Friday, June 07, 2013
This week the Ghanaian government detained 168 illegal Chinese immigrants operating illegal gold mines in the country. They will all be deported back to China. In March the government expelled 120 Chinese without proper documentation working on illegal gold mines. The government has vowed to continue to crack down on illegal Chinese immigration and gold mining. The Ghanaian population is not very happy at the consistent and blatant violation of its immigration and mining laws by the Chinese.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
The criticisms from the right of Dr. Loomis, the poster child and new martyr for many liberal left academics in the US, are many and not very interesting. The fewer criticisms of Dr. Loomis from the left on the other hand are much fewer, more interesting, and much more accurate. I am not sure what to make of this other than I prefer honest left anarchists like Chomsky to charlatans who are handmaidens to the establishment like Loomis any day of the week. Speaking of left anarchists, the best critiques of Dr. Loomis are here and here. Although not from an anarchist this left-wing critique of Loomis is also spot on. Unfortunately, I think there are far too many people like Loomis and not enough like Chomsky in American academia today.
Sunday, June 02, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013
I have taken a great liking to Koko for breakfast in the morning. It is basically a millet porridge laced heavily with ginger and other spices. I buy it in a bag from the market woman behind Legon annex every morning for 50 peswas. The only problems are that it is really hot, like molten lava, when you first get it and I can never get the sugar she puts at the bottom of the bag to dissolve.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
In many ways Africa has greatly advanced since 1963 when the OAU was founded. Except for Western Sahara there are now no more official colonies in Africa. The last European colonial powers left the continent in 1975. Namibia got its independence from South Africa in 1990. Apartheid as practiced by the White minority governments in South Africa and Rhodesia has been eradicated from the continent. Mandela was elected in 1994. So many of the key the issues that dominated the OAU in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s have now been resolved.
Other positive advances have been the development of indigenous democratic states. This has been less successful than the removal of colonialism and apartheid. So while Ghana has established a functioning two party democratic republic dictatorships still rule Togo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, and other countries in Africa. There is an active freedom movement in Togo, but it gets very little attention even in neighboring Ghana and France and Germany continue to support the dictatorship in Lome. Certainly, the movements for greater democracy, transparency, and human rights in Africa still have a long way to go.
Social and economic advancement has been highly uneven in Africa and in individual African states. Illiteracy, poverty, and poor infrastructure are still problems even in successful states like Ghana. In less fortunate states like Congo they are far worse. But, the days when all of Black Africa could be blithely written off by US commentators as a failure are over. Even if the US and Europeans wish to close their eyes to economic developments in Africa the Chinese have not.
There is no doubt that overall things are better in Africa today than they were for most of the existence of the OAU/AU. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are now in Africa. Cheap electronics and other consumer goods from Asia are becoming available to more and more people in Africa. I have yet to encounter anybody in Ghana who did not own a mobile phone. I purchased mine here for $20 and while cheap it was not the cheapest option available in the country. So overall life in Africa is better than it has been and will hopefully be even better in the future.
Friday, May 24, 2013
I have now finished grading all 193 students I had in my four classes this semester. Next semester I only have two classes to teach so it will be a lot less work during test time. At least this year I got them done early so I am not stressing out at the last minute trying to get them all done.
Monday was the 40th anniversary of the beginning of armed struggle for independence for Western Sahara. The struggle began against Spain on 20 May 1973 and continued against Morocco until 6 September 1991 when a ceasefire was signed between Rabat and the Polisario. Sahrawis under occupation in the towns of Smara and Bjdor organized demonstrations to commemorate the event. The demonstration in Bjdor, however, was violently dispersed by Moroccan security forces. This follows on the decision by the UN Security Council this month to reauthorize the peace keeping forces in Western Sahara, but without any mandate to monitor human rights violations. The UN peace keeping force in the Western Sahara, MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) is now the only such existing force without authority from the Security Council to monitor human rights.
There have been a whole string of recent protests in Togo involving women wearing red and in some cases baring their breasts. As I mentioned earlier unlike in Europe female public nudity is not a casual affair in West Africa. Its presence means that the women are really, really, really angry. There has also been some violence by youths against property associated with some of the demonstrations. A car was lit on fire and some windows smashed. But, for the most part the protests have remained nonviolent. Yesterday, the Togolese security forces again responded to peaceful demonstrations with violence by firing tear gas into a crowd of protesters.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I am finishing things off here for the semester. I have graded all my exams and entered all my grades except for one class at City Campus that I am still waiting on. I hope the scripts arrive soon. I need to have everything wrapped up here for the semester in the next two weeks.