Friday, November 26, 2010

Obama Plotting to Bring Down the LRA?

Looks that way:

US President Barack Obama has outlined a plan to disarm one of Africa's most feared rebel militias, the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army.

It aims to defuse the spiralling bloodshed in central Africa by removing the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony.

LRA fighters will also be encouraged to defect or lay down their arms.

US ally Uganda has for more than 20 years failed to defeat the LRA, notorious for kidnapping children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves.

And Uganda doesn't even seem to mind.

"It's a good move. A welcome move," James Mugume, permament secretary at Uganda's ministry of foreign affairs, told AFP.

Mugume applauded the US for not solely focusing on the military aspect of the LRA rebellion.

"Dealing with demobilised combatants, post-war recovery in northern Uganda, these are key parts of the LRA conflict," he said.

Obama's plan, which followed a law on the LRA passed by the US Congress six months ago, focused on "the defection, disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters."

The plan, presented to Congress on Wednesday, also aims to "increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities."

Mugume said the African troops currently hunting the remnants of LRA can handle the military operation but would welcome increased logistical support.

"External support is always welcome, but we have the capacity to lead the military campaign," he said.

Of course, the masterplan is thin on detail. I'll have more to say when there's, well, more to say. For now, I suppose I'm just incredulous that the Ugandan government can be so sanguine about what ultimately is a dismissal of them. Much as I'd like to see the LRA gone, shouldn't the Ugandan government, not the United States, be leading the charge here?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Really, Hollywood?

Another South Africa movie. Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela. Ha. Ha. Ha.

That's the trailer. I'll have more to say about this whole shenanigans, I suspect. Right now, though, I'm just stuck wondering what the heck is the Hollywood fascination with South Africa. This is a bit like how Edith Wharton is granted a voice in U.S. literary royalty, when most women writers are not. I don't understand how certain places, certain things, certain situations get singled out for special attention.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Last Night a VJ Saved My Life

Heh. In the U.S., I was always the music snob who wouldn't be caught dead on that MTV/BET/VH1 mess. I still get to hold on to my snob cred though - I wouldn't be caught dead with a D'Banj CD, TuFace's new album sucks, and I can't sit through most of the songs by a vast majority of Nigerian singers/rappers/autotuners. Still, there's some good ish out there. MTV Base Africa is behaving itself so well, I had to throw this up in its praise. Here's some music I've been jammin' to.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Marginalization in Europe

While clawing my way out of the wilderness that is slow internet and all-too-constant travel, I've been watching and listening to a lot on the state of Roma populations across Western Europe. There's been a bit of a controversy surrounding the recent BBC documentary (Just some stuff on the internet I read, honestly - may be nothing), but I pretty much really liked Rageh Omaar's take on Al Jazeera, some of which you can see right here.

This is admittedly a bit outside the scope of the blog, but I find the Roma's situation quite interesting because of what it says about “otherness”and marginalization especially when they clash with political gain on the part of unpopular political leaders (It's worth noting, after all, that neither Berlusconi nor Sarkozy are particularly popular in their respective countries). This isn't a tidy parallel at all, I realize, but I raise this in the first place because it presents a good counterexample to the subject of Chinese who emigrate to Senegal, in particular the position of power that Chinese government occupies in the business dealings of its people in the country, versus the castaway nature and powerlessness of the Roma population in Italy and France.

Along with the Chinese example, this got me thinking about the constant strain of argument about how class, not race, is the main problem facing modern society today. I'm among those who would respond that, well, race is class. Being black itself – just like being Roma itself, or being Latino, or insert-minority-here – isn't the problem, after all. It's the conclusions drawn about one's self-worth, and the apportioning of rights therefore, like food rations.


I never know what to do when I start blogging after long absences. It feels hella presumptious to be all "You guys missed me, right?", but it also feels weird not to acknowledge the time lag before the previous post and this one. Here goes: Was out and about. Back to your regularly scheduled program.

I'm going to buy this kid's album at some point in this week, I just know it. This song is sort of stuck in my head.