Anniversary between cinema, health, climate change and the history of Ethiopia

I take the floor again to tell you that, in these first days of June, we have continued with a whole set of activities that are part of the guidelines of Casa Africa and that aim, as always, to get closer to the neighboring continent.

I would like to mention, with special affection, our participation as members of the jury of the prizes that the prestigious Basque foundation Anesvad has granted to groups that have been characterized by the defense of equality and, fundamentally, of health on the African continent.

Also, we had a delegation from Casa África in Namibia, in an initiative with three expert organizations in the work of verifying data and fighting hoaxes, Africa Check, Newtral and Maldita, in which the Embassy of Spain in that country. This initiative aims to train Namibian journalists to be able to detect disinformation and improve the quality of their work, relying on the know-how of Africa Check and also of two leading organizations in Spain, where it must be said that we have a lot of experience and knowledge accumulated in these topics.

Casa África’s participation in the Tarifa African Film Festival has also been a success, in which – as reported by the national press – the film Xaraasi Xanne, a success story of a cooperative founded in 1977 in Senegal, triumphed. by returned immigrants from France. That documentary, which I hope we can see soon on our islands in one of the film series that we put on regularly, won the awards for best documentary and the ACERCA awarded by Casa Africa and the AECID at the African Film Festival in Tarifa, a prestigious festival, with which we have been collaborating for years and which has brought cinema, literature and music to the Andalusian streets.

In addition, we cannot fail to refer to the excellent sample derived from the selection of the works that students from more than a hundred Canarian educational centers, including the Salto del Negro penitentiary, which under the motto “Teaching Africa” ​​we promote in our institution in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands. Thousands of non-university students are acquiring notions and geographical, historical, sociological or cultural aspects of the fifty-five African countries. Educational work promoted with the intention of increasing the sensitivity of our young people, promoting plural knowledge of our neighboring countries, opening minds and hearts and reaching families and society through schoolchildren.

Within the extensive activity to which we have referred, I would like to conclude with the mention of the presentation of two books that we have organized during this week that is now ending and in which we also celebrate fifteen years with open doors in the capital of Gran Canaria.

The first book is Africa: climate change and resilience. Challenges and opportunities in the face of global warming, by Johari Gautier Carmona. Prologued by Alfonso Armada, journalist, writer and president of the Reporters Without Borders association in its Spanish section, which in just six pages summarizes the harsh reality derived from the pain of desertification and famine, the lack of response or the inability to respond to a problem as complex and transversal as climate change.

Both the author of the book and the foreword emphasize that, if wars, poverty and the desire for a better life have been the engines of incessant migration, climate change becomes like an engine of colossal dimensions. Johari Gautier focuses on the “stormy” relations between China and Africa, on the great question of water, on the challenges of agriculture, demographic pressure, the bleeding of immigration, the Green Wall of the Sahel, renewable energies and what The pandemic is assuming for this political and human geography on which, to a great extent, the future of humanity depends. The author reiterates that Africa is alone waiting for a gesture. He alone in spite of everything: of history and of his little role in the drift of the current destructive and greedy system in which the globe is immersed. For my part, I tend to repeat myself: Africa cannot be the continent most affected by consumption and development that it has not enjoyed and pollution that it has not caused.

After the bloodletting of slavery, colonialism and the exploitation of wealth, it seems as if the most developed countries want to turn this continent into a scapegoat again. It is not only an act of justice, but of universal necessity, to prevent it. Every great challenge contains immense opportunities for those who are capable of detecting them, which is why we believe that the African Union can bring together the best of the European Union, with effective human rights and development that reduces inequalities and promotes fairer trade, which change the root of the perverse dynamic in which the world is immersed.

The author, metaphorically, refers to a palpable disaster, stating that, if the writer Ernest Hemingway returned to Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, it would be very difficult for him to highlight in his stories the eternal snows that characterized that wonderful mountain range, the highest in Africa. Those snows have decreased by 90% in the last fifty years. In the book, the analyzes are linked, in a very pertinent way, to migrations of climatic origin, to the decreases in water flows, to the description of the frustrations derived from the lack of clear agreements in the assemblies of the successive COPs (conferences of the parties), which were approached with proposals and enthusiasm and from which they left without agreements and with disappointment, from which it can also be deduced that Africa is the victim of a global ecocide generated by others.

A couple of years before I joined Casa África, I had the opportunity to publish a monograph in which I described the historical explanatory contributions of global warming made by scientists such as the French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier, the Irish physicist John Tyndall or the Swedish professor Svante Arrhenius, whose Nobel Prize acceptance speech was based on the anthropogenic (i.e., man-made) aspects of global warming. Hence my identification with the equivalent content on the matter in Johari Gautier’s book, which, together with Climate Change in Africa. Effects, adaptation strategies and solutions from the continent, by Aurora Moreno Alcojor, are expressing with intellectual realities one of the most important lines of work of Casa Africa.

Finally, I would like to end this text with a reference to the book Historia de Ethiopia, by the professor and historian Mario Lozano, whose presentation, in tandem with the historian Dagauh Komenan, was a true delight in which we learned a lot about the past, the present and the future of a singular country. Professor Lozano connected the mythical kingdom of Aksum, one of the most important in the ancient world, with the legends of the Templars, the Queen of Sheba and Solomon, inserting it into the complex ancient world, going through the stage of Islamization in North Africa. and reaching the difficult present of a modern State that is torn between federalism and the centralism of the prime minister, whom we congratulate when he arrived on the wings of a Nobel Peace Prize and a long-awaited peace agreement with Eritrea and that today gives bellows to a war against the territory of Tigray that is causing a terrible humanitarian crisis.

This account of activities serves to explain our work a little, share my enthusiasm for a job that never ceases to surprise me and teach me things and remind you that we are turning fifteen this Sunday, with the vocation of being transparent, opening our doors and windows and bringing peoples closer from the Canary Islands.

*General Director of Casa Africa

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Anniversary between cinema, health, climate change and the history of Ethiopia