Why I like writing about Uganda

.. and Mozambique, and South Africa, and Rwanda, and …
(By the way, I’ve just put up a long new post about Uganda over at the Transitional Justice Forum blog. It presents more of the material from my trips last month to The Hague and Uganda, which I have been writing up these past few days… Including, more material from my interview with ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and more material from the short focus-group discussion I conducted in an IDP camp near Gulu.)
Anyway, back to why I like writing about Africa:

    1. The developments in the African countries I’ve studied are extremely important in their own right– both for the large numbers of people who live in them, and for the political evolution of the world system as a whole.
    2. Because studying these situations closely gives a useful comparative perspective to what happens elsewhere in the world, including in the Middle East. Want to know what the likely effects of trying Saddam Hussein will be on building a new political order while the inter-group conflicts within Iraq are still so deeply unresolved? Look at Rwanda! Want to know how to build a new, inclusive and democratic political order where previously there has been a dictatorial system of minority rule? Look at South Africa! And so on…
    3. Because studying the truly devastating effects of European colonialism on the peoples of Africa can help us all understand other colonialist ventures much better– including the still-ongoing ones in the Middle East.
    4. Because studying Africa helps to put the effects of colonialism and conflict in the Middle East into a different perspective. The harms being borne by the peoples of many of the conflict-torn nations in Central and West Africa are just as devastating as, if not worse than, the harms borne by any nation in the Middle East… and that includes, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon. But where is the active global concern for the peoples of Africa? Where is the coverage of the MSM for what these survivors of colonialism are still forced to go through? I like to do what I can, however little, to keep these issues in people’s minds.
    5. Because I have personally found many sources of real uplift and inspiration in Africa. In the countries I’ve worked in in Africa I’ve met scores of wise, creative, hardy people– many or most of them, I should add, also people of great spiritual strength. This is even true in Rwanda, though the general political situation there remains fairly stark. When events in the Middle East or the US or in other arenas of world affairs become too depressing, I nearly always find that reflecting on my experiences and the people I’ve encountered in Africa helps me regain my balance…

Anyway, head over to TJF if you can and read what I’ve been writing there. Post your comments there, not here.