Justice Denied Amid Compassion Fatigue

Remember this man?   He’s Angolan activist Manuel Chivonde Baptista Nito Alves – one of the defendants in a trial known abroad as the “Luanda Book Club” case.  He was one of 15 young men arrested for “plotting rebellion against the President” in June 2015 as they discussed Gene Sharp’s Book about peaceful ways to overturn dictatorships Nito Alves and his cohort (two others were subsequently added to the docket) have already endured seven months of ill treatment in preventative detention and a stop-start show trial so incompetent that witnesses were only notified by the state television newspaper reports that they must give evidence. The international outcry finally embarrassed the regime and just before Christmas, they passed a law on preventative detention which allowed the ‘15+2’ (as the expanded group are dubbed in Luanda) to be placed under house arrest for the remainder of the trial. It was seen as compassionate, […]

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Alas Poor Dos Santos, We Knew Him…

President José Eduardo dos Santos, growing old sucks, doesn’t it?  You lose your looks, your health and eventually your life.  And what will you leave behind?  A skull and bones in the dirt?  What will your legacy be?  Did you once dream that generations would revere you as Father of the Angolan nation?  (Pause for teeth kiss) Tsk… that ship sailed a long time ago.  No, the ‘Father of the Nation’ accolade is reserved for Agostinho Neto.  Perhaps he was fortunate not to have lived to see what Angola became. As you must be all too aware, the clock is ticking.  Quite soon now, the Angolan people will be lining up in their thousands, millions even, to pay homage at (or not on) your grave.  Sim, senhor. You are a mortal too. Even your friends and colleagues will hasten to betray you in the end: all those erstwhile brave and idealistic […]

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