Woeful World

Woeful World

Of Kayak’s 226 countries it provides travel service to, only 6 are open to travelers without restrictions. 52 are closed entirely, sometimes even to citizens trying to return. That leaves 168 which you can visit provided that you are fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test and are willing to quarantine on arrival for various lengths of time.

Trouble is to get to some of those 168 restrictive countries, you normally fly through one of the 52 (like Japan) that you can’t, now. So the practical number of countries that you can visit is probably less than 80, and almost all of them require quarantine on arrival.
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Face It

Face It

Steve Farrand and I have now completed four days in the northern Serengeti after a couple down at Manyara. Tomorrow we pick up five more intrepid travelers to continue my survey of post-pandemic Tanzania.

The troubled world goes well beyond Fox News. Vaccine is available in the most remote corners of Tanzania, but much of it’s sitting in fridges unused. One of Africa’s most prestigious safari companies, AndBeyond, admitted to me this week that most of their staffs remain unvaccinated.
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For Given

For Given

ABC’s David Muir, the anchor for the most watched evening television network news show in America, is reporting how the climate disaster in Madagascar is causing a devastating famine.

What I’ve seen so far is accurate. Muir represents that unique type of reporter who is concerned with the brain in his head rather than the hairdo on it, which is the case with most of his ABC colleagues. But the heart-wrenching story he’s reporting is most important for what Muir seems unable to tell.
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Mr. 13173

Mr. 13173

Terrible, scandalous, hypocritical and immoral but never surprising. Africa leaders have feathered their beds ever since colonial masters bribed them into submission, ever since world powers bought their Cold War loyalties, then now when giant corporations and disreputable not-for-profits buy influence. Excruciatingly terrible but what’s new?

What’s new is Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The expose regarding Uhuru Kenyatta specifically published in the recently released Pandora Papers might just at long last make a difference.
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God’s Will

God’s Will

No doubt that Paul Rusesabagina, fictionalized as the hero of “Hotel Rwanda,” supports the revolutionary group that successfully blew up tiny bits of Rwanda over the last five years. But was his tricked kidnapping by a wicked priest for a show trial in Kigali the right way to keep Rwandans from massacring each other?

Rusesabagina, now a Belgian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for treason against Rwanda. His story reveals better than most the extraordinary supremacy of authoritarianism over the complexities of truth and history.
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Really Lost

Really Lost

Yes, I’ve found a connection between the Serengeti and right-wing propaganda. Didn’t expect it would be so easy, but the take-home is that somebody out there – governments or dictators or god incarnate – needs to control social media. The wild west of information dissemination is destroying truth and I worry it may never be restored.
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Labor Day Lies

Labor Day Lies

RaisedFist1Today marks the extended “Labor Day” weekend holiday in the United States, Thursday-Monday. America’s ‘May Day’ is officially Monday but everyone takes the whole long weekend off.

Vacations end, schools reopen, the fall sports season begins, the culture season with operas and symphonies begin in the great cities… Well, not now. Covid continues to wreck havoc on America; only about half the country is fully vaccinated. Some vaccine is going to waste. How could this be?
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Thar She Goes!

Thar She Goes!

Many of you have sent me a copy of last weekend’s NYTimes article, “Who Needs a Whirlwind Trip When You Can Take It Slow?” Thanks. But no thanks.

A lot of people need, enjoy and prosper with a whirlwind trip, including me. Among the others: those who aren’t super rich, those who don’t get unlimited time off, those who are exceptionally curious, those who are savvy enough to know that four days is usually no better than two and those who recognize that at the current moment “slow travel” is about the biggest come-on I’ve seen in my half century in this industry.

I can think of two reasons this might make any sense.
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Hell’s Hesitancy

Hell’s Hesitancy

So which would you choose as the best protection against Covid? (1) Surrounding yourself with a portable plexiglass outfit; or (2) getting the shot? The quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings proposes the former.

Vaccine hesitancy is worldwide and you might be surprised that the U.S.’ vaccine hesitancy rate is actually relatively low worldwide. African hesitancy is relatively low too, Mideast (excluding Israel) is the highest, Asian hesitancy (excluding China) is moderate, South American hesitancy (excluding Ecuador) is on the high side and European hesitancy is just a little bit greater than America’s.

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No Good Man

No Good Man

No good person can change the world.

Abiy Ahmed Ali is a good person. Barack Obama reversed years of foreign policy to support Abiy in his bid to head Ethiopia, flew to Addis, delivered a rousing speech and increased American aid to a billion dollars annually. When Abiy became head of state in 2018 congratulations flew around the democratic world. When Abiy made peace with long-time enemy and neighbor, Eritrea, the Nobel committee awarded him the Peace Prize. How fooled the world was.

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Cat Comp

Cat Comp

Does anybody in America realize that an elephant trampling to death a child on her way to school might be more tragic than a coyote eating a schnauzer or a bobcat taking a goldfish from the deck pond?

Bobcats are being widely hunted in America and I’d characterize it as outright slaughter with 10-15% of the population harvested annually. In Africa a global scandal develops every time an elephant is shot. How do you explain this to the parent of that African child?

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Nonemployment

Nonemployment

Is “unemployment” an important metric? Very similar controversies in the United States and South Africa throw this goldmark standard for economic planning into question.

Both countries currently suffer from chronic waves of refugees exacerbated by a wry mixture of politics with pandemic. Both countries’ fairly liberal policies towards refugees are at contentious odds with large parts of their citizenry. Both deal with growing social unrest that many argue impedes difficult struggles with institutionalized racism.

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MIA Control

MIA Control

We may be witnessing one of the most successful attempts at social control by mass brainwashing in human history. Tanzania’s President John Magufuli may, in fact, be pulling a ‘Donald Trump’ recovering from covid, but his government is using this to brain control its citizens.

The 61-year old may, in fact, be getting better in an undisclosed hospital in India. But the myth that he has never been sick and has not left the country is being embraced and disseminated by millions of Tanzanians. This is more than a “Trump.” It’s social control the likes of which the world has rarely seen.

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Raucous Royal

Raucous Royal

What do Africans think about the Harry and Meghan interview? Watch South Africa’s Josh Pieters’ You Tube with four prominent media experts on the royal family who critiqued the interview, as if it happened, before it happened. Click here to enjoy then…

Realize that comedic relief from really horrible situations is an underprivileged people’s art form. Laughing is common when there’s no confusion about the situation, no equivocation on its wrongness.

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Mirror MOTW

Mirror MOTW

Is anybody but Trump, the Proud Boys and me following South African politics?

Reporting today from Pretoria, three years and one day since the former South African head-of-state left office: “Former president Jacob Zuma dodged his appearance on Monday before the State Capture inquiry, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo, and took refuge at his Nkandla homestead protected by the MK Military Veterans Association dressed in fake camo.”

Let me translate across the ocean into the future, January 21, 2024:

“Former president Donald Trump dodged his appearance on Monday before the January 6th Commission, headed by Former FBI Director Christopher Wray, and took refuge at his Mar A Lago homestead protected by the Proud Boys dressed in fake camo.”

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