Latest Entries
Special Guest Post by Christopher Hemmig on Land Tenure and Social Activism in Mauritania
Land and Inequality / Protest and Activism / West Africa

Special Guest Post by Christopher Hemmig on Land Tenure and Social Activism in Mauritania

On November 11th of last year, several Mauritanian anti-slavery activists were arrested near the southern border town of Rosso [full disclosure: I am a close personal friend with one of the detained activists, Brahim Ould Bilal Ramdhane, Vice President of the anti-slavery organization Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolitionism (IRA), and have met the organization’s … Continue reading

Africa and China / Economics / Religion / West Africa

Questions and Answers on Boko Haram

Introductory note: The following is an email interview I gave a reporter with the Pengpai News Agency and the Shanghai Morning Post, in Shanghai China, on the subject of Boko Haram. The interview and stories derived from it will be published in the Chinese language Pengpai. The questions are in bold typeface and my responses … Continue reading

Victoria Falls: A Natural Wonder of the World
Africa and China / Africa and Western World / Arts and Culture / Development

Victoria Falls: A Natural Wonder of the World

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Victoria Falls for the first time since I was a child. The largest waterfall in the world, at a width of 1, 708 meters, this popular tourist site has remained largely natural. On the Zimbabwean side, the national park entrance allows visitors to explore on their own, with a … Continue reading

A Permanent State of Exception: Kenya’s New Anti-Terror Laws
Africa and Western World / East Africa / Military Interventions / Terrorism

A Permanent State of Exception: Kenya’s New Anti-Terror Laws

The state of exception, as originally theorized by Carl Schmitt, argues that sovereign power is defined by the ability to declare a state of emergency and transcend the rule of law. According to Giorgio Agamben, the suspension of the law is intrinsically linked to the exercise of sovereignty and essential to the legal order itself. Rather than a rare … Continue reading

“African” or “Indian”? The Treatment of Indians as a Minority Population in Sub-Saharan Africa
Ethnicity / Nationalism / Racism and Xenophobia / Southern Africa

“African” or “Indian”? The Treatment of Indians as a Minority Population in Sub-Saharan Africa

A couple of months ago, I celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in my hometown of Harare for the first time in the six years since I had left for college. Thousands of people, not just members of the Indian community, attended the celebrations held at the local community sports club. In recent years, … Continue reading

The devastating beauty of “Timbuktu”
Arts and Culture / Literature and the Arts / Protest and Activism / West Africa

The devastating beauty of “Timbuktu”

As the French government announced this week a redeployment of troops back to northern Mali, citing the failure of the UN mission there (MINUSMA) to materialize and control the influx of Libyan arms into the region, I went to see the film “Timbuktu” at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Written and directed by Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, … Continue reading

Rwanda 20 Years On: Rose-Tinted Reconciliation
Central Africa / Civil War / Contested History and Memory / Ethnicity

Rwanda 20 Years On: Rose-Tinted Reconciliation

By Martha Unity Flynn, University of Leeds graduate in Politics and International Studies July 4th of this year marked the twentieth anniversary of the end of one hundred days of systematic and state-endorsed massacres that we know today as the Rwandan genocide. Twenty years on, this date not only commemorates the Rwandan Patriotic Forces’ (RPF) … Continue reading

Sibling Rivalry? The Unhappy Sisters of Journalism and Academia
Africa and Western World / Contested History and Memory / West Africa

Sibling Rivalry? The Unhappy Sisters of Journalism and Academia

I often joke that the only media attention Mauritania receives is on one of two subjects: 1) bidan (“white,” Arabophone) women who have traditionally strived to attain obese body size as a mark of wealth and beauty (See this BBC radio piece from 2004 or this video for examples); and 2) the persistence of slavery … Continue reading