In January 2012, conflict erupted in northern Mali as an influx of arms from Libya, economic discontent, and longstanding tension between Malian Tuaregs and the rest of Malian society converged. The Malian army attempted to stabilize the rapidly escalating violence, but they were too few, untrained, and poorly equipped, and the lack of order devolved into fierce war between Tuareg [...]
In mid-January, something very promising happened for President Obama and the United States’ relationship with its European allies. France launched Operation Serval in Mali. In this operation, French armed forces intervened in the country’s deteriorating civil war to restore power to the incumbent government against the rapidly advancing rebel and jihadist forces from the north of the country. The French [...]
By 2013, more than 1.5 million Ethiopians will be displaced from their homes by the orders of their own government. Some will have to relocate to areas that lack stable access to food and water, and still more may find they can no longer support themselves financially.
Kony 2012 gave massive attention Invisible Children. It also distracted from the manifold issues at hand – tribal conflicts, warlordism, the victimization of indigenous civilians, government corruption, and control of mining and drilling rights – and attributed all of Uganda’s problems to one man.
While these divisions, as evidenced by the racial and xenophobic violence in Libya, are real and destructive, they are not eternal. Rather, they are the result of a particular historical narrative that has constructed Arabs and Africans as intrinsically different and eternally divided.
Consider the flying toilet. The term comes from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Within the slum, there is often less than one latrine per 50 shacks, with each 12-foot by 12-foot shack containing, on average, eight people. Kibera sits on government land that never fully transferred legally to its pre-independence residents, and, as such, the government treats residents as squatters with no right or entitlement to legal, social, or economic protection. A complete lack of governmental presence within the slum means that at night, with no street lights and collections of roving thugs (and, at times, predatory policemen looking for a shakedown), using toilets can become dangerous. In response, shacks stock up on plastic bags, defecate or urinate into them after dark, and fling them from their windows out into the streets to bake in the morning sun.
In 1948, the Kinsey Report was published in the United States, bringing homosexuality into the popular American lexicon and allowing the concerns of homosexuals to become a publicly addressed issue.
China’s recent activity in Africa goes beyond the mere muscle-flexing and oil-grabbing tendencies of an emerging global power. In the last five years, media reports of China’s growing presence in Africa have increasingly reinforced and intensified Western fears of an unrestrainable imperialist state. Articles brandishing headlines such as “China’s Economic Invasion of Africa” and “Africa: China’s New Backyard” depict Africa as the victim of China’s rapacious neo-imperialism.
In July 2009, President Barack Obama made his first presidential visit to sub-Saharan Africa and took his wife and daughters to the Cape Coast Castle, a ghostly whitewashed fort in Ghana that was used to hold and ship Africans to the Americas during the time of the Atlantic slave trade. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Obama compared visiting Cape [...]
It is paradoxical that after the abolition of the apartheid regime, South Africa’s business environment is still marked by an obsession with race. This time, however, the motives are completely different than they were twenty years ago. Since the government passed Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Act 53 in late 2003, companies have transferred tens of millions of dollars worth of [...]