Jim is OnSafari in Nova Scotia. See his next regular post on Monday, October 31.
Canada’s defense minister says that the country will use “lethal force” to protect civilians when it sends 600 soldiers into Africa’s troubled regions shortly.
It will be Canada’s first serious involvement in UN peacekeeping in Africa since its famous general, Romeo Dallaire, was thwarted from preventing the Rwandan genocide more than 20 years ago. Then President Bill Clinton used America’s UN veto in the Security Council to prevent Dallaire from using “lethal force.” You know what happened next…
“Why are you doing this?” the question on the website asks rhetorically then answers quickly, “Our population is shrinking. A slow economy… has us on an unsustainable path… We have a beautiful island, a friendly people, a rich culture and a bright future. Join us here on Cape Breton Island!”
The website is “cbiftrumpwins.com.” K & I are in Nova Scotia this week. We’ll be in Cape Breton this weekend. Don’t jump to too many conclusions. We’re visiting relatives, looking at a vacant family house on the southwest shore and have been planning this for some time. But the truth is we’d do almost anything to get away from this mad election. We’ll get home the day before the vote. (We’ve already voted.)
But it is interesting, isn’t it?
Street violence is not new in post-apartheid South Africa. Police have shot protestors (in mining strikes, for example), but this is a first for student demonstrations and the first time that citizen-against-citizen violence has reached this level.
Things are escalating; they’re getting serious. The Rand is falling, tourism is starting to balk and everyday life is changing. The time has come to tell South Africa, “You better get your act together.” And the time has come that the rest of us recognize a very important lesson before what is happening in the streets of South Africa spreads worldwide.
While the ostensible issue is the cost of tuition and fees, I think there’s something much deeper, reflecting a very troubled South Africa.
Obama leaves office having created the largest American military complex in Africa in history with operations in at least 22 African countries.
The incredible size and scope of the American military in Africa was first reported in Mother Jones in 2013, but gained no wide audience. I was surprised then and remain surprised, today. Is it because we’re safer? Or because we just don’t want to talk about it.
As radical jihadists slowly and systematically lose control of Iraq and conditions improve in Somalia, it’s clear where they’re fleeing to: the deserts of Africa.
From eastern and northern Mali to western Niger radical jihadism is on the rise. This is the very southern fringe of the great Sahara. The dynamic is accelerated by Nigeria’s successful campaign against jihadists, both militarily and diplomatically.
Why now, and why the desert?
COP17 adjourned a day early in Joburg as a Cop Out. No action was taken to protect lions. No further protections were given elephant and an attempt to integrate local communities into the CITES process was essentially rebuked.
These three failures are shameful.
So why all the self-congratulations?
World authorities were unable last week to adequately address the “elephant problem” at COP17 even as more and more elephant attacks are reported.
Conservationists focus on saving elephants from further population declines, but you can’t save anything that large and powerful if you don’t first protect the human beings that they threaten.
Unending protests continue in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and though unique issues power each country’s turmoil, the fundamental driver is economic.
South Africa and Ethiopia are both experiencing healthy growth despite the protests, while Zimbabwe is tanking. Excluding Zim’s recent plunge, all three countries were performing very much like the U.S. over the last 4-5 years: modest but steady growth and improved employment. So what’s going on?
Let’s examine their individual situations, first.
Joy Reid remarked last night that her father was Congolese, and she compared her experience today as a reporter covering the American presidential campaign to living in the Congo. There is much good to learn from Africa. But it seems that all we’ve learned is the bad.
Migration is a central issue today throughout the world. Misunderstood, mishandled and out of control, literally millions of people are on the move because of war and unfair economies. Don’t we realize that it was migration that saved us all?
A recent Nova production, The Great Human Odyssey, is a brilliant story that reminds us again and again that we, homo sapiens, survived for one reason and one alone: We moved when we had to.
South Africa’s long, mystic relationship with Israel is severely tested today as Israel decides what to do with the all-women crew its Defense Forces captured yesterday off a private South African yacht headed to Gaza.
The South African/Israeli relationship is incredibly sensitive and complex, and I believe disturbing. It will be very interesting to see what Israel does, today.
Drop some pop western culture into a poorly developed area of Africa, add a pinch of a dictatorial politic, and you get a horribly tragic ritual slaughter of three agricultural workers in rural Tanzania.
When the three field scientists from the urban center of Arusha traveled yesterday to a very rural part of central Tanzania, villagers accused them of being vampires and hacked them to death.
COP17, the CITES treaty working group, is winding down like a firecracker with the biggest boom possibly yet to come. Southern African countries prevailed in a bitter fight to keep all elephants from being listed as imminently going extinct, and the fight over lions begins today.
CITES was absolutely fundamental in saving elephants from extinction 30 years ago. But times have changed. Has it lost its power to politics?