The worst locust outbreak ever seen in Africa, the most insidious virus ever known to man, the most flooding and worst earthquakes in history… then, bloodshed.
All Africa journalist Jerry Chifamba has just completed a series of in-depth reports on how accelerating conflict in Africa is directly linked to climate change. No surprise, or is it just that we don’t want to be surprised, anymore.
Something bad is happening and Africa is the bellwether. A couple specific events that I’ve chosen to discuss below in Kenya and Nigeria suggest security is failing or at least being so stressed it’s not working well.
And these events are but a drop in the ocean of what must be happening throughout Africa, likely the world. Something bad is happening.
Not so long ago I was lazily swinging in a hammock in Manda Bay. My son and his girlfriend were blithely watching the sunset over the island from their open verandah above me. Yesterday, terrorists blew up that place, now an American air base.
Readers of my blog won’t be surprised there’s an American air base in Kenya, since I’ve been writing critically about American troops in the area for nearly a decade. But what happened Sunday is a perfect example of American policy unweaving all over the place. We’re unscrewing the lid on terrorism.
A moment of peace in a world of war. The Nobel Peace Prize correctly heralds the young democratic Ethiopian leader, Abiy Ahmed Ali, for his efforts “to achieve peace and international cooperation, [specifically] to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
But forgive my refrain, the absence of western diplomacy from “Trump” risks obliterating all the good that’s been done.
Populism is not some lonesome social condition. Populism controls democracy, and populism brings down and sets up autocratic regimes. It’s not conservative or progressive, capitalist or communist. It’s not necessarily based on truth. It’s knee-jerk support for – or against – individuals wielding power. Why? How is it harnessed?
East Africa gives us some insight: Ten years ago Kenya hardly had an army. Ten years ago Kenya was in incredible social turmoil, very close to a civil war. Today Kenya is a military powerhouse, rivaling the two other area powerhouses, Ethiopia and Rwanda. And today Kenya’s stable society thrives on a growing populism.
This week’s 70th anniversary of the formation of the Chinese Navy was marked by the arrival of a huge new naval fleet in the Red Sea off Somalia.
With the withdrawal of U.S. and U.K. forces from Africa China has stepped in. Chinese warships have provided a safe escort in the Red Sea for more than 6,600 vessels in the last decade, without any further justification required from those vessels than a call for assistance. Only a few years ago it was U.S. and U.K. warships that provided these safe escorts.
Sometimes good acts prevail even after evil-doers reverse them:
The previous Republican controlled Congress and current Trump administration wiped out Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Bill, the “Rule on Conflict Minerals.” But that rule had such a powerful effect when first passed by Congress that the world embraced it and has continued to strengthen it despite the official reversal by the United States.
The Trump Administration has reversed a long-standing policy of the American government to refuse to ransom kidnapped Americans. The policy was enacted in 1973 under then Sec. of State Henry Kissinger who vowed no “blood money” for terrorists.
Uganda’s junior tourism minister, Godfrey Kiwanda Ssubi, told Ugandan-State TV Sunday that the ransom asked by the kidnappers for the release of American Kimberley Sue Endicott was paid “with the help of the U.S. government. Whatever these people (kidnappers) demanded for was paid,” Ssubi said.
When blood boils you need to take in a very deep breath of crisp, cold air. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since the story broke Sunday of the “rescue” of kidnapped American Kimberly Sue Endicott in Uganda together with her Ugandan guide.
Blood boils with the heat caused by screams no one listens to: I’ve been telling people for years not to visit Uganda and in particular where Endicott was kidnapped. Two young Brits were just kidnapped in that area last year! What’s worse?
Last week’s Nairobi bombing may not have been against Kenya, but America.
Today global media reran a report by Somali Radio Dalsan shortly after the attack last week. The report claimed that bombing was in direct response to two American actions: (1) the decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and (2) revenge for the American drone killing of a top al-Shabaab leader.
Africans are outraged at the New York Times publication of photos of the dusitD2 hotel massacre in Nairobi Wednesday.
The backlash was severe enough globally that the Times announced a working group that might alter their policy on publishing blood and gore, even as their Director of Photography continues to justify this one.
In the last year 21 were killed and at least 28 injured by shooters in Kenya in a single incident that happened yesterday. In the last year 106 people were killed and 121 injured in 18 separate incidents in the United States. In Parkland, 17 were killed.
It you were a foreigner heading to Orlando last February, or Nashville last April, or Sante Fe last May or Pittsburgh in October or any of the other 14 major U.S. shootings last year, you’d probably feel right now just like an American heading to Nairobi.
The end of the year isn’t going so well. After the Institute for Economics and Peace reported that acts of most terrorism continue to decline dramatically, two young Scandinavian hikers were brutally murdered in Morocco, and an Islamic State signature video of their actual murder is circulating on social media.
Morocco is not a place known for terrorism. The last incident was in Marrakech in 2011. The country prides itself on a very sophisticated police and intelligence network that claims to have essentially obliterated terrorism. Until now.