Jesse Jackson and the Ivorian Crisis

Jesse Jackson, whose brand of black politics has been displaced momentarily with the emergence of Barack Obama, was in the news recently after he was crowned a prince in Cote d’Ivoire. Because the Agne had crown the recently deceased (murdered?) Michael Jackson in 1992, much of the coverage of the event, made that link. But as this video, above, Jackson’s visit was significant for other reasons: Jackson was invited by the Young Patriots, who are supporters of the country’s controversial President Laurent Gbagbo, who promotes his “Ivoirité” (a mix of tribalism and xenophobia)–basically a move to prevent large numbers of the country’s people to participate in its politics, because they are not really Ivorian. This also explain much of the origins of the civil war between Gbagbo’s government and political opponents in the country’s north.

Though Jackson was quick to point out that he did come to endorse a candidate, “but to endorse a process,” his hosts probably saw this as an endorsement of their politics. Ivoirian elections are set for November this year.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.