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.
Safia Aidid has given us permission to repost this open letter from Somali intellectuals, academics and activists. The Africa Collective feels that it is important to continue this conversation about making African Studies a more inclusive space, particularly for African scholars.
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 …
Since mid-June, militias have terrorised Lamu and Tana River counties, killing more than 80 people and leaving a trail of destruction. Local opportunists may be behind less grave incidents, but the evidence from Mpeketoni, Hindi, and elsewhere points to Al-Shabaab armed and trained militants. A close examination of the events reveals two other critical points. …
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?
Sex workers and truck drivers were at the centre of different HIV/AIDS programmes and media attention when the HIV/AIDS pandemic was officially recognized to be a national disaster in Kenya in the 1990s. Both groups were seen as “risk groups” by international medical experts due to their mobility and “risky sexual practices.” Such narratives usually discuss sex work in terms of health risks and condom use, but fail to hear what women selling sex are actually saying. Listening to what women who self-identify as commercial sex workers say can be the beginning of a more productive conversation about the HIV/AIDS spread and why women sell sex.
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?