Tag Archives: africa

… Case in Point: Ivory Coast

23 Feb

Coincidental with yesterday’s post about Egyptian influence on African Affairs, I heard that Ivory Coast seems to face dire straits as well. First, Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing the Presidential elections a couple of months ago, next public unrest set in and and the not-anymore-government tried to cling on to power and restore order.

Now food prices seem to have exploded, gas is running low, and the military is resorting to violence to control the growing number of people taking to the streets and voicing their discontent.

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Arab Egypt, African Egypt

22 Feb

Nas, a Jordanian blogger,  puts into nice words the social impact Egypt has always had on the rest of the Middle Eastern countries. He mentions the “orientalist tendency (…) to lump everyone in this region in to one group” and the latent “failure to recognize the intricacies that weave in to the social fabric” of the Arab world. The orientalist view sees historic and politcal events in the region, social circumstances, but fails to look behind the curtain of said “social fabric”, thereby missing how Egypt has influenced other societies, collective sentiments and the relationship between generations: Nas describes aptly his own generation’s sentiment in this setting, the feeling of living “in the shadow of our father’s heroes” and to acquiesce, yield and accept the fact that inept leaders will be replaced by other inept leaders. But, as Nas says, “what happens in Egypt does not stay in Egypt,” and in his opinion the young generation’s Egypt revolt has spilled over to other countries’ young generations, as a wake up call and a reminder that they can indeed act and demand and pressure and not accept.

Meanwhile Azad Essa over at al-Jazeera points out that the analysis of the uprise is mainly focusing on Egypt as an Arab country, but not on Egypt as an African country: His article summarizes the spillover effects of the Egypt revolt on other African countries, such as Gabon, Sudan, Madagascar, Cameroon. He argues that one reason why we’re missing what’s going on in Africa post-Egypt-revolt is that these countries lack the media coverage: HE cites Drew Hinshaw saying thet there is no “powerhouse media for the region like Al-Jazeera”. While this cannot be the sole reason, I absolutely agree with Essa and Hinshaw that al-Jazeera’s constant coverage, its presence in Western living rooms, audiences fraternizing with the protesters certainly made it harder for Hosni Mubarak to fight back the revolt. Or: If no one’s even looking your way, there’s no need to put on the velvet gloves.