Read my article about the counter coup in Burkina Faso in September that appeared in the latest issue of Konkret. I was lucky to take part in a symposium on the situation in the country here in Berlin, organised by Afrique Avenir. Smockey and Sams K Le Jah, popular musicians who started the civic movement Le Balai Citoyen, and others discussed the immediate past, present and future of Burkina Faso. They sent a strong message of courageousness that the days of repression and persecution of dissent are over in the “country of upright citizens”.
My review of James Ferguson’s new book, Give a Man a Fish, has been published by Blätter des Informationszentrum Dritte Welt (iz3w). This interesting collection of essays describes the rise of new welfarism in the Global South, especially in Southern Africa. Contrary to the talk about the demise of state intervention in times of neo-liberalism, more and more people receive cash payments by their governments in countries such as Namibia, Zambia, South Africa or Brazil and Mexico. Ferguson discusses this development and its consequences for progressive scholarship and activism. Read the review here (German).
Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan, made it explicitly clear: He only signed the peace accord with his opponent Riek Machar late in August because of international diplomatic pressure. Not exactly bright prospects for an end of warfare among the two fractions of the ruling SPLM. As the finances to get dissenters into an elite compact are vanishing, we are likely to see the war to proceed. Here is my text that appeared in the latest issue of Jungle World.
The new issue of Konkret is dedicated to the German and European debate about immigrants. Several articles focus on how the German government tries to limit the possibilities of refugees to ask for asylum. My own text (pdf here) reports about the so-called Khartoum process. The European Union – and especially Germany as a member of the steering committee – plans to cooperate and close a deal with several rogue states in East Africa including Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. These contracts aim to block refugees in their countries by way of training of the police, a “strengthening of government institutions” and the establishment of training centres for migration control.
According to Amnesty International, soldiers of the UN mission Minusca in the Central African Republic (CAR) are implicated in several cases of sexual violence and violence against civilians. Meanwhile, the conflict in the CAR has disappeared from the radar of the international community. Elections are planned for October this year, but hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced, and those responsible for human rights abuses are still at large. I wrote a text for Jungle World about these issues. Find it here as pdf.
Read my text about the fight against the terrorists of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Many Nigerians have high hopes that the country’s new president, Mohammadu Buhari, is better prepared to defeat the Islamists than his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan. But while Buhari seeks military aid in the US, there are new damaging allegations by Amnesty International (AI) against the army. According to a report by AI, 7.000 men and boys died in custody between 2010 and 2014. 1.200 people are said to be killed unlawfully by the soldiers. The article was published by Blätter des Informationszentrums 3. Welt. You can download it here as pdf.
Read my review of the new book by Henning Melber, Namibia: Gesellschaftspolitische Erkundungen seit der Unabhängigkeit. The author, for a long time connected both to SWAPO and Namibia, takes an unerring look on society, politics and the practices of memory in the country after 25 years of independence. The review was published by Brandes & Apsel just in time for the inauguration of the new president, Hage Geingob, in March 2015. Download my text (German) here,
The conflicts in the Central African Republic that killed thousands and routed hundred thousands of people in 2013/2014 are not yet over. The EU mission, however, left the country with a “mission accomplished”. Until the end of the year, French troops will also withdraw. The general mood within the “international community” is that quick elections will solve the problems of the CAR. Read my text that appeared in the latest issue of Blätter des iz3w (German).
This text for Jungle World deals with the EU’s military mission Atalanta off the coast of Somalia. Atalanta is often mentioned these days as a paradigm for the fight against migrants arriving in ships across the Mediterranean. The armed defence against human traffickers is – like Atalanta – just one step in the militarisation of the EU’s foreign policy. Read my article here or download the respective page.
High were the expectations of the people in South Sudan when the country gained independence from the Sudan. But the time of peace only lasted a little more than two years. Since December 2013, two fractions of the ruling SPLM/A are at war with each other over power, money and positions. No side of the opponents is interested reaching a lasting peace agreement, because for them, the war pays. It demonstrates also the total failure of the Western mediators which supported the independence of South Sudan as a magic bullet against the decade-long conflict between North and South. Read my text on the subject in the latest issue of Konkret.