Roving Bandit shows us four-year-old currency from South Sudan.
Speaking of Sudan, David Barsoum wonders, “What is the ICC after?”
Reem at Inside Islam reacts to a lecture she attended by former Muslim and current activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
While Ali is right that there are very problematic interpretations of Islam that do impact women negatively, there are several reasons why I have a hard time accepting her claim that she is just trying to help Muslim women. First, she does not recognize the fact that many Muslim women are highly committed to Islam and feel that it empowers them. However, she alluded to the fact this is a result of lack of education. Second, Ali plays right into the hands of the extreme which keeps saying Islam is a threat and from her lecture she sees no problem with that; thus, her motivations for me are highly questionable. Finally, she is not responsible with her statements. To say that there is no self-reflection by Muslims or to make sweeping generalizations is simply wrong. Many Muslims, men and women, engage in a continual process of self-reflection or critique. She must not really be looking. Ali, I think, ends up speaking to a very different audience than she claims to be.
Louisa Lombard ponders the consequences of her blogging for her fieldwork in the Central African Republic, now that one of her interlocutors has “found her out.”
In the process of being found out, I have realized something about how politics works here. Much of the game has to do with pretending not to know, and certainly not ever stating, the things that everyone knows. (I mean seriously, as a newly-arrived expat I’m the last to know anything.) That a certain official drinks a lot, for instance, or even that a certain road is closed to humanitarians. Always better to feign ignorance, since you don’t know who might betray you (“So-and-so said such-and-such about so-and-so…” can take on a life of its own in a place that in many ways functions on rumors). This can make research difficult. It also makes it hard to change endemic corruption or other malfeasance, because any whistler blower could quickly face allegations herself. Many if not most of the bylines in Bangui’s 8-page newspapers are sobriquets.
So I will have to be more circumspect about the things I write here.
Steve Bloomfield talks European corporations and African governance.
What are the connections between al Shabab and Somali pirates?
Africa Is A Country has some leaked tracks from the Nas and Damian Marley collaboration.
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