There’s nobody looking for the big truck, anymore.
It’s hard to calibrate evil in the world today, so much bad is happening. But please note the big bomb blast in Somalia over the weekend. This headlines a new era of discord and danger. America’s unraveling is playing a big part.
Next week the House votes on a series of bills to roll back the Endangered Species Act of 1973. These are acutely, expertly crafted pieces of legislation. They will absolutely do their trick.
But interestingly if the Senate agrees and Trump signs, the effects will be devastatingly quick in Africa. A new U.S. administration might reverse the reversal fast enough – for example – to save wolves and condors and whooping cranes in America. But elephants, lions in Africa?
Autonomy is the buzzword, now. The Navajo Nation, Catalonia, Maasai Ngorongoro, Yukon First Nations or Zanzibar, and they are all wrong. This is becoming clearer and clearer to me as I tour America’s southwest and listen to the same story lines and their dismal outcomes that I have heard in Tanzania for years.
Kathleen and I spent a half-day with T.J. in his pretty beat up jeep in Canyon de Chelly, a part of the greater Navajo nation. He showed us some amazing scenery and intrigued us with closeups of Anasazi, Hopi and other Pueblo indian pictograph and petroglyph. But I was belabored with his stilted view of history and saddened not just by his own personal story, but the story of his people.
The new Trump Travel ban is not as sweeping or as legally flawed as his previous, but it does nothing to increase security. Yet it has two major impacts impulsive Trump acting on his own was unable to accomplish:
Stops many refugees from entering America. Throws red meat to a deplorable base of supporters.
Tourists are going to be floored this season by how expensive Tanzanite has become.
The Tanzanian president’s sweeping dictatorial attempts to reduce corruption are currently focused on the country’s precious minerals. The fight is far from over, but so far he’s struck out with the biggest player, Acacia [Gold] Mining, so he’s set his sites on Tanzania’s small Tanzanite industry.
System 1. Candidates 0. That’s how I see the current Kenyan situation, characterized by the most juvenile behavior of the presidential candidates imaginable atop a system that is working overtime for fairness.
Perhaps this is true worldwide. Perhaps when touched by the power bestowed on a poor man by its great society, untold richest tempt his psyche. This is precisely the case in Kenya, where both presidential candidates are acting like bulldogs not potential leaders.
Words and gestures are gunpowder.
Tanzania’s leading opposition politician was sprayed with bullets yesterday as he arrived home from Parliament. It was a busy mid-day in the middle of a metropolis. The drive-by was a measured, obviously well planned attack. The police say they have no leads.
The president of the country tweeted that he was “shocked.” I’m not.
Diplomats and experts alike are hailing Kenya’s Supreme Court for its decision Friday annulling the national elections as proof that this dynamic emerging nation has firmly sided on the rule of law.
I see it differently: another example that democracy is growing self-destructive. With opposition candidates already declining to take part in the announced election rerun, the chances for widespread violence and major political disruption are now greater than ever.
Tanzania’s president doesn’t so often follow the law as make it. The public doesn’t seem to mind. “He’s reducing corruption,” I often hear in his defense.
I’ve seen local police cower from motorists who are increasingly challenging their road stops. Clerks at national parks are subdued: The normal “chai” that greased palms is in short supply. Everybody fears that Magufuli will show up, fire them or worse, jail them.
But when “Magufuli Justice” was applied internationally, recently, it didn’t go so well.
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.
I walked off the charter aircraft in front of my guests, our yellow-vested escort so close he kept bumping me. He stared straight ahead, walked stiffly and unnaturally fast towards the terminal building, more concerned with getting out of the open than showing us the exit.
That was Wednesday, the day after the election. Nairobi was as tense as a strand of cashmere nuked in a microwave. Today the city is nearly back to normal. As nations around the world drop into either the “crazy-and-dangerous” category or the “sane-and-hopeful,” Kenya has demonstrably shown it’s in the latter.
We had a Maasai guide for our final days in Kenya. There are about 500 guides in Kenya’s best game park, the Maasai Mara. Only three are women: “our” Lucy was one.
Two days after national elections, results have yet to be announced but the country looks increasingly like it will accept the outcome peacefully. Lucy won’t be the only beneficiary of peace. In 8 of Kenya’s 47 counties (comparable to our states) provisional results give governorships to women.
Unusually, we chartered from Kenya’s best game park directly into the international airport rather than normally into a smaller airport across town to avoid having to make that transfer.
We’re hunkered down in a new hotel inside the secure international airport complex waiting for our evening departures to Europe. Violence so far is only in the west of the country, but even here the tension is palpable.
Incredibly punishing rains fell last night. Lightning kept the night alive as if it were a fire. Water fell into the wee hours and ended with a cold wind that continues to blow under overcast skies.
It’s election day in Kenya. You need to pay attention. No country’s problems will be solved within their own borders, anymore. No matter where in the world you live, the frustrations you feel are likely global; solutions must be global. You’ve got to understand the rest of the world, even if you never leave home.
Riding cabs in Nairobi isn’t fun. Traffic is unbelievable. You really get to know your cabbie.
Mine said he worked right through the last two elections. I didn’t believe him. I’d spoken to other cabbies, hotel workers, airport staffers – none plan on going to work August 8, the next election. He caught my wry smile in his rear view mirror and shouted, “I will!” then told me why.