While the International Court of Justice in The Hague takes up a dispute between Kenya and Somalia over maritime oil and gas reserves this week, Human Rights Watch alleges that Kenya's plan to close the Dadaab refugee camp complex, amidst protest from Somalia, violates the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention, which requires that repatriation of refugees must be voluntary. Earlier this year Kenya's Interior Ministry announced that the camp, covering 50 km² (20 mi²) and home to nearly 300,000 people, would be closed by November. Ground was broken to construct the earliest portions of Dadaab in October 1991 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a temporary measure to aid Somalis fleeing from their country's civil war, but as the years passed the site became home to refugees from other conflicts and to refugees from drought and famine, at its height holding more than half a million people. [more inside]
Baseball behind barbed wire The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain in thirteen games to win the series. The players described it as exhilarating. But the players taking part in this all-American pastime did so in dire circumstances. Gila River and Heart Mountain were both Japanese incarceration camps (previously known as internment camps), and these athletes were among the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans imprisoned there.
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
"The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking" [NYTimes.com]
"The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945."
"What we are seeing in this project is that all of Europe was a camp." The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum just released the first volume of a projected seven-volume Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945. "They assumed the finished work would be massive, featuring a staggering 5,000 to 7,000 camps and ghettos. They underestimated by 15,000." [more inside]
Mississippi Gulag. Remember Tranquility Bay? Kids being forcibly deported to Jamaica, where they have to earn their right to speak by advancing in a perverted "level" system, with punishment ranging from laying on the floor for hours to painful "restraint" sessions? A report by Assistant Attorney General submitted on June 19, 2003 to Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove sheds light on two different "correctional" facilities, the Oakley and Columbia "Training Schools" in Mississipi. Boys and girls aged from 10 to 17 are hogtied for hours, pepper sprayed for disobedience, forced to eat their own vomit during exercises, or stripped naked and locked in a dark room for days because of suicide attempts. Between torturing sessions, they have to participate in good Christian prayers. These kids have to suffer abuse that would lead to a nationwide scandal if it happened to adults (or if sex was involved). AP has a brief summary.
In China they have re-eductaion camps, to enlighten people in the way they should regard the Chinese government and state. In America, parents can send their children somewhere to be trained to adopt a more agreeable attitude, too. The World Wide Association of Speciality Programs runs camps all over the world, including one at Tranquility Bay in Jamaica where children are held against their will and subjected to a regime of behaviour and thought modification until they adopt the behaviour and thinking that the camp's administartion approves of. I found myself reading this detailed and lengthy account of the camp's practices and growing furious with rage at the brainwashing sanctioned by ignorant parents, who seem happy with their new obedient and adoring children. See what you think. Part one. Part two.
America's Terrorist Training Camp George Monbiot asks, in the Guardian, "what's the difference between Al Qaeda and Fort Benning?" Well, is there a difference? Away you go, kids...
Cool satellite images of suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan. I don't know about the commentary, but the pics are cool.