Monday, 25 July 2011

Some Theoretically Theoretical Theories

We all know how crazy the world is. Actually - this is as politically correct as I can be -, white people have shown us how crazy the world is, or how crazy they can be. The recent bombing and shooting in Oslo are examples of the extremities of the human psyche. If you can wake up one morning, plan such an attach, and then actually carry it out, there's something very wrong with you. And since you're human, there's something wrong with all of us.

Now, I don't want to get into the psychological aspect of the event, I want to put forth some theories. If you take the following seriously, then there's something wrong with you, and you should find a nursery to attack... Just saying.

Rupert Murdoch killed Amy Winehouse

The man who smacked Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie knew something we didn't. What I can deduce from that is Rupert Murdoch doesn't like foam very much. But, why on earth did the pie-man use foam? Why didn't he use cow dung or something? Something potent, so Rupert can at least smell it for the rest of the day. But then again, sneaking cow dung in would've been an issue.

Rupert was also getting cornered, somewhat. The phone hacking scandal was getting too much publicity. He was all over the place, newspapers, magazines, you name it. So, it seemed like a losing battle. Probably for the first time, him and his media empire, were held accountable for some of the distress they had caused. So, the only solution was, kill someone.

So, he probably went over to Amy's house - with the stash of course - and got his smoke on. He would obviously have been aware of her drug addiction, because his news conglomerate does have a tendency to over publicize personal celebrity issues. So, whatever happened happened, and Amy stole the headlines.

But then, you'd realize that the bombing in Oslo was the main talking point a day earlier. So in that case, James Murdoch might have put on a blonde wig, bombed Oslo, shot some children at the youth camp, and just to make sure him and his father don't appear on the headlines again, called his father and asked him to deliver some ehm ehm to Amy's.... YES INDEED! Case closed. Now, someone catch them. Not you ICC, someone useful. The A-Team maybe.

The US "Droughted" The Horn of Africa

Ever heard of the "Climate Control Project"? Actually that's not what it's called, and I can't be bothered to google it. But it's basically part of a theory that has been circling around lately that says the west (mainly the US) has plans, or has already devised a plan, to control the climate. According to this theory, the US caused the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake in Japan, and Ice Age.. The movie.

Now, since even I'm theorizing, aimlessly, I'm going to base my theory on the Climate Control Project theory. So, my theory goes a little something like this, actually not this; it goes something like the subtitle. Read the subtitle again. Read it? Ok. Here goes.

What's aid? Aid is a salvation process for the needy, doesn't necessarily have to go anywhere, it's just a process. This process includes a lot of money, bureaucracy, and white people. The money is collected from governments, or very charitable I-make-more-than-half-of-African-countries individuals. The money is then used to pay for the bureaucracy and the white people. No money, or very little of it, ever reaches the people that need it. What the people actually receive are a couple of photographers, and their 15 minutes of fame as the cover story in news outlets around the world. If I was the needy, I'd eat the photographers.

So why would the US "drought" the Horn of Africa? Well, the recession has hit hard. Really hard. So now they need money. The only way left to make money is to create a humanitarian crisis. Since they can't invade Australia for having silly animals, or Uzbekistan for having a silly name, they decided to "drought" somewhere in Africa that's already f***ed.

So now as the aid flows in for the needy, the US is getting richer, not that much richer, but rich enough to keep being the US. Bold move you might think, but no; ever heard of the saying "Desperate times call for desperate measures"? Well, this is desperate. Given that it's true.

Friday, 8 July 2011

South Sudan: An inevitable split, but at the right time

In the beginning of the 20th century when Sudan was under the administration of the British empire, many thought that the British systematically isolated the South from the North. In reality, the situation was more complicated than that.

From mere observation, the British realised the differences between the north and south of the country in terms of physical appearance, culture and sociological behavior. It dawned on them that the people of the south had more in common with their southern neighbours, i.e. Northern Uganda, Kenya and Congo.

But then the British also realised that despite sharing the hardships of their southern neighbours, the people of South Sudan were actually in a more dire condition. Inevitably, this lead the British - with the burden of history eating at their conscience - to think that uniting the north and south of Sudan would afford the southerners a chance for development.

The north at the time was more acquainted, more developed and a product of conquest by various empires throughout history.

This theory worked on paper.

The three British governors of the south at the time objected to this setup, and so did the missionaries. In turn, they offered a different approach. They proposed that a unified Sudan should grant Southerners a "special status". This special status offered Southerners privileges in access to education and the like, up to the point where there would be a balance - in terms of development - between the north and south.

So in 1948 this "special status" was voted for in parliament - in which there were Southern members - in the central government in Khartoum. However, in kicking off a tradition of failed political strategies, the "special status" was scrapped in January 1956.

If, in 1948, there existed a semi-competent politician among the northerners, the South would've been given independence there and then. However, the outlying problems back then would've prevented any attempts at development for the South. The myriad of tribal affiliations, illiteracy and general lack of professionals are just a few.

So it seems the South could have easily gained independence 63 years ago, but the tribal differences would've had an egregious effect on the country. Now however, there seems to be a sense of unification. The Southerners are proud to be a nation, not a tribe. Sentimentally, independence is definitely worth the 63 year wait.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Narrative on Sudan: What we can learn

With the recent tumult that I caused in Al Jazeera I think more people are starting to realize the effects of the false narratives on Sudan. Well I hope that's the case. I know for a fact that I'm not the first to apprehend the short-sighted reporting of Sudan's numerous conflicts. I'm also not the first to address the issue publicly.

We are at a time where all this doesn't matter anymore. What matters is what's said now and in the near future. The recession in the South has to be looked at more objectively, because while independence is a cause for celebration other internal issues might cast some doubt on the new-born nation's stability. We basically have to take the sentimental aspect out of every equation.

I am very grateful to Al Jazeera for following up on my complaint, and on their recently launched series of documentaries on Sudan. They've definitely exerted an effort into asking the people that matter, local experts, political scientists, and political activists.

But I want to give special gratitude to someone who has passionately reported on Sudan for the last couple of years. She's written a book on Sudan called "Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide.” I haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely on my “Books to buy” list (buy, not read
J ). That someone is Rebecca Hamilton.

She’s a special correspondent on Sudan for the Washington Post, and has been published by almost every outlet you can think of. Here are a few: Foreign Affairs, The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The International Herald Tribune and Newsweek. You know what; I think she even writes on my blog when I’m not paying attention.

Anyways, I’ve been religiously following her reports on Sudan, and as I recently found out, she’s been paying attention to the real issues in Sudan before I even started this blog (not really, but it was back in November 2010).

Here’s an extract from her article “'Oil-Rich' Abyei: Time to Update the Shorthand for Sudan's Flashpoint Border Town?”, published by the Pulitzer Centre:

“.. Accordingly, the number of articles on the Abyei referendum has sky-rocketed. Read any of the media coverage and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find the phrase “oil-rich” placed somewhere in front of the town’s name. But these days the accuracy of the journalistic short-hand is questionable.

In 2004, when the final stages of the negotiations for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement were underway, the Abyei area was indeed “oil rich.” There were two major oilfields to the east of Abyei town, Heglig and Bamboo, and another to the north called Diffra.

Back then, the combined production of the three fields was an estimated 76,600 barrels per day (bpd). If youcrunch the numbers, this amounted to 25 percent of Sudan’s annual oil production. With so much at stake, “oil-rich” summed up perfectly the reasons why Abyei was an obstacle to the conclusion of the peace agreement.

But we are now in 2010. In the intervening six years, two factors have diminished the accuracy of the “oil-rich” label:

First, oil production from Heglig, Bamboo, and Diffra has declined across the board. From the 76,600 bpd of 2004, the 2009 estimates for the three fields dropped to 28,300 bpd. Meanwhile, production from outside the area increased. By early 2009, “oil-rich” Abyei only accounted for 5 percent of Sudan’s annual production.”

You can read the full article here.

I hope all journalists can learn from Rebecca’s insight. As the saying goes “If you don’t know the details, don’t report.” Ok, it’s not a saying, I made it up; but it should be.

Also, apparently Rebecca Hamilton is from New Zealand. I know, I don't know where it is either. It just makes you think though, as a Sudanese, I should be putting in more effort.