For 27 years, Mrs. Dehab Ghebreab served in the Foreign Service of the United States (U.S.). She spent 15 years in Africa, serving as Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulates in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Zimbabwe. In this interview with WALE AJETUNMOBI, she relives her experience and the values she is taking away from the continent.
You have served in the United States’ Foreign Service for 27 years. Would you say you are satisfied with your experience?
Yes, I do feel that way. This is because we have an assessment and evaluation process in place. We get promoted based on our performance and I have benefited from this process. That is an indication that I served well and I have been rewarded for the work that I’ve done.
During this period, how many years did you work in Africa?
I worked in Africa for 15 years, but in different countries. I did two assignments in Nigeria. I served in Zambia, Ghana, Liberia and a short assignment in Zimbabwe. But, in the course of my job, I have travelled to almost every part of Africa.
Why did you choose Africa as a destination for your diplomatic assignment?
I would say that I am an Africanist and my focus has been Africa. Most of the diplomats have opportunities to choose different regions to serve. They prefer to choose two regions and that is part of recommendations that we get as we passed through professional development. The aim of this is to serve and have expertise of the two regions. My preference has been focused on Africa and it has worked really well for me.
How would you describe the relationship between the U.S. and the African countries you have served?
Obviously, the U.S. relationship with Africa is very important. The U.S. government has a very strong relationship with Nigeria. We have strong relationship with Ghana as well. I will say the same goes for Zambia and Liberia. I have been fortunate to work in African countries, that we have good relationship with.
Do you think the objectives of the U.S. inter-faith programme in Africa are being achieved?
I think so. In the United States, we have freedom of religion. The religious adherents come together for inter-faith dialogue to better understand one another and work together in communities. Our goal is to see the same initiative developed in other countries as well. With their different faiths, leaders can come together and build a relationship and understanding, so that there will not be conflict between the various communities. In Nigeria, we have seen religious conflict and it is important we advocate that freedom of faith should be respected. Religious leaders should come together to create peace and advocate for unity.
With your experience, do you believe these programmes are worth sustaining?
Yes. The programmes have been going on for years. There is no reason not to believe that the exchange programmes will continue. The most recent initiative of President Barack Obama is the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme. That initiative will continue as far as we know. But, after President Obama leaves office, we will find out in what form it will continue with the State Department.
What have been your challenges working in Nigeria?
For me, the challenges have been minimal, because I have bad and great experience in Nigeria. I have been here for seven years. I feel privileged to have participated in many activities, including the general elections during which I worked with young people. The challenges are connected with the traffic congestion… going to different places and spending hours on the road. It is difficult managing my time as well. As much as Public Diplomacy means going out and cultivateing relationships, you need to go out and spend a lot of time on the road. When you go for events, most don’t start on time. Sometimes, you have to wait for one or two hours for the event to start. Those were the challenges that I faced.
Do you have high and low moments in doing your job in Nigeria?
I can talk about a lot of high moments. But, there is no particular low moment. I think there were times when one heard about loss of lives, because of conflict that goes on. That affects the way you feel about the country in which you are working. My hope is that the federal, state and local governments and Nigerians in general would come together and address the source of the conflict. They should come up with a solution that will include the input of the stakeholders, so that it would be sustainable. The U.S. Consulate has worked with Nigerian kids a lot through various projects. We have Dawn in the Creeks project that we supported in the Niger Delta. There’s a lot of investment in that project. But, to see what is happening now in Niger Delta; it is really discomforting. So, there has to be lasting solution to the problems that have been in existence for many years.
How would you describe your experience working with Nigerian journalists?
I guess it is great. It is wonderful working with the Nigerian media. Without your support, we would not have been able to convey our messages; I mean everything the U.S. Mission is doing to support Nigeria. Compared to my first visit to Nigeria, I can say the Nigerian media has developed a lot and it is vibrant. There are some capacity-building issues that we see, but during the last general elections, Nigerian journalists demonstrated that they can be objective and really inform the public as to what is going on in the country. I believe journalists contributed to the peaceful outcome of the election. The bar of professionalism has been raised. The U.S. Consulate facilitated about 10 capacity training programmes since I have been here. We will continue to do that. We have been sending journalists to the U.S. for training programmes, because we believe the press plays a central role in terms of strengthening democratic principles. Also, they are educating the public on their role to hold the government accountable. The news media plays central role and we will look at capacity building in the future.
What were your impressions about Nigeria before you came here and what are the impressions you are leaving with?
When I came to Lagos in 2012, I knew it would be my last assignment in Foreign Service. I came with the thought that it would be a tough and difficult assignment. I said it’s okay and I won’t miss my work because I would be retiring after this assignment. But, it didn’t turn out to be that way. I really had a great time here. We have wonderful initiative that we supported. With the Mandela Washington Fellowship programme in the last three years; it gave us an opportunity to really travel to different locations to get to know this country. Nigeria has tremendous potential that we have seen, especially the young people. Without the government’s handouts, they really take steps to be creative, using technology to impact the communities and to create jobs in many cases. So, all of that potential that we have seen through various programmes; when they come back, they are touching other people’s lives. They are building networks; so that has to contribute to the development of the country and at some point, we are going to see dramatic change in Nigeria. I believe so. We will focus on the backbone of this country, which is the youth. I believe we will see changes.
What are the lessons you are taking away from Nigeria?
What I see in Nigeria are very creative and industrious people, who are struggling and finding their ways. We have people engaging in five or six different things simultaneously; going to school, working part-time, having non-governmental organisations to impact on the communities and advancing in their professional careers. Some enrol in degree programmes and at the same time pursuing two Master’s degrees. I have never seen anything like that before I came here. I will use this can-do-spirit of Nigerians to inspire young people in the rest of Africa by saying, ‘you can do it’. For me, I didn’t know it was possible to do all these things at the same time. But, I’m now convinced it is possible.
What legacies are you leaving behind in the U.S. Consulate Public Affairs office?
We have a very robust office here and it has been very productive. The work that we have done has been supported by the U.S. Mission and the State Department, but, more importantly, by the Nigerian people. The way Nigerians have responded, our activities would not have been successful without the support we got from the Nigerian people. These are things I will remember and I hope we will continue to have a strong office to continue with all the work we have done.
What is your plan after retirement?
There is so much going on my mind. I can’t focus on any particular thing until September. But I’m thinking that doing values that I picked up from here will be fine. That is, I want to be an author; I want to write a book. A lot of people, who have stories to tell here, write books. And that is what I want to do.
What do you want to remember about Nigeria and Africa?
There is so much. It can’t be one or two things. There are lots of things. But, my being here and witnessing the 2015 general elections to see how people peacefully decided they wanted to change the government in a very peaceful manner. They made their voices heard and brought about change. That’s remarkable. This kind of cooperation should happen regularly in Africa. We have seen that in Ghana, where there has been peaceful transition three or four times. We saw that happened in 2015 in Nigeria. This is historic. I will continue to remember those times. - The
PARIS, JULY 6, 2016: (DGW) DONALD TRUMP, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate has showered encomium on the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The United States 'shouldn't have destabilized' Iraq, now a hotbed for the Islamic State, Trump said.
He praised Saddam for killing off “terrorists,” which earned him a swift rebuke from White House. Iraq he says has been destabilized and taken over by IS after 13 years of the US-led invasion.
“He was a bad guy — really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good,” Trump told supporters.
“They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism,” the Republican firebrand added, referring to the prestigious US university.
Shortly after the remarks, Clinton’s campaign pounced on Trump’s apparent support of a strongman, who was hanged in Iraq in 2006 for ordering the sectarian killings of nearly 150 Shiites two decades earlier.
“Tonight, Trump yet again lauded Saddam Hussein as a great killer of terrorists, noting with approval that he never bothered to read anyone their rights. In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism,” Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.
“Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as Commander-in-Chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Paul Ryan, a Republican Speaker in the House of Representatives, however, criticized Donald Trump for his comments.
Saddam “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there, and he committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy,” Ryan said
Recall last year, Trump said the world would be “100 percent” better off if Saddam and slain Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi were still in power.
“I mean, look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Iraq used to be no terrorists. He (Saddam) would kill the terrorists immediately, which is like now it’s the Harvard of terrorism,” Trump said at the time.
“If you look at Iraq from years ago, I’m not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now.”
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico's Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, putting her within striking distance of capturing her party's nomination.
After a blowout victory Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands and a decisive win in the U.S. territory, Clinton is now less than 30 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.
"We just won Puerto Rico! ¡Gracias a la Isla del Encanto por esta victoria!" tweeted Clinton, thanking the Island of Enchantment, as Puerto Rico is known, for her victory. As the race was called, Clinton was on stage in Sacramento, rallying voters in California.
The results were slow to arrive on Sunday, as officials counted ballots by hand and focused first on releasing results tied to the island's local primary elections, said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico's former Democratic National Committeeman.
As the results from Puerto Rico trickled in, Clinton maintained a healthy lead over Sanders.
While Puerto Rican residents cannot vote in the general election, the island's politics could reverberate into the fall campaign. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have left the island to escape a dismal economy, with many resettling in the key electoral battleground of Florida.
Though Clinton did not spend much time campaigning in Puerto Rico, the victory is fraught with symbolism for her campaign. Eight years ago, with the presidential nomination slipping from her grasp, she rolled through the streets of San Juan on the back of a flat-bed truck, wooing voters to a soundtrack of blasting Latin music.
She beat then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama with nearly 68 percent of the vote.
"I'm for Hillary, girl," said 83-year-old Candida Dones on Sunday as she cast her ballot. "I can't wait for a female president. She's one of us. She wears the pants. If we don't look out for our own interests, who will?"
Both Clinton and Sanders spent Sunday in California, the biggest prize among the six states voting on Tuesday. Sanders shook hands and stopped for photos during a stroll of more than an hour along the shops, restaurants and amusement park rides of the Santa Monica Pier.
That included a stop at a charity "Pedal on the Pier" fundraiser, telling people riding on stationary bikes that the U.S. should have "an economy that works for all people, not just the one percent."
Like Clinton, Sanders made little mention of the outcome in Puerto Rico's primary. He said during an evening rally in San Diego that Democratic leaders should take notice that the "energy and grassroots activism" that will be crucial to the party in the fall "is with us, not Hillary Clinton."
He pointed to polls showing him faring better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Trump and his strength among Democratic voters under the age of 45.
"If the Democratic leadership wants a campaign that will not only retain the White House but regain the Senate and win governors' chairs all across this country, we are that campaign," he said.
While those watching the results in Puerto Rico focused on their impact on the race for the Democratic nomination, the focus of many voters on the island was its ongoing economic crisis.
Both Sanders and Clinton had pledged to help as the island's government tries to restructure $70 billion worth of public debt the governor has said is unpayable.
"This is one of the most important political moments for Puerto Rico," said Emanuel Rosado, a 29-year-old Clinton supporter. "I'm taking action as a result of the economic crisis."
Two weeks before the primary, Sanders criticized a rescue deal negotiated by U.S. House leaders and the Obama administration as having colonial overtones. In a letter to fellow Senate Democrats, Sanders said the House bill to create a federal control board and allow some restructuring of the territory's $70 billion debt would make "a terrible situation even worse."
He later promised to introduce his own legislation to help the island. Campaigning on the island last month, Sanders promised to fight against "vulture funds" on Wall Street that he said would profit off the fiscal crisis.
"That bill is anti-democratic and it's not in the best interest of Puerto Rico," said Jorge Gaskins, a 67-year-old farmer who supports Sanders and opposes a control board.
Clinton has said she has serious concerns about the board's powers, but believes the legislation should move forward, or "too many Puerto Ricans will continue to suffer."
Among those voting Sunday was Democratic Party superdelegate Andres Lopez, one of the party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the summer convention. He had remained uncommitted, but said Sunday he will support Clinton.
Clinton has 1,809 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses; Sanders has 1,519. When including superdelegates, her lead over Sanders is substantial — 2,357 to 1,565.
With Lopez's endorsement, all seven of Puerto Rico's superdelegates have pledged their support for Clinton.
"It is time to focus on squashing 'El Trumpo,'" he said, referring to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
During a late Saturday rally in Reno, Trump paused mid-speech to look into the crowd with his hands blocking the overhead lights. He seemed to spot something that caused him to freeze. Suddenly two Secret Service agents rushed onto the stage from the right side and grabbed Trump, rushing him off the stage.
For a split second, Trump seemed unaware of who was grabbing him. The agents yelled GO GO GO! as they moved Trump rapidly off stage left, ducking behind the black curtain with Mr. Trump in tow.
There was a frantic commotion in the crowd as rally-goers tried to determine what was happening, with some fleeing the chaos. Several soldiers in camo fatigues and Kevlar helmets crowded in from offstage and rushed into the crowd.
It appears that a gunman was apprehended by military personnel and led from the event. More details as they emerge.
ANOTHER POSSIBLE ATTEMPT ON TRUMP’S LIFE AT A NEVADA RALLY!
Trump confidently strode back onstage after just a few minutes, and thanked the Secret Service for their quick actions. Amazingly, he then proceeded to continue his speech, looking more energized than before!
The Illuminati is a secret society founded in 1776 that is bent on world domination. The Illuminati has cast a wide net and infiltrated the world’s banking, political, entertainment, and academic sectors. Their members consist of the worlds most powerful and influential people. Upon joining, members are sworn to secrecy and rarely acknowledge the organization’s existence.
Our crack-team of investigators has risked life and limbs to bring you these shocking revelations. In the following pages we will reveal some the Illuminati’s most powerful members.
10. Barack Obama
We all know that president Obama is a communist-Muslim who is trying to undermine America as we know it, but that is far from his only agenda. Obama is also a high ranking member of the Illuminati and his subversive plans for America fall into a larger scheme to augment the secret society’s power.
9. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres hates gay people, more specifically, gay men. While a prominent lesbian herself, she considers male homosexuality to be an abomination and uses her wealth and entertainment industry influence to undermine the male gay marriage movement. Ellen actively set out to join the Illuminati to gain a powerful ally for her ambitions.
In exchange for her services, mostly in the form of subliminal propaganda campaigns, the Illuminati is actively working to fulfill Ellen’s ultimate goal: a take-over of Australia, followed by a banishment of all male homosexuals therein, turning the country into the world’s first lesbian colony, and establishing her as Queen of the Lesbians.
8. Jay Z
Jay Z was a member of the Illuminati’s “Department of Urban Sabotage,” his duties included selling drugs (mostly crack) to inner city youths in an attempt to undermine urban development. His talents for rapping and business were quickly noticed by the leadership and they went on to finance his entertainment career.
He has now risen to become the head of the Illuminati’s entertainment arm, where it is his duty to influence young people in whatever matter he is ordered to by the elusive society’s leadership.
7. Adam Levine
How as can you explain the success of such a talent-less hack? The Illuminati backed his “band,” Maroon 5, with their money and influence and forced his whiny, crappy music down our collective throats. Much like the Gods they think they are, the Illuminati works in mysterious ways. Our investigative team managed to uncover documents that prove their backing of Adam Levine, but we have not been able to find out what evil purpose is behind the operation.
Know this, Adam Levine is an Illuminati agent and he has managed to infiltrate pop-culture. We must be watchful of his douchebaggery.
6. June Shannon
The Illuminati recruits the world best and brightest minds. So it’s no surprise that we found irrefutable evidence that June Shannon, Honey Boo Boo’s mother, is a high ranking member and part of the so-called Council of Strategic Planning that weaves the complicated webs behind the clandestine organization’s plans.
Honey Boo Boo’s mom deals in high level cloak-and-dagger operations that reach the highest levels of the American, Jamaican, and Swedish governments. Her cunning mind and lack of scruples make her the perfect agent for this type of grand scheming.
The Illuminati also deal in large-scale honey-pot operations. It recruits some of the world’s most beautiful and sophisticated women to seduce the world’s most influential men in order influence or later blackmail their decision making.
Look no further than Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame. we uncovered documents stating that she was recruited to lure and seduce men like the secretary general of the United Nations; Ban Ki-moon, as well as Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs and Tyler Perry. All of these powerful men have succumbed to her classy allure and subsequently become pawns for the secret society.
4. Paula Deen
In keeping with their tradition of deploying the world’s greatest mind to further realize their ambitions, master chef, Paula Deen, was brought into the fold in an ingenious plan to poison the poor.
She meticulously promotes and sells unhealthy food to lower income Americans in an operation meant to “thin the heard.” Paula Deen’s food products, sold in super markets across the United States, are secretly laced with crack as well.
3. Iggy Azalea
We’re not sure who this is. Her name appeared numerous times in many of the secret documents we managed to acquire. Using an internet tool known as “Google,” we managed to find this photograph of her. She should be considered EXTREMELY dangerous.
2. Tom, From MySpace
MySpace was an Illuminati tool meant to keep tabs on the entire world. It was the brain-child of a shadowy figure known only as, Tom.
An inside informant, with great risk to his life, recounted that Tom from MySpace, and June Shannon (the mother of Honey Boo Boo) concocted the brilliant plan to gain access to everyone’s personal and financial information via a massive social networking site.
Our informant later dropped this bombshell: Tom is Honey Boo Boo’s real father. When Mama June became pregnant, Tom wanted out of the Illuminati because he did not want his child involved in their dangerous, high-stakes game of world domination. Which in turn led to his rebelling against the organization and sabotaging MySpace from within, leading to the websites sudden downfall.
Tom was never heard from again, and to this day, he remains a hero to those who struggle against the Illuminati.
1. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber has been trying to join the Illuminati for years, but they have consistently rebuffed him. The pop-singer has gone so far as to get an Illuminati tattoo in hopes of impressing the leadership. So far, we’ve gathered that the Illuminati at least in this instance, agree with the rest of the world; they hate Mr. Bieber.
We’ve saved the most dangerous piece of evidence for last; the only known picture of the Illuminati’s leader. The brave reporter who obtained the picture was killed in the process. His name was Barry McCociner. His heroism will forever be remembered, his memory will live on, and we will expose the Illuminati in your honor. We miss you Barry.
Click on through to see the dreaded leader of the nefarious Illuminati. CLICK HERE
With only two days left in this election cycle, a critical document has now been released. The relevant document in question deals with the events that took place in Benghazi.