Africa
American Africa

American Africa

Remember the funeral of Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama stood before the South African people to pay tribute to Madiba. “He makes me want to be a better man”, the American president confided with his audience. More»

Castro's Africa Moment

Castro’s Africa Moment

Many people see the death of Fidel Castro as the end of an era. Yet the Castroite legacy is alive in one form. Cuba has played a key role lending support to national liberation movements around the world. One major site of struggle during this period was Southern Africa. More»

Working for Washington

Working for Washington

The American intelligence community got two things out of the dusty Chadian hamlet of Ouadi Doum in Chad during the Reagan Administration. One was a Soviet-built Mi-25 Hind gunship left behind by the Libyan invaders, ferried out in 1987 for the military to take apart and study. More»

Open Letter: ‘Resettlement, My Only Option to Live as a Gay Man’

Open Letter: ‘Resettlement, My Only Option to Live as a Gay Man’

In this open letter, a Ugandan man who has been assaulted for being gay pleads to be resettled to a safe country. As in many African countries, homosexuality has been legislated against in Uganda; in 2009, one politician even attempted to introduce the death penalty. More»

The Twilight of Gaddafi

The Twilight of Gaddafi

The Libyan crisis is not just the product of the NATO intervention. It has endogenous roots worth further examination. Libyan historian Ali Ahmida argues that the country ranks among the most brutal cases of colonial rule. In Africa, this means being in the ranks of Algeria and Congo. More»

MSF: We Must Address Humanitarian Failings

MSF: We Must Address Humanitarian Failings

After Médecins Sans Frontières’ withdrawal from the World Humanitarian Summit, its U.S. executive director, Jason Cone, warns against conferences that blur the line between state and NGO responsibilities and calls for better humanitarian responses on the ground. More»

Losing Libya

Losing Libya

Libya has almost vanished from Western news. Every so often you’ll catch a report, or see an article. It is only referred to as a total disaster, but there is little real effort to account for the crisis. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get someone like Simon Jenkins digging into the West, but not nearly often enough. More»

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Robert Mugabe belongs to the era of revolutionary nationalism. He certainly has outlasted this period, but he stands as a lesson of its failures. As with Arab nationalism and Ba’athism, the national boundaries defined by colonial rule would become the contours of a new national sovereignty. More»

Boko Haram for Beginners

Boko Haram for Beginners

Many people may know the name Boko Haram, but few understand where the group came from. The group originates in Borno state, Nigeria, where its insurgency began in 2009. The Muslim North is home to the poorest of Nigerians, where illiteracy is at its highest, while most of the wealth is concentrated in the Christian South. More»

Mali and the Sahel

Mali and the Sahel

“You want to cut hands? Here are two! Cut them!” So dares a fishmonger to the occupiers of her hometown, theatrically presenting the officer leading them with her fileting knife. The scene is one of the most memorable from the Franco-Mauritanian Timbuktu, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, released in December 2014. More»

Discrimination and Inequality

Discrimination and Inequality

Many have noted, with amused or outraged disdain, the contortions with which right-wingers from Dick Cheney to David Cameron are seeking to appropriate a piece of the Madiba magic. Few have as yet noted its converse: icons of the modern left condemning Nelson Mandela for not being socialist enough. More»

The Problem of Global Somalia

The Problem of Global Somalia

Somalia’s PR strategy is violence. Or so one might be inclined to think, based on press coverage of Nairobi’s spectacular Westfield mall attack by al-Shabaab gunmen (and apparently women.) The last time that Somalia fanned comparable ripples in US media culture was during the Battle of Mogadishu, a highfalutin moniker for the botched commando raid in 1993, in which 18 American soldiers and an estimated 1000 Somalis were killed. More»