And time takes its toll.
Cameroon rose again after years of underachievement to win the African Cup of Nations title on Sunday with a fabulous goal in the 89th minute of the final for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against mighty Egypt.
As the final whistle got nearer, substitute Vincent Aboubakar controlled the ball just outside the area, clipped it over a defender, and then shot past the goalkeeper to clinch Cameroon’s fifth African title and first since 2002.
On the international stage, I have been a Cameroon supporter since their participation in the Summer Olympics in 1984 – and I saw them play for the first time.
Family loyalty often ties my heartstrings to Italy on the world stage [better odds than the Scots side of the family I admit]; but, if there is a global match played and Cameroon is on the card, that is who I will support.
Bravo. Wonderful victory for the Indomitable Lions.
❝Current debates over the resettlement of Syrian refugees have prompted repeated invocations of the words on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
The lines, written by poet Emma Lazarus in the late 1880s, were inspired by the hardships endured by Jewish refugees who arrived in New York after fleeing Eastern Europe’s pogroms. They’re made even more relevant to the present moment, however, when considering the origins of the Lady Liberty statue.
❝The first draft for what would become the nation’s symbol of welcome to the “huddled masses” was conceived by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi not for the Statue of Liberty but for an entirely different project: a lighthouse that would stand at the entrance to the Suez Canal.
According to historian Michael B. Oren, in his book “Power, Faith, and Fantasy,” Bartholdi would carve the likeness of an Egyptian peasant woman holding aloft a torch of freedom. The monument, twice as high as the Sphinx, would guard the waterway’s entrance and perhaps double as a lighthouse. Its name would be Egypt (or Progress) Bringing Light to Asia.”
❝…The nation’s symbol of all-American freedom and charity was in fact originally conceived as an Egyptian — and by default in those times, a Muslim.
For the next two years, Bartholdi worked on sketches and tried to persuade Ismail Pasha, the then-khedive (viceroy) of Egypt, to finance his project. But the viceroy was bankrupt by 1871 and in no condition to support a monument as large as two sphinxes.
❝This compelled a “distraught” Bartholdi to take solace in a cruise to America. As he sailed into New York harbor, he saw the “egg-shaped” Bedloe’s Island and started considering a new location for his majestic vision, imbued with new meaning.
Not long before, Bartholdi had a conversation with the French abolitionist and fervent supporter of the the North in the Civil War, Édouard René de Laboulaye, who proposed that France offer the United States a gift in recognition of the end of that conflict.
❝The Muslim peasant had been replaced by an idealized Western woman and the name of the piece changed from Bringing Light to Asia to Liberty Enlightening the World. Only the torch remained, unextinguished.
Over the next forty years, ‘Lady Liberty’ would provide millions of immigrants with their first glimpse of America, kindling their hopes for better lives and beckoning them with the possibility of freedom…
So when politicians such as Ted Cruz suggest that only Christian Syrian refugees should be allowed to enter America, and critics respond with the ideals that the Statue of Liberty stands for, their statements have a particular historical resonance.
Had Egypt come by better financial fortunes, Bartholdi may have built a grand tribute to a Muslim peasant. But instead she was reincarnated as Libertas, a Roman goddess symbolizing personal freedom in America.
Not that this history means anything to hatemongers like Cruz – or the bigots that support his ideology.
Al Jazeera America is one of the two foreign-owned, USA-based news channels that gets the bulk of my TV news time. They are modeled on the original CNN – before it was crushed by Time-Warner – and many former CNN pros have ended up at AJAM.
The plight of the AJ crew in Egypt is critically supported worldwide. Which means they receive damned little attention in the parochial environs of these United States. Which is sad on a whole ‘nother level.
Watch the show, tonight, if you have the chance. And access.
Telecommunications company Vodafone’s report on government surveillance of its customers in 29 countries reveals more than first meets the eye – and is raising questions from Dublin to Delhi about how much spying on email and telephone chats happens in secret.
In Friday’s report Vodafone said most countries required the company’s knowledge and cooperation to hear phone calls or see emails, but at least six governments have given their security agencies the power of direct access.
Vodafone didn’t identify the countries that have tapped into its network, but the report provided some clues. An 88-page appendix reveals that five countries – Albania, Egypt, Hungary, Ireland and Qatar – have provisions that allow authorities to demand unfettered access.
In vague language, the report also indicated similar powers could exist in India and the United Kingdom, too.
In too many cases, Vodafone said, governments kept both the company and wider society in the dark about what was happening, with laws explicitly forbidding government disclosure of any details of its electronic eavesdropping…
Wiretapping of phones and accessing of call records for law-enforcement purposes is a decades-old and accepted practice even in the most open democracies. With backing from courts, police can request cooperation from phone companies to access communications.
But in developing countries such as Congo, Ghana and Lesotho, Vodafone said it cannot support wiretapping, because governments haven’t requested the technology.
Vodafone’s report comes one year after former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed that U.S. and other countries’ intelligence agencies indiscriminately gathered and stored data from phone calls and Internet communications…
Vodafone’s report is also seen as a response to the company’s embarrassing role in the Egyptian protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. As those protests raged, the government forced Vodafone to bombard its Egyptian subscribers with propaganda text messages. The company said it had no choice but to comply, but was severely criticized for its actions.
Here’s the Vodafone report at their website.
If you’re not old enough to recall – there was a time in the United States when courts ruled in favor of the privacy of citizens and Congress and the White House didn’t succeed in sucking info from communications without express judicial permission.
I was part of a class action suit that won victory over the city where I lived, the local police department, the regional phone company – and the FBI – for illegal wiretapping. The creeps even tapped my parents’ phone in case I made any subversive calls when I dropped by for Sunday dinner.
Not anymore, man!
One of the leading political economists in the world staggered everyone when he walked away from PIMCO. Long accepted as next in line – ready to take over full countrol of the world’s largest bond investing firm when Bill Gross retires – people were shocked when Mohamed El-Erian left with no plans for his next career, no move to another investment firm.
His first interview in the four months since he departed PIMCO was this morning – with Betty Liu of Bloomberg TV. And while it’s all interesting to economics and politics geeks, the most memorable moment was him describing the interaction with his 11-year-old daughter that really provoked this change.
Egypt is keen to strengthen its “strategic relations” with the US, and work is currently underway to prepare for the first official visit by President Mohamed Morsi to Washington, the Egyptian ambassador to the US, Mohamed Tawfik, told Ahram Online.
In an interview given to Ahram Online by phone from his office in the US capital, Tawfik, who took up his ambassadorial post in September, said that the recent re-election of US President Barack Obama could ” help keep a good pace for the upgrading of relations between the two countries” given that the current US administration, despite expected changes, is well aware of the details of Cairo-Washington ties and of the demands that Egypt has made to the US.
“Ultimately Egypt and the US do have strategic ties and ultimately it is in the interest of the US as a world power and Egypt as the central Arab state to pursue cooperation on issues of common interest; but certainly continuity is useful at this point in time,” said Tawfik.
Cairo, according to its ambassador in Washington, is going to pursue the immediate processing of an economic aid package that the US promised in the first quarter of 2011.
“The transfer of an aid package of $450 million is a priority that we are currently working on; this is the first instalment of a wider aid package that the US has promised,” Tawfik said. He added that action is already being taken and that the US administration is working with the US Congress to finalise the matter soon…
However, as Tawfik stresses, there is more than simply aid at stake.
“Upgrading trade relations, especially through granting Egyptian products better access to American markets, and encouraging direct US investment in Egypt, are also matters that we would like to pursue actively with the US,” he added.
Economy, Tawfik insisted, is a top priority in Egyptian-American relations, given that it is clearly a priority for the Egyptian state at this point in time. But this economic interest, he added, does not undermine the political cooperation between Cairo and Washington, especially in relation to regional issues – the Arab-Israeli issue being a permanent priority.
Xenophobes, the whole range of nutballs that spawned birthers in the Republican Party will suffer exploding bowels over a visit from Egypt’s new president. Democratic elections have little or nothing to do with their ideology. Middle Eastern nations that have their first democratic election in decades are still expected to rejoice over Israeli’s apartheid politics, stand hat-in-hand waiting patiently for whatever largesse Congress deems appropriate.
The new era of global relationships, in fact, isn’t run as an exclusive American-controlled club. There are dozens of other free and independent nations waiting for the United States to participate in commerce as equals – or get out of the way.
Egyptian protesters detained and tried in incidents relating to the country’s uprising have received a blanket pardon from the president, Mohamed Morsi, to mark his first 100 days in office.
All felony convictions or attempted crimes “committed to support the revolution and its goals” were to be pardoned, the decree stated, with the exception of murder cases.
The pardon covers the period from the onset of the revolt against the regime of Hosni Mubarak on 25 January 2011 through the army-led transitional period that ended on 30 June 2012, when Morsi assumed office.
…”He might sincerely see that the people he is pardoning did a lot to bring him to power. Without the revolution there wasn’t a chance that Morsi would be president, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support and participation of the Egyptian people,” said Elijah Zarwan…
…The pardon will not extend to those detained during the clashes at the US embassy in September when irate protesters breached the embassy walls after the release of a film in the US deemed offensive to Islam and the prophet Muhammad…
Good politics, good sense and a good start to a new era. Let’s hope Egypt can continue on a course to democracy and progress.
Egypt’s new president on Wednesday hit out at Israel over its veiled threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.
President Mohamed Morsi received a rousing ovation for his first speech to the 193-member UN General Assembly since becoming Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected leader in June.
Without specifically mentioning Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal, Morsi said the Middle East “no longer tolerates” any country’s refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty “especially if this is coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats.”
“The acceptance by the international community of the principle of pre-emptiveness or the attempt to legitimize it is in itself a serious matter and must be firmly confronted to avoid the prevalence of the law of the jungle,” Morsi said…
Morsi also put the Israel-Palestinian conflict ahead of the Syria war in the list of priorities he laid out before the General Assembly.
“The first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving, on the basis of justice and dignity, is the Palestinian cause,” Morsi said.
He said that UN resolutions on the conflict had not been implemented and that Palestinians “must also taste the fruits of freedom and dignity” that other countries in the Arab region have won in the past year.
“It is shameful that the free world accepts, regardless of the justifications provided, that a member of the international community continues to deny the rights of a nation that has been longing for decades for independence,” Morsi said.
“It is also disgraceful that settlement activities continue on the territories of these people.”
The Palestinians have refused to hold direct talks with Israel for the past two years because of Israel’s refusal to halt settlement activities in the occupied territories.
It’s election time in the United States; so, the mindset of our out-of-date politicians demands statements and a belief that American Jews will vote in a bloc on questions regarding Israel. I don’t think that has been true for decades.
Given that our foreign policy hasn’t strayed from the side of dictatorships, lebensraum for Israel, guaranteed profits for Big Oil since the late 1940’s — I don’t expect principled changes from Congress or the White House anytime soon. Arm-twisting from American citizens is as necessary here as it ever has been for peace and civil rights.