Prince Harry follows in mother Diana’s footsteps on visit to Angola

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Combo picture shows Diana, Princess of Wales walking in one of the safety corridors of the land mine fields of Huambo, Angola January 15, and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visiting a working de-mining field in Dirico, Angola September 27, 2019. (Reuters)
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A crowd gathers on Princess Diana Street ahead of the arrival of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince Harry walks on Princess Diana Street in Huambo, Angola, on day five of the royal tour of Africa, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (AP)
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Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, sits alone beneath the Diana Tree on day five of the royal tour of Africa, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 27 September 2019

Prince Harry follows in mother Diana’s footsteps on visit to Angola

  • Harry visited Huambo, retracing his mother’s steps on a street that was once a path in a dangerous minefield
  • The pictures of Diana wearing protective gear as she walked among red skull-and-crossbone signs in Huambo in January 1997 won publicity for the HALO Trust, which was clearing mines left during Angola’s civil war

JOHANNESBURG: Britain’s Prince Harry followed in his late mother’s footsteps on Friday, wearing a protective vest and visor during a visit to a de-mining project in Angola that echoed a famous series of images taken of Princess Diana more than 20 years ago.
Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and sixth in line to the British throne visited a de-mining field outside Dirico, a town in Angola’s Cuando Cubango province, where, wearing a safety vest, he remotely detonated a mine in a controlled explosion. He also met community members.
Harry then visited Huambo, retracing his mother’s steps on a street that was once a path in a dangerous minefield.
The 35-year-old walked down Princess Diana Street and sat beneath the Diana Tree, the spot where his mother, who campaigned for a global ban on mines, was photographed.
“It has been emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on, and to see the transformation that has taken place, from an unsafe and desolate place into a vibrant community of local businesses and colleges,” Harry said.
“But let us not lose sight of the reality. Twenty two years after my mother visited Angola, there are still more than 1,000 minefields in this beautiful country that remain to be cleared. I wonder if she was still alive whether that would still be the case. I’m pretty sure she would have seen it through.”
The pictures of Diana wearing protective gear as she walked among red skull-and-crossbone signs in Huambo in January 1997 won publicity for the HALO Trust, which was clearing mines left during Angola’s civil war.
They were taken a few months before her death in Paris in a car crash. The international treaty to ban the weapons was signed later the same year.
Harry’s visit to Angola is part of a southern African trip by him, Meghan and their four-month-old son Archie. Their first overseas tour as a family began in South Africa on Monday.
They drew crowds of well-wishers on their first three days in Cape Town, where they visited non-governmental organizations working with vulnerable communities and young people and met Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.
While Meghan and Archie stayed in South Africa, Harry headed to Botswana on Thursday.
In June, he threw his weight behind mine clearance efforts in Angola, saying land mines were “a humanitarian issue and not a political one.”
The land mines were planted during Angola’s 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002. Many people remain displaced and thousands have been left with disabilities from land mines which continue to maim and kill.
Harry has been visiting southern Africa for two decades for holidays and conservation work.
He ends the solo section of his tour on Tuesday in Malawi, where he will meet President Peter Mutharika and pay tribute at the memorial site for British soldier Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who was killed in May while taking part in counter poaching operations in the country.
Harry will then rejoin Meghan and Archie for a township visit on Wednesday near Johannesburg. They will meet Graca Machel, widow of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, and President Cyril Ramaphosa before departing for London.


For Iman Jodeh, being Muslim and a progressive Democrat go hand in hand

Updated 5 min 38 sec ago

For Iman Jodeh, being Muslim and a progressive Democrat go hand in hand

  • Iman Jodeh, the Democratic nominee for Colorado’s House of Representatives District 41, speaks to Arab News

NEW YORK CITY: In the 1980s and 1990s, Colorado’s Muslim community was made up of fewer than 30,000 people, and there were only five mosques in the entire state.

“It was really small, but we were happy,” said Iman Jodeh, the Democratic nominee for Colorado’s House of Representatives District 41.

Ever since she was a child, on the first day of Ramadan, Jodeh has sent teachers a letter, written on the mosque letterhead, saying: “For the next 30 days, Muslims will be fasting. So if your Muslim students seem lethargic by the end of the day, please understand why.”

Today, there are over 100,000 Muslims in Colorado.

(Photo: Supplied, Iman Jodeh)

“Those Muslims are starting to make up a big voting bloc, a big portion of our legislators’ constituency. And it is incumbent upon those legislators to make sure they are listening and taking into account the views of the constituents, regardless of their race, creed or religion. And I constantly remind them of that,” Jodeh told Arab News by phone.

The Democrat hopeful grew up in the shadow of two Gulf wars, and shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Afghan and the Iraqi wars. She remembers the anonymous phone calls at dinnertime threatening to kill her father Mohammed, and recalls her mother, who wears a hijab, being frightened to leave the house.

“It changed my life. In the wake of 9/11, I was a sophomore in college and had not declared my major yet. Two days later, I was a political science major and, again, speaking to crowds having to defend my religion.”

Being a first-born, first-generation American, with perfect English, understanding the cultural nuances of America, I had to walk that line of also understanding the Arab heritage and Islamic culture and nuances, and marrying those two to be able to communicate the need of being an Arab Muslim American woman.

Iman Jodeh

Jodeh, a trained political scientist, spent the years following those events advocating for the Muslim community and the Middle East, “the most misunderstood region of the world, and the people who call it home.” She taught about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the University of Denver, held cultural events about the region and discussed Islam.

The most effective results, according to Jodeh, came via her non-profit “Meet the Middle East,” which invited Americans to take an “educational immersion journey” to the region to meet various stakeholders there, from Arab Bedouin to Palestinians living in Nablus, and both right-wing and left-leaning Israelis.

The travelers were invited to spend time in Jordan, Egypt, and sometimes Iraq and Morocco.

“From the Berbers of Morocco to the Kurds of Iraq, all these cultural and regional nuances must be understood before you can even attempt to understand the complexities of the conflict, and the kaleidoscope that make up the Middle East,” Jodeh said.

(Photo: Supplied, Iman Jodeh)

“There are things we can highlight to prove to the world that the Muslim world is one of the most fascinating places to be: There are nine women heads of state in the Muslim world, and the US has yet to see our first. It was Arabs and Muslims who discovered contagion; Arabs and Muslims who discovered latitude and longitude.

“Some of the first and oldest libraries were in Alexandria and Baghdad. And one of the oldest universities was in Morocco, founded by a woman.

“The more we can show that to Americans, the more we’re going to see further understanding and commitment to ending violence in the Middle East, as well as asymmetrical policies from the US and how we look at the region.”

Jodeh said her love for Palestine is ingrained. She was never introduced to it. She did not have a first language: It was Arabic and English her entire life. She was never just American. She was Palestinian American.

I am running to make the American dream a reality for everyone. The American dream has become harder and harder to realize. It is not a trite or cliched phrase for me. I am someone who is the product of a family who came here to realize that dream and with the cost of living, the lack of health care, our climate being threatened, our lack of criminal justice reform, civil rights being accosted... These are all things that are hurting the American dream. This is un-American, this is not the Colorado that I want to see.

Iman Jodeh

“This is my identity, I will never abandon this narrative, because I feel I have an obligation to all Palestinians everywhere to advocate when I can.

“The age of learning, that renaissance period is coming. But we have to get through our dark ages before we can get there. And, unfortunately, that is what we are witnessing today in the Middle East. And it’s heartbreaking.

“But the majority of people in the Middle East are under the age of 35, people like myself. We are just learning how to step outside dictatorship and implement something that we have known our entire lives to be true, which is democracy.

(Photo: Supplied, Iman Jodeh)

“Democracy is not a concept that is new to the Arab world. Shariah law has paved the way for democratic processes like social welfare,” she said.

To Jodeh, being a Muslim and a progressive Democrat complement each other. She gained her knowledge of Islam from her father, a Palestinian immigrant who co-founded the largest mosque in the Rocky Mountain region, and took his daughter with him when he taught or gave speeches on Islam. That put her in contact with scholars whom she still consults today.

In Aurora, a city she calls home and “one of the best and most diverse cities in the nation, a true reflection of America,” Jodeh has been working at the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, where she speaks, often as a Muslim voice, on contentious bills, such as Equal Pay for Equal Work.

(Photo: Supplied, Iman Jodeh)

“I testified that, 1,400 years ago, God came down with a verse in the Qur’an: ‘I never fail to reward any worker among you, for any work you do, be you male or female — you are equal to one another.’

“It was ironic to me as a woman following a religion that is often deemed as primitive, that this was prescribed to the people 1,400 years ago.

“In Islam, there’s a chapter in the Qur’an called ‘Al-Nisa’ or ‘The Woman.’ There is not a chapter called ‘The Man.’

“What’s beautiful about the Qur’an is that it grants women rights not granted to women in the West until the 1920s,” Jodeh said.

“The fact that those rights were laid out for women so early on is proof of the sanctity of a woman in Islam: Her right to divorce, to own land, to take part in government, to own her own business. These were all things that have been practiced and continue to be practiced.”

The Democratic Party primaries in Colorado will take place on June 30.