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6/15/2005 03:22:00 AM | Niral Shah

AFRICA

The vast majority of us politico-nerds, who consider ourselves extremely well-versed on all manner of foreign policy issues (and in many cases we are), regardless of political affiliation, are largely ignorant of the conflicts that plague Africa.

This Economist article talks about the shaky peace in the Congo, after a brutal war that killed millions.


I admit, it's kind of daunting. There are so many wars, and, like that article notes, half of Africa's modern wars have reignited within a decade of some peace settlement. The reasons go back and forth, back and forth, between one party that accuses another and exacts its revenge. It takes a lot of effort, I'm sure, to understand it. Yet for some reason, we don't put in the effort.

At the time of the Kosovo conflict, someone explained to me, and I took the pain to understand, the long and troubled history of Balkan violence, stretching all the way back to something since forgotten that has to do with a Field, maybe Crows (or was it Ravens, or Blackbirds), in 1398. I'm not saying there is deliberate ethnocentrism (PC-bonus word) afoot, but I think there is a tendency to focus more either on European conflicts (maybe because we're already partially aware of the history there....because of our ethnocentric educations?), or conflicts that we are directly embroiled in.

So, I'm going to make the effort to learn more about Africa, its wars and battles, and it general current geopolitical deal. If anyone wants to pitch in, a book or some resource, I'd be more than happy to try to read it. And, if I follow through with this whole plan, I'll try to regularly relay the enlightment via blog.

Its not that I'm completely ignorant. Since I started working with Darfur Action Group, I've learned a lot more. But the depth and scope of my knowledge is relatively paltry, even if it surpasses the norm.
So, where do I start?



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