Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poem: The path she took

By Richard Chirombo
In remembrance of the people we never know

I go back where she used to pass,
While sending involuntary tears to wash my heart:
"Oh, Dear, whisper in my ear,
The way it used to be, eh!
Whenever we, in oneness of frame, came here";
But only the winds talk,
As in the sun I walk.

"Just cough then, if me you don't want to see,
I never knew, Dear, that me you hated not double but times-Three:
Okay, at least my ground-thumping hear,
Because you hate me coming nearer,
Though time has washed the sadness clear";
But only the sun beats,
Chopping my heart to bits.

I go on, getting further than nearer
Tears of sleep crushing all the memories so dear,
Knowing that, with her again,we will never come here,
Sweetly afraid of the sun, moon, stars, dictators, autocrats and walking in fear.
Then, when breath united you and me, and love's intoxication drove us silly:
The sun, meanwhile, beats hard against my frame, as the winds in my lungs pass clear,
Because some darkness, riding the cover of time, swept your soul's plate clear.

U.S. Embassy to Commemorate World AIDS Day with Musical Performance

In commemoration of World AIDS Day the United States Embassy presents: “Mau a Malawi: Stories of AIDS”, a musical performance by Fulbright scholar Andrew Finn McGill, Peter Mawanga and the aMaravi Movement on November 30, 2011 at Crossroads Hotel Auditorium from 6:30 p.m.

The musical group fuses traditional African and American music with an acoustic guitar, mangolongondo (marimba) violin and Irish traditional instruments.

The commemoration will be held under the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) theme: "Leading with Science, Uniting for Action." The theme reflects the U.S. commitment to building on recent scientific advances to help move toward the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

The U.S. Embassy will host this event to honor the people in Malawi and around the world who have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic - those who are living with HIV, those we have lost, and the caregivers, families, friends and communities who have provided support.

Bulletin of Christian Persecution October 28 - November 27, 2011

October 28 - November 27, 2011

October 28, 2011
USA (hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Beirut Arab news agency al Nashra reported on Saturday November 22, that [White House Muslim envoy] Dalia Mogahed has succeeded in canceling a meeting between the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon and President Barack Obama.

Writing in al Nashra, the reporter said "an unnamed US source told the news agency, that those who sought canceling a visit of (the spiritual head of the Maronite Church) Patriarch Beshara Rahi to the White House are Dalia Mujahid (Mogahed), the highest adviser on Arab and Islamic Affairs in the State Department, who is from Egyptian origins. And that," according to al Nashra, "heeding a request by the higher leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, who consider that US Administration must support the Islamist Sunni current facing the Iranian current in the region."


To what extent was Egypt's Maspero massacre, wherein the military literally mowed down Christian Copts protesting the ongoing destruction of their churches, a product of anti-Christian sentiment?

A video of Egypt's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa (or Gom'a), which began circulating weeks before the massacre, helps elucidate. While holding that Muslims may coexist with Christians (who, as dhimmis, have rights), Gomaa categorized Christians as kuffar - "infidels" - a word that connotes "enemies," "evil-doers," and every bad thing to Muslim ears.

After quoting Quran 5:17, "Infidels are those who declare God is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary," he expounded by saying any association between a human and God (in Arabic, shirk) is the greatest sin: "Whoever thinks the Christ is God, or the Son of God, not symbolically - for we are all sons of God - but attributively, has rejected the faith which God requires for salvation," thereby becoming an infidel.

Nothing is known of two Christian brothers from Faisalabad (Punjab) who were seized by the Muslim landowning family that employed them. The two disappeared on 14 September. Since then, "We have no idea where they are, whether they are dead or alive," their mother told AsiaNews.

A money dispute between the two Christian farm workers and their Muslim landlords is at the root of their abduction. Police have not yet opened a First Information Report because one of the landlords is a police officer.

October 29, 2011
Muslims attacked Christians attending a Catholic celebration in southern France. The Joyeuse Union Don Bosco takes place in Nîmes, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady the Virgin of Santa Cruz, built by French people repatriated from the Algerian city of Oran following Algerian independence. These people were driven out of the place they grew up in by Muslim aggression. Now they face it in France too!

After a day of welcoming and reunions, around 7 pm, the participants were leaving in their cars and vehicles when "young Arab immigrants" from the city started to throw stones at the vehicles descending from the sanctuary. The local police, whose station is in this area, were immediately notified and the event organisers had to arrange a diversion to another route to protect the occupants of the vehicles from the savage attacks which continued.

October 30, 2011

In mid-October Egyptian media published news of an altercation between Muslim and Christian students over a classroom seat at a school in Mallawi, Minya province. The altercation lead to the murder of a Christian student. The media portrayed the incident as non-sectarian. However, Copts Without Borders, a Coptic news website, refuted this version and was first to report that the Christian student was murdered because he was wearing a crucifix.

November 1, 2011

Mohammad Amer, a Salafi Sheikh in Damanhur, Egypt, issued a fatwa prohibiting votes for any Christian, secular or liberal candidate, as well as any Muslim candidate who does not pray daily or call for the implementation of Shariah law.

Amer claimed that voting for any such candidate would constitute a grave sin. "I want the voters to vote in favor of the candidates of the Islamic movements and to oppose those who want to separate religion from the state. There is nothing called liberalism in Islam and there is no absolute freedom in our religion," he said to London's Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, defending the move.

Five Algerian Christians remained jailed in north-eastern Algeria Tuesday, November 1, after they were reportedly detained this weekend for "worshiping in an unregistered location."

Another Christian, a minor, was released and placed on probation following Saturday's raid in a village near the town of Bougous in north-eastern El Tarf province bordering Tunisia, news reports said.

November 4, 2011

Government officials in Iran are trying to convince a jailed pastor to return to Islam as he waits for the nation's supreme leader to decide whether he should be executed for converting to Christianity, sources close to the case told FoxNews.com.

Iran's secret service officials recently approached 34-year-old pastor Youcef Nadarkhani at his prison site in Rasht and presented him with a book on Islamic literature, telling him they would be back to discuss the material and hear his opinion, the sources said.

Nadarkhani remains in prison, awaiting a final verdict that has been drawn out and delayed amid heavy and targeted international attention to his case. Iran's judiciary has been caught in a bind, fearing the ultimate decision will have far-reaching political implications.

If Nadarkhani is released, the judiciary risks appearing disrespectful of the tenets of Shariah law. But if he is executed, Iran will face increasing criticism from the international community, which continues to petition for the pastor's release. Update HERE.

November 5, 2011

Egypt's Military Prosecutor decided on November 3 to continue the detention of 34 Coptic Christians for another 15 days, pending investigations on charges of inciting violence, carrying arms and insulting the armed forces during the October 9 Maspero Massacre, which claimed the lives of 27 Christians and injured 329. The court session was attended by more than twenty defense lawyers. The case was adjourned to November 18.

According to defense lawyers, most of the detainees were arrested after October 9, and some were not even at the Maspero protest and were just collected from the streets for "being a Christian." Three of them were teens under 16 years old and another had an operation to extract a bullet from his jaw and was chained to his bed in hospital, according to defense lawyer Ibrahim Edward. "After the operation he was sent straight to prison where he cannot eat without feeding tubes, so he lives on juices."

Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah, who criticized the army for the Maspero Massacre, was arrested on October 30, charged with inciting violence, seizing military equipment, and vandalizing military property. He refused to answer questions from the military prosecutors "in a case where the military is accused of committing a massacre when their APCs ran over peaceful protesters in front of Maspero on Oct. 9," said his lawyer Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, former director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.


Islamic militants shouting "Allahu Akbar", or 'Allah is great', carried out coordinated gun and bomb attacks on churches and police stations in northern Nigeria, killing at least 150 people and injuring some 100 others, aid workers and witnesses confirmed Saturday, November 5.

Militant group Boko Haram, or 'Western education is a sin', claimed responsibility for what Nigeria's President leader Goodluck Jonathan described as a "heinous" violence in mainly Damaturu, capital of Yobe state. Confirmation of the attacks Saturday, November 5, came as frightened mourners tried to leave their homes to begin burying their dead. More HERE.

Boko Haram, which seeks strict implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law, across the nation of more than 160 million people, pledged more attacks. More HERE. Update HERE.

November 6, 2011

Two people were killed in a suspected al-Shabab attack at a church in an eastern Kenyan town, a police official said Sunday.

Kenyan police chief Leo Nyongesa said that a woman and her two grandchildren were also injured when attackers hurled a grenade at the Pentecostal Church in Garissa late Saturday. Ibrahim Makunyi, the head pastor at the church, said the house near the entrance of the church that belonged to a church elder had been bombed. "One of the dead is a member of the choir, and the other is the son of the church elder," he said. Witness Mary Nginya said that after the explosion she heard attackers say "It is just the beginning," in Swahili.

Another bomb was thrown Saturday at a busy taxi circle frequented by military officers, but it failed to explode, Nyongesa said. More HERE.

November 7, 2011

The U.S. State Department is reporting that there is not one Christian church or school left in Afghanistan.

The absence of Christian churches and schools exists despite the decade-long war the United States has been fighting against the Taliban and the $440 billion taxpayers have shelled out for the war. According to the department's annual International Religious Freedom Report for July through December of 2010, released just last month, "There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church's claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March."

November 9, 2011

Text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and Christians, while most teachers view religious minorities as " enemies of Islam", according to a study by a US government commission released on Wednesday. The findings indicate how deeply ingrained hardline Islam is in Pakistan and help explain why militancy is often supported, tolerated or excused in the country.

"Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability, and global security," said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

November 10, 2011

Police in India's Kashmir Valley detained and beat converts from Islam and were expected to arrest Christian workers after Muslim leaders alleged that Muslim youth were being "lured" to Christianity.

Police in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley picked up seven converts who were recently baptized in All Saints Church in Srinagar, a local Christian who spoke to the converts after their release on Nov. 2 told Compass. Srinagar is the summer capital of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and the main city of the Kashmir Valley.

The source, who requested anonymity, said police beat the converts and asked if Christians had given them money for their conversion. Most of the converts were from Budgam district, about 18 miles from Srinagar, and pastors there fearful of being arrested were in hiding, he added.

November 11, 2011

Religious leaders, Muslim and Christian intellectuals, members of Indonesian civil society have all condemned the behavior of the Mayor of Bogor, Diani Budiarto, who continues to ignore the Constitutional Court's decision authorizing celebrations in the Protestant community of Yasmin Chuch.

For months the Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java Province, has been the victim of a blatant violation of law, perpetrated by the local mayor Diani Budiarto who, heedless of the dictates of a constitutional court ruling in favor of Christians, prevents the holding of religious services. The building was designed according to the dictates set by law and has the building permit, the IMB "legal document" needed to authorize house churches or places of prayer. Update HERE. (hat tip to JihadWatch)

Novembr 15, 2011

Bogor Christians celebrated Mass at home yesterday. After the ban on meeting at their church, members of the Yasmin Church (KGI) were not allowed to hold their Sunday service in the street.

Despite criticism and international focus on the case, Bogor Mayor Diano Budiarto continues to refuse to bow to public opinion and a court order. In his latest action, he has exceeded his authority and blocked all access roads to the Yasmin Church.

November 17, 2011

Hundreds of Coptic Christians marching in Cairo on Thursday came under attack by assailants throwing stones and bottles and 25 people were lightly injured in subsequent clashes, a security official said.
They were marching to demand justice for the Christian victims of a clash with soldiers in October that left at least 25 people dead, most of them Christians.

The official said the Copts were attacked in the northern Shoubra neighbourhood with stones and bottles, and that some among them responded in kind. He said supporters of an Islamist candidate for upcoming parliamentary election joined in the attack on the Copts. An AFP correspondent on the scene said hundreds of riot police were deployed to the area and that the clashes had eventually subsided.


One Christian left his native Somalia 10 years ago and another fled as Muslim extremists were bombing his house earlier this year, but both Somali converts from Islam feel they are still in danger in Kenya.

November 21, 2011

A Christian woman, Agnes Bibi was accused of defaming the name of the prophet Muhammad. Arrested for blasphemy, she had the original accusation dismissed and the case against her reduced to a lower charge. This allowed her to apply and get bail.

Police in Kashmir arrested Rev Chander Mani Khanna of the All Saints Church after the head of the Kashmir Shariat Court accused the Christian clergyman of converting Muslims in exchange of money. The case began on 8 November when Grand Mufti Bashir-ud-Din summoned him to appear before the court to explain the alleged conversions.

To back his accusation, the Grand Mufti used a video that appeared on YouTube that shows Rev Khanna baptising seven young Muslim men and women. The same video was then linked by other online platforms provoking an avalanche of verbal attacks against the clergyman. More HERE. And HERE.

November 22, 2011
Egypt (hat tip to JihadWatch)
Egypt's highest Islamic legal official denied on Tuesday that minority Christians faced sectarian discrimination and said Islamists would win no more than 20 percent of votes in next week's election.

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said Egypt had done its best to abolish discrimination against Copts, who make up 10 percent of Egypt's roughly 80 million population, but a small minority of radical salafist Islamists were causing trouble.

Coptic leaders accuse the army of not protecting them against salafist attacks and cracking down more harshly on their protests than others. About 25 died last month when army trucks charged a mostly Coptic protest in Cairo.

November 23, 2011

A militant group seeking to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, throughout Nigeria, has shot and killed two children of an ex-terrorist and "murderer" because he converted to Christianity, well-informed missionaries told BosNewsLife.

November 24, 2011

Paul Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic minister for religious minorities assassinated on 2 March, confirms the commitment for the "rehabilitation" of the name "Jesus Christ", banned last week along with a thousand words considered "pornographic in nature" or of a confessional nature. In the letter sent Nov. 14 to telephone operators, Garan ordered the installation of communications software to block forbidden words - in Urdu and English - including "naked, gay and ... Jesus Christ."

November 27, 2011

Nohad Halawi, who worked at Heathrow Airport, is suing her former employers for unfair dismissal, claiming that she and other Christian staff at the airport were victims of systematic harassment because of their religion.

She claims that she was told that she would go to Hell for her religion, that Jews were responsible for the September 11th terror attacks, and that a friend was reduced to tears having been bullied for wearing a cross.

Mrs Halawi, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, worked in the duty-free section as a perfume saleswoman of the airport for 13 years but was dismissed in July. Her case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, who say it raises important legal issues and also questions over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

It comes amid growing concern among some Christians that their faith is being marginalised and follows calls from Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, for Christians to be given greater legal protection in the wake of a series of cases where they have been disciplined or dismissed for practising their faith.

Politics of Love

The journey, never started by those taking to the last mile, has predictably been footy. Here a broken foot. There a faded knee.
Just like that.
What do I mean?
Watch this space!

The Many Beautiful Colours of Malawi

UK: Government is failing on HIV

.Pressure on clinics to prescribe cheaper HIV drugs

.HIV prevention education is inadequate

.Public service cuts risk undermining HIV services

.London - 28 November 2011

"The government has dropped the ball on HIV. It is apathetic and complacent. There are no major public HIV prevention campaigns, HIV services and treatments are under threat of cuts and thousands of new HIV infections are being diagnosed every year. The government's HIV strategy is flawed and failing," said Peter Tatchell, a long-time HIV campaigner and AIDS author who is Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

He was commenting in the run up to World AIDS Day, this Thursday, I December.

"London HIV clinics are under pressure to prescribe cheaper HIV drugs, which may not be as effective and may have more severe side effects. This could put at risk the health of some people with HIV. It is evidence of the potentially damaging consequences of public spending cuts and pressure on NHS finances.

"The closure or merger of some local and regional HIV services means that many people with HIV now have to travel longer distances to access good quality care and support. The time and cost involved can act as a disincentive to engagement with HIV services.

"HIV education is woefully inadequate in most schools. Teaching pupils how to roll a condom on a banana is not good enough. Very few students learn how to negotiate safer sex and what to do if a partner refuses to wear a condom. There is no popularisation of less risky alternatives to intercourse, such as oral sex, body rubbing and mutual masturbation. These alternatives should be explained in all secondary schools.

"What safer sex information is taught in schools is wholly oriented to heterosexual pupils. Gay and bisexual students get no specific advice on how to have gay sex safely.

"Many faith schools and independent schools are getting away with neglecting their pupil's HIV education. They put their own dogmas and embarrassment about sexual matters before the health and welfare of young people.

"Frank, detailed and effective HIV awareness and prevention education should be mandatory in all schools from primary level onwards, before pupils become sexually active and adopt unsafe sexual habits.

"The needs of gay and bisexual men continue to be under-resourced. HIV prevention campaigns targeted at men who have sex with men are not working, as evidenced by the number of new HIV infections.

"Access to effective HIV prevention information and to high quality HIV health-care are human rights. They should be available to all," said Mr Tatchell.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Maganizo Mazeze is new Saja boss

The Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) is pleased to announce election of its leader, Maganizo Fly Mazeze to the post of president of the Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA) at the end of its (SAJA’s) two-day regional congress held in the Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, from 26-27 November, 2011. The conference’s theme was consolidating journalists and media workers’ trade union rights and media freedom agenda in SADC.

Mr Mazeze has been elected into the position of the regional umbrella body for media related trade and workers unions for a three-year term. He takes over from Foster Dongozi of Zimbabwe, who has been at the helm of SAJA for the past six years.

In his acceptance speech after being elected, the new SAJA president said the challenges facing the media regarding remuneration and better working conditions in the region were similar. Mr Mazeze pledged that his new executive committee of five members will build on the prevailing successes of the organization to propel SAJA to grow into a forceful and influential regional trade union body. He said SAJA would try to use reason and not confrontation in addressing labour challenges facing the media in Southern Africa.

The JUMA president also said there is need to build the skills and knowledge capacity of unionists to ensure an organized, meaningful and purposeful fight for better working conditions and labour rights for journalists. The election of Mr Mazeze to the regional body will also increase visibility of JUMA activities in the region. For enquiries phone the below number.


George Mhango

JUMA’s Secretary General

Saturday, November 26, 2011

To You, Mummy, I Say...

Rest In Peace.

But the question still lingers in my air today, as I think of your passing on yesterday: Why did it have to be you?

At this time of year?


I am telling you, mommy, assuring you: I will be there with you, and see you go away, when tomorrow comes in Rumphi.

It is finished.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kambalu to refer heritage sites’ issue to Law Review

Lilongwe-based artist, Elson Aaron Kambalu, says his battle against
the demolition of heritage sites will not end with the Ministry of
Culture’s U-turn on demolition of the old District Commissioner’s
office in Lilongwe, vowing to submit pragmatic proposals during
Malawi’s next law review exercise.
Kambalu revealed in an interview that he feared for the future of
Malawi’s heritage sites and would not give up the fight until Malawi’s
next law review exercise.
Kambalu said, among other suggestions, he would submit a proposal with
the aim of safeguarding and preserving the Malawi’s heritage sites.
“We must not remember that we have children who may wish to refer back
to things at some point in their life. That is where the issue of
heritages sites, and the important role they play in a nation’s
history, comes in,” said Kambalu.
“Among other things, I plan to submit a proposal that all buildings
built before 1950 should never be demolished, except with a letter and
special permit explicitly written and signed by the minister
responsible for either land or tourism. This will promote
accountability in handling matters pertaining to our heritage sites,”
said Kambalu.
The artist added that the issue of heritage sites went beyond the
scope of the Ministry of Culture. He disclosed, therefore, that his
conservation efforts would also include proposals to review the
country’s land laws.
“I think the Land Act should also be looked into, though I don’t know
what it exactly says on issues related to heritage sites. All these
efforts are part of my heritage sites’ conservation efforts. In fact,
Malawians should be possessive of the handful heritage sites we have.
We have already lost so many treasured sites over the years,” said
Kambalu gave the example of Dowa district, saying, before Lilongwe
matured into a city, Dowa used to perform similar purposes to people
of both Lilongwe and Dowa. He said trade used to flourish in Dowa in
those days, but nothing has been done to preserve that history.
“So, even Dowa’s legacy should be maintained. We can make some of the
treasured sites in Dowa national property, and benefit a lot by
preserving its culture,” said Kambalu.
Kambalu came into the spotlight for penning the Ministry of Culture
against plans to demolish an old DC’s house in the capital city.
The Ministry has since suspended demolition works at the site.
Meanwhile, particulars of the individual or company involved in the
demolition remain unknown even to Kambalu.
“They hide the name of the individual, or company involved,” Kambalu said.

Oh, You, The Useless Super League of Malawi Officials

The Super League of Malawi (Sulom) is failing to finish a battle it started.
This battle, a war against hooliganism in soccer, started with Mighty Wanderers. That was earlier this year, when Nomads fans went on rampage after questionable referring from some former fisherman who decided to take a go at Malawi's miserable football.
In that game against Red Lions of Zomba, Wanderers could not get the secret to getting beyond the soldiers' defense.
And, as is custom in human affairs, they looked for a scapegoat. That scapegoat, as happens often in Malawi's amateur football, happening to the the former fisherman in uniform.
All hell broke loose. Literally.
It all started when the referee decided against what the Nomads felt was a penalty. Nomads fans started pelting stones on the pitch.
Everyone, including the Zomba-based soldiers, run for dear life!
Malawi National Council of Sports offices had their windows smashed.
The battle went to Masauko Chipembere Highway, where road signs, innocent vehicles were smashed.
In the end, the Nomads received an 18-games' 'Home Ground'-ban that started with one game without supporters in Balaka.
The Nomads have been paying dearly.
But that lesson, it seems, was not enough to cash-trapped, struggling Big Bullets fans.
On Saturday last week, they went on rampage, stoning and the like, at their traditional home, Kamuzu Stadium.
Of course, Bullets are too poor to have a stadium. Let along one as good as the Kamuzu Stadium.
But they stoned, unhappy with referring decisions.
For one hour and fifteen minutes, pl;ay was delayed. The Bullets supporters had invaded the pitch.
The Sulom chairperson only said the Bullets were wrong, and promised to mete punishment.
Up to now, there is nothing.
People are now asking whether these Sulom officials have started condoning violence.
But they are quiet.
That's how useless they can become.
At times.
They are part of Malawi's unproductive soccer story.
A story of sadness and heart-breaks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking for The One Who Said These Words:

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it
easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the
power they have to change it.Impossible is not a fact. It's an
opinion.Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare.Impossible is
potential. Impossible is temporary.Impossible is
non-existent.Impossible is Nothing."

President Bingu wa Mutharika Here

People said so many things, the time President Bingu wa Mutharika went holidaying in Asia.
Now, he is here.
And the noise-makers are quiet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Centre for Social Concern: Indifference in midst of biting Cost of Living

Beneath the surface of many of the disturbing moral, political, economic problems now looming is the growing incidence of non-altruistic economic decisions characterised by egocentrism and moral bankruptcy; first, was the RBM’s decision to construct a K43m worth swimming pool, and now it’s the people’s representatives in parliament who on Tuesday 15th unleashed themselves of their political party differences to unanimously endorse a Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets Committee report. If adopted it would warrant a 72% increase on their basic pay, translating into 61% increase on their remuneration package in the midst of the country’s economic turmoil and wide spread poverty that are making it very difficult for most Malawians to meet their basic needs. The foregoing decisions, made by both the RBM and the legislators, are unprecedented to and out of touch with the reality of most Malawians; it is reckless timing and leadership. In the intervening months, the costs of most BNB items have risen markedly, and to the distress of most Malawians, salaries are increasingly failing to keep pace as revealed in the salary survey carried out in July.
In the month of October, the price of maize hit an average of 11.7% increase in the four cities (Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba). Equally the rural areas have been badly hit by the rising prices of maize. The average cost of maize in Chikwawa stood at MK2, 040.00 in October, compared with MK1, 600.00 during the comparable period last year, representing a 22% increase; Kasiya registered an average cost of K1, 625.00 in October compared with K1, 250.00 in the same period last year, representing a 23% increase. The fact that the staple food is recording alarming price increase is indicative of hard times ahead. It also presupposes that low and medium income households can expect the largest fall in their disposable incomes in the months to come and would better prepare for a squeeze in attempts to meet basic needs, the like of which many people might have never witnessed before. It is a wake-up call to government and other stakeholders in people’s livelihoods to monitor the situation closely for timely interventions as the upcoming lean season might be more than what the country might have known in the previous years.
In these trying times the Catholic Social Teaching reminds the nation that “citizens and governments have duties to each other which must be carried out for the common good.” People have the right and the duty to use their public offices to further the common good. The financial institutions, private businesses, and Political Leaders can never give their interests priority over the common good. Subsidiarity as the rule of social organization is, in this case, a nudging reminder that larger government structures have a role when greater social coordination and regulation are necessary for the common good. For instance, considering that salary increases might be a fairy tale for most working Malawians at the moment, the government can contemplate other possible ways of distributive justice such as raising the non-taxable bracket from the current K12, 000 to K25, 000 and add further brackets to ensure that the income taxes are structured in such a way that the tax burden rises as income rises.
In these turbulent times, it is important to remember that people are the source, center, and purpose of all economic and social life and that the purpose of economic production is to serve people in their basic needs, mostly but not all. Accordingly, the CFSC is critical of the excessive economic and social differences among people or groups of people which violate social justice, equity, human dignity, and national peace (such as the looming civil servants strike warned by CSTU- Daily Times 17/11/12). It is also critical of the dangerous lack of balance between the few most affluent Malawians and the desperate masses.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So Much Petrol Now

However, what is not there are two things; one, a commodity, and the other, a human being.

The commodity that is not in Malawi is Diesel.

The individual that is not in Malawi is President Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika- Chitsulo chanjanji, Mose walero, Mapuya Mulupwana, aBingu Akayankhula!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Basketball Club Championship Slated for Friday, November 18

November 15, 2011

The Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) will hold the 2011 National Basketball Club Championship on Friday, November 18th and Saturday, November 19th 2011 at African Bible College in Lilongwe.

Eight teams drawn from all the three zones will participate in the games which will throw off at 10:00 a.m. on Friday culminating into a final at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The eight teams include Mimbulu, Blazers and ABC Lions from the Central Zone Basketball League; Nkhulande and The Rockets from the Northern Zone Basketball League; and Bricks, Magang'a and Crazy Warriors from the Southern Zone Basketball League.

A double knock out format will be used in the championship. There will be a gate fee of K200 for the final game which will be decorated with a three-point shootout and slam dunk contest open to players and fans. There will also be a raffle draw for various prizes and an auction for basketball memorabilia.

High ranking officials from the Ministry of Youth, Malawi National Council of Sports , the Malawi Olympics Committee and the corporate world have been invited to the event.

Mayeso Chirwa
General Secretary

Saturday, November 12, 2011

So, Is This Africa?

Dzilo lapansi...Lozunza ili, lozunza ili!!

Malawi: Going in Circles

Things are getting tough.
Very tough.
Someone, at the mountain he never knew, has lost direction.
No, it was direction- the real direction- he (for he is male) lost at first; now, he has lost even the 'sense' of direction!
Everywhere- in market places, fuel stations, beverage company off-loading and up-loading bays- the one thing that seems to grow is anger.
Queues, too, are getting longer by the day- the queues of impatience.
But, wait a minute, it all started well- this boiling of this pot called Malawi.
Everything was cooking well. The combination was good; this combination of egos that pushed this caravan of dreams.
The people who went to fetch the firewood did it between 1947 and 1958. The likes of Orton Chirwa.
Talk has it that, Chirwa- yes, the proud founder of the African National Congress which later chameleonated into the mighty Malawi Congress Party- knew, when he founded that old party, that fighting the Azungus could not be easy. It needed someone who was 'there; with the Azungus.
It did not matter where: Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada, everywhere- so long as the new leader ate with Azungu, drunk their wine, and escorted their children to school.
Kamuzu, as it were, fell into the equation. And so started the Malawi Congress Party on its mighty journey.
The cookers of this nation had started well. And this was because they fed into the combination of policies, politicians, and national euphoria.
Malawi's first elections in 1964 were democratic.
And all people were made to believe that it would be democracy through out. Wishful thinking!
It did not take long for the country's first political crisis to emerge. And that marked the beginning of Malawi's journey down the slopes.
Democratically, that is.
Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was a great leader. He did more for Malawi than any of the misguided leaders that have taken over from him.
But, somehow, life had its ups and downs.
Even with Malawi's Second Republic president, Bakili Muluzi, it happened. He started so well.
But ended shamefully on the veranda of greed!
But President Bingu wa Mutharika is the worst of them all.
Look. No fuel.
No forex.
No hope.
No nothing!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Obituary - Rose Robertson: 1916-2011

An edited version of this obituary appeared in The Guardian on 27 October 2011

Rose Robertson grew up in working class Deptford, south London, in the 1920s. It was an era when female children were often less favoured, as it was assumed they would never be a breadwinner. Her father, Arthur Laimbeer, a merchant seaman, was absent for much of her childhood and her mother, Rose (nee Crowley), treated her with an inexplicable lifelong disdain, which may have accounted for her later identification with the outsider and downcast. Keen to escape her stifling family life, Robertson twice during her teens ran away from home to join troupes of travelling actors.

She eventually settled into a series of secretarial jobs, most notably with a travel agency in Mayfair. The second world war transformed her routine existence and gave an outlet to her long suppressed adventurous, rebellious spirit.

Robertson was always reluctant to speak about her wartime role, partly out of modesty, partly due to trauma and partly because of what she described as a "sort of brainwashing we were subjected to during training, in order that we would not break under Nazi interrogation." She was referring to her enlistment in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1941. The counter-interrogation training was so severe and successful that for the rest of her life Robertson had great difficulty in talking about her time in SOE. When she was pressed by her family, it provoked extreme mental and physical distress that sometimes lasted for weeks.

According to her account to me, Robertson was parachuted into Nazi-occupied France. She spied on German troop deployments and acted as a courier, liaising between the French Resistance and Allied military HQ in Britain. She was once stopped and quizzed by German soldiers but managed to bluff them. When her network was betrayed, she escaped. But others were captured.

Robertson acted as an informal advisor to the producers of the film Charlotte Gray (2001), about a SOE agent in France. Watching the film bought back painful memories and caused her a temporary breakdown. For many years, she retained her treasured miniature SOE pistol, which she used to hide in her hair to avoid detection during street checks by German troops; only finally surrendering it during a police amnesty in the late 1960s.

I was not able to independently corroborate Robertson's wartime role because many SOE records were destroyed or lost.

However, given her reticence to talk about her war work and her frequent distress when she did, I am inclined to believe her. Loyalty to the code of silence is typical of SOE women agents. Apart from a few like Nancy Wake and Odette Sansom, most stayed true to their oath of secrecy and never told their stories.

After the war, Robertson returned to hum-drum secretarial work for an industrial clothing factory. She eventually married George Robertson, a retired music hall artist, in 1954, and devoted the next decade to her job and bringing up two sons. Rose and George remained happily married until his death in 1984.

Roberston told me that during her wartime work in France an incident occurred which contributed to her later embrace of the gay rights cause. She was billeted with two young male French Resistance agents. One night she entered their room and found them in an embrace. There was mutual embarrassment all round. Not a word was said for three days. Rose knew nothing about homosexuality and was curious. She eventually plucked up the courage to ask them. Both men told stories of family prejudice and rejection. Their story affected her deeply. She was shocked that parents could be so heartless towards their gay children.

But it wasn't until 1965 that she decided to do something about it. That year she took in two young male lodgers who she quickly realised were lovers. Hearing that they, too, had suffered because of their parent's homophobic attitudes, Robertson was eventually prompted to set up Parents Enquiry, Britain's first helpline to advise and support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children, which she ran from her Catford home in south-east London for three decades.

Robertson was soon flooded with over 100 phone calls and letters a week. These came from distressed gay teens, many of whom had self-harmed because of homophobic prejudice, and from parents who were variously bewildered, distraught, angry, guilty, ashamed and hostile towards their children's homosexuality. Often she mediated between parents and kids, nearly always successfully. As a middle aged and thoroughly heterosexual housewife, she was a reassuring figure. Occasionally, she was verbally abused and physically attacked by irate mums and dads. Usually she won them over in the end. She was also targeted by homophobes, with arson attacks on her home, excrement dumped on her doorstep and torrents of abusive phone calls and hate mail.

From the mid 70s onwards, a growing number of referrals came from the police and social services. Authorities who had been wary of supporting gay teenagers, some of whom remained classed as criminals until 2001, were impressed by her family-oriented approach to reconciling gay children with their parents.

Robertson won public support from Marjorie Proops and Claire Rayner, the leading agony aunts of the era. She was a frequent speaker at universities, churches and medical seminars, and was a regular on TV and radio throughout the 1970s and 80s.

During this work, Robertson discovered a natural flair for therapy and soon extended her counselling to all aspects of sexuality and to a wide range of mental and emotional issues. She refused payment, financing her work from her salary and later out of her pension.

Her defiance of convention led Robertson into controversial areas that many established psychotherapists steered clear of, notably psychopathy. She had a track record of moderating the behaviour of psychopathic people, often when orthodox methods had failed.

From her work on psyhcopathy, Robertson came to believe that much irrational behaviour, including some personality disorders and motiveless violence, may stem from emotions absorbed by an embryo before its brain is sufficiently developed. Only a few months ago, she began work on a paper arguing that psychotherapy needed to examine this contentious issue if it was to remain a force for progress.

Robertson continued working until shortly before her death, aged 94. She died peacefully while sleeping.

Her legacy is that she helped thousands of parents and lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers find understanding, acceptance and reconciliation. Until she began Parents Enquiry, gay children's parents were unrecognised and unsupported. Robertson highlighted a social need. Her pioneering work was replicated by others and it continues today through the services provided by Friends and Families of Lesbians And Gays (FFLAG) and Parents, Friends (& Family) of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG).

Robertson is survived by her sons Paul and Chris, her grandchildren Claire, Emma and Matthew and two great-grandchildren.

Rose Ellen Robertson, wartime SOE agent, therapist and counsellor to parents and their gay children, born 28 October 1916, died 10 August 10 2011.