Not a saint, but a hero

5. Dezember 2013

N.Mandela in his cell on Robben Island (revisit} 1994

„Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign!
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
God bless Africa!“

(Nelson Mandela, 1994, Inaugural speech as freely elected president of the Republic of South Africa).

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Mugabe at his happiest

4. August 2013

„Alone, vilified, attacked by Western governments but victorious – Mugabe was at his happiest.“

(Richard Dowden, Africa. Altered States, Ordinary Miracles)

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Very good read on Mali’s elections by the the great Bridges from Bamako blog

Bridges from Bamako

The international media flock to cover elections for the same reasons they flock to cover sensational courtroom trials: these happenings are scheduled in advance, and have great potential for drama. As another election draws near, the world’s attention is turning back to Mali after a brief post-Serval lull.

US media coverage of African elections tends to frame election day as the culmination of a process of transition from an unstable, authoritarian society to a peaceful, democratic one. It portrays voting as organized by ethnic blocs, and focuses on what candidates say in their campaign speeches rather than what voters actually expect them to do. Such depictions are often misleading. Since understanding what’s at stake in Mali’s election depends on asking the right questions, I’d like to propose the following ones along with some preliminary answers.

How will voting take place?

Mali’s 1992 constitution requires the winner of a presidential election…

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On Monday, July 15, Eric Lembembe, Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists, was found dead in his home in Yaoundé. His body showed signs of severe torture. He is only the latest tragic victim of homophobic furor in Africa. He knew what might happen to him as he exposed what had happened to others, but in his very last article which was published after his death he still sounds optimistic.

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„We need miracles“

10. Juli 2013

„We need jobs. We need good grades. We need green cards. We need American passports. We need our parents to understand that we are Americans. We need our children to understand they are Nigerians. We need new kidneys, new lungs, new limbs, new hearts. We need to forget the harsh rigidity of our lives, to remember why we believe, to be beloved, and to hope.
We need miracles.“
(Tope Folarin, Miracle)
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„So they left the Lakes and began the long journey to Matadi and marriage. Whether or not they lived happily ever after is not easily decided.“

(Cecil Scott Forester, The African Queen)

Hope is a faithless friend of Kenyans‘. While various attempts of democratic reforms had been made in the last years, disappointment was a constant companion. After Mwai Kibaki’s victory and John Githongo’s appointment as anti-corruption czar in 2002/2003 came the Kibaki regime’s scandals and Githongo’s escape in 2005. After the shocking post-election violence in 2007/2008, it was the constitutional reform process which raised hopes for the overcoming of the old system of tribalism, corruption and ignorance of the people’s will. But the soaring dreams might shatter again. Even though most Kenyans (and observers) feel relief that this time the elections took place peacefully and the losers stayed prudent, Uhuru Kenyatta’s triumph by very narrow margin is not the sign of maturity and reconciliation as which he tries to sell it.  It is the counterstrike of the old forces which instrumentalize ethnic tensions for their power game. The political landscape of one of Africa’s high potential states stays as deeply divided as ever before.

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After all: After months of playing a game of confusion concerning the serious condition or even death of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s government confirmed the death of the autocratic Prime Minister just yesterday. Thus, Zenawi joins the long list of African heads of state and government who died in office. The mortality rate of African presidents is higher than infant mortality in Sierra Leone (being the highest in the world). Seemingly no attractive profession…

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