Late last year, the Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow produced a powerful short called “Last Days,” about the dangers and depredations of “ivory-funded terrorism.” Viewers — and Ms. Bigelow’s celebrity friends — were encouraged to share #LastDays on social media, which many duly did. Their efforts gave yet another boost to the widely accepted belief that terrorists across Africa are killing elephants and selling the ivory to finance their attacks. But like her full-length feature film “Zero Dark Thirty,” Ms. Bigelow is offering a beguiling story divorced from reality.
The U.S. Made a Critical Mistake During Somalia’s Last Famine. Will we Repeat it? (WaPo)
Later this year, a drought in Somalia will likely become a famine. Hundreds of thousands of people are at risk. International aid agencies will scramble to deliver food and medical care. As usual, most of those who may die will be children.
It will be the third famine to tear through Somalia in a quarter-century, a rate of starvation unmatched on Earth. The scenario is familiar to the United States, which has intervened in the previous famines with disastrous results. This time, the United States has a chance to get it right.
How Do Journalists Write About Africa? (GlobalPost)
How do foreign correspondents write about Africa? Do we travel widely getting to know the continent and its people, and write about the political and economic situations so that readers will have a better understanding? Or do we simply trot out tired clichés and promote prejudices?
In "How not to write about Africa," a recent opinion piece for Foreign Policy, Laura Seay, an assistant professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, describing herself as “an old Africa hand,” bemoaned the foreign coverage of Africa. It makes her “cringe,” she wrote.