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Clean election but strife rocks Nigeria

Bad news from the most powerful West African Nation. Finally a clean election, but massive violence. Let us pray that Nigeria is able to get past this current round of extreme violence. The risk is huge.

The importance of peace and stability in Nigeria cannot be overstated. It has a massive population of over 170 million, and huge oil reserves.

Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. (The country joined OPEC in 1971). Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. However, agitation for better resource control in the Niger Delta, its main oil producing region, has led to disruptions in oil production and currently prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.[67]

Nigeria often leads as the major force provider when there is UN intervention in Africa. Calm Christians/Muslim relations in Nigeria are essential for peace in West Africa. Nigeria is the key black African Nation model for the promotion of stability throughout the continent.

Taking advantage of its role as Africa’s most populated country, Nigeria has repositioned its military as an African peacekeeping force. Since 1995, the Nigerian military through ECOMOG mandates have been deployed as peacekeepers in Liberia (1997), Ivory Coast (1997–1999), Sierra Leone 1997–1999,[53] and presently in Sudan’s Darfur region under an African Union mandate.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the seventh most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black. It is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world

May peace and prosperity reign. “You are welcome.”


Campus follow-up to the distressing events in Japan …

As reported on WSO, a fund raiser using the vehicle of origami cranes is being planned through the AASiA board with the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Student Andrew Chen says:

What does this have to do with paper cranes you ask? Folding origami cranes for others has long been a tradition of extending goodwill and heartfelt wishes in Japan. We thought we could take this a step further.

Perhaps the readers of Ephblog can find a way to participate. Details as they develop!

Dean Sarah Bolton in a <a href="“>message to the campus includes these two activities:

A colloquium titled “Earthquake in Japan: Reactions, Reflection, and Response” is planned for Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in Griffin 3. Moderated by Professor Magnus Bernhardsson, the discussion will include Professors Eiko Maruko Siniawer, Reiko Yamada, and Kasumi Yamamoto, along with Visiting Professor Kenneth Osgood, who was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit. Efforts are being made to possibly Skype with a recent alumnus in Japan.

That evening at 8 p.m. a gathering of prayerful solidarity for all who have suffered the effects of the earthquake and tsunami—with music and readings from many traditions—will take place in Thompson Chapel. All are welcome: students, faculty, staff, and members of the wider community.

Visiting Professor Ken Osgood referred to in Dean Bolton’s note is an associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University, a school serving the Southeast coast of Florida with campi in seven communities.

As reported in the SE Florida Sun Sentinal

“Ken Osgood and his wife Rachel were on a bullet train to Tokyo when Friday’s quake struck. He had been invited to give an academic talk at Tokyo, which he had done earlier in the week. The Osgoods made the trip a vacation and were winding down Friday.”

The story contains descriptions of the family getting out of the train, spending the night in the lobby of a Tokyo hotel, and getting to the airport and on a plane home the next day.

The last few paragraphs contain the humanity it is so necessary to find in the face of these tragedies:

“Many people helped along the way. So many kind Japanese stopped to see if we, the foreigners, were OK. Many offered help or gave us food or water. Many helped translate. Many gave directions. Many expressed concern for our well being. I still can’t believe the incredible kindness of strangers, the remarkable calmness and friendliness of the Japanese.

“We feel so fortunate to be home, and we hugged our kids to the point of tears when we arrived in Albany. We are still shaken by the stress of it all. We send many prayers to our Japanese friends, and we send even more thanks to the many of our friends here who prayed for us too.

“Today we went to church, and the closing hymn had the chorus: “Bring us home.” Amen to that.”


Infuriatingly offensive

Kristin Cashore ’98 points out the NYTimes’ vile and despicable reporting of rape.


Judge sides with Commonwealth of Massachusetts against Federal Government

A limited victory for gay and lesbian couples, in a case brought by Attorney General Martha Coakley ’75. An interesting application of the 10th Amendment to limit federal interference in marriage. Link to full decision in Massachusetts’ lawsuit against US (PDF). Link to decision in GLAD suit against Office of Personnel Management (PDF)


Athletes’ Bible Study

Record article:

Last Wednesday, Williams College Council (CC) members voted to approve the official constitution of Athletes’ Bible Study (ABS), solidifying the group’s status as an independent student organization. Members had decided to establish the organization as separate from the Williams Christian Fellowship (WCF), under which it had previously been run, so that one of its leaders could maintain her position at the helm of ABS. The female student co-leader had been asked to step down in due to her refusal to refrain from an “actively” homosexual lifestyle (“Athletes’ Bible Study separates from WCF,” Feb. 17).

More background here. Here’s an impassioned editorial on the issue of Intervarsity’s role on campus.

Lots of good questions here.


A look inside Manzanar …

The actuality of Manzanar as recorded by four photographers, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Clem Albers; has been published as Elusive Truth by Gerald H Robinson with an introduction by Archie Miyatake, Published by Carl Mautz Publishing, 2002, rev 2008.

Continuing the discussions in the inserts in the comments to the post Executive Order 9066, the views of reality are what the photographer chooses to see.

See some for yourself in the listing of 91 photos here (scroll down to the section) and read more about the book here


Executive order 9066 …

Water color by Henry Fukuhara, an internee at Manzanar, who died this month at 96. Read about his remarkable life in the above references

February is one of those months with a number of remembrance days far in excess of its’ own scant days. Groundhogs, Valentines, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s birthday, Mardi Gras. Ash Wednesday, Purim.

I had a note from a student’s mother today reminding me that February 19th is the day in 1942 on which Executive Order 9066 was signed. This is a day remembered in the Japanese-American community for the disruption of lives up and down the west coast, the settlement of thousands into internment camps, and the diaspora that followed.

It is worth remembering here.


It is also remembered in Daily Messages on the Williams Website:

Executive Order 9066
On this day in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Exec. Order 9066, authorizing “removal of resident enemy aliens”, to what were described as “military areas”. U.S. citizens or not, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned in these camps, ruining lives and livelihoods in the process. MORE: from Rebecca Ohm, Williams College Libraries

An informed reader adds this:

There was a national effort started in 1942 to get Japanese-American students from the internment camps to colleges that would accept them in the midwest and east. It was initially organized with the help of the Friends Service Committee and John Nason (then President of Swarthmore and later President of Carleton College in the 1960s) was tapped to head the operation from 1942 to 1945.

(Nason’s LA Times obituary with considerable detail on his relocation efforts.
“Nason was chairman of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, formed in early 1942, a few months after America entered the war.
It was started by the heads of several West Coast colleges who were distressed that the military roundup of people of Japanese descent was disrupting the higher education of thousands of students.
Resisting widespread prejudice, Nason helped convince colleges and universities in the East and Midwest to accept the Japanese American students.
Under his guidance, the council painstakingly matched students and campuses, advised them on majors, arranged transportation and provided chaperons to shepherd them to their new schools, which often were in small towns with few, if any, Japanese faces.”

Anyone with stories or additional facts, please add to this post!


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