Great Lyrics…great song. ‘A King and a Kingdom’

03. A King And A Kingdom

Mockingbird
by Derek Webb

Listen:

Lyrics:

Who’s your brother, who’s your sister
You just walked passed him
I think you missed her
As we’re all migrating to the place where our father lives
‘Cause we married in to a family of immigrants

My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
It’s to a king & a kingdom

There are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
And that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
And if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

But nothing unifies like a common enemy
And we’ve got one, sure as hell
But he may be living in your house
He may be raising up your kids
He may be sleeping with your wife
Oh no, he may not look like you think

Where are our allegiances? and who do you think is your neighbour? It makes me wonder about the pledge of allegiance in the USA or the For God and Ulster that i see and hear at home. Should we so loyal to countries and flags…should we die for our country? How many people die for their country every year, how many of us would die for our God? NOt sure I would too quick to say I would. I wonder if maybe we put too much emphasis on our identity as nations, rather than who we are in Christ. I mean look at any sporting event and how excited we all get, if we our allegiance is with God then should we not get that excited about HIm and the Good News…(jesus came, lived, taught, suffered, died and rose again to free us from sin)

I wonder, cos most of the time i dont…if i am being truly honest

Cuba Gives Aid to Bolivia

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7268569.stm

This is a really interesting article, Cuba maybe communist and it may not allow freedom of speeh and so on…but they have got some things right such as health care.

sand and sorrow

This is an HBO movie about the conflict in Sudan…check it out

Pledges from all candidates to visit africa if they are elected…

Senator Hillary Clinton released a statement saying:

“Today I received a petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I applaud their activism and share their urgent concern for the challenges of poverty and AIDS, especially in Africa… I am also committed to visiting Africa during my first term as President, to see the progress of our efforts and to assess first hand the necessary strategies to combat disease and poverty…” Read more

Senator John McCain’s response to your petitions said:

“I have received the petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I am proud of the volunteer-driven effort behind ONE and the commitment ONE’s members have shown toward serving a cause greater than their own self-interest…As president, I look forward to visiting Africa and working with afflicted nations there and elsewhere to communicate that we expect a level of governance, transparency, and effectiveness from them in order to ensure that their aid makes a concrete and positive impact on people’s lives.” Read more

Governor Mike Huckabee said:

“The ONE Campaign members have been a significant presence throughout this election season and have done a tremendous job of raising awareness of the plight of the poorest people on earth…I will go to Africa in my first term and will continue to make a difference globally by strengthening such initiatives as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria…” Read more

Senator Barack Obama’s response said:

“The ONE campaign stands as an example of how ordinary people can come together to change the world from the bottom up. I was honored to receive a petition from 75,000 ONE campaign members, and share your commitment to fight global poverty and disease—particularly in Africa. I will continue to fight for bipartisan renewal and expansion of the global HIV/AIDS relief program, and look forward to visiting Africa during my first term as President of the United States

Sierra Leone…

This is snap shot of a report done by Global Witness about the conflict in Sierra Leone and its links to natural resources…see full report at –

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/sierra/2007/1010gwpbcs.pdf

Its very sad. My brother is going to live in this country, to seek to change the lives of some kids over there…pretty rad thing to do if you ask me.

A snapshot of Sierra Leone’s conflict and aftermath
In 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) supported by the-then President of Liberia Charles Taylor, attacked Sierra Leone from Liberia. In the brutal conflict that ensued, over 200,000 people were killed, over 2 million displaced, and thousands maimed by the RUF signature of chopping off the limbs of civilians as a terror tactic. 18 It is estimated that half of the women in Sierra Leone were subjected to sexual violence including rape, torture and sexual slavery.19
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identified “years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights” as the root causes of the conflict. The TRC further described Sierra Leone as a deeply divided society, in a state of institutional collapse, which had reduced the vast majority of people to severe deprivation.20 While not the main instigator for conflict, economic opportunity provided a strong motivation for the RUF to control strategic alluvial diamond fields of eastern Sierra Leone, which were then smuggled through Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.21 The fight then became oriented around control over the diamond fields. It is estimated that towards the end of the war, the RUF was earning between US$25 and US$125 million annually from diamonds.22
In March 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone formally indicted Charles Taylor for participating in a joint criminal enterprise “to take any actions necessary to gain and exercise political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone, in particular the diamond mining areas. The natural resources of Sierra Leone, in particular the diamonds, were to be provided to persons outside Sierra Leone in return for assistance in carrying out the joint criminal enterprise … as part of his continuing efforts to gain access to the mineral wealth of Sierra Leone and to destabilize the government of Sierra Leone.”23 Whilst Taylor himself was not charged with seeking to take over the diamond mines of Sierra Leone, his aid for the RUF in return for payment later, meant that he was, in effect, involved in racketeering. On January 19th 2005 an ex-RUF fighter reported to the Special Court of Sierra Leone that “Kono should be retained for one reason, for mining, because you cannot fight a war without economy.”24
The TRC of Sierra Leone identified certain diamond mining companies as being linked to the conflict, including Rex Diamond and Diamond Works.25 According to the TRC’s report Rex Diamond facilitated replacement parts for the government’s helicopter gunship worth US$3.8 million.26 The report also stated that Diamond Works acquired Branch Energy Ltd in 1995, and both were found to be linked to the international private security firms Executive Outcomes and Sandline International.27 Branch Energy introduced Executive Outcomes to the government of Sierra Leone who sought their services to push the RUF back from Freetown and the diamond areas of Kono.28 Soon after, in part payment for the services of Executive Outcomes, Branch Energy was awarded a 25 year lease on Sierra Leonean diamond concessions by the government of Sierra Leone. 29
Peace was formally declared in 2002, leaving the country to deal with over 70,000 combatants including around 7,000 child soldiers, millions of victims and a massive reconstruction and peacebuilding effort. Disarmament was completed in February 2004 and the 17,500 strong UN peacekeeping force, UNAMSIL, withdrew in December 2005.30 Post-war Sierra Leone is still struggling to consolidate peace and remains fragile. Youth unemployment is around 80%31 with around 70% of the population living below the poverty line,32 and 26% living in extreme poverty.33 Life expectancy is 41 years of age.34 GDP per capita is approximately $20035 and Sierra Leone is ranked 176 out of 177 in the UN Human Development Index (HDI).36 The army and police have been reformed with donor support, but significant challenges remain. Despite some reform of the justice sector, challenges include: access to justice, lack of accountability, and an enduring culture of impunity. Efforts to stamp out corruption have on the whole been unsuccessful. Despite the estimated US$1,1 bn37 spent by donors between 2003 and 2006, Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding and peace consolidation strategies are falling seriously short of addressing the root causes of the conflict. Critical issues that need to be addressed include massive youth unemployment and marginalisation, unabated corruption at all levels of government, paramount chiefs’ abuse of power, continued mismanagement of the country’s natural resources and the government’s inability to deliver basic social services. Tensions are increasing as there continues to be a lack of visible improvement in the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. On the 11th August the All People’s Congress Party won the 2007 nationwide election

UK to spend money on Sierra Leone Water Project

 Article from http://www.visitsierraleone.org/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=922

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY

UK helps Sierra Leone turn on the taps for clean water
– £32 million support for water and sanitation to save thousands of lives –

International Development Minister Douglas Alexander today launched a £32m five-year water, sanitation and hygiene education programme in Sierra Leone.

The UK contribution will provide an additional 1.5 million people with safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene education and will help save the lives of up to 3,000 children each year.

The announcement comes as International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander visits Sierra Leone as part of a visit to West Africa (22-23 February). During his visit he will meet President Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Kufuor of Ghana.

In Sierra Leone less than half the population has access to safe water and sanitation and 20,000 children under the age of five die every year from dirty water and hygiene-related illness.

The UK funding will deliver basic wells, hand pumps and improvements to the existing water supply systems. The programme, which is run in conjunction with UNICEF and the Sierra Leone government, will focus on rural areas but also the target the capital city, Freetown which suffers from a fragile water supply.

Douglas Alexander said:

“Sanitation is essential for a healthy, secure and dignified life. In Sierra Leone, 20,000 children under five die every year from dirty water and hygiene-related causes.

“Women and girls pay a particularly heavy price – many don’t go to school because there are no toilets for them to use. Many avoid eating or drinking all day as they can only go to the toilet when it’s dark.”

“Providing safe water and basic sanitation for the people of Sierra Leone is at the heart of the country’s recovery and the long journey out of poverty for millions of people. “

The UK contribution increases Sierra Leone’s current spending on water and sanitation by seven times and aims to put Sierra Leone back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people without safe water or basic sanitation.

The Sierra Leonean government’s annual spend on water is £1.7 m. The funding from the UK aims to help women and children particularly through better hygiene practices and the drinking of safe water. The UK will also provide technical support to the Sierra Leone government to help strengthen their own ability to deliver better water services to the poorest in the future

Bush visit to Africa…

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Africa: Bush’s Trip Highlights Flaws in US HIV/AIDS Policy

(New York, February 14, 2008) – President George W. Bush’s praise for US efforts against HIV/AIDS in Africa should not obscure how his administration’s policies continue to undermine HIV prevention on the continent and globally, Human Rights Watch said today.

During his upcoming trip to Africa, Bush will visit Tanzania and Rwanda, two target countries of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Later this month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will debate reauthorization of this US$15 billion global anti-HIV program.

The record of the first PEPFAR program was decidedly mixed, Human Rights Watch said. The United States has demonstrated global leadership in scaling up access to HIV treatment, but it undermined HIV prevention through the adoption of ideologically driven approaches that emphasized abstinence until marriage and hindered programs targeting sex workers by requiring organizations to sign a so-called “prostitution pledge” opposing prostitution.

“The US could be a global leader in the fight against AIDS,” said Joe Amon, HIV/AIDS Program director at Human Rights Watch. “But if Congress allows ideological views about sexuality to trump evidence-based programs and human rights protections, US efforts against HIV/AIDS in Africa will continue to fall short.”

Congressionally mandated evaluations of PEPFAR programs by the Institute of Medicine and the US Government Accountability Office have criticized the rigid abstinence-until-marriage funding requirement. They have recommended that the funding restriction be eliminated because it undermines prevention efforts and hampers the capacity to develop and implement comprehensive prevention programs that are well-integrated with each other and with HIV testing, care, and treatment programs.

In Uganda, another PEPFAR target country in Africa, Human Rights Watch documented the ways in which the US abstinence-only policy resulted in censored or distorted information about condoms, and denied young people information about any method of HIV prevention other than sexual abstinence until marriage .

“PEPFAR could be a positive legacy of the Bush administration” said Amon. “But only if the new legislation does not repeat the mistakes and limitations of the current program.”


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Report, January 1, 2008