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Demonstration mot kriget i Irak, Helsingfors mars 2003
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08 January


[World Social Forum] 

After the 3-day workshop in Dar es Salaam, we decide to pay a visit to Zanzibar. Getrude, one of the Tanzanian librarians, accepts to be our guide. She turns up promptly at six on Saturday morning, and we are off to the port which is crowded with Zanzibaris and tourists waiting to embark on one of the morning ferries.

    Adam's Exchange near the port of Zanzibar.
On our way from the Palace of the Omani Sultans to the Bububu beach, we pass by the library in the Old Zanzibar Stone Town. The library is full of visitors who read the books and the newspapers. Some of them, obviously students, take notes. This is the only point of activity of Zanzibar Library Services, which started 1989 with support from the Japanese Embassy, says Chief librarian Hamid Rajabu Juma. The Zanzibar islands have a population of about one million.

    Mgani Said and Maryam Mohammed at their desk, serving one of the 5700
    registered users of Zanzibar Library Services.
    Behind: head librarian Hamid Rajabu Juma. .
Consulting my own traveller's library, I note that in 1964 "armed African gangs in Zanzibar incited an uprising against the Arab ruling elite, forcing the Sultan to flee in his yacht. Some 5,000 Arabs were killed, thousands more interned, their houses, property and possessions seized at will. A revolutionary council, led by Abeid Karume, appealed for assistance from China, the Soviet Union and East Germany. Hundreds of communist technicians duly arrived, prompting Western fears that the island might become another 'Cuba'. On mainland Tanganyika, Nyerere, worried by the prospect of Zanzibar being drawn directly into the Cold War and anxious to exert a moderating influence, proposed a union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The union was subsequently named Tanzania" (quoted from Meredith, Martin: The State of Africa, Simon & Schuster 2005, p. 176. According to Bob Geldof, "you cannot even begin to understand contemporary African politics if you have not read this fascinating book". Which is an exaggeration, of course.)

    On the ferry back from Zanzibar to the mainland are many elders with
    children who return to school after New Year.


On Sunday, I flew from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi in the company of Rosemary and Esther.

Activist Librarians| Paradsidan | teltat nousevat Kasaranissa
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