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The adversaries of African lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people are diverse and they collude in unexpected ways. African nationalist leaders, fossilized into autocrats, say nasty things about them before embarking on austerity programmes or land-grabs. These nasty things are echoed by clergy from the United States wanting to ‘teach’ Africans about the family […]

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James Copnall was the BBC’s Sudan correspondent between 2009-2012, and reported on the events leading up to South Sudan’s independence, as well as the subsequent clashes between Sudan and South Sudan. His new book, which offers a compassionate, yet understated account of the two Sudans’ “common past, interwoven present and mutually dependent future” could not […]

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The unfortunate truth is that for many people Sudan means the conflict in Darfur and little more. Despite experts on the now two countries being chest-deep in complexity with the proverbial water still rising, superficial knowledge of the region’s humanitarian crisis remains the limit of public understanding of the area even in the aftermath of […]

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James Copnall is an eyewitness to what he calls Sudan and South Sudan’s ‘bitter and incomplete divorce’, having reported on the build-up to the 2011 referendum, and the hostilities that have marked and bracketed that historic event. In his new book, ‘A Poisonous Thorn In Our Hearts’, Copnall proposes to do much more than repeat […]

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These reflections were written for a seminar on “Patterns of Mass Violence in Somalia”, sponsored by the World Peace Foundation, and held at Tufts University, Medford Massachusetts, September 27-28, 2013

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this book for its three major accomplishments: (1) Bringing to a broad audience (with her own beautiful translations) the […]

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If the epic poems of Guba, instigator in Somali, documented the internecine small-scale clan wars in the Hawd and Reserved Area in the 1890s-1920s, Clan Cleansing in Somalia undoubtedly serves as a repository for the historical origins and the memory reconstruction of mass violence in post-colonial Somalia. This time (1978 -present), though, the warfare was […]

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