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Why a Somali-born fighter is being honoured in Rome

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In our series of letters from African journalists, Ismail Einashe looks at how some Italians are revaluating their colonial past in Africa.

Rome’s city council voted earlier this month to name a future metro station in the Italian capital in honour of Giorgio Marincola, an Italian-Somali who was a member of the Italian resistance.

He was killed at the age of 21 by withdrawing Nazi troops who opened fire at a checkpoint on 4 May 1945, two days after Germany had officially surrendered in Italy at the end of World War Two.

The station, which is currently under construction, was going to be called Amba Aradam-Ipponio – a reference to an Italian campaign in Ethiopia in 1936 when fascist forces brutally unleashed chemical weapons and committed war crimes at the infamous Battle of Amba Aradam.

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This illustration of the Battle of Amba Aradam, where mustard gas was used, appeared in La Domenica del Corriere paper on 1 March 1936

The name change came after a campaign was launched in June, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around the world following the killing of African American George Floyd by US police.

Started by journalist Massimiliano Coccia, he was supported by Black Lives Matter activists, other journalists and Italian-Somali writer Igiabo Scego and Marincola’s nephew, the author Antar Marincola.

The ‘black partisan’

Activists first placed a banner at the metro site stating that no station should be named after “oppression” and pushed for Marincola’s short, but remarkable life to be remembered.

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Razza Partigiana/Family archive

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Giorgio Marincola left his mother when young to be raised by his Italian family

He is known as the “partigiano neroor” or “black partisan” and was an active member of the resistance.

In 1953 he was posthumously awarded Italy’s highest military honour, the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare, in recognition of his efforts and the ultimate sacrifice he made.

Marincola was born in 1923 in Mahaday, a town on the Shebelle River, north of Mogadishu, in what was then known as Italian Somaliland.

His mother, Ashkiro Hassan, was Somali and his father an Italian military officer called Giuseppe Marincola.

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Razza Partigiana/Family archive

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Giuseppe Marincola (L) acknowledge his Somali offspring

At the time few Italian colonists acknowledged children born of their unions with Somali women.

But Giuseppe Marincola bucked the trend and later brought his son and daughter, Isabella, to Italy to be raised by his family.

Isabella went on to become a an actress, notably starring in Riso Amore (Bitter Rice), released in 1949.

Giorgio Marincola too was gifted, excelling at school in Rome and went on to enrol as a medical student.

During his studies he came to be inspired by anti-fascist ideology. He decided to enlist in the resistance in 1943 – at a time his country of birth was still under Italian rule.

Giorgio Marincola

Razza Partigiana

Homeland means freedom and justice for the peoples of the world. This is why I fight the oppressors”

He proved a brave fighter, was parachuted into enemy territory and was wounded. At one time he was captured by the SS, who wanted him to speak against the partisans on their radio station. On air he reportedly defied them, saying: “Homeland means freedom and justice for the peoples of the world. This is why I fight the oppressors.”

The broadcast was interrupted – and sounds of a beating could be heard.

‘Collective amnesia’

But anti-racism activists want far more than just the renaming of a metro stop after Marincola – they want to shine the spotlight on Italy’s colonial history.

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Reuters

Image caption

A statue of journalist Indro Montanelli, who defended colonialism and married an Eritrean girl aged 12, was defaced in June

They want the authorities in Rome to go further and begin a process of decolonising the city.

This happened unilaterally in Milan when, amid the Black Lives Matter protests, the statue of controversial journalist Indro Montanelli, who defended colonialism and admitted to marrying a 12-year-old Eritrean girl during his army service in the 1930s, was defaced.

Yet to bring about true change there needs to be an awareness about the past.

Italy’s colonial timeline in East Africa:

  • 1890: Kingdom of Italy takes over Eritrea and proclaims it a colony
  • 1895: Italy invades Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia
  • 1896: Italian forces defeated by the Ethiopians at Adwa – and sign a treaty recognising the country’s independence
  • 1889: Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia
  • 1935: Fascist Italy invades Ethiopia, accused of war crimes and using chemical weapons during its campaign
  • 1936: Italians capture Addis Ababa. Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland become Italian East Africa
  • 1937: Italian forces in Addis Ababa kill an estimated 19,000 people over three days in February in reprisal for the attempted assassination of the man appointed by Mussolini to govern the colony
  • 1941: British and Commonwealth troops aided by the local resistance defeat the Italians in the region

Listen: Italy’s shame – the massacre in Ethiopia

The trouble at the moment is what seems to be a collective amnesia in Italy over its colonial history.

In the years I have spent reporting from the country I am always struck at how little most Italians seem to know about their colonial history, whether I’m in Rome, Palermo or Venice.

The extent of Italy’s involvement in Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, and Albania to Benito Mussolini’s fascist occupation of Ethiopia in the 1930s is not acknowledged.

Somali bolognese

Last month, Somalia celebrated its 60th anniversary of independence.

Giorgio and Isabella Marincola pictured in 1929

Razza Partigiana

Somalis too have also left their own imprint in Italy – not just through the Marincola siblings – but in the literature, film and sports”

Reshaped by 30 years of conflict, memories of colonial times have all been lost – except in the kitchen where a staple of Somali cuisine is “suugo suqaar”- a sauce eaten with “baasto” or pasta.

But for this Somali bolognese, we use cubed beef, goat or lamb with our version of the classic Italian soffritto – sautéed carrots, onion and peppers – to which we add heady spices.

I love to cook theses dish and last summer while I was in Palermo did so for Italian friends, serving it with shigni, a spicy hot sauce, and bananas.

It was a strange pairing for Italians, though my friends tucked in with gusto – with only the odd raised eyebrow.

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Media captionTeranga, a nightclub in Naples helping migrants overcome trauma

And Somalis have also left their own imprint in Italy – not just through the Marincola siblings – but in the literature, film and sports.

Cristina Ali Farah is a well-known novelist, Amin Nour is an actor and director, Zahra Bani represented Italy as a javelin thrower and Omar Degan is a respected architect.

Image copyright
Ismail Einashe

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The “suugo suqaar”and “baasto” Ismail Einashe served up in Palermo proved popular

And today Somalis constitute both some of Italy’s oldest and newest migrants.

In spring 2015 I spent a warm afternoon meandering throughout the backstreets near Rome’s Termini station meeting Somalis who had been in Italy for decades and Somalis who had arrived on dinghies from Libya to Italy.

Those new to Italy called the older community “mezze-lira” – meaning “half lira” to denote their dual Somali-Italian identities.

In turn they are called “Titanics” by established Somalis, a reference to the hard times most migrants have faced in making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Europe, and the lives they will face in Italy with the political rise of anti-migration parties.

The naming of a station after Marincola is an important move for all of them – and a timely reminder for all Italians of the long ties between Italy and Somalia.

More Letters from Africa:

Follow us on Twitter @BBCAfrica, on Facebook at BBC Africa or on Instagram at bbcafrica





Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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