"Every society struggles to care for people with mental illness. In parts of West Africa, where psychiatry is virtually unknown, the chain is often a last resort for desperate families who cannot control a loved one in the grip of psychosis. Religious retreats, known as prayer camps, set up makeshift psychiatric wards, usually with prayer as the only intervention." NYTimes. Links contain upsetting images and video. [more inside]
Les disques africains collects, rips, and uploads out-of-print records (and their sleeves!) from the golden age of vinyl in francophone Africa. Don't miss la belle chanteuse Sali Sidibé, psychedelic grooves from Benin, or this incredible 35-minute oral-musical history of Bobo-Dioulasso. New posts appear, as if by some rare magic, every three to four days.
"War has returned to the Ivory Coast in the guise of massacres, mercenaries, a besieged capital, and a humanitarian nightmare." Several months after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo stole the presidential election, the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has escalated as the forces of rightful president Alassane Ouattara have reached Abidjan to force Gbagbo's surrender. [more inside]
Mr. Gbagbo was not on-board the plane. A French foreign ministry spokesman told reporters, "'the legitimate authorities' of Ivory Coast asked that the plane be grounded and, in his words, 'that it is precisely what we have done.'" [more inside]
A brief history of chocolate slavery: That Chocolate is an oligopoly might surprise a few people. Chocolate's Bittersweet Economy (pdf) shows that seven years after the industry had agreed to abolish child labour, little progress has been made. Cross-border Migration of Working Children has still been left out of Harkin-Engel Cocoa Protocol Process. Bitter Chocolate Reflects on the politics of cocoa and chocolate. With Halloween approaching you might consider a Fair Trade approach to Trick or Treat. (If Chocolate slavery doesn't make you throw up a little maybe this will.)
Your chocolate bar contains beans picked by child slaves. From the Philadelphia Inquirer. Part of an excellent report into the Ivory Coast cocoa trade. Awful stuff, especially for a corporation like Hershey Foods, which exists for the benefit of a school for disadvantaged children. Apparently boycotts won't help. If we shouldn't boycott, can't take direct action, what can we do? (Via TurksHeadReview.)