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Index November 2008

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Handling Mideast with care

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Published on Gulf News, by Patrick Seale, Nov. 27, 2008.

… Nevertheless, there is a sense that some change is unavoidable and must come. In Washington, the neo-conservatives, who had shaped President George W Bush’s Middle East policies, are out of power and on the defensive. The new team will have much to do clearing up the wreckage caused by these ideologues, and restoring America’s battered authority and reputation …

… The expectation in the region is that Obama’s team will be more open to dialogue, and more even-handed than its predecessor. But the real concern is that it will attempt to bring piecemeal solutions to Middle East’s conflicts, rather than grasping that they are all inter-linked and will need a global settlement …

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Arrest of Thai academic raises free speech fears

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Linked with Sulak Sivaraksa – Thailand, and with Global problem-solving: A Buddhist perspective.

Published on Reuters India, by Nopporn Wong-Anan, Nov. 7, 2008. (Additional reporting by Ed Cropley).

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The arrest of a renowned academic on charges of insulting Thailand’s king in a lecture a year ago is a blow to freedom of speech and makes debate of the country’s political problems more difficult, analysts said on Friday.

Sulak Sivaraksa, 75, was taken from his Bangkok home late on Thursday and driven 450 km (280 miles) to a police station in northeast Khon Kaen province to be charged with lese majeste for a university speech he gave there in December, his lawyer said.

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The Rights of Women as casualties of war

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Ramzy Baroud, 25 November, 2008.

Qurban-Bibi and Nahil Abu-Rada are two women, one Afghan and the other Palestinian, who made news with similar tragedies. But their losses also helped further delineate the plight of millions of women in war zones and poor countries …

… Culture is hardly the summation of rational choices made by individuals in a specific time and easily demarcated space. It’s an innate collective response to internal and external factors, changes and events – political, economic or social. Chances are Palestinian women in villages surrounded by Israeli checkpoints tend to deliver their babies at home or in an unfit local clinic, a natural response to risking losing one’s baby altogether. Such a practice could eventually develop into a cultural pattern.

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Congresswoman Waters Calls on USAID to Save the Lives of Children Starving in Haiti

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Linked with Maxine Waters – USA, and with OpenSecrets.org.

Press release: published on House.gov, by Maxine Waters , November 25, 2008.

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D‑CA) called for a redoubling of efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to treat hunger and malnutrition in Haiti.  Her comments follow a report from the Associated Press that at least 26 severely malnourished children have died in the last four weeks in a remote region of Haiti.  Aid workers fear the death toll could rise much higher.

“I am appalled that children are starving to death in a country so close to America’s borders.  I call on USAID to take immediate action to locate all Haitian children who are in danger of starvation and ensure they are receiving appropriate nutrition therapy.  Starving children and their families in remote areas should be evacuated if necessary in order to access medical treatment,” said Congresswoman Waters.

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Tactical Dialogues

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Human Rights in Higher Education: Incorporating practical experience

Published on New Tactics in HR, by , Nov. 19 to 25, 2008.

The November New Tactics on-line dialogue will feature “Human Rights in Higher Education: Incorporating practical experience”. This dialogue will specifically feature ideas, experiences and methods from human rights higher education programs for incorporating practical experience into human rights curriculums to better prepare human rights advocates for doing “on the ground” and “in the trenches” human rights work.

The featured resource practitioners (biographical information) include: …

… Be sure to take a look at our new collection of articles, guides, and classroom modules for your curriculum: New Tactics Resources for Educators.

Main themes of this dialogue:

  • Stories of Practice: examples of how practical experience is being incorporated in human rights education programs;
  • Challenges: ethical issues with incorporating practical experience in human rights education programs;
  • Curriculum Resources: creating and simulating practical experience.

… (full text).

New age spiritual gurus

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Published on MeriNews, by Shilpa Dasgupta, 13 Nov 2008.

Everyday many new spiritual gurus are emerging with the aim of bringing peace to the common man. These new age gurus have become increasingly popular, as overworked people seek new ways to cope with the pressures created by materialistic lifestyles.

Remember, few years back the mass hype about Ganesha drinking milk? Even further if we turn the pages of history, we will visualise how Roop Kanwar, a young teenage housewife in Rajasthan, was burnt alive to rejuvenate the spirit of ’Sati’ and she was idolized as Sati Devi. These are some naked evidences of superstition, but in this land of varied castes, creed, belief and of course taboos, a new group of ’deities’ is emerging and penetrating into the society.

They are as popularly called the New Age Gurus, who not only impart knowledge about salvation and ’moksh’ but also help in leading a ’stress-free’ life. Well! I suppose they are the mobile counselling centres in the attire of sadhus. They are slick, sober and undoubtedly famous …

… One of the significant participants in this relay of new-age gurus is Osho Rajneesh, as he is popularly known among the masses. Born as Rajneesh Chandra Mohan Jain, this high profile guru came to be known as the ’export- guru’ or even as ’sex- guru’ of India. He followed no particular religion, tradition or philosophy in his entire life. He formed his own religion, which is known as the ’Osho Movement’.

According to Rajneesh, awareness, love, meditation, celebration, creativity and laughter are the greatest assets of life. A prolific orator, Rajneesh spoke on a range of things from various spiritual traditions including those of Buddha, Krishna, Jesus et al to the need of sex in material society.

This spiritual guru’s liberal views regarding sex and emotional expression have always been controversial. In spite of all this, Rajneesh has more than 400 centres worldwide and a number of his followers range from 1,00,000 to 2,50,000.

The so-called modern new age movement can be said to have originated during an era of transformation that America experienced in 1960s. Intention of achieving maximum human potential and development of personal spiritual identity led to the emergence of this movement. There are many globally acclaimed names, which add figure on the list of the new age leaders like Deepak Chopra, Bernie Seagal and Marianne Williamson.

These new age leaders believe in concepts like:

  • Inter-connectivity of all living forms;
  • Acceptance and tolerance of varied ideologies;
  • Care for the nature and environment;
  • ’Ahimsa’ or non-violence.

But the fact is, everyday many new spiritual cultures are emerging with the aim of rendering peace to the common people in this materialistic world. In fact, the existing age old cultures are also going through many changes to suit the changing needs of the new age. What is more important is not the rise of new cultures or beliefs but the belief in oneself and confidence to face the forthcoming problems, as also stated by all the spiritual preachers. Once that is done his way to salvation and eternal happiness is clear and unobstructed. (full text).

Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study

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Published on Department for Children, Schools and Families DCSF – UK, 25-Sep-2008.

The Study looks to identify, measure and assess the short-term and long-term effects of citizenship education in schools on students over time.

The sixth annual report draws on data collected from the third sweep of the survey in 75 schools. The survey collected 11,103 responses from students (who were at the time of data collection) in Year 11. In addition, data was collected from 282 teachers and 75 school leaders in the students’ schools.

Download brief report, 7 pdf-pages, (Brief Publication Code: DCSF-RB052);

Download full report, 134 pdf-pages, (Full Report Publication Code: DCSF-RR052).

Youssef Chahine, the life-world of film

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Linked with Youssef Chahine alias yousef shaheen – Egypt (1926 – 2008);

Published on openDemocracy, by Tarek Osman, July 29, 2008.

A great filmmaker of Alexandria and Egypt portrayed his country with a singular, passionate vision that remained constant in face of criticism and adulation alike. Tarek Osman pays tribute to Youssef Chahine …

… Chahine’s response was characteristic. He responded to the deprecation of critics and journalists as he did to international success and applause: by continuing to make films. The man from Alexandria refused to be distracted either by word-fights or bouquets. He remained faithful to the wellspring of his art, his city’s and his country’s woes and pains.

His later films showed this consistency of vision, in their depiction of the horrors of corruption, the abuse of power and the degeneration of morals. The title of his last film was Heya fawda (It’s Chaos). For more than half a century, Chahine’s maintained his connection with the Egyptian street, the deep source of his identity. At the end of a two-minute standing ovation at the Louis Lumière theatre in Cannes when he was awarded a special career-achievement prize at the fiftieth anniversary of the film festival, Chahine thanked the film’s prize committee; when the presenter asked him to speak about the man behind the director, he said: Ana iskandarani (I am an Alexandrian).

The clear vision:

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India: Homeless Street Children

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Reeds in the wind

Linked with Lara Shankar – India, and with Children’s Rights and You CRY.

Published on Tribune of India, by Shalini Rawat, January 21, 2007.

(On the book: Midway Station: Real-life Stories of Homeless Children, by Lara Shankar, Penguin January 2006, Rs 150, 99 pages).

According to a report published by the United Nations, there are 150 million children aged three to 18 years on our streets today – and their numbers are growing fast. Some left the harsher realities of the place called ‘home’ on their own accord, some were abandoned, while the rest have known no other place but the pavements as their home since birth.

Living under the most unhygienic conditions, they often go without food and are defenceless against the vagaries of weather and are often subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Drugs, alcohol and ‘sex as play’ are their only pacifiers.

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The Padded Bed: The Epileptic in Western Medicine

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or: inhabited Lives, personal testimonies from the mirrored self

Linked with Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti – USA.

Published on Bestcyrano.org, by Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti, December 5th, 2007.

I am in a bed with bars on either side that are protected with sea-foam green padding (the green that hospitals seem so very fond of. If it ever had a calming effect, it no longer does because one associates it with some emergency; an obvious conclusion. You’d think they would have changed the color by now, but no. It remains hospital green

… Pain works like this: if you are in pain, the drugs, the opiates, will only control the pain and will not make you high because they are too busy working on the pain. If you are not in pain, the drugs may make you high or loopy but since I have never taken the drugs without pain, I base this information solely on my reading and experience of others. Whether or not the good doctor would be “out cold” is irrelevant and more, it was a judgement passed on me and my use of such medication. What he did not know is that I had, of my own free will, stopped taking all of the medication for about six or more months when I could have easily gotten a script. I had no “Trainspotting” moments. I did not shiver, throw-up, etc – I did not go through any withdrawal, regardless of whether I “should” have or not, I simply did not. I cannot say more than this. The facts are the facts …

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Congolese rebel’s trial back on track

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(… but first a link: HREA offers an e-learning course on International Tribunals, World Courts and Human Rights, from 2 February to 12 April 2009): Course 5T09: International Tribunals, World Courts and Human Rights.

Received by mail:

From: HREA – Human Rights Education Associates and its Newsletter
Date: 19/11/2008

18 November 2008 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) today  announced its decision to reverse its earlier suspension of the trial of Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, accused of recruiting child soldiers to serve in his militia. The judges of the Court’s trial chamber – which is based in The Hague – have suggested 26 January next year as a provisional date for the start of the trial.

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Working toward sustainable Development

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Linked with Yosepha Alomang – Papua, Indonesia, and with A Papuan woman fighting for human and environmental rights.

Published on Social Funds, 44 pdf-pages (see their homepage).

excerpt: … Social and Human Rights Performance Audit /Provision of Security, (page 15/44):

… PROVISION OF MEDICAL SERVICES:

An important area for LPMAK is the provision of medical services. PT Freeport Indonesia has worked for years to develop an integrated and coordinated healthcare system capable of delivering comprehensive, competent and sustainable medical services to the local Papuans, both in the highlands and lowlands areas near our operations. This system relies on community-based health clinics providing a range of preventive and outpatient services, coordinated with two modern hospitals which provide comprehensive inpatient healthcare. Thousands of Papuans receive quality medical services each year from this system.

Construction was completed in 2002 of a 74-bed hospital in Banti which is now providing healthcare to Papuans in the highlands area. A separate 76-bed hospital opened in Timika in 1999 to serve Papuans living in the lowlands. PT Freeport Indonesia provided funds to construct both of these facilities and supports 10 other clinics providing quality medical care to those living in other communities. We have undertaken comprehensive public health programs for prenatal care, and the prevention and control of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT:

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Top Experts Call for Direct Diplomacy with Iran

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Published on Just Foreigh Policy, as Action Alert, November 2008.

… A group of top scholars, experts, and diplomats released a new report:

JOINT EXPERTS’ STATEMENT ON IRAN,

outlining five steps that should be taken to promote diplomacy and a new relationship with Iran. Former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James Dobbins, Columbia University scholar Gary Sick, and 17 other experts all agree that the current U.S. policy of isolation, military threats and sanctions will not work with Iran and instead call for a new strategy involving “direct, unconditional and comprehensive negotiations at the senior diplomatic level” … (full text).

Yes, I am my brother’s keeper

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Linked with Siv O’Neall – Sweden.

Published on Axis of Logic, by Siv O’Neall, Nov 12, 2008.

The polarized world: Do we need further proof that greed is not the solution for a sound economy? Do we need further proof that capitalism is foundering? Do we need further proof that ignoring the poor is not the way to make the world go round? That selfish accumulation of wealth is not the key to peace of mind and a life worth living? …

… Being your brother’s keeper:

How about reinstating an equitable way of running the ship? When will the leaders of the world see that with the billions of the world’s population who are starving or on the edge of starvation, the lack of equilibrium on the planet is not going to be solved by letting those billions starve to death?

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Psychiatry and Drugs

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Linked with Citizens Commission on Human Rights CCHR.org.

watch these videos:

Open Letter To Barack Obama, President Elect

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by James A. Lucas, 14 November, 2008.

… There are a number of other considerations that should be kept in mind.

The main allegation against Iran is that Iran is planning to develop a nuclear power capability that it will use to make nuclear weapons. But the Iranian program is legal. If we can coexist in the world not only with many other nations that have nuclear weapons, including Israel which has 200-300, but also with many nations which have nuclear power, why should we be so fearful of the Iranians?

The primary reason for this fear is that over the last two years it has been fallaciously reported innumerable times in the press that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” This was an inaccurate translation of his statement that “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” Of course many political entities in the history of world have also been in power only temporarily.

Another fact to keep in mind is that the real power in Iran rests not with their president but with their religious leader.

Positive steps are needed to resolve the issues in the Middle East and one of them would be an agreement to establish a nuclear free zone in that region.

On this day, Veterans’ Day, the specter of the horrors unleashed by your predecessor in the Oval Office haunts me. That was my main reason for supporting a change in the presidency. (full text).

Fighting for peace with the weapons of literacy

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One man’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan

Linked with Reinhard Erös – Germany, with The International Council on Security and Development ICOS, with Kinderhilfe Afghanistan /German Aid for Afghan Children GAAC, and with POPPY FOR MEDECINE.

Published on current concerns.ch, by english edition of Zeit-Fragen, 30-07-2005.

… Health stations and peace schools:

Between 1987 and 1990, during the time of the Soviet occupation, Dr Eroes and his wife, together with their four children, worked with the women and children of Afghanistan: Annette Eroes as a teacher in the refugee camps around Peshawar, and Reinhard Eroes secretly and “illegally” as a barefoot-doctor in the caves of Tora Bora inside Afghanistan. During these terrible years the children of Afghanistan came especially close to their hearts and after their return to Germany in 1990 they did not forget the country and its marvellous people: In order to help the children and adolescents in an effective and lasting way and to provide them with a peaceful and prosperous future in their country they founded, in 1989, the project “Kinderhilfe Afghanistan” (German Aid for Afghan Children).

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Iranian regime reacts to Obama’s election

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Added 29. Nov. 2008: Linked with 2008-11-30: James Cogan – Australia.

Published on WSWS, by James Cogan, 13 November 2008.

Within the Iranian ruling elite, a perception has developed in recent months that an Obama administration would hold out the prospect of an improvement in relations with the United States. The only evidence for this conclusion has been Obama’s statements that he would be prepared to hold direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program – something the Bush administration has refused to do …

… The government has also forced banks to lend at interest rates far below inflation. As a result, at precisely the time when businesses and farmers need emergency lines of credit, the banking system is short of available capital. This will have a particularly severe impact in rural areas, where crops have been devastated due to drought.

Economic circumstances mean that the sanctions imposed through the United Nations and unilaterally by the US and its allies are having a serious impact. Iran will ultimately need to borrow on world financial markets if it slumps into budget and trade deficits, but confronts huge obstacles in doing so. Like North Korea, it faces the prospect of economic strangulation unless it closes down its nuclear enrichment facilities and bows to other US demands.

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POLITICS-US: Feminists Say the Work Has Just Begun

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Published on IPSnews, by Adrianne Appel, Nov. 13, 2008.

“This is the time to finish the unfinished revolution,” said Byllye Avery, founder of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Women activists have a long list of recommendations for Obama, who is viewed as much more receptive to women’s rights than his predecessor.

“It’s a great opportunity to think about policies that will strengthen our agenda, like strengthening families,” said Andrea Batista-Schlesinger, of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

George W. Bush, who leaves office Jan. 20, has imposed many policies that harm the quality of life of women inside and outside of the United States, policies he has said are morally correct and that reflect his personal religious beliefs …

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The idea of India

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The strength of the nation in the 21st century will not be measured by GDP alone

Linked with Aruna Roy – India.

Published on live mint.com, by Aruna Roy, May 11, 2007.

All that is old is not gold. But surely all that glitters is not gold either. The Bharatiya Janata Party will no doubt acknowledge that their vision of “India Shining” blinded them to the realities and struggles for survival of a vast number of Indians. Our policymakers are, once again, distancing themselves from poverty and its causes. In their euphoria about gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates and sensex figures, they deliberately ignore the consequences of endemic hunger and deprivation on the people. What is even more depressing is the fact that those who watch the growth rate are not even true to the paradigm they espouse. They consciously ignore the alarming figures of infant mortality, literacy, unemployment, and the per capita income of the poorest 30%. Growing inequalities co …

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Kate, a girl who can’t say no

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Linked with Kate Fereday Eshete – Ethiopia and England, and with KATE FEREDAY ESHETE helping the needy in Ethiopia.

Published on Bnet, by Jane MKatthews, June 1, 1999.

Like a thousand other broadcasts before, the TV news ended with a short item on children suffering in another part of the world …

… She bought an airline ticket to Addis Ababa. She arrived on Christmas morning, alone, not expected by anyone, armed only with bags of clothes, pounds 230 in her pocket, and the conviction that individuals can make a difference.

It is that same belief in the power of direct action, together with an inability to see obstacles, which, five years on, are responsible for the setting up of safe houses for street-children in three Ethiopian centres, funded by a new UK charity. While broadcasters, politicians and aid agencies continue to talk of `compassion fatigue’, Kate Fereday bowls into Inner Wheel meetings and emerges with money to buy shoes for the orphans …

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Tibetans’ risky journey into exile

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Published on BBCnews, by Sally Ingleton, 10 November 2008.

(This World: Murder in the Snow will be broadcast on Monday 10 November at 1900 GMT on BBC Two. The programme is made by 360 Degree Films).

… Each year an estimated 2,500 Tibetans make the dangerous and illegal crossing through the Himalayas into India.

Many are young teenagers seeking freedom both in religious practice and in their education. A big incentive is the prospect of meeting their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India.

In 2006 the plight of these refugees came to international attention when a group of mountain climbers witnessed and recorded Chinese border police opening fire on one group of pilgrims as they made their way across the Nangpa pass in the Himalayas, 18,000 feet (5,500m) above sea level.

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China violates the presentation of Taiwaneese Peacewomen

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May I put your attention to an intrusion /trespass: the Chineese re-programmers of the website of 1000 peacewomen present Taiwaneese women as women out of Chineese nationality!

My comment: A big nation not able to respect running international agreements is not worth to become an Empire – as IF they reach this state, the whole world will have to pay the bill for their shamefull behavior. Taiwan is an independent state, make war on the peacewomen website for Chineese hegemony is just too much shamefull. Here an exemple how Peacewomen of Taiwan are represented by the Site’s latest programmers, persons coming out of Big China :

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Miriam Makeba, South Africa dies (1932 – 2008)

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Linked with Miriam Makeba – South Africa.

… “One of the greatest songstresses of our time Miriam Makeba has ceased to sing,” said South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in a statement. The singer “died performing what she did best – an ability to, communicate a positive message through the art of singing”.

Born in Johannesburg on March 4, 1932, Makeba became one of Africa’s best known singers and while Nelson Mandela was in prison took up the battle against apartheid through her music. South Africa revoked her citizenship in 1960 and even refused to let her return for her mother’s funeral. Makeba spent more than three decades in exile, living in the United States, Guinea and Europe.

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