Παρασκευή 31 Ιουλίου 2020

SAO TOME - Les Îles Chocolat

Quelque part au large de l'Afrique, il existe un archipel isolé sur lequel pousse un arbre au parfum exceptionnel : Des graines de son fruit, la cabosse, on en fait des aliments parmi les plus appréciés et les plus consommés au monde : le cacao et le chocolat. L'histoire du cacao est intimement lié aux îles de Sao Tomé et Principe qui forme dans le golfe de guinée le deuxième plus petit état africain, et c'est à Principe que vit un robinson crusoé qui bouscule aujourd'hui les goûts et les codes de la planète chocolat, Claudio Corallo. 

Reportage : Jérôme LAURENT, Yvon BODIN, Pauline PALLIER © France 3 THALASSA 2013

Voyage à Sao Tomé et Principe - Septembre 2019

African women: asserting their rights

From Africa Renewal: 

Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women, the world body’s new agency on gender equality issues. 
Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women, the world body’s new agency on gender equality issues.
Photograph: UN Photo / Paulo Filgueiras

As elsewhere in the world, women in Africa are struggling for their fair share of political power and economic opportunity. In recent decades — thanks in great measure to their own organization and energetic efforts — they have made important strides. As Africa shakes off its legacies of autocratic rule, social marginalization and economic disarray, women are staking their claim to participate fully in their continent’s promising future.
But progress has been halting and uneven, and each step forward has been won against difficult obstacles and stubborn resistance. As in many parts of the world, gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched. Women suffer violence and discrimination across the continent. They lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and wage gaps. They are still too often denied access to education and health care. Few women are represented in key political and economic decision-making positions.
Accelerating women’s empowerment is obviously critical for women themselves. But as the UN’s global agency for women, UN Women, emphasizes, gender equality is more than just a basic human right: “Its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.” When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched UN Women in 2010, he observed: “Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong. Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable.”
Over the years, Africa Renewal has frequently reported on and analyzed many different aspects of the struggles of African women for political, economic and social advancement. This special edition of the magazine – with the generous support of UN Women — brings together a number of those articles, most of them with new and updated material.

The Africa Renewal articles highlight important developments at the summit of political power, such as the adoption by the African Union (AU) of a legally binding protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women. The AU has also declared the current decade, 2010-2020, as the “African Women’s Decade.” A few countries, such as Angola, Mozambique and South Africa have exceeded the 30 per cent benchmark for women legislators, while Rwanda has the highest percentage in the world. But in all African countries women still have a long way to go.
In some areas gender gaps have narrowed noticeably, as in primary schools, where nearly as many girls as boys are now enrolled. But completion rates remain low, and many girls still are unable to go on to secondary or tertiary education. Meanwhile, health care for women and girls has scarcely improved, while HIV/AIDS continues to exact a deadly toll on Africa’s women.
Repeatedly, the articles in Africa Renewal have noted that it is the hard work and commitment of women at the grassroots that can make the difference: the women farmers, traders, entrepreneurs and activists who struggle day-in and day-out to better their lives and improve the prospects for their families, communities and nations. If Africa is to have a brighter future, gender equality must be achieved. 

African women’s long walk to freedom

Across Africa, women’s movements are now putting more emphasis on decision-making power 
Across Africa, women’s movements are now putting more emphasis on decision-making power.
Photograph: Reuters / Mowliid Ibdi

Africa’s political independence was accompanied by a clarion call to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease. Fifty years after the end of colonialism, the question is: To what extent has the promise of that call been realized for African women? There is no doubt that African women’s long walk to freedom has yielded some results, however painfully and slowly.
The African Union (AU) now has a legally binding protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of women. The protocol spells out clearly women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination in a number of areas. It has been ratified by a growing number of African states, can be used in civil law proceedings and is being codified into domestic common law. The AU has also issued a Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, under which member states are supposed to regularly report on progress.
The protocol and declaration both reflect and reinforce developments at the national level. Many African states have moved to enhance constitutional protections for African women — particularly in the area of women’s rights and equality. And the last two decades have seen the emergence of legislation to address violence against women, including sexual violence.
Political representation

These developments have been accompanied by improvements in African women’s political representation. The AU adopted, from its inception, a 50 per cent quota for women’s representation, which is reflected in the composition of the AU Commission.
Again, this standard reflects and reinforces efforts to enhance women’s representation at the national level. Angola, Mozambique and South Africa have exceeded the 30 per cent benchmark for their legislatures. Rwanda made history in 2008 when 56 per cent of legislators elected to parliament were women, the highest in the world. A few countries, including Nigeria, have seen women assume non-traditional ministerial portfolios, in defence and finance, for example. And Liberia also made history (“herstory”) by becoming the first African country to elect into office a female head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Progress is evident, particularly in countries that have electoral systems based on or incorporating proportional representation. However, enhanced women’s representation has been harder to achieve in first-past-the-post electoral systems.
Even where there has been progress, the question is whether increased representation of women is catalyzing action by the executives and legislatures in favour of gender equality. That question arises because the battle for women’s representation is not only demographic (with political representation as an end) but also for gender equality (with political representation as a means).
Put another way, there has been a shift in the focus and strategy of the African women’s movement over the last two decades, from emphasizing capacity-building to improve African women’s access to resources to emphasizing decision making to enhance African women’s control over resources. This shift was made possible by real gains resulting from the capacity-building approach.
Education, poverty, health

These gains are most evident in African women’s education. Girls and boys are now at par with respect to primary school enrolment. Efforts to get girls into school have been accompanied by efforts to keep them in school and to promote role models by developing gender-responsive curricula. Gender gaps are also narrowing in secondary education. The real challenge now lies at the university level, both in the enrolment figures and in curricula to benefit young women. So much for the “illiteracy” element of the African independence clarion call.
Gains for women are harder to see in that call’s “poverty” element, however. It is true that since independence investments in micro-credit and micro-enterprises for women have improved their individual livelihoods — and therefore those of their families. Since African women have proved that they are good lending risks, micro-credit is now being offered not just by development and micro-finance institutions, but also by commercial financial institutions.
Yet there was a critique of such investments, especially in the decade of the 1980s when governments withdrew from social service delivery as a result of structural adjustment programmes. Under those circumstances, such investments essentially enabled redistribution among the impoverished, rather than at a larger level from the rich to the poor.
The end of that era thus saw a new focus on gender budgeting: looking at where national budget allocations and expenditures could enhance women’s status in the economy. Unsurprisingly, this approach has led African governments back towards public investments in social services.
It is now agreed, for example, that the benchmark for public investments in health in Africa is 15 per cent. The African women’s movement has called in particular for more to be directed towards reproductive and sexual health and rights. These areas are of critical concern to women, given the impact of HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality and violence against women, particularly in conflict areas. They are also of concern since African women’s continued lack of autonomy and choice over reproduction and sexuality lie at the heart of so much suffering. So much for the “disease” element of the independence call.
Where next?

Where to over the next 50 years, then? In light of the experience so far, the African women’s movement will be focusing not just on political representation, but also on the meaning of that representation for advancing gender equality and women’s human rights. And given recent retreats in Africa (such as the rise of the constitutional coup and “negotiated democracy”), the women’s movement will also be focusing on democracy, peace and security more broadly — that is, on the nature of the political system itself and not just on the means of getting into that system.
Economically, women will continue to focus on the macro-level, but in a deeper sense. What has emerged from gender budgeting efforts is the need to actually track budgetary expenditures, not just getting information about allocations.
It is also necessary to concentrate on the macro-economic framework for fiscal and monetary policies, especially in the context of stabilization programmes in response to the recent economic shocks. Previously that framework was assumed to be gender-neutral, but it clearly can have gendered consequences. This problem must be addressed to ensure that Africa’s growth will enhance women’s livelihoods.
Finally, the women’s movement will be focusing on reproductive and sexual health and rights. The battle over choice (including over gender identity and sexual orientation) is now an open one in many African countries. It is no longer couched politely in demographic or health terms.
The upsurge of conservative identity politics (in both ethnic and religious terms) is fuelling conflict on the continent. It constrains and dangerously limits women’s human rights, including reproductive and sexual rights. Such notions are not harmless — they have grave consequences for women’s autonomy, choice and bodily integrity. They therefore must be challenged.
African women’s long walk to freedom has only just begun.  

L. Muthoni Wanyeki is a former executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.


Παρασκευή 24 Ιουλίου 2020

Orthodox Diocese of Gulu and Eastern Uganda condemns the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque

Orthodox times / Patriarchate of Alexandria
Orthodox Diocese of Gulu and Eastern Uganda

In a message issued by Bishop Silvester, the Orthodox Diocese of Gulu and Eastern Uganda condemns the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, saying, “Together with all Orthodox Christians worldwide, and all Christendom, in general, we express our great grief and pain over the conversion of our Cathedral of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) into a mosque by the Turkish Muslim leaders.”

“As we mourn, we put our Hope in Christ our God, and as the psalm says: ‘we pour our supplication before Him; we declare our affliction in His presence’ [Psalm 141 (142)]. We condemn such an act as ungodly, unacceptable, unfair, uncivilised in times that as humans in our different nationalities and religions we are trying as much as we can to co-exist peacefully with love and mutual respect.”


Patriarch of Alexandria: Turkey adds a big thorn in the peaceful coexistence of religions

Orthodox times / Patriarchate of Alexandria
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon by the Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Athens, Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa expressed his great sorrow over the conversion of the most historical Christian monument of the East, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.
“Turkey adds another big thorn in the peaceful coexistence of peoples and religions,” said the primate of the African Orthodox Church.

Read the full statement of the Patriarch of Alexandria:

“With great sadness and concern, I was informed of the conversion of the most historical Christian monument in the East, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.

This challenge shakes things up and muddies, even more, the already troubled waters due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While during this period we must all fight together in harmony against the invisible enemy of the pandemic, Turkey adds another big thorn in the peaceful coexistence of peoples and religions.

While we in Egypt enjoy religious freedom and peaceful coexistence, and our President Sisi daily grants title deeds to our Christian churches, while the political and state authorities of our country freely allow us to operate our churches, to maintain them, to renovate and beautify them, in Turkey we see religious and cultural rights being used for other purposes, and, above all, we see history being altered and a new division is engendered for personal interests.

From the seat of St. Mark, we pray that logic will prevail and that God’s peace will reign over the world!”

The Patriarch of Alexandria discussed the Hagia Sophia with the Greek PM

Orthodox times /
Patriarchate of Alexandria

The meeting of the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa was completed.
According to government sources, during their meeting they had the opportunity to exchange views on the diverse activity of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate on the African continent, as well as on major current issues, such as the evolution of the pandemic.
The same sources point out that much of the discussion was devoted in the change of the status of Hagia Sophia and its conversion into a mosque, with both sides expressing their disappointment at this decision, which is a blow to the peaceful coexistence of religions and an unprecedented insult to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Government sources added that the Prime Minister praised the activity of the Patriarchate, which, as he characteristically stressed, is worthy of admiration and reiterated the full support of the Greek State in the mission of the Second Throne Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and in its multifaceted work.

Source: ANA-MPA

See also

The Church of Hagia Sophia, the largest church of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Christian cathedral of Constantinople, dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity (Jesus Christ) – 1453: Being trapped in the church, the many congregants and yet more refugees inside became spoils-of-war to be divided amongst the triumphant invaders – In early July 2020, the Council of State in Turkey ordered the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque!...

Eldress Konstantia from Africa, a Saintess in Greece

Click here please!...

Holy Virgin Abbess Sarah of Sketis in Libya (July 13)

Orthodox Church in America
In Greek (& the icon) here
It is written in "The Paradise of the Fathers" that Mother Sarah spoke these words: “If I were to ask God that all people might be built up through me, I would be found expressing contrition at the door of each one who repents. But I pray to God especially that my heart may be pure with Him and with everyone.”
Once two great Elders and anchorites left Mount Pelusium (in the northeastern Nile Delta) and went to see Amma Sarah. Speaking among themselves they said, “Let us humble this old woman.” When they came to her she said, “Be careful, you may be humbled by the words you have spoken. Behold, anchorites have come to one who is a woman. According to nature, I am a woman, but not according to my worth.”
Once she went to Sketis, and she was offered some food. She did not eat any of the best food however, she ate only the plain food. This was because she did not want to use her journey and her visit as an excuse to relax her fasting. Then they said to her, “Truly, you are like those who dwell at Sketis.”
It was said of Amma Sarah, the ascetic of Sketis, that the blessed one lived above a river for sixty years, but she never looked out from her abode to see it.
Mother Sarah said, “It is a good thing for a person to give alms, even if he does so in order to win the approval of others, because by doing this, he will come to do it for God’s sake.”
Saint Sarah brought many women to monasticism by the example of her holy and God-pleasing life. She reposed in peace in the year 370 at the age of eighty. 

St. Theodore of Cyrene in Libya & St. Andrew of Crete 
Holy Martyr Asclas of Egypt & St Thalassios the Libyan
Saint Thalassios le Libyen 
The Holy Amma Piama (Piamun) the Vigrin of Egypt

St. Mary of Egypt القديسة مريم المصرية (5th Sunday of Great Lent) 
Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria
About the African Martyrs Perpetua, Felicity, Saturus, Saturnius, Revocatus and Secundulus 
African Saints
Hymn to the African Saints


Τετάρτη 22 Ιουλίου 2020

The Church of Hagia Sophia, the largest church of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Christian cathedral of Constantinople, dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity (Jesus Christ) – 1453: Being trapped in the church, the many congregants and yet more refugees inside became spoils-of-war to be divided amongst the triumphant invaders – In early July 2020, the Council of State in Turkey ordered the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque!...

Image from here

Hagia Sophia - Wikipedia

Hagia Sophia (/ˈhɑːɡiə sˈfə/; from the Koinē Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, romanized: Hagía Sophía; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia, 'Holy Wisdom'), officially the Great Mosque of Ayasofya (Turkish: Ayasofya-i Kebir Camii Şerifi)[2] and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia,[3] is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul. Built in 537 as the patriarchal cathedral of the imperial capital of Constantinople, it remained the largest church of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire until 1453, when it was converted into an Ottoman mosque upon the fall of the city. In 1935 it became a secular museum, and in 2020 will re-open as a mosque. Completed during the reign of the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I, it was then the world's largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[4] and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".[5]
Built as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople between 532 and 537 on the orders of Justinian I, the basilica was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.[6] The present Justinianic building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed in the Nika riots. Being the episcopal see of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity,[7] its patronal feast taking place on 25 December (Christmas), the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.[7] Sophia is the Latin transliteration of the Greek word for wisdom and although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, 'Saint Sophia', it is not connected with Sophia the Martyr.[8][9] The centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially delivered by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1204, it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire, before being restored to the Eastern Orthodox Church upon the return of the Byzantine Empire in 1261. The doge of Venice who led the Fourth Crusade and the 1204 Sack of Constantinople, Enrico Dandolo, was buried in the church. 

After the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453,[10] it was converted to a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror. The patriarchate moved to the Church of the Holy Apostles, which became the city's cathedral. Although some parts of the city had fallen into disrepair, the cathedral had been maintained with funds set aside for this purpose, and the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers who conceived its conversion.[11][12] 
The bells, altar, iconostasis, ambo and baptistery were removed and relics destroyed. The mosaics depicting Jesus, his mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were eventually destroyed or plastered over.[13] Islamic architectural features were added, such as a minbar (pulpit), four minarets, and a mihrab – a niche indicating the direction of prayer (qibla). From its initial conversion until the construction in 1616 of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque, aka the Blue Mosque, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other religious buildings from the Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki and Panagia Ekatontapiliani to the Blue Mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex.
The complex remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the secular Republic of Turkey.[14] Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.[15] According to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015[16] and 2019.[17][18]
In early July 2020, the Council of State annulled the Cabinet's 1934 decision to establish the museum, revoking the monument's status, and a subsequent decree of the President of Turkey ordered the reclassification of Hagia Sophia as a mosque.[19][20][21] The 1934 decree was ruled to be unlawful under both Ottoman and Turkish law as Hagia Sophia's waqf, endowed by Mehmed II, had designated the site a mosque; proponents of the decision argued the Hagia Sophia was the personal property of the sultan.[22][23][24] This redesignation is controversial, invoking condemnation from UNESCO, the World Council of Churches, and many international leaders.[25][26][27][28]