zenpundit.com » africa

Archive for the ‘africa’ Category

And her maid

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- the comparative values of single individuals captured by Boko Haram in Cameroon, as illustrated by a report from the BBC ]
.

The point was very nicely observed by Elizabeth Pearson, who tweeted:

**

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Beeb’s report mention “the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister” and “A local religious leader and mayor” — but you have to wait for paragraph 6 to read “and her maid”.

What can I say? I both understand and regret the way this works..

Share

Sibling pea rivalry? So same, so very different

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- a battle of the hashtags re the Chibok schoolgirls, with some background first, and an aside re Carl Jung afterwards ]
.

**

I have talked about what I like to call “sibling pea rivalry” here before:

we’re up against the phenomenon I call “sibling pea rivalry” — where two things, places, institutions, whatever, that are about as similar as two peas in a pod, have intense antagonism between them, real or playful — Oxford and Cambridge, say, and I’m thinking here of the Boat Race, or West Point and Annapolis in the US, and the Army-Navy game.

Oxford is far more “like” Cambridge than it is “like” a mechanic’s wrench, more like Cambridge than it is a Volkswagen or even a high school, more like it even than Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford — more like it than any of the so-called “redbrick universities” in the UK — so like it, in fact, that the term “Oxbridge” has been coined to refer to the two of them together, in contrast to any other schools or colleges.

And yet on the day of the Boat Race, feelings run high — and the two places couldn’t seem more different. Or let me put that another way — an individual might be ill-advised to walk into a pub overflowing with partisans of the “dark blue” of Oxford wearing the “light blue” of Cambridge, or vice versa. Not quite at the level of the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, perhaps, but getting there…

**

Under the header Missing Nigerian girls: whatever happened to #Bringbackourgirls? the Telegraph noted ten days or so ago:

Meanwhile, with the world’s attention once again turning to fresh crises in Iraq and Israel, #bringbackourgirls is no longer the hashtag it once was. The regular downtown demonstrations in Nigerian capital, Abuja, have dwindled, with the crowds of redteeshirted campaigners accusing the government of trying to undermine them. There have even been fisticuffs with a rival group, which wears white tee-shirts and campaigns under the name of #ReleaseOurGirls.

“As of about three weeks ago, they began turning up at the same location where we hold a vigil every day, and have been outright aggressive with us,” said Lawan Abana, one of the demonstrators. “Recently they smashed up a whole load of our plastic chairs and fractured one of my colleague’s arms. We think they are being paid by the government, as their message is ‘release our girls’. That puts the responsibility for solving this case on Boko Haram, rather than the government.”

On the face of it, both hashtags and both groups want the girls returned to their homes — yet the difference between them is enough for one group to smash the chairs and break the arms of the other…

**

As an aside:

Sibling pea rivalry is an intriguing business, an easily missed part of the human puzzle — and relates interestingly to the idea that we’re closer to our own shadow than we are to the sun –

As a metaphor for our own psychology, that’s something we may not want to admit, though Jung would argue it’s the first step towards individution, towards nuance, towards multi-dimensionality. As Jung says in Psychology and Religion: West and East, pp. 131 and 140:

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.

and:

Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.

**

Always working to understand complementaries, oppositions, paradoxes, and how the human mind identifies, or perhaps forms, and reacts to them.

Share

Varieties of ecumenical alliance, in two tweets

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- let's just say the world is awesome -- and you can take that to mean amazing, tragic, infuriating, or hilarious -- your choice ]
.

Let’s have the bad news tweet first, get it out of the way.

The Reuters article Laura links to tells us the Ugandan army now views Séléka, an almost entirely Muslim militia, as “in bed with” Joseph Kony‘s Lord’s Resistance Army, a group generally regarded as Christian — air quotes optional in both cases.

Here we go:

Uganda’s army said on Tuesday the mainly Muslim Seleka group in Central African Republic was now its enemy as the fighters were “in bed” with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels they are hunting there.

A spokesman for the Ugandan army said its forces in CAR had clashed for the first time with Seleka, killing 12 and suffering one casualty. A Seleka official told Reuters on Monday that 15 of their fighters and three Ugandan soldiers were killed. “Seleka had never tasted our fire. I think it was important that they taste our fire so that they are careful,” Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) said, when asked about clashes on Sunday and Monday in CAR.

The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, is using CAR as one of its rear bases for attacks across regions straddling CAR, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda heads a 5,000-strong African Union force tracking down the rebels but has no specific mandate to confront Seleka, which seized power in CAR in March last year and was pushed out under international pressure in January. “We know we don’t have that mandate but since they are in bed with our enemy, we’ll treat them as such,” said Ankunda, accusing Seleka of forcing civilians to give food and medicine to the LRA and trading ivory and minerals with them. Seleka’s time in power in Bangui was marked by rights abuses, prompting mainly Christian self-defense militia to spring up across the country. Nearly a million people – around a quarter of the population – have been forced from their homes in cycles of sectarian violence. Tit-for-tat killings continue and Seleka fighters still occupy pockets of the country.

Colonel Christian Djuma Narkoyo, deputy spokesman for Seleka’s armed wing, dismissed Uganda’s claims as “lies.” “If they have proof, let them show it. … There is no reason for us to collaborate with the LRA,” he said.

Enough of that.

**

Now for the good news:

Mmmm, yes! That’s what I like to see.

Share

DoubleQuotes in DC — and in Hebron, S Africa and Saudi

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

[ Charles Cameron -- anti-semitic? isislamlamophobic? apartheid arguments on buses and street signs, etc ]
.

I’ve been tracking how geopolitical arguments are conducted on the sides of buses for a while now [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ], and the latest round brought Pamela Geller out again, this time making the connection between the the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler on the one hand, and the Qur’an on the other:
.


.

I was interested to see whether there was a Muslim bus campaign to counterbalance this, and found this ad, which (it seems to me) preaches to the choir…
.


.

So those two ads make a DoubleQuote in my terms, though they’re too long and thin for my usual DQ format.

**

Okay, but when you go searching, you find things you were not looking for, but that still interest you — and during the searches I made to find those two bus ads, I also ran across this, which looked like a DoubleQuote in the Wild:
.


.

That’s an attempt to distinguish between Israel’s situation and that of South Africa, and following along that trail I cam across two other items of interest. The first combats the frequent assumption that Israel is an apartheid state not by denying it but by suggesting that Saudi Arabia certainly is…
.


.

While the second, in some ways a perfect match for the first, suggests that Israel is indeed running an apartheid system, as demonstrated by the segregation into Jewish and Arab sections of a street in Hebron:
.


.

Part of what interests me in these two shots of roads, however, is that they’re not strictly speaking DoubleQuotes – in each case, we have a single image which serves as a DQ because the division / comparison is already present in the frame of the photo.

In anthro terms, that’s contageous rather than sympatheic linkage — contagious and sympathetic being the two classif forms of magic., one having to do with items in contact with one anoither, the other with objests sharing a likeness. There are also correlattions with CS Peirce‘s ideas of icon, index and symbol, and Korzybski‘s territory and map.

In terms of the theorizing of Hipbone-Sembl thinking, those are interesting correspondences to note.

**

Sources:

  • Islamic Jew hatred
  • We’re sweating April 15
  • Apartheid State / Assieged State
  • Islamic Apartheid
  • Hebron, with distinction marked
  • Hebron, original by Michael Huniewicz
  • Share

    Two notes relating to Boko Haram

    Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- one on the scripturally-sanctioned revenge abductions of women and the other on Hausa nomenclature, with a possible correlate in Sudan ]
    .

    **

    Boko Haram and revenge:

    Jacob Zenn and Elizabeth Pearson have an important piece on War on the Rocks titled Boko Haram and the Kidnapping of Women: A Troubled Tactic. Here are some key quotes I’d like to bring the attention of Zenpundit readers:

    Boko Haram members have for some time harassed and abused both Christian and moderate Muslim women. Now there is a new focus on kidnapping women to demonstrate enemy vulnerability, a focus Boko Haram is ruthlessly determined to exploit. The strategy differs from other Islamist groups, to which they have been compared, such as the Taliban. The Taliban are deliberately and increasingly killing women, and have used women as suicide bombers. Boko Haram also kills women, but often deliberately spares them. Kidnapping is now the statement tactic of choice.

    and:

    Shekau’s order to kidnap women dates back to 2011 and 2012, when the Nigerian government detained more than 100 wives and children of key Boko Haram leaders, among them Shekau’s own family. In response, Shekau issued his first video message in January 2012 threatening to retaliate by kidnapping the wives of government officials. Several more similar videos and statements followed. However, Boko Haram’s first abduction came over a year later in May 2013…

    and:

    After security forces detained ten women related to Boko Haram in September 2012, Shekau’s fifth video message threatened revenge on wives of government officials. In this address, Shekau alleged the possible sexual abuse of the Boko Haram female family members by the government, promising the retaliatory targeting of “enemy” women:“Since you are now holding our women, just wait and see what will happen to your own women…to your own wives according to Shariah law.”

    I want to emphasize these particular quotes, becuase they indicate pretty clearly that this is not “just” blowback — in this case, meaning the Nigerian government doing something that has unfortunate boomerang-effect consequences — this is the religiously sanctioned return of specific tactics according to a rubric that can be expressed as “what you do to us becomes fair game for us to do to you”.

    I’ve said it before: I think that’s an important rubric for us to remember.

    I dealt with this concept in my earlier post, Close reading, Synoptic- and Sembl-style, for parallels, patterns. The key Qur’anic quote, suggesting that it is permissible to replay enemy tactics against the enemy, is found in Qur’an 2.194:

    For the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.

    And here again, the keywords are “and so for all things prohibited”.

    **

    Education Bad:

    My second note concerns the notion that education is bad, sinful, or haram.

    The very name Boko Haram is generally rendered “western education is forbidden” in English, and for most practical purposes that may be good enough, though the derivation of Hausa “boko” from English “book” has been powerfully discredited by Prof. Paul Newman, see this Christian Science Monitor piece:

    Newman writes that “boko” has a variety of meanings focused around denoting “things or actions having to do with fraudulence, sham, or inauthenticity” or deception. He says the false linkage to the English word “book” was first made in a 1934 Hausa dictionary by a Western scholar that listed 11 meanings for the word -– ten of them about fraudulent things and the final one asserting the connection to “book.” An incorrect assertion, says Newman.

    A big deal? Not a huge one, but a good example of how received “facts” are often far from the truth.

    Dr Newman’s The Etymology of Hausa boko is the detailed scholarly paper that underpins the CSM piece.

    Briefly, then, boko refers to whatever is considered “inauthentic” or “fraudulent” — and western book learning is considered inauthentic and fraudulent by those who view traditional Hausa Islamic education as the superior article. But this may not entirely be a religious distinction — as this quote from the long and interesting Vice piece, Saving South Sudan, that Stephanie Chenault pointed us to in her guest post yesterday:

    Education was often considered a bad thing because of the fear that men who could read and write would show up to interfere with the area’s simple pastoral lifestyle —- specifically Sudanese tax collectors who would arrive at Machot’s father’s homestead and demand cows as payment. To Machot and his family, being “educated” meant you worked for the government and became corrupt…

    Given that Hausa is commonly spoken in both Sudan and Nigeria, that para seems to me to add a possible (political/cultural rather than religious/Qur’anic) sidelight to the issue of the name Boko Haram.

    That’s a guess on my part, nothing more, based on an intriguing parallelism — if any ZP can correct or confirm it, I’d be much obliged.

    Share

    Switch to our mobile site