Almost a half century ago Kathleen and I drove into remote southwest Uganda sneaking precious, banned textbooks (on mathematics) to one of the few schools that until then had managed to survive under Idi Amin.
We drove past a football field littered with the bodies of 48 teens, their bodies torn apart by dum dums. Our hosts were in hiding. When one young teacher snuck into the room where we were he pleaded in whispers to steel him away. Did anybody read Eugene Robertson’s op-ed in the Washington Post today? “How Dumb Can a Nation Get and Still Survive?” Read more ›
If you want to know what America might some day look like pay attention to tomorrow’s election in Uganda.
A ruthless thug will win a sixth 5-year term as president. And I mean win. He won’t stuff ballot boxes or manipulate judges. He got away with that in the past. This time Ugandan citizens – two-thirds of whom weren’t born before he first came to power – will actually choose to vote for him. With free will they will abdicate their own.
So finally we have evidence of exactly when it is likely to be safe enough to return to East Africa: June 1.
This isn’t said exactly right. This is the date that the most reliable, experienced safari companies in Kenya and Tanzania believe tourists will really return. I agree, though I think it will be much more slowly than they do.
Kathleen and I inserted ourselves when we were 24 years old into the most autocratic, terrifying society that I believe has ever existed: Idi Amin’s Uganda.
We traveled the country in 18 days. There was hardly a night without gunfire. Dead bodies might be found anywhere. We had to hide our vehicle in jungle before stopping it in order to eat our sandwiches or dying children with inflated bellies would surround us.
In our morose and combative world it’s such a struggle to consume the minimum amount of news to keep a sense of reality. It’s very easy to slip out of this challenge and thereby decay into fodder for all things evil.
One very difficult task is to contrast social with political issues. Yes, Roe-v-Wade seems more vulnerable than ever, but it stands and it stands while freedom of sexual orientation, gender and pay equality actually move forward progressively. Who’s among the top 3 or 4 democratic candidates right now?
A perfect example of how this struggle is global can be found with feminist Stella Nyanzi in Uganda.
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?
Africa as my lifeway’s platform for roughly 5 months annually during the troubled times of the last few years has radically changed my view of democracy.
Last week Rwanda celebrated the first quarter century in possibly a thousand years without a mass genocide. The Sudanese Army fired on the Sudanese secret service last night to protect opponents of the government.
The avowed communist state of Ethiopia last year implemented a series of human rights protections that may be the most progressive on earth. All of these stellar human rights’ accomplishments were in totally undemocratic regimes.
Halting abusive and dangerous behavior may take nothing more than showing that behavior to the abuser.
An Uganda NGO claims a 5% reduction in abuse of women in the home when the man watches a public service video about female spousal abuse. The key? The video tells a story rather than moralizes or conveys policy. The story – the reality – seems all that’s necessary.
Good question. Where is that fellow in the picture? Well, he’s in a highland rain forest with a mountain gorilla. There’s only one highland rain forest in the world with mountain gorillas. But the country he’s in isn’t so clear: Rwanda, the DRC or Uganda?
There are three countries in the world where you can sit down with a mountain gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei) for an hour of very unique animal viewing: Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. This is because this gorilla’s single habitat area overlays the point where these countries border one another.
But Rwanda is the only one that most travelers should consider visiting and tomorrow I’ll explain why. First, a primer on gorillas.