This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.
With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's "genocidal logic" in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa.
Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity.
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
First published in 2005, The Fate of Africa was hailed by reviewers as "A masterpiece....The nonfiction book of the year" (The New York Post); "a magnificent achievement" (Weekly Standard); "a joy," (Wall Street Journal) and "one of the decade's most important works on Africa" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Now Martin Meredith has revised this classic history to incorporate recent history including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, the controversy over Western aid and exploitation of Africa's resources, the growing importance and influence of China, and the Arab Spring.
Adopting a comparative approach, the book studies questions like: What is the harm (or benefit) to the state once the torture becomes known? What are the political and strategic ramifications? Does torture help win wars? Can the use of torture bring about any lasting or beneficial reforms? These are daring questions seldom pondered. In asking them, this book will help to foster a discussion that is long overdue.
The author concludes that ex-authoritarian regimes like Argentina's junta and France's colony in Algeria have reduced torture more than democracies. These authoritarian regimes collapsed, and new democratic regimes ultimately discredited their predecessors' torture. Despite many zigzags in amnesty, Argentina was more scandalized by torture of its citizens and improved more than France because the latter's subsequent, Fifth Republic regime was more similar to the Fourth, protecting many torturers with a permanent amnesty.
Continuous democracies like the United States and Israel have only reduced their worst torture, while "torture lite" continues without accountability. The same elected officials and security agency personnel and prerogatives have largely remained without any legal discipline for their past, secret, criminal practices. The United States and Israel continue to innovate, hide, and resume torture with discretion because the various new, legislative, judicial, and executive checks and balances amount to wishful legal statements. Democracies need permanent accountability mechanisms to assure that security services abolish torture in practice. Otherwise, torture will continue to generate more terrorists without generating information that is consistently reliable.
Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.
In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.
A critical appraisal of the opportunities and constraints of NGOs is provided alongside the examination of the NGOs role in the "new agendas" for peace.
Africa has been coveted for its rich natural resources ever since the era of the Pharaohs. In past centuries, it was the lure of gold, ivory, and slaves that drew merchant-adventurers and conquerors from afar. In modern times, the focus of attention is on oil, diamonds, and other rare earth minerals.
In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.
His cast of characters includes religious leaders, mining magnates, warlords, dictators, and many other legendary figures-among them Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali empire, said to be the richest man the world has ever known.
Dayo Olopade knew from personal experience that Western news reports on conflict, disease, and poverty obscure the true story of modern Africa. And so she crossed sub-Saharan Africa to document how ordinary people deal with their daily challenges.
She found what cable news ignores: a continent of ambitious reformers and young social entrepreneurs driven by kanju—creativity born of African difficulty. It’s a trait found in pioneers like Kenneth Nnebue, who turned cheap VHS tapes into the multimillion-dollar film industry Nollywood. Or Ushahidi, a technology collective that crowdsources citizen activism and disaster relief.
A shining counterpoint to conventional wisdom, The Bright Continent rewrites Africa’s challenges as opportunities to innovate, and celebrates a history of doing more with less as a powerful model for the rest of the world.
“[An] upbeat study of development in Africa . . . The book is written more in wonder at African ingenuity than in anger at foreign incomprehension.” —The New Yorker
“A hopeful narrative about a continent on the rise.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Eclipsed depicts the harsh realities of women’s lives in a strife-torn African country with both a clear eye and a palpable empathy.”—New York Times
Four women in Liberia struggle to survive conditions on a rebel army base. Held as the concubines of a warlord, each “wife” must find her own means of coping amidst a situation that appears hopeless. With frail, fractured identities born from an ongoing, senseless civil war, the women build their own contained world to guard against the chaos outside. This enthralling work from award-winning playwright and actress Gurira demonstrates the human capacity to endure, even in the most desolate of circumstances.
Danai Gurira’s other plays include Familiar and In the Continuum, written for World AIDS Day in December 2011, which she co-wrote and co-starred in with Nikkole Salter. For In the Continuum, she was awarded an Obie Award, Outer Critics' Circle Award, and a Helen Hayes Award for her performance. She received a Whiting Writer’s Award in 2012. She is best known for her role as Michonne in the hit television series, The Walking Dead.
When Robyn Scott 's parents decide to uproot their young family from New Zealand and move to a converted cowshed in rural Botswana, life for six-year-old Robyn changed forever. In this wild and new landscape excitement can be found around every corner, and with each misadventure she and her family learn more about the quirks, charms, and challenges of living in one of Africa's most remarkable and beautiful countries as it stands on the brink of an epidemic. When AIDS rears its head, the Scotts witness the early appearances of a disease that will devastate this peaceful and prosperous country. Told with clear-eyed unsentimental affection, Twenty Chickens for a Saddle is about a family's enthusiasm for each other and the world around them, with the essence of Africa infusing every page.
In December 2013, a young boy in a tiny West African village contracted the deadly Ebola virus. The virus spread to his relatives, then to neighboring communities, then across international borders. The world’s first urban Ebola outbreak quickly overwhelmed the global health system and threatened to kill millions.
In an increasingly interconnected world in which everyone is one or two flights away from New York or London or Beijing, even a localized epidemic can become a pandemic. Ebola’s spread through West Africa to Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States sounded global alarms that the next killer outbreak is right around the corner—and that the world is woefully unprepared to combat a new deadly disease.
From the poorest villages of rural West Africa to the Oval Office itself, this book tells the story of a deadly virus that spun wildly out of control—and reveals the truth about how close the world came to a catastrophic global pandemic.
"Stunning." —Foreign Affairs
"Pieces together Nur's astonishing biography and follows him when he became mayor in 2010 and tried to restore confidence and bring back investment to the battered Somali capital." —NPR
“Part on-the-ground war reporting, part investigative biography, Harding’s book captures both the fragile hopes and the appalling violence of Somalia . . . .” —The New York Times
**A Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2017**
**One of Book Concierge's Best Books of 2016**
In The Mayor of Mogadishu, one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents, Andrew Harding, reveals the tumultuous life of Mohamoud “Tarzan” Nur - an impoverished nomad who was abandoned in a state orphanage in newly independent Somalia, and became a street brawler and activist. When the country collapsed into civil war and anarchy, Tarzan and his young family became part of an exodus, eventually spending twenty years in north London.
But in 2010 Tarzan returned, as Mayor, to the unrecognizable ruins of a city now almost entirely controlled by the Islamist militants of Al Shabab. For many in Mogadishu, and in the diaspora, Tarzan became a galvanizing symbol of courage and hope for Somalia. But for others, he was a divisive thug, who sank beneath the corruption and clan rivalries that continue, today, to threaten the country’s revival.
The Mayor of Mogadishu is a rare an insider’s account of Somalia’s unraveling, and an intimate portrayal of one family’s extraordinary journey.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"A rich and urgently necessary book" (New York Times Book Review), A Moonless, Starless Sky is a masterful, humane work of journalism by Alexis Okeowo--a vivid narrative of Africans who are courageously resisting their continent's wave of fundamentalism.
In A Moonless, Starless Sky Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony's LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women's basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America's most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary--lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.
Sovereignty as Responsibility presents a framework that should guide both national governments and the international community in discharging their respective responsibilities. Broad principles are developed by examining identity as a potential source of conflict, governance as a matter of managing conflict, and economics as a policy field for deterring conflict. Considering conflict management, political stability, economic development, and social welfare as functions of governance, the authors develop strategies, guidelines, and roles for its responsible exercise. Some African governments, such as South Africa in the 1990s and Ghana since 1980, have demonstrated impressive gains against these standards, while others, such as Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sudan, have failed. Opportunities for making sovereignty more responsible and improving the management of conflicts are examined at the regional and international levels. The lessons from the mixed successes of regional conflict management actions, such as the West African intervention in Liberia, the East African mediation in Sudan, and international efforts to urge talks to end the conflict in Angola, indicate friends and neighbors outside the state in conflict have important roles to play in increasing sovereign responsibility.
Approaching conflict management from the perspective of the responsibilities of sovereignty provides a framework for evaluating government accountability. It proposes standards that guide performance and sharpen tools of conflict prevention rather than simply making post-hoc judgments on success or failure. The authors demonstrate that sovereignty as responsibility is both a national obligation and a global imperative.
From Rwanda to Sierra Leone, African countries recovering from tyranny and war are facing an impossible dilemma: to overlook past atrocities for the sake of peace or to seek catharsis through tribunals and truth commissions. Uganda chose the path of forgetting: after Idi Amin's reign was overthrown, the new government opted for amnesty for his henchmen rather than prolonged conflict.
Ugandans tried to bury their history, but reminders of the truth were never far from view. A stray clue to the 1972 disappearance of Eliphaz Laki led his son to a shallow grave—and then to three executioners, among them Amin's chief of staff. Laki's discovery resulted in a trial that gave voice to a nation's past: as lawyers argued, tribes clashed, and Laki pressed for justice, the trial offered Ugandans a promise of the reckoning they had been so long denied.
For four years, Andrew Rice followed the trial, crossing Uganda to investigate Amin's legacy and the limits of reconciliation. At once a mystery, a historical accounting, and a portrait of modern Africa, The Teeth May Smile But the Heart Does Not Forget is above all an exploration of how -- and whether -- the past can be laid to rest.
One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2009
This book suggests that the international community ignored clear warning signs in Somalia and missed several opportunities to use diplomacy to prevent state collapse. As a result, the destruction of the state became more complete and the difficulties in rebuilding a viable system more demanding. When the United States and the United Nations finally intervened militarily in 1992, they focused on the humanitarian aspects of the emergency, thereby limiting their ability to act on the core political and security dimensions.
This book shows how lessons learned in Somalia will shape international responses in future cases. It details the deep- rooted social, political, and economic processes that led to the decomposition of the state in the early 1990s; analyzes the attempts by the international community to encourage political reconciliation; and offers guidelines for policymakers.
An array of factors have been offered to explain the apparent failure of development in Africa, including the colonial legacy, social pluralism, corruption, poor planning and incompetent management, limited in-flow of foreign capital, and low levels of saving and investment. Alone or in combination, these factors are serious impediments to development, but Claude Ake contends that the problem is not that development has failed, but that it was never really on the agenda. He maintains that political conditions in Africa are the greatest impediment to development.
In this book, Ake traces the evolution and failure of development policies, including the IMF stabilization programs that have dominated international efforts. He identifies the root causes of the problem in the authoritarian political structure of the African states derived from the previous colonial entities. Ake sketches the alternatives that are struggling to emerge from calamitous failure--economic development based on traditional agriculture, political development based on the decentralization of power, and reliance on indigenous communities that have been providing some measure of refuge from the coercive power of the central state. Ake's argument may become a new paradigm for development in Africa.
“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. From the outset, he was committed to serving only a single five-year term. During his presidency, he and his government ensured that all of South Africa’s citizens became equal before the law, and he laid the foundation for turning a country riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy.
Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to leave office, but was unable to finish. Now the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding, and a wealth of unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.
For four years as her newspaper's Johannesburg bureau chief, Lynne Duke cut a rare figure as a black American woman foreign correspondent as she raced from story to story in numerous countries of central and southern Africa. From the battle zones of Congo-Zaire to the quest for truth and reconciliation in South Africa; from the teeming displaced person’s camps of Angola and the killing field of the Rwanda genocide to the calming Indian Ocean shores of Mozambique. She interviewed heads of state, captains of industry, activists, tribal leaders, medicine men and women, mercenaries, rebels, refugees, and ordinary, hardworking people. And it is they, the ordinary people of Africa, who fueled the hope and affection that drove Duke’s reporting. The nobility of the ordinary African struggles, so often absent from accounts of the continent, is at the heart of Duke’s searing story.
MANDELA, MOBUTU, AND ME is a richly detailed, clear-eyed account of the hard realities Duke discovered, including the devastation wrought by ruthless, rapacious dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko and his successor, Laurent Kabila, in the Congo, and appalling indifference of Europeans and Americans to the legacy of their own exploitation of the continent and its people. But Duke also records with admiration the visionary leadership and personal style of Nelson Mandela in south Africa as he led his country’s inspiring transition from apartheid in the twilight of his incredible life.
Whether it was touring underground gold and copper mines, learning to carry water on her head, filing stories by flashlight or dodging gunmen, Duke’s tour of Africa reveals not only the spirit and travails of an amazing but troubled continent -- it also explores the heart and fearlessness of a dedicated journalist.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This revised edition includes a new preface in which the author links the enormous changes that have taken place in Africa over the past fifteen years to long-term state consolidation. The final chapter on policy prescriptions has also been revised to reflect the evolution of African and international responses to state failure.
The death of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi freed Libya from forty-two years of despotic rule, raising hopes for a new era. But in the aftermath, the country descended into bitter rivalries and civil war, paving the way for the Islamic State and a catastrophic migrant crisis.
In a fast-paced narrative that blends frontline reporting, analysis, and history, Frederic Wehrey tells the story of what went wrong. An Arabic-speaking Middle East scholar, Wehrey interviewed the key actors in Libya and paints vivid portraits of lives upended by a country in turmoil: the once-hopeful activists murdered or exiled, revolutionaries transformed into militia bosses or jihadist recruits, an aging general who promises salvation from the chaos in exchange for a return to the old authoritarianism. He traveled where few Westerners have gone, from the shattered city of Benghazi, birthplace of the revolution, to the lawless Sahara, to the coastal stronghold of the Islamic State in Qadhafi’s hometown of Sirt. He chronicles the American and international missteps after the dictator’s death that hastened the country’s unraveling. Written with bravura, based on daring reportage, and informed by deep knowledge, The Burning Shores is the definitive account of Libya’s fall.
Ah Jubah! features Kandace and Cynthia who open a soul food restaurant that specializes in the culinary culling of racist oppressors; Azure and Alteveze who unite warring gangs, convert projects into quilombos, and introduce local authorities to the precision of divine retribution; and Orisa Oya and the Egbe Aje who preside over Edan’s global tribunal for the prosecution of crimes against humanity. These are only three examples of the liberatory works enacted by warriors who revolutionize the concept of revolution.
Ah Jubah! offers a dynamic reconceptualization and resuscitation of such revolutionary Black organizations as Ogboni Ibile, the Deacons for Defense, and the Black Liberation Army. The novel also builds on and expands the literary revolutionary impetus of Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door, the Seven Days of Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, and the society of the ankh of Ayi Kwei Armah’s Osiris Rising.
Asiri Odu’s stunning debut novel spans from the dawn of time to the immediate future to offer its audience a blueprint for holistic empowerment for nearly every era, condition, and dilemma.
She is a cultural, nonfictionist tyrannosaurus rex (roar!) and her narration of the lives of Ivoiriens during her 2 years living in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer makes you fall in love with this story and laugh out loud when you least expect it. How do Ivoiriens define color, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and more, differently than you or I do?
Padre! will enthrall you, surprise you, entertain you, and give you a profound, new view of the world that will help you to navigate it better at any level.
This book brings together some of the finest scholarship, domestic as well as foreign, on contemporary Mauritius, offering perspectives from constitutional law, cultural studies, sociology, archaeology, economics, social anthropology and more. While celebrating the indisputable, and impressive, achievements of the Mauritian nation on its fiftieth birthday, this book is far from toothless. Looking back inevitably implies looking ahead, and in order to do so, critical self-scrutiny is essential, to be able to learn from the mistakes of the past.
The contributors raise fundamental questions concerning a broad range of issues, from the dilemmas of multiculturalism to the marginal role of women in public life, from the question of constitutional reform and the continued problem of corruption to the slow destruction of Mauritius’ joy and pride, namely the beauty and purity of its natural scenery. Taking stock of the first fifty years, this book also looks ahead to the next fifty years, giving some cues as to where Mauritius can and should aim in the next decades.
In spreading the message of freedom, equality, and human dignity, Nelson Mandela helped transform not only his own nation, but the entire world. Now his most important speeches are collected in a single volume. From the eve of his imprisonment to his release twenty-seven years later, from his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize to his election as South Africa's first black president, these speeches span some of the most pivotal moments of Mandela's life and his country's history.
Arranged thematically and accompanied by tributes from leading world figures, Mandela's addresses memorably illustrate his lasting commitment to freedom and reconciliation, democracy and development, culture and diversity, and international peace and well-being. The extraordinary power of this volume is in the moving words and intimate tone of Mandela himself, one of the most courageous and articulate men of our time.
Although the occasional newspaper headline mentions authoritarian rule, corruption, genocide, devastating illnesses, or civil war in Africa, the collective American consciousness still carries strong mental images of Africa that are reflected in advertising, movies, amusement parks, cartoons, and many other corners of society. Few think to question these perceptions or how they came to be so deeply lodged in American minds. Mistaking Africa looks at the historical evolution of this mind-set and examines the role that popular media plays in its creation. The authors address the most prevalent myths and preconceptions and demonstrate how these prevent a true understanding of the enormously diverse peoples and cultures of Africa.Updated throughout, the fourth edition covers the entire continent (North and sub-Saharan Africa) and provides new analysis of topics such as social media and the Internet, the Ebola crisis, celebrity aid, and the Arab Spring. Mistaking Africa is an important book for African studies courses and for anyone interested in unravelling American misperceptions about the continent.
There is huge potential in Nigeria; the country has the largest population in Africa, and is well-endowed in terms of both natural and human resources. Nigeria also has the largest economy on the continent, the largest black population in the world, a burgeoning and vibrant youthful population, and a tradition of international engagement since its independence. Its advantageous geographical location in West Africa enables trade within the continent, as well as with Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Nigeria is the most important strategic partner for the United States in the African continent, and will become increasingly so in this century.
Mauritania’s Colonels examines the personalities and policy of five military officers turned heads of state who ruled Mauritania for nearly forty years. After comparing and contrasting the personal traits, social origins, itineraries, and evolution as military officers, it critically evaluates the policies they enacted to address four key challenges their country faces. These are, namely, the difficult cohabitation between the country’s ethno-cultural communities, the illusive democratization and military withdrawal from politics, the judicious management of the country’s abundant natural resources to meet the socioeconomic needs of their people, and the prudent conduct of foreign policy given Mauritania’s location, straddling Arab North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Showing the impact that each Colonel has had on the evolution of Mauritania, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of West Africa, African politics, civil-military relations and democratization processes.