Post Colonial Moment: Rt Rev John Sentamu

The Rt Rev John Sentamu was enthroned today as the 97th Archbishop of York. He is the first black archbishop in the Church of England.

The 56-year-old Archbishop was educated in Uganda, where he practised as a barrister and was an outspoken critic of Idi Amin's regime, before coming to the UK in 1974.

He was ordained in 1979 and after serving in a succession of London parishes, he was appointed Bishop of Stepney in 1996 and Bishop of Birmingham in 2002.

Dr Sentamu has already spoken of his desire to banish homophobia from the church and said his new role in the second-highest post of the Church of England was "an exciting prospect".

I want to say to people, 'Please, please, please don't use such ghastly words,' because every human being regardless of their sexual orientation are standing in for God, each one of them is actually loved of God.

He has often attacked the Church of England for being institutionally racist.

But he has also played down his reputation as an anti-racist campaigner saying: "Yes definitely I am black but what is important is that I have got a living faith in God.

"I would like people to share my life, my faith, my hope," he said. "That, to me, is the most important."

He has indicated that he would be happy to ordain women bishops if the Church was to change its rules.

"And when you use language which implies they were not human beings who are you to do that because you did not create them?"

However, not everyone is happy about his enthronement. Upon the announcement of his appointment, he received numerous hate mail. Asked if he was angered by the letters, Dr Sentamu said: "Particularly when they put human excrement on them. I don't want to have that kind of thing," he said. "And I say to myself, why are people doing this? I want to suggest it is therefore my job to search a person, if I at all encounter them, to show them the sheer love of God. Because, you see, the gospel offers forgiveness for the past, new life for the present, and hope for the future."


More aid needed for Tsunami victims

Nearly a year after the devastating tsunami in South Asia, Oxfam is calling on Sri Lanka and Indonesia must provide more appropriate land on which to build permanent shelter for survivors.

Rebuilding in both countries was too slow, Oxfam said, adding: "New land must be granted to those who lost it."

The tsunami killed more than 200,000 people in 13 countries - 130,000 in Indonesia and 31,000 in Sri Lanka.

The appeal came as UN special envoy President Bill Clinton arrived in Sri Lanka to review recovery work.

As well as those killed and injured, millions were made homeless along Sri Lanka's southern and eastern coasts. Despite billions of dollars in assistance, the government has been criticised for being too slow to help. Reconstruction is going on, but along the shoreline many destroyed homes have not been rebuilt because under coastal "buffer zones" they are too close to the sea.

Oxfam says that while Sri Lanka has made efforts to provide more, the organization says the land is not appropriate, such as fishing communities being offered land too far away from the sea. Indonesia, on the other hand, has yet to make any policies about land distribution.


Post Colonial Moment: CHOGM 2005

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) have been taken place the last couple of days in Valletta, Malta, on the theme, “Networking the Commonwealth for Development,” hosted by the Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. CHOGM meetings, which are held every two years bring together presidents, prime ministers and heads of state to discuss Commonwealth and global issues, and develop a consensus on collective policies and initiatives. These summits provide a unique forum for consultation at the highest level of government.

Formerly known as the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Commonwealth is a loose association of former British colonies, dependencies and other territories - and Mozambique, which has no historical ties to Britain.

The Commonwealth has been criticised for being an exclusive post-colonial society. However to its members it is a voluntary association of independent states which is in the business of promoting democracy, good government, human rights and economic development.

Today the Commonwealth urges richer nations to "give more than they receive" at next month's world trade talks. In their statement, the leaders urge developed countries to "demonstrate the political courage and will to give more than they receive... particularly in the negotiations on agriculture and market access, as their own longer term prosperity and security depends on such an approach".

They go on to say they recognise "developing countries must also demonstrate flexibility and commitment to ensure a successful outcome to the round".

"This is an absolutely critical moment of decision for the whole World Trade Organization. If we don't get significant movement in Hong Kong and subsequently there is a danger that the round fails. That would be disastrous for economies, both developed and developing," he told journalists in Malta.

Meanwhile as the Commonwealth summit trying to focus on crucial issues like global trade reforms and how to build more tolerant societies, now at risk of having its agenda hijacked by events in one country.

Suddenly, as an official put it, the issue of Uganda was catching fire.

One chosen tack was to encourage President Yoweri Museveni to explain himself.

At a news conference Mr Museveni flatly denied that he was trying to prevent Kizza Besigye challenging him at the polls next year.

He said he had been sent to a military court because alleged terrorist activities fell under the Armed Forces Act.

And he suggested that his government should be acclaimed by the Commonwealth because it had ended a long-running culture of impunity.


Bono:Supporter of US ABC Policy in Africa?

U2 frontman Bono was featured on Sunday's edition of the US program 60 Minutes.

From the segment where Bono speaks about his activism:

Bono once said, “I'm available to be used, but I'm not a cheap date." And he stands by that quote. “No, I'm not a cheap date. I'm in the checks business. You know, and not just people signing the checks, but people cashing them. And I'm ready to spend my, whatever you want to call it, the currency of my celebrity, if that’s what it takes to get there.”

He gets a lot of credit for lobbying President Bush, who he has met several times. Today, the Bush administration contributes to one of his biggest causes, AIDS medication for Africa.

“People openly laughed in my face when I suggested that this administration would distribute antiretroviral drugs to Africa,” Bono remembers. “They said, ‘You are out of your tiny mind.’ There's 200,000 Africans now who owe their lives to America.”

How does he get support for his projects? “It was probably that it would be really wrong beating a sort of left-wing drum, taking the usual bleeding-heart-liberal line,” says Bono.

Instead, he enlisted the ruling right of American politics.

“Particularly conservative Christians, I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency. I was saying, ‘this is the leprosy that we read about in the New Testament, you know. Christ hung out with the lepers. But you're ignoring the AIDS emergency,” says Bono. “How can you? And, you know, they said, ‘Well, you're right, actually. We have been. And we're sorry. We'll get involved.’ And they did.”

His proudest achievement may have been helping convince the G8 industrial nations to sign an agreement that will forgive more than $40 billion in loans to Third World countries, 18 of them so far.

“And these countries, instead of paying that money servicing old debts, can spend it on health, education and infrastructure in the countries. It’s an amazing achievement,” says Bono.

With all this said the obvious question that should have been ask was if Bono supported the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful and Use Condoms)policy being administered by the Bush Administration. If he is so proud of his work with the Christian Right, is he also proud of what they are doing in countries such as Uganda?

U.S.-funded “abstinence-only” programs are jeopardizing Uganda’s successful fight against HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Watch said in a report in March. Abstinence-only programs deny young people information about any method of HIV prevention other than sexual abstinence until marriage.

It documents the recent removal of critical HIV/AIDS information from primary school curricula, including information about condoms, safer sex and the risks of HIV in marriage. Draft secondary-school materials state falsely that latex condoms have microscopic pores that can be permeated by HIV, and that pre-marital sex is a form of “deviance.” HIV/AIDS rallies sponsored by the U.S. government spread similar falsehoods.

The U.S. government has already budgeted approximately U.S. $8 million this year on abstinence-only programs in Uganda as part of President George W. Bush’s global AIDS plan. The National Youth Forum, headed by Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni, a vocal proponent of abstinence-only, has received U.S. funding under the plan. The First Lady has lashed out against groups that teach young people about condoms and called for a national “virgin census” to support her abstinence agenda. The Virginia-based Children’s AIDS Fund, an organization with close ties to Janet Museveni, was recently approved for a major abstinence-only grant, despite having been deemed “not suitable for funding” by a technical panel of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Uganda gained a reputation in the 1990s for its high-level leadership against HIV/AIDS and acceptance of sexually candid HIV-prevention messages. But public health experts and Ugandan AIDS organizations fear that the shift toward abstinence-only programs will reverse this success. Abstinence programs have been used since 1981 in the United States, where they have proven in numerous independent studies to be ineffective and potentially harmful.

Before Bono says he wants to be "used," he ought to make sure who is offering the cheap date.


Ambassador Charles Stith on economics for the African Disapora

It was recently announced that Ambassador Charles Stith would come on the board of directors for BankBlackwell, the first federally funded African American Internet Bank. BankBlackwell CEO James Mundy is enthusiastic about this move because Stith "will bring a wealth of financial, business, and community leadership" to the Board. Stith has a long track record of not only providing economic opportunities for African Americans, but also for Africans.

Ambassador Stith is currently the Director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at Boston University. He is a former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Tanzania. In 1994, prior to appointing Stith Ambassador to Tanzania, President Clinton appointed Reverend Stith to the official delegation to monitor the South African elections. In 2001, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle appointed him to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. At one time he was also the Senior Minister at Union United Methodist Church.

Prior to his international duties, he was also the founder and former national president of the Organization for the New Equality (ONE), a nonprofit organization with the goal of generating economic opportunity for women and people of color. During his tenure at ONE, he is best known for helping to negotiate and broker the first comprehensive community reinvestment agreement in the country. The agreement committed Boston financial institutions to $500 million in mortgage and commercial lending to low and moderate and minority communities in Massachusetts.

"The rationale of getting involved back then [with ONE] is the same as supporting what the Bank is about, and that is by definition undercapitalized communities that need access to capital," said Stith. "To grow communities and for members in communities to create and generate wealth, they need access to credited capital. The concert of a national Internet bank is a unique effort to not only harness the capital resources that exist in the African American community. But to develop a mechanism so African Americans that have access to another option in terms of capital credit."

After working with ONE he served on the CRA Regulatory Agency Working Group, chaired by then Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig. He was one of the masterminds of the regulations redefining the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which has resulted in nearly $2 trillion in credit and capital for low income communities and communities of color.

Stith and Mundy recently hosted an investment seminar at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Stith is happy about the reactions to the seminars and is "confident that trips to Atlanta and out to the west coast and around the country will yield a response to not only get off the Bank off the ground but flourish."

Stith’s vast experience in economics extended to his tenure as Ambassador to Tanzania. He took up the Ambassadorship shortly after the August 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam. He took the initiative to set a new standard for U.S. Embassies by promoting US trade and investment in Africa. In September 1999 he organized Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa’s historic visit to the United States. This particular visit had the distinction of having the largest delegation of African business leaders to ever accompany an African head of state on a visit to a Western country. He also worked with the Tanzanian government to enable them to become the first Sub-Saharan African country to reach the decision point for debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). Stith believe that a similar program to BankBlackwell with the use of the Internet would be useful in building better financial structures in many African nations.

"The use of the Internet on the continent is growing exponentially," Stith said. "Most of what you hear about what’s going on in Africa is HIV and AIDS and how it is spreading across the continent. But what is really growing exponentially faster than any problem is the potential of what the Internet has to offer. There is a whole generation that is becoming more comfortable that sort of thing. If this Internet model can work here, it can definitely work on the continent."

Stith says that Americans, especially African Americans, need to recognize that "Africa is more than the sum of its problems" politically, socially and economically. Despite the concerns of AIDS, malaria, poverty and lack of infrastructure, there are many African nations that are stimulating capital flow and economic growth.

"Africa is a place where people in the African Diaspora ought to look in terms of being able to do well by doing good," said Stith. "That is it is an attractive venue to invest and engage in the process of creating economic stability on the continent."

Stith recommends that more fair trade policies be established to help African agricultural workers. "Trade is an incredibly critical piece to Africa’s growth and development," Stith said. "The degree the West subsidizes its farmers makes it difficult not only for African farmers to compete globally, but it is difficult to compete in their own countries. American and European farmers are able to undersell African farmers even in their own countries because of subsidies."

The recent election of Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the former UN economic advisor turned first democratically elected women president is Africa, is an example of why African Americans should invest in Africa. "A revolution is happening in Africa, and African Americans need to be a part of it," said Stith.


Retro Film Reviews: Cafe au Lait and Hate

In light of the recent riots in France, the realities of race relations comes out behind “the myth of republican equality." The worst social turmoil France has seen since the student-led unrest of 1968, more than 6,000 vehicles have been set alight in nearly 300 towns; over 1,500 people have been arrested; one man has died. After an emergency cabinet meeting last week, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin declared a state of emergency, invoking a 1955 law that allows a curfew to be imposed in troubled areas and which—with unfortunate symbolism—dates from the war in Algeria. The idea of multiculturalism has failed in France.

A few years ago Jewish-French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz made two films that addressed the problems of race in France.

Originally titled La Haine, the film concerns three young men - an Arab, a Jew and a black - who decided to take on the police after a friend is brutally injured. Said, Vinz, and Hubert, respectfully, try to make sense of their social environment. The impulsive Vinz, performed by Vincent Cassel, acts tough as he knows that he has a gun that he found after a police officer had accidentally lost it in the riots. Said is the follower who glorifies the violence and strives to be respected as he has a twisted view of what respect is. Hubert dreams of getting out of the ghetto as he does not glorify the violence within the ghetto while his two friends do. The audience follows these three characters throughout a full day as they are sitting around, getting into trouble, and learning through their errors. Kassovitz creates an authentic and explosive atmosphere which becomes the grounds for an exhaustive examination of the socioeconomic milieu of young adults in a poor Parisian ghetto. In the end, Kassovitz succeeds in developing an excellent persuasive and disturbing cinematic experience.

Cafe Au Lait
This is such a interesting movie because it takes a different look at romantic and racial relationships today in contemporary Europe. This movie is about a young woman named Lola of mixed racial heritage (her mother is from Martinique and that's all we know for sure) who has been sexually involved with two men whom she "loves". She becomes pregnant and brings both men together for the first time to hear the news in person. She informs them that she doesn't know which of them is the baby's father but that she intends to have her child regardless. The men in question are Felix, a poor white Jewish guy who loves rap music and Jamal, the Muslim black African son of a wealthy diplomat. Both men vie for Lola's affections and fight with one another, getting into racially-motivated disputes over which of them should be allowed to care for mother and child, and argue about who the real father is. Kassovitz doesn't try to be politically correct and talks straightforward about the realities of racism. The movie is well scripted and directed. It is also good that Kassovitz trys to show the diverse opinions about interracial dating; Europeans are not as accepting to these types of relationships as a lot of people think. An interesting movie about interesting people!


Human Rights Activists Discuss Torture at Amnesty International Conference

The issue of torture was a key discussion at this year’s Amnesty International Northeast Conference held at Boston University this weekend. The Bush Administration criticized Amnesty’s annual report earlier this year which quoted Irene Khan, Secretary General of the human rights organization, as saying that the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo was “the gulag of our time.”

“There was a rallying cry by human rights activists to spotlight US practices in Guantanamo,” said Joshua Rubenstein, Amnesty’s Northeast Regional Director. “I think this is an unfortunate departure for Amnesty, but a necessary one, because the fact of the matter is that it is required by us to make that spotlight. The leading democracy in the world where we live is watering down the prohibition of torture.”

In the ensuing months members of the Bush Administration have tried to suppress the allegations of torture. General Richard Myers, former Joint Chief of Staff, was quoted on Fox News as saying that the accusations are “reprehensible.”

John Hutson, a former Navy officer and Judge Advocate General and now dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, said he was “ashamed” of what this administration is doing.

“It is the obligation of our armed forces to fight wars,” said Hutson. “But you have to be careful that our armed forces don’t hurt anyone unnecassarily. We have been the strongest country in the world because of our rule of law and human rights…The problem is that we think that torturing people is in our best interest. I think that this is profoundly misguided, and that this will hurt us in the future. It is absolutely clear that torture is wrong…Torture doesn’t work.”

Attendees of the conference came from all six New England states, New York and New Jersey. They were able to attend panel discussion on a wide variety of issues, such as food as a human right, international arms control, LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS, corporate accountability and media activism.

There was also a special tribute to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the assasination of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned against environmental damage in his homeland and was in favour of a more equitable share of oil riches.

The keynote speaker was Krishna Pahadi, a Nepalese human rights activist who was arrested earlier this year for helping to organize a demonstration to protest King Gyandendra’s seizure of power and suspension of fundamental rights.

Dr Nazli Kibria, professor of sociology at Boston University, was also a guest speaker. She is the daughter of the former Bangladeshi Finance Minister and senior Awami Leagure leader, Shah AMS Kibria, who was killed in a grenade attack at a rally in Habiganj district in Bangladesh on January 27, 2005. A long time member of Amnesty, Ms Kibria said that her father’s assasination really made human rights activism more real and that grassroots organizing is the only way the world will become a better place.

“It is not our responsibility to not do anything,” she said.


Book Review: The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair

Martin Meredith's Fate of Africa couldn't have come out at a better time. With so much attention given to Africa with Live 8 mega concerts and wrangling between Western politicians and hopeful development experts, finally there is a book that gives historical context to the continent. Meredith, a 40-year journalism veteran on African affairs, has written the first comprehensive study of post-colonial Africa’s first fifty years. Just under 800 pages, this book is not for the casual reader, but rather for an enthusiast of Africa's complex political history. The book begins with Ghana's independence ceremonies, which were seen at the time as a promising view into what was to come from the continent. Today Africa is only talked about in negative terms as a place full of wars, corruption and tyranny. With most African nations dependant on Western aid for survival, many African observers would say that a new colonialism has settled on the continent. From Lumumba's assasination, to Rwanda's genocide, to AIDS in Southern Africa, Meredith addresses the problems that all 54 countries have faced and what can be done, if anything. The book also gives dynamic bios of luminous and notorious Africa's giants such as Mobuto, Gaddifi, Bokassa and Amin. So what does Meredith think is Africa's fate? He says that "its potential for economic development has been disrupted by predatory politics of ruling elites seeking personal gain...who run them as regarded by the populations they rule as yet another burden they have to bear in the struggle for survival."


Johnson-Sirleaf wins Liberian election

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has claimed victory as the first woman to be elected president of Liberia - or anywhere in Africa. She had won 59% of the vote to leave her main rival, former footballer George Weah, trailing on 41%. Weah is now contesting the vote by filing a fraud complaint. However, as a political candidate his feel-good factor is immense but his opponents say he is young, inexperienced and surrounded by political opportunists.

Observers declared the vote "peaceful and transparent".

Educated at Harvard, Johnson-Sirleaf became involved in government when she became Finance Minister in President William Tolbert's administration in 1970. While running for Senate in 1985, she spoke out against the military regime, and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Released after a short period, she left in exile and returned in 1997 in the capacity of an economist, working for the World Bank, and Citibank in Africa.

Initially supporting Charles Taylor's rebellion against General Samuel Doe, she later went on to oppose him, and ran against him in the Presidential elections. She managed only 10% of the votes, as opposed to Taylor's 75%. Taylor charged her with treason. She campaigned for the removal of President Taylor from office, playing an active and supportive role in the transitional government, as the country prepared itself for the 2005 elections. With Taylor's departure, she returned to take over the leadership of the Unity Party.

She told Reuters news agency she hoped her win in the second and final round of the election would "raise the participation of women not just in Liberia but also in Africa".


TV Review: Rx for Survival

For the past few days US network PBS aired special programming dealing with the current global health crisis. Narrated by actor Brad Pitt, Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge delves into infectious diseases that had nearly been conquered, such as tuberculosis, have come surging back, while devastating new diseases such as AIDS, SARS and West Nile Virus have emerged. Microbial resistance to many modern drugs is rising, threatening people everywhere. And in our world of globalized travel, as the program states, the latest epidemic is only a plane ride away.

It is shocking that millions of people around the world are dying from diseases that are easily preventable, and how those in the West take for granted their access to health care. It is sad to see children in Bangladesh suffering from Night Blindness, which is caused by lack of Vitamin A in the diet. It is also mind-blowing to watch watch a whole village in West Africa suffer from "river blindness." This is not caused by vitamin defiencency, but rather a bug that bits the skin. Planes and helicopters flying over the area can easily identify this village because all the residents are either walking slowly or being escorted.

Obesity in America was also addressed in the program. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death among all Americans, but especially with African Americans. One African American family was featured in the program. The family patriach, an overweight man who suffered one heart attack, is a pastor of a church in his native Arkansas. When he is not doing this, he is a funeral director. He displayed special coffins for overweight deceased people, which he has made a lucrative business out of. He says that if you want to have any of these $4,000 coffins, "You better have good insurance," he says.

The biggest question is how devastating with the Bird-Flu be? Despite all the technology we have today, having a major death toll is not out of the question. If poverty was eliminated, many epidemics could be minimal. The show is a mirror of the world's health, which should be taken seriously.


Chavez vs. Bush: Fourth Summit of the Americas

President Bush arrived in Mar Del Plata, Argentina Thursday for the fourth Summit of the Americas, where he was greeted by a crowd of 10,000 protesters. Just hours before the hemisphere's leaders sat down to debate free trade, immigration and job creation, protesters were chanting "Fascist Bush! You are the terrorist!"

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez used the time to taunt Bush about his proposed FTAA agreement. Mr. Chávez, who has repeatedly accused the Bush administration of trying to assassinate him and invade his oil-producing country, is using the international summit meeting here to protest the administration's free trade message and to attempt a showdown with Mr. Bush, the man the Venezuelan government calls "Mr. Danger."

In a speech he gave this morning Chavez said he "brought the shovel" to bury the FTAA.

According to the today's New York Times, the White House Strategy is to simply ignore Chavez.

"President Chávez has been pretty vocal about how he sees the summit and what he hopes to achieve at the summit," Thomas A. Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, told reporters on Air Force One on Thursday as it headed for Argentina. "I mean, he's going to behave the way he wants to behave."

The US and Venezuela will be butting heads many times during the summit. One of them will be the issue of job creation. The US proposes that a statement say "the 96 million people who live in extreme poverty" in Latin America and the Caribbean, subsisting on $1 a day or less. However Venezuela wants to add "while in the United States there are 37 million poor."

At a parallel "People's Summit" in Mar del Plata on Thursday, organized by a coalition of left-wing, indigenous and antiglobalization groups.The "antisummit" began early in the week and is expected to culminate today in mass protest marches, led by Alfonso Pérez Esquivel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Diego Maradona, the soccer idol. Mr. Chávez, with a foot in both of the gatherings here, is expected to be the main orator at a closing protest rally to be held at the main soccer stadium.


Post-Colonial Moment: Paris is Burning

For over a week Paris has dealt with riots mainly being perpetrated by those in the immigrant community in reaction to alleged police brutality. Angry immigrant youth gangs have burned some 50 automobiles and started more than 100 fires in stores and public places on the northeastern fringe of Paris. In brutal reaction the police hurled gas grenades at a mosque in Clichy-sous-Bois district 30 kilometers northeast of Paris.

The violence broke out after three children were electrocuted October 27 in a high-voltage electricity utility in Clichy sous Bois. Minister for the interior Nicolas Sarkozy first said the children were fleeing after a burglary, but the justice department later denied that any crime had taken place.

Mr Sarkozy had earlier sparked some criticism with hardline comments saying the government would not allow "troublemakers, a bunch of hoodlums, think they can do whatever they want."

Azouz Begag, deputy minister for equality of opportunity in the Chirac government, said Sarkozy was using "warrior" and "insulting" language to deal with social and security problems associated with the low-income immigrant population in France.

"Such remarks are a provocation," Begag, the sole immigrant member of the government, said in a statement.

Begag also questioned Sarkozy's methods of dealing with the explosive social climate in low-income regions of France. "We have to stop going in these sensitive zones of poverty surrounded by journalists and television cameras," Begag said. "What we have to do is to take time to listen patiently to the complaints of people, who have concrete reasons to feel discriminated against."


Angelina Jolie: Modern-Day Josephine Baker

US actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie admitted to the press yesterday at the inaugural benefit for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation that she would like to adopt more children in the future.

"Most of the night I just thought about how quickly I want to adopt again. It's a very special thing. There's something about making a choice, waking up and traveling somewhere and finding your family," she said.

Jolie is already the mother of a 4-year-old Cambodian boy, Maddox, and recently-adopted 9-month-old Ethiopian daughter, Zahara. There have been rumors that she would adopt her third child from Russia.

"My dream is to have under one roof many different cultures and many different religions," she told the New York Daily News in 2003. "I think that would make for amazing people."

Jolie is not the first celebrity to create a "United Nations" for a family. She is in good company with another American actress - Josephine Baker.

Josephine Baker was an African American dancer, actress and singer who became a sensation in France during the 1920s and 1930s. She is best known for performing in a skirt made only of bananas, often accompanied by her pet leopard, Chiquita, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The leopard frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding yet another element of excitement to the show.

Though based in France, she supported the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s, and protested racism in her own unique way, adopting twelve multi-ethnic orphans, which she called her "Rainbow Tribe." For some time she lived with all of her children, her husband, French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, and an enormous staff in a castle in France.

"The children were adopted for a reason, and one so simple that most people can't believe it," Baker said in 1959 to Stars & Stripes. "People can't believe until they see for themselves that human beings of every race, color and creed can live together as brothers. That is why we have rebuilt the village and established its attractions — so that people will come from everywhere to see the children."

On tours of the United States, Baker refused to perform in segregated nightclubs, and her insistence on mixed audiences helped to integrate shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, her "Rainbow Tribe" dream became disasterous as Baker went into debt trying to raise her family. She subsequently lost her husband in divorce with him citing that the children became too much of a burden. Princess Grace of Monaco, another expatriate from America living in Europe, had to bail Baker out of bankruptcy and given an apartment.

On April 8, 1975, her fortunes seemed to be turning to the better when she was the star of a retrospective show in Paris, Joséphine, celebrating her fifty years in the theater. The show opened to rave reviews, but Baker never benefited from it. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a week later at the age of 68, and the show was cancelled.

Jolie and Baker have so much in common. Both of them became famous at a young age, have gone through numerous husbands and identify as bisexual. What a coincidence.

Hopefully Jolie (and Brad Pitt) won't adopt more children than she can financially handle.