this & that
- If you're up and at it early today (Friday) & bored, I'm being interviewed on the Inside Detroit radio program at about 8am EST. The topic is the future of the war in Afghanistan. (Right.) You can listen on WCHB here.
- Myles Estey is running a fascinating series over at The Esteyonage. The topic is Liberia's microeconomy; he gives in-depth profiles of careers that don't get counted in the official statistics.
- Here are some gorgeous photos of life at Goma's Heal Africa hospital by Aubrey Graham. (Aubrey Graham, would you sell me prints of some of these? I can't find you online!)
- Stephen Rapp answers your questions about the trial of Charles Taylor at the blog, The Trial of Charles Taylor.
- Was Texas Tech's decision to hire former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - which was done by the chancellor without so much as consulting the political science faculty, which he'll be joining - ethical?
- "Why Somalia is the Worst Place in the World." One major sign? African Union peacekeepers have died of malnutrition.
- Michael also provides us with a preseason preview of sorts: humanitarian disasters to come. Sigh. (For the record, my money's on Kenya holding it together, or being forced to do so by its donors. It's too important as a logistical supply base for everything else in the region to be allowed to become the next Cote d'Ivoire.)
- Tales from the Hood has some nice thoughts on the importance of understanding the rold religion plays in the lives of the people one is trying to help. I've long believed that most foreigners would learn a heck of a lot about politics in places like the DRC by just going to the churches. Former SRSG William Swing went to a different house of worship every Sunday in 2006, which was a smart thing to do given that every pulpit in the country was discussing the elections at the time.
- Cameroonian President Paul Biya and First Lady Chantal Biya are vacationing in the south of France, where they are reportedly spending $40,000 a day on 43 hotel rooms. Hey, it takes a lot of room to store all of Chantal's hair, even if the median income back home is only $1,000 a year.
- Via Scarlett Lion, here' s a reflection on Americans (and others) in Africa, "The Mzungu Thing," by Alex Halperin. It is a stunning series of vignettes:
"A few years ago, a Chinese tourist was standing on the rim of Mount Nyiragongo, a live volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, snapping photographs as the lake of lava smoked and bubbled hundreds of yards below her. Straining for an angle, out on a ledge, something happened and she fell like a cartoon character down the inside of the crater. Apparently still alive, she lay a distance from the lava but a first rescue attempt, using a United Nations helicopter, had to be aborted. When a rescue team of climbers finally reached her, she had died. A rebar cross juts out of the volcano's lip where she fell. Within 50 miles of Mount Nyiragongo, tens of thousands of people live in refugee camps. The UN provides them with calories and tarps to sleep under. I don't think it would fish a refugee out of the volcano."