Category Archives: Uncategorized

Black in France – the full 3 part documentary

If you missed this Al-Jazeera documentary when it came out a few months ago, it is now fully available to stream on their website.

Between one and five million French citizens claim African or Caribbean heritage. These numbers are, however, estimates, as population censuses do not recognise race.

For over a century, black immigrants, though never officially identified as different, were treated as ‘others’.

Even today, of France’s 577 members of parliament, only five are black.

This three-part series tells the story of blacks in France – a long history of segregation, racism, protest, violence, culture and community building – from the turn of the 20th century until the present day.

Catch the rest of the documentary on AJE’s website:

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3 questions following the terrorist attacks in Bassam

Fourteen civilians and two soldiers have been killed in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam following an attack on the popular weekend retreat, officials say.

Sunday’s attack targeted three hotels in the southeastern town which is located about 40km east of the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.

“Six attackers came to the beach in Bassam this afternoon,” President Alassane Ouattara said during a visit to the site.

“We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.”

The terrorist threat had been hovering over Cote d’Ivoire for a few months now. Risk levels were even increased after the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, that resulted in the tragic death of both local and foreigners. Although the security measures had been increased in Abidjan, few anticipated the attack to happen in Grand Bassam.

More details are coming from the investigation, but here are a few analysis points:

1. These small-scale terrorist attacks just became the biggest security threat in Cote d’Ivoire.
After the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, and to some extent Westgate in Kenya and the countless Boko Haram crimes, Ivorians are now falling victim to terrorism.
By the nature of these events (light automatic weaponry, limited logistics, low profile target locations), localised precautionary measures can only go so far in protecting civilians. African countries have to work together to address the root causes of the rise of extremism, and provide a comprehensive African solution to stop terrorism.

2. These events will call for a re-organisation of the security apparel to face a different kind of threat.
This is a different of challenge that the government is facing. The relatively high volume of light weapons circulating in the country had created a climate of insecurity, that has been lingering for the past decades in Cote d’Ivoire. But with the new terror threat, and attackers willing to die, the security forces have to change their approach and get used to this new situation.

3. Beyond the human toll, the attacks will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.
With the improvements in stability and infrastructure, the hospitality and tourism sectors had experienced a strong growth, leading to significant investments. But as we have seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Kenya, we can also expect repercussions in the sector. The response from the government, and the efficiency of the security measures will be crucial for the industry.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragic event.

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Slow end for the socialist dream in Latin America

The article from FP highlights the end of a new (geo) political order in South America, under the leadership of Hugo Chavez and Luiz Inacio da Silva.

The analysis is pretty spot on. Both men had huge personalities, and started a project that at the time, seemed realistic to them. But the strong US backed opposition (in the case of Venezuela), corruption, drop in commodity prices dwarted the legacy of the work they started.

In the end, despite their divergent strategies, both Venezuela and Brazil have wound up in the same humbled place, their earlier international dreams in tatters.

These outsized dreams were fueled by the outsized personalities of Lula and Chávez. But they were also enabled by an economic boom that couldn’t last — and, indeed, hasn’t. Their hand-picked, charisma-challenged successors have been forced to trim their ambitions amid a collapse in the price of global commodities. Rousseff — the dry, technocratic former chairman of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras and former guerrilla leader — has struggled to recover from China’s reduced hunger for Brazilian iron ore and agricultural products, just as Nicolás Maduro has had no answer for the steep drop in the price of oil.

To be sure, Chavismo’s damage is real, and deeply felt. But the government of Chávez and Maduro and the Bolivarian project have been marked more by incompetence, corruption, and criminality, than by ideological coherence. Today, the Venezuelan economy is the worst-performing in the world, with a GDP expected to contract by around 10 percent. Its people suffer from massive shortages of basic goods like corn meal and toilet paper, inflation rates that are expected to reach 200 percent this year, and the second-highest murder rate in the world.

Read more here.

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Diendere charged for Sankara assassination

Authorities in Burkina Faso have charged a general who led a failed coup in September with complicity in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara, senior security sources have told the Reuters news agency.

“General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case,” a senior security source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters, adding Diendere had been charged last month.

Mathieu Some, Diendere’s lawyer, told Reuters on Sunday that his client had been charged over Sankara’s death and he would prepare his legal defence. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged, Reuters reported. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.


Interesting to see this coming through now, a few weeks only after Diendere’s failed coup attempt. No doubt Compaore also played a key role in the October 1987 events, but we’ll leave this to the Burkinabe justice to have the final say.

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The greatest athlete ever?

Right up there with Muhammad Ali and Didier Drogba.

More: Serena Williams transcends sport. We’re lucky to be living in her time

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Yes, the “N” word is still bad in 2015

President Barack Obama participates in a podcast with Marc Maron in Los Angeles, Calif., June 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama participates in a podcast with Marc Maron in Los Angeles, Calif., June 19, 2015.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama’s use of the word shocked many, but this was not the first time he used the word. In his book Dreams from my Father, the president used it “about a dozen times”, said the White House deputy press secretary, Eric Schultz. In reality, Obama’s use of the word was shocking because it is something most acting presidents would never say, but also because the weight of it still matters in 2015.

From The Guardian

You can listen to the whole interview on the WTF podcast website.

I don’t really use any form or shape of the word anymore.

I used to when I was younger, as a form of endearment with my friends. If you are listening to rap music, watching hood movies, or even spending time playing certain video games, it is extremely easy to detach yourself from reality and forget about the whole history behind the word.

The entertainment industry commercialised the term, and played on the controversy to sell more. From Chris Rock developing his entire routine around it, to Nas promoting his Untitled album, to Chet Hanks casually using the word with his white friends. Both blacks and whites individuals are responsible from it yes, but that’s quite different from putting the responsibility on “black people” for carrying the word through the years. You can certainly not say that rappers are responsible for the word, but entertainment did play a role in spreading its use, and the mis-understanding.

Globalisation took it to places that do not understand the heavy burden this word carries.

Yet, I cringe every time I am with white people and I hear the word.
It’s like when white people start having these conversations about slavery / war and poverty in Africa/ black crime around me. These are situations that turn you from just being the only black person present in that space and time to the spokesman for blackness. It really does not take that much.

– So what did you think about 12 Years A Slave?
– What did you think about the new Kendrick?
– That kid they found in the suitcase is from Cote d’Ivoire, right? You are from Cote d’Ivoire, right?


Back to the point, out of all the racial issues in the United States today, people getting angry because Obama is speaking frankly about racism and saying nigger is beyond me. Especially when his very point in saying nigger is that racism is still everywhere in America. I really hope that this will start real conversations about race today in the world, and give a real understanding of the significance of the world in 2015.

Watch Nas’ documentary about breakdancers in Uganda

From executive producer and rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, Shake the Dust chronicles the influence of breakdancing, exploring how it strikes a resonant chord in the slums, favelas and ghettos of the world and far beyond. Showcasing some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, Shake the Dust is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement.

 It’s now available on VOD on Stream.

Shake the Dust from BOND Strategy & Influence on Vimeo.

Quite a fantastic subject to look into. Good that it is coming from hip hop legend Nasir Jones as well. I saw a couple of documentaries coming through about the African musical scene recently (kuduro, heavy metal, rumba), and it’s fantastic to see some of these artists recognised on a global scene, especially outside of the “world music” category.

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