Not all US media are willful idiots

This is another Weekend Special post: compiling news and links we didn't have time to focus on in the last week.

A screengrab from a Boko Haram propaganda video of one of the group's leaders, Abubakar Shekau, in front.

After the Nigerian army murdered the leader of Boko Haram, a crazy northern Nigerian Islamic sect, media in the US (if they bothered to notice) were quick to print generally uninformed “analysis” (the link is to a piece on blog, “The Daily Beast”) connecting Boko Haram to to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But not all US media are willful idiots when it comes to Boko Haram: take for example these takes on events  by historian Jean Herskovits (on the conservative “Foreign Policy” magazine’s blog of all places) and the excellent Scott Johnson in (again of all places) Newsweek.

Where do obscure metals like tantalum, lithium, and platinum, for example, come from?

In one of the strangest ironies, the white South African in Canada who claimed that South African blacks would “persecute” him if he returned home, and was then awarded refugee status by the Canadian government on the basis of his obviously racist views of blacks, turns out to be what South Africans would call coloured. He is black. One of his ancestors was a slave woman.

“Black is Beautiful” is an online exhibit that details African presence in Dutch art and popular culture dating as far back as the fifteenth century. [link].

If you can’t bear the racism, comedy and histrionics (all at the same time) of the current American health care reform “debate,” it is worth spending some time in the video archive of the excellent South African TV political talk show, “The Big Debate” (it broadcasts on the private channel, ETV). Apart from the mentioned excellent debate on health care, there are also programs on Zimbabwe, “tradition,” and sexuality, among others.

Chances are we’ll never know who murdered Dulcie September. The Cape Town born anti-apartheid activist was killed by a hitman or -men while she was ANC representative in France in 1988 and hot on the trail of arms dealers supplying the Apartheid South African government or something even bigger. Now the ANC government has made promises of re-opening the case.

Great audio archive at the Pan African Space Station (an annual music and culture festival run by Chimurenga Magazine in Cape Town through September and early October). My favorite: photographer George Hallett’s talk on designing book covers for British publisher Heinemann’s “African Writers Series” in the 1970s. (For details on this year’s festival, including listening to live music, click here).

In one for the Hall of Fame of inappropriate advertising, Medicins Sans Frontiers has made a web advert for fundraising purposes that vocal critics of the “aid industry” feel finally crosses the line of acceptable taste. On this, I agree with the criticism.

Check out this link to Vox Africa, the European-based internet only news channel on all things African. (Great archive as well as live streaming).

Surprise, Robert Mugabe’s security police likes to beat up on the country’s women.

The photography of Bronwyn Lace (via Feizel Mamdoo).

The short film project, 15 Malaysia. You can watch all the films online.

New York based cultural journalist Siddharta Mitter sits down with Youssou N’Dour to talk politics and music. Worth your downtime. The videos are online here.

Society of the Spectacle” by African Noise Foundation (Video).

Further Reading

An unfinished project

Christian theology was appropriated to play an integral role in the justifying apartheid’s racist ideology. Black theologians resisted through a theology of the oppressed.

Writing while black

The film adaptation of Percival Everett’s novel ‘Erasure’ leaves little room to explore Black middle-class complicity in commodifying the traumas of Black working-class lives.