BLOGGING AFRICA - A REVIEW OF AFRICAN BLOGS

Digital Content

The following is a summary review of African blogs from around the globe.

African Bullets & Honey (http://bulletsandhoney.blogspot.com/2006/09/is-digital-indaba-internet-berlin.html) takes issue with the Digital Indaba on Blogging taking place in Johannesburg this week. He sees the conference as a way of "codifying" the African blogosphere which will end up excluding those who cannot or do not wish to participate rather than produce an inclusive blogging environment. A kind of colonisation process is taking place by those that seek to codify and appropriate the knowledge and ideas which are individual to each and every blogger. In short, the very aspect of blogging that makes it unique and differentiates it from the mainstream media, is being challenged.

"What really pulls my goat among all the ills of this 'inclusive' event is the corralling of bloggers - most of whom are just doing their own thing - into the donor universe. Consider once again the language of the Indaba which views blogging, at least in one aspect, thus:

"Blogging, because of its far reach and networking qualities, is an essential tool in ensuring that the UN Millennium Development Goals are achieved in Africa and NEPAD remains a united and benevolent alliance on the continent."

But it is not just the "codifying of the African blogosphere" that annoys Bullets and Honey. It is the idea that African bloggers are being manipulated by a group of white "managers" or blogosphere elites who want to show that we African bloggers are not simply "passive observers in the global village", but also that there is the possibility of a "market" or commercial opportunity not to be missed - a kind of new Blogging "scramble for Africa". This ties in well with other ongoing campaigns such as "keep a child alive" fronted by Gwyneth Paltrow posing as an African in the "We are all Africans" poster .

"That we should now blog to show the world (read the West and white folks) that we are somehow worthy of their respectful consideration. What nonsense. Perhaps the way to 'show the world' is to have a conference of black people in the audience listening to panels basically made up of white people. You know? To hope that the authority of whiteness rubs off on the poor little African blogosphere. I wish I will be proven wrong about such panels but the defensiveness of the white Mandelas tells the tale. Ultimately though, whoever the panellists are, and despite the 'rush for white,' the logic of this benignly conducted colonisation of Africa's blog universe will have plenty of rainbow colored African volunteers."

Kenyan Blog, 'You Missed This' (http://kumekucha.blogspot.com/2006/09/sumbeiywo-biography-good-soldier.html) comments on the biography of General Lazarus Sumbeiywo which he says has many inconsistencies that contradict earlier reports. He also considers that much of the material in the book is a threat to national security.

"The account of the coup and the President's confidence does not tally with other eyewitness reports including this blogger's (see my other post on this). At a time when the nation is trying to fill in the blanks on some very important and crucial events in her history, accuracy is very important and this is not really the time to do Andrew-Morton-like biographies designed to clean up images of past administrations. (Andrew Morton was Princess Diana's biographer who also wrote an infamous biography on former president Moi that claimed foreign minister Ouko's assassination was masterminded by fellow-Luo and powerful PS in the office of the president Hezekiah Oyugi for reasons to do with Luo politics.)"

Grandiose Parlor (http://grandioseparlor.blogspot.com/2006/09/dont-talk-about-my-nigeria.html)

Reports on an article by Chizoma Sandra Nwachukwu who disparages Nigerians abroad for criticising the government and Nigerian society.

My fellow Nigerians, stop speaking from a point of ignorance. Purpose to change the status quo. You don't need military might. Just build ties with your people. Stop writing and criticizing the government. Even though it is not living up to its responsibilities, it is better than you are because it is doing something..."

Nwachukwu assumes that all Nigerians abroad are ignorant of what is happening in their country. This is false - we all read the newspapers, talk to friends and relatives and in some cases carry out business activities. To say that the government should not be criticised because, unlike us in the Diaspora it is doing something, makes no sense. Anyone and everyone is entitled to make whatever criticisms they choose of the Nigerian government and any other government.

Nigerian technology blogger, 'Oro' - Oro (http://www.gbengasesan.com/blog/?p=110") asks that foreign governments forget giving Nigerians visas to Europe when what Nigerians need is broadband!

There is, however, a different class of young people in Nigeria. They are passionate, focused, daring... but not empowered. The world they live in is a different one and it has been referred to by those who should know as a global village - in fact, Thomas Friedman dared to call it a flat world.

In this world, location should not matter. In this world, the Internet, new technologies and other forces of globalization should enable a young Nigerian (like his Indian or Ghanaian counterparts) earn more - and live better - without the need to apply for a visa. Unless, of course, he decides to travel for a well-deserved vacation or necessary appointment. Why is it a should-be story? I would argue that the reasons are not far-fetched: young Nigerians see the new opportunities on cable networks and on the Internet; we hear of them when we connect with our friends through Skype; we dream of them after reading past editions of The Economist or Time's features on Innovation. But one single factor that can help us take the next leap is missing. Internet access in Nigeria is plug and pray, not plug and play - and that is even if you can afford it"

Egyptian Chronicles (http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2006/09/end-of-blockade-and-start-of-new.html) comments on what she describes as the new occupation of Lebanon - this time it is UNIFAL - the UN army in Lebanon.

"The Unifal will guard the Lebanese shores and airports, and also the northern borders between Syria and Lebanon too.

The Unifal will search any luggage in the harbors and airports with weight more than 20 kg as Katyusha missiles are weighted 67 kg!

The French army is back again to Lebanon after 51 years of independence with thousands of soldiers ,same as the Turkish which will return back to Lebanon after 88 years of independence from the Turkish Ottoman rule ,ironically I saw a report on CNN last week about the Lebanese Armani minority objection on the Turkish contribution in the Unifal troops , as some of you may know the Turkish Ottoman armies did massacres against the Armani people in Armani in WWI in year 1915 and till now the Armani people didn't forget it even those who live outside Armenian , anyway their objection got no importance because the Turks are coming back to Lebanon whether they like it or not."

Israel has successfully deployed the UN as a proxy army to defend its own interests in Lebanon. So far despite offers from Indonesia and Bangladesh, no Muslim countries have been permitted to join the UN forces. Israel continues to make new demands, the latest of which is the deployment of armed UN troops along the entire Syria, Lebanon border. Egyptian Chronicle rightly concludes

"You know this reminds me with the time of colonialism, in the 1936 agreement between Egypt and UK , the British army would guard the Egyptian borders too in time of war....Well the age of colonialism is back again after all."

'Gambian blogger', - Home of the Mandinmories (http://gambian.blogspot.com/index.html) comments on the 5th anniversary of 9/11: Much of the African blogosphere has been silent on 9/11, other than a few posts remembering those who were killed on that day 5 years ago. Mandinmories is the only one that takes a critical position on the direction of George Bush's war on terror.

"With the September 11 anniversary around the corner, King George and his minions will be beating the war drums again. They will try to convince the citizens of this nation that Iran is coming to get us. Iran is the new bogey man. Remember the big bad wolf of Mesopotamia (Saddam)? He supposedly has weapons to annihilate civilization or that was the rational Georgie and his handlers told us what will happen if they don't get him first. We all know how well that thingy turned out. Yeah Saddam is in jail but Iraq is teetering on the brink of disintegration. What a noble venture it has turnout to be. In the last week or two they have started their disinformation campaign again. First defense secretary Rumsfeld compared anti war Americans to Nazi sympathizers in a speech to the American legion. He later claimed to be quoted out of context after a barrage of counter offensive from the other side led by MSNBC's Keith Oberman."

Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/2006/09/a_pact_against_freedom.html) has two posts in which she comments on the recent outings of gay men initially and then of lesbians last week by the Red Pepper magazine in Uganda. In the second outing, the news magazine calls on readers to phone in the names of neighbours so they (Red Pepper) can shame them by publicizing their names.

"The horrific events taking place in Uganda should be a wakeup call for everyone. People may think that they are safe from harassment and arrest because they are heterosexual. Not so, a witch hunt affects everyone irrespective of their sexuality. Your neighbour takes a disliking to you and before you know it you are being accused of being gay or a lesbian. People may think this is not their problem because they are not Ugandans. Think again, it happened in Cameroon, it's happening in Ghana right now and with the new laws in Nigeria it may soon happen there. The fundamental human rights of African citizens are slowly being eroded in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Cameroon as religious extremists and repressive governments join in a pact against freedoms."

Fahamu