If you can’t believe the Dalai Lama, who can you believe?
This past weekend the “chosen leader” of Tibet canceled a very important visit to Botswana, a country that is increasingly trying to become relevant on the world stage relative to its increasing wealth from diamonds and rare earths. He lied about why he canceled.
When Kathleen and I first went to Africa in the early 1970s we were warned about mosquito-born diseases like malaria, but there were few other dreaded diseases. AIDS wasn’t yet known. Cholera seemed to be confined to the slums of Asia and South America.
Cholera has broken out in Nairobi. The first 30 or so cases were not found where you would expect to find a hard-to-transmit but deadly disease: in the slums. More than 400 cases have been confirmed and many in two of the most upscale areas of the city, Karen and Westlands. What’s going on?
I’m in Kenya and you can’t walk out your door without feeling the buzz! Keep your eyes squarely here: It all happens on August 8. A national election that increasingly looks like it will be a major upset.
Kenyans have always been incredibly open people, and they are brimming over with optimism about this election! It’s not about their candidate. It’s what they think is about to happen:
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.