Thank you for participating in my election night coverage from Stockholm.

From Stockholm, I would like to thank Kathrin in the US, Zhana in the UK, Daphne in Sweden for participating in the discussion and Ryan and Yobachi in the US for their comments while the votes came in to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

In thanks I want to share with you one of my favorite Obama campaign photos.

November 5th Etiquette

November 5th Etiquette

Good Morning My People –

After watching the final debate the other night, it dawned on me that Obama could actually win this thing. If that happens, there will be a lot of people (some of our co-workers included) who will be afraid that an Obama presidency will usher in the end of days. They’ll be watching us on November 5th (the day after the election) for signs of the end times.

To keep the peace and keep a lot of folks from getting nervous, I think we should develop a list of acceptable celebrations and behaviors we should probably avoid – at least for the first few days:

1. No crying, hugging or shouting "Thank you Lord" – at least not in public

2 No high-fives – at least not unless the area is clear and there are no witnesses

3 No laughing at the McCain/Palin supporters

4 No calling in sick on November 5th. They’ll get nervous if too many of us don’t show up.

5 We’re allowed to give each other knowing winks or nods in passing. Just try to keep from grinning too hard.

6. No singing loudly, We’ve come this Far By Faith (it will be acceptable to hum softly)

7. No bringing of barbeque ribs or fried chicken for lunch in the company lunchroom for at least a week (no chittlings at all) (this may make us seem to ethnic)

8. No leaving kool-aid packages at the water fountain (this might be a sign that poor folks might be getting a break through)

9. No Cupid Shuffle during breaks (this could indicate a little too much excitement)

10. Please no Moving on Up music (we are going to try to remain humble)

11. No doing the George Jefferson dance (unless you’re in your office with the door closed)

12. Please try not to yell—-BOOOO YAH!

13. Just in case you’re wondering, Doing the Running Man, cabbage patch, or a backhand spring on the highway is 100% okay.

If I’ve missed anything feel free to add to the list. I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page when Obama brings this thing home on November 5th.

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Wouldn’t Miss It For The World

By Rose-Anne Clermont |

Oct. 31, 2008–We communicate daily in languages we didn’t grow up speaking. We have learned to adapt to cultures that have not entirely adopted us. Barack Obama might call us, as he has himself, “citizens of the world.” But for Americans living abroad, it’s our chance at changing the world as American citizens that is calling many of us back to our hometowns next week.

“I feel an incredible drive to get home for the election,” says Tioka Tokedira, who has lived in Paris for the last five years and is traveling to Philadelphia to vote and volunteer. “Obama gives me a feeling of hope and pride, especially after dealing with negative French attitudes toward Americans.”

Read Rose-Anne Clemont’s artcle in full.

Zimbabwean Immigrants Face Harsh Realities in Musina

Thursday, 30 October 2008 13:01


The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) is appalled by the treatment and arbitrary arrest of Zimbabwean immigrants in Musina, the majority of who are fleeing torture and persecution and are genuinely seeking asylum and peace in South Africa. These victims of human rights abuses face insurmountable challenges, from lack of access to the Refugee Reception Office for service, to being kicked out of places of safety where they would have sought refuge by intolerant local authorities. Their only option is to stay within the show grounds where the Reception Offices are. Here there is no shelter from the harsh Musina weather, with only a few toilets to cater for hundreds of applicants, many of them unaccompanied minors, women and children. If they try to leave, they risk being detained and deported, if not, they are abducted, robbed and assaulted by the ever lurking magumaguma (robbers) or malayitshas (human traffickers) who take anything and everything.

During a 3-day mission to the Zimbabwe-South Africa border on the 15th of October, the ZEF team visited the show grounds where the asylum seekers are staying. ZEF was alarmed by the level of suffering the applicants were experiencing, amongst them hordes of women and children. There are hundreds of asylum seekers cramped into the little spaces where there is shelter from the sun and the rain, huddled together for protection. These brothers and sisters are hungry and scared, and there seems to be no one to hear their pleas.

Upon being interviewed, most of the applicants alleged that they were exposed to all sorts of challenges, among them lack of access to legalise their stay, exploitation and intimidation by officials, being chased from places of safety such as churches, as well as in some instances experiencing abductions, rape and assault. There were also reports that minors were detained with adult detainees under inhumane conditions in the Detention Centre at the Musina Army Base or at the police station. ZEF also received confirmation of these incidents from local humanitarian organisations operating in Musina. It is unbearably hot in Musina (38 degrees Celsius) and the detainees are made to sit on the floor, in a warehouse building with no air conditioning. The roof of the detention centre is of corrugated iron, which makes the heat inside the building intolerable.

From the migrants ZEF interviewed, it is clear that the majority fled from Zimbabwe fearing for their lives either because of starvation or political intolerance. As such, these people deserve fair treatment in line with universally accepted refugee principles to which South Africa is a party. It is no secret that gross human rights violations are still ongoing in Zimbabwe, despite the so-called deal between the major political parties. Instead, the asylum seekers are subjected to all forms of harassment and labelled economic refugees.

The unfair treatment and inhumane conditions to which asylum seekers from Zimbabwe are subjected to are in contravention of universal human rights norms and principles to which South Africa is party. Breaches of this nature seem to be carried out irrespective of whether these men, women and children are genuine asylum seekers or not, the determination of which can only be made after a transparent, victim friendly process, in respect of the South African Refugee Act and Constitution.

In this regard, ZEF is appealing to the South African Government, Local and provincial authorities and the reception office to address the needs of migrants in Musina. The urgent needs are food, security, shelter and medical assistance. It further appeals to the responsible authorities to allow humanitarian and other service organisations to offer such assistance without fear of retribution. ZEF believes that a partnership between authorities and these organisations would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the already traumatised migrants. Lastly, ZEF appeals to all humanitarian organisations, churches and well wishers to help the asylum seekers who are in such dire need, not only in Musina but all over South Africa and the Diaspora at large. It is no secret that unaccompanied minors, women and children are bearing the brunt of this suffering.

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