Posts Tagged

Africa

Elections and the elusive quest for peace and stability in the eastern DRC: A perspective from the ground, based on fieldwork carried-out in North Kivu province in August and September, 2011 By Lindsay Scorgie Driving down the dusty main road of Butembo – a city of over half a million people, in the eastern DRC province of North Kivu – I hear the usual urban Congolese noises of motorcycles and lorries driving madly by. But these days there is a new sound too: shovels hitting the ground. All along the main road, construction is underway, as the central thoroughfare of Butembo is being paved for the first time. Not only is this an extremely rare sight in Congo, but it …

The ongoing International Criminal Court trial into the so-called “Ocampo Six” is a reminder of how raw the violence around the 2007 Kenyan election remains. It now seems likely that the verdicts on the six won’t be announced until next year – until which time Uhuru Kenyatta, one of those accused of inciting ethnic violence, remains in the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Over 1100 were killed, and had the coalition agreement not come when it did, the spectre of fully-blown Civil War was a genuine possibility. The international community was in shock, having traditionally viewed Kenya as one of the least violent countries in Africa. Really, they shouldn’t have been. A brief history lesson into how Daniel Arap Moi …

Reem Abou-El-Fadl has recently published an article in Al-Akhbar English newspaper entitled ‘From Nasser to Tantawi: The Myth of “Sixty Years of Oppression”‘. The article considers the connections that have been made in Egypt between the July 1952 Revolution, launched by the Free Officers movement, and the January 2011 Revolution, launched by this year’s popular uprising in Egypt. The article acknowledges that military officials first came into government after the July Revolution, but it goes on to explore the deceptive myth of ‘sixty years of oppression’ since, which has been heard often in recent months. ‘Yet today’s generals are protecting an entirely different set of interests from those important to the Free Officers. They have presided over months of delay …

On June 21, at the Manor Road Building, Oxford University, Daniel Large and Luke Patey discussed the role of China and India in Sudan’s oil sector. This industry is of particular interest today, as on the 9th of July the country will split into Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan. The recent border clashes illustrate the lack of agreement between the two sides about the sharing of oil revenues. The two speakers situate this issue within an international context by contrasting the involvement of China and India and discussing the long-term prospects of Sudan’s oil industry, among other interesting questions. China’s involvement in Africa has become a hot topic in media and political discussions. This has concealed that of other Asian …

Everyone wants to see wrongdoers punished. But safe exile for bad rulers is often the least worst option. The violence in the Ivory Coast that has left more than 1,300 dead since last November’s presidential election may soon be coming to an end. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to cede power after losing in the polls to Alassane Ouattara, is reportedly negotiating the terms of his surrender after a week-long offensive by pro-Ouattara forces. What’s puzzling about how this conflict is ending is why Gbagbo didn’t leave sooner, especially after African Union leaders had offered him immunity several times if he agreed to go into exile in South Africa. With 80% of Ivorian territory taken by pro-Ouattara forces and …

For some time, I’ve been developing the argument that when we want to understand the role of internet technologies in politics—in particular when it comes to getting people involved in electoral campaigns, in various forms of activism, and in other forms of civic and political activity—we should focus less on the newest and most heavily hyped tool of the moment (Twitter election! Twitter revolution!) and pay more attention to the role of what I call “mundane internet tools” like email, search, and ordinary websites. New Media & Society has published the article where I make the argument, based on ethnographic research I did during the 2008 U.S. elections, but based on intuitions and interests aroused by previous research in the …

While again hundred thousands of Egyptians show their defiance of the old regime at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and worker protests have broken out in several Egyptian cities, Washington and London still follow a pipe dream of a gradual transition from Hosni Mubarak to a more or less democratic, yet by all means secular new government. However, the web of Western diplomatic moves might turn into a Gordian knot as Egypt 2011 shows analogies to Tehran in 1978. Nations resemble Tolstoy’s families: every one is unhappy in its own way. And yet, when people’s harm escalates and they take matters in their own hands, the differences fade and clear patterns emerge. One such pattern stipulates that revolutions are rarely isolated instances …

Sounds unlikely.  Did Twitter? Nobody really seems to claim so, though Evgeny Morozov erroneously claims that Andrew Sullivan claims so, though Sullivan actually only raised the question and linked to Ethan Zuckerman, who … wait, back to the fax machine. I met Marc Plattner yesterday, who edits the Journal of Democracy and is a veteran of both academic and policy discussions around issues of democracy and democratization. He told me about how some people used to claim the fax machine “caused” (or at least played a large part in) the collapse of the Soviet Union. You can imagine all the arguments that could be marshalled. (“Between them, television, the fax machine and word of mouth have banished fear,” writes John …