– A few months back, I wrote about the two Norwegians sentenced to death on DRC (here – in Spanish though). I found the case to be extremely interesting and that it said a lot about the different discourses present in the relationship between Europe and Africa. At the time, I reflected on what this sentence told us about the Congolese. Now however, and thanks to this Bomastic Element entry, I have been able to get to know the Norwegian perspective on all this. I have read the full Anthropology Today article (thanks Hans 😉 and I have to say it’s well worth it. I found it particularly interesting – aside of learning the revealing fact that these two men founded the “Expatriate Club Stanleyville Prision”, at the Kisangani central prison – how the perception of Africa in a country like Norway, remains much more sterotypical and prejudiced than in other countries where, historically the presence of Africa has been greater, even if simply because of the maintaining of African colonies.
– The three Spanish NGO members kidnapped in Mali, are expected to be freed tomorrow, according to a Mali government member. Sources claim this has been possible thanks to the payment of a $5 million ransom.
– This New York Times’s article records this week’s Sarkozy’s visit to Rwanda and his recognition of “grave errors” during the 1994 genocide; which has been one on the main talking points on the blog/twittersphere. Also on Rwandan affairs, This is Africa reflects on “The Curious Case of Victorie Ingabire”.
– Another talking point has been this Newsweek article on “How Africa is becoming the New Asia”. Particularly interesting is that they point out that Africa’s recent economic growth “is driven not by the sale of raw materials, like oil or diamonds, but by a burgeoning domestic market…The rapidly emerging African middle class could number as many as 300 million, out of a total population of 1 billion”. What this article does not directly touch, is the political consequences of this growing middle class. Any political science student knows of the equation between a larger middle class and a growing democratisation. So, it will be interesting to know how this middle class growth plays out, especially on the current international context, where the simple models of liberal democracy are losing their shine. Will a new (Chinese?) model of non-democratic, but economically prosperous society become dominant? Or will the democracy potentially demanded by the middle class in Africa adopt a new, organic form?
– Sean Jacobs writes on Africa is a Country about the “conflict of interest” for David M. Crane, the former U.N. war crimes prosecutor for the Special Court in Sierra Leone, who three months ago offered legal services to Capt. Dadis Camara’s junta in Guinea, including “a Power Point presentation on how to convert a repressive military force into a defender of the people that obeys the laws of armed conflict”. The full story can be read at the Foreign Policy blog, here; and you can also see the Power Point presentation which indeed constitutes an “ultimate idiot’s guide to being an African junta”. However much Mr. Crane’s company charged Camara for it, it appears to me as a rip-off!
– And finally, some music for a relaxed weekend. Ali Farka Toure’s last ever recordings; in this occasion together with Toumani Diabaté. Incredibly beautiful music from two of Africa’s greatest musicians.
Click here to listen to the album on Spotify