirts of Hama province, Syria, on Monday, October 28, 2013 promising to open routes for humanitarian aid in the province. The rebels announced they were uniting to form a new force called “Liwaa Mujahideen Hama” or “Brigade of Fighters in Hama.” At the meeting, LMH officials said the coalition would be able to organize safe passage for aid workers throughout Idlib. Fighters compared weapons and socialized.

© Daniel C. Britt/Corbis