The Chinese-African Union - An FP Slide Show When the new African Union (AU) headquarters was unveiled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this year, the $200 million structure -- now the capital city's tallest building -- caused a splash. But it wasn't just the mammoth building's impressive spec sheet that drew comment, it was also the project's bankroller: China. The Chinese government has been leading a construction boom across Africa, setting up huge dams and infrastructure projects, soccer stadiums, and even the world's third largest mosque in Algeria. And the lavish new AU headquarters was paid for -- in its entirety -- by the Chinese government. The towering edifice houses three conference centers, its own helipad, and enough office space to accommodate 700 workers. Above, an exterior view of the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Jan. 28, 2011.
On Kony2012: In Defense of the Armchair It is quite possible that there remains nothing new to say about Kony2012. This thirty-minute video, narrated by Jason Russell, co-founder of the non-profit organization Invisible Children, aims to rally mass awareness and support for the campaign to capture Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). But Kony2012 is, after all, the gift that keeps on giving. Its tally includes an unprecedented humanitarian social media coup with close to ninety million YouTube views, a mind-boggling number of (re)tweets, and various Facebook-related milestones. It has generated comparable measures of support for and backlash against it, copious analyses of both, and even analyses of these analyses. According to its supporters, Kony2012 may be a giant leap towards rallying the youth of the United States to seize their asserted destiny as global agents of change, in this case, by bringing an end to the horrors wrought by the LRA in central Africa. I am not a Congolese villager.
America Is Dying Slowly: Talking About Hip-Hop After Trayvon Martin | Race on GOOD America Is Dying Slowly. That title graced a 1996 hip-hop compilation devoted to AIDS awareness (check the acronym) and the precarious survival of young black men in this country more generally. I bought that album when it came out, partly for conscience, partly for youthful self-righteousness, but mostly for love of the music it contained. I turned 17 in 1996, the same age Trayvon Martin was when he was killed a little more than a month ago. The rhetoric around Martin’s killing has devolved into the predictable cataclysm that unfolds whenever we try to talk about race in a country where seemingly half of us believe racism doesn’t exist, except when it comes to our president, who is totally racist. But the people falling all over themselves to defend Zimmerman, the ones aggrieved that Trayvon Martin had a Twitter handle of no_limit_nigga, the ones dancing around yelling “see? Rap music doesn’t get unarmed kids shot to death, “it’s different” does.
The Divided Brain, Animated by Maria Popova A hemispheric history of the making of the Western world, or why abstraction is necessary for empathy. The metaphor of the “left-brain”/”right-brain” divide has permeated pop culture as one of the defining dichotomies of how we think about and describe ourselves. In The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, the product of 20 years of research, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist delves into the world of difference between our two hemispheres and argues that the formal structures of modern society significantly — and dangerously — prioritize the left brain, resulting in a culture shackled by rigidity and bureaucracy, driven by self-interest, and ultimately incapacitated by its own imbalance. This book tells a story about ourselves and our world, and about how we got to be where we are now. Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. Share on Tumblr
Sharing the Burden - By Charles Kenny It's 113 years since Rudyard Kipling -- poet propagandist for empire -- exhorted Americans, newly ensconced as the colonial power in the Philippines, to "Take up the White Man's burden/The savage wars of peace/Fill full the mouth of Famine/And bid the sickness cease." A century and change later, a new survey suggests people in the rich world have attitudes towards developing countries that would make Kipling proud. And not only are their views completely out of touch with what is going on in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but they are positively harmful to continued progress in the developing and rich worlds alike. The survey, by Intermedia, looks at popular attitudes towards international development in countries including Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. A recent study in Britain suggested that the dominant image of developing countries remains "malnutrition and pot-bellied young children desperate for help with flies on their faces." Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Kony: What Jason did not tell the Invisible Children New York, NY - Only two weeks ago, Ugandan papers carried front-page reports from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Ugandan army of atrocities against civilians in the Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The army denied the allegations. Many in the civilian population however, especially in the north, were sceptical of the denial. Like all victims, they have long and enduring memories. The adult population recalls the brutal government-directed counterinsurgency campaign, beginning in 1986, which evolved into Operation North, the first big operation in the country that people talk about as massively destructive for civilians, and which created the conditions that gave rise to the LRA of Joseph Kony and, before it, the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena. No amnesty Critics asked why the ICC was indicting only the leadership of the LRA, and not government forces as well.
Who Is Oakland: Anti-Oppression Activism, the Politics of Safety, and State Co-optation « escalating identity by CROATOAN, April 2012 Contents Synopsis I. II. III. IV. V. The other civil rights movement. This pamphlet was written collaboratively by a group of people of color, women, and queers – and is offered in deep solidarity with anyone committed to ending identity-based oppression and exploitation materially. The fact that we must specify our identities in advance before making our argument is an index of how powerful, widespread, and largely unquestioned is the premise that arguments always reduce to identity positions. According to the dominant discourse of “white privilege” for example, white supremacy is primarily a psychological attitude which individuals can simply choose to renounce instead of an entrenched material infrastructure which reproduces race at key sites across society – from racially segmented labor markets to the militarization of the border. This politics assumes that demographic categories are coherent, homogeneous “communities” or “cultures.” I. II. a. b. c.
Meet the Gypsy entrepreneurs Ask anyone from the settled community (known as ‘gorgias’ to Romani Gypsies and as ‘country people’ to Irish Travellers) what Gypsies do for money and the list would be short: tarmacking, roofing, scrap-metal dealing, hawking or maybe horse dealing. This picture, of course, has a germ of truth in it. Many Gypsies still work as skilled labourers — but what’s remarkable is just how entrepreneurial they are, too. These are trading peoples, with a global attitude towards seeking work that would impress even Iain Duncan Smith. Traders are comfortable travelling abroad to find work. Professions vary in the Gypsy and Traveller communities, but the more traditional unskilled jobs are disappearing fast. More traditional professions are respected abroad, if not here. Two years ago, British dealers were selling cobs for tens of thousands of pounds as far afield as the US, Brazil, Australia and Russia. She also points out that many do not advertise their identity when they sell to gorgias.
"Decolonizing the Franc Zone" by Sanou Mbaye Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space DAKAR – France is wrestling with a burden of debts and public deficits that led Standard & Poor’s recently to downgrade its credit rating. Even as the risk of recession looms, the country has been forced to implement a drastic austerity program. But France’s woes are also being felt far beyond its borders, sparking rumors of a possible devaluation of the CFA franc, the common currency of the franc zone, which comprises 14 African countries and the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean. The franc zone is, in fact, an appendage of the French economy. The& CFA& franc’s& fixed exchange rate is pegged to the& euro and& overvalued in order to shield French companies from euro& depreciation. To curb the public deficits that such policies entail, the franc-zone countries underwent drastic structural-adjustment programs throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Not a Click Away: Joseph Kony in the Real World In 2006, I flew with a group of journalists and United Nations officials to a remote village in Garamba National Park in eastern Congo, just on other side of the South Sudan border, for a meeting with Joseph Kony and the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The meeting was to be held in a designated staging ground – a neutral space, deep in the forest, created by the UN as part of yet another protracted peace agreement between Kony and the Ugandan government. When we arrived, dozens of heavily armed LRA soldiers emerged from the forest and took their places among the stacks of rotting food that had been delivered to the clearing as an enticement and sign of goodwill. The LRA soldiers, dressed in camouflage pants and European football jerseys, spoke to no one and refused any attempt to address them. Of course no one was killed or arrested that day. Kony was, of course, the main attraction. Kony 2012 wants both. The most common defense of Kony 2012 is that it raises awareness.
Being White,Being Good: White Complicity,White Moral Responsibility,and Social Justice Pedagogy: Barbara Applebaum: Amazon.com "An African Horn of Plenty" by José Graciano da Silva Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space ROME – After six months and the deaths of tens of thousands of people, the famine in Somalia – caused by the worst drought in 60 years – is over. But a wider crisis in Africa continues. In the Horn of Africa – Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Sudan – some 14.6 million children, women, and men remain without enough food. While to the west, in the Sahel countries of Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, another 14 million are threatened. Even worse, there is a high risk in Somalia that famine will recur unless coordinated, long-term action is taken. In just over a decade, the Horn of Africa has suffered three droughts, followed by severe crises. We must ensure that this does not happen again by joining forces now to banish hunger from the region once and for all. The world community must continue to implement such approaches if it wishes to contain and prevent further crises. Droughts are not preventable.
No Kony Is an Island: Death and Profit in Central Africa Nari Ward, Third World Bank 6×6, 2010 Now that the progressing phases of #Kony2012 (endorsement, backlash, Despite a vast number of takedowns, the video’s sheer arrogance tempts one to spend at least a couple grafs deconstructing it (I mean, note how IC’s Jason Russell uses his four-year old as a metonym: By speaking to a child about Kony’s evils he is literally treating us, his audience, like children!). But I will demur. backlash-to-the-backlash, It should shock no one that Kristof was a #Kony endorser, as he portrays the same type of arguments — as I note at TNI. Kony has been the way in for millions, let him be the way out. If successful, the #Kony2012 campaign might actually buttress this death-making because it relies fundamentally on the legitimacy and ability of the United States military to patrol and control Africa and works to provide symbolic and discursive cover for the creeping penetration of the U.S. military’s AFRICOM across the continent. #Kony 2012 supports both U.S.