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Old 04-06-2006, 09:30 PM   #1
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But This is People's Lives

After all the debate and all the fingerpointing, we have to remember that we are talking about people's lives.

One of the most truthful and moving articles that I have ever read - about this or any other issue.

I hope that you'll find it an article to ponder too.



http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L05555583.htm



Foreign donors turning backs on Darfur - UNICEF
05 Apr 2006 15:25:06 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Jeremy Lovell



LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - International donors are turning their backs on Sudan's crisis-torn Darfur region, putting at even greater risk the lives of people who are already victims of conflict and banditry, UNICEF said on Wednesday.


Dan Toole, head of emergency programmes for the United Nations' children's fund, said large parts of the vast region were off limits to aid workers as government forces and local militias battled each other as peace talks faltered.


"Donors are just not coming up with the money. I can understand that they are fed up. But this is people's lives. I told the American government, the British government and others decreases in funding equals increased mortality," Toole said.


"The peace process isn't moving forward, security is deteriorating -- we have no access to the area of the border with Chad, there are parts of south Darfur you can't even travel anymore -- and donors have not kicked in adequate funds."


Toole said the U.N. operation in Darfur had received less than a third of the funds it needed to operate in the area the size of France where tens of thousand of people have been killed and 2 million forced to flee during three years of fighting.


Toole urged the international community, which took a long time to react to the emerging humanitarian crisis, to ramp up the pressure on all sides.


"What has to happen is a political settlement. The international community needs to put additional pressure on to get that settlement," he said.


"Humanitarian action can never substitute for a solution to a political crisis. We will always have the fallout, but we can't solve the political problem.


African heads of state will push the warring parties to clinch a peace agreement at a meeting on Saturday in the Nigerian capital Abuja.


Jan Egeland, the United Nations' humanitarian affairs chief, was this week forced to abandon a bid to visit Darfur when the government in Khartoum refused him permission.


He complained he was barred because the government did not want him to see quite how bad matters had become.


Toole said that in neighbouring Chad, where thousands of Darfurian refugees have fled to camps to escape the fighting, UNICEF had run out of donor money and been forced to dig into its own reserves.


"That is basically because I don't see it getting better in Darfur and I can't afford not to have a presence with staff, with radios, with vehicles ready on the Chadian side," he said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


FYI:

Jan Egelland has just been granted permission to visit Sudan by the Sudanese government.


PLEASE DON'T FORGET THE PEOPLE OF DARFUR!
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:34 PM   #2
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What is the humanitarian crisis in Darfur?

Attacks by government troops and Arab militia have forced about 1.2 million people, mostly black villagers, from their homes in western Sudan. Many have gone to live with families in other parts of Darfur, and about 130,000 have fled across the border into Chad. As many as 50,000 have died in violent raids over the past year and reports continue of massacres, rape, torture and looting despite a nominal ceasefire.


Warning of mass starvation and epidemics, the United Nations has described the situation as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Relief workers are rushing to get desperately needed food, water and medicine to hundreds of thousands but much of the aid is not getting through.


What’s holding up the aid?


U.N. officials accuse Khartoum of restricting access for aid agencies and journalists, despite promises to the contrary. There’s also the remoteness of the area. Darfur’s population of seven million is scattered over a harsh desert area of about 200,000 square km (125,000 square miles). That’s almost as big as the island of Great Britain.


So why are the attacks happening?


The simplistic answer is that Sudanese troops are trying to put down a rebel movement, bombing towns and villages suspected of supporting insurgents. Rights groups also accuse the government of committing ethnic cleansing and backing the raiding militia. Khartoum denies this, saying the militia are merely outlaws.


Has this got anything to do with oil?

Some aid agencies think it might well be the reason the Sudanese government wanted to clear people off the land. Khartoum announced in April 2005 that its ABCO corporation had started drilling in Darfur, and it expected the oil field to be a big one.

So this has nothing to do with Sudan’s war between north and south, which seems to be coming to an end?


It's confusing, but most analysts say there is a connection. Belgian-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) argues that the government in Khartoum is using delays in the north-south peace process to pursue its agenda in Darfur, knowing the international community would be reluctant to complain too loudly for fear of jeopardising the north-south talks. It also says the refusal of the government and the southern-based Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to include anyone else in their negotiations fueled the uprising by Darfur rebel groups, who felt left out of the carve-up of power and resources.

But the conflict has local roots too?

Local divisions are also feeding the war. Ethnic differences have been exaggerated by local leaders and there is a battle over resources.


What are the ethnic groups in the area?

The displaced people are mostly black African farmers. The militia -- known as Janjaweed -- come from Arab pastoralist communities, who herd camels in northern Darfur and live on cattle herding in southern Darfur. Nomadic groups from further north have been pushed south over time as the desert has grown and droughts made water scarce. Both groups are dark-skinned and Muslim, and have intermarried for centuries. Ethnic identities used to be much more blurred, but leaders have exaggerated the differences since the late 1980s, when the militia campaigns began.

So is it a struggle between pastoralists and farmers over land?


Partly. Land used to belong to tribes, so Darfur was the place of the Fur people, an African group. There are at least 36 main tribes in the region. Some of the Arab peoples felt they were left out of the system that gave more "dars" -- or districts -- to non-Arab communities. Traditional conflicts were not usually very violent. Respected local councils used to settle disputes, but these were abolished by the Khartoum government after it came to power in a coup in 1989, leaving no peaceful mechanisms for solving conflicts.


The government of Lieutenant-General Omar Hassan al-Bashir is a hardline Islamist government that upholds sharia -- Islamic law. Human Rights groups accuse Khartoum of torture and severe repression of religious freedoms and political opposition.


Why would the government support the militia?

The war between the government and rebels in the south is often depicted as a conflict between the Arab, Muslim north and the black animist or Christian south, but it has also been significantly fuelled by divisions over control of oilfields and political power. The ICG says the removal of so many people from their homes in Darfur appears to be part of a government policy of ethnic cleansing in order to cripple any support for the rebel movements, who are hostile to Khartoum.


Who are the rebels?

The two armed movements in Darfur are the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). Their platforms are hazy, but they call for inclusion in their fair share of power, and an end to marginalisation from centralised Khartoum decision-making. This echoes the grievances of about 30 armed groups in the south and elsewhere, who all argue that too much power -- and in many cases, oil revenues -- goes to Khartoum.


Many commentators say the conflict in Darfur is being exploited in the struggle for power over Sudan's Islamist movement. Hassan al-Turabi, an Islamist who was influential in the government but split with them in late 1999, has since voiced his support for the rebels, increasing Khartoum's anger against him and the rebels. Darfur's rebel groups also appear to have made links with the SPLA in the south.


The SLA's support base comes largely, but not entirely, from the Fur, Massaleit and Zaghawa tribes. The JEM is mostly Zaghawa-based. To make things even more complicated, the Zaghawa are camel herders, not agriculturalists. And to make things even more complicated, the Zaghawa have strong ties to Chad.


So how is Chad involved?

Even this isn't straightforward. Chad's president, Idriss Déby, is a Zaghawa, and three successive presidents have launched their bids for power with ethnic militias partially based in Darfur. And there is some evidence that Chad might have helped to channel arms to Darfur. Despite all this, Chad's government has also backed Khartoum.


Why are observers so alarmed about the conflict in Darfur, apart from the obvious humanitarian crisis?

There is a real fear that the conflict could destabilise the whole country. Analysts say that when marginalised regions of Sudan see that the south appears to be have gained its autonomy through battle, they will try the same route, especially if they're left out of peace talks. Some observers say Darfur could lead to a split in the government, since some Khartoum politicians have ethnic links to the rebels. ICG says the stability of Chad's government could also be threatened. Any splintering of central government could undermine north-south peace agreements, which are still not set in stone.



http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/rel...1198858462.htm



http://www.savedarfur.org
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:32 AM   #3
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Yeah, that no one is really doing anything (aside from Nickolas Kristof) is disgraceful. Write your senators.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:43 PM   #4
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Originally posted by UberBeaver
Yeah, that no one is really doing anything (aside from Nickolas Kristof) is disgraceful. Write your senators.

Thanks so much for your response and for your support.



Here is another article about REAL PEOPLE AND REAL LIVES:



WORLD HEALTH DAY:
Chronic Deficit of Health Workers


Gustavo Capdevila

GENEVA, Apr 7 (IPS) - There is a critical shortage of health workers - doctors, nurses and lab technicians - in poor countries, which most desperately need them, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned in its annual report on global health problems.


"A shortage of human resources has replaced financial issues as the most serious obstacle to implementing national HIV treatment plans," says the report.


The WHO is so alarmed at the health workforce crisis that it went so far as to advise the countries facing the severest deficits of health service providers to disregard conditions set by the multilateral lenders.


WHO Assistant Director General Timothy Evans said "We have to ensure that hiring ceilings related to the fiscal conditionalities of the international financial institutions are not a constraint to scaling up the health work force."


The World Health Report 2006, which was released Friday, recommends the adoption of emergency national health work force plans for countries in crisis.


At least 1.3 billion people around the world have no access to basic health care, and the reason for that is often a deficit of health workers.


The figures speak for themselves. WHO reported that Africa, which accounts for 11 percent of the world population, has 25 percent of the disease burden and only three percent of all health workers.


Health workers not only include doctors, nurses, and lab technicians, but also management and support personnel such as public health professionals, finance and procurement officers, planners and hospital staff.


But the WHO definition also encompasses a woman caring for her child, sons or daughters who accompany their parents to the hospital, or traditional healers who make use of ancestral knowledge to assist and comfort.


In the stricter definition, however, the number of health workers currently totals 60 million worldwide. Two-thirds, or 40 million, of them are health service providers, while the rest are management and support staff.


Evans stressed that "health workers save lives. As the concentration or density of health workers increasesàsurvival of infants, children and mothers increases."


However, the effects of the density of health workers reveal some peculiarities. For example, a greater density of nurses tends to correlate with higher coverage for the immunisation of children, but there is no association between immunisation coverage and the density of doctors.


This fact "is not surprising but indicative that some workers are more important for some functions," noted Evans. "But the main message is that access to services is enhanced with more health workers," he stressed.


Evans highlighted the "enormous" inequalities in the distribution of the world's 60 million health workers across different regions. In Africa, there are about 2.3 health workers per 1,000 inhabitants, as compared to 24 per 1,000 in the Americas. "That's a tenfold difference in the concentration of health workers across regions," he underlined.


The distribution of health workers by level of health expenditure and burden of disease also reveals major discrepancies, as well as the troubling fact that this unequal distribution of human resources is inversely related to the need for health care.


Africa and South-East Asia, which have the highest global burdens of disease - 25 and 27 percent respectively - have the fewest health workers per capita, while the Americas, the region with the lowest burden of disease, has the highest number of health workers.


These regional inequalities are equally marked when it comes to financial considerations. The Americas have over 50 percent of all the world's financial resources for health, whereas Africa has less than one percent.


"These are the patterns of enormous inequality globally that we see today," Evans commented to IPS during the presentation of the report.


Another of the messages stressed by Evans was the existence of what he called "an emergency crisis in human resources for health."


"There are shortages in 57 countries globally that are inhibiting the provision of essential life-saving interventions," including immunisation, he explained. These 57 countries are disproportionately concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, he added.


For his part, WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook emphasised, "The global population is growing, but the number of health workers is stagnating or even falling in many of the places where they are needed most."


"Across the developing world, health workers face economic hardship, deteriorating infrastructure and social unrest," said Lee.


"In many countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has also destroyed the health and lives of health workers," he added.


In order to overcome the gap in human resources and ensure enough health workers to provide essential interventions in the 57 countries facing the most critical shortages, an additional four million health workers would be needed, said Evans.


Further exacerbating this crisis is the rising demand for health workers in many developed countries, due mainly to advances in medical technology and aging populations. This growth of health systems and the demand for health workers in wealthy nations is pulling large numbers of skilled professionals from developing countries, as part of the so-called "brain drain".


"Nearly 25 percent of doctors trained in Africa are currently working in OECD countries," said Evans, referring to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which groups together the world's wealthiest, most industrialised nations. When it comes to African-trained nurses, the figure is five percent or one in 20, he added.


"These are very significant numbers, especially when you consider that the existing shortages in Africa can hardly support that level of migration," he pointed out.


The new WHO report makes a series of recommendations, which include improving the working conditions of health workers in Africa who are dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reorienting professional training to place greater emphasis on rural regions and impoverished areas, enhancing educational training, and putting priority on programmes for tuberculosis, malaria and maternal and infant health.


To finance these programmes, the report recommends increasing per capita spending on health care in every country by 10 dollars throughout the next 20 years. The new funds that result should be devoted to the training of health workers and payment of their salaries, it adds. (END/2006)



http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32799
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Old 04-07-2006, 09:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Jamila. It's heartbreaking that this is going on and people are needlessly dying.
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:26 PM   #6
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Originally posted by verte76
Thanks for the info Jamila. It's heartbreaking that this is going on and people are needlessly dying.

Thanks so much, verte, for your very kind words of support.

I know that you also have had the best interest of Africa's poorest people foremost in your heart for years.

I come across so many articles every day from around the Continent that I never see posted in FYM.

So I have decided to keep this thread going for awhile and providing IMPORTANT ARTICLES OF INTEREST regarding the world's poorest people from around Africa because THIS IS ABOUT PEOPLE'S LIVES and not just points of discussion and debate.

I hope by doing this this thread will awaken in some people an unrepressable anger at the disparities of resources in our world and a determination to change that balance of resources to help end extreme poverty in our lifetimes.
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:28 PM   #7
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You know you would get your point across much better if you didn't come off so condescendingly, don't you, Jamilla?
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:29 PM   #8
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Here is a HOPEFUL article about how debt cancellation is helping Zambia's poorest people:

http://www.oxfam.org/en/news/pressre...r060331_zambia



Zambia uses G8 debt cancellation to make health care free for the poor



The government of Zambia today (1 April) introduced free health care for people living in rural areas, scrapping fees which for years had made health care inaccessible for millions.
The move was made possible using money from the debt cancellation and aid increases agreed at the G8 in Gleneagles last July, when Zambia received $4 billion of debt relief; money it is now investing in health and education.


65 per cent of Zambia's citizens live on less than a dollar a day. Until today the average trip to a clinic would have cost more than double that amount, the equivalent of a UK worker having to £120 (US$200) just to visit a clinic.


"This is one of the first concrete examples of how the G8 deal last year has made a real difference to peoples' lives," said Barbara Stocking, Director of Oxfam. "People often bemoan the lack of good news coming out of Africa – well here's an example of real progress. It shows what can happen when people both in the rich world and the developing world push their leaders to deliver. Those who backed the Make Poverty History campaign last year should be proud of this achievement."


User fees were introduced in Zambia under IMF and World Bank pressure in the early 1990s. Young girls in rural areas were the main victims of the policy as their families were rarely willing or able to pay for their treatment.


Now that user fees for health have been scrapped, experience from other countries shows that there will be a surge of patients accessing health clinics across the country, many of these people would not have been able to afford care previously. In Uganda most clinics saw a doubling in their patient numbers.


According to Oxfam, Zambia's next challenge will be their chronic shortage of health workers. There is currently only one doctor per 14,000 people in Zambia (compared to one doctor per 600 people in the UK) and the numbers of nurses in the country needs to be doubled. Health workers are currently paid a pittance in the public sector and have to work in appalling conditions.


"We commend the government for removing user fees in rural areas and urge them to do the same in urban areas. This is the first step towards addressing the health crisis in Zambia. More money is now urgently needed for medicines and to improve the working conditions of doctors and nurses," said Henry Malumo, National Coordinator for the Global Call to Action against Poverty in Zambia.


To ensure that the scrapping of fees results in high quality health care Oxfam is calling on donors to provide Zambia with support for the training and recruitment of health care workers, such as that Britain's Department for International Development is providing in Malawi.


The IMF also needs to ensure that its loan conditions do not restrict the employment of extra health care workers.


"Today's announcement will make a real difference to millions of poor people. On the ground it will mean thousands of people get treatment for the first time in their lives. Zambia will need continued support to recruit new staff but this is a massive leap in the right direction. We now need other African countries to follow suit," said Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam.


In a recent survey of 30 African countries only 3 did not have user fees for heath care.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

KUDOS FOR ZAMBIA -
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Old 04-09-2006, 07:33 PM   #9
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Within the next week, many PBS stations around the USA will be carrying this concert:



African stars stage malaria gig


Concert organiser Youssou N'Dour performed at the event
Some 20,000 music fans are attending an international pop concert in Senegal that is raising awareness about malaria in Africa.

The two-day Roll Back Malaria concert in Dakar is meant to raise funds to buy mosquito nets in the fight to defeat one of the continent's biggest killers.

Organised by local star Youssou N'Dour, it features many top African artists such as Baaba Maal and Salif Keita.

Mr N'Dour said it showed Africans were tackling their own problems.

It is the first major gathering of some of Africa's most popular musicians playing an African venue rather than London, Paris or New York.

The stage in Dakar's Iba Mar Diop Stadium has been decoratively draped with mosquito netting. Traditional stilt dancers are dressed as mosquitoes.

'Power'

The event is being recorded for television, radio, cinema and DVD, and is being broadcast in countries around the world.

Both Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and French President Jacques Chirac have sent messages of support.

"Music is entertainment but also music is power," Mr N'Dour told the BBC.

Angelique Kidjo, a Benin-born performer now based in Europe, said she had cancelled other commitments to be in Dakar.

"Before being a musician, before being any star living abroad, we come from this continent and we care a lot," she said.

More than a million people, mostly children, die of malaria every year, with 90% of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.

Also on the bill are Orchestra Baobab, Rokia Traore, Cheb Khaled, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Joey Starr and Seun Kuti.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertain...ic/4343709.stm



Please check with your local PBS affiliate to see if and when they plan on hosting this concert on your local channel.


I saw a recent two hour special on the malaria epidemic around the world that featured Prof. Jeffrey Sachs on PBS - it was very good.



And here is a website where you can download some of the most popular music today, apparently with proceeds going to the Global Fund (http://www.theglobalfund.org) through this Festival's website.


Check it out:

http://www.africalive-festival.com/
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:21 PM   #10
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Here is what is (unfortunately) currently going on in Angola:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4895888.stm



Angola battles cholera outbreak


Slums without no running water are at high risk from cholera
A cholera outbreak in Angola has killed over 150 people in four provinces since being identified in February. Aid groups warn the outbreak is spreading.
Medecins Sans Frontieres says it has treated 2,500 cases in the capital, Luanda. Most deaths have been in other provinces that lack health facilities.

Cholera is spread primarily by contact with contaminated water or food.

Most Luanda homes lack running water and sewerage, after millions flocked to the city during 27 years of war.

Bengo, Benguela and Kwanza Norte provinces are also affected, with a total of 3,300 cases identified countrywide.

MSF said almost 500 people had arrived in the past 48 hours at the three cholera treatment centres which the organisation is running in Luanda.

"All of our centres are running at maximum capacity," MSF's head of mission in Angola, Richard Veerman, said in a statement.

MSF, which plans to open a fourth treatment centre in the capital, called on the Angolan authorities to provide more resources to contain the outbreak.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) also said the problem was not under control.

"There has not been a huge number of deaths yet, but more needs to be done," Unicef senior programme officer Akhil Iyer told Reuters news agency. "More money is needed."
---------------------------------------------------------------

It may sound preachy but the simple Truth is: where you live should not decide whether you live....or whether you die.


These are people's lives.
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:54 PM   #11
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This is horrific. I'm familiar with the history of cholera and know a little something about the disease itself. How excruciating it is to think about how many deaths and suffering this will cause.
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:18 PM   #12
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The cholera problem is one illustration of how the lack of health care systems in many parts of Africa are compounding the pandemics. In Tanzania, we heard some lectures from health officials and doctors. I'll never forget when m professor's son, a doctor in Tanzania, said that in their country there is ONE doctor per 200,000 people. Imagine a single doctor in Orlando, Florida or Richmond, Virginia (or my hometown Grand Rapids, Michigan). To make it even worse, most doctors that are trained in East Africa move approad to practice since they can make much more money in First World countries and have opportunities to use the latest technologies, rather than deal with constant epidemics at home. Many nations and organizations provide drugs and aid for health care, but there simply aren't enough facilities or enough health care professionals for these forms of aid to even be effective. We also visited a rural hospital in an area where most people are HIV+. The hospital staff consisted of a few nurses and a single surgeon. There was no general practicioner or anyone with skills specific to cancer, AIDS, childbirth, etc...just a surgeon.

It was very difficult meeting these people with terminal illnesses and visiting aid programs that are constantly frusterated because they have no way of distributing their supplies and services.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:02 AM   #13
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Originally posted by verte76
This is horrific. I'm familiar with the history of cholera and know a little something about the disease itself. How excruciating it is to think about how many deaths and suffering this will cause.
I agree with you 150%, verte.

Helps all of us who support and contribute to the African Well Fund to see just how important the "Build a Birthday Well for Bono" contributions were last year in building clean water wells in Angola!

I encourage support of the AWF every year:

http://www.africanwellfund.org
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:42 PM   #14
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I wanted to share something that I heard today and I think it best fits in this thread. My human resources professor is an amazing man. He was born in poor, rural Tanzania. He's worked in every aspect of business, NGOs, religious orgs, government, etc and been to every country in the world. It would take a volume of books to tell his story. Last week he was at the White House for a conference with President Bush's personal aid on African affairs. During the meeting, this woman interrupted to say that she though President Bush might be available to meet with them. They went into the oval office. My professor, bless his heart, said to our President point blank, "Why don't you care about Africa?"
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:49 PM   #15
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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
My professor, bless his heart, said to our President point blank, "Why don't you care about Africa?"

"Karl said there are no votes or money in Africa"
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