Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Burkina Faso: The Last Dance of the Ancien Regime

Posted in African Politics, Burkina Faso by ruben eberlein on November 9, 2015

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”.

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Killing Fields South Sudan: A War That Pays Off

Posted in African Politics, South Sudan by ruben eberlein on April 25, 2015

Hititel05gh 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.

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Danny Hoffman takes Deleuze to West Africa

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone by ruben eberlein on April 19, 2013

WarMachinesA book that really inspired me recently is Danny Hoffman’s account of the Kamajor militia in Sierra Leone and other groups in Liberia during the wars of the 1990’s/early 2000’s. “The War Machines. Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia” takes the theoretical thinking of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to an African conflict. “Recent trends in the reorganization of global security are laying the groundwork for continued mobilizations of exactly the kind represented by the Mano River War”, writes Hoffman, while calling the conflict a “laboratory of the future”.

I abstained from writing a review because everything is nicely summed up by Mats Utas already. Buy this book and be fascinated by a rare combination of investigative guerilla journalism and innovative theoretical thinking.

Southern Africa: The Limits of Liberation

Posted in African Politics, South Africa, Zimbabwe by ruben eberlein on December 4, 2009

Read my article about the changing patterns of power and domination in the Southern African region in the weekly paper Das Parlament.

Kenya: Impunity for Murder and Theft Continues

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Kenya by ruben eberlein on December 4, 2009

Read an article about the massive abuse of power in Kenya by Jan Bachmann, a political scientist based in Oxford, and myself in the current issue of Konkret. You can download the original article as pdf here.

Kenya: Eating Until it Cracks in a ‘Government of National Impunity’

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Kenya by ruben eberlein on October 14, 2009

Next month’s issue of Konkret will have an article about state violence, impunity and the theft of public resources in Kenya, written by Jan Bachmann and me. The ‘government of national impunity’ comes under increasing international pressure to go against those responsible for the deadly fights after the elections 2007. ‘Given that some of Kenya’s most ambitious and thrusting young politicians have blood on their hands, it’s very hard to see those really responsible for the 2008 violence being held to account’, we hear from Michela Wrong, author of It’s Our Turn to Eat.

In Guinea Conakry, the Dadis Show Is Over

Posted in African Politics, Guinea-Conakry by ruben eberlein on October 1, 2009

More than 130, perhaps up to 200 Guineans are estimated to have been killed by the army and police in the capital Conakry on 28 September. About 150 women are said to have been raped. They wanted to take part in a protest rally against the intentions by the military under Moussa Dadis Camara to prolong its stay in power after elections planned for early 2010. There are reports that the looting, firing and stealing by ‘security forces’ continues. The Dadis Show in which high-profile political entrepreneurs had to appear on TV and confess their misdeeds finally came to an end.

Niger Delta: Bomb Attacks and an Amnesty

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on September 24, 2009

After a massive military intervention, the Nigerian central government wants to pacify the oil-producing Niger Delta with an amnesty. This strategy will most likely fail, but nevertheless prepare the ground for the 2011 elections. Read an updated English version of my text published by Konkret 9/09 here or download the original article as pdf. (more…)

US Policy Towards Somalia: More of the Same, Once Again

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Somalia by ruben eberlein on September 15, 2009

gunmansomaliaThe killing of a suspected al Qaeda militant cell leader in Southern Somalia by US special forces is big in the news. French soldiers are also suspected to have taken part in the raid which left several people dead. Taken together with the arms shipment and the finance of weapons acquirements by the US (see Foreign Policy’s report here), nothing points to a new approach of the Obama administration vis-à-vis the war-torn country.

Discussing the Occult, Witchcraft and Religion in Africa

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on September 13, 2009

An exciting debate is currently under way about the study of beliefs in an invisible world that are widespread in African societies. Terence Ranger started this dispute with a literature review in Africa journal two years ago where he pointed to the affinity between academic works on ‘the occult’ and popular Western ideas about Africa as a backward and superstitious continent. At the Aegis conference in Leipzig, scholars such as Filip de Boeck, Peter Geschiere, Stephen Ellis and Isak Niehaus discussed the matter. The August 09 issue of Africa presents a rejoinder to Ranger by Gerrie ter Haar and Ellis as well as a contribution on that subject by Birgit Meyer.