In a recent Foreign Policy article, Cornelius P. Cacho basically writes that TRIBALISM (he uses caps which seems a bit dramatic in my book) is the root cause of all the hoopla that occurs in the sub-continent. Of course, the very first example was the recent crisis in Kenya.* Anyway, here are the highlights of the article that really struck me:

'The evolution of the African system of grouping has been harmfully disturbed by foreign, mainly European, intervention. By the Treaty of Berlin in 1884 the then world powers divided the African sub-continent into fiefdoms without any regard for history, geography, culture or other factors that might have made the exercise a lasting success instead of the nightmare it continues to be.'

It was interesting (good) that the author recognized the historic root of so much of the tribal strife that exists throughout the continent. While he talks about Europe having clans, etc. at least he recognizes that those clans were not quite chopped and butchered and re-sewn together the way African tribes were and what a lasting effect that has had.

'Despite fifty years of efforts on the part of many and $600 billion worth of aid, African living
standards have hardly risen'

As someone working in the field of 'development,' I constantly see how much money is spent on development here in Sudan and I literally question ever day whether it makes a difference at all, especially when political violence over oil (or something else) can literally break out on any given day and all the money that has been invested would be lost again. It clearly isn't a morality booster when someone writes that what you do actually hasn't made a difference. So, if so much aid given has yielded so little, who exactly is benefiting from maintaining this status quo?

Anyway.....interesting article providing good food for thought.

*Brief reminder: Kenya had elections in December 2007. Major rigging, which had the old president sworn in at the exact time Brandie was entering the country after a lovely holiday in Mozambique. Violence broke out as clearly the opposition was NOT happy with the turn of events. Lots of people killed, even more displaced, millions lost on business profits, tourism industry plunged into very deep waters, Kofi had to come over, lots of chit chat later there is now a president and a prime minister.

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