In the wake of the tragic massacre of university students in Garissa by members of al-Shabaab, the Kenyan government has vowed to step up security and retaliate. However, scholars and activists from both within and outside of Kenya are challenging the logic of securitization and militarization and proposing alternative solutions.
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 …
More sad news from Kenya. Over sixty people have been killed in two recent attacks by armed gunmen in the coastal town of Mpeketoni. This is the latest in a spate of attacks in the country since Kenya invaded Somalia in late 2011. And, like previous incidents, the tragic attacks have already become the subject of much speculation and gossip. Different narratives circulate on the streets of Nairobi, in the mainstream media outlets, on the twitter accounts of al-Shabaab, and at the press conferences of Kenya’s leaders. The spectacle of terrorism allows for a proliferation of different stories to circulate, which often serve to deeply abstract these events from their complex regional and trans-national causes. As the U.S. stands poised for another potential re-engagement with Iraq, what lessons can be drawn from the ongoing conflict in Northeast Africa?
In one of his most popular songs, Baloji borrows from the classic 1960 hit “Independence Cha Cha,” written to commemorate Congo’s independence. Unlike the celebratory original, however, Baloji’s version is edgy and critical of his nation’s progress.
Somali remittances, which are sent through money transfer operations (MTOs), have been the subject of much scrutiny since 9/11. Members of the Somali diaspora rely on MTOs to send money (thought to total $1.2 billion a year) to their families and extended kin in Somalia, which, until recently, had no central monetary authority. These operations, in turn, rely on the banking facilities of large international banks. Yet MTOs have faced closures due to accusations they they serve as vehicles for laundering money and financing terrorism. Largely absent from debates over Somali remittance flows, however, is the issue of corruption within some of the world’s most powerful multinational banks and international financial institutions.
In Israel, particularly acute demographic pressures have been compounded by economic anxieties and unspoken and overt forms of racism to create an especially intractable situation for African refugees and asylum seekers. And the construction of a detention center in the Negev weighs heavily in a country that was born out of the failures of other nations to provide asylum during World War II. But do the contradictions of Israeli nationalism simply refract a more pervasive problem: that asylum may be impossible for more than a small minority in any system of nation-states?
Welcome to the Africa Collective! Over the next few months, our collaborators will be sharing various posts about recent trends and innovations (broadly construed) on the African continent. To learn more about our mission, see the “about” section.