Category Archives: Africa

This — Mali — worries me so much

On the PBS Newshour tonight, there was a report about Mali.  Some group calling itself Al-Qaida and the Tuareg, have taken over the northern part of the country.

If Al Quieda was not enough, the Tuareg are in on it; they are modern day slave holders.

This is not good.

Perhaps our CIA is busy — maybe the African Union will take notice.  No wonder one of my student’s mother told her not to come home — that was more than a year ago.

I can only hope someone in the State Department is doing something.

Despite all of the racism in our country, we need all of Africa on our side.

I’m doing my part.  What are you doing?


I Got My Sole Rebels!!!!

I ordered a pair of too-toos like this, and a pair of slip-ons like this.

One of my students loves shoes and we have been talking about my getting these for some time.  When I wore the too-toos the first time, she agreed they were cute.  I told her that I was getting another pair today (the Fed-Ex person left a signature sticker yesterday).  She showed me her new slip-ons, but I asked her if she knew who made her shoes, and that I could show her who made my shoes because there are pictures of the women who did on the internet.  She laughed, and I did, too.    She’s from Africa (I won’t say where), and she knows how much I love that place.

It makes me think.  I now know many young women and young men from Africa — mostly from the western part, but from many places.  Perhaps I will do what another person I know is planning to do — once all of her current pups have crossed over the bridge, she plans to move there.

I think I would love to do that, too.  It would be going home.


I’ve been encouraged by the news from Libya.    It looks like the “rebels” are locking things up and there has been another defection.

Soon we may have a new democracy in North Africa.  The people trying to take the country have been working with Europe and NATO.  This could be the change that makes the difference for Africa.

A new country was born today

Long live South Sudan.

Those giving GW Bush credit just don’t understand.

The worst thing to happen to Africa is the proselytizer.

“the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis”

The hell?  Per Liz Crazy, oh, I mean Cheney.

I know that Turkey is struggling with their secular/religious issues, but last I checked they were on our side and are NATO members.  And that goes back further than the existence of Israel.

Turkey has been restrained in its criticism.  Israel has been bellicose in its own defense.

Perhaps we can get the peace processes going.

I won’t buy anything from Israel and I applaud the efforts that Palestinians are making to enforce a ban.  It was the most effective way for the South Africans.

And that the Israelis propped up the apartheid regime in South Africa to the end because of diamonds just plays to type at this point.


With what happened at Fort Hood, and the relentless stream of scary Muslim stories in the U.S. — tonight a report on the local news that some Mosques here are sending money back to Iran, I just have to point and laugh.

For a long time, churches here in the U.S. have been funding people to spread out around the world to proselytize. When I was a pre-teen, my mom’s church was where I discovered Africa — through its program to send missionaries there.

With the fall of the former Soviet Union, missionaries flooded Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics. I can’t tell you how many of my students in Latvia practiced their English with Mormons around pool tables. And the other Christians were there, too.

So why is anyone surprised that Muslims are proselytizing here in the U.S.? Why worry that there are Muslims in our armed forces? Why be concerned about growing Muslim populations?

I admit I am an innocent bystander. I don’t really care what crazy omniscient being you believe in, and none of them will convince me that their God is the one, but I still find it calmly humorous that now Christians are getting bent about Muslims horning in on their turf. Religions are funny that way.

From Africa

We don’t have cable here in the Tam/Dora/Murph/kitten cave, but we do have the internets, and that’s where I first found this amazing young man and his book.

His name is William Kamkwamba and he is a magical person — and inspiring.  As a 14 year old, he built a windmill which produced electricity for his family’s home in impoverished Malawi.

John Stewart interviewed him.  He is just so full of joy.  His book is in the top 10 on Amazon.  I will order it tomorrow.

In my line of work, I have the opportunity to meet the more adventurous souls from around our planet.  I have always been impressed with those students who come from the African continent.  I have an affinity for the place and have for a long time.

From the reviews on  Amazon and William’s interview with Stewart, this looks to be a great read and a memoirs more significant than Sarah Palin’s.  Think about it.  This young man, now 22 years old, has made a stronger impact in the world than Palin had by 22, and arguably even now.

Big News in Paloeanthropology

It’s on The News Hour right now.  The fossilized bones of a mostly bipedal specimen have been found and analyzed.  It took 17 years.  The fossils are 4.4 million years old.  In other words, they predate Lucy.  The site is in Ethiopia — just like Lucy’s site is — and so the fossils are a national treasure and will be kept there.  Also, the Ethiopians had a major part in the excavations and analysis.

This is one of those times I wish I had cable or satellite because the special about the whole process will be on the Discovery Channel.  It  airs on October 11th, so perhaps I can persuade a friend to figure out how to record it so I can play it on my DVR . . . . .

If you only listen to talk radio . . .

or read Ann Althouse, you would think that the big deal about S0S Clinton’s visit to Africa was just about one thing she said.  And that is what they would like you to believe.

Africans feel differently.

Rape is a very serious issue and in the Congo it has been used as a weapon against not only women, but men as well.

Just like Obama’s work in Mexico with the three North Americas summit, there is little of it discussed in any meaningful way on talk radio.

It’s pretty clear where the town hall anger is coming from — it’s the slanting of the news.

Like someone else on the intertubes said, Sarah Palin didn’t have anything to do with the differently-abled community until she claimed to be a part of it and still hasn’t.  That her son gets the benefits that he does is the result of other people who have fought for years.

Lastly, back to talk radio, it’s clear that much of it is ego driven.  And it’s also clear that they all pounce on the same thing.  As egoists, they try to differentiate themselves from each other, but they all hit the same points.

At least Michael Berry hasn’t been on the air screaming BLACK the last couple of days.

About that arrest warrant for Al Bashir

I read about this earlier in the week and The News Hour had something on it, but this piece by Peter Pham is the best analysis I have read about what it might mean.

It’s complicated, but my take away from the analysis is that while it might make things worse in the short term (and given how things are in the Sudan, that’s saying something), but in the long term, the southern portion of Sudan may find a way to break free of the oppression of Khartoum and then, in time, make a deal with China.

In the larger picture, this is good in many ways.  I can see how it might look bleak.  But a strong South Sudan, with a relationship with China, might just make the oil there pay for people who have paid the ultimate price.

If I were an entrepreneur, I would do what others have done in India and provide solar power to South Sudan and then let China pay to get and then burn that oil.