Dear Toto

Notes from Burundi, Congo, and Malawi

Category: Words

Colonial Reparations

by Pádraic

14 Caribbean Nations Sue Former Colonisers for Slave Trade


Shit Happens

by Pádraic

by la vidaid loca

Field team: Hello? Hello? HEY! Yes. Down here. Helooooo… ok thank you. Just so you know, we are in the shit.

Regional office: Thanks for the update. You OK or you need some help with that shit?

Field: Shit yeah.

Region: What kind of shit is going down?

Field: Really shitty shit. I mean, there are shitloads of people coming across the border. Refugees. Returnees. You name it, we got it. And would you believe it, they all need shit, and they all need to shit.

Region: Sheeeeit. OK. Yo, HQ. Field is in the shit.

HQ: Well go help them with their shit.

Region: No shit, Sherlock. We are. It’s still shit. And it’s getting shitter. And now there’s like, bombs dropping and shit.

HQ: Oh, shit.


Region: Oh, shit.

Fundraising: Hi guys! Um… how much is all the shit you need gonna cost?

Field: Dunno. But shitloads, definitely shitloads. Call it ten million.

Fundraising: Oh, shit.

Region: HQ, can you give us some cash to give to Field, so they can get going while fundraising does their shit?

HQ: Ah, shit. Look it’s end of financial year… I’m a bit short right now… here’s $100k.

Region and Field: You have got to be shitting me.

Fundraising: Don’t worry guys! I totally got this. Field, can you please stop what you’re doing and send me some pictures of your shit?

Field: Shitshitshitshit. OK… fine. Here.

Finance: What the shit is going on? You’ve spent a million quid! Which shit for brains signed off on all this shit!?

Field: Sometimes the spirit just moves you. Y’know, humanitarian imperative an’ shit. Soz.

Region: “The spirit” just moves you? Bullshit! Right. Gin is now banned from all team sites.

Read more

Get in touch

by Pádraic

Next time you post your phone number in a public place, think again.


cake chilis christmaslights epicparty halloweendj sexycopuniform thefireworks themanager2

by Textastrophe

Failed States

by Pádraic

…are a Western myth

A boy walks past a bullet-scarred building in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a.

by Elliot Ross for Comment Is Free (The Guardian)


by Pádraic

Metro: The best 3 African music festivals for 2014

Peter Mawanga (1) Lake of stars malawi

Been There

by Pádraic

Pun That

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Texts from a Dog

by Pádraic

texts_from_a_dog_part_2 texts_from_a_dog

tumblr_mokyzxEEVc1rt9zy5o1_500 tumblr_mquqkt3zRj1rt9zy5o1_500

More here.


by Pádraic

Why the Boycott Movement Scares Israel


Op-Ed by Omar Barghouti for The New York Times

Digital Matatus

by Pádraic

Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 13.29.45

A collaborative research and mapping initiative is working toward standardising and opening transit data for Nairobi’s matatus — the informal and de facto city bus system — and expanding their findings, tools, and processes globally. Building on past Kenyan-based digital mapping efforts and open source transit software, the group will produce a comprehensive framework for collecting, opening and mapping Matatu transportation data toward a mobile and equitable Nairobi.


Currently underway, a primary round of data collection and local student design workshops are growing the understanding of this otherwise misunderstood and complex system. The first series of tools will be entering development this spring to improve on data collection and transport information management in the decentralized Matatu system. This project uses Nairobi’s active mobile phone community to develop a standardized Matatu bus route for Nairobi informal buses. By developing crowd-sourcing applications we hope people in Nairobi can develop, contribute, maintain and own their own transit information.

matatu station nairobi

Get the map

Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 14.29.37

Back on the Agenda

by Pádraic

Former Welsh Secretary and Middle East minister at the Foreign Office to use speech to ask whether Israel should ‘seek a settlement legislating for the rights of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis within a new common state’

via Wales Onlinepeter-hain-3315208

Peter Hain will make a major speech tonight in which he will warn that the long-term goal of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians may no longer be achievable and claim that a one-state solution is now “back on the agenda”.

The former Welsh Secretary and Middle East minister at the Foreign Office will not endorse calls for the creation of a binational state but will ask: “Instead of living in constant fear of the enemy within as well as without, might it be more fruitful for Israel to seek a settlement legislating for the rights of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis within a new common state to end the conflict?”

In a public lecture at Swansea University, the Neath MP will state that he has favoured a two-state solution but is “increasingly unsure about whether it’s still achievable” because “the land earmarked for a viable Palestinian state has been remorselessly occupied by Israeli settlers.”

Claiming that support is growing for a single state, he will say: “Palestinians on both sides are now questioning the two-state strategy to an even greater degree. Negotiations have so far failed, as has a reliance on the US to deliver Israeli cooperation.

“The two-state option was itself originally conceived as a compromise and one likely to be particularly painful for the Palestinian refugee community.  All of which explains why in academic and activist circles the one-state option is back on the agenda.

“There are now a number of different campaigns for the creation of a single democratic, secular state for Jews and Arabs, made up of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.”

Mr Hain, who as Northern Ireland Secretary played a key role in bringing Ian Paisley’s DUP and Sinn Fein together in the Stormont executive, will argue: “[If] Israel’s relentless expansion into Palestinian territories cannot be stopped then we must face one of two possible outcomes.

“The first is that all Palestinian presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem remains in a permanent and ever-more formalized ‘Bantustan status’, islands of minimal self-governance with the continued denial of basic rights, facing ongoing pressure, perpetual insecurity and possible future physical removal.

“The second is that they are absorbed into a common Israeli-Palestinian state with the opportunity for pluralism and human rights advancement.

“Is that solution now the only one capable of stopping the cycle of violence and preserving Israel’s potential to become a force for unity and peace, instead of a beleaguered source of division and a target for attack?

“And if the window for the two-state solution is indeed closing, then should the EU, the US and the UK make it plain to Israel that a one-state alternative may be the only one available to ensure its security?”

He will ask what type of state would be “politically feasible and deliverable,” stating: “Could a federal or con-federal state provide a way forward, with common security, a unified economy, common civil rights and guarantees of religious freedom for Jews and Muslims, but considerable political autonomy for the territories within it of ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’?  How then might Israeli and Palestinian security forces be integrated?

“These are fundamental, difficult and complex questions – but, if successfully answered, could a common state solution more easily resolve the deadlock than the two-state solution I and many others have long-favoured?

“I remain uncertain.  But I ask because I do not see how either the Israelis or the Palestinians can secure their legitimate objectives by perpetuating for still more decades their unsustainable and unstable predicament, with a two-state solution slipping away while violence and terrorism lurks constantly.”

Mr Hain’s speech comes days after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pressed for a demilitarised Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state of Israel, saying: “The solution is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as the Jewish state. That is the only solution that will work.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to imminently present the key concessions he believes each side must make in order to secure a peace deal. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly said he is willing to accept an Israeli military presence in the West Bank for a three-year transition period.