Wednesday, April 28, 2010



Paul Warren Allen
North Central College Choir
I Am the True Vine
Uploaded by ilovemylifesblog

I am making my 1968 album into mp3s and trying to get them uploaded on Youtube in hopes that Paul Warren Allen will be able to hear them before he dies. He is 96 or 97 years old. I spoke with his daughter in January over the phone. She had responded to my letter that I sent to him. And then later I received a message on youtube that Professor Allen remembered the music by heart of this video

but he didn't remember making the album. He is diagnosed with Alzheimber's disease and lives in Florida.

Music stays with us when other things don't. Music is a blessing and a gift.


Conductor Paul Warren Allen
The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee
North Central College Choir
Uploaded by ilovemylifesblog

The choir roster can be found at this post


Uploaded by ilovemylifesblog
This video was taken with a really cheap camera in poor lighting. It is of the last Tuesday, April 13, 2010 rehearsal of our local theatre company's production of The Fantasticks. And since I was running the spotlight for all music portions, I could only video scenes such as this without music. Our President doesn't want youtube videos of our plays on youtube due to legal issues of copyright with the play's company, so I may not leave this up much longer.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


bravo rafa
UPDATE May 1, 2010
Rome Masters
Semi Final
Rafa Nadal defeated Ernests Gulbis
6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Championship Match - Final
Rafa Nadal versus David Ferrer
Sunday, May 2, 2010
10:00 a.m. USA EDT

22 pictures of Rafa in Semi Final Match

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his match against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Rafael Nadal of Spain jumps in the air as he celebrates defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during day seven of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 1, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images


Rafa enthusiastically signs camera lens after Rome Semi Final win
Uploaded by cbtweety77

After Semi Final Press Q & A

Semi Final Match Moments
Definitely worth the trip to this link - elmundo tv
You get to see the video of the pictures above
where Rafa jumps in the air with exhilaration.


UPDATE April 30, 2010

Rome Masters
Quarter Final
Rafa Nadal defeated Stanislas Wawrinka
6-4, 6-1

Semi Final
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Rafa Nadal versus Ernests Gulbis
Not before 10:00 a.m. USA EDT

interview and look for Rafa's pictures

QF Presser

Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on in his match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day six of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 30, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day six of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 30, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images


Highlights of the Round 3
Rafa Nadal defeated Victor Hanescu
6-3, 6-2
April 29, 2010
Uploaded by NadalPower


Last game of the match
Quarter Final
Rafa versus Wawrinka
April 30, 2010

Uploaded by Patxy270180
More of this match
And more
d by vamosrafelnadal and meriko100

UPDATE April 29, 2010

Rome Masters
Round 3
Rafa Nadal defeated Victor Hanescu
6-3, 6-2

Quarter Final
Friday, April 30, 2010
Rafal Nadal versus Stanislas Wawrinka
Center Court
Campo Centrale
Rafa's is the third match of the day schedule
The first match starts at 7:00 a.m. USA EDT

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning a game against Victor Hanescu of Romania during day five of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 29, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

UPDATE April 28, 2010

Rome Masters
Round 2
Rafa defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber
6-1, 6-3

Round 3
Rafa Nadal versus Victor Hanescu
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Center Court
or Campo Centrale
First match in the evening in Italy
2:30 p.m. USA EDT

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a backhand in his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany during day four of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 28, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Rafa Nadal
Round 2- Rome April 28, 2010
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Original Post

Easy, because he is simply a nice human being. Nothing pretentiou. He is kind, unafraid to show emotion and fun to watch on court. Now, if we could just get him to look like he once did on court...you know, the sleeveless shirts and I vote for the nostalgia of the pirate pants.

Vamos, Rafa!!

Rome Masters
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Round 2
Rafa Nadal versus Philipp Kohlschreiber
Center Court's second match
The first match starts at 7:00 a.m. USA EDT

The Tennis Channel is covering the matches

Website of the tournament:

Possible online viewing (for free)



For a fee

Fan Support Sites ~ Great sources of information

vamos brigade

Rafa's Babolat-sponsored forum

Rafael Nadal of Spain plays tennis with kids in a coaching session during day three of the ATP Masters Series - Rome at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on April 27, 2010 in Rome, Italy.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 26, 2010


Watch Food, Inc. Online

How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same as ever — a tomato still looks like a tomato — it has been radically transformed. Find out how by watching Food, Inc., available online through next Thursday, April 29, 2010.

EXPLORE: Health & Health Care, Family & Society, Environment

Watch Food, Inc. Online - Click post title

Food, Inc. will be streaming online in its entirety through next Thursday, April 29, 2010.

On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 2 p.m. EDT
live chat with director, Robert Kenner.

A number of other POV films are available in their entirety.
Watch more POV films now!


Almost all youtube videos of Food Inc are not embeddable. Although this clip is now an embed, it may not continue to be for long.
Uploaded by rishsticks


This upload of Food, Inc's trailer is now an embed.
It may not continue to be for long.

Uploaded by PaulChekLive


Documentary: The World According to Monsanto

Part 1 of 10

Uploaded by MonsantoMovie

The documentary is a look at the history of the Monsanto corporation and the genetically modified crops they engineer. Covered are: the implications for biodiversity and personal health, to the corporate control of food.

About the Documentary:

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Playing Catch Up...

Rafa defeated Fernando Verdasco
Monte Carlo 2010 Final

April 18
6-0, 6-1
This was Rafa's 6th straight Championship win in Monte Carlo, a record.

Rafael Nadal (Spain) beats fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco (Spain) in straight sets, 6/0, 6/1in the final. Prince Albert de Monaco gave the trophies to the finalists. Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2010, an ATP Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament, held on the clay courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Photo by PacificCoastNews.com

Rafael Nadal answers questions from the media after announcing his decision to withdraw from the ATP 500 World Tour Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell 2010 tennis tournament at the Real Club de Tenis on April 20, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe

Fernando Verdasco defeated Soderling
in the Final in Barcelona
April 25, 2010

Tennis player Rafael Nadal of Spain attends the funeral of former president of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch at the Barcelona Cathedral on April 22, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images Europe

Rome Masters Clay Tournament
Rafa has a bye in Round 1
He is seeded third
And he is in Federer's half
Round 2 Rafa will play Pablo Cuevas or Philipp Kohlschreiber

Website of the tournament:



NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE CHOIR ~ In honor of Paul Warren Allen, who was the head of the North Central College Music Department and Conductor of the North Central College Choir recorded here in 1968. Three years later the college eliminated the music department.
Uploaded by

Another song
from this album is at

A blog post
with the choir roster and more

I talked to Professor Paul Warren Allen's daughter in January 2010. If anyone wants to talk to me privately about Professor Allen or the NCC choir, go to my youtube channel page and on the left, click on "Send Message".

He is 96 years old.

I took the picture of the Native American painting in an underground space in Arizona.

At the end of this video is a movie clip taken by my dad and I forgot to credit him on the rolling credits. His name: Mark Hammel. The clip is of the choir boarding the bus after eating at my parents' house while touring the northeast of the United States. That is me running to the bus.

"The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee" composed by Jean Berger

From University of Colorado at Boulder:
"Guide to the Jean Berger Collection"

Jean Berger, composer and conductor, was born in Hamm, Germany, September 27, 1909. The son of Orthodox Jews, he grew up in Alsace-Lorraine and attended the universities of Heidelberg and Vienna. He studied musicology with Egon Wellesz and Heinrich Bessler, and received his PhD in musicology in 1931 from Heidelberg.

After serving briefly as assistant conductor at the Darmstadt Opera (1932-1933), he was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1933. He moved to Paris, France, and studied composition and orchestration with Louis Aubert and Pierre Capdevielle. He also conducted Les Compagnons de la Marjolaine, a mixed choir, while in Paris. In 1937, his choral work Le sang des autres won first prize at an international competition in Zurich.

For several years Berger toured Europe and the near East as pianist and concert accompanist. In Brazil, he was assistant conductor and coach at the Teatro Municipal and also taught for two years at the Conservatorio Brasileiro de Musica in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1941, he moved to the United States and became a citizen in 1943. During the war he served with the U.S. Army and produced foreign language broadcasts for the Office of War Information. In addition, he toured with the USO Camp Shows in all theatres of war. Subsequently, he spent two years as arranger, accompanist, and coach with the CBS and NBC networks.

He served on the faculty of Middlebury College in Vermont beginning in 1948 and then moved to the University of Illinois as assistant professor of music from 1959-1961. From 1961-1968, he joined the music faculty at the University of Colorado. In 1964 he founded the John Sheppard Music Press in Boulder, and later Denver, Colorado. As a musicologist, he has edited several 17th century works and has written on the Italian composer, Giacomo Perti.

Bergers compositions have been extensively performed by leading choral and orchestral organizations in Europe and the United States. His choral works constitute the bulk of his compositions, where he avoids an academic style, preferring a pragmatic blend of Franco-German folk music, South American melody and rhythm, and polyphonic modality. Brazilian Psalm (1941) has entered the standard American choral repertory, and it remains Bergers most popular composition.

Jean Berger died May 28, 2002, in Denver, Colorado.

Source: Jean Berger Composer

The Fantasticks

Our local theatre company - Portsmouth Community Theatre just completed a successful run of The Fantasticks. I ran the spotlight, which was a lot of fun.

What I liked about our production, was that most of the acting was not over done.

And the songs keep running through my head.


Uploaded by rockstarwrangler

Last night, I attended a concert by Susan Werner at Common Fence Music

A little gem here in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

I had never heard Susan Werner before. I bought two of her CDs last night after the concert. Above is one of her songs, May I Suggest. She is now from Chicago, but grew up in Iowa.

Susan likes Red Molly's version of her song, May I Suggest:

Uploaded by orfingirl


Uploaded by marketmonkeys
Susan talks about being an evangelical agnostic
The Gospel Truth


DVD on Sale Now:

The Imaginarium Doctor Parnassus with Heath Ledger

It is clear now, Sony Classics Pictures bought the USA rights to this final movie with Heath Ledger for one reason. Sony didn't advertise the movie, when it was released in the theatres, but now that the DVD is coming out, I have seen the advertisement on different TV stations. Sony bought it to make money on the DVD. Shame because it should have been seen on the big screen.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reporting on Rafa at Monte Carlo and Sudan Elections April 16, 2010


The last game with Rafa and David Ferrer
Uploaded by

After match interview with Rafa (in Spanish)

Interview after Semi Final with Rafa (in English)
Look for link for "Interviews" (Between "Highlights" and "Features")

Lee Goodall and Robbie Koenig talk about Rafa and Fernando in Monte Carlo Final
Use "Features" link for "The Experts' Preview"

UPDATE April 17, 2010

Semi Final
Rafa Nadal defeated David Ferrer
6-2, 6-3

Monte Carlo

Rafa Nadal versus Fernando Verdasco
Sunday, April 18, 2010
8:15 a.m. USA EDT

Any Rafa fan will enjoy this
There is a commercial first, and it's in Spanish until the very end

Monte Carlo

Quarter Final
Rafa Nadal defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero
6-4, 6-2

Semi Final
Rafa Nadal versus David Ferrer
Saturday, April 17, 2010
7:30 a.m. USA, EDT

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action in his match against Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain during day five of the ATP Masters Series at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 16, 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo credit: Julian Finney

13 QF Rafa pictures

End of Update

In this post: Rafa in Monte Carlo - up next Quarter Final match

Darfur, Sudan - news and action to take


Monte Carlo
Round 3
April 15, 2010
Rafa Nadal defeated Michael Berrer
6-0, 6-1

Quarter Finals
Rafa Nadal versus Juan Carlos Ferrero
Friday, April 16, 2010
Second match on Court Central
First match starts at 4:30 a.m. USA EDT

The Tennis Channel

Odd thing is
this tournament in France
has better TV coverage in the USA
than the two tournaments
that were recently in the USA - Indian Wells and Miami

Boo on USA Tennis TV Coverage
It is the pits
especially CBS

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action in his match against Michael Berrer of Germany during day four of the ATP Masters Series at the Monte Carlo Country Club on April 15, 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe

Possible online viewing (for free)



For a fee

Fan Support Sites ~ Great sources of information

vamos brigade

Rafa's Babolat-sponsored forum

The Tournament Website:

Monte Carlo masters


Important website with up-to-date on-the-ground reports i on sudan

Open letter by Sudan Democracy First Group to Jimmy Carter Center is below and can be found at ionsudan.net/reports

Please consider emailing the letter to Jimmy Carter's Center at : carterweb@emory.edu

I did.

Here is the letter by Sudan Democracy First Group

April 15, 2010

Dear Mr President,

It is with regret that we find ourselves compelled to write this letter to you on the eve of the close of polling in the Sudanese “elections”, three days before the expected declaration of victory for the National Congress Party (NCP) and its indicted President.

Once more we are writing to ask you to withdraw your observer mission from Sudan and salvage your own personal reputation and that of the Carter Center. Your mission is based on the Declaration of Principles for International Observation and Code of Conduct for International Observers which defines democratic elections as, “an expression of sovereignty, which belongs to the people of a country, the free expression of whose will provides the basis for the authority and legitimacy of government”. It further recognises that, “the rights of citizens to vote and to be elected at periodic, genuine democratic elections are internationally recognized human rights”.

As you will be aware over the last 5 days there have been hundreds of reports of inference with the right to vote from domestic sources, including the media, party agents, and independent civil society groups. The election has been riddled with massive irregularities and fraud not only with respect to matters relating to the voting itself such as the absence of candidates from ballot papers, the rigging of voter registration, and the use of non-permanent voter ink, but also commission of crimes such as the burning of election centers, the beating of voters, forced voting based on violent threats, summary trials of citizens in Khartoum, arrest of candidates, attacks on domestic monitors and so on. Indeed even Mr Alhaj Warrag, a prominent journalist and co founder of SDFG was charged under the Sudanese Penal Code with “waging war against the state” simply on the basis that he wrote an article on April 6th which called for a boycott of the already rigged elections.

It may be as a result of language and cultural barriers that you do not comprehend these incidents, but it is astonishing to us that your public statements since your arrival completely run counter to the on-the-ground reports and realities, seeming to only echo the pronouncements of the NCP and officials from the National Election Commission (NEC). In fact despite your Center’s declared policy of not making public statements during the course of voting, you appear to have judged it necessary to continually speak to the media and to make statements about the election. For example on the 13th of April you told AFP that the problems being reported were “administrative problems” that there was “no evidence of fraud so far as I know."

These statements not only completely ignored the facts and realties on the ground during the polling days, but also jeopardise the efforts of your own staff to monitor the elections fairly and prepare an accurate and credible report. Your statements also undermine the positions of the major political forces and only serve to inflame the fragile political and security context. The boycott of the elections by the majority of the Sudanese in fact helped to prevent the threat of violence, contributing to maintaining the fragile social stability. If there had been a real choice could you imagine the reaction of millions of Sudanese encountering the massive irregularities and fraud which have unfolded during the polling days. You should indeed thank those who boycotted the elections for saving Sudanese lives by preventing bloody confrontation.

Our belief as SDFG is that the opening of the polls was simply the second phase of the well prepared rigging process for this election. The pre-polling prerequisites for legitimising the victory of the NCP and its President were already in place well before April 11.th As our latest public statement put it, “the census results were manipulated, constitutionally inconsistent laws were deployed restricting basic freedoms, electoral constituencies were delineated to suit the interests of the NCP, the voter register was maneuvered around predicable and determined outcomes (places and votes), and State resources were monopolized, including access to the media and corrupt and unlimited expenditure during the campaign.”

The Carter Center had already reported on these major violations of the pre-election process: indeed the assessment of the Center was one of the main bases upon which the major political parties made the decision to boycott the elections. You will be very aware that Center itself was also a prime target of this intimidatory violence with its staff suffering harassment, arrest, interrogation and expulsion. We are completely at a loss to understand why your public statements contradict not only those of independent Sudanese voters and major political and civic forces of Sudan but also the findings and assessments—and experience—of the Carter Center. Your latest statements have given rise to distrust on the part of Sudanese people towards the Carter Center that will certainly overshadow its impartiality.

In Darfur after issue of the arrest warrant for President the violent threats and attacks by the NCP on the international aid community and Sudanese civil society went largely unchallenged by the international community. Forced submission to the power of the NCP paralysed the Darfur region, creating an increased state of fear. Once again in the context of these elections the vicious threats and attacks against the international community – this time against election observers –have been swallowed with little protest, let alone withdrawal and refusal to lend legitimacy. Sudanese people watch as the international community once again abandons the civic and political rights of the citizen and the future of democracy to the ascendency of the NCP. The international community already failed when they sacrificed justice in Darfur for an illusory peace with the Darfur Peace Agreement, and they achieved neither. Now with the current elections internationals need to learn that peace and democracy are also inter-related and interdependent: there is no room for further failure that costs more Sudanese lives.

We note with appreciation that European Union observers pulled out of Darfur: yet you did not, relying on an inexperienced UNAMID assessment. UAMID officers were kidnapped in the last days as a statement against their complicity in these elections. Was Mr Ibrahinm Gambari the head of UNAMID the appropriate authority to give the go ahead to the Carter Centre to deploy and monitor elections in the war zone of Darfur? The internally displaced communities, Darfurian civil society, rebel groups, and major political parties had all said elections in Darfur were impossible—whether in terms of their very conduct, fairness or appropriateness. The Carter Center’s deployment and monitoring of polling in Darfur is only adding to the political and security fragmentation of Darfur. We are sorry to see now that your judgement about elections in Darfur only adds to the questions which were raised about your statements in 2007 on the scale of the atrocities in Darfur when they were used indirectly to support NCP propaganda at that time.

As a civil society Sudanese coalition including representatives from a range of communities, farmers, workers, displaced people and activists, we appreciate the international community’s acts of solidarity and support towards Sudan. We are committed to the rules and principles of international instruments and institutions. We will however openly reject any paternalism or neo-colonial attitudes towards the will of the people of Sudan.

Mr. President: As a leader coming from a country which has progressed thorough a long heritage of democratic principles and practices, we expected you to respect and observe that human beings, regardless of their wealth, colour of skin or geographical location are entitled to exercise their political will safely, freely and fairly. This is the only sustainable means for peace and stability.

We are deeply disappointed Mr President that despite your avowed independence as observer and your profile as a leader of democracy in your country you appear to have become part of the recent invasion of conservatism and international and regional actors to pressurise Sudanese political forces to not boycott the elections. SDFG and many advocacy groups have reported and documented the orchestrated efforts led by the US Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, to bring on board leaders such as former South African President Mbeki, organisations such as the Arab League, individual countries, and pro government regional NGOs. As we noted in our last statement which challenged such kinds of international interference, the right of self determination for the people of South Sudan, and popular consultation for the people of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, must be protected and implemented on time with international support, "without any compromise or connection with the current corrupted electoral process”.

The Carter Center’s reputation is on the line in Sudan, with the imminent reproduction of a regime with a history of two decades of repression and violence and the future of peace, stability and democracy in Sudan in the balance.

We ask you to consider your position very carefully and withdraw prior to the announcement of the already known results of these “elections”.

Yours sincerely,
Sudan Democracy First Group


Reporting on the Sudan Elections

On the last of five days of polling in Sudan, reports from across the country continued to document technical problems, electoral irregularities, and unfortunately violence and intimidation.

News was dominated by reports that nine members of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) were killed in South Sudan three days ago. The NCP blamed the Sudan People's Liberation Army - but SPLA leaders denied the violence was coordinated and described the incident as an isolated, individual crime by one of its soldiers. In other news, the youth movement Girifna reported on its website that two of its members had been detained in Khartoum yesterday. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Sudanese authorities to immediately drop criminal charges against prominent journalist and opposition party member Al-Haj Ali Warrag. Authorities charged Warrag on Sunday with "waging war against the state" in connection with an article that he published on April 6.

The National Election Commission yesterday estimated the voter turnout ranged widely from 63% to 82% in each state, though these figures have been questioned. With polling now complete, all eyes turn to the announcement of results and the reaction of world leaders across the globe. Vote counting will begin tomorrow and the National Elections Commission plans to begin releasing results next Tuesday, April 20. Many Sudanese fear the possibility of post-election violence.


Sudanese Voices


Pictures, Summaries and Facts about Elections

Headlines from Last Two Days


Uploaded by ilovemylifesblog

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Girifna By Mao أغنية قرفنا للفنان ماو


Girifna By Mao
Mixed by Kino Music: Gully Slime Riddim
Uploaded by aymanmao

Girifna is a grassroots activists group in Sudan - standing up for justice in a country that doesn't allow such things.

Click post title to go to Girifna website

And become a fan at Facebook


Observer Missions Must stop Lending their Credibility to Sudan’s Elections

Source: http://www.girifna.com/?p=1368

Posted on April 8 2010 by sunflower

Statement No (2) by Sudan Democracy First Group

April 6, 2010, (Khartoum/Juba)

International elections observer missions should immediately pull out of Sudan. These groups appear to no longer be able to fulfill their mandate and serve only to legitimize a deeply-flawed elections process.

International observer missions have so far been subject to severe government intimidation. The Sudanese government harshly criticized the Carter Center after publication of its report on March 17, 2010 which detailed significant violations in the elections process throughout all stages including fraud and repression of speech and other freedoms. The report also described the uneven playing field for political parties and unequal access to media suggesting technical advises to enable National Election Commission (NEC) to handle the electoral process. Since then the Sudanese government has on multiple occasions threatened all international observer groups more broadly. On March 22 President Omar al Bashir publicly threatened to cut off the noses and fingers of internationals who “intervene in internal affairs” and endorsed any delay of elections. He repeated this threat on April 5 in Jazeera State. Threats to international actors who intervene to oppose any postponement of the poll—such as for example, the United States Special Envoy— are conspicuously absent.

Rather than publicly disclose the extent of the program of harassment and intimidation that has accompanied these public threats of violence by the President and his aides, international observer missions have been cowed into silence or inside doors in bilateral discussion with the same NCP. They have not spoken out about the harassment and intimidation they are suffering—including the arrest and interrogation of their local staff and unlawful search of private homes— expulsion of one of their international staff and other obstacles to their operations such as, denial of visas and bureaucratic obstacles to deployment. Some reports even suggest that the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), which spearheaded the expulsion of humanitarian organizations last year is ready to step in this campaign of harassment against both national and international NGOs involved in elections observation activities.

The threats and harassment suffered by international observer missions have undermined their ability to honestly report on the continued violations—in effect to carry out their basic missions. The Carter Center and the European Mission, for example, have already made it clear in different conversations that they will not release any statements until after the elections are over. Ironically, a senior NCP officer told journalists that they will not hear from election observers before the results of the elections. Furthermore, Khartoum press quoted the Deputy NEC Chairperson that they agreed with Carter Center not to issue such reports that harm the electoral process. Absent capacity to acknowledge the current environment of threats and intimidation being faced by those who voice concerns about election process violations, the continued presence of international elections observers in Sudan does not serve the function intended, that of observing and analyzing the electoral process and contributing to improvements through constructive engagement with the authorities. This inability also renders naught the public guardianship role which is envisaged for international and domestic observers in how their mandate is described in the National Electoral Act. Further, the President’s violent threats to those international observers who express reservations about the process de facto violate the memoranda of understanding and other bilateral accords which are the basis upon which international missions have been permitted to access the territory and, in return, to exercise the mandate given to them by their relevant inter-governmental or non-governmental controlling organs.

This silent acquiescence by international observer missions in the face of increasing repression also undermines the attempts of local domestic observers to monitor the process. Today, for example, a number of local organisations, all of which have been internationally recognized as independent civil society experts, were summarily informed they would not be permitted to participate as election monitors by the NEC. The NEC refused to provide either a copy of this determination in writing or reasons for the decision. The silence is contributing to the climate of fear and insecurity which is unfolding around the elections, adding to both the apprehension and probability of violence and greater repression.

To date, there are a large number of observer missions in Sudan: The Carter Center, European Union, African Union, IGAD countries, Arab League, Great Lakes group and individual country missions such as Egypt and Japan. Except for The Carter Center, all of these missions arrived only recently, and were not on the ground to witness the majority of the rigging and fraud and other violations that have been documented by The Carter Center and other international groups including the International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch and Save Darfur. The utility of these short term observers is highly dubious in the context of an election process which has been determined by many of the main opposition parties to be so fundamentally flawed that they have withdrawn their candidates or are urgently seeking a postponement of the vote. Indeed, many Sudanese are questioning the role of some regional groups as being solely supporting the perpetuation of status quo.

In this environment, the presence of international observers appears to serve only one interest — the political interest of the ruling National Congress Party. By remaining as a part of the process, these missions lend the appearance of legitimacy to what has been proven to be a deeply flawed elections process and the presumed re-election of a man who is internationally wanted for war crimes in a vote that is neither free nor fair. As tense political dynamics unfold and possibly turn violent in coming weeks, loud and forceful comment is needed. Unless there is a change in the will and capacity of international observer missions the record shows that their fearful silence will in effect render them complicit in what unfolds. If they cannot challenge threats to the integrity and safety of their own missions and personnel what kind of defense of the rights to democratic participation of the people of Sudan can be expected? International election observer missions must stop lending their credibility to this process.

Sudan Democracy First Group is:

A coalition of democrats and for Sudan activists, trade unionists and academics men and women representing Sudan different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The main agenda of the initiative is to voice the concerns of the voiceless Sudanese people across the country in the current critical moment the country is going through. The initiative is connected to other initiatives formed by Sudanese people in different centers across Sudan.

For contact: mubadra4democracy@gmail.com

Labels: , , , , ,


Arrest & beating of girifna members inspecting elections

Source: www.girifna.com

April 14, 2010 (girifna)–This afternoon two of girifna activists were subjected to the terrible acts violence, beating and destruction of property by 10 members of the NCP ,while the police personnel watched indifferently.

Mrs. Najla Seed Ahmad (a well known human right activist , courageous reporter and a girifna volunteer) and Mr. Bakri Ahmad Weda-talla (a youth activist) were reporting voting irregularities in Omdrman- Omdada district- Alamir 1 constituency– known to be an opposition strong-hold area’.

They were unlawfully detained by a team of NCP workers/ security forces personnel and beaten brutally on the street because they refused to be taken to “undisclosed location”. They were then taken to the nearest police station after girifna was able to leak the news to the local and international media, and false charges were registered against both of them. The first charge was kidnapping, which is soon replaced by more realistic and effective one: ”indecent behaviour’ !!

Girifna demands that the aggressors, one of which is identified as Mr. Najam aldeen Khogali Abas ( a local NCP leader) and his gang. be put to justice and that measures are taken to protect Sudanese civil rights activits from such practices in the future. Girifna shall not be intimidated by such acts of terror and will not stop at anything short of a free and democratic Sudan no matter what sacrifice we have to pay. We ask the NCP regime to respect basic civic and political rights granted to us through Sudan’s Interim National Constitution.

We plead with the international community and peace loving nations to stand by the Sudanese people who are suffering the most terrible abused for just standing for their basic civil rights denied to them by the regime in Khartoum .

Sudanese women cast their votes in Hosh Bannaga, the hometown of ruling President Omar al-Bashir, on April 12.


A Sudanese boy holds a bunch of southern Sudan flags picked up from the ground after a political rally in Juba on April 9.


An election worker prepares a ballot at a polling station in Juba on April 11.


Residents of a neighborhood in Juba, sit in the shade next to a collection of rocks, pieces of bone, old boots, and discarded boxes marking their place in line outside a polling station on April 13. This group waited for hours for the station to open but were never able to vote.


Supporters of the current south Sudan leader and head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir, wave flags and portraits of him as his bodyguards pass during a rally in Juba on April 9.


More pictures here

Girifna Political Activism is a Brave Proposition in Sudan

[Montréal, Québec, Canada 13°C] Political dissent could be a dangerous activity, depending on where you live and how your government treats dissenting voices. In Sudan, reaction to dissent in Darfur by the Sudanese government led to mass displacement of its population into refugee camps in Chad or into displacement camps within Darfur. Reaction to dissent by rebel groups also led to violent attacks, mass killings, and other tactics that were commonplace during the North/South civil war that ended in 2005.

(source: A mugshot of Omar al-Bashir taken from Girifna Facebook page.)

These government tactics also led to the International Criminal Court arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. Charges of genocide are pending review.

A Geoffrey York article published yesterday in The Globe and Mail, introduced me to a dissident group based in Khartoum called Girifna, which according to their website literally means “we are disgusted” and metaphorically, “we have had enough.” They describe their beginning:

In the evening of October 30, 2009 a group of three friends in Khartoum noticed on the eve of registration day that Sudanese citizens had no information about where to go to register and no national campaigning by the government or civil society groups was taking place. This was a problem, because no registration meant no voting. The group was propelled to start a peaceful quest for change based on a campaign that urges citizens to register so that they have a role in ridding the country of the National Congress Party (NCP) that has ruled for 20 years through a military coup. On the following day the group printed informational brochures urging people to register and they received support from many others who helped with the funding and distribution.

Voter education is Sudan is important, particularly since there has not been any multiparty elections in the country since 1986, so much of the population have never had the opportunity to choosing their government representatives.

High illiteracy rates throughout the country—particularly in outlying regions in the South, Darfur and elsewhere—makes voter education necessary to consider the elections free and fair. With government control of most of the media landscape, popular education like handing out anti-establishment voter education pamphlets (see video below) by Girifna activists is indeed an act of bravery.

Click post title for Obama's Sudan Fumble

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Click on article to enlarge
My letter to the editor published in
The Newport Daily News

Weekend Edition
April 11 - 12, 2010


Mia Farrow put a film together, with her editor, to give people a sense of what the Darfur Archives are so far and aspire to be for Darfur's tribes.

Because of the sound and length, it might take about 10 minutes to download. The video is about 10 minutes long.
MIa Farrow documents traditions of Darfuris

It is very well done. Well worth your time to see.

About the elections in Sudan:

Darfur Vote Boycott
VOA TV to Africa
Uploaded by TV2Africa

ACJPS Records Continuing Violations in the Second Day of Voting
Contact: Osman Hummaida, Executive Director at
Phone: +447956095738
(13 April 2010) Following the second day of voting, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies noted that the National Elections Commission (NEC) had failed to solve many of the technical and procedural problems reported in the first day of voting. Although the NEC attempted to portray problems as isolated incidents, admitting problems in only 26 polling centres, reports from national observers and representatives of candidates indicate that the problems are widespread.
ACJPS has documented a number of abuses, including:
· Delays in opening the polling centres: A polling centre in Aldaim Area was opened at 12:00PM rather than 8:00AM as stipulated by the NEC.
· Irregularities in voters’ lists: The Osman Abashar Tayba Falatah Centre in constituency number 16 of Jazeera state had still not been provided its voter’s list on the second day of voting. In geographic constituency number 39, a polling centre at Alshaheed Altahir School, the voter’s list was missing all names starting with the letter L. In geographic constituency Um-Doum Al-dalang in South Kordofan, the voters list at the polling centre was completely different from the NEC approved list. In Kadguli in the Nuba mountains where the SPLM and other political forces have majority support, the number of voters on the list dropped from 38,000 at the end of the registration to 29,000 at the opening of the polls. Meanwhile, the Alrashad Area in South Kordofan, believed to have majority NCP support, had the number of the voters increased by 63,000 from the closing date of registration. In the Kalbos and Seriya constituencies in West Darfur, 200 names on the voter rolls were identified by local observers as individuals who had died years before the registration had taken place.
· Inconsistent voting requirements: In constituency number 2 in central Omdurman, the director of the voting centre refused to permit individuals to use residency certificates as proof of identity, despite NEC’s position that these should be accepted. Although the use of these certificates has been controversial, it is important that standards be consistently applied.
· Irregularities in ballot papers: The independent candidate Dawod Ahmed Eltahir, running in geographic constituency no 2, South East Elfashir Centre 19, Altaahiel Altarbawi area reported that he could not find his name or symbol on ballot paper and the NEC suspended the voting. In Soba and Albgogaa Alula constituencies, the symbols of candidates were incorrect. The SPLM and the Justice Party of Maki Ali Balayil believe that they have strong support in these constituencies. In addition, political party representatives were not allowed to watch ballot boxes at the voting centres, as provided for in the electoral procedure. In Alobied, centre number 16, the list of political parties list was not received at all. In geographic constituency number 34 of Umbada in Omdurman, the symbol of the independent candidate did not appear. In Wasat, constituency number 3, in Nyala, the symbol of the Popular Congress Party was missing from the ballot papers.
· Denial of access by representatives of political candidates from the polling centres: In Touti centre, in geographic constituency number 27, an electoral official dismissed Nahla Sluiman Alameen and Mohamed Salih Rafai, representatives of the independent candidate for the national assembly seat Suliman Alameen. These two had objected to many violations to the rules of voting (these objections had included permitting mentally incompetent persons to vote and the granting of residency certificates without provision of identification or registration numbers), and their camera was broken. In the same centre, two representatives of political parties had been arrested on 11 April, including Mohamed Isam of the Popular Conference Party. 12 Beja Conference representatives were kidnapped in Haya, in eastern Sudan. The Beja candidate today filed a complaint with the Port Sudan police.
· Irregularities in handling ballots: Polling boxes were not delivered to polling centres in Kawda and Buram in South Kordofan. In Constituency 8 of Jabra in south Khartoum, boxes were observed being handed over the wall of the polling centre by army officers who were not charged with elections duties. The Democratic Unionist Party candidate, Wagie Alla Mohamed Alhaj, withdrew from the race because of this incident, claiming that it was a clear attempt to rig the vote. The NEC acknowledged the incident, but described it as a mistake saying that the door was closed, which is why the boxes were moved over the wall of the centre. In El Geneina, a car without license plates carried away ten boxes of ballots without being accompanied by election officers or observers. The NEC claimed that this was a mistake.
· Security harassment and arrest: Badr Aldein Abd Allah Alemam, a nationally accredited observer in Khartoum State, geographic constituency number 32 in the Suba Alazhary Alsalamah area was prevented by national security officers from entering the polling centre and beaten. The NEC later intervened and he was allowed to enter. Two female candidates from the Popular Congress Party in Jazeera State named Amira Elsir Hassan Ahmed and Alniamah Awad Shararah in constituency number 5 of Alhasahisa Central in the Wad Bahai area were arrested to prevent them from observing the voting, despite prior authorisation. Two political activists were arrested in West Darfur, Mohamed Bahar Aldin and Mohamed Abd Alfaraj. Bahar Aldin had reportedly participated in an interview with BBC three days earlier in which he was critical of the election and NEC. On Touti Island in central Khartoum, the Popular Congress Party reported that two of its observers were arrested by security forces.
While the ACJPS welcomes the decision by the NEC to extend voting for two days to address logistical problems, it underscored that these procedural violations are not the only indicators of that the elections are not free and fair. Restrictions on peaceful political activity in the run up to the elections, manipulation of the census and registration processes, and lack of opportunity for meaningful participation by opposition political parties are all issues that need to be urgently addressed. The Centre reiterates its call for reforms in the voting regime in order to facilitate political participation, reform the National Elections Commission, and rectify problems in the registration process. All of these factors have severely circumscribed access for some voters, and must be rectified in order to allow for elections in which the will of the Sudanese people can be clearly heard.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies is dedicated to promoting human rights and the rule of law in Sudan through ongoing monitoring of human rights violations in the country, promotion of legal reform and the understanding of legal challenges facing Sudan and national and international advocacy on these issues.


Obama's Sudan Fumble

How the U.S. president is bungling Sudan's elections -- and it will come back to haunt him later.


Source: www.foreignpolicy.com

Sudan is voting in its first national elections in over 20 years, and the process is playing out much as one might expect, given that the country's ruling National Congress Party is led by accused war criminal President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Much of the international reporting so far has focused on the numerous irregularities and technical glitches that have become apparent as voting unfolds, almost all of which (surprise!) seem to favor the ruling party. But this is an election that was effectively stolen long ago, as the Sudanese government steadfastly refused to implement the provisions of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that were supposed to create a free and fair environment for elections. Instead, press freedoms remain badly curtailed; the dreaded national security service still detains opposition figures at will; freedom to publicly assemble is denied; and everything from voter registration to the printing of ballots has been skewed to assist Bashir in his desire to stage-manage an election without actually risking a fair vote.

For veteran Sudan watchers, none of this comes as much of a shock. Analysts looking for democratic upsides have had to console themselves with the few examples in which opposition groups have gained a toehold of political space to publicly question the regime. What is more surprising, however, has been the muddled and squeamish posture of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration toward Sudan's election -- one that underscores a larger, ongoing struggle to place democracy promotion effectively within the context of U.S. foreign policy more broadly.

Obama's special envoy for Sudan, retired Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, no stranger to gaffes, triggered his most recent bout of eye-rolling in both Sudan and Washington when he emerged from a meeting with the National Election Commission 11 days ago and declared that the commission's members had given himboycotting the election "confidence that the elections will start on time and they would be as free and as fair as possible." The comments were unfortunate enough by themselves, but their timing also conspired against them; Gration spoke just as increasing numbers of opposition parties and candidates were either completely or pulling out of the presidential contest -- as did the largest party in South Sudan -- because the election was transparently neither free nor fair.

Why the rose-colored glasses from the special envoy? Gration is clearly eager to view this election as a necessary benchmark, a box to check, on the road to the broader issue of independence for South Sudan, which will be determined in a January 2011 referendum. Any suggestion that Sudan's election was flawed could provoke Bashir to try to disrupt the January referendum, Gration fears, and indeed, Bashir has made threats to this effect. Still, the imperatives of his short-term diplomacy seemed to be at odds with the long-term goal of transforming Sudan into a freer and more democratic place.

Here is where we see some interesting parallels with two other recent elections, both initially mishandled by the administration: those in Afghanistan and Iran. In all three cases, the administration seemed reluctant to acknowledge upfront that the elections were profoundly flawed, even though it had more than enough evidence to that effect. In all three cases, the administration moved only slowly to toe a tougher line -- after widespread howls from human rights activists, opposition parties in the respective countries, the media, and Republican critics were heard first.

Obama was wise to move away from the bellicose democracy-promotion of George W. Bush, and the president used his June 4 Cairo speech to make the case to the Islamic world that he would take a more respectful, nuanced approach to that region than did his predecessor. That is all well and good. But trying to reset the tone and engage in effective dialogue just won't work if it also entails obvious denials of reality. Pretending that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his allies did not engage in widespread fraud did nothing for U.S. credibility or Washington's strategic partnership with Kabul. It shouldn't have taken days after the Iranian presidential vote for Obama to acknowledge that every vote deserved to be counted and that basic freedoms needed to be respected -- yes, even if his administration was having a high-wire dialogue with Iran on the future of nuclear weapons. Now again in Sudan, the special envoy shouldn't bless a tragically flawed election with the copacetic stamp of "free and fair enough" -- even as we ponder the likelihood that the country will split in two next January.

There's no need to sacrifice U.S. policy goals to lofty truth-telling. In fact, there's a case to be made that diplomatic goals are actually better achieved with frank honesty when elections don't pass the smell test. For example, if the administration had taken a tougher line with Khartoum about creating the underlying conditions for a free and fair national election, the country would already be further down the road toward creating genuine power-sharing in Sudan. Such an arrangement would in turn incentivize Bashir not to engage in adventurism around the upcoming independence referendum, and it would be an important step toward preventing future conflicts in Northern Sudan -- after the South heads for the exit. Would negotiating all this be difficult? Absolutely. Yet, grasping the nettle now seems far preferable to watching from the sidelines as Sudan descends into broader conflict -- again.

So if shouting about democracy from the rooftops à la George W. Bush was not effective, neither will be defending democracy in mumbled tones. One hopes that this administration has learned from its initial stumbles. Obama will have an important opportunity to get it right when he offers his first public comments on Sudan's election in the days to come.

Slideshow http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/13/indecision_2010

Click on post title to go to website with on-the-ground reporting and for advocacy actions.

Uploaded by ilovemylifesblog

Labels: , , , , , , ,