USAfricaonline.comis listed among the world's hot sites by the international newspaper,USAToday.

Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai WinsNobel Peace Prize for leading green belt movement

 Special and Exclusive to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com, TheBlack Business Journal

IHURURU, Kenya Oct. 8, 2004 &emdash; When Wangari Maathai got wordshe had won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, she was campaigningto protect Kenya's forests and distributing food to villagerssuffering from drought the same work she's been doing fordecades.

Maathai was in the countryside just one hill away from herchildhood home when told she had won the $1.3 million prize, joininga club that includes Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and the DalaiLama.

The 64-year-old Maathai, the first black African woman to win aNobel Prize in any category since the awards were first handed out in1901, gained recent acclaim for a campaign planting 30 million treesto stave off deforestation. "Many of the wars in Africa are foughtover natural resources," Maathai told The Associated Press. "Ensuringthey are not destroyed is a way of ensuring there is noconflict."

Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister and a formerpresidential candidate, has worked for nearly half her life toprotect the environment and human rights.

During the 1980s and 1990s, she also campaigned against governmentoppression and founded Kenya's Green Party in 1987. She wasrepeatedly arrested and beaten for protesting former President Danielarap Moi's non-progressive environmental policies and human rightsrecord.

With a record 194 nominations, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had abroad field to choose from and could have conferred the prize onsomeone tied to one of this year's hottest issues, such as theproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Many observers had speculated that the committee might try to senda message about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, as it did in 2002, whenmembers said the choice of former President Jimmy Carter should beseen as criticism of the Bush administration'smove to topple Saddam Hussein.

Indeed, oddsmakers and speculation had pointed to MohamedElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency as likelywinners. Last year's award went to Iranian lawyer and human rightsactivist Shirin Ebadi.

But the committee eschewed politics this year. "This is the firsttime environment sets the agenda for the Nobel Peace Prize, and wehave added a new dimension to peace," committee chairman Ole DanboltMjoes said in Oslo, Norway.

Poland's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa said the choice ofan African environmentalist signaled a shift of attention away frompolitical struggles after the fall of communism and apartheid."Perhaps the time has come to fight for our Earth," Walesa said.

In her first speech after winning the award, Maathai spoke in hernative Kikuyu language to an audience of 200 people, most of thempoor women who had gathered to collect government food aid. Hermessage was the same as always forests and other natural resourcesmust be protected if people are to prosper. "Don't farm in forests... because we will lose our forests," she said. "We have been giventhe responsibility of caring for future generations, and the youngerones, so that they may have water."

The crowd clapped politely when she told them she had won anotherinternational award, which most of them had never heard of. But theylaughed loudly when told the prize brought with it more money thatshe could count.

Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 while a member ofthe National Council of Women of Kenya. The group quickly became thelargest community-based environmental organization in Africa, with afocus on planting trees and empowering women. "I was hearing at theNational Council of Women of Kenya complaints from women. A lot ofthem about not having enough firewood, not having enough food fortheir children and I was discovering there was a lot malnutrition inthis part of the country," she said.

Maathai said she soon discovered political and social problemswere contributing to deforestation and the problems faced by women.She also was praised for standing up to Kenya's former government, acorrupt and often dictatorial regime led by Moi for 24 years until hestepped down after elections in 2002. "I am working to make sure wedon't only protect the environment, we also improve governance," shesaid, fighting back tears.

Maathai said she would consult financial experts to look into howto use the reward money to start a foundation that will ensure theGreen Belt Movement's work continues. After the food aid wasdistributed, Maathai flew to Nairobi to meet with President MwaiKibaki.

"As a government we are proud to have her as an assistantminister," Kibaki said. "As Kenyans, we must rededicate ourselves toconserve the environment as a gesture of appreciation of theprestigious award to one of our own."

Maathai was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn adoctorate, from the University of Nairobi in 1971. She also has amaster's degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Carter called Maathai a "heroine in Kenya and throughout Africa.""She has fought courageously to protect the environment and humanrights, in the face of severe governmental pressures to silence heroften lonely voice," he said in an e-mail to the AP. The Peace Prize,which also includes a gold medal and a diploma, is presented in Osloon Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of its founder, Swedishindustrialist Alfred Nobel. The other Nobel Prizes are presented inStockholm, Sweden, the same day.

INSIGHT: Why America should halt the genocide in the Sudan.


USAfrica VIEWPOINT
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come.... By Chido Nwangwu

LITERATURE
As Chinua Achebe turned 70, the world's intellectuals, leaders pay tribute to the master story-teller and lucid essayist.
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
MUSIC
The sultry and smoking voice of Nigerian-born international singer Sade Adu, simply known as Sade, is already rocking the world, again, with her latest album
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
Will Arinze be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE in recent history?
INSIGHT
Slavery report in modern Africa more complicated than the media tells. By Jonathan Elendu
Church bombed in Sudan: How 3 American missionaries miraculously escaped death. USAfricaonline.com Special and Exclusive report by Elise Glading

HUMAN RIGHTS
Why South Africa's Basson is known as 'Dr. Death'

Nigeria's police, soldiers vandalize Okigwe town in futile search for MASSOB leader
Okigwe killings: A possible prelude to a pogrom? By Dr. M. O. Ene
AFRICAN LEADERS CONDEMN ATTACKS ON WTC TOWERS, PENTAGON BY TERRORISTS.
In the aftermath of the terror hits which took down World Trade Center in New York, destroyed parts of the Pentagon in Washington DC., and left thousands decimated and charred, African leaders have been expressing their condemnation of the attacks. Among them, Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi condemned it as "this heinous and evil apparently co-ordinated act of terrorism." In 1998, the bombing of the U.S embassy in his country's capital, Nairobi, left more than 200 dead. On his part, Tanzania Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete said "we feel and understand what the Americans must be experiencing."
Islamic Youth Organization in Zamfara in northern Nigeria has a different view as their leader told BBC's Ibrahim Dosara the attacks offer U.S some payback for its actions in the Middle East.
The World Igbo Congress (WIC), based in the U.S., has informed USAfricaonline.com that the it considers the attacks on the U.S. as "sadistic and devious." Its newly-elected chairman, Dr. Kalu Kalu Diogu, said during the USAfricaonline.com exclusive interview, "there is no justification for such wanton decimation of innocent lives. It is simply wrong and unacceptable."
USAfricaonline.com and
NigeriaCentral.com can also confirm that a handful of Nigerians and Africans do business and work at the World Trade Center. But no deaths and major injuries involving any continental African have been announced. Send such information to newsroom@USAfricaonline.com

BUSH SAYS COUNTRY IS UNSHAKEN.
President Bush says America remains unshaken by what he called "acts of war." Pentagon which lost hundreds of its members and the certain death of the passengers in the hijacked plane has also announced that military jets will fly the skies over New York and Washington for the next several days.

U.S. and Nigeria's future: The futulity of political band-aids.


The Kingdom of Gates and the Controlversy


DEMOCRACY MATTERS
Obasanjo obsession with Biafra versus facts of history. By Prof. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe in Dakar, Senegal.
Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and
Obasanjo's slippery slide
AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
STEALS AND DEALS: How Marc Rich made billions from Nigeria's Oil. Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Our Special News Investigation report by Chido Nwangwu examines the Marc Rich shenanigans in Nigeria and beyond.
DIPLOMACY and ECONOMICS
Bush-Kabila-Powell meeting in Washington D.C. offer Congo good signal for renewing U.S-Africa relations. Democratic Republic of Congo's leader Joseph Kabila, a shy 31-year-old soldier, became one of the very first world leaders to meet with U.S. president George W. Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, on Thursday January 31, 2001. In this USAfricaonline.com special report, we offer insight on the issues in the Congo, its implications for the United States, the Bush international relations team and Mandela's challenge for all to work on a structure of peace to stabilize the region.
The
Congo too valuable for Bush, U.S. to ignore. By Chido Nwangwu (published in the Houston Chronicle, January 31, 2001).

Black History Giants and Quotes:
"Our struggle is a struggle of the African people. It is a struggle for the right to live. I have dedicated my life to this struggle. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live and to see realised. But, my lord if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die"Nelson Mandela making his last moving speech in court before he was sentenced by the racist apartheid regime in South Africa to life imprisonment in 1964. He later became president in May 1994.
INSIGHT
Africa's Looming Tragedy: an appeal for preventive action in Nigeria
Is Obasanjo ordained by God to rule Nigeria? Prof. Sola Adeyeye raises the issue and provides some thought-provoking answers.
Commission should ask Obasanjo, Danjuma some questions, too. By Ambrose Ehirim
Abacha's henchman al-Mustapha sings briefly about "Abubakar-Diya Coup" plot, the killing of Abiola, NADECO and other issues
Major al-Mustapha's Bombshell: M.K.O Abiola was murdered by
"powers that be"