"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


happy day

Maggie Fick is blogging. This is great news; Maggie reports from Juba for the AP, contributes all over the place, and has a great grasp on the situation there, especially with respect to the upcoming referendum on southern independence. If you're interested in Sudan and/or in great reporting, you should definitely add her to your feed reader. In the meantime, check out this post on the Media and War-Mongering in Sudan. From that post:
These news clips illustrate the tendency—rather, modus operandi—of the international media coverage of Sudan to highlight the worst case scenarios surrounding the key upcoming events instead of the best possible outcomes. Since I’m a member of this media corps, I can affirm that this is the case. My short experience to date as a journalist has taught me that—surprise!—editors do not think a story with a headline to the effect of “All looks set to go smoothly in Southern Sudan’s crucial independence vote” is newsworthy. Instead, a headline to the effect of “tensions rising,” “concern mounting,” and the like is what editors want to read, because they know it is what readers online around the globe will be likely to click on as they skim the news.
Welcome to the blogosphere, Maggie!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had posted this earlier, but I want to post it again here since it seems timely and I got no feedback last time, maybe I won't this either.

I know this referendum aspect that can potentially lead to the creation of a seperate nation was agreed upon at the Naivashia Peace Agreement amongst the parties represented. I know the civil war in Sudan was at least in part over this very issue. What types of pressure or cohersion (if any) was put upon the parties to agree to this referendum is very unclear to me. Nevertheless, I am very uncomfortable with the national sovereignty of a nation being determined in this manner when this vote is not being put before all people in the country as the borders currently stand. Of course there is the example of Quebec, which has had similar referendum intiatives which also did not involve the input of Canadians nationwide.

Katanga has long had a contentious relationship with the rest of the DRC, would it be fine for them to withdraw from the rest of DRC based on a referendum?
This issue of national sovereignty is a very serious matter in my mind.

Are there any short briefings or articles that present the Sudan situation in a context that makes a potentential division of the couuntry a reasonable notion?

This whole thing really bothers me.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010 8:20:00 AM

Blogger ewaffle said...

Can't help with the short articles or briefings on Sudan but Pierre Englebert in "Africa: Unity, Sovereignty & Sorrow" expresses concern regarding national sovereignty although from a very different point of view from yours.

He describes how many of the the post-colonial states of Africa exist as geographical areas shown on a map and as political entities recognized by other countries and international organizations--that their sovereignty is exogenous to the state.

Much of his book looks at the question raised in Sudan--why secession movements haven't blossomed in weak states that wield legal command but provide almost nothing to many of their inhabitants and how a few, including Southern Sudan, have continued.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 1:26:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

@ewaffle was that for me or for @theworldbeyondmyfont porch? Pierre Englebert was on my dissertation committee and actually cites my diss in the book. I think Pierre is correct that weak African states persist essentially because too many people benefit from the legal command structures the mantle of state authority confers, thus there's no incentive for most people to oppose the state's existence.

@TheWorldBeyondMyFrontPorch The CPA would not have been agreed upon if it did not allow for a referendum on southern independence. Period. As for the idea that the north should have a say as well, that's in violation of norms of self-determination that have existed since the end of the colonial period. And it would have undermined the CPA as well. The CPA was put together under foreign influence, but also because the two sides had reached a stalemate and realized that peace and a two-state solution are in both of their best interests.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 1:48:00 PM

Blogger ewaffle said...

I should have made it clear it was for TheWorldBeyondMyFrontPorch--and also that there is a short section in Englebert on Sudan and the question of state sovereignty since this is what he/she was looking for.

One of the first things I do with a new book is to page through the bibliography to see who I recognize. I am beginning to see more authors I have read although often not the book or article cited. There you were, "Authority at Twilight" although when this book went to press your dissertation was still forthcoming.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 5:33:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

That was the first time anybody cited me. I stared at it for so long when I first got the book - it's surreal to see your own name in print!

Saturday, November 13, 2010 7:51:00 PM

Blogger Edited by Seth Engel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:50:00 PM

Blogger Edited by Seth Engel said...

In general, I agree with the Maggi Fick/Carter Center points on hate-mongering by the media. However, I have a problem when it comes down to line-drawing and specifics - how far should media outlet Africa bureaus and individual reporters go in avoiding what could be perceived as "hate mongering"? For example, should the recent alleged bombing by a Northern plane have gone unreported, or just reported differently? Or is this kind of "hard" event exempt from this genre of criticism? It is at least worth thinking about when criticizing the media - how far one wants to demand their self-censorship and/or politicization, and what could happen with these demands when manipulated by the wrong hands.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:55:00 PM

Blogger ewaffle said...

texasinafrica: I know that dissertations are occasionally cited but probably not that often--and particularly in such an important and original book. It must have been a pleasant shock.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 6:42:00 PM

Anonymous Mike said...

Thanks, I'll certainly add her to my feed reader. But.... where is your feed reader link? I couldn't find it anymore!

Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:37:00 AM


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