The explorers of Africa provide us with an understanding of our turbulent and uncertain societies today in a way none other can.
Tomorrow at 3p at Dubuque’s Free School I’m giving a lecture about Stanley finding Livingstone. If you’re coming to the lecture you’re under a solemn oath to keep this blog to yourself until I finish. Because this is the punch line:
Attitudes towards hunting are changing in the same way that they’ve already changed with regards to the LGBT communities. In remarkably short order hunting of all kinds may be curtailed.
This is a very widespread and expansive cultural change. It applies almost equally to sports hunting as to native society subsistence hunting and even to scientific culling. It is, in fact, the scientific community evincing the most dramatic change. The driver is climate change.
Surrounded by security officials and police, two (later proved) innocent Kenyan immigrants to India are unfairly detained, then harassed by police in Greater Noida, India.
“India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s hypernationalistic “Hindutva” ideology has found common cause with Trumpism,” writes a Kenyan commentator today. “Ultranationalism and hatred of the ‘other’ are being associated with patriotism in both India and the US.”
Can a piece of art be hate speech? A year-long furor in South Africa blew up yesterday when a gang of white men calmly entered Cape Town’s prestigious National Art Museum and plastered a large sticker reading “Love Thy Neighbour” over a “F**k White People” pop-art canvas.
What’s illegal here? The vigilantes believed South Africa’s strict hate speech laws weren’t being enforced, but were they breaking laws protecting the artist’s freedom of speech?
Africa’s a bit unsettled. Europe’s more unsettled than ever.
The world is connected by a million strings. They’re best seen from afar, because up close they’re indistinguishable from the humdrum of everyday life. The ones I watch are in Africa:
Growing protests turn really violent in the DR-Congo. The Gambian president who conceded defeat in an election now says only God can tell him to step down. The Ugandan military is flexing its arms like it did under Amin.
The alt-right may be ecstatic, but the majority of us in the world are increasingly depressed. And now guess what? There’s no comic relief.
A much watched tongue-in-cheek news podcast in South Africa recently replaced twenty years of sarcasm with all that’s left: “there’s only bad news.”
I thought of South Africa’s much loved Evita Bezuidenhoutis after watching this week’s opening sketch of Saturday Night Live. Plays on Trump’s naivete if ignorance are less funny now, because they’ve turned out to be real. The news was wrong: Sarcasm is the truth.
The trouble with authoritarian rulers is that their authority becomes more important than themselves.
Adam Barrow defeated Yahya Jammeh last week in The Gambia and unleashed days of celebrations in the capital of Banjul. Twenty-two years begun with a violent coup seemed to end happily when Jammeh called Barrow and graciously conceded. Seemed like the old man just had had enough.
Tanzania has begun issuing new licenses for radio stations, but it’s forbid broadcasting in local languages.
The decision is just one more technique occuring worldwide as authorities grapple with fake news. In Tanzania anyway, fake news is presumed harder to propagate in English or Kiswahili, the country’s two official languages. Now why would that be?
Trump’s America is just like many other world power centers, and Africa’s dean of communism sees this as the wonderful start of an irreversible change. According to Samir Amin, you can throw out the Democratic Party with the Republicans; in fact, America as we’ve known it for 2½ centuries is over.
Listen to the old man. Marxism and communism still carry components that could be helpful to us today, just like there are good components in both contemporary conservative and liberal ideologies. Just beware. These are troubled times, but they are also very new and unprecedented times.
The success of childhood education is directly the result of how much tax payers will pay and how good the government is that implements it.
Backpedaling in America and proudful politics in Kenya forecasts doom for those countries. Instability and war not only inhibits but defiles education. Massive government investments have assured Asia will become the political, economic and cultural center of our earth. So says PISA.
Wole Soyinka, an 82-year old Nigerian Nobel laureate is going home after 20 years in New York. (Three years ago, also at 82, his revered countryman, Chinua Achebe, also left New York… when he died. Alas, New York is now bereft of great Nigerian writers.)
Soyinka tore up his green card. He’s protesting Donald Trump. He’s elite. Trump confirms he doesn’t read.
The world is contracting into conservative populism and freedom of expression is in the gun site. Trump idly suggests shutting down the internet or incarceration for flag burning, and legislators in Kenya and South Africa kick gleefully into high gear.
Stalled legislation in both countries to curtail the press and freedom of speech is moving forward, again.
Anyone taking a picture is arrested or shot. Then, Facebook takes down the pictures of the courageous who manage to post the massacre. A Kenyan TV journalist is charged with “abetting terrorism” for taking … TV video.
And most noteworthy of all, the organizer of the massacre, self-imposed Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni poses for a “government picture” in sunny South Africa with its despised leader, Jacob Zuma. You can truly wonder in Trumpian vernacular, “What the f*#! is happening in the world today!”