Archive for February 6, 2012

By Daniel Nasaw, BBC News Magazine, Washington

M.I.A. performs at the Super Bowl halftime showWhether or not M.I.A. was aware, the gesture originally referred to a phallus

An American television network has apologised after pop star M.I.A. extended her middle finger during Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show. What does the gesture mean, and when did it become offensive?

A public intellectual, expressing his contempt for a gas bag politician, reaches for a familiar gesture. He extends his middle finger and declares: “This is the great demagogue”.

The episode occurred not on a chat show nor in the salons of New York or London, but in Fourth Century BC Athens, when the philosopher Diogenes told a group of visitors exactly what he thought about the orator Demosthenes, according to a later Greek historian.

The middle finger, extended with the other fingers held beneath the thumb, is thus documented to have expressed insult and belittlement for more than two millennia.

‘A phallic gesture’

Ancient Greek philosophers, Latin poets hoping to sell copies of their works, soldiers, athletes and pop stars, school children, peevish policemen and skittish network executives have all been aware of the gesture’s particular power to insult and enflame.

“It’s one of the most ancient insult gestures known,” says anthropologist Desmond Morris.

“The middle finger is the penis and the curled fingers on either side are the testicles. By doing it, you are offering someone a phallic gesture. It is saying, ‘this is a phallus’ that you’re offering to people, which is a very primeval display.”

During Sunday night’s broadcast of the Super Bowl, America’s most-watched television programme of the year, British singer M.I.A. extended the finger during a performance of Madonna’s Give Me All Your Luvin’.

The NFL and NBC television, which broadcast the game and the halftime show, apologised.

A Filipino student gestures at police during an anti-austerity protest near ManilaThe “finger” – seen here at a student protest in the Philippines – is a gesture in use across the world

“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate,” said Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL.

The gesture is widely known to Americans as flipping the bird, or just giving someone the finger.

The Romans had their own name for it: digitus impudicus – the shameless, indecent or offensive finger.

In the Epigrammata of First Century AD by the Latin poet Martial, a character who has always enjoyed good health extends a finger, “the indecent one”, at three doctors.

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that German tribesmen gave the middle finger to advancing Roman soldiers, says Thomas Conley, a professor emeritus of communication and classics at the University of Illinois, who has written about the rhetoric of insults.

Monkeys ‘flip bird’

An Israeli soldier gives a photographer the fingerAn Israeli soldier makes the gesture during 2006’s offensive into Lebanon

Earlier, the Greeks used the middle finger as an explicit reference to the male genitalia.

In 419BC, the playwright Aristophanes puns in his comedy The Clouds about dactylic (finger) rhythm, with a character gesturing first with his middle finger and subsequently with his crotch.

The gesture’s origins may extend even further back: male squirrel monkeys of South America are known to gesture with the erect penis, says Mr Morris.

The middle finger, which Mr Morris says probably arrived in the US with Italian immigrants, is documented in the US as early as 1886, when a pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters gave it in a joint team photograph with the rival New York Giants.

British ‘double phallus’

The French have their own phallic salute, says Mr Morris.

A Hungarian nationalist gives the fingers to a gay pride parade in BudapestFrom a Hungarian ultra-nationalist counter protester at a gay pride parade in Budapest…

In performing the “bras d’honneur” (arm of honour), one raises the forearm with the back of the hand facing outward, while slapping or gripping the inside of the elbow with the other hand.

The British gesture – the two-fingered ‘v’ with the palm facing inward – is a “double phallus”, Mr Morris quips.

Although scholars and historians continue to debate its origins, according to legend it was first displayed at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

There, English soldiers waved their fingers at French soldiers who had threatened to cut off captured archers’ first two fingers to prevent them shooting arrows. The English were thus boasting they were still capable of doing so.

Expression of ‘displeasure’

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp gives the finger to his own playerTottenham manager Harry Redknapp gives the finger to his own player

The middle finger’s offensive meaning seems to have overtaken cultural, linguistic and national boundaries and can now be seen at protests, on football pitches, and at rock concerts across the world.

In December, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was photographed giving an American-style middle finger to Fulham fans after his club’s 1-0 loss there.

The FA cited him for improper conduct and suspended him for one game.

In 2004, a Canadian MP from Calgary was accused of pointing his middle finger at a member from another party who he said had been heckling him in the House of Commons.

“I expressed my displeasure to him, let’s put it this way,” Deepak Obhrai told a Canadian newspaper.

Protest, rage, excitement

Bono gives the fingerOn stage, by middle-aged Irish rocker, Bono of U2

Two years earlier, pop star Britney Spears gave the finger to a group of photographers who she complained had been chasing her. Some of her fans thought the gesture was aimed at them, and Spears later apologised.

While the middle finger may historically have symbolised a phallus, it has lost that distinctive meaning and is no longer even obscene, says Ira Robbins, a law professor at American University in Washington DC, who has studied the gesture’s place in criminal jurisprudence.

A Leeds United fan gestures…and the traditional British variety, at a match between Leeds United and Cardiff City

“It does not appeal to the prurient interests,” he says.

“This gesture is so well engrained in everyday life in this country and others. It means so many other things, like protest or rage or excitement, it’s not just a phallus.”

And he rejects an Associated Press journalist’s characterisation of the gesture as “risque”.

“What is risque about it? Maybe the dancing was risque, but the finger? I just don’t see it.”



Across South Sudan demonstrations have been held in support of President Salva Kiir’s decision to shutdown its 350,000-barrel daily oil production.

This came after Sudan’s confiscation of several shipments through the only existing pipeline out of the landlocked country, and as ongoing negotiations on a possible transit fee for South Sudan’s oil have failed.

In Bor, the state capital of South Sudan’s largest state Jonglei, hundreds protested the oil ‘looting’. Primary and secondary school students were among the thousands that took to the streets of Rumbek in Lakes state, calling Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir a ‘great thief’. Peaceful demonstrations outside the National Assembly in the capital Juba urged South Sudan to ‘turn on’ its agricultural potential as the oil taps were turned off.

Together, it was a remarkable show of support for Kiir’s bold move to suspend the country’s largest revenue earner in defiance of its former foes in Khartoum. This is however not the first time southern Sudanese have protested over an oil pipeline.

In the spring of 1978 the then President, Jaafar Nimeiri, announced the decision to build a pipeline from freshly discovered oil fields in the south, to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Nimeiri and his oil minister made the plans while visiting the San Francisco headquarters of Chevron, the American oil company which made the first discoveries of Sudanese oil.

The decision infuriated southern Sudanese, who wanted to see the oil head southeast to Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. While it would take another 20 years to build, ultimately by Chinese not American oil companies, and South Sudan has since won its political independence from Khartoum, the oil pipeline still stands in the way of full economic independence. A revival of this 30 year-old dream represents the final step in gaining economic independence for many of South Sudan’s political leaders, but building a southern pipeline through Kenya is fraught with challenges.

To understand some of the main technical and security challenges facing the construction of a southern pipeline, it is useful to compare the possible route with the existing pipeline through Sudan. South Sudan’s main oil production is connected to Sudan by a 1,360 km pipeline from the Melut basin of Upper Nile state.

The proposed alternative, ending at an expanded port of Lamu, would be around 1,800 kilometers (depending on the exact route through Kenya) and the topography of the routes differ vastly. The existing pipeline runs across quite a flat landscape, requiring only six pumping and heating stations to keep the highly-acidic crude flowing, the new pipeline would cover diverse terrain, possibly including the highlands of northern Kenya. This will require significantly more investment in pumping stations to speed crude up the inclines and slow it down on the declines.

Additionally, there are also significant security concerns for the new pipeline. The existing route is mostly though northern Sudan, where the heavy hand of the Sudanese military and pro-government militias has laid waste to communities in and around oil areas. The new route may cross the impoverished, and bandit-riven territories of northern Kenya, where Nigerian-style oil theft and pipeline sabotage could potentially be a problem, requiring considerable time for due diligence in pipeline construction and routing. In fact, the proposed pipeline has already been threatened by rebel groups in South Sudan. The technical and security challenges for the new pipeline amount to a year or two of construction time at best and a potentially insecure construction, and later possible security threats once the pipeline is operational. Last but not least, an estimated price tag of anywhere from $1.5 to $3 billion, which is a tidy sum to wager for even the most audacious investors, but not an impossibility.

Late last month, South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya to build the long-discussed oil pipeline. Such broad agreements are often not worth the paper they are written on, but nonetheless represent an important initial step. Japan’s Toyota as well as Chinese companies and investors have shown some willingness to support the venture. The French oil major Total, which has rights over the largest oil block in South Sudan, has said it is interested in linking possible new discoveries in Sudan to its growing interests in Uganda. But production from existing oil fields in South Sudan has peaked, and barring new discoveries and significant investment in secondary recovery, will sharply decline from current levels over the next five years. A new pipeline would only make economic sense if Total or others operating in South Sudan were to make impressive new discoveries in the coming years.

Regional developments are however working in favour of the new pipeline. Kenya is serious about making Lamu a major international port and, more importantly, the discovery of 3 billion barrels in oil reserves along Lake Albert in Uganda opens new possibilities for South Sudan’s oil in a regional network of pipelines. Current disputes between oil companies and the Ugandan government will need to be smoothed out first, but the face of East African oil will change in the years to come, making it possible to imagine an environment in which such a pipeline could be constructed.

Economically, the best scenario for South Sudan’s oil is undoubtedly to stop pipe-dreaming, work out an agreement with Sudan, and continue to send its oil north. Investing in a new multi-billion dollar southern pipeline is, in the current climate, financial insanity. But South Sudan feels that it has been backed into a political corner in negotiations with its Northern neighbour on pipeline transit fees. Sudan’s oil sector has always been more about politics than productivity. Even with an agreement, the history of consistent political bickering and brinksmanship between the two sides over oil will most likely continue. But the longer it takes to foster stable relations over oil, the more likely the people of South Sudan will one day hit the streets in celebration of a new pipeline.

Luke Patey is a Research Fellow at the Danish Institute for International Studies and co-editor of Sudan Looks East: China, India and the Politics of Asian Alternatives (James Currey, 2011)

South Sudan: Pipe-Dreaming Over Oil in South Sudan
By Luke Patey, 6 February 2012 Across South Sudan demonstrations have been held in support of President Salva Kiir’s decision to shutdown its 350000-barrel daily oil production. This came after Sudan’s confiscation of several shipments through the only 

A jazz singer’s gift of music to South Sudan’s children
Globe and Mail
Ms. Pelley, a jazz singer, is a stalwart volunteer for Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan. After decades of internal conflict and war, and independence from North Sudan just last year, the Republic of South Sudan is in rebuild mode.

Valentine’s Day Party:

Posted: February 6, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Press Release


Please join us for Valentine’s Day Party for music, fun, and love at the Best Western Hotel Pentagon on Saturday, February 11, 2012, attached is the flyer:

When: Saturday, February 11, 2012

Doors Open @ 7PM

$20 Before 9PM
$25 After 9PM

Best Western Hotel Pentagon
2480 South Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22206

More Info:

Best Regards,
Reec Akuak
Vice President

The South Sudanese Community, USA
Growth — Development — Community

202.656.TSSC (8772)
Direct/Cell: 202.596.6009
Fax: 202.280.1007

06 Feb 2012 14:42

Source: Alertnet // Katy Migiro

Internally displaced people fill up a container with oil as they distribute food in Pibor county, Jonglei State, January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Isaac Billy/UNMISS/Handout

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (AlertNet) – A 30,000-strong ethnic militia, known as the White Army, has announced it plans a major operation in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, raising fears of fresh violence following tribal clashes which have already displaced 140,000 people since December.

The warning comes as aid workers rush to deliver food, shelter and medical supplies to the vast eastern state before March rains make the roads impassable.

The White Army, composed of armed Nuer and Dinka youth, said in astatement posted online that it would launch Operation Savannah Storm on March 1 to secure its territories against Murle youth, accusing them of raiding neighbouring communities.

South Sudan’s Lou Nuer and Murle cattle-herding communities have become involved in a cycle of deadly revenge attacks, initially over water and grazing land. Women and children have been abducted during the conflict.

“Quarantining Murle youth is the effective mechanism that shall prevent them from abducting kids of their neighbors,” said the Feb. 4 statement.

In December, a column of 6,000 to 8,000 Lou Nuer, a subgroup of the Nuer,  marched on Murle towns and villages, killing scores of people. The United Nations, with just over 5,000 peacekeepers, was unable to stop them.

South Sudan, which became the world’s newest state last July after a referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal with Sudan ended decades of civil war, is a poor country awash with weapons. Security is fragile and ethnic rivalries, sharpened by hate speech, are putting a strain on nation-building efforts.


The White Army said its new operation would be defensive, not offensive.

“Operation Savannah Storm is different from the operation that was launched in December,” the statement said. “There is no intention to attack Murle’s villages and towns.”

However, the White Army will “look for armed Murle youth in the bushes” and make the Murle “pay a price” for their January attack on the holy city of Wec Deang.

The city is home to a sacred pyramid constructed by the Nuer prophet Ngundeng.

The prophet’s grandson recently said: “All the Nuer in USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia must come back to South Sudan to join the war against Murle who defiled Nuerland by attacking (the) holy city.”

The White Army also asked Nuer and Dinka soldiers in the South Sudanese army to contribute ammunition and military hardware to the operation.

The expanded militia will also involve Nuer from Ethiopia, according to the statement. It said that a delegation visiting their tribesmen in South Sudan offered to join Operation Savannah Storm as the Murle had also “terrorised” the Ethiopian Nuer and stolen their cattle.

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, who visited Jonglei last week, said the spike in inter-ethnic violence had compounded the difficult humanitarian situation.

“Before the crisis in Jonglei, humanitarian partners were already over-stretched, carrying out some 30 emergency operations across the country,” Amos said.

“In some of the worst-hit areas, there are only a handful of partners on the ground.”

Nuer and Dinka White Army To Launch ‘Operation Savannah Storm’ Against Murle Armed Youth

Armed Youth in Murleland, December 2011. Photo: ST
Nuer and Dinka White Army Will Launch Operation Savannah Storm
Media Release
Nuer and Dinka White Army, Uror County, Jonglei State, South Sudan
Date: February 4th, 2012

February 4, 2012 (SSNA) — The leadership of Nuer and Dinka White Army composed of representatives of Lou Nuer, Jikany Nuer, Gawaar Nuer and Twic Dinka received the delegation of Ethiopian Nuer today at Pieri Payam, Uror County. The leader of the White Army, Bor Doang, received a letter from Ethiopian Nuer last month that a delegation would be visiting him to discuss the threats posed by armed Murle’s elements.

After receiving the delegation from Ethiopia, the Nuer elders slaughtered five bulls to Deng (God) to bless the delegation from Ethiopia and any operation that the Nuer on both sides of Ethiopia and South Sudan would launch to protect civilians from armed Murle youth and SPLA deserters. The elders informed the leadership of the White Army that the Grandson of Prophet Ngundeng, Gai Lel Ngundeng, who is currently in Juba, will bring the Divine Rod to Wec Deang to bless the White Army by slaughtering bulls. The leadership of the White Army was instructed to visit Wec Deang to receive Gai Lel Ngundeng before launching any operation to receive blessings from God of Prophet Ngundeng.

After opening the meeting, Bor Doang introduced the leader of Ethiopian Nuer delegation and thanked him for the trip to Pieri Payam to meet his brothers who have been subjected to insecurity by armed Murle youth. The leader of the Ethiopian Nuer youth, Goliath Chuol Chai, stood up and said that the reason they walked for many days on foot is because the insecurity posed by armed Murle men is not any longer a problem unique to Nuer and Dinka civilians of South Sudan. He said that Murle terrorized Ethiopian Nuer and led many civilians to abandon Bilpam Kebele (Kebele is Amharic word equivalent to Payam in South Sudan), Makwei and many areas. Since 2006, Murle had stolen more than twenty thousand heads of cattle from Ethiopian Nuer. The latest is January, 18, 2012 when Murle attacked many villages of Jekow Woreda (County) and took more than one thousand heads of cattle. He also added that on January, 20, 2012, Murle cattle rustlers went as far as Pinyudo refugee Camp and took over five hundred heads of cattle belonging to South Sudan refugees.

The leader of Twic Dinka White Army stood up and said that Murle massacred more than two hundred civilians from January, 10—24, 2012 in Duk Padiet, Pawiel, Jale and Twic East. He thanked Bor Doang for sending a force of one thousand Nuer youth who saved a lot of lives in Duk Pawiel when Dinka came under attack of heavily armed Murle. The quick response of the Nuer demonstrated brotherly unity that was forged in December, 2011 when both communities jointly launched Operation Ending Murle Raiding and abductions. He added that the nature of war with Murle has changed because more than four thousand SPLA soldiers of Murle deserted their bases and joined their people. In January, Duk Pawiel, Duk Padiet and Twic East were attacked by armed Murle who deserted from the SPLA army with heavy weapons ranging from RPG-7 to 12.5. When they attacked Duk Pawiel, a Colonel with his SPLA military uniform was among the dead bodies of Murle fighters.

Bor Doang told the participants of the meeting that Murle have so far killed more than three hundred Lou Nuer since January, 7, 2012. He said that Murle soldiers who attacked Wec Deang in January deserted the SPLA army bases in Upper Nile State with the intention of massacring innocent Nuer and Dinka civilians. The attack of Wec Deang not only defiled the holy place of Prophet Ngundeng but also led to death of innocent Nuer civilians. It is the first time since 1902 that an armed group could attack Wec Deang and massacre civilians. The Nuer youth were enraged after hearing the attack of Wec Deang because it is an affront to all Nuer, including Nuer of Ethiopia, that the place of Ngundeng’s pyramid could be attacked by Murle. Bor Doang concluded that Murle deserters of the SPLA who did that must pay a price for insulting Prophet Ngundeng.

The leaders of Ethiopian and South Sudanese Nuer and Twic Dinka have unanimously passed the following resolutions which shall come into effect immediately starting from February 5th, 2012:

1. The Lou Nuer, Gawaar Nuer, Jikany Nuer, Ethiopian Nuer and Twic Dinka shall contribute a force of 30,000 well armed youth for the launching of Operation Savannah Storm which shall commence on March, 1st, 2012. The Nuer clans of South Sudan shall contribute 20,000 to the operation while the Twic Dinka and Ethiopian Nuer shall contribute 10,000. The operation will be permanent until Murle do not pose security threats to their neighbors.

2. The objective of the Operation Savannah Storm is to secure the border of Nuer (both South Sudan and Ethiopia), Anyuak (both South Sudan and Ethiopia) and Dinka so that armed Murle youth will not raid neighboring communities as they have been doing so far. Quarantining Murle youth is the effective mechanism that shall prevent them from abducting kids of their neighbors.

3. Each Nuer and Dinka clan is responsible for organizing its youth and putting logistics together to carry out the operation in March. It is resolved by the leaders and the participants of the meeting that the youth of each group must contribute cows that shall be used as food for the 30,000 forces that will carry out the operation.

4. The Nuer and Dinka White Army appealed to Nuer and Dinka soldiers of the SPLA to contribute ammunition and military hardware to the youth that shall take part in the operation because Operation Savannah Storm is the only one that shall create a buffer zone of security to prevent cattle rustlers of Murle from carrying out raids and abductions.

5. The Operation Savannah Storm will not target Murle’s women, children and the elderly. The White Army that shall take part will only be at the border to prevent cattle rustling and look for armed Murle youth who may be hiding in the bushes.

6. The Nuer and Dinka White Army want to inform the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and international NGOs that Operation Savannah Storm will not target Murle’s villages and towns. The operation will be confined to the border. Any operation that will take place beyond the border to look for armed Murle youth in the bushes shall not include villages and towns. We want to assure the UNMISS that Operation Savannah Storm is different from the operation that was launched in December, 2011. The objective of this year operation is to secure the border and there is no intention to attack Murle’s villages and towns.

7. The Nuer and Dinka White Army would invite UN forces to stay with them at the border after launching the operation in order for the UNMISS to know that the new operation is not intended to attack Murle’s villages and towns.

8. After launching Operation Savannah Storm, the leadership of the White Army may invite international media to the field to witness for themselves that the intention of the operation is to protect Nuer, Dinka and Anyuak civilians from armed Murle. The White Army has no intention whatsoever to target women, children and elderly.

For contact:

Leadership of the Nuer and Dinka White Army
Pieri, Uror County, Jonglei State
Thuraya Phone: +882156997450

South Sudan ethnic militia warn of major new operation
Reuters AlertNet
By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (AlertNet) – A 30000-strong ethnic militia, known as the White Army, has announced it plans a major operation in South Sudan’s troubled Jonglei state, raising fears of fresh violence following tribal clashes which have already 

South Sudan to Compensate Sudan Is Like a Clock Going Anticlockwise
Sudan belongs to a group of nations which must pay three trillion dollars as reparation to millions ofSouth Sudan who had died in the hands of their nationals during the last two hundred years. The other countries are Egypt and Turkey.

South Sudan: Put children at the centre of resolving the crisis
Reuters AlertNet (blog)
Violent conflicts between different ethnic communities in Likuangole and other villages in the Jonglei state of South Sudan, has left an unconfirmed number of people dead and about 120000 internally displaced people in desperate need of life saving 

Democratic Republic of the Congo/South Sudan: 61 children reunited with their
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Sixty-one children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan have rejoined their families with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross 

South Sudan oil fields are not fields for games
Sudan Tribune
This partly resulted to a conflict which developed into a full blown war of liberation by the South that lasted for decades. From the time of the discovery of substantial petroleum deposits in SouthernSudan, the war of liberation dragged on for a 

Jonglei Peace Initiative Launched in America
As was published in The Citizen of yesterday, twenty-five South Sudanese diaspora community leaders from across North America, including both Canada and the USA, gathered in Washington, DC in the period January 21-22, 2012 and focused on helping to 

DDRC, UNICEF Welcome Release of Child Soldiers
By Lagu Joseph Jackson, 5 February 2012 Juba — South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RSSDDRC) and UNICEF welcomed the recent release of 53 children associated with armed forces and groups in South Sudan

Housing Issues in Juba Town and Its Impact On Citizens Human Right a Case of
By William Sunday D Tor, 6 February 2012 After and before the independence of South Sudan, housing problem had been among the hot issues that have been facing the poor citizens in Juba. Before the formation of the Government of South Sudan

South Sudan inflation eases to 47.8 percent in January
South Sudan has been struggling to tackle an economic crisis and contain violence which killed thousands last year. (Reuters) By Reuters South Sudan’s annual inflation rate eased to 47.8 percent in January from 65.6 percent in December as costs for