The bigger question is not why France decided to intervene but why America has held off. Is it simply imperial overstretch and war-weariness? That seems a little thin, given the hue and cry in Washington about ‘ungoverned spaces’ and ‘terrorist safe havens’. After all, the Sahara is six times as big as Afghanistan and Pakistan combined. And why sink money into the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership – more than $1 billion since 2005 – or foot the bill for Operation Enduring Freedom Trans-Sahara, if at the end of it all al-Qaida is allowed to march on Bamako? Why would Obama order more drone strikes than his predecessor against the leaders of Somalia’s al-Shabaab, a group with relatively weak links to international terrorism, but not lift a finger to stop AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Maghreb) from taking over Mali? Unless, of course, in addition to a division of labour with the French, the point is to ‘disaggregate’ the multiple terrorist threats in Africa, tackling each individually rather than addressing any common denominator, and so deny jihadism a chance to coalesce. In this regard, even if the French were drawn into the quicksand in Mali, Nigeria would most likely remain the region’s focal point for the US: with 150 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state as well as the biggest oil producer south of the Sahara, and has an active homegrown salafist-jihadist group, Boko Haram (‘Westernisation Is Sinful’). When I put these thoughts to a US military staffer involved in anti-terrorism in Africa, he replied tersely: ‘What we’re doing in Africa is a sort of Whac-A-Mole’ – a reference to an arcade game in which players force moles back into their burrows by hitting them on the head with a mallet. He went on to quote the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams: ‘America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.’ Well, not any longer perhaps. But France has done precisely that.
The German far right party AfD has extended its revisionism of German history to the colonial era and connects to global far-right discourses on colonialism’s “balance sheet.”
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Beyond news headlines, African artists complicate common migration narratives.
“African corruption” is only African as regards its victims. Its perpetrators are institutions and individuals from across the globe who are willing to loot without conscience as they watch their offshore accounts grow.
The question is not how, or where, or when neoliberalism will end, but if it will, and what the left will do about it. The case of South Africa is instructive.
Fela Kuti’s friend, Carlos Moore, the black Cuban emigre writer, is the subject of a film about their at times difficult relationship. The result is complex.
Urdang reflects her long friendship with fellow political exile Jennifer Davis, the anti-apartheid activist and changemaker.
The life of Lumumba advisor, Andree Blouin, offers lessons about the historically racialized and sexualized representations of women of color in politics.
Mukoma wa Ngugi’s opening remarks at the launch (today) of the 2020 Writers Unlimited International Literature Festival in The Hague.
The ongoing socio-political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe requires an unprecedented national dialogue for transition—a “coming together” that appears to be as challenging as the country’s history of struggle is long.
A resurgent conspiracy theory that Nelson Mandela died in 1985 reveals the growing hopelessness in South Africa that rampant inequality is irreversible.
A new film about Kony 2012 is a lesson in how not to fight simplification with more simplification.
Nigerians’ anger and frustration are deservedly directed to their government. But few point to the special breed of Nigerians: the “Crazy Rich Nigerians.”
We are not just marking the end of 2019, but also the end of a momentous, if frustrating decade for building a more humane, caring future for Africans.
Masauko Chipembere’s first solo album is a remarkable achievement and a timely musical reminder of the circular nature of pan-Africanist consciousness.
The use of Evangelical Christianity to oppose progressive policies on sexuality education in schools is another example of Ghana’s march to the right.
Is western media’s mostly individualized focus on the Ugandan opposition figure Bobi Wine helpful to his movement?
The Chimurenga arts collective explores the relevance of FESTAC, a near forgotten, epic black arts festival held in Nigeria in the mid-1970s, for our age.
Evan Mawarire became a leader against Mugabe and ZANU-PF’s oppression in Zimbabwe, but at what personal cost?
Centering African voices in a discussion so often dominated by non-African observers.