An interesting conversation took place in the blogosphere this week about why the protests in North Africa are not spreading to Sub-Saharan Africa. Scott Baldauf cites four reasons: the weakness of civil society, lack of education, ethnic politics, and poverty. Rosebell Kagumire compares demographics (especially urbanization and education) in Tunisia and Uganda and also notes that fewer Ugandans use new media in comparison with Tunisians. Nigerian columnist Reuben Abati, meanwhile, believes it possible for protests and revolution to spread to his country. Amb. John Campbell has a different view on the Nigerian case.
Aaron Bady contributes to the conversation from another angle, contrasting the US response to political repression in Zimbabwe with the US response to events in Egypt.
Protests did continue in Sudan this week, although a government crackdown disrupted the protesters’ efforts. Elizabeth Dickinson writes that she “wouldn’t count Sudan down and out of the Middle Eastern wave,” because the current moment has the potential to unite various opposition factions in Sudan.Khalid Mubarak, writing from a pro-regime perspective, says it is unlikely that Sudan will see a major protest movement because of President Omar al Bashir’s stances toward Israel and the West, Bashir’s moves domestically to placate trade unions and the SPLM, and the weakness of the opposition. Finally, Carol Gallo asks “why Southern Sudanese and Darfuris deserve attention and protection and northern civilians don’t.”
One last comment on the protests in Egypt that I found insightful comes from Atrios, who discusses the effect that turmoil in Egypt might have on the US media:
I’m certainly not one who imagines that there was a golden age of the press, so this isn’t that kind of nostalgia, but I do seem to remember that back during the Cold War and aftermath there was more upfront acknowledgment that we engaged in a lot of Realpolitik. Sure, we were still the good guys, but it wasn’t farting in church to suggest that some things we did foreign policy-wise weren’t all about the peeance and freeance, but just trying to rig the world in our favor. Post-9/11 especially it became America-hating to even suggest that we were less than pure in any of our motives. With the Egypt situation unfolding I’m sensing a very slight exhale in the media, opening the door to actually talking about this stuff again.
Turning to other matters, Jihadology has a roundup of its own.
Andrew Lebovich writes about Friday’s kidnapping in Algeria.
Louisa Lombard discusses the elections in the Central African Republic.
What did I miss?