Earlier this month, I travelled to Gambella in South West Ethiopia to visit the 100,000 ha farm managed by Karuturi Global Ltd ; an Bangalore-based company that hopes to use its farm in Ethiopia to become one of the largest food producers in the world. Karuturi has become the most visible symbol of what activists have termed “land grab” in Africa; a term that is as contentious as the process itself. At various times, Kafila has also carried pieces on the subject. Some the material put out by groups like Human Rights Watch has been hard to verify, but the process itself is worth following. Appended below, my Sunday story for The Hindu.
Gambella (Ethiopia): Last August, Ojulu sat smoking a cigarette outside his thatch-roofed hut in Pino village when a rising tide of water seeped through the reed fence. “The water came in the morning,” Ojulu said, “And stayed for a month.”
As Ojulu and his neighbours scrambled to higher ground the Baro river swirled through the village, gathering in force until it breached a series of dykes, built by Bangalore-based Karuturi Global, and swamped the company’s vast 100,000-hectare farm. “Karuturi blocked the natural route of the water [with the dyke], so the water came into our village,” Ojulu said. “Karuturi was the cause of the flood.” Read the rest of the story here
This is a guest post byARATI CHOKSIwith photographs byAYUSH RANKA
POSCO catapulted out of nowhere into the periphery of my imagination last year. On May 15, 2010, in a brutal show of aggression and violence, armed police battalions attacked unarmed protesters at Balitutha opposing a forceful takeover of their lands by the state for a POSCO steel plant. Members of police force set fire to shops, eateries and thatched homes, including the dharna site of people’s peaceful protest. Police fired upon unarmed protesters with rubber bullets. One person died, and hundreds were severely injured in this firing, many of these were women and the elderly. Continue reading POSCO and the People: Ayush Ranka and Arati Choksi→
Very often issues related to sri lanka are spoken in a manner that is disjointed from one another. We often do not have a clear holistic picture. Many of the problems in stands vis-à-vis sri lanka come from this lack. We need a holistic picture not just of the present situation but of past histories. The holistic picture needs to be rigorous and honest; based on continuous work on the area and gathering of knowledge. In the case of sri lanka, as in many other things in the world, the significance of this cannot be stressed enough. We barely have any reports that have come out of sri lanka that are either biased or have had to struggle to expose many things and those concerned have often paid a heavy price; sometimes the price has been their life.
A friend from sri lanka, who lives in Colombo, recently commented that, right now, the situation is worse than during the war in some senses. The surveillance and the hidden violence is so intense and widespread that it is hard to escape it and there is never enough warning. The quest to turn sri lanka into a Sinhala Buddhist nation governed by a fascist is well underway. All of this being done under the garb of democracy; a garb that has not been hard to look right through. Continue reading Issues in sri lanka today: A primer for activists in india→
[We publish below a press statement released by Prafulla Samantra and others, received via Biswajit Mohanty, which highlights just how the struggle of the tribal people in Kalinganagar is being met with the most ferocious repression by the local administration acting at the behest of the Tatas. Kalinganagar is emblematic of the many democratic mass movements and struggles that are being crushed by a predatory state in cahoots with corporate capital. – AN]
Yesterday the Collector of Jajpur district assured Dabar Kalundia, a tribal leader of Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch (BBJM) that he would come to Baligotha village on 28 March for a meeting with the dissenting villagers and find a solution to the prevailing conflict. But within a day the Collector has broken his word as today about 24 platoons of armed policemen have been deployed in Kalinga Nagar to suppress the democratic and non-violent movement of the BBJM. It is feared that there will be bloodshed at a larger scale than 2 Jan 06 when 14 tribal men, women & children were killed in a police shootout. The villagers fear the police will attack tomorrow morning. Continue reading Tata sponsored ‘Green Hunt’ in Kalinga Nagar to destroy democratic tribal movement→
As the shadows lengthen along Keonjhar’s main street, the tube-lit sign above Hotel Arjun flickers to life, illuminating both – the front entrance of the hotel and the cigarette seller adjacent to it. A solitary traffic policeman walks up to the junction right outside the hotel, and assumes his position on at the most significant crossing in town.
Fifteen kilometers down the road the ground shivers as a queue, over a kilometer long, shudders to life. Engine after engine revs up as a convoy, several hundred trucks strong, begins the next stage of the 325 kilometer journey from the iron rich district of Keonjhar in North Orissa to the port of Paradip on the coast. Continue reading Welcome to Ore-issa→