Simplicity

Simplicity

Six dollar-a-gallon is less painful than radiation burns. Devil in the details, of course, so celebration of America’s “ban of Russian oil” should be suspended until all the details are known. But my African friends think my ardent support for this is hypocritical. One of my favorite commentators, Joy Reid of MSNBC, last night echoed that sentiment. They’re all wrong.
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GoodvBad

GoodvBad

Africa, make no mistake: abstaining from morality is immoral. Serious moves afoot to boycott those African countries that abstained from demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine. This includes South Africa which by abstaining from this historic vote condemns its own courageous struggle for democracy.

The majority of African countries, as with the majority of countries worldwide, voted to demand that Russia cease hostilities and withdraw. It was a historic and brave moment for the world. The results demonstrate which African countries are weak and withering, and which are strong and prospering.
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African Cowardice

African Cowardice

“We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”

When Kenya’s Martin Kimani, ambassador to the UN, concluded his lambasting of Russia in the UN Security Council last Tuesday we waited for the rest of Africa to follow suit. They didn’t.

My surprise has turned to anger. A life of empathy with Africa’s condition riles my intellect. What the hell is wrong with Africa, the part of the world that has suffered more from foreign occupation than any other?
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Unholy Alliance

Unholy Alliance

South Africa’s repugnant refusal to condemn Russia is a dangerous over estimation of the importance of its BRICS trade alliance. As a leader of much of the African world, it’s cultish suicide.

Attempts to frame the Ukrainian invasion as just another dispute among us rich and powerful is shameful. The South African Rand plunged today. Apparently the Rand understands.
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On The March

On The March

Western fixation with terrorism at the expense of poverty and basic human rights is finally coming home to roost in Africa.

New or reinvigorated democracies supported by the U.S. and France are imploding. Military coups are rearranging the rubble. A decade or so ago this would have represented serious political backwardness. But now it’s quite different. I’m surprised to find myself saying so, but these military coups look a lot better than the regimes they’re toppling.
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Dream Away

Dream Away

I was 15 years old, wasting the last bits of summer wandering with my dog alone in the forests behind my house and the prairies behind the forests returning late for cold dinners.

“I have a dream,” Martin Luther King said as I was wandering on August 28, 1963, at the opening of the “March on Washington” in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

I always got home in time for Walter Cronkite at 6 p.m. Walter had just started with the “March on Washington” when my local Memphis affiliate cut out of the newscast to run a car dealership ad three times in a row before shifting early to local weather!
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Divy Up

Divy Up

Minutes after Biden’s speech ended the media of sub-Sahara Africa fired up. No matter they were all ending their day: “Biden tears into Trump,” Nigeria’s Independent online newspaper proclaimed. South Africa’s Business Insider focused on Barak Obama’s praise of the speech.

“Democracy is at a greater risk,” Business Insider concluded.

You have to go outside America to see what the speech means. No matter how historical or consequential the speech may be for Democrats and progressives, it doesn’t exist for Trumpians.
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Wars Woke

Wars Woke

I love Biden but boy do I wish Bernie were President. So do progressives throughout Africa and much of the rest of the world, including … Canada.

“The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. … some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?” This is not social media garbage; it’s the editorial board of Canada’s biggest newspaper.
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2022

2022

“We need a third element, a third vision, a third project” to rescue us.

This is how one of the most radical leftist online publications in South Africa sums up the year. I’m cautious embracing NewFrame’s polemics, but I couldn’t agree more that nothing political is working.
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Streets of Anarchy

Streets of Anarchy

In a scene that could well be that of Donald Trump in a few years, Jacob Zuma was put in jail Wednesday, and the days and weekend that followed exploded in violence. The South African military has now taken to the streets to contain the fighting especially in Johannesburg and Durban. Six protestors are confirmed dead and many more assumed hurt.
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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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Nagging Memories

Nagging Memories

Despite the relief felt by progressives in the U.S., Africa and elsewhere over the last half-year, the truth is that the world is more insecure than ever. Whether Hong Kong, Myanmar, Ethiopia or the U.S., worried polities are reacting in drastic, dangerous ways.

This happened before in the late 1960s and early 1970s. History should be our guide if we wish to avoid the wars, repressions and military dictatorships which followed that era.

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Mbungu

Mbungu

“Katie bar the door,” Sen. John Tester told NPR this morning. It set the host back a half-minute. She didn’t understand what he meant. It terrified me. A flood of horrible memories just before Kenya’s civil war waved through me.

“Ruto n’mbungu!” my most senior driver, quiet James, retorted after I’d scolded all of them to just cool it, “nothing bad will happen” that December, 2007. The two expressions, one in English one in Swahili sound awfully similar to me. And I was wrong in 2007. Really wrong. Thank god James made me heed him.

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Mutant Tax

Mutant Tax

Only one country in all of Africa can join Elizabeth Warren’s debate about a wealth tax: South Africa.

And in earnest. In just the last few years America’s fiscal situation has grown surprisingly aligned with South Africa’s. Probably because of the pandemic, but certainly because of globalization. Since South Africa’s politics have presaged ours for the last decade, it’s worth looking at what’s going on there.

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