White man’s burden 2.0

Glen Newey at the London Review of Books’ blog:

Biometry and eugenics co-emerged partly because of the white man’s burden – the need to police native populations who all looked the same – and to align measurable physical characteristics with the divide between ‘fit’ and ‘unfit’ races (Galton advocated colonising Africa with Chinese immigrants to replace the indigenous ‘lazy, palavering savages’). Biometrics weathered the last century better than eugenics. As of now a new divide looms between the creditworthy, who can create their own virtual identities via ‘identity 2.0’ accreditation, and migrant populations whose identities get fixed biometrically, mainly in order to keep them out.

The EU asserts itself in Somalia*

Lynx helicopter photographed from the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (Photo: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep / Flickr)As EU leaders prepare to travel to Chicago to attend the NATO summit this weekend, it has been pointed out that they won’t have much to brag about regarding the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Nonetheless, Tuesday’s news coming all the way from the Somali coast may give them something to show.

According to the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) website:

EU forces conducted an operation to destroy pirate equipment on the Somali coastline…in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 and has the full support of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. The focused, precise and proportionate action was conducted from the air and all forces returned safely to EU warships on completion…At no point did EU Naval Force ‘boots’ go ashore. Rear Admiral Potts went on to say “The EU Naval Force action against pirate supplies on the shoreline is merely an extension of the disruption actions carried out against pirate ships at sea…

Here you can read the NYT’s more vivid account of the operation (with helicopters involved). And here is the statement by the HR/VP Catherine Ashton’s spokesperson.

This is the first operation on the Somali coastline carried out by EUNAVFOR , and it was made possible thanks to Sigue leyendo

Mali’s not out of the woods yet*

Mosque in Timbuktu (Emilio Labrador/Flickr)

Today’s inauguration of Diouncounda Traoré as Malian interim President formally brings to an end the country’s Constitutional crisis triggered by the coup d’état on March 22nd led by Captain Sanogo and which intalled in power a military junta. Exactly three weeks later, a semblance of normality is returning to Mali, but before when reading celebratory statements about Mali being “brought back from the brink” , two points should be remembered. Mali’s troubles are far from over. And the situation today is considerably worse than it was three weeks and a day ago.

Beginning with the most immediate set of political obstacles, Sigue leyendo

Enlaces sobre el Golpe de Estado en Malí (autobombo)

Los tristes sucesos de la semana pasa en la que los militares tomaron el poder en Malí, deponiendo al Presidente Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT) que planeaba abandonar el poder tras las elecciones del 29 de abril, han lanzado al país al centro de la actualidad mediática. Por esta razón – aunque no del todo, ya que algunos de estos estaban preparados de antemano – he aparecido en algunos medios hablando sobre esto y sobre la rebelión Tuareg que afecta al norte del país y que parece haber sido el detonante del golpe militar.

En El País, Marie Mertens escribe sobre la rebelión tuareg: Sigue leyendo

(Some surprising) “Enemies of the Internet”*

The map of cyber censorship - Reporters Without Borders

Last week, coinciding with the World Day Against Cyber Censorship (march 12), Reporters Without Borders released the map of cyber censorship (above), accompanying its “Enemies of the Internet 2012” report (pdf).

The map shows countries declared “enemies of the internet” (in black) and those “countries under surveillance” (in red).
Although most of the ‘usual suspects’ are on the list, and most of those on the list are the ‘usual suspects’, there are some omissions – Angola should probably feature here – and some surprises. Sigue leyendo

North Africa and the Sahel should be the EU’s #1 priority

This post originally appeared on The FRIDE Blog‘s IDEA of the Week section:

The European Foreign Affairs Council approved a “European Union Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel” almost a year ago, recognising the importance of the region for the EU. During recent months however, violence in Syria and the build-up of tension between Iran and Israel have moved the EU’s attention to this corner of the Middle East. The region’s geo-strategic importance justifies the EU’s attention, but not at the price of neglecting the North African “chapter” of the Arab spring. In fact, events such as last week’s controversial declaration of semi-autonomy for the Eastern Libyan province of Cyrenaica reminds us that this should be considered as the EU’s external action top priority. Sigue leyendo

…and it came to this: Joseph Kony memes

The activity of my Twitter feed (see here, here, here) says that Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video campaign has been a total success. Although perhaps a paradoxical success, as most of the comments are extremely critical – in my opinion, rightly so.

Nonetheless, this critical reading may not be as widespread as the campaign itself (although if you are reading this, chances are that you are aware of these criticisms), so for this reason I am putting a link to visiblechildren.tumblr.com where you can read about these debates in detail.

And also post these Kony memes which are as funny as symbolic of the dangers of over-simplyfying complex political situations into the good-bad, feel-good narrative which IC embraces. Sigue leyendo

Some notes on AIAC’s quest to choose “The most influential African thinker alive”

Africa Is a Country launched yesterday an extremely interesting initiative – a poll to choose “The most influential African thinker alive”. Voting is open until next Monday and I urge to do it – and also to nominate other possibilities, as they will take into consideration those names most put forward.

Personally, I have just voted and also left a comment/rant on AIAC’s blog, raising some questions which surround the possible choice. I copy it below.

I would love to hear more thoughts on this! Sigue leyendo