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Monday, December 9, 2013
William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.
Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.
Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity—electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.
Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo—his "electric wind"—spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.
Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
What bamboo poles and bicycle chains have to do with sparking the spirit of entrepreneurship.
When he was only 14 years old, William Kamkwamba dreamt up a windmill that would produce electricity for his village in Malawi. The trouble? As Malawi was experiencing the worst famine in 50 years, William had to drop out of school because his family could no longer afford the $80 annual tuition. This meant he not only had no money to purchase the parts, but also no formal education to teach him how to put them together. Determined, he headed to the local library and voraciously devoured its limited selection of textbooks, then gathered some scrap parts — a bicycle dynamo, bamboo poles, a tractor fan, rubber belts, a bike chain ring — and brought his vision to life, building a functioning windmill. He spent the next five years perfecting the design and went on to found theMoving Windmills Project in 2008 to foster rural economic development and education projects in Malawi.
In 2009, Kamkwamba shared his moving story of perseverance, curiosity, and ingenuity in the memoir The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. Now, this modern-day entrepreneurial fairy tale is being adapted for young hearts and minds in the beautifully illustrated children’s bookThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition. Kamkwamba’s story shines with all the more optimism and tenacity in the hands of 27-year-old artistElizabeth Zunon, whose rich, lyrical, almost three-dimensional oil-and-cut-paper illustrations, reminiscent of Sophie Blackall’s, vibrate with exceptional whimsy and buoyancy.
Coupled with the launch is a wonderful literacy effort — for every book parents, teacher, and children read online on We Give Books, the Wimbe community lending library, where Kamkwamba’s journey began, gets a new book, up to 10,000. Despite serving some 1,500 pupils, the library currently has no picture books.
Beautiful, moving, and immensely inspirational, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition tells the kind of story that helps budding entrepreneurs relate to the world through a lens of infinite possibility — the kind of message that might, just might, empower them to harness if not the wind the future itself.
William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind
FILMED JUL 2009 • POSTED SEP 2009 • TEDGlobal 2009
At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.
To power his family's home, young William Kamkwamba built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap -- starting him on a journey detailed in the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" and the new film, "William and the Windmill." Full bio »
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Intelligence agencies play an imperative role in the smooth governance of a country. They are mandatory for a country, liable to cumulate, examine and desecrate data and intelligence. This data is in turn helpful in reinforcement of law, national security, defense systems and foreign policy targets. Methods of data collection may vary and include both the covert and overt techniques. Some of these techniques namely include under-cover operations, cryptanalysis, breakthroughs in communication and formation of an alliance with another organization. Also appraisal of available public resources may prove to be beneficial. The organization and proliferation of the collected information is known as intelligence analysis or assessment. Intelligence agencies emblem a country’s defense mechanism, strengthen it and make it dynamic
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Published time: November 20, 2013 23:20
Syrian rebel fighters gather around a former Syrian army tank as rebels prepare to attack positions held by the Syrian army areas in the Salaheddine neighborhood of Aleppo, on July 8, 2013.(AFP Photo / Abo Mhio)
Hoteit told RT’s Nadezhda Kevorkova about the three pillars of the American model of New Islam, why the US is purging Christians from the Middle East and how the Syrian rebels’ interests fall into line with those of the US and Israel.
RT: Will the US let the Syrian government win?
Nacib Hoteit: It won’t. But the opposition can’t win, either.
RT: So what are the possible future scenarios?
NH: From a realistic perspective, the US will have to make a break. Now it needs to adapt to the new global status quo. They have to maintain a relationship with Russia and respect BRICS. A decade will pass before the Americans recognize they are not the only masters of the world.
But Americans do not take defeat easily. And when they leave, they will start a fire. Angry at Russia and Iran for outdoing them, they will start fighting them.
There are myriads of Takfirists [a Sunni sect that accuses other Muslims of apostasy], who will go back to their home countries and ignite the flames of feud.
The issue of Palestine has been frozen. Israel has suffered a defeat in Syria and wants to win its positions back. If Hamas returns from Qatar and joins forces with the Resistance Front, this would make other scenarios possible. He who has the weapons sets the tune in Palestine. There is no peaceful solution here.
RT: Is there a danger that the Syrian conflict may spill over to Lebanon?
NH: The spillover has already started. The recent blasts in the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Beirut and in Tripoli are both reverberations of the Syrian crisis. There are structures inside Lebanon that work for Syria. And opinions on Syria are highly divergent inside the country. Add to this the 1.3 million refugees, which is a major problem.
Since 1945, every successful or failed coup in Syria has been staged in Beirut. Right now, Lebanon is a backyard for the armed anti-Assad opposition. The people who come here as tourists are also involved in shipping arms to the opposition.
A man walks near burning cars at the site of explosions near the Iranian embassy in Beirut November 19, 2013.(Reuters / Ahmad Yassine )
RT: So who are these people that continue arming the Syrian opposition?
NH: The majority are Syrians. Others come from Saudi Arabia, Libya and Kuwait. They can easily get into Tripoli. Chechens or Afghans might have difficulty getting there, because they have a different background. But Arabs know our traditions.
RT: How does the situation in Syria affect the voters in Lebanon?
NH: The entire Lebanese electorate – including the Sunni, Shia, Christians – is politically divided between the March 8 and March 14 coalitions. About 55 percent vote for March 8 and 40 percent forMarch 14.
Most Shiites and Armenians support the March 8 Alliance. So do some Sunnis and many Orthodox Christians.
Other Sunnis support the rival bloc. Some are neutral.
Samir Geagea and Bachir Gemayel, representing the Druze and the Maronite Catholics respectively, back the March 14 coalition.
In Lebanon, every community is divided – except for the Shia, with only 1 or 2 percent opposing March 8, but even these clans have little influence or unity. But even with their divergent political agendas and preferred methods, the Shia groups oppose Israel and support Resistance.
‘Resistance to Israel is in every Lebanese household’
RT: The Syrian opposition claims there is no resistance to Israel in Lebanon.
NH: There is resistance in every household. At least one member of each family is armed and ready to fight. But this is not necessarily armed resistance. It is also an economic and cultural way to oppose global pressure and preserve our lifestyle and tradition.
Free Syrian Army fighters look at a tank taken by defectors from the regular Syrian Army in Al Qusayr .(Reuters / Samuel Jamison)
RT: The irony is that the Syrian rebels, Israel and the US equally hate Hezbollah, angered by its reluctance to support occupation of Syria. What contribution has the Resistance movement made to the situation in Syria?
NH: Propaganda is fueling a feud between the Sunni and Shia because the US’s and Israel’s policy in Syria has failed.
There are actually not so many Hezbollah activists in Syria. And they are not Hollywood superheroes – they are ordinary people.
There are two stages of the Syrian conflict. The first one started as the people rose against the ruling regime. At that time, Hezbollah acted as a balancing power that convinced the government [in Syria] to give peaceful protesters a pass.
Together with the Ikhwan and Hamas they did their best to grant rights to the people. Hezbollah mediated the release of prisoners. For about 18 months, Hezbollah took no military action.
The second stage came when the US decided to remove Assad and build a new regime in Syria, rooting out the anti-Israeli Resistance in the region. And they had to bring everyone together to fight this new threat.
Near [the Syrian border town of] Qusayr, rebels attacked 10 Lebanese villages, killing the locals and burning down their houses. The Lebanese government failed to respond. [Most of those who live on the Syrian border are Lebanese citizens.]
Hezbollah started protecting 22 Shia villages, that’s 30,000 people. Hezbollah found an Israeli cell in al-Qusayr, from where they intended to fight against the Resistance. There were reports that Israel plans an attack on the Beqaa Valley to disrupt communication between Shia villages. In al-Qusayr they set up an arms cache for the Syrian opposition.
Hezbollah dealt with the phalangists [a term for all those in Lebanon who cooperate with Israel] with efficiency and precision.
They are also present in Mosque of Sayyidah Zaynab [near Damascus], Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter. Phalangists laid waste to her tomb and blew up the mosque. Every Shia must protect this place. When she herself was captured, there was no one to protect her. Kidnapping a woman is a crime both in the West and in the East. Now protecting Zaynab’s tomb is every Shia’s obligation.
There’s no Hezbollah in other Syrian cities.
‘No unified front, no united leadership’
RT: From time to time the propaganda machine claims that there are Iranians and Russians fighting in Syria.
NH: Iranian military experts have been in Syria since 1982, but there are very few of them. There are no Russian military experts in Syria.
RT: We hear reports about Chechens fighting in Syria. How do they get there?
NH: They come through Turkey and Jordan. The Chechen fighters are concentrated in Aleppo. Many of them fought in Iraq. They’re the core of the Chechen-Afghan group.
Jabhat al-Nusra is part of Al-Qaeda, but its motivation is more based on religion. Among its members are both Lebanese and Palestinian people. Twenty-five Palestinians, I mean Israeli citizens, and some from Palestinian refugee camps.
There are Muslim groups of 100-200 near Saïda, Jund al-Sham and Osno Ansap. They gather 20-30 people and send them to the frontlines.
It’s only small groups that are fighting, there’s no unified front, no united leadership. There was this one “hero” – he had five subordinates and figured he was in charge of a front.
Fighters from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra prepare a mortar in Nqareen area near Aleppo, November 12, 2013.(Reuters / Mahmoud Hebbo)
RT: So, there are small groups without a unified front, but the Syrian war has been raging for two and a half years. Who has been orchestrating it?
NH: The USA plays the leading role here. Back when the Afghan war began, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as a national security advisor under President Carter, said that America is facing a choice: either to dominate the world or lead it. They tried the first option, but ended up in Afghanistan and Iraq. To try the second one, they need Obama and a civil war in every little state.
In Lebanon, it’s Takfiris and the American intelligence agents that are trying to pit people against each other.
The French taught these techniques to their people in North Africa, and the Americans adopted this method. They gather Arabs and arm them with weapons and Takfiri ideology.
‘Gulf countries sent their prisoners to fight in Syria’
RT: How is it possible for the US to direct this process? It’s hardly popular in the Arab world, especially after 9/11.
NH: The Americans dragged Arabs to Afghanistan to fight against the USSR. They went to el-Sadat and forced him to release [Al-Qaeda leader] al-Zawahiri. They formed special Arab units trained in Afghanistan. The USA invaded Iraq and brought al-Qaeda there with them.
Saudi Arabia is al-Qaeda’s main sponsor. The prisons in the Gulf countries stand empty now – all the prisoners were sent to fight in Syria.
The Americans took notice of the poor in Libya, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, gave them religious slogans and wages. But these people didn’t really have a choice.
The USA is the main player in the international arena, and it plays people and societies as if they were pawns. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are just pawns as well.
They introduced three elements into their new Islam – Takfiris, money and Jihad Al-Nikah.
‘Americans destroy Muslims from the inside’
RT: Could you explain what Jihad Al-Nikah is?
NH: It’s when women are urged to come to Syria to temporarily become the rebels’ wives. About a hundred Tunisian women came back pregnant.
In Syria, women were kidnapped to service soldiers. This has never happened in Islam. This revolution will not succeed.
The only thing phalangists are talking about in Syria are male and female genitals. Their fatwas are all about that. Saudi Sheikh al-Luhaydan says that driving has a negative effect on childbearing. As if Islam boils down to genitals and intercourse.
Their slogans are nowhere near Muslim tenets. Sunni groups are opposing Sunnis, opposing their own. The USA can’t wage a war here, so they made up this new Islam.
The British were the first to try and create a new Islam, with a tie.
American Islam is as artificial a construct as Christian Zionists. And Jihad Al-Nikah is the main evidence that this isn’t the true Islam.
Instead of liberating Palestine, you can send women to Syria. It is the most dangerous way of brainwashing Muslims.
A female fighter in the Free Syrian Army exchanges her weapon with a fellow fighter in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighbourhood November 6, 2013. (Reuters / Mahmoud Hassano)
Americans propagate war in every family, propagate sexual relationship, they destroy Muslims from the inside. They say that Muslims should be liberated but in fact they are eliminating the essence of Islam leaving just the shell of the religion. Passing Islam to Salafis and leaving Muslims in savagery. They regard women as a source of satisfaction. They don’t regard the US and Israel as enemies and occupiers – but as those who will let them liberate the territories from the otherwise-minded. They believe they will establish a lot of emirates, appoint emirs and banish Christians.
Americans and Israelis want the kind of Islam based on takfir.
RT: How can you explain the fact that Muslims from all over the world have been called to Syria – to the country that never saw clashes between religious communities and whose Christian community is so strong and lives side by side with Muslims?
NH: The US acts against Christians in the East on purpose. In Palestine, Israel cooperated with the US – they wanted to banish Christians out of there. Driving Christians away from Palestine has been continuing since the occupation – they went to great lengths in order to make 120,000 Christians leave Bethlehem in particular.
When the US occupied Iraq, Israelis were in charge of driving away Christians from there and they succeeded.
So there was just Syria left and they switched their attention to it. But in Syria it can only be done by destroying Islam from the inside, removing science and culture.
RT: How will US-Russian agreements on chemical weapons affect the region?
NH: The agreement between the US and Russia is much wider and deals not only with chemical weapons. They discussed plenty of aspects: Iran’s nuclear program, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, the Caucasus. The draft is prepared. The issue of chemical weapons in Syria is a way to enter another issue – chemical weapons of Israel. They even addressed such details as the “Death to America” slogan in Iran.
Clashes between different groups in Syria take place in the run-up to the Geneva-2 conference. TheJaish group threatened to blow up cars at the border if Turkey doesn’t open a checkpoint.
RT: Is the military tension at the Lebanese-Syrian border now less acute?
NH: It has subsided significantly. The Ercel township is the only checkpoint for weapons. The Lebanese army will shut it down by force.
Starting from August 21, the Syrian Army has been clearing the territory of Syria but the mass media don’t touch this issue. They all are focused on Iran, while the Syrian Army is conducting an attack.
Syrian army forces load a machine gun mounted at the back of a vehicle in the Syrian Christian town of Maalula on Septamber 7, 2013.(AFP Photo / STR)
The hysteria around chemical weapons of August 21 was rooted in two things: first, there was an ambush laid for guerillas, and second, the army carried out a successful offensive.
We think that the security services, after 2 1/2 years of war, have realized that the phalangists can’t win.
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar had a deadline till October for dismissing Assad – he wanted to become the king of Saudi Arabia. Bandar takes orders from the US – he is an American who seeks to get the Saudi Arabian throne.
You need two legs to keep walking: one leg is Bandar, the other is Abdullah. But there are also princes – the offspring who seek to get their slice of the pie. Saudi Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef is al-Qaeda’s enemy. Bandar is its leader. They both act [with] the permission of the US. You need different shoes to walk in different lands.
RT: Is there any information about the two kidnapped bishops?
NH: We don’t know anything. We have no idea why they have been kidnapped. We believe Turkish security services have a hand in it. One of the bishops is the Patriarch’s brother. It was a blow targeted directly at the Orthodox Church, since it goes against war and is the pillar of conciliation in Syria. The slogan of the Church in Aleppo was “peace and accord in Syria.” The Patriarch’s brother played a very important role in the process of conciliation.
Their kidnapping has a knock-on effect on Russia, too. We believe that Turkey is responsible for that, which gives us hope that the bishops are alive. This is the second part of Turkey’s plan, because they have failed in the first one, which implied quickly occupying Syria.
RT: Some said the bishops had been kidnapped by the Chechens, some said they had been killed.
NH: All these small groups are not independent – they are not autonomous, each has a leader who gives orders.
RT: Do you think there may be a leader who ordered the killing of the Italian monks?
NH: The Italian monk was killed during the attack on a cloister in Rakka – there was a real mess there.
But talking about the bishops, the Chechens couldn’t have acted independently, not obeying their leaders. Otherwise they will lose their arms corridor. Turkey keeps these groups under control, looking as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth. It happened a few times, including the incident with chemical weapons. How come there was sarin, the one that was found in the homes of the militants from Jabhat al-Nusra? It was real sarin. But Turkey’s court discharged those people in two weeks, saying they had no idea what kind of weapon they had.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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